RULES! RULES! RULES! 

Is that what following Christ is all about?  Maybe a teeny, tiny bit, but if you love the Lord with ALL your heart, and soul, with ALL your mind, and with ALL your strength, rules will find their place.

“So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:16-17‬ ‭(nlt)

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’  Also, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Jesus said this, ‘Do this and you will live.’”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:27-28‬ ‭(ncv)

I once climbed a mountain. It was not quite perpendicular, but straight up enough to scare the living daylights out of me as I turned to look down.  My hiking partner had already made it encouraging me saying, “Come on man!  Don’t look down. Just keep climbing. Look up here. You’re gonna make it.”  Rock by rock, foothold by foothold I made it!

“Then Jesus said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭9:23‬ ‭(niv)

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THE MYSTERY OF GOD – # VI

What does God look like? Do we look like Him?  Does He look like us? We are told that human beings are made in the image of God. You gotta be kidding! Skinny ones, fat ones, tall, short, male, female, red-yellow-black-and white? Are they all precious in His sight? 

The image of God? Yes, but not what we ordinarily think because we only think of the physical.  We were made spiritual.  Do you feel, cry, suffer, love? Is your life a sacrament? Can you praise and bless and commune and give gifts?  Can you cooperate, create, have clarity of vision, write books and sing songs?  Do you have a will and can you hear?  Can you plant and grow?  

We are separate yet different. We like color and music and dreaming. We like beauty and cleanliness and honesty and goodness. WE WERE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE! The Lord God did all this on purpose. 

“ … God’s kingdom is within you.”

Luke 17:21

Yes, we are far more through the Holy Spirit and He through us than our minds can conceive!

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”   Matthew 5:8

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“For He’s more wonderful than my mind can conceive. 

He’s more wonderful than my heart can believe. 

He goes beyond my highest hopes and fondest dreams. 

He’s everything that my soul ever longed for;

Everything He’s promised and so much more;

More than amazing,

More than marvelous,

More than miraculous could ever be. 

He’s more than wonderful;

That’s what Jesus is to me.”

(Sandi Patty)

FEELING HOPELESS?

FEELING HOPELESS?

Is it because you think you should be punished?

In the Philippines just before Easter, men will whip and beat themselves until they are bloodied almost into death. Some have been known to try crucifixion.  It is known as SELF-FLAGELLATION – “the act of hitting yourself with a whip as a way to punish yourself or as part of a religious ritual.”

A guy in South Texas said to me, “Man, I’ve really been an idiot.”  He had no church background. He didn’t understand “churchy” language.  He really didn’t even know what sin was.  All he knew was that he had been an idiot; almost ruined his life.  He felt hopeless because he thought he had been an idiot and needed punishment.

I told him about Jesus, the Savior, but when I tried to take a positive approach for his salvation, he kept coming back to how big of an idiot he was and how he needed to be “smacked up ‘side da hayud.” [Texas slanguage]  He was mentally and emotionally broken.  It seemed that his only answer to peace was self-flagellation.

The two thieves who were crucified with Jesus explored self punishment both knowing they had done wrong. “One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: ‘Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!’ But the other one made him shut up: ‘Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. WE DESERVE THIS, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.’

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.’ Jesus answered, ‘Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.’”

Luke 23:39-43 (msg)

You may think you have been an idiot. It may seem as though there is no hope. It may look like God’s forgiveness is too easy – that your sin is too great and your only hope is to have your legs broken.  God’s answer through Christ is, “DON’T WORRY!”  Worry, self punishment, hopelessness, fear, doubt and anxiety are not the answer to “idiocy” and sin!

“It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.”

Ephesians 2:1-6 (msg)

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“Near the cross, a trembling soul,

Love and mercy found me;

There the Bright and Morning Star

Shed His beams around me

“Near the cross! I’ll watch and wait,

Hoping, trusting ever;

Till I reach the golden strand,

Just beyond the river.

“In the cross, in the cross

Be my glory ever,

Till my ransomed soul shall find

Rest beyond the river.”

(Fanny Crosby)