7 Reasons Jesus Came To Die For You!
Great post from Debra.
7 Reasons Jesus Came To Die For You!
Great post from Debra.
Every school bus driver is a hero, but substitute bus drivers (“sub drivers”) are in a class by themselves. I should know….I was one.
Sub Drivers Rule!
Unlike a driver that has a regular route, a “sub” is driver that drives different routes every day. Whenever a driver gets sick, lays out, or gets fired for doing something stupid, the substitute driver has to drive that route. Most of the time, the call comes without any warning…or sunlight.
However, one of the problems that a substitute driver faces is figuring out where to go. Imagine being put in a vehicle with 70 children just out of class, wanting to go home. Imagine you are in a part of town you’ve never been in before. Imagine that you have no instructions or directions, but must depend on the kids (Heaven help us) to get you where you need to go. Been there…done that…literally got the t-shirt.
Now, try to imagine that the very ones that are trying to tell you where to turn don’t EVEN know their rights from their lefts! It happened to me…..surely it did!
“I’m NOT Stupid”
I will never forget pulling up to an intersection and being forced to decide which way to go. I ask, “Which way?” The response comes back, “Go right.” So, that’s what I proceeded to do, when, I swear, the conversation went something like this:
Kid 1: NOOO! Go RIGHT! You’re going the wrong way!
Me: Wait, you said “Go right,” so that what I was doing.
Kid 1: No you weren’t…you’re going left…I said “go right.”
Me: I DID go right!
Kid 1: No, you went left.
Kid 1: No he didn’t! He went left!
Kid 2: Dude, you must not know your right from your left.
Kid 1: Shut up! Yes I DO!!
Me: (To Kid 1) Ok, let’s get this straight. Which is right, and which is left? Hold up your right hand.
Kid 1: (Holds up his left hand)
Me: Hold up your left hand.
Kid 1: (Holds up his right) See, I told you. I’m NOT stupid!
There is a right way, and there is a wrong way. The right way may be the left way; but if the facts are not right, somebody’s gonna get left. I know I’m right on this one. As a matter of fact, there is a verse in the Bible that seems to talk about the same thing.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. – Pro 14:12 (NIV)
Make sure of two things: 1) the direction you are going; and 2) that your source of determining right and wrong (or right and left) is reliable. You don’t want to go the wrong way for an eternity, do you?
Continuing from last time, let me conclude my thoughts on the difference between being God-centered and Christ-filled.
When contemplated what I had asked of God (to make me characterized by a God-centered life), the mental picture of a wheel came to mind. It was the picture of a wheel with a center hub and spokes, much like a bicycle or wagon wheel. As I thought about this, however, something seemed wrong. Something seemed almost selfish.
You see, when you look at a wheel, especially the kind with spokes and a hub, it may not be obvious at first, but there are parts. In such a wheel I can distinguish the spokes from the hub, and the rim from the spokes. I can even see that there are spaces in between the spokes that are empty and not attatched or filled with anything – just empty. If God is supposed to be represented by the hub, the center of the wheel, then the wheel is not really all about the hub, but the wheel itself.
The Apostle Paul told the Athenians (Acts 17:28) that in Jesus we “live, and move, and have our being.” In a letter to the Galatians he said “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). It would seem to me that Jesus should be more than our “hub.” He should be our “ALL.”
That is when I thought of a different picture. This time I imagined a solid circle – a disk. Unlike the other picture where God was the center of everything, yet separate, here was a picture of wholeness. In this picture, if my life is this type of wheel, people won’t notice anything about me, just Christ.
All of the spokes (my life, my dreams, my habits and hobbies, my talents, and my desires); the empty spaces (the areas of my life that seem irrelevant); and the rim (the total expanse of who I am – my identity, my sphere of influence); each part is now inseparable from the life and power of Christ who lives within me.
So, I no longer want to be characterized as a man with a God-centered life. I want to be a man characterized by the life of Christ. When people look at me, I don’t want them to say, “Hey, that guy really knows how to serve God,” or “Hey, that guy really loves the Lord.” Even though there is nothing wrong with those things, how much better would it be if they could say, “Hey, I met this guy… at first I thought he was that man they call Jesus.”
Remember, it was to the Church at Corinth that Paul said, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” There must have been some hearing this letter read who were deceived. Don’t be like them. Make sure your life is in Christ, and He is in you.
May your activities be “God-centered;” but your life “Christ-filled.” May the world see Jesus in you.
Can you distinguish between a God-centered and a Christ-filled life? What characteristics would you expect to see?
Do you think someone could live a God-centered life and still be unsaved?
Your comments would be appreciated.
In a recent Facebook comment I was told by a friend (one who was only trying to encourage me) that “God will not put more on you than you can handle.” This was in reference to one more in a long list of “trials” we have had to endure, and in this case it was the issue with our van’s transmission failing.
Then, right after that, another friend tried to help by saying: “Not true. But the word says, you shall have what you say.”
With these two well-meaning comments I was faced with a conundrum: Should I let them stand or challenge them? Like I said, I know they were well-meaning, but they must be evaluated in the light of Scripture.
Let’s begin with the first…
Where, exactly, does that statement come from? Well the basis of it is found Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. There, in chapter 10, he was discussing the way the children of Israel had been rebellious in their discontent and had angered God in the wilderness. Paul wrote:
Nevertheless God was not pleased with most of them, since they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as they did. Don’t become idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to party. Let us not commit sexual immorality as some of them did, and in a single day twenty-three thousand people died. Let us not test Christ as some of them did and were destroyed by snakes. And don’t complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. – 1 Corinthians 10:5-10 CSB
The time in the wilderness was a time of trial, of testing, of proving. The wandering Hebrews were never tempted by God to sin, but were very often tested to prove their trust in the One who brought them out of captivity. Would they trust Him to provide?
Unfortunately, most of the time they did not trust God, but complained at every turn. They doubted God’s provision, even though time after time He miraculously provided for their needs (water, manna, clothes and shoes that never wore out, etc.). They “tempted,” or “tested” God – they wanted to put Him to the test to “prove” His faithfulness, as if He had not already done so!
Even worse, they blamed God for their rebellion and idolatry! They would say that is was only because God had led them into the wilderness to die of hunger or thirst that they were forced to fornicate and create their own false gods.
And it was the very judgment of God on the children of Israel when they tested God that Paul points to when he warns the Corinthians not to test or tempt Christ. He said:
These things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our instruction… – 1 Corinthians 10:11a CSB
Therefore, when we get to 1 Corinthians 10:13, what we find is the reassurance, along with a warning, that God will certainly test, or prove us, and just like the children of Israel, there will be a “way of escape,” i.e., an option to put one’s faith in God/Christ to provide as opposed to turning to idols.
No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 CSB
So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. – 1 Corinthians 10:14 CSB
So how does all the things my family and I have been going through relate to all of this? Has God put more on us than we can handle? Well, honestly, no…not unless we are unwilling to take the “way of escape” He has provided.
If we choose to lose faith, question God’s goodness and provision… If we start to murmur and complain… If I start with all the “Why God? Whyyyy???”… If I start trotting off after other “gods” to meet my immediate needs… then I choose to allow the “temptation” to be more than I’m able to bear by not accepting God’s provision.
But to take things one step further, let me repeat what I wrote in the comments on Facebook:
“For the record, I do believe that God will allow us to experience more than we can handle (on our own)…otherwise, we wouldn’t need Him.”
I’ll address the next point – “But the word says, you shall have what you say” – in the next post.
So much has been said about “fake news” over the last couple of years, therefore I want to do everything possible to keep things real. Whatever I report will be genuinely true.
However, I’m a blogger, not a reporter, so what I offer by way of news will be limited to what’s already in the news… unless, of course, it’s about me.
And if it’s about me, you know I’m telling the truth…at least more often than CNN 😉
The Bible makes it very clear that we are not to dwell on bad news, stories of evil, and illicit nonsense meant to rot the soul. On the contrary, the Apostle Paul writes:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. – Philippians 4:8
So, let me share with you some factual news that fits the above prescription:
My new little granddaughter, Emma, is a bundle of cuteness! She’s lovely!
What’s been good in your life this week? What didn’t go as badly as you expected? Who still loves you despite what you’ve done or not done?
The fact is God loves you, gave his Son for you, and offers you an intimate relationship, even kinship, with Himself! Despite anything else going on in your life or in this world, knowing THAT is awesome news that rarely gets reported. You should praise Him!
Think about that!
My wife and I were taken to dinner the other day by a very nice couple who appreciate fine dining – they took us to Cracker Barrel. While in the gift shop, I noticed two frogs continually spitting into a small pond.
And two thoughts came to mind…
First, what is so attractive about a fountain with spitting frogs? I mean, do frogs spit? And if they do, wouldn’t that much be a sign of impending kidney failure and death? What would make an amphibian with projectile saliva be your first choice of lawn decoration?
Secondly, notice the water. The saliva stream spewing from the frog on the right is obviously falling at an angle due to the position in which he/she is sitting. What might not be as noticeable is that the one on the left, as I was standing there watching, was really, literally falling to the left, i.e. NOT straight down! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
So, another couple walks up behind me and I say to the husband, “Does the water coming out of the frog’s mouth on the left look like it’s falling straight down?” “Huh, no it doesn’t,” he said.
Then the man’s wife walked up and asked what he was looking at. He asked, “Doesn’t that water look like it’s falling to the left? How’s that possible?” No joke, the wife replied, “Well, it would if the hose was curved.”
I looked at the guy and asked, “Can I quote her on that?”
Thinking about the frogs and the crazy water, I was reminded that our eyes can play tricks on us. In reality, based on what we see, our understanding of the world can be very misleading.
“Who among you fears the LORD and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God.” – Isaiah 50:10 NLT
That is why, even in the darkest nights of life, I trust God: He knows what’s really going on.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was a South African preacher and pastor (of Scottish decent). But more than anything, he was a prayer warrior. Some of his theology may not sit well with all of some of us, but one thing is certain: this man had a heart for God like few others.
The following is from his book Living a Prayerful Life:
The Enemy uses all his power to lead the Christian – and above all, the minister – to neglect prayer. Satan knows that however admirable the sermon may be, however attractive the service, however faithful the pastoral visitation, none of these things can damage him or his kingdom if prayer is neglected. – Andrew Murray (p. 28)
I’m not going to lie – I don’t pray like I should. What a waste! What a sin!
I have preached some pretty good sermons and tried to do all the pastoral stuff, but how much more effective could I have been had I spent more time on my knees and less time at a desk?
What if I spent more time talking with Jesus than talking about Him?After all, the whole reason the disciples called for the selecting of deacons was so that they might first give themselves “continually to prayer…” (Acts 6:4).
Preachers, before you worry anymore about your outline for Sunday, your clever illustrations, or your Power Point, spend some more time prostrate before the throne. If we neglect earnest prayer, we’ll have no power, so what’s the point?
Battles may be lost on our feet, but they are won on our knees.
One finger pointing, three back at me.