If the Law ( or laws ) could make us holy, then Jesus would not have needed to die on the Cross. No state-appointed law is going to make us clean for Him. He is SO HOLY that we don’t stand a chance. If we could make ourselves holy, then Jesus died for nothing. I think Paul says that quite eloquently. At any rate, think on it. It IS extremely tempting to think that finger pointing and condemnation will make another person BETTER, but it doesn’t work. Only the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST can make any one of us WHOLE again. Without Him, not one of us is CLEAN.
– Carley Evans, July 25th, 2013
Imagine if you will being born blind, unable to see. You live in a world of darkness. And what if you are also born deaf, unable to hear. You move in darkness and silence, unaware of light, unaware of sound. Your world is emptiness.
Imagine a Man comes to you. He touches your eyes, then your ears. You suddenly see and hear. You see His face; you hear His voice. He is Love, and you are fully aware that your world has changed forever in a moment because He touched you.
Now what if this same Man walks by you, and leaves you in your darkened, quiet state. Suppose He has a perfect reason for doing this, one you don’t know and couldn’t understand even if you did know.
Now imagine other people try to tell you about this Man, how He has given them everything. How would they tell you? You are blind; you are deaf. Still they try because He is everything to them. But you can’t see or hear that He is Love. You are blind; you are deaf. You are lost.
Remember how He touches you? When the Man touches you, you are able to see and hear and believe. Only a fool would not believe once the Man gives sight and hearing.
Ever wonder what Jonah thought about right before the great fish — the whale — swallowed him whole? Maybe: “How dare my shipmates throw me overboard!” or “Where is God now?” or “I’m going to drown!” or “This creature’s going to eat me!” Do you suppose he was fine with his situation? I doubt it.
I imagine Jonah was filled with fear even though he was resigned to his fate — after all, he knew it was his fault that his shipmates were in danger. His running away from God’s will, from God’s expectations caused the storm that threatened the ship. He’d even told his shipmates to throw him into the sea. Nevertheless, he may have been surprised as he was tossed overboard and as he struck the waters below.
I can’t imagine that he was not afraid as the great fish swam towards him, opening its maul to swallow him. Once inside, Jonah was stuck there for three days and three nights. He was distressed! He was probably depressed, lonely, defeated. After all, he was “banished from [God’s] sight.” (Jonah 2:4, NIV)
Yet, Jonah finds his faith even while inside a fish in the darkness. He prays, “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7)
And God “brings [Jonah’s] life up from the pit.” (Jonah 2:6) The great fish vomits Jonah onto dry land at God’s command.
Help us, Lord to face our fears, to believe in Your goodness and to hold fast to our faith even in dire circumstances. Help us to obey You in all things at all times. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
On NPR this morning, I heard a Pakistani official give instructions to soldiers defending a glacier. The instructions were how to avoid being killed in an avalanche. The man, in what we often describe as ‘broken’ English, said: “Leave your self and run to that.”
I laughed, thinking: “what a perfect description of salvation!” When we are saved, we are literally leaving our selves and running to Jesus, to be hidden under His wings.
The young man’s words still hang in the air, “Yes, it’s [the preaching of the gospel] confusing isn’t it?”
I think and hear myself say aloud, “No, it’s not. Not at all. The good news is simple; it really is.” And I hear myself call the young man, “honey.” Oh my goodness! Still, the words flow.
“It’s a gift. It’s all God’s work. It really is. All we need do is open the gift. We don’t need to re-wrap it or put a bow on it or anything else! We only need to accept that it is a gift; and open it the same way we’d open any other gift.”
I continue, “Man’s pride is what hampers. We have such a hard time accepting that there isn’t anything for us to do to earn the gift. It is only a gift, a glorious gift from a loving God.”
I see his eyes water only slightly. He’s asked me to listen to the words in the Book of Mormon and tell him how the words make me feel. He’s read them carefully with total eye contact with me. I don’t look away. I listen to the words, and I know how much he wants me to feel what he feels.
But I don’t.
I tell him my story of the gift, and desire for this young man — and the other with him — to know.
Christ never says, “Feel the truth, and the truth will make you happier.” Rather Jesus says, “Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
Listening to NPR last week, I heard a story about marketing failures and marketing successes. One product mention is Febreze which initially was a dud. Febreze is an odor-eliminator. People didn’t buy it even though it is effective in completely eliminating foul odors in the air and on surfaces.
So the makers of Febreze developed scents “powerful enough to overcome” (per NPR) its odor elimination. I venture to say they made it a less effective product. Otherwise how could a scent overwhelm its total odor elimination?
And guess what? People bought it, not a little but a lot!
Father God, help us not to settle or even desire the second best in life. Help us to see that Your Son’s blood is powerful enough and totally effective in sin-elimination. No flowery scents are necessary! In Jesus’ Name, amen.
While writing a post over at Grace Partakers, I got stuck on the verses surrounding 2 Corinthians 5: 17 in which Paul declares that if any one be in Christ, he or she is a new creature. The verses surrounding this wonderful passage speak of God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV) Paul writes that Christ “dies for all” and that “all things are of God, who reconciles us to Himself by Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:15,18)
Some people believe God’s intention is to reconcile the entire world to Himself so that ultimately He condemns no one; that all are saved by the power of the Cross.
Do these verses — and any others — lend support to this view?