All posts tagged redemption

God Can Go to Lunch Whenever He Wants to

lunch break sign
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Back when I graduated from college, phones still hung on the wall instead of in our pockets. My first job was as a probation officer in Clearwater, Florida.

My boss was a no-nonsense businessman. Here’s the thing — we had an hour for lunch. My boss would leave for lunch and return at his leisure. I knew him well enough to know he did not waste time, but still it made me think about how the boss can go to lunch whenever he wants — and come back when he wants because, well, he’s the boss. He does not answer to me.

How much more with the God of the universe. He spoke the world into being and sustains it with a word. As I await hurricane Florence’s arrival here in North Carolina, I think of when Jesus slept through a storm and his disciples said in Mark 4:41,

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (NIV)

Sometimes I question God. Don’t understand how He functions. In my puny brain, I think I can run the world better.

Stop laughing.

Really.

It’s like an ant shaking his tiny ant fist at an NFL lineman — except worse.

In Isaiah 45:5-6, Jehovah is speaking to rebellious Israel. Scripture says this:

I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me.” (NIV)

God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and absolutely unique. He is beyond all we can imagine or comprehend.

Yet, He reached down to me and grabbed my tiny ant fist. Cradled me with His loving arms. Sent His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ to pay the penalty I deserved for my rebellious soul.

For yours.

He is The Good Shepherd, the Alpha and Omega, My Savior, My Redeemer. He is The Bread of Life, my Great High Priest, The Lamb of God, Messiah.

He is The Son of God. There is no one like Him.

And He does what He pleases.

And He was pleased to come as a baby, lead a sinless life, die a gruesome death to be raised from to life so that I could share His inheritance throughout eternity.
Check out this passage from Romans 5:6-8:

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Kind of makes you marvel, doesn’t it? That the God of the universe cares deeply about us.

Makes me want to get low and worship Him today.

How about you?

Copyright © 2018 Pauline Hylton, used with permission.

Go Tell it on the Mountains, Christmas Meditation Day 4

When I lived in Florida, a hill consisted of six feet or greater. Our property in North Carolina is at twelve hundred feet. I walk down steep inclines to feed my chickens, and if I drive to town, the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains are breathtaking.

So to prepare our hearts for Christmas, I’d like us to visit the prophet Isaiah. Here are a verse to meditate on today.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7

I always wondered where that song came from.

Let’s turn over to the New Testament.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’” Luke 2:8-12

The best news ever was pronounced to lowly shepherds on a lonely hillside by majestic angels.

What was the good news?

A Savior, a Redeemer came to rescue sinners like me. Like you.

You may wonder what sin is. It’s not just doing bad things like murder, adultery, and stealing. It is also not doing the good things you should do.

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” James 4:17

It’s not living a life of faith.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

The Good News of Jesus Christ is that there is hope for us. A life that doesn’t fade here on earth, but a life spent with Christ that goes on forever.

Now that is something to shout about.

On a mountain. Or a computer screen. Or at work. Or in your living room.

Here is a delightful choral group performing this great Christmas song. It will definitely wake you up!

 

Stories of Our Lives

Authors talk a lot about stories. Your story–someone else’s story.

Part of my story includes being left by my parents. Twice.

The first time, I was about two years old. My parents were the Salvation Army officers in South Bend, Indiana. After church one Sunday morning, they forgot me. I remember standing at the door of the corps, (church) looking out and bawling.

The second instance occurred at Christmas. We went to lunch and when we finished, I went to the bathroom. When I looked for my mom and dad, they’d left. Again. I ventured outside and found the nearest bell ringer. My sheepish daddy picked me up a few minutes later.

Yes, my parents loved me. No, they weren’t trying to get rid of me. In both cases, each of them thought the other had me.

That’s what happened to Jesus in Luke 1. Everybody ventured to Jerusalem–Christ’s relatives, neighbors, friends. Mary and Joseph assumed Jesus was with the big caravan, but He wasn’t. Three days later, they found Him in the temple sitting with the teachers, listening and asking them questions.

All who heard Him were amazed.

They should’ve been.

They were conversing with God.

At Easter, we see and hear many stories about Jesus. Some are Biblically based, some not.

But there’s a melody playing all through His life. One of redemption. Forgiveness.

We sang a song that reminded me of my story this morning.

  1. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
    Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
    Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
    Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

    • Refrain:
      This is my story, this is my song,
      Praising my Savior all the day long;
      This is my story, this is my song,
      Praising my Savior all the day long.
  2. Perfect submission, perfect delight,
    Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
    Angels, descending, bring from above
    Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
  3. Perfect submission, all is at rest,
    I in my Savior am happy and blest,
    Watching and waiting, looking above,
    Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

Gratitude and praise erupted from my mouth as I sang about my Savior.

Christ is my story. Christ is my song.

One day, I’ll see His face, hear and understand His story better. I’ll understand my story better.

What will your story be? One of redemption or one of judgment?

Choose life. Abundantly.

I hope you enjoy today’s praise song.

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Investing in Easter, Breakfast with the King

I’m partial to fisherman, I married a one. And he cooks fish better than anyone I know. In fact, I call him the Fish Whisperer.

But I think the One who created the fish could cook them better.

The story of Jesus appearing to His disciples on the shoreline and cooking them a breakfast of fresh fish and bread makes me smile, salivate, and tear up at the same time.

Here’s the scenario. Jesus died a horrific death. He was buried by a wealthy man in an unused tomb. Three days later He was raised from the dead. He appeared to Mary and Thomas and the disciples.

Turn in your Bibles to John 21:1-14:

“After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 

“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘we will also come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. 

“But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you do not have any fish, do you?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’

“And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.’ So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

“Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

“But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.’

“Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ 

“None of the disciples ventured to question Him, ‘Who are you?’ knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise.

“This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.” (NASB)

Close your eyes and imagine what that looked like. Think of the smells of the sea, the campfire. Hear the lap of the waves, the boat being pulled ashore. And then hear the voice of Jesus calling.

He’s still calling. For you. Through His Word. He whispers in this blog.

“Come to me all you who are weary and heaven laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Today could be the day of your salvation. There is hope in Christ. There is forgiveness in His Name.

You don’t have to live for others, they will disappoint you. You don’t have to live for stuff, or your body, or money, they will all deteriorate.

Through Christ we have overcome death.

Hallelujah!

I’d like to see you in heaven, friend.

There’s a meal coming at the end of the ages, where we will sit down with the One Who’s hands and feet they pierced.

You can be there.

Romans 10:9-11 states: “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’”

Fall down on your knees and worship with me as you listen to “I Will Rise,” by Chris Tomlin

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Recite Romans 3:21-26

Do you sometimes think you’re better than someone else? I do. So did the Jews. But God doesn’t show partiality. Salvation is for all. Check out my outline for today:

AIM-HUMBLE YOURSELF BEFORE GOD

SUBJECT SENTENCE-OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS COMES THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, NOT BY BIRTH

I. RIGHTEOUSNESS THROUGH FAITH 21-22A

PRINCIPLE–RIGHTEOUSNESS IS THROUGH FAITH

II. RIGHTEOUSNESS NOT NATIONAL 22B-24A

PRINCIPLE–SALVATION IS FOR EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES

III. CHRIST IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS 24B-26

PRINCIPLE–GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS IS DEMONSTRATED THROUGH CHRIST’S ATONING DEATH AND CREDITED TO US THROUGH FAITH

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