October 16, 2011 Comments Off on Come as You Are
40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:40-43
Did you know there is absolutely no qualifications or level of deeds required to be a christian? None. Yet, we still get so down on ourselves for feeling like we let God down – feeling like we lost our faith because we’re not good enough to stay on track with what the bible says.
There are those of us that live our life not living in the joy and peace of Jesus. We aren’t saved by Jesus and have no intention on doing so because we could never be good enough to ever enter a church. We feel outcasted because of our past, so we forget our future. It’s like our one wrong decision has stamped us as a failure for the rest of our life and we can’t seem to escape it.
However, you are missing the point, the true amazing love that Christ has shown us and is offering all of us today:
Jesus accepts you for who you are, no matter your circumstance or resume, but He doesn’t plan to leave you as you are. We serve a come as you are God, not because He’s that desperate for our attention or that lonely, but because He loves you that much.
Exactly like the thief on the cross in Luke 23, Jesus doesn’t care what you did in your past – He didn’t even care why the thief was hanging there. Jesus doesn’t want to know where you’ve been, but where you plan on going. The thief believed that Jesus was Lord of all by asking Him to remember him in Heaven.
Come as you are to Jesus this very day. Start at the cross and let the thief be a constant reminder that Jesus loves you just as you are and wants to spend eternity with you because He loves you that much.
June 2, 2011 Comments Off on Foregiveness
Having to forgive is more than just forgiving your best friend for forgetting to pick you up after class at the right time. It’s forgiving yourself for yourself first.
I think so many times we associate forgiveness with something that is earned through making up our mishap to someone else by making them happy again. However, foregivness isn’t earned, it’s a free-gift given to you.
We think that as long as we foregive others of everything, then we are forgiving all we need to, but what are you personally holding onto?
What haven’t you forgiven yourself for yet?
I think we overlook ourselves in our own insecurtities because we are too afraid to analyze our own life for mistakes, mishaps, and sorrow. We like to overlook our own disappointments in ourselves by pointing them out in others instead of ourself. We use our knowledge against ourselves by never making it two-fold and applying to our own lives. We preach one thing and do another, we say one thing and do the opposite.
We counsel others, but we don’t counsel overselves because we’re scared.
Jesus didn’t die so that we would have to live in sorrow and shame. Jesus died to give us the ultimate free-gift of foregivness…forever. Not just some of the time, on certain areas of sinning, or for X amount of uses. Jesus died so that we would be forgiven of all our sins, forever, all we have to do is unwrap the free-gift sitting right infront of us and process his name.
The only thing that keeps us from foregiving ourselves is ourselves. We are too afraid to let go, too afraid to let go of our shame in our sin because we think that God would never love us anymore, that He doesn’t want to use us anymore because we’re dirty and wortheless.
In the bible, some of the most powerful people were ex sinners, murders, prostitutes, and most famously a thief. Now you may not be selling your body, but you’re treating yourself with the same shame and guilt as if you were because you think you let God down. Well here’s the thing:
You did…We all do, everyday…
Foregiveness starts with:
Accepting yourself as a human being, not a perfect do-gooder
Receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior
Accepting what you did is in the past and can’t be changed
Admitting your sin to yourself and moving past it
Letting go of all your feelings
Believing that there is, in fact, power in what Jesus did on the cross
Grace isn’t given to us as a free-pass to do whatever we want and still be able to go to Heaven. Grace is issued to us by Christ, so that we will know better the next time around not to commit the same exact sin.
So, what are you struggling with? What haven’t you foregiven yourself for? What are you hiding underneath your breath? It starts right here, right now with you and God.
May 5, 2011 Comments Off on What I want, When I want…?
I think for so many of us, we constantly ask the question: how much can I get away with and still be a Christian? Well, grace and sin have a complicated relationship because they depend on each other and work hand in hand. No matter our age, we struggle because we want to live on the edge and still be on the edge of staying in Heaven…
However, in one sense… you can’t separate them. Cant pull them apart from each other because of their co-existence. Grace and Sin are bound together, moreover in Romans 5:20-21, Paul says this:
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Where there is sin, there will always be grace. Every time sin raises its ugly head, the grace of Jesus rises even higher like a sweeping tide and covers over it. Every sin. Every time. No matter what you do. The problem is if you just read these two verses, you could easily conclude that grace should be proportional to sin. If the more I sin, the more grace I receive, why not sin more and receive more grace? If I can do anything I want and still be saved, why not do anything I want?
Why not continue to go out and do the things I do…I am not harming anyone or myself, it’s just for fun?
Why not continue to live selfishly and keep all my money to myself, God wants me to be happy…right?
Why not continue in my old patterns of living, they got me where I am today…I can still go to heaven, right?
Because while grace means that I can do absolutely anything I want, it also means that what I want is now being informed by grace. While in one sense you can’t separate grace and sin, in another sense grace and sin should be continually growing apart from each other. Right after Romans 5:20-21, Paul goes on to say:
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
For the believer who loves Jesus, grace and sin should be inversely proportional. The more grace we receive the less we should want to sin because God’s grace empowers us to live for Him. Grace will never lead you to continue doing the very thing it just rescued you from. True grace will never lead you to take it for granted by trampling on it.
Does grace mean I can do anything I want and still be a Christian? Well, the honest answer is yes. However, it means that I wont want to to anymore because I believe in something greater than myself.
My challenge for you today is this: is the reason that you are willing to push the envelope with your sin because you aren’t satisfied with what God has to offer? If it is, have you honestly given God a real shot or do you just attend church once a week and hope for the best? If you are struggling, remember that Christ died for all our sins, so that grace would cover all, but He wants your entire life to be dedicated to Him, so that He might bless your obedience and allow you to store up treasures in heaven!
“Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.”
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,”
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
-Thanks to Pastor Stephen Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC for this blog idea. Keep up the good work Pastor! –