For me.

If I love Christ and I am a Christ-follower, I need to find time each and every day to read the Book I’m staking my life and eternity on.

How about . . now?

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Photograph by abcdz2000, profile onhttp://www.flickr.com/people/abcdz2000/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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Who’s the invitation to?

Do I invite everyone in my life into the family of Christ?

EVERYONE?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16, ISV)

Warfare

We are in warfare.  All of us.  Every single one of us.  Whether militant or undecided or a pacifist or somewhere in between, all of us are on the battlefield.

Who’s side are we on?

Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters. (Jesus, quoted in Luke 11:23, HCSB)

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See Copyright Page for Bible Translation information.

Wonderous Power

All things hold together in Jesus.  That means He was holding together the men who spit on Him, beat Him, and crucified Him.

So He could forgive us.

He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. (Colossians 1:17, NLT)

The reason I do what I do

I’ll tell you what made me do it.  I have the diagnosis, the prescription drug, the inkblot that proves it.  You can see the chemical imbalance, confused neurons, evolutionary mix-up, angry narwhal.  Whatever it is, it’s not my fault.

I’m not responsible for my actions.  Nobody else is responsible for them either.  They’re just me.  Genetic coding.  Environmental upbringing.  Behavioral conditioning.  Freedom of expression.  Personal identity.  Because my parents never bought me a super yellow loop slide when I was a kid.

Me?  It’s not my fault.

. . Oh, wait a minute.  Were you talking about that person who cut me off in traffic?

That dirty rotten bum.

.                    .                     .                    .                     .

I have problems, weaknesses, limitations, and struggles, negative life patterns to overcome, messy circumstances, and a for sure imperfect brain.  But none of that is an explanation for why I sin.  That just comes with the territory of living after the fall, when humanity chose to do things by ourselves.  This is me, by myself: problematic, weak, limited, struggling, etc.  But the fact that humanity chose to walk away from God doesn’t somehow justify the fact that I am walking away from God, or that I have problems because I walked away from God.

I am responsible for what I do.

If I think I do something because it’s genetic, then there is no way to judge any behavior on the face of the earth.  And if there’s no way to judge any behavior, we need to open the prison gates right now and let everybody out.

And if I think I do something because ‘Satan made me do it’, that is because I switched from the guardianship of God to the guardianship of Satan when humanity chose that in the Garden of Eden.  And if I say that’s not fair, can I prove it by the life I’ve lived?  I mean, have I lived a perfect life after the fall to show how I wouldn’t have made the same mistake as Eve?  Have I lived an even close to perfect life?

I am responsible.  Not my parents.  Not my society.  Not my DNA.  Not my brain.  Not my environment.  Not my circumstances.  Not even the angry narwhal or the super yellow loop slide my parents never bought.

This makes people mad.  This makes people angry.  This makes people want to hop up and down and shake their fists.

But if we never get to the point where we realize we’re responsible–us, individually, me–we can never see that we have a Savior carry the burden of our sin, all our sin, all my sin, to the cross, to pay for and bury forever.  But that payment is only good if Jesus carries it.  And Jesus doesn’t carry it if we don’t think we’re responsible.

We carry it.  Individually.  Me.  I carry my sin if I refused to admit it’s mine and give it to Jesus to take with Him to the cross.

The past and present are perfectly tied together in the cross.  If I ask Jesus to take my sin to the cross, He did.  And if I don’t, He didn’t.  God knew everyone who would ever repent, and everyone who wouldn’t.

The good news is, He didn’t set dictates on who would and wouldn’t.  That means it’s an open opportunity for everybody.  If you want to ask for Jesus to forgive you, if you give your life to Him, He will forgive you.  He promises.  And His promises are always good because, unlike us, He didn’t choose sin, and He has no personal problems or weaknesses or limitations or struggles.  And even though He lived with people in sin all His life on earth, He never gave in.  And even though He took our sin and became sin on the cross, He never sinned.

It was a miracle.  Sin blew up.

Sin was gone.

Sin was paid for.

The quest of my life isn’t to find excuses to justify my behavior.  That will never, ever work before a Holy God.  Our excuses are junk.  None of them are any better than accusing an angry narwhal or a missing loop slide.  Any and every excuse we could come up with, they’re all trash.

But forgiveness is real.

I am atrocious in myself.  I am a sinner.  I need help.  I absolutely could not live without atonement.  I’d be hell-bound.  There’s nothing within me that can save me, rectify me, or justify me from what I’ve done in my life.  There’s no “good” I could ever do to pay for the evil I’ve already done.  Even if I could live a perfect life from here on out, I’d be doomed for Hell forever, because living perfectly is the right way, not payment for the wrong way.  I’d still have to pay for the way I lived the first 28 years of my life.

There’s no way except Jesus.

It’s scary to look at sin for what it is.  It’s horrifying.  And it’s the worst when it’s my own sin.  It is a permanent weight that never lifts, that no drug or therapy or social network or environmental change or genetic alteration will ever cure.  It’s my sin.  And I am forced to live with the rebellion I threw at God, because it will always come back on me.  In every sin, I have tried to make war with Him with–because that’s what sin really is, making war with God–comes back as a weight on me.

Now who would ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever believe that the same God I did that to would carry that weight for me and permanently destroy it?

And call me back to be a child of God?

Me, I believe it, because that is the Message of the Bible!

Angry narwhals, yellow slides . . . that’s stupid.

A Savior who saves me–that’s real.

I cry out to Jesus for forgiveness–that’s paying my debt–for salvation–that’s rescuing me from the mess my debt has gotten me into and bringing me to a safe house–and for sanctification–that’s making me okay to be in His Presence!  That means I, I, ME!!!!!!!!!! can see the face of God, not at all whatsoever because of anything I am or have done, but totally, positively because of who He is and what He has done!

And you can, too.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:12-17, NLT)

And the promise for everyone who gives their life to Jesus:

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence. Because of his love he had already decided to adopt us through Jesus Christ. He freely chose to do this so that the kindness he had given us in his dear Son would be praised and given glory. Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness. (Ephesians 1:3-7, GW)