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‪reck·less /rekləs/ adj. without thinking about the consequences. rash, heedless, impetuous, impulsive, daredevil, audacious, madcap‬

Category: Jesus (page 1 of 6)

The Love of a Savior

Photo credit unknown.

Photo credit unknown.

One of the tenets of Christianity setting apart from other world religions, is the love of a savior. Christianity alone has at its center a God who loves his creation enough to call them children and to die in their place in order to satisfy his wrath upon sin.

Jesus himself draws the stark contrast of this revolutionary approach to life when he comments that few people would die for a good man. What isnt said there, but what is certainly hinted at is that we are not good men. We are sinners. We live in a fallen world and we are bent towards sin. Knowing this, and loving us anyway, our God sacrifices himself to pay the penalty for our sins.

This act is so revolutionary, so extraordinary, so out of the box we as a humanity can scarcely grasp the full weight of what he did or why he did it. Paul writes in Romans, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. While we were still in opposition to him. He loved us enough to move towards us. To take the first step to have a relationship with us. Which is a second tenet separating Christianity from other world religions, God desires to know us personally. He doesn’t sit on a throne far above in the heavens looking down at us, waiting for us to screw up so he can capriciously punish us. Rather, he engages in our lives with us, walking alongside us each day. In fact, his desire is to dwell within us. To live in and through us. Paul also write in one of his letters to the church at Corinth, that as Christ followers we are temples to the Holy Spirit (God’s spirit he sent to dwell within us). In this particular passage, Paul was correcting the Corinthians on their sexual immorality, however the idea that our bodies are temples of the spirit of the almighty God should have broad applications in our lives. Our lives should be lived in such a way that God is glorified by our actions.

As we prepare for today and this weekend, ask ourselves this question: Is God glorified in the way I am living, in my habits and daily routine, in my work, in my attitude and in the way I treat others? If not, now seems like the right time to reorganize our priorities.

A Savior that knows…

Artwork by V-K-S

Artwork by V-K-S

Psalm 8:4 asks the question what is man, that you are mindful of him? Interestingly, as I read Hebrews 2 this morning I find the same question being asked. The Psalm reference is clearly messianic and the Hebrews reference supports this as it is found in a section describing how Jesus became like the creation in order to be in a position to perfectly offer us salvation. We needed a savior who had experienced everything it is to be human, while at the same time was able to keep himself unstained by the world… in other words sinless.

Philippians 2 tells us Christ emptied himself of some aspects of being God and became a human. He limited himself.

Why does a Savior who has experienced what we have experienced appeal to us? Why do we want a God we can relate to?

I think it is because we are community creatures. And this is an essential element founded in us by our creator. We are community creatures because our God and creator is a community. He is a triune God. Three distinct personalities comprising of one single God. An essential piece of being made in his likeness is the built-in desire to have community.

Misery loves company, but so does joy. Joy is much more potent or poignant when we share it with someone else. Love is difficult to accomplish alone, there has to be at least an object of love. I can attest from past experience being angry at myself is much less ‘rewarding’ than being angry at someone else. Our emotions require another person. They require community. This is how we were created. This is how God made us.

It is significant then, that he became like us before he died for us. It’s significant for several reasons. First, someone had to pay the penalty for our sins. It had to be someone who was human. Someone who had been asked to live within the confines of God’s law. Jesus was the expression of God’s willingness to allow himself to live within the confines of his creation. I don’t know that I can articulate the full ramifications of this played out, but God himself took on the form of a human and lived under the Law. Equally significant, is that he not only lived under the law, but he didn’t break the law. Jesus is the only human in history to have lived under the law and never broken any of it. Jesus lived a sinless life under the law. Of every human who has every lived on the planet in all of human history, he is the only one who was able to escape God’s righteous wrathful penalty for sin. Yet, he was the only who suffered that wrath. He took our place and stood in judgment instead of us. A third reason this is significant, is being a human living here on earth, he knows what it is to be us. He knows intimately the struggles of everyday life. He knows what to feels like be betrayed by a close friend. He knows what it feels like when friends die. To me John 11:35 is one of the most profound verse in all of scripture. We see Jesus having difficulty dealing with life on a specific day. He was overwhelmed by the circumstances of the day. He knows the hurt that comes with being lied to. He can feel the frustration that comes from the daily grind of doing the same thing over and over and over again. He knows what it is like to work hard, to sweat, to have a long day at work. Jesus knows every aspect of being human. He knows what it is like to walk in our shoes.

This makes it all the more sweet when he offers us rest, when he offers to carry our burden, and wants to take our yoke from us.

In a season of life where it feels like no one understands and the world is against us, there is comfort to be had in knowing we aren’t alone. Knowing God does know ho bad the hurt hurts. In my darkest hours, this has been the light in the darkness. This has been the only thing to comfort me at times. We read much later in Hebrews Jesus makes the statement, he will never leave us nor forsake us. Even in our darkest hours we aren’t alone.

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Savior, Rescuer and Protector

IMG_5728Yet another time where God coming to rescue me stands out amongst the verses of this psalm.
And why does he rescue me? Why does he save me? Because of his lovingkindness. Because of him. Because of who he is.
Not because of me.
I have nothing to do with it. He doesn’t save me because I deserve it. He doesn’t save me because I earned it.
He saves me because that’s who he is. He is savior. He is rescuer. He is redeemer.
The totality of the grand story of God entering human history as a baby who grew up as a man and ultimately died a criminal’s death on the cross, in my place for my sins I might add, can be fully understood by realizing God is love. He is the embodiment of love.
Everything he does is motivated by his love. Even his wrath. Even his judgment.
God rescues us because he loves us. He loves us more than we are able to fathom. Which, is pretty impressive because as a parent I love my kids a whole crap ton… but it doesn’t compare to how much God loves us.
Maybe it is just the message I need to hear in this season of my life or maybe it is pure coincidence. Either way, as I am reading the Psalms God’s prolific role as savior, rescuer and protector constantly pops up. I take great comfort from this, knowing the season of life my family is embarking is one where we will need to be reminded God is our savior, rescuer and protector.
Thank you LORD.
O LORD, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your lovingkindness.

He receives my prayers: some thoughts on Psalm 6:9

IMG_6135This brief and seemingly unobtrusive statement is nestled in among comments on feeling overwhelmed by both sin in my life and enemies outside of me. Despite everything login on, the storms swirling around and the madness that is life, God hears us. Despite the sin that easily entangles us and trips us up, despite our self-reliance and lack of trust in God as the author and creative of life, God still hears us. He is listening. More than merely listening, he receives our prayers. He hears them and takes them in. He hears them and cuddles them close to his heart. He receives them.
This is significant.
During the tough times of life, it feels as though we are all alone. It feel like there is no one who gets it. No one who can fathom the depths we are in. Not true. Our savior knows. Our savior wants to help. Our savior hears our prayers and receives them. He takes them in. He holds them so he is able to answer them. Like a father who listens intently to his children desiring the best for them, he holds our prayers and answers them in such a way that only he can.
Reminds me oc Christmas. Ronda (my wife) is a great Christmas gift giver. I suck. She listens intently all year long at the numerous things I say I want/need along the way and will strategically pick a few things out of the multitude so at the end of the year, I get an awesome gift I have been wanting. She hears my gifts ideas and receives them into her heart and mind and waits to give them to me when it is appropriate. God is the same way. He listens, he receives and he gives when it is appropriate.
I know, there is much to say about what has been called unanswered prayers. I would argue there is no such thing, just a prayer we didn’t get the answer we wanted. Maybe God said wait, maybe he said no. Those prayers are still unanswered, just not in the ways we wanted. But this feels like a topic for another day.
The LORD has heard my supplication, The LORD receives my prayer. Psalm 6:9

The Path Ahead

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This morning as I am praying, meditating and listening to God verse 8 stands out in my mind as something I need to hear today: O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes;  Make Your way straight before me. The second half fees particularly relevant to me as I am searching the path God is laying before me. My family is embarking on a new chapter in our journey right now. It has become clear to me the pastors at h2o church and I are not on the same page when it comes to leadership and overseeing splash. Through this discussion it has become evident to me, God is asking me to step away from my responsibilities there. This is scary for me. I am not sure what is coming next. In June I began working with a nonprofit in Kissimmee in child welfare. I enjoy this, but I also feel a calling to serve God in a local church. I am not sure what that will look like as we move forward. God is making his path straight before.
This current season of my life feels very transient and changing. I can’t place my finger on what or why, but I feel like a significant change is about to occur in the life of our family. It could just be the shift which is inherent in me stepping away from h2o (because this in and of itself is a big transition). It could be the follow up plans I have to begin working as a registered intern in addition to my work with Grace Landing (that nonprofit) I mentioned. I don’t know for sure what the path ahead looks like, but I am confident that God is laying it straight. I am saddened by the impending departure from h2o, but I am also peaceful about it because I know the timing is right. I know this is the next steps God is leading me to take.
If I look back on my life, there have been other times I have made similar decisions which were also scary at  the time, and also didn’t seem like there was a definite plan forward. Each of those times, God has shown up and proved himself reliable. Each time he has demonstrated he has made his paths before me straight.
My prayer today, and moving forward is that I will seek the wisdom of God daily. I will be patient and wait on him. I am praying I will be his servant and move forward in the ways he is leading. I really believe God is doing something unheard of or unexpected in the life of my family in the coming season. Whatever it is, it feels like it is going to be epic and I want to be a part of whatever it is.
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