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You Have the Advantage!
Sorry to start with such a sobering reality. But here's the good part! Now envision that same scale but this time the pan that contained your neighbor's sin against you is empty. Your eyes move to the other side and you see that the pan containing your sin is also empty. What a relief! No more prison, no more death! The scales are level. There is balance in your life. There is no weight, there is no guilt, there is no hatred. You are free to love as if there is no sin in this world.
This is how God so desperately wants us to live. He wants us to be free from the sins we have committed and free from the sins of others. I remember 30 years ago asking a godly man, "Do you think it's true that God refuses to forgive our sins if we refuse to forgive others?" He thought for a moment and then simply replied, " That's what Jesus said". That is what He said. If we forgive the small debt of others, God forgives the great debt that we owe.
The problem for us is that it's hard for us to see the truth. We look at the scales and see them tipped in the other direction. We don't understand that unforgiveness is also a sin doubling our burden. But some of us have been victims of horrific sin. I'm so sorry if that is the case for you. But there is hope and there is a way for even you to be free. Freedom is our focus this week! Do you long for freedom? I do. I want it so bad, that I'm willing to do whatever it takes. How about you?
Lynnae is Speaking This Week!
No act of this magnitude escapes the One who sees the selflessness, who hears the thoughts, prayers and cries of a mother for her children. God, who yearns to call every one of us His child, finds at least one thing among the human race that is good, honorable, beautiful and amazing. It’s something He most certainly understands. It’s love without condition. If you’re a mom, you understand it too.
This week, my wife Lynnae Hall who most definitely understands this love and who is preparing for the graduation of our oldest son Hampton, will bring the message. She shared the message with me earlier today and all I can say is Wow! It’s going to be so good! We will also have a couple of surprises to honor our mothers! Don’t miss it!
I’m certainly no prosperity preacher but I know the goodness of God. To know God at all is to know His goodness. It’s inescapable. When you see God, you will see love, kindness, compassion, grace and forgiveness. Jesus is goodness personified. The reason I love Him is because He is good!
The rich young ruler said to Jesus, “Good Master”. Jesus said, “why do you call me good? There is no one good but God.” Jesus was right. The young man didn’t know Jesus. He tried flattery but Jesus called him on it. If he had known Jesus, his reply would have been, “You are God therefore, You are good”. To know Him is to know that He is good. Do you know Him? Do you know His goodness?
This week, we begin our new series called “Blessings”! If you want to experience the goodness of God, if you need Him to bless you, if you long for the creator to hold out the hand of goodness to you, then join us. Our message will be surprising and we will also share in the Lord’s Supper. What a blessing it will be just to be with each other!
The Walking Dead?
It’s because the resurrection of Jesus is not just a spiritual thing. It is very much a physical thing as well. "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” (Matt 27:51-53) When Jesus gave up His spirit, the physical world we live in changed. These things that happened were not invisible, they were very much tangible and visible.
Hebrews says that He will do it again! “Once more I will shake heaven and earth.” (Hebrews 2:6) He intends to shake your world and mine. The power of Jesus shed blood and death created an earthquake and mass resurrections in the world and He intends to do the same thing today in your life. Why do we think that we can keep the power of His resurrection quietly tucked away in our hearts? Why do we think it’s just a spiritual thing? What makes us think that our physical world can remain unchanged by a Savior who carries a real cross, is crucified with real nails, dies a real death and shakes the earth breaking open rocks and graves and raising real dead people to life again?
His resurrection is not quiet! His resurrection is not invisible! Our salvation and transformation is not figurative. It’s real! Are you ready?
Do you Have God-Sized Power?
I’m not an authority on miracles although I have witnessed many of what I would call small miracles and one that I would categorize as major. The common theme among miracles of old and also in our modern culture is faith in God. This is not the infantile belief that simply says, "God can do anything" but a singular mindset that believes with every thought, feeling and emotion that Jesus is here AND He is speaking to us and through us. This faith believes that His words on our lips are as powerful as the words that said: “Let There Be Light!”
How do we get there? Jesus said about the casting out of demons, that such things require much prayer and fasting. I don’t think He was talking about a regimented absence of food and inclusion of more prayer that we engage in a few times a year. I think He was talking about a way of life, turning every thought toward God, offering our time, our resources and our very selves to the one whose joy is to come and work in us and through us to do His work in our world. Philippians 2:13
I believe there is only one real way to truly know the savior and that is to work with him. Many think that learning about Him is sufficient. It’s certainly easier to learn about Him than to do His will and His work. But Jesus said this to the Pharisees, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come me to have life.” John 5:39,40 Our resurrection story this week is about the singular focus of the saints and the God-sized power that naturally comes from a life spent with God!