Sunday, August 31, 2014

Five Transforming Truths About Salvation: 2. God Chooses First.

Last time I tried to show that “we have fallen and we cannot get up.” Total depravity is one term to describe humankind’s predicament – that we are all sinners, fallen short of God’s glory, and that we are unwilling and unable to get ourselves out of the mess we’re in.

This is a blog about Christ, of course, so you won’t be surprised that I say the answer to our terrible dilemma is Jesus. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31) are some of the sweetest words in all the world.

But remember that the Bible says no one seeks after God (Romans 3:11). On our own, nobody will trust Jesus and be forgiven. Scripture says we were dead in our trespasses in sin (Ephesians 2:1), that we were blind to God’s truth (2 Corinthians 4:4), and that we had hearts of stone (Ezekiel 36:26). Dead people don’t believe; blind people don’t see; stone-hearted people don't respond to God.

So how does anyone get saved?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Five Transforming Truths About Salvation: #1. We Have Fallen, and We Cannot Get Up

With this post, and the next several, I’d like to share “five transforming truths” about salvation. God has used them in my own life to increase my love for Him, to deepen my humility and gratitude, and to heighten my desire to live for Him. I wish the same for you.

Do you remember that commercial for a medical alert company? It showed an elderly person lying on the floor, moaning, “I've fallen and I cannot get up.”

Today's understanding of sin is that we have fallen, but it’s not that bad. It’s really more of a slip than a fall, a temporary loss of balance. You could say we’ve fallen, but we can certainly get up. We can choose to change our lives.

But the Bible teaches something radically different, and infinitely worse. It says we have fallen and we cannot get up.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Six Reasons Why God’s Love is Better Than Life

When I was in college we used to sing a Maranatha! chorus,
Thy loving kindness
Is better than life
Thy loving kindness
Is better than life
My lips shall praise thee
Thus will I bless thee
I will lift up my hands
Unto thy name.
The song comes from Psalm 63, which in the ESV is Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. Ps 63:3-4.

I have probably sung the chorus dozens of times, but I don’t remember ever thinking much about why. Why is the Lord’s loving kindness better than life? That’s a pretty big claim.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Jesus Says About Beheading an Innocent Man

By now everybody knows that the dedicated followers of the “religion of peace” beheaded an American photojournalist named James Foley, and posted the video on the internet. Years ago I made the mistake of watching a video of another decapitation by Muslim terrorists, and it was the most horrific, disgusting, and beastly thing I’ve ever seen.

So I won’t watch another terrorist video if I can help it, and recommend that you don’t either. But since this is a blog about Christ, I do want to ask the question, what does Jesus have to say about the beheading of an innocent man by religious zealots?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Who Does He Think He Is?

I like knowing that Jesus is Lord, because it means He is big enough to forgive all my sins and to deliver me from any threat. I like Jesus' being Lord when I think of heaven, and how He has prepared a place for me. I like Christ's lordship when life seems out of control and I remember that He still rules.

But when He claims authority over me, tells me what to do, says no to me, or sends me in a direction I would never have chosen, well, then I guess I don't like His authority as much.

Friday, August 8, 2014

knowing God's Will

If you could pose one question to God and be guaranteed He would answer, what would you ask? Chances are most of us would want to know about His will for our lives. What shall I do when I finish school? Should I get married? And if so, to whom? What sort of job would suit my gifts and personality? Where should I live?

We say we want to know God’s will for our lives, but if we’re honest, what we really want is a map of our lives, stretching out ahead of us, drawn to scale, with all the turns clearly marked and a destination highlighted in red. But God’s will in the Bible isn't really like that. God’s will in Scripture is not so much a map to follow as it is a person to become.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why Christians Love the Name of Jesus

The other night I was flipping channels and caught about 10 minutes of a movie about professional baseball. Toward the end of the movie an undrafted rookie pitcher got a try-out before the skeptical owner and manager of a major league team.

The young man’s blazing fast ball and treacherous curve ball provoked an amazed baseball scout to whisper our Savior’s name. But he wasn't saying it as a prayer.

I wonder sometimes why Jesus’ name is used as a curse so frequently. Maybe in a weird way it’s a twisted acknowledgement of His deity. (Does anybody curse by saying “Oh, Buddha!” Or, “Mo-HAM-med!”)

The name of Jesus is important to Christians for all sorts of reasons. It is the name we love the most, the name that we cling to when things go wrong, the name we whisper when we feel afraid, the name we shout when we worship, the name we softly pray over our sleeping children, the name we clasp to our hearts when we face sickness and death. Jesus. Our Jesus.