All posts tagged: the cross

Who is This King Called Jesus?

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days. – Micah 5:2 The long awaited ruler from Bethlehem mentioned in Micah is Jesus of Nazareth. He was born in Bethlehem and the angel testified, “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33). As you know, this Jesus was a different kind of King. But still, how could the angel say Jesus’ kingdom would never end, when we know Jesus died? If you go to Israel today, you won’t see Jesus sitting on any throne. If we look at the Gospel of John, John does not include an account of the birth of Jesus. However, we see John the Baptist give a stunning proclamation when he sees Jesus: Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! – John …

Are You Clinging to a Cape or The Cross?

Have you ever prayed and prayed for something and then actually got what you prayed for? I have. And as a result of the answered prayer my life has become much more difficult. I got what I wanted but it really hasn’t looked like I thought it would.  I used to be a great parent… or at least I thought I was before I had kids. As my boys have grown I have learned lots and lots of lessons about being a mom. However, none of those lessons have adequately prepared me for the challenge of being a foster/adoptive mom. I came into this believing I was Supermom. God had granted my prayer and I was going to be the perfect mom for these two kids. I believed my love would be all they needed to overcome any obstacle and they would quickly forget about any part of their past. Yeah… no. That’s not at all how things have transpired. Most of the time now, I show up 10 minutes late in a full sweat, …

Stop Messing Up Something New In You

God wants to do something new in me. And I want Him to! The jungle is all-too-ready to overgrow and bury me during my careless times. I desperately need a pathway through the wilderness. I have built too many cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water (see Jeremiah 2:13). I know what a dried-up heart is like. I need some rivers of living water to flow through the dry wasteland. And the good news is God has already begun draining the deadness out of me and pumping new life into my parched soul (see Isaiah 43:19). Why would He do that for me? When I am haunted by this question, God, in His grace, firmly but gently drives me back to His love demonstrated on the cross. Milton Vincent, the author of A Gospel Primer, writes: God loved me so much that He was willing to suffer the loss of His Son (see John 3:16; Romans 8:32), and even more amazingly, He was willing to allow His Son to suffer the loss of Him …

A Biblical Response to Trials and Suffering

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Christian life is that once you become a Christian everything will be pleasant and all one’s problems will go away. But those who have truly been walking with God for any amount of time know that this is not true.  Jesus never promised that life would become a walk in the park once you come to Him. In fact, he promises the exact opposite. In John 16:33a, Jesus says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows…” (see also Luke 9:23-25 and Matthew 5:10-12) The Christian life is a life full of suffering. No one can escape this reality. Still, knowing what we’re in for doesn’t help us to deal with it – so what does? The rest of John 16:33 says, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” We must look to the cross, and see the One who suffered in our place. Jesus suffered much more than we ever will. He took on the full wrath of …

Justified and Humbled

Justification.  There’s a big church word for ya.  At some point in my Christian education, and probably several times over, justification was explained to me as “God sees me ‘just-as-if-I’d’ never sinned.”  I fully anticipated Dale using that exact phrase this past Sunday. Instead, first service he said, “Justification is not a synonym for amnesty… God is not just saying, ‘It’s alright, we’ll just forget all that this time. We’re good. We’ll just forget about it.  No.  He can’t do that.” God is keenly aware of my sin, even more so than myself. He knows the evil desires that wage war within me (James 4:1). Because of His great love for me, He was willing to go to great lengths to make me, the unrighteous, righteous.  Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, I am declared righteous; I am justified.   I didn’t have to walk across hot coals or participate in a yearly pilgrimage.  I didn’t have to beat my body into submission or complete some spiritual check-list. Even so, none of these things would have been enough.  There was …