Tag Archives: Jesus

No Greater Love | Day 3

This is Day 3 of “No Greater Love.” Be sure and read Day 1 and Day 2!

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No greater love…

Comes with purpose…
Purpose in each and every little detail…
A perfect plan.

Comes with healing…
True healing…
Healing that can only come from God.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

No greater love…

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

Can you imagine giving your life for the sake of another? How great is that love?

“The soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull. There they crucified him.” John 19:17

He gave His life for me…and you.

He walked that road an innocent man, a saint, a healer, a comforter, a friend. He hung on that cross a mighty warrior, knowing what was to come. A moment of suffering was nothing compared to what He knew was coming.

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

On that day, a man laid down His life for ours.
His body was laid inside a tomb.
And days later, the stone was rolled away.

God’s not dead! (Shameless plug…God’s Not Dead 2 comes out in theaters soon!)

He’s Alive!

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. Mark 16:7

Just as God had planned, he would send a savior into the world, a final sacrifice, the ultimate love. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die there on that cross atop Calvary, for us.

What a beautiful love!

Our Creator God came in the flesh to bear the wounds we deserved so we wouldn’t have to.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Mercy and grace at its fullest.

“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33

We have a purpose. God has a plan. His plan is a perfect place for us…those who love Him.

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

We live in a broken world, but in a life of momentary affliction because He says, these troubles are temporary but the beauty that is to come is eternal. Friend, I can only imagine that these trials we face in this brief life on earth is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to the majesty that will one day be revealed.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3

We have healing. In all our struggles, all our pain, all our suffering, we have help. We have hope.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

Friends, know this…

He wins. God wins.

Darkness cannot overcome light. Evil cannot overcome a good God…and He is good. We may not always understand. We may never understand.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

But He knows. He knows what’s behind us and what’s to come. He knows our hopes and our heartaches.

He loves you.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

He loves you. There is no greater love.

Happy Easter…He lives!

 

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No Greater Love | Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of a three day series of the greatest love story. If you missed day 1, please check it out here. Then come back and join me as I share my own thoughts about His amazing grace and His beautiful love for us.

Friend, I’m praying for you…praying you find my words helpful and His truth healing.

We were created to need Him. Without sin, we were unable to fully see that need. But with sin, comes suffering and pain. And because He knew we would suffer, He gave us His Son…

“The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.” John 19:3

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First, let me tell you a little story about the image above…since we’re talking about love. My sweet friends, Shane and Christy, allowed me to photograph this beautiful, yet heart wrenching crown of thorns. I couldn’t look at it without knowing just how big God’s love for us is. Shane crafted this crown of thorns with his own hands and then gifted it to his beautiful bride, an example of his love and the ultimate love.

We live in a perfect world, created by a perfect God who allowed imperfections, sin, and satan. Why? Why would God allow so much devastation, pain, horror? Many stories in the Bible share evils we can’t even begin to understand. We know stories of war, death, disease, and so much more. There is pain and suffering all around us.

And…there is healing.

“Oh Lord, my God, I cried out to You and You healed me.” Psalm 30:2

What a beautiful thing…healing.

My six year old daughter is playing soccer. She seems to enjoy these bumps and bruises she is racking up on the playing field. A few times recently, she has shown me some of these “battle wounds” as we refer to them. Each time, I remind her how within a few days, they will heal and how amazing it is that God designed our bodies with the ability to heal themselves.

We don’t have to do anything to a bruise for it to heal.

“…I am the Lord God who heals you.” Exodus 15:26

Sure, some wounds need extra help but isn’t it amazing to think that our Creator made our bodies in such a way that they could heal themselves? And beyond that amazement, He gave us the ultimate Healer for the things He knew we could not possibly heal on our own.

We, born into lives filled with sin, unable to truly right our wrongs or wipe away the disastrous results of our bad choices, mistakes, and sin. We cause pain in our own lives and we cause it in the lives of those around us. Sometimes, we do this without intent and other times, we do it with full intent of causing pain or harm.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

We are incapable of repairing the damage done by our own sins and the sins of others.

But God…

Knowing this, being part of His grand design and plan, sent us the ultimate healing in His Son, Jesus Christ who would walk this earth as a man, showing us the perfect example of how to live and how to love and He would ultimately go to the grave for our sake, in our place.

He would bear the wounds meant for us.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

And as only the Son of God could, He arose, to save us from our sins and fill us with the Holy Spirit that directs us, guides us, comforts us…Only God.

One Father, One Son, One Holy Spirit – Three in One…Only God.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

God didn’t allow sin for sin to destroy us. I believe God allowed sin to show us our great need for Him, to draw us closer to Him, so we could understand the beauty in mercy, grace, hope, peace, faith, and love. By knowing suffering, we also know beauty. By knowing pain, we can know healing. By knowing Him, we can be healed.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

God didn’t give us life to turn us over to death. He gave us death to give us life.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

Read the rest of my thoughts on this amazing love story in Day 3.

 

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31 Days of Grace | Day 15 – Full of Grace

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John 1:14-17  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John testifies concerning him.  He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'”  From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Grace is extended to us out of pure love for us.  As we begin to seek the Lord more, we stumble upon His grace more.  As we begin to notice the grace He pours out around us, we ourselves, can begin to become more like the image of Christ.  Isn’t that a beautiful thought?!  God extends His grace to us, we learn (notice, this doesn’t happen right away – for some, it may take longer to learn to accept anything good) to accept this grace, and in turn, we learn to extend this same grace to others.  We pour out the same love and blessings that God has poured out to us.

Are you accepting His grace?  Can you forgive yourself?  Are you worthy of His love?

If you are in a place where you doubt this goodness, know that He is with you, right where you are.  He meets us where we are, waiting patiently for us to come to Him.  He will not leave you and He does not want you to suffer.  The darkness is a scary place but push through!  The light He will bring you into is so worth it!

 

When You Seek Me…

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You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

Several weeks ago, in preparation for the women’s retreat our church was hosting, a group of women’s ministry leaders had gotten together to finalize some things.  Each meeting had been filled with prayer over who would be impacted and affected, how God would work in their lives and ours and more, who would lead the sessions, etc.  Our meetings are always very centered around prayer and God.

During this meeting, the topics for different sessions we would be leading went around.  I quickly offered to do “games” because I’m so good at hiding anything real behind laughter and fun.  As soon as I saw session 4, I knew I had to lead it.  That session was on forgiveness.

I have struggled with forgiveness my whole life.  I have been torn on the idea of forgiving others and forgiving myself.  It’s a constant battle and in many different situations I have faced it seems nearly impossible.  For me to choose this session was very much stepping out, but I knew I had to do it.

As I prepared for my session, I spoke with our women’s ministry leader who suggested another verse to me that was not included in my guide.  The guide followed the story of Malchus, one of the guards who would haul Jesus off to his death after Judas lead the guards to him.  In the heat of the moment, Peter slashed off the ear of Malchus.  Instead of Jesus cheering him on and giving him a big “Kudos!”, Jesus stopped to heal Malchus.  This man, who was getting ready to help put Jesus to death, was healed by Jesus.

Jesus didn’t stop to tell him how awful of a person he was or how wrong he was.  He didn’t fight him or laugh at him.  He didn’t ignore his suffering.  No, he forgave him, for no reason, and healed him.

I can’t imagine how I would feel in that situation.  Terrified?  Angry?

The verse we included to go along with that story was, 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  Matthew 5:23-24

When I studied this story in preparing to lead my session, I knew God was working in me.  He was leading me, guiding me to something more.

I lead a Wednesday night class and had already chosen a book for the class that will begin this fall.  A few days after the retreat, I stumbled across a book on forgiveness.  I knew right then, it was the one we needed to do this fall and quickly asked to change my class.

I’ve been reading this new book.  Guess what was the main story in the first chapter?  The story of Malchus and Jesus healing him!  And later in the first chapter, is the verse from Matthew.  I don’t believe that’s any coincidence.  In fact, it’s reassuring to me that I am following God’s lead and that He is working through me and in me.

With all that said, I imagine there will be a bit more to come from me on the topic of forgiveness, considering that seems to be where God is leading me right now :)  Stay tuned!

What a blessing it is when we can clearly see God work in our lives and the lives of those around us!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

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