25 Apr 2017
Easter has passed. The celebrations have ended, but what are the lessons of Easter and the Cross for us going forward? What does the Cross tell us about ourselves and about God?
If we broke the law but received a summons in the mail from the NYPD, we might not consider our crime is not all that serious. If we found out that the NYPD had put out an APD (All Points Bulletin) on us, we would immediately know it is more serious. If the NYPD linked up with the FBI and a SWAT teams in helicopters, there would be no doubt that we that we were in serious trouble.
When we take stock of our lives we usually think, “We’re OK…not the best, but better than most.” We really feel that our sin is not that big of a deal. We sometimes wonder why God makes such a fuss over it. We sometimes think, God, just send us the speeding ticket and we will pay the fine…
So seriously consider this: What then does it say about our self-centered, human natures, our personal lives and behavior on Earth that it took the Son of God hanging on the Cross to make us right with God? Much more than being in trouble with the police force that requires a SWAT Team, we are out of sync with Almighty God. We are out of harmony with Him. What it tells us in BOLD TYPE is that we are more corrupted, messed up, sinful, than we ever dared imagine…and it took the Son of God’s death to fix it!
But wait! The news gets better…
Because, in God’s wisdom, He sent Jesus to pay the ransom for our debt (sin) it also shouts at us that we are more precious, more valued and more loved than we ever dared hope.
Here, in this passion play is the essence of the Gospel. We did not and cannot earn salvation. There are no tricks, good works or donations that we can offer to secure a righteous standing before God. Only our humble, surrendered hearts accepting this free gift allows us to stand before Him, justified.
Justified before God means two things: 1) because of the blood of Christ, we are declared “Not Guilty” but 2) we are declared “righteous.” This means we are perfect in front of God. We are a sweet aroma in God’s nostrils.
Women and men of God, let these facts about the meaning of the Cross wash over you. And after you realize the gift that is offered, accept it with humility and offer your lives in gratitude in serving Him.
04 Apr 2015
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
As we contemplate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, most of us take comfort in the fact that someday…after we are dead…that we, too, will be resurrected like Jesus and spend eternity in His presence. This is true…BUT…we do not have to die to experience the Resurrection…it’s available to us right now…TODAY
Webster’s dictionary defines resurrection this way, “the act of causing something that had ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again, to be used again, etc.”
At Doing HIS Time Prison Ministry we see resurrection almost every day. When an ex-offender comes into DHT 72 Hour Fund and tries on new cloths, receives a hug from our ex-offender staff or walks out with luggage filled with new shoes, a winter coat, almost new shirts or blouses, dresses and a purse, they are transformed…”resurrected” into a new life of purpose, hope and love. We know this because less than 20% of every man or woman who feels God’s love through DHT 72 Hour Fund, goes back to prison after three years. The power that changes these hearts is Jesus. The delivery system that brings Jesus to these souls is the Holy Spirit working through DHT 72 Hour Fund.
Pastor Rick Warren writes:
“Can a butterfly go back into a cocoon after it’s come out as a caterpillar? Of course not. It can’t happen. Once the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it is what it is — a butterfly. When you become a believer, you’re like that butterfly — you come out of your cocoon. It may take you some time to fly spiritually, but once you become a new creation in Christ, you are what you are. You are a new creation. So what does it mean to become a new creation in Christ? The moment you believe in Christ, there’s a spiritual metamorphosis — everything changes! This is a matter of faith and not sight. The greatest step of faith we can take in our lives is to believe what God says about who Jesus is and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.”
Can’t say it better than Pastor Rick…