Why is Christmas joyous? Because Christ came to forgive us our sins, to die carrying out own death sentence so that we might be freed from it. The problem of sin, which dogged humanity from the beginning of time, was finally solved.
Picture source: animationguildblog at blogspot
Every Christmas narrative in the Bible contains the command: Do not be afraid. The angel says it to Joseph, to Mary, to Zachariah.
Don’t be afraid of God. He is loving. The commands of the Old Testament are satisfied in the New Testament through Jesus. Christmas is, in the words of the angel, “good news of great joy” because God is forgiving the sins of all who ask. The gap separating man from God is bridged by the cross. Reconciliation is possible. Perfect love drives out all fear — 1 John 4:18 NIV.
God loves you with a perfect love. All you need to do, as with a Christmas present, is open it.
image from truelovedates.com. I don’t own rights to this, and I’m not making any money on it.
Actually, it’s easy to love the Islamic State. What’s hard is to love your spouse.
As Christians, we are ordered to love our enemies. We may be enraged by their atrocities, but we can pray for them to get saved and wish Christianity for them.
The toughest thing is stomaching hurt from a person from whom we expect love. We don’t expect love from the Islamic State. Because we are surprised when a family member (or church family member) rejects us instead of loving us, it’s a rough road.
The lady who blackmailed me by falsely accusing me to the police is easy to love. I never expected anything from her. Her kid was in our school in Guatemala, and, desperate for money, she thought it would be easy to exploit the gringo. Despite her turning my life into a hellish nightmare for nine months, it was easy to forgive her.
But the people I love and expected to receive love from… Help me, Jesus.
Posted in Christianity
Tagged children, divorce, Faith, family, forgiveness, hard to love, Jesus, love, marriage, parents, unloveable
God gives gifts to men.
What’s startling about this statement is that kings GET gifts from their subjects.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! — Matt. 7:11 NIV.
The greatest gift you could ever receives is NOT a Lamborghini. Nor is it a date with Brittany Spears. Nor is it a trip to Tahiti.
It is forgiveness.
God’s forgiveness is available only for the asking.
Unfortunately, many are too busy arguing that there is no need to ask for forgiveness.
Even unbelievers admire Jesus. From the excruciating agony of the cross, he uttered these words about his crucifiers: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
It is another testament to the veracity of the crucifixion story. That unschooled fishermen could concoct such a counter-intuitive and unnatural denoument is the more unbelievable story that atheists buy into. Remember Peter’s natural reaction was to cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear to defend his Lord. All of the disciples expected Jesus to throw off the hated Roman domination and set up an earthly kingdom to the style of David. That things worked out completely so unexpected attests to the truth of the story.
So Jesus is our example of forgiving. I believe we become Christians when we forgive. And when we become Christians, as the years pass, we — I — need to continue to forgive. It is never easy, whether the offense be small or big. Especially as the offense gets bigger. I’m not trying to be glib. It may be an internal struggle requiring all of our effort, this difficult task of forgiving.
No, I’m not throwing stones at people struggling with forgiveness. Really, I’m trying to encourage you to continue trying to forgive.
If you turn to God, it will be the beginning of beauty in your life.
Thanks Sarah Sue Jones for use of her original artwork. This was my interpretation of your painting. You are the greatest and have a great future. May God bless you! We will miss you.
Photo thanks to PatriciaDDrury
On the verge of my wedding, an older friend told me the three happiest moments in life were: marriage, the birth of child, and becoming a grandparent.
Harrison Sommer, former a trial lawyer, opined that the greatest feeling is relief. When he wins, he gushes relief — he will get paid; the stress and uncertainty is over.
Photo thanks Climb St. Louis
I vote for forgiveness. It is something like all of the above-mentioned emotions.
Being forgiven is a part of love, more mature than falling in love, more undeserved than having a baby or a grandchild. Not everyone who feels love, experiences this subgroup of special love called forgiveness.
It is a compounded relief. Relief is when you’re sweating it out to see if you get it. With forgiveness, you simply don’t stand a chance to get it, but you get it anyhow.
I have been forgiven by my wife. And that is how we are still married today, 22 years later. Anyone can fall in love. Anyone can leave (married) love to go experience the immature rush once again, thinking that’s all there is to love. Not just anyone gets the special privilege of forgiveness and getting a chance to continue with the choice of your youth.
Of course, God’s forgiveness on mankind, available instantly, is the most powerful. If you haven’t yet experienced it, by all means, do so today. He sent Christ to the cross in order to forgive us our sins. All we need do is ask.
Posted in inspiration, psychology
Tagged Christian, emotions, Faith, forgiveness, God, hope, Jesus, marriage, relationships, religion, self-improvement
The biggest ever NEXT BIG THING rocked the market with its appearance 2,000 years ago. This teknon, this logos, totally revolutionized the world, and there has been no turning back. Consumers rushed to get it, but because retailers refused it, they snapped it up mostly on the black market.
Then as unexpectedly as it appeared, the phenomenon died — though only for three days. When it came back, it exploded with unprecedented growth. Jealously guarding their monopolies, competitors unleashed law, courts and mafia-like hardball to successfully drive it underground. Still it prospered.
The old systems were hopelessly outmoded. Who would want to limit himself to the mainframe in Jerusalem when now anyone, anywhere, anytime could have immediate and personal access?
It made forgiveness of sin just too easy. Who would want to sacrifice an animal for every stinking sin? Inferior models were even subsequently offered, but who wanted them? They actually made forgiveness harder to attain.
This big thing had free apps that weren’t advertised. Not only did consumers get Heaven, they also discovered it brought abundant life. Forget about talking to Siri; you could now talk to God. As for directions, it helped you navigate the quickest route to happiness. It had an app for a satisfying marriage, a joy-filled life, a purposefulness, wisdom. Better than social media, it brought you live friends (in the church), people who liked YOU, not just your posting or your tweet.
Do you remember this next big thing? It was Jesus. And He has never been replaced by a newer big thing. He is still just as good as 2,000 years ago. You won’t find Him at the Apple store. You’ll find Him in a simple prayer of opening your heart to Him.
Posted in inspiration
Tagged access to God, Christianity, evolving technology, forgiveness, Islam, Jesus, Judaism, logos, next big thing, old system, teknon
Success depends on putting up with interminable outrages.
Dash the the notion that success is 99% perspiration, etc. — hackneyed axiom.
People fail at marriage because they can’t take it anymore — only to remarry and have similar or new intolerable problems. People quit church because of ill-treatment — only to find new roughness at another, or worse, stop going altogether.
But success at personal relationships — which accounts for probably 90% of our true happiness — depends on the ability to overlook and/or forgive offenses. This life ability is not taught in our schools or lauded in our culture, which values only genius and has the patience of a subatomic particle.
The Bible, widely discredited in today’s world, has incredible wisdom for us nevertheless that, if we could open our minds enough to ignore the nay-sayers for just a little, would help us in the area we most need. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE… – Gal. 5:22 NIV. After these greats (love, joy, peace) comes the much-maligned, oft-overlooked quality of patience. If we could have more patience, we would stop blowing up our lives.
Calling it quits is no solution. It’s running away. It doesn’t solve any thing. We need to recover the stick-to-itiveness of previous generations. America became great in part because of perseverance, not the current-day cry-baby syndrome.
So what do you call a person who doesn’t put up with trash from anyone? Answer: lonely.
Posted in inspiration, Marriage
Tagged 99% perspiration, abuse, bear, forgiveness, Gal. 5:22, happiness, marital, marriage, outrages, patience, put up with, success, successful marriage