Reading the account of Lazarus death and resurrection in John, I was struck by the grief of our Savior. The onlookers remarked about his love for Lazarus. I re-read the account and it occurred to me that because He is God – what He grieved for was probably not what we might think he grieved for. Yes – He loved Lazarus; but it seems unusual to me that our Lord who knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead would be weeping over the loss of life; so I re-read the passage several more times and then it occurred to me that the humanity of our Christ came face to face with the reality of the wages of sin and what it means for a fallen humanity. He was fully human – Yes! – but he was without sin! He loved these people deeply and what was happening here brought our Lord face to face with the effects that sin would have not only on the sinner, but on those whom the sinner loves. I believe that He grieved for their sinfulness. He grieved the effects of their unbelief. Continue reading
I live with a purpose — to live and speak in a way that reflects the one thing in my life that truly matters – Jesus Christ. My belief that God loved me so much that He sent His Son, in spite of my willful rebellion, to die as a perfect sacrifice for me to once again enjoy right relationship with Him. This belief is what should mark my words at all times. I don’t always succeed – but it is my goal everyday. This too is with purpose — that the world will be reconciled to God.
I live among Mormons, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics and many more. I have friends among all of them. I have been told by my friends that what they appreciate is that I don’t spend my days brow beating them into submission to what I hold to be true. Rather, I spend my time treating my friends who are outside of the household of faith with the love and grace that has so generously been lavished upon me. Further, I spend my private time – my alone time – studying the Word of God and the life of my Savior, Jesus Christ, so that when matter of faith come up my words will be His words and not my own – colored in dogma or arrogance. I don’t degrade or denounce what anyone else believes — but I speak and live in such a way that the people around me know that I am certain that what I believe about Jesus is the absolute truth! Are you getting this?
There’s a lot of hateful behavior and talk going around in our nation right now. We would rather kill them all and hold them in disdain than do what God in Christ asked us to do; love them back to the truth. I don’t care what they believe or how they are living; the truth is that God loves them and desires that they should not perish. He didn’t place us on this earth to hate people. He didn’t place us here to exchange the love of Christ for a gun and hateful words! It is our role to be the gospel to the world.
When we open our mouths, our words should drip with the sweet aroma of the Holy Spirit; offering a positive testimony to this world of the love and light of Christ. When we are with people our actions should be drenched in grace, truth and love so that people are attracted to what is within us. Our words and lives should be exciting, attractive, winsome, lovely, grace filled, marked by patience – they should reflect what is inside of us!
Our words and our lives should be making such an indelible imprint on the world around us that there should be no mistake as to who is King of Kings; the Prince of Peace; the Great I Am. Our presence in the world should make us unforgettable to everyone we come in contact with. Do they know that they’ve been with a Christ follower when they’ve been with you?
I am so hopeful that I will never forget that my life is not about me being seen, nor is about me being right. It is not about me having freedom and liberty on this earth. My life is about the ministry of reconciliation. I’ve gotta live and speak what I say my heart believes! As the old folk used to say – you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6
These are lyrics from a song called Black Sheep by Gin Wigmore – a girl from New Zealand. She recorded it in 2011 – so I guess its an old song by todays standards. Basically – this woman is considered a ‘Black Sheep’ because she has a potty mouth, she drinks and when pushed to the limit she just might kick your butt. Those of you who know me know that I listen to all kinds of music – and I really like the song MUSICALLY – but she is basically saying that once you get a taste of the dark side – you never go back to the other side.
I love the song – but don’t agree at all with the lyrics. As a believer – I know, that I can fall – that I can even be used by Satan in a pawn in some plan of His – but at the end of the day – when I falter – Jesus NEVER fails!
I am glad to testify that when forced into a corner where I have to make a choice to revert to my old sinful, vindictive self – I can choose to allow the Holy Spirit to reign supreme.
So let me encourage you – if you’ve “gone black” – come on back over to the light side. God is waiting for you. According to His word He will not only forgive you – but He will cleanse you from ALL unrighteousness!
You indeed might be what people call a “Black Sheep” but I am a witness that the blood of the Lamb of God – will wash you as white as snow. Can I get a Hallelujah!
You might have given in to temptation – but don’t lose heart! Your day of salvation is today. Accept Him. Believe Him. Confess Him. Receive Him. You may have gone black — but that’s not the end of the story!