The Best News EVER!
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.” John 3:17
Not long ago someone vehemently told me they hated everything about religion; then they went on to list several atrocities that have been perpetrated against humanity in the name of religion. I was a bit taken aback at first, but after thinking about it for a moment, I admitted that Jesus would honestly agree with them. In fact, He would be on their side. To say they were a bit surprised to hear me say that is a masterpiece of understatement!
Jesus was a rebel. He sought out the weak, the sick, the sinful, and the low-lifes. He met them where they lived and showed them love, kindness and grace - God’s forgiveness, given freely, even though undeserved. He ate and drank with sinners, and openly chastised religious hypocrites. That is why the religious leaders killed him…or tried to. He exposed the hypocrisy, greed and corruption within organized religion and threatened the leaders' high positions and comfy way of life. Like many churches today, they had made religion into a big business, and in the process, kicked God to the curb.
The best news ever is that God loves every single one of us more than we can imagine. GOD IS LOVE; His love never changes, in spite of man’s many failures. The whole reason Jesus came here was to show people how much God loves us. Jesus was God’s way of breaking down the barriers that had been erected between man and Himself, and drawing us into a personal relationship with an “invisible” God. Even though man has always felt deep down there was something more, we would never have sought Him on our own.
He doesn't mind if you question Him, just as long as you are talking to Him...and listening expectantly for His answers. And You don’t have to work to be "good enough". When you open your heart to Jesus, He makes the changes that you can’t. The things that were impossible to resist before, suddenly lose their appeal. When you ask Jesus to live in your heart, you soon find that you no longer want to do the things that were such a part of your life, you thought you could never give them up…no matter how hard you tried. He came to set us free from the things we can’t resist that He knows will ultimately hurt us. Sometimes it happens instantaneously, but for most people it is a process. But if you open your heart and ask Him to help you "want-to-want" what you know you need, He will begin to change your heart.
If you find yourself caught up in trying – but failing – to be good enough, or if you know someone who is reluctant to accept Jesus (even though they might want to) because they don’t want to make the changes they think are required for a “Christian” life; if you have tried to “follow the rules” only to fail again and again, or if you are stressing out because what you think is “right” is just too burdensome to be reasonable ...turn your eyes toward Jesus and just let go... Open your heart and ask Him to fill you with His love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness and self-control. That is the fruit - or the evidence - that fills your life when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart and soul. He does the work for you if you will only open your heart, let go, and allow Him to come in.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for loving me so much and for revealing Yourself to me; but, Lord, I thank You even more for teaching me how to love you in return. Open my heart, mind and soul to know You better, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit today. If there is anything in my heart or life that stands in the way of becoming the person You created me to be, please reveal it to me and help me allow You to make those changes within me. Help me want to want the things that should be in my life that my flesh is just not yet ready to receive; and help me not want the things that should not be in my life. Speak Your Truth into my mind, fill my heart with Your desires, and help me get out of the way so Your Will and Your work can be accomplished in and through me today. I love You and praise you with all that I am and ask that You would walk with me today, tomorrow and always, in Jesus’ name, amen.
“For John the Baptist doesn’t even drink wine and often goes without food, and you say, ‘He’s crazy.’ And I, the Messiah, feast and drink, and you complain that I am ‘a glutton and a drinking man, and hang around with the worst sort of sinners!’ But brilliant men like you can justify your every inconsistency!” Matthew 11:18-19 (TLB)
“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
“When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.” Romans 5:6-8