Friday, March 21, 2008

The Message of 3:16

"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

The verse is an alphabet of grace, a table of contents to the Christian hope, each word a safe-deposit box of jewels. read it again, slowly and aloud, and note the word that snatches your attention.

“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.”

God so loved this world? Heartbreakers, hope-snatchers, and dream-dousers prowl this orb. Dictators rage. Abusers inflict. Reverends think they deserve the title.

But God loves. And he loves the world so much he gave his: Declarations? Rules? Dicta? Edicts?

No. the heart-stilling, mind-bending, deal-making-or-breaking claim of John 3:16 is this: God gave his son . . . his only son.

Not abstract ideas but a flesh-wrapped divinity.

Why? so that “whoever believes in him shall not perish.”

Want to know more? Download Chapter One of 3:16, The Numbers of Hope (PDF). from author, Max Lucado.

Family Photos!

Here is a photo of my neice Lisa and her family, husband Mark, daughters, Ashley (with Dad) and Amanda (with Mom)
And my nephew Matt and his wife, Rebecca.
These are Johnny's children and grandchildren who live in San Antonio Texas . Aren't they wonderful?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Levels of Drowning?

Recently a friend on another blog talked. This is the "meat" of her musing..."I have been thinking that it's easier for people who have lived the life fueled by hedonism to understand the grace of God so much better than those who haven't and possibly have a deeper understanding of who God is b/c of it. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret NOT having a lot of regrets, but sometimes I feel like my relationship with God hovers in the shallow water when almost every strong Christian (with a "past") I'm close to has this deep water level with God."

I am a picture person so picture this with me. Three people are drowning. One is 1 inch below the surface, one is 6 feet below the surface and one is 12 feet below the surface. If they are not resuced they will ALL DIE! However close or far they are from the surface they know without RESCUE it's hopeless. The person one inch from the surface is no less drowning than they other two.

If they are not rescued, is any one of them more dead than the other? Nope. Dead is dead regardless of the depth. Now imagine they are all rescued! Is any one of the three resuces less dramatic and miraculous? No.

Because when you realize you are in over your head it does not matter how far you are down. That's how it is with sin. Good people don't go to heaven because they are good enough or less bad. The chasm between Christ and us is just the same for everyone...

So maybe it's not about "bad sinners" versus "good guys", maybe it's how we look at the whole concept of sin. Sin is defined as "missing the mark". The mark is defined in the Bible as the 10 Commandments.

Do you really know ANYONE who has kept all 10 Commandments? Have you? Really?

Take this simple mental test: Have you ever looked at someone of the opposite sex and thought Wow wish they were mine? Took a piece of gum without asking or robbed change from your mom's table? Guess what? That makes you by your own definition a coveting thief. Oops. now you've admitted you have broken at least 2 of the commandments.

Ever told a "white lie" you know just a litte one? Uhoh, you have now broken another one of God's laws. Thou shalt not lie. Ever talk back to your mother? Honor thy father and thy mother...

So by your own admission, you have broken God's laws. And God's righteous judgement demands payment. If God's righteous law demands payment, then how are you going to pay? By being "better" or "good enough"? You already know that's not possible.

The person who "told a white lie" and the person who "slept with his friend's wife" are all in the same boat. There are not levels of sin (missing God's mark) any more than there are levels of drowned. The guy who drowned 1 inch from the surface is as drowned as the person 12 feet below.

So, back to the question of BIG sinners having deeper relationships with God, that won't hold water. What may be true is some of us think we're just a little better than others. Or to put it another way just a little less bad than others, so we coast on our goodness.

But we can't can we? My last thought on this comes from the Scriptures...Isaiah 64:6 says it best. For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God's favor, hurrying us toward destruction]. (Amplified Version)

So, fellow swimmers, regardless of how close you are to the surface or how far down in the water you are...reach for the only Life Buoy we have - Jesus Christ! And, don't forget to be thankful!!!