The Preciousness of the Cross

Suppose you fell into a hole. It was hole that you thought you could jump across, but sadly, you jumped as high as you could’ve—and failed.

Or suppose you stole from a judge. You knew it was wrong, but didn’t care—and, because of your stealing, you now belong on death row.

Both of these things are your fault. It was your fault for not thinking through jumping over a hole in the ground—and it was your fault for stealing when you knew full well what the consequences were. You ultimately can blame no one else for where you are, right now.

But then, He arrives on the scene. As you scream for help at the bottom of the hole, He peeks His head in, and finds you in dire need. Similarly, for all intensive purposes, pretend the judge that you stole from was able to be the judge in your hearing.

This guy, this stranger—He has a lot to do, and is very busy. But He makes the time to help you out of this pit you fell into. The judge who you stole from calls you “guilty” but does much more than that. He gets down from his seat, and says that instead, He will be prosecuted for your crime. He is guilty, while you go scot-free.

It’s true, these analogies are incomplete. But many would say that this kind of behavior is amazing. Reckless, even. Yet, this is the Love, Grace, and Goodness we have been offered by God, through Christ Jesus alone.

As I was writing my “Gratitude for Freedom” post, one thought came into my mind: I do not regularly view the sacrifice Jesus made for me as the incredibly precious thing that it is. A lot of the time, I either refuse Jesus’ Grace and Mercy out of pride or shame (weirdly enough), or I take it in, and abuse it. It is sadly very easy to swing from either legalism or abusing the grace Jesus has given us.

The only way to not swing to these two unhealthy extremes? To continually view the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and His Work on the Cross, as precious. To remember what He has done for us in its full array.

To stop looking at ourselves and the world, but rather, fixing our eyes and hearts upon Jesus: what He has done, what He is doing today, and what He will eventually do, at the end of this world as we know it. When we remember that our spiritual life and freedom are not at all free– but rather, that they cost the God of the Universe everything– it will cause us to respond not in pride or fear, but pure Love for our Savior and what He has done for us.

Our God is One that delights in His children delighting in Him. I pray that we would be able to enjoy our relationships with Jesus, continually drawing closer to Him, and relying on Him alone.

May we remember and keep His work done on the cross for us at the forefront of our minds—because it is His Work done for us, and not our own work done, that matters at the end.


Do you know Jesus?

Learn more about Jesus, His Work done on the cross, and why it all matters, here.


­­­­­­­­­­Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this blog post, here):

  • The Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu. May they come home soon; you can find their names and pictures, here.
  • That those who know Jesus would rest in Him and His finished work. May we not leave His side for anything at all—it’s the best place to be. ❤

Thank you for your prayers and support!

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Gratitude for Freedom

Hi friends,

Have you ever been blown away by how richly Christ has blessed you? Today, as well as this whole weekend, being Memorial Day and all, I have been convicted: I am not thankful enough for the things, and people, Jesus has put in my life.

As I wrote earlier, I actually, sadly enough, had to google what Memorial Day celebrates. I knew it had something to do with the military, but I was not fully aware of how it is a day to give thanks for those who have given their lives for the United States of America. Continue reading

Our First Love: Part II

In Part One of this post, we spoke about the end times, how Jesus will come back, what happens when He comes back, and, finally, why whether or not we have lost our First Love for Jesus matters.

I have realized that I have lost my First Love for Jesus… the fire that once burned in me to love Jesus Christ, and the Chibok girls He made, is now much less bright. This is important because of what Jesus warned the church in Ephesus about:

“Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
(Revelation 2:5, NIV)

Christ warns the church in Ephesus that their lampstand will be removed from its place—that, if they do not turn back to Him as their First Love, their effectiveness as a church will be removed.

Like the Church in Ephesus, our First Love for Jesus has a crucial impact on the effectiveness of our lives for Christ.

Any of us are just as susceptible to losing our First Love for Jesus. How can this Love be lost?

I know that, at least for me, my First Love for Christ wanes when I lose sight of the gift of salvation He has given me. When I feel or think as though I need to rely on my own works to save me, any service I am led to do for Christ loses its fervor, and feels more like a burden. Without keeping in mind that Jesus does not need me, but rather has given me all I need to spend eternity with Him, any form of ministry or good works becomes merely being busy and legalistic—loveless.

This is not the only way to lose your First Love for Christ. Have you become a person who knows everything there is to know about Christ, but have lost your fervor for Him in the process? Are you seeking and worshipping other people or things instead of Him? Anything from idolatry to apathy can cause us the light that once burned within us for Christ to be nearly extinguished. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to search our hearts and ask Jesus the question, “How did I get to this place? What has caused my First Love to burn out?” As you ask these questions, I am sure that He will make your heart’s condition—and the reason for it—clear.

Consider, Repent, Repeat

No matter how you got to losing your First Love for Christ, Revelation 2:5 also speaks of how to return back. This is what it says:

  1. “Consider how far you have fallen!” Revelation 2:5 speaks about remembering where you once were with Christ. Do you remember the precious closeness you once had with Him? The sweetness and profoundness of realizing that He died for you, spurring a deep gratefulness and profound zealousness in your heart? Think back—consider—how it was when you had your First Love with Jesus, and all of the things you did as a byproduct of that sweet Love.

 

  1. “Repent.” It is not enough to merely remembering your First Love with Jesus… you must make the choice, no matter how you might feel, to repent—“turn around”—and stop walking the way you have been walking. Has your heart been worshipping someone or something else than Christ? Put that idolatry away forever. Whatever is keeping you from burning with zeal for Jesus needs to be done completely away with.
    If you feel as though the things you need to put down are too significant, remember the significant sacrifice Jesus Christ made for you, on the cross.
    Pray that Jesus would help you to put down whatever keeps you from Him; He will be faithful to honor and help you in your request! Asking for help from trusted, Godly Christians of the same gender can also help you to find victory over what you’re dealing with, as well.

 

  1. “Do the things you did at first.” This part of Revelation 2:5 highlights acting upon the choice of repentance you have made. While we all fail and fall short from time to time, our choices to repent should be followed by practical steps toward Jesus and away from our sin. As David Jeremiah wisely says in his commentary of this passage, “Feelings follow actions, not vice versa. Where the will goes, the heart follows.”1 Think about it: Does a person fall more in love with their significant other just by saying they love them, but never actually going back and doing things that spur on that Love (in a date, for example)? No! Similarly, many people think that repentance will come only when we feel a different way; but, throughout the Word, Jesus connects loving Him—something anyone can say—to the action of obeying Him (John 14:15). No matter how you feel, when you do the things you did at first, you will return to your First Love.

As a new Believer—or a Believer who has once again remembered and turned back to their First Love—the fervency, zeal, and close Love with Jesus is something that nothing can be compared to. And so, I ask you: Where are you at with Jesus? How can you return back to your First Love? After all, no matter how mature you are in your Christian walk, we all need to return in some way, shape, or form to simply loving Jesus. I encourage you today to return back to that simple, beautiful, transformative Love; for there is truly nothing like it.

1 Jeremiah, David. Jeremiah Study Bible: What It Says. What It Means. What It Means for You.Worthy Publishers, 2013.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Do you know Jesus?

The Love of God is a beautiful, beautiful thing. It is precious to know and understand something so simple, and yet so profound: Jesus Loves me, and He proved it by His death on the cross, and resurrection.

If you are wondering today about your worth, or if you feel as if no one loves you, I hope and pray that you would look to the cross, and reflect upon the One who hung on it, for you and for me. Learn more about the amazing, reckless Love of Jesus, here.


Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this post, here):

  • The Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu. You can find their names and pictures, here.
  • The worldwide Church. We need to pray for revival in these last days!
  • For the church in Nigeria. Please pray that a biblical revival would occur!

Thank you for all your prayers!!! May our Love for Jesus grow, and may He come back, soon.

Our First Love: Part I

A year and eleven days ago, 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls were released. Brought to freedom. Given a new lease on life.

The things happening in this world—in Nigeria, with the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping, and all over elsewhere–  are nothing short of fascinating. As seen in this post, prophecies found in various passages of the Bible are coming to pass in a relatively short amount of time. Everyone has said that we are closer than ever to seeing Jesus Christ come back for his bride, the worldwide Church (Believing Christians from all over the world). “This all sounds like a beautiful, great, grand thing,” you might say… but what does any of it really mean? Here are some details about “the end”:

  • 1 Thessalonians 4 says that, upon Christ coming, we will be brought up into the clouds with Him. This is called “the rapture.”
  • After the seven-year tribulation, Jesus will come down to earth, in a way everyone will see and witness. He will set up His earthly kingdom, and reign for 1,000 years (Revelation 1:7; Revelation 20:2-7).
  • It means that satan, and all his cohorts, will ultimately lose. Everything satan has been doing here on earth will come to nothing, as he will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast (the antichrist) and false prophet would be thrown (Revelation 20:10).
  • It means that all pain and anguish will be no more. As we go through the day-to-day pain of a fallen world—such as hearing of the news of the School Shooting at Santa Fe Highschool in Texas— it is vital to understand that it will not last forever, and those who know Christ have eternal life ahead of them (Revelation 21:4; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

As we look at what is happening around us, and how quickly things change, I want to bring one more thing to your mind, as food for thought and soul.

Look for Part 2 of this message, coming very soon! 🙂

In Revelation 2, Jesus says this to the church of Ephesus.

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
(Revelation 2:1-6, emphasis mine)

Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for their good deeds, their perseverance, and their hate for perversion of the truth. They stayed true to the Word, and stayed loyal to Christ through many trials. Yet, there was one thing Jesus was grieved by: they had lost their First Love for Him. They had become a loveless church.

Reading this, I recognize that I, too, have lost my First Love for Christ. My question for you, is, “Have you?”

As you think about these things, I pray that they would stir up your hearts to come nearer to Christ than ever before. Wait on Him, friends—He is coming back again!

Tribute:
This series of posts was written right as the news about the Santa Fe highschool shooting was reported. This blog is in tribute to the children who lost their lives in this horrific Shooting. May these hurting people know Jesus’ comfort, Love, and strength.


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus Christ died, just so that we could be with Him, forever and ever. Learn more about who He is, and why He came to earth, here.


Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this blog post, here):

  • For the families, friends, and loved ones of those injured and killed in the Santa Fe School Shooting. May the Church, near and far from the location of the shooting, come together and lift them up to Jesus. May He be seen in a huge way, there.
  • For those who do not know Christ. Whoever they may be, Jesus is coming back soon—and He is the only way to the Father.
  • For the Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu. You can find their names and pictures, here.
  • For a revival in the worldwide church. Jesus is doing a lot, here; may the Church wake up, and be about His business as we await His return!

Thank you for your prayers!!!

 

 

 

 

On Prophecy

Although many Christians do not talk about it, the fact of the matter is that it’s getting closer than ever for Jesus to come back. Different prophecies, like the one where it says that many nations will come against Israel (found in Ezekiel 38 and 39), are coming true. Ezekiel 36 and 37 spoke of Israel becoming a nation, which happened in 1948. Psalm 83 is also a Psalm that has much evidence for being seen as fulfilled; after all, Israel’s enemies have attacked them time and again, while never actually conquering them (many people debate this).

I assure you, I am not a specialist when it comes to studying eschatology (studying the end times and prophecies). But, Christ has put it on my heart to be more serious about studying it; and I wanted to share everything my family and I have found, with you. It is incredibly important to understand where the world is headed, and where we are in that process—we must keep our eyes on Christ, ready for His imminent return.

Though this seems to have little-nothing to do with Nigeria, every person who puts their trust in Christ (including those in the midst of such chaos, conflict, and corruption like Nigeria) will be encouraged seeing the words of the Bible coming to pass in, right now, such a seemingly short amount of time.

There are a few men I know of who study the Scriptures concerning the end times, without trying to put dates on prophecies, which Christ has warned people not to do in Mark 13:32. Here are their names and where you can find them!

Many people think of prophecies and teaching concerning the end times as weird. But I assure you that, when taught well and in context, eschatology is crucial to understand, and can be a huge encouragement to your walk with Christ! Come soon, Lord Jesus!


Do you know Jesus?

“…For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” (Revelation 19:10b)

2,000 years ago, HUNDREDS of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus coming to earth. Learn more about who He is, why He came to earth, and why it matters, here.


Please pray for (find the prayer sheet for this post, here):

  • Those who do not know Jesus. Pray that they, in every nation, would come to know Him as Lord and Savior!
  • The Chibok girls. You can find their names and pictures, here.
  • Leah Sharibu. She is still not freed; she spent her 15th birthday, May 14th, 2018, in captivity. Pray she is released and rescued soon, and would be strengthened, comforted, and encouraged by Jesus while in captivity.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

 

Precious Time: Making Time for Jesus in a World of To-Do’s

Hi guys!

Today, I was listening to a really challenging sermon, on the biblical book of Haggai. It is a book within the Old Testament, and is considered part of the “minor prophets” books in the Bible.

For those of you who have never read this book in the Bible—it is, after all, a book that I think gets missed a lot—this is the jist of it (as helped by this website): after the Israelites were exiled to a foreign land because of their idolatry, Nehemiah and others were called to return back to Jerusalem, to start building up its walls. Fast forward many years, and many of the exiled Israelites were back in Jerusalem, rebuilding their lives. But there is one problem: no one seems interested in rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem—or, they are not as interested in rebuilding the Temple as they are interested in carrying out their own agendas above God’s. God speaks through the prophet Haggai, showing the Israelites that they were wrong in their list of priorities. They agree, making the rebuilding of the Temple—God’s Work—the priority. Continue reading

Yesterday was Leah Sharibu’s 15th Birthday.

To my readers and fellow bloggers:

It fills my heart with sadness, to report that Leah Sharibu— the young lady who is still in the clutches of Boko Haram, all because she refused to convert to Islam– had her 15th birthday yesterday, still removed from her family, loved ones, and church family.

This little girl is facing unmentionable things, all because of her love for Jesus.

“Hardworking and quiet” was how many described her; “Soft and melodic” is how her pastor described her voice, as she was known for being apart of the church choir in her hometown. Her mother has acquired many medical issues because of Leah’s extended captivity.

Please, please, please, lift up Leah with me, today. Please pray that her freedom will come soon, and that Christ would give back to her everything she has had stolen from her. May she be freed soon, so that those who love her most can delight in her presence with them, again.


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus came to set men free. Learn about this God who came to liberate us, and how He did so, here.