Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To grow in Godliness

A little boy and his father visted the country store, upon leaving the store the owner of the store offered the little boy some free candy. "get a hand full of candy", the merchant said to the boy.

The boy just stood there looking up at his father. The owner repeated himself, "Son get a hand full of candy, it's free."

Again the boy did not move continuing to look up in the face of his father. Finally, the father reached into the candy jar and got a hand full of candy and gave it to his son.

As they walked back home, the father stopped and asked his son why he did not grab a hand full of the free candy.

The boy with a big smile on his face looked into the face of his father and said "Because I know that your hand is bigger than mine."

Needless to say, in your time of sorrow and grief, place it in your Father's hand because His hand is bigger than yours.

You just have to learn to trust Him.

I have to admit that sometimes trusting Him isn't easy because our sinful nature would like to take over.

But letting go and letting God is the sure way to victory.

During this Easter week, we celebrate the resurrection of the risen Christ. Jesus Christ faced all the loneliness, pain, and fear that comes with death and conquered it. And as we read the Easter scriptures, we see that he did not disappear or abandon his disciples after the resurrection, but walked among them in his glorified state to offer further hope and instruction.

So now, as we celebrate this profound moment in salvation history, we must ask ourselves: Do we truly believe He has conquered death and will never abandon us? As Christians, we can say yes with confidence.

And I think this is where so many of us fail in our attempts to grow in godliness. This Christian life is one of continually putting off the old man with all its traits and putting on the new man. But our ultimate desire is not to be not-sinful but to be truly godly. We are not to aim at being not-sinful but to aim at being marked by Christian character. We experience the greatest success in battling sin when our desire is not only to stop sinning but to have our lives marked by the opposite character trait. The thief needs to do more than stop stealing; he needs to learn to be generous. The porn-addicted young man needs to do more than stop looking at pornography; he needs to learn to love and honor younger women as sisters. The angry mom needs to do more than stop lashing out at her children; she needs to learn to display patience and kindness. In each case the aim is not to stop sinning, but to be a display of Christ-like character.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
 Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

“The Son of man.” – John 3:13

How constantly our Master used the title, the “Son of man!” If he had chosen, he might always have spoken of himself as the Son of God, the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Prince of Peace; but behold the lowliness of Jesus! He prefers to call himself the Son of man. Let us learn a lesson of humility from our Savior; let us never court great titles nor proud degrees. There is here, however, a far sweeter thought. Jesus loved manhood so much, that he delighted to honor it; and since it is a high honor, and indeed, the greatest dignity of manhood, that Jesus is the Son of man, he is wont to display this name, that he may as it were hang royal stars upon the breast of manhood, and show forth the love of God to Abraham’s seed. Son of man-whenever he said that word, he shed a halo round the head of Adam’s children. Yet there is perhaps a more precious thought still. Jesus Christ called himself the Son of man to express his oneness and sympathy with his people. He thus reminds us that he is the one whom we may approach without fear. As a man, we may take to him all our griefs and troubles, for he knows them by experience; in that he himself hath suffered as the “Son of man,” he is able to succor and comfort us. All hail, thou blessed Jesus! in as much as thou art evermore using the sweet name which acknowledges that thou art a brother and a near kinsman, it is to us a dear token of thy grace, thy humility, thy love.
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5

At the heart of Christianity is the cross of Jesus!

When Paul thought of the one thing he would communicate in his preaching to the Corinthians—the one thing that mattered more than anything else he could say—he spoke to them about “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified”.

The guilty. The hurting. The ashamed and cast out. In scripture, when the Pharisees confronted Jesus about the company He kept, He told them who He really came to save – not the well, but the sick. It’s a story of a redemption. A prodigal restored. And as we enter the week of Easter, let his story remind you of who Jesus came to rescue – sinners like everyone. Sinners like you. Sinners like us.

That’s the one thing God wants you to grasp in your life most clearly, because the message of the cross sums up everything you must understand about God, man and life. The cross shows you the holiness of God the Father that could not maintain a relationship with His Son, when Jesus took the sin of the world on Himself. It also magnifies the justice of God that couldn’t be satisfied any other way. And it reveals the immense grace of God that overcame all barriers to give you a way to be redeemed.

There's just one thing, though. Jesus is not a symbol. He is GOD. he is real, walked the earth as a man, and rose again to reign over our lives from His throne in heaven. He isn't a symbol like a stop sign is a symbol. he is not a symbol like an alphabet letter is a symbol. Calling this "a bit sensitive" understates things.

Luke 21:17 says, "and you will be hated by all because of My name." The name of Jesus evokes anger, disdain, and hatred.

"They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me." (John 15:21)

God’s wisdom is so far above human understanding that many consider it foolishness. For centuries, humanity has tried to make sense of this world with philosophies and theories because it could not grasp the Truth of God. Only God’s wisdom will lead us on the right path. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

From our limited human perspective, it seems impossible that God would become man, die on a Cross, rise three days later, and then ascend into heaven. It seems even more impossible that our salvation—our only chance to spend eternity in heaven—is rooted in our belief and following of Jesus Christ who died on that Cross for our sins. Humanly speaking, how could the death of one man so long ago determine the destiny of every human being ever created? God’s act of redemption makes no sense to the natural mind. Human wisdom cannot comprehend the Cross.

Human wisdom may show us the problems of life, but it fails to give us the solutions. The root of all of our problems is sin, which humanity refuses to acknowledge. The unrepentant heart justifies and explains away sinful behavior.

Jesus was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and He'll be with you in your fiery furnace as well (Dan. 3:25). They were at peace even though they didn't know whether God would actually keep them alive or not (Dan. 3:17-18). All they knew was that God was with them and would see them through one way or the other. And that's what you need to realize; God is with you and will see you through one way or the other. And that's not resignation or defeatist. That's confidence. God has a plan for you and it's good. You walk with Him because He's walking with you. That's how you get peace in a really bad situation.


Raj Kosaraju

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