19: 50 Days Freed

Good Friday is among us and it reminds me of a cartoon from the strip BC.
It reminds me that many of times the world focus on things that are not important when it comes to faith in God and what Jesus has done for us. They nitpick just to make an excuse to why it isn’t for them. When we focus on the debate or the words used we miss the message that is meant to be delivered.
The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing. Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. (Luke 22:23-24 NLT)
I read this series of verses and have to wonder. Why did the topic change so quickly? It went from who’s going to betray to I’m the best. It makes me wonder if during the conversation, Judas was the one who changed the direction and focuses off what he was planning, unto something unimportant that really Jesus had already talked to them about. I may have been, or it could have been that the conversation was uncomfortable, so it was easier to just change topics. We see this when we bring up our faith with our family and friends. You may only get to interject one sentence before they work hard to steer it away from what they really need to hear.
Have you ever been set on something only to have distraction take you off course? If this has happened, it may be the enemy trying to keep you from doing the work of the Lord. The enemy is good at distracting us from the job at hand, entertaining us to the point of laziness. We need to recognize our distractions for what they are and ask the Holy Spirit to help us focus on the task at hand. If your task is Gods will, the enemy only goal is to distract you from completing that task. Satan will use every trick he has using his minions to keep you from sharing God’s love and the power of grace from those who don’t already believe.
We need to refocus ourselves on what God is calling us to do. It isn’t to sit in a pew each Sunday, meeting with the family of believers is important but it is only one aspect of our faith. The mission of believers of Christ is to share the freedom that is for the whole world. Making disciples of those who hearts are changed, not letting them flounder in their faith to walk away distracted and discouraged. We are called to love this world and we can’t do that if our hearts are distracted and our love is cold. We need to have an awakening in our churches to the mission of freeing people. It starts in each and ever believers heart. Your Pastor or elders can’t do anything to change you, they can only set the example for you to follow. Are you ready to reset and get back to the freedom you are called to in Christ? Set aside the distractions and get back on mission.
Dear Jesus, I pray today that you will help us to see through the enemy’s distractions. I ask you to give us focus on the task at hand. Many times, the distractions have lead us to a place of apathy and complacency. Awaken your church to the need in their communities, a need to be loved and told about the freedom available through Jesus. Raise up believers who are disciplining the babes in the faith to become mighty warriors unashamed to share your love. The time is now. Amen

18: 50 Days Freed

I can’t imagine living life in prison with a death penalty. You have done something that has in the minds of a group of your peers is so heinous that your life is no longer validated and to pay for it you must give your life. I don’t think anyone who made a choice to suggest or demand the death sentence would do so lightly. Mankind in the garden of Eden disobedience to God put all mankind under a death sentence. I don’t think God did this lightly, he must have weighed out the cost.
“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
Ezekiel 18:30-32
There are some who have a hard time understanding why a loving God would deal with man’s disobedience in the garden so swiftly and harsh. Man’s disobedience wasn’t the first time God has dealt with this, when Satan decided he wanted to assume the role of God he was cast out of heaven, with no plan for redemption. We don’t see the full account or conversation of what happened there or the extent of what Satan did. But we do see how God dealt with Adam and Eve in the garden.
Unlike the way he sent Satan out of His kingdom with no return, mankind was given a second chance of redemption. God must have seen something in mankind that was worth redeeming. He promised of a day where mankind would be able to free themselves of the sin that now bound them and separated them from his presence. As we read in today’s scripture, God’s heart is that we make the step towards ridding ourselves of the bondage of sin. We can’t do this in our own strength. How then can we ever rid ourselves of sin and get a new heart?
God had a plan for that. He sent His Son to be born of a virgin. He grew up like any other boy of his time, yet as He grew He never sinned. He wasn’t born of sin, He was God in the flesh, yet fully man. He was obedient to the will of God the Father and knew his role was to be the redeemer of the people of this world. He struggled with this even calling out that if it were possible could there be another way. He submitted to his role as the sacrifice and was lead to die on the cross, sinless. This sacrifice broke the power of sin in the lives of everyone on earth forever. It did not remove sin from the earth but gave away for those who accepted it to be reborn to a life free from the bondage of sin. To cement, the power over sin and death Jesus rose from the gave three days after his sacrifice on the cross. This was no gimmick or illusion. Jesus came back from breaking sins power and displayed for all to see his role as redeemer.
God does not have a desire that we die in our sin. Jesus is waiting for each and every man, woman and child to open their hearts to him and ask for a pardon for their sin. If we are living in sin and do not have this relationship with Jesus, believe it or not, we are still under the death penalty. But for those who have accepted Jesus, he already paid the price of death for you. Now you can live as a free man or woman. If you have this freedom, why are you not sharing it with others?
Father, thank you for the freedom we can have in Jesus. Once I was on deaths row, but because of your sacrifice on the cross, that penalty of sin is gone. Let me daily thank you for your sacrifice. Give me a passion to share this freedom with those around me. We need to be an example of what it means to be free. Help us to spread your love to all those who need to hear it. Amen
If you know someone who needs to hear about Jesus and the freedom he offers, I pray that you share this message.
God Bless