a child shall lead them

this morning as I was getting ready for the day, Jeremiah thoughtfully said, “Jesus took away our sins… and sins are disobeying… How does that make God feel when we disobey?”  I replied, “It makes God feel sad, but He forgives us.”   To which Jeremiah’s face brightened and exclaimed, “AND He loves us!”

Yes. “Spirituality” is that simple:  1) We are sinners; 2) Jesus took away our sins (when He died on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself, stood in our place and bore the full penalty FOR us, *instead* of us; 3) Now God forgives us AND loves us.

The Bible says to not err from the simplicity of Christ.

This is why it says that to receive the Kingdom of God, we must receive it like a child.

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. ~ Mark 10:15

Children are naturally needy, and they happily accept help and provision. They accept the care of their earthly father, (and mother), and simply enjoy being taken care of.  *We* must allow ourselves to be needy before God- as sinners who *cannot save ourselves*, and simply, happily except the help He offers in Jesus… who offers to stand in our place and take the penalty of death.

If salvation and going to Heaven is that simple, that easy, that FREE (We’re sinners, and God did ALL the work Himself to free us), then why does the Bible say that “few” find the way, and that “in that day there will be *many* who say to me, Lord, Lord” and I will say I never knew you”? (Matthew 7)

It’s because people err at the first point. The Gift of God is free. But people don’t think they need the gift. So, in their pride they turn their backs on God’s free gift of grace. People don’t accept the truth that they are sinners, deserving hell, and needing a Savior.

Instead, people believe they can save themselves. People believe that they are “good” enough for God to accept… and as for their faults, they think that God is loving and forgiving and so He will overlook their minor flaws in light of how *good* they truly are.

That’s simply an evil lie. God IS loving and forgiving, but He is also equally *Just* and *Holy*. God will not overlook sin, because He is a *just and perfect Judge*. In God’s court of law, a guilty verdict must have it’s due penalty.  It is *through* Jesus that God is loving and forgiving. Our sin was so evil in His Holy sight that He put to death His very Son in our place.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. ~ John 3:36

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. ~ 1 John 5:12

Your sin *will* be paid for: either by *you* in eternal death in hell, or by Jesus on the cross, if you accept His free gift.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… ~ Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.~ Romans 6:23

The Gift is given to the one *who does not work* to earn God’s favor… If you approach God based on *your own perceived goodness* He will give you your due. That is a fearful thought.

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” ~ Romans 4:2-8


Advent #1: HOPE

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The first Sunday of Advent. We light our candle… hope. The wick bursts into a flame, and it holds… dancing light.

Jesus came to give the gift of hope.

Who would not accept this gift??

Doesn’t that idea seem odd? to turn away from the gift of hope? In the warm, the light, the beauty of this candle, to snuff it out??

The person who would say no… turn away… is the person who sees no worth, no use of the gift. The person who has no desire.

Imagine if someone offered you a brand new BMW… that would be amazing!! Who would say no??— A person with a garage full of Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, and Bentley’s … this person would have no use, no need, no desire for the BMW. The gift would have no worth….. AND if it was accepted outwardly as a perfunctory, cultural duty, it would never be used.

and then imagine that the condition of the BMW gift was that the person to receive it must have no car at all? This person with the 50 sports cars would be disqualified. (And then imagine, that this person disqualified, did not know that each of his sports cars was rigged to blow up once he started driving… and the BMW was the only car of safety.)

In the same way, Jesus came to give hope to the hopeless.

He did not come to add a little more to your all-ready self-sufficiency. The mere idea… of Jesus adding to what we already have… that is snuffing out the candle. Turning away from glory.

If you look at your life and are satisfied, then the gift of Hope will have no worth, no use. There is no desire.

But if you look at your life and see darkness and sin… a sickness like leprosy coursing through your veins and in desperation you say, “I am in danger of the fire of hell!

Then, and only then… in this despair and hopelessness… Jesus offers the gift of peerless worth: certain hope.

Jesus IS the gift of Christmas. “I am the way, the truth, and the light.”

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined… For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given… his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…. you shall call his name “Jesus” for he will save his people from their sins… they shall call his name Immanuel, which means God with us. (Isaiah 9:2,6; Matthew 1:21,23)

This God-man baby who came to us on Christmas, is the one, who has “borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… He was wounded for our transgressions and he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Is 53:4,5)

Jesus said,  “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

This Christmas… do you believe this?

One of my favorite prayers, is Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)