When I was a child, my family fully embraced the traditions of Christmas. We decorated our home with the most cherished ornaments, lights, and bows. We handmade or purchased gifts with much thought about the receiver. We made plans Read more
The autobiography of G. Stanley Jones is titled A Song of Ascent, and it’s considered to be a spiritual classic. Jones was a great man: a missionary to India, a friend to Gandhi, a tireless world traveler, and a Read more
Have you ever been responsible for a task you didn’t particularly enjoy? Perhaps you can relate to one homemaker who developed a unique perspective on some of her less enjoyable household duties.
She said: I don't do windows because I Read more
Patrick Henry, whose primary contribution to the history books is the phrase "Give me liberty or give me death," made another memorable statement.
He said, "I know of no way of judging the future but by the past."
Repeat this before Read more
Keenan Cahill is far from your average high-schooler. For one thing, he has overcome incredible adversity, suffering from a rare genetic disorder called Mucopolysaccaridosis (MPS-6) since birth. For another, at the young age of 15, Cahill has already achieved international superstardom from behind a webcam in his childhood bedroom no less by lip-syncing todays top 40 hits. It was his cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” that first threw Cahill into the spotlight earning 36 million views on YouTube and a legion of adoring fans including Katy Perry herself.
But it was Keenan’s honesty about his condition that inspired a Chicago news team to ham it up in his bedroom helping him remind others that talent, no matter how much adversity its presented, can overcome all obstacles. I don’t know if Keenan knows God loves him like crazy, but I’m sure He does!!! And I think God thinks it’s pretty cool how one sick kid could inspire 36 million people without leaving his bedroom!!! WTG Keenan!!!
Now someone came up to him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to gain eternal life?” He said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he asked. Jesus replied, “Do not murder, donot commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws. What do I stilllack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessionsand give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Thencome, follow me.” But when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.
(Matthew 19:16-24, NET BIBLE)
Think: I don’t usually think of myself as very rich. I don’t have to look very far to find people who have nicer cars, bigger houses, and nicer clothes. But living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world has a way of messing up our perspective. The truth is, I’m loaded. Just the fact that I have a house, a car, and clothes (never mind how “nice” they are) puts me well ahead of most people in the world.
Imagine the feeling of being chosen… maybe when you were a kid and for once you were the first one chosen by the team captain at recess. Remember how that felt? You felt special and important; “I am wanted and valued”. Or what about the job that you really wanted and the interview was really tough but you were selected and given the position! That feeling is amazing and gives us so much confidence. It also gives us some pressure to perform and live up to the expectations of the one whom chose us.
Another scenario is a bit different – remember what it was like when that guy chose you and told you that he loves you no matter what? You don’t have to prove ourselves but rather just accept the gift of love that is offered. You have already done everything you can do to win his heart and he doesn’t demand any lists of tasks in order to make him love you more or to keep loving you.
I think this is a reflection of being chosen by God. Paul says in Eph. 1:4 “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” He chose us to be holy not because we were holy!! So love, choosing, and grace were extended before we were holy or perfect or blameless or even created! We were chosen as creations of God and because of his love — for no other reason! Stop a moment and reflect on this fact…
Our human love for each other is just a dim shadow of the immense love of the Father for us but it is what we can relate to. It just makes this love of God that much more amazing to compare how it feels to be loved unconditionally here on earth with how much MORE the love of God is for us individually.
“But there must be something I have to DO?” you say. The loving and amazing answer is “No”. Grace has already been given to us “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:4-5) The most amazing thing is that the saving is already done! There is nothing you can do to make yourself “more saved”. We must just accept this gift.
Knowing that we are saved brings us freedom in our Christian life (see Gal. 5:1). Paul discusses the law vs. grace many places throughout his writings and he gives this important warning: “You, my brothers, were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” (Gal. 5:13-14) So it comes full circle and the love that has been extended to us in “unmerited favor” we too should extend to others in acts of service and unconditional love.
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