Unwrapping The Greatest Gift Ever

A greeter at church said something to me one Sunday evening in October. A five-minute conversation that led to at least 12 hours of deep thinking on paper. He said to me, “Jesus loves you. Ever wonder what he’s thinking or doing when he looks at you?”

I had not actually, and mulled over it for weeks. Beginning in the Gospels, checked cross-references, and then felt led towards Genesis. I expanded even further in the creation account. Soon, the scope of it all was opening up to me. I am emotionally stunted and it brought a tear to even my eye. Therefore, I present to you how far Jesus was willing to go for you.

_________________________________________________________________________________

How Much Does God Love You?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” John 1: 1-2

God picked you out for Himself in Christ before the foundation of the world. Eph: 1:4

God planned for you in His love, to adopt as His kid through Jesus because it pleased Him. Eph 1:5

That was at least 13.77 billion years ago…

…then this happened…

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

w1rnf6

The Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe from nothing to set the stage for…

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in our image, in our likeness…” Genesis 1: 26

Us? Yes.

The Holy Spirit was hovering over the formless universe (Genesis 1:2)

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” Job 33: 4

Remember John 1:1? Let’s go deeper…

“He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation; because by Jesus Christ everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or rulers or authorities —all things have been created through Jesus and for Jesus. He is before all things and by Jesus all things hold together.” Colossians 1: 15-17

Jesus not only created everything, He sustains it, and He is involved with every part of it. Then God brought us on the scene…

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1: 27

God created everything, but He went a step further with mankind…

“God formed the man from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2: 7

God created by decree; He took the time to make and form man. Then we fell…flatline_thumb

We were dead in our transgressions and sins, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy…Ephesians 2: 1, 3-4

God put the plan in motion that He had ready since before everything (Eph: 1:5)

First, He spoke to Abram…

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12: 1-3

The beginnings of the Jewish nation were set in motion…

“Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15: 6

From a cowardly nomad who didn’t deserve anything, even failing multiple times, God worked a miracle. At 100 years old…

“Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” Genesis 17: 19

God brought Jacob into the world…

 “Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. (Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. Genesis 25:2111 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls” Romans 9: 10-12

The Hebrew tribe went on to grow, yet was eventually enslaved…until God freed them.Moses at the burning bush

“I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land…” Exodus 3: 8

“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I AM who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3: 10-14

hqdefaultThen God set the standard and covenant in stone. (Exodus 20)

Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord. Exodus 19: 3-8

moses130309_02Long after Moses, when the Israelites were established, they asked for a King. They had no idea what they were asking for. Through King David’s lineage, Jesus was to come…

 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

15 “‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.” Jeremiah 31: 14-15 (530 years before Jesus’s birth)

…and the new covenant…

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to[d] them,[e]”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31: 31-34

Even then, He was preparing a way for all people to come to Him…

“As he says in Hosea:

I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
    and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

26 and,

“In the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” Romans 9: 25-26

Now the key to reconciling God and man had to make His appearance on Earth…

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death— Philippians 2: 6-8

The One who spoke everything into being gave it all up and arrived in a stable…

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2

dp1780861For 30 years, he stayed with his family that he had chosen…

“Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2

Then He began his mission…

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3: 21

Satan remembered the prophecies and knew He had to do something…

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” Luke 4: 1-13

Even at His weakest, Jesus wouldn’t budge. He began his ministry…004-jesus-nazareth

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[f]

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4: 14-21

He taught, healed, saved, cast out demons, made friends, made enemies, worked miracles, calling many to Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” John 3: 16-21

When He saw the crowds, he said to His disciples…

“35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9: 35-36

BruceJesusEver felt harassed and helpless? Who can help?

 Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.(Jesus knows who you are.) When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (He cares, he’s invested in you) The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. (He’s speaking of two things, non-Jewish people and those who don’t know Him. He’s looking for them. He’s looking for you.) They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (There is no room for dissension with Jesus, he wants everyone.) The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. (Sacrificing yourself willingly is noble, but only One has the authority to conquer death) This command I received from my Father.” John 10: 1-18

He also mourned those who rejected Him for thousands of years…

““Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37

Then the final part of the plan was set into motion…

Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” John 12: 31-33

“Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” John 12: 44-50

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14: 6-7

With death upon Him, Jesus was afraid…dejected-jesus-e1426978212395

Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me…” Matthew 26: 36-39

…but willing.

My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26: 42

The people He came to save arrested Him…

“Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.” Matthew 26: 50

His friends abandoned Him…

“Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” Matthew 26: 56

He was mocked by the very nation He built that day long ago on Sinai…

“Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?” Matthew 26: 67-68

“But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Matthew 27: 20-23

He was then whipped…Passion_of_the_Christpassion_scourge

“But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” Matthew 27: 26

…and humiliated…

“Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.” Matthew 27: 27-31

…by the very people he came to save.

They drove nails into his feet and wrists, lifting Him up to die slowly by asphyxiation. From a article at The Guardian: “Someone nailed to a crucifix with their arms stretched out on either side could expect to live for no more than 24 hours. Seven-inch nails would be driven through the wrists so that the bones there could support the body’s weight. The nail would sever the median nerve, which not only caused immense pain but would have paralyzed the victim’s hands.

the_passion_of_the_christ_crucifixion_1_0069

The feet were nailed to the upright part of the crucifix, so that the knees were bent at around 45 degrees. To speed death, executioners would often break the legs of their victims to give no chance of using their thigh muscles as support. It was probably unnecessary, as their strength would not have lasted more than a few minutes even if they were unharmed.

Once the legs gave out, the weight would be transferred to the arms, gradually dragging the shoulders from their sockets. The elbows and wrists would follow a few minutes later; by now, the arms would be six or seven inches longer. The victim would have no choice but to bear his weight on his chest. He would immediately have trouble breathing as the weight caused the rib cage to lift up and force him into an almost perpetual state of inhalation.

Suffocation would usually follow, but the relief of death could also arrive in other ways. “The resultant lack of oxygen in the blood would cause damage to tissues and blood vessels, allowing fluid to diffuse out of the blood into tissues, including the lungs and the sac around the heart,” says Ward.

This would make the lungs stiffer and make breathing even more difficult, and the pressure around the heart would impair its pumping.”

Enduring mocking taunts still…

Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” Matthew 27: 38-44

He knew He could come down at any time…to make it stop…the Son of God was far from helpless even in His suffering. He said to Peter earlier…

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26: 53-54

He put the Roman Governor in his place as well before…

“Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.”  John 18: 36-38

““Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” John 19: 9-11

As He struggled to breathe, wood scraping the open wounds from the whips, one of His mockers had a change of heart and a realization.

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Luke 23: 39-41

Then the criminal asked the one he was cruel to a question…

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23: 42

He didn’t deserve anything except the death he was getting. Who was he compared to God Incarnate? Jesus answered him…the-passion-of-the-christ

Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23: 43

Jesus came to save us, even those who mocked and tortured Him. The worst was yet to come for Him…

“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani? (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27: 45-46

God unleashed his Holy Wrath on his Incarnation…

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.” Matthew 27: 51-52

As Jesus said…

It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19: 30

Screen-Shot-2015-02-14-at-11.52.33-AMThe divide between God and mankind was bridged. Jesus, God Incarnate, was the perfect sacrifice to cover our sins, paying for them Himself so His creation can be with Him again.

“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Matthew 27: 54

Why would He do that?

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But 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. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2: 3-10

“Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3: 2-12

We had killed the one who was to save us, but that was the plan, and to display the power and authority over even death…

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28: 1-10

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28: 16-20

“When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” Luke 24: 50-52

“I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1: 1-3

maxresdefaultJesus in Heaven, seated by God the Father sent the Holy Spirit to grow the church throughout the centuries. Then, years later, life was given to you…

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139: 14
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.” Psalms 139: 16

Jesus knew from before creation what would happen in your life. He placed Godly people in your life to help you. Maybe like me, you said, “I could do it all myself. I would answer to myself alone.” I spit in His face, said, “how do I know this is true?”

For me, I came back to church to alleviate any guilt I had in using them for my wedding. My heart was still dark with lust, hate, pride, and unforgiveness. I sat silent through songs. Passively listened to what was taught. Ignored him when we lost our baby. When my grandfather died.

For two years, he whispered to me, making me a little uneasy at times. I still did not move.

Then my godson was killed in an accident. The memory burned into my mind forever. Helpless before God and man, my strength depleted, I cried out during church with all my being,

“I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued” Just As I Am by Travis Cottrell

Jesus had already began to move, though. Where I couldn’t afford an attorney, he provided one who would work for free. I was arrested, but not jailed. I could’ve been charged with murder, yet all involved showed mercy. Jesus surrounded me with his children, telling them to care for me, at a time I hated myself.

He showed me the preciousness of life. Then one day a year later, I realized what he had been doing since I prayed that prayer. I had no choice but to confess Him as Lord.

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:8

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1

Jesus said to me…

For God so loved you, Vance, that he gave me, his one and only Son, that ifmaxresdefault (1) you believe in me, you shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send me into the world to condemn you, but to save you through me. Because you believe in me, you are not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. Before anything, even the Big Bang, I knew you. All your days were ordained before one of them came to be. I knew that you would reject me. I know what the future has in store for you. Yet, I still chose to create you, a chance of making “you” exactly is nearly nonexistent, that’s why I make people, so that I could die for them and give them a chance to be with me forever. Together, we can cry ‘Father’ to God, I’m your brother, savior, advocate, friend, and Lord. Remember what I told Paul to write in his letter to the Roman church? It applies to you as well; you know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I have a wonderful plan for you and won’t believe what I have in store for you. I did all this for you already so you know it’s true.

Our circumstances may be different, everyone is unique. However he says this to everyone…

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you are reading this, think about what he did and what it means to you. Then take John 3:16, look at someone, and say, “For God so loved (insert their name) that he gave his one and only Son, that if (their name) believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” In doing so, you take on God’s view of people. I know I need to; it is why I took so many notes.

If you are not a Christian, I would like you to say it a little differently.

“For God so loved me that he gave his one and only Son, that if I believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

You have value, significance, and can choose to believe. Romans 10:9-10 lays it out, declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved. It is with your heart that you’re justified before God. Then you will be a new person; the past does not have a hold on you anymore.

Will you make that decision? It’s the greatest Christmas gift ever.

f7e73355f91c498f463fadc7ed8b8294

What are your thoughts about this?

%d bloggers like this: