The Paradox of Jesus Christ – His Death and Resurrection

The paradox of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection stands immovable against the flood of human reasoning. The magnitude undeniable! To presume understanding would diminish the unexplainable.

A paradox is something “self-contradictory that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded and true.” I suggest that every apparent contradiction, or paradox, is unequivocally true in relation to Jesus Christ.

For many people, Jesus Himself was and is a contradiction to their preconceived expectations! Scholars memorized the scriptures, studied the prophetic indications of His coming and work, and yet failed to recognize Him. And still today many disqualify Him on the basis of their own limited understanding.

No where do we see this dilemma more than in the contradictions surrounding the cross and resurrection. The cross was earth’s darkest hour! The resurrection heaven’s greatest dawn!

“The true light that gives light to everyone
was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and though the world was made through him,
the world did not recognize him.
He came to that which was his own,
but his own did not receive him.”
John 1:9-11

Dawn of a new day

The Light of the world invading darkness! Creator touching creation unaware!

Love In Action

Here is John’s capsulated explanation,

“To him who loves us
and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests
to serve his God and Father —
to him be glory and power
for ever and ever!
Amen.”
Revelation 1:5-7

Stripped naked, Jesus hung upon the cross  to clothe the unlovable, the unworthy, the undeserving in garments of love and robes or righteousness. Leaving heaven’s throne, He established an earthly but royal priesthood and kings unto God.

Light of the world

“You have made them to be
a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
Revelation 5:10

The paradox of Jesus Christ is undeniable.

Crucifixion

The bread and the wine at the Last Supper rich with symbolism: bread in the hand of The Bread of Life broken to feed the spiritually starving; a cup held by The Lamb of God, soon to be crushed, pouring out new wine to the desperately thirsty. All for the sake of “re-membering” a church dis-membered through jealousy, selfish ambition, strife, and personal agendas.

“…The Lord Jesus, on the night
he was betrayed, took bread,
and when he had given thanks,
he broke it and said,
“This is my body, which is for you;
do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after supper
he took the cup, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood;
do this, whenever you drink it,
in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-25

Sunrise and mist

Jesus was bound so that multitudes would be set free! He remained silent before His accusers to give bold voice to people of every nation, tribe and tongue! His body brutally whipped, beaten, clubbed, and pierced so our bodies may receive healing! Paradox upon paradox!

“”He himself bore our sins
in his body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins
and live for righteousness;
By his wounds you have been healed.””
1 Peter 2:24

The Son, rejected by Father, purchasing adoption rights for many sons and daughters to be born anew into His family! The sacrificial Lamb bearing the undeserved stain of our sins upon Himself, to cleanse and redeem the truly guilty! Such is the paradox of Jesus Christ!

Dead to Life

The Eternal God, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End, submitting to the way of the cross, surrendering to the cruel Destroyer, to break the curse of the fall and defeat death, once for all.

“The thief comes only to steal
and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.”
John 10:10

Light over darkness

Not just life, but life “in all its fullness! Superabundant, superior, excessive life! The paradox of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection continues — unstoppable, undefiable, unquenchable!

“If a man can predict his own
death and resurrection, and pull it off,
I just go with whatever that man says.”
Andy Stanley

There is More

The King of all kings becoming servant of all! The One crowned with all glory humbling himself — becoming nothing, to make something of us. Like it or not, it required nothing less than such a radical move to make anything of the hunk of raw clay I am!

He emptied Himself so that we would be filled! He was denied any comfort to make room for the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be with us.

“But very truly I tell you,
it is for your good that I am going away.
Unless I go away,
the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send him to you.”
John 16:7

His death triggered the sending of Someone better, the Holy Spirit — the Advocate, Intercessor, Counsellor,  Comforter, Helper. Leaving before sending! Departing preceding receiving!

From Today

The only fitting personal response I find, is the passionate determination and fervent pursuit of all that Christ has died for, all that His resurrection has acquired. Only then will God truly receive the glory He is worthy of.

” … he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death
— even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him
to the highest place and
gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:8-11

Resurrection morning

Anything less would be heresy. He became weak humanity to give us strength. May we boldly live our lives in reflection of the paradox of Jesus Christ:

contending for freedom of those
chained in sin and addictions;
decreeing release for captives internally bound,
and healing for bodies, families, churches and nations;
new wineskins continually being filled
with the wine of His Spirit
and satisfied only in the bread of His Presence;
sharing the gospel with liberty and power,
affirmed through miracles, signs and wonders;
never settling in complacent indifference
or apathetic denial,
but preaching, teaching, admonishing, encouraging
and exhorting believers everywhere
in their identity as sons and daughters,
priests and kings of the Most High.

The paradox of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection shouts to us all, “Live! Live full! That superabundant, superior, excessive life that He paid for, live it today! Live it always!

Why? Because “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”

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The Lost Meaning of Repentance

Language is in constant fluid motion; words often change meaning over time. Repentance is one example of a word with value and meaning shifting over the years.

Linguists, those who studies language, tell us that youth culture changes language about every 6 months. Dictionary writers update, adding new words and adapting meanings of existing words, continuously. It’s not much wonder confusion arises when certain words are used. Some members of the population may understand one meaning, while another segment may have a totally different concept in mind.

Here are just a few words as examples:

  1. Awful now means something very bad or unpleasant, disgusting, horrible or terrible. At one time, awful meant “worthy of awe”.
  2. Fizzle once referred to the act of producing quiet flatulence. Now it simply means to come to a gradual end.
  3. Clue, or clew, was a ball of yarn. Today it has the meaning of “evidence or information used in the detection of a crime or solving of a mystery”.

Repentance

Biblical repentance goes beyond the dictionary’s definition of “sincere regret or remorse“. Remorse is a deep regret or guilt for wrong committed. A person can be sincerely remorseful without ever repenting.

Remorse, regret and repentance

“Why is definition important?” one might ask?

Jesus responded to accusations of socializing with the wrong crowd by saying,

“I have not come to call the righteous,
but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 5:32

If Jesus purposefully came to draw people to repentance, it is imperative we have a clear understanding of what He was actually meaning.

After hearing Peter’s first sermon, the people were deeply remorseful and knew they needed to do something about their spiritual condition, but they honestly had no idea what to do. Peter’s response was,

“… Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ
for the forgiveness of your sins.
And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2: 38

Repentance to biblical writers reached beyond feelings of guilt or shame. It was necessary for anyone coming into relationship with God. Years later Peter’s message hadn’t changed:

“The Lord … is patient with you,
not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9

Eternal Significance

Truth is truth! Whether I believe it or reject it, truth remains true forever. Where each of us will spend eternity hangs in the balance of this one word — repentance.

In a world of political correctness and apologetic niceties, I must be honest. Eternal hell is full of those deeply remorseful and in constant regret of sin.

Godly sorrow brings repentance
that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,
but worldly sorrow brings death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10

To repent is simply to change one’s mind toward God and sin. It is a voluntary change of will, feeling and action toward God involving not just a feeling bad about what one has done wrong or the consequences faced. It is a “godly sorrow” leading one to confess and renounce sin turning away from it completely.

Repentance is a changing of one's mind

Where once sin held great pleasure and lure, now it is seen clearly for its true destructive nature,

“For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

Sin is always deadly! Always! But when a person repents, God extends His wonderful gift of life, available because of Jesus’ work through His death and resurrection.

A Good Trade

Sometimes I have made what would be considered a “poor” trade to give someone else an advantage: taking the smaller portion of desert, using the broken pencil, choosing an uncomfortable position… I’m sure you have too.

A few years ago a man traded a single red paperclip. Fourteen trades later, he traded with the Town of Kipling Saskatchewan for a house. A paperclip for a house is a good trade, but not the best trade!

“If my people,
who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven,
and I will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land

Now we are talking good trade! Trading pride for humility to draw close to God! Better yet, repenting and turning from “wicked ways” and receiving forgiveness and healing. That is a good trade!

I love the “I will”s of the bible. There are promises of God available if we assume our responsibility. This one verse contains three such amazing promises — all are connected directly to repentance.

No Regrets

Sometimes people genuinely feel so attached to their sinful life style they honestly feel to repent would deprive them of joy. It is a perceived “sacrifice” many are unwilling to make.

True repentance accesses indescribable freedom and pleasure in obeying God. Undoubtedly, there is a loathing of the sin that once held them in bondage. For Christians, life is not a list of “dos and don’ts”, but rather fullness of joy in fellowship with God and others.

“You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Psalm 16:11

The fullness of joy!Sin holds pleasure for only a season! Repentance is the path to enjoying life fully now and for eternity.  There are no regrets to such a life choice!

It remains vitally important that we maintain the biblical meaning of repentance as God intended. Individually and corporately it is a principle leading to life and spiritual wholeness.

“Repentance means turning from
as much as you know of your sin
to give as much as you know
of yourself to as much as
you know of your God,
and as our knowledge grows
at these three points so our practice
of repentance has to be enlarged.
J. I. Packer

Choice for Today

To the tender-hearted person of faith, repentance is a continuing process. Holy Spirit both convicts us of sin, bringing us into sharpened awareness of areas of rebellion toward God, while convincing us of the immeasurable grace available to all who believe.

Today is the day of salvation!

The liberating force within repentance is difficult to articulate and wonderful to experience.

“For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you,
now is the time of God’s favor,
now is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:2

There will be no better day than today! No better time than right now! Test and see just how good God is! I encourage you to take the step beyond remorse and regret to the freedom found in genuine repentance. It is the right time to experience God’s favor!

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The Tomb Raider and Bondage Breaker! Chains no More!

Chains No More

The tomb is meant to be a burial place for the dead; it is not a habitation for the living.  Jesus made a perilous journey to meet a man who was so bound by tormenting spirits, tomb dwelling seemed the only fitting place to be. Until “Jesus stepped ashore”!

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke present the account through almost opposing lenses. Luke calls the region “the Gerasenes” which means “alien, stranger or foreigner”or more specifically “a stranger drawing near.” Matthew, on the other hand terms it the region of “the Gadarenes” which means “rewarded in the end.”

A Stranger Draws Near

Only one person in the entire region came to meet Jesus welcoming Him. Everyone else treated Jesus like an alien, a stranger or a foreigner!

“When Jesus had stepped out on land,
there met him a man from the city who had demons.
For a long time he had worn no clothes,
and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.”
Luke 8:27

The living among the tombs

This was neither his original home nor his original condition!

We don’t know how long his existence was relegated to the tombs; only that it was “a long time“. A long time

without family or relationship,
crying out night and day,
cutting himself with stones,
naked and exposed to shame,
rejected and ridiculed,
bound and chained.

It is no wonder Jesus was willing to endure the severest of storms to come and to release this man from bondage.

Most of us would have caught one glimpse of his condition and scampered right back into the boat paddling hard in the opposite direction. Not Jesus! Then too, most of us are impressed by crowds. Not Jesus!

For this one man, Jesus came!

Though an entire city was close, only one man welcomed Him!

Among the Tombs

What causes a man to trade a home for a tomb? This isn’t normal human behaviour, after all.

“…(For many a time it had seized him.
He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles,
but he would break the bonds and
be driven by the demon into the desert.)
Luke 8:29

Though no earthly chain could hold him, this poor man was completed bound by the demons that inhabited him. Up until this moment, they had complete control.

When Jesus stepped in, everything changed!

All around us are people “out of control!” Daily we encounter hurting people who hurt people. Our lives and neighbourhoods are affected by those who have long ago forgotten personal worth or identity. Behind closed doors many are driven by drugs, addictions and lust. They appear to be alive, but reside within personal tombs of death.

For these Jesus comes!

The Pigs Nearby

Living among pigs!

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
 The demons begged Jesus,
“Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.”

Mark 5:11-12

The imagery is more than symbolic! Jesus allows the demons to enter the pigs who quickly make a suicidal dive into the nearby lake.

The saddest part of the story is about to unfold. The people of the Gerasenes were perfectly comfortable to have a demon possessed man among them, naked and screaming in agony night and day. However, they were totally unprepared to allow Jesus, The Healer, Deliver, Tomb Raider, and Bondage Breaker to stay one moment more.

“…they came to Jesus and found the man
from whom the demons had gone,
sitting at the feet of Jesus,
clothed and in his right mind,
and they were afraid.”
Luke 8:35

As twisted as a living man dwelling in the tombs is, the reaction of the locals was even more so. Rejoicing over the man’s deliverance would seem to be a more appropriate response.

Enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season!

Pigs were considered “unclean”. Their delight in wallowing in “mud” representing the human tendency to enjoy and cling to our pet sins. Jesus came into their region to free everyone who lived there. Only this destitute and demon possessed man responded. The rest preferred to “enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.”

Jesus came to release them all from sin’s cruel bondage! They preferred the swine, instead!

Only One Man

Only one man from the region of “the Gadarenes” was “rewarded in the end.” He was the only one — unnamed but completely changed.

“And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes
begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone,
for a great wave of fear swept over them.
So Jesus returned to the boat and left,
crossing back to the other side of the lake.”
 Luke 8:37 

The evidence of Jesus’ authority and transforming power sat before them, gentle, calm and dressed. Perhaps up until this moment, they could look at him, aiming their pointed fingers while wagging condemning tongues, “We’re not as bad as he is!”

But standing before Jesus, the Truth and Deliverer, they were without excuse. No other man, except this one, was willing to fall on their knees and surrender to Jesus as Lord.

“You are already clean
because of the word I have spoken to you.”
John 15:3

One man received The Word and was cleansed. Every other person treated Jesus as a stranger. rejecting Him. Out of fear, they clung like pigs to their own filth.

When Jesus came, only one received the reward of surrender.

Tomb Raider

Jesus stepped ashore!

He raided the tomb of death, restoring dignity, value and life. He broke the bondage of sin and shame, releasing its prisoner to everlasting freedom.

Grateful the man pleaded with Jesus to allow him to come with along. Jesus lovingly refused.

Tomb Raider and Bondage Breaker! Freedom in Christ!

Jesus did not let him, but said,
Go home to your own people and
tell them how much the Lord has done for you,
and how he has had mercy on you.”
Mark 5:19

Jesus restored him to his home, family and relationships. He sent him back into his community with purpose and value. There is no greater testimony to the mercy and grace of God than a transformed life.

Reluctantly, the man obliged! Though his heart longed to stay with Jesus, his mission was to his world.

Jesus steps into lives again and again, giving opportunity for freedom. What is my response? Will I consider Him a “Stranger drawing near” and refuse? Or will I welcome Him, allowing Him to do whatever He desires in my life, ultimately being “rewarded in the end“?

Jesus never stays where He is not wanted

 “…So he got into the boat and left.”
Luke 8:37

On the other side of the lake
the crowds welcomed Jesus,
because they had been waiting for him.”
Luke 8:40

Today I ask, “Which side of the lake am I on? Which side of the lake are you on?”

Jesus is stepping ashore!

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Resources:

If you need help, there are many organizations that will assist you:

Freedom in Christ

Pure Desire Ministries

or a local bible believing church.

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Olivia & Me – Helping Children Live Emotionally Healthy Through Tragedy

Emotionally Healthy In Days of Increasing Violence

How can a parent shield their children from death and tragedy in these days of increasing violence? It isn’t just in war-torn nations that this question is asked. Violence has become the “norm” in even peaceful nations like Canada. Olivia & Me is one small instrument for helping children live emotionally healthy through tragedy.

In Foreign Nations

At a woman’s center in Cambodia a woman, now in her 40’s, clings to my neck weeping, “Will you be my mother? I have never had a mother.” The violence of Khmer Rouge swept away all trace of family decades before; the vacant hole cried to be filled.

Will You Be My Mother

Another image creeps from my heart – a woman rescued from unmentionable abuse as a child in Guatemala. She gasps of air in an effort to put words to her story of childhood.

In Canada

It is easy to turn a deaf ear to the violent assault on the minds and hearts of children right here in Canada. We watch the news; they watch the news.

the youngest victim in the Manchester Bombing
8 years old
school lock down protocol
as common as fire drills for my generation…
Third Child Dies in Shooting in Just 2 Days”
the headings blare…
in schools, playgrounds,
streets and beds
children bombarded by death and tragedy.

Just a few years ago I witnessed the effects of a double murder suicide on an elementary school in a First Nations community. Painful wounds stole words and safety from these tender shoots of humanity. The leadership team was incredible as they cared for these traumatized wounded. Given freedom, one by one, I was able to pray, love, listen, with arms of tenderness – a channel of the hope in Jesus.

“Without God”

A recent post by Jonathan Kay states,

“… I realized that I hadn’t the slightest idea how to talk to my children — or anyone — about death

“…The memorial Facebook pages for other Manchester Arena victims … reflect … vague, but admirably humane idea that we should respond to tragedy by loving one another more. It is sentimental and unsatisfying. But without God by our side, it’s the best we can do.”

Without God by our side”

words feel shallow
efforts empty
love insufficient
caring temporary
sentimental and unsatisfying

God Within

A group has just returned from the refugee camps of Jordan. They went with God!

 the love of God within
the power of the Holy Spirit upon
the gentleness of the Father over them.

Numbers became faces capturing hearts as friends – some Christian, many Muslim, all loved by Holy God! Images children have drawn to help them speak of the atrocities too vivid and violent to fully explain adorn the walls.

Images of War Syria Iraq

When God is present everything changes. Everything! In Christ is

hope for the hopeless
healing for the broken
words for the wordless
help for the helpless
protection for the vulnerable
strength for the weakest of these.

Personal

Just as the assaults against humanity are personal, so is the greatness of the gift of live in Christ deeply personal and available.

I have shared before about our own little family’s touches by death. They were minuscule compared to the impact that millions have faced globally; still death is only overcome by life. Jesus is the life!

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

In Him we offer more than just “sentimental and unsatisfying”; our message to children and those who love them is powerful and tangible.

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
1 Corinthians 15:54

Life

Olivia & Me

 “Olivia & Me”  proclaims to children and their families:

Life overcomes death;
eternity a reality beyond the dust on our feet.
Love is present and powerful
God’s purpose and plan prevails
the pain of today will be
“swallowed up”
by The Life!

__________

For Those in Pain

Lord today we hold up those who are facing the pain
of death and tragedy.
Be their comfort in the storm
the strength that carries them fragile step by fragile step.
Hold them gently
giving them courage for today.

__________

Related Posts:

Children and Death? How Can We Help?

Are We Willing To Put Everything On The Line? What Would it Look Like if We Did?

Risking Everything for Jesus

A small huddle of linked companions positioned themselves in the airport, praying for a newly married young couple prior to their departure to the Middle East. “There mission,” you ask? They were “putting everything on the line” to tell an unreached-people-group about the life available through Jesus Christ. They knew it; we knew it!

If you’re not quite sure what I mean by putting everything on the line, it means to expose to chance of loss or damage, to put at risk, stake, hazard or jeopardize their very lives to tell others about the life available through Jesus Christ. Not something the average Christian does, yet many do daily.

This couple considered their lives worth risking to share Christ with others!

Risk

Most of us find it hard just to speak of Him to our family, neighbours or friends, let alone those who consider themselves enemies of the cross! We prefer vacations in a sunny local that is stress-free and easy-wheeling. There is certainly nothing wrong with a well-deserved vacation! This will not be for this amazing couple!

Later in the safety of the prayer room in my local church I read of another missionary, Paul,

kneeling in the sand with
fathers and mothers
boys and girls
old and young
as they sent him off to a place they all knew would lead to
torture, imprisonment and probably death!

Putting everything on the line to share faith and life with others is not something new or strange. It is part and parcel with normal Christian life!

Cost

The sharing of our faith always costs. The ultimate price was paid by Jesus on the cross! Listen for a  moment to His words,

“Then Jesus said to his disciples,
‘If any of you wants to be my follower,
you must turn from your selfish ways,
take up your cross, and follow me. ”
Matt 16:24 NLT

How seldom do I do just that? Small indeed is the level of “putting everything on the line” in my life. Yet, when I think of this young couple and the multitude of others in difficult places, something stirs in me that otherwise would be silent…a restlessness… a desire to

risk more
reach out and love more
care less about what others may think
leave my place of security and comfort
share with those near and far,
“Life in Jesus is possible and available.”

risk-1945683_1920 Pixabay - CCO Public Domain -Risk Word Letters Boggle Game

Do you feel it rising too? He is worth it! They are worth it! Life is worth it! Yes, take that deep breath, step forward and put everything on the line!

“What if we yielded everything in our lives to make much of who Jesus is? Are you willing to give up everything to make Him known?”
Pastor Matt Weisbrod

What if we yielded everything to make much of who Jesus is? Click To Tweet

Prayer for Today

Lord Jesus, forgive me for settling in
places of comfort and ease,
for forgetting this life, my life, is meant to be lived for others.
Give me the courage and tenacity,
the single focused vision,
to declare and proclaim the fullness of You to all.
Help me to choose to put everything on the line
for You and those who need Your love.


Would you like to read more? Try this!

Sowing and Reaping – Whether Intentional and Random Wisdom is Needed!

 

Family Motto – Do You Have One?

Family Motto - Do You Have One?

Does your family have a motto? A saying spoken repeatedly, maybe for generations? “What is a motto“, you ask? It is “a short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or institution.”

Here are a few examples:

  • Always tell the truth – so you don’t have to remember what you said!
  • Expect the best – prepare for the worst!
  • Often wrong, but never in doubt!
  • If you don’t think it can be done, you haven’t thought long enough!
  • Do what you can with what you have!
  • Everything happens for a reason!
  • What goes around comes around!
  • If Mama ain’t happen – ain’t nobody happy!
  • No trips to the emergency room!
  • Something will turn up!
  • People – not things!
  • The harder you work the luckier you get!
  • It will all come out in the wash!

 Motto Passed On Over Time

Now can you think of a motto passed down in you family? They seem trite, but the very repetition deepens their strength subconsciously.

There are some very strong biblical mottos that also reinforce family and corporate values; they are mottos of great importance:

  • “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Josh 24:15 NIV
  • “Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised…” Ps 145:3 ESV
  • “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD…” Ps 10:14 ESV
  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Prov 3:5
  • Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Phil 4:4 NIV
  • “Be strong and courageous….for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:9
Be strong and courageous! The Lord goes with you! Click To Tweet

do_unto_others_as_you_would_have_them_do_unto_youThough many of our family mottos may be a little quirky, these biblical ones are enduring and release life, authority and power over us and our families (natural and spiritual). Biblical mottos for life reinforce godly values and perspectives. They clarify direction and purpose. They have rubber-meeting-the-road impact!

It takes little effort to expand on this list. I’m sure there are many you can add from your own experience. Maybe it is time to establish a new family motto. What will you choose?

Strength Together

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Today’s Prayer

Thank you Father for your Word
filled with foundation stones of easy remembrance;
principles of virtue and strength.
May I listen and hear your voice;
paying attention and truly hearing what You say.
I desire to establish godly, biblical mottos
that will direct and impact
my life, family and those I come in contact with.
I choose today to set your word as
a path of life.

_______________

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Custom Made or Special Order? This Could Be You

Custom Made

What do these few words conger up in your mind? Today the term “custom-made” relates to almost everything we see: homes, clothing, desserts, musical instruments, vehicles, cabinets, and on and on! People want something nobody else has… the original… something that is NOT mass-produced…

In Jeremiah 1 verse 5 (MSG) we read:

“Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,

    I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—

    that’s what I had in mind for you.”

Crazy, isn’t it? God thought of you and had you “custom-made” before even the world and the tangible things we see and enjoy. You were thought about, planned perfectly, and designed for something very special. To think God thought of you and me before the whisper or shout of creation began is awe-inspiring. In this truth, we gain a new appreciation for Him and for us.

“Before the world or even time began,
we were in God’s heart and in His plan.”
Olivia & Me

Before the world or time began, you were in God's heart and in His plan Click To Tweet

If you are finding this hard to believe, imagine for a moment it is true! All of you intricately planned out

height and stature
gifts and abilities
when and where you were born
serious or witty
sensitive or fun-loving
intro or extroverted
even that stubborn cowlick or twisted grin.

Just looking at me would make you question the very notion! Who every would think of putting these strange twists and perks of personality and mannerisms in such an unseemly container I call “me”! Or maybe that is the reason we should believe it to be true. God must have a wonderful sense of humor!

I know it makes the thought seem very far-fetched — beyond the boundary of any left field. Yet, He also reassures us that “… by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect…” (I Corinthians 15:10) In other words, if you think I am quite the piece of work, you will have to use a little more imagination to figure out what I would be without God’s grace imprinting my life. Or yours!

There is something steadying about the thought:
to be known
loved
appreciated
purposed
planned
no mistake
no accident!

So when I am frustrated with “me”, tired of “me”, or disappointed with “me”, I can smile (just a little smile), throw my hands up wide and say, “Look out! Here I come!” Even though mighty I am not and impressive I may never be, God smiles (an ear-to-ear smile) and says, “That’s my girl! She’s custom-made, one of kind, original!”

 


Prayer Custom Made

Lord Jesus, I thank you not just for the uniqueness of ‘me’
but of all You have made!
I ask for courage to live my life fully ‘me’
but also with vision and grace to embrace the You in others.
Lord, Your design is perfect in every way;
I delight in your incredible goodness and amazing plan.
Today may I live in You and through You to the fullest….

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Want to read more? Try these:

Psalm 91 – God Has You Covered

Don’t Give Up! Don’t Quit! Finish Strong!

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