Tuesday, March 24, 2015

For The Love of God ....


How many of us have used that statement when we were exasperated with someone? I have used it in times where I had used all my patience and it would only be the love of God that I didn't take them and whoop their butts.
I remember singing a song when I was a young child in church: “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the bible tells me so.” I can't think of many people today who haven't heard John 3:16 (NIV). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Verse 17 (NIV) continues to dig even deeper into why Jesus came to this earth: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

As Easter approaches Christians will be thinking about the cross and what it means to us when we consider the importance of Jesus dying on a cross, hung like a guilty man between two thieves. In churches we've been taught that Jesus died for our sins, rose again on the 3rd day, and he will come back for us one day, when God the Father gives the signal. 

Have you ever wondered this? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son...” But didn't Jesus rise again after 3 days and return to his Father after spending the next 40 with his followers on earth? Sounds more like he loaned him out for a while and then got him back 33 years later. What is the big deal about that? Life on earth didn't really change for those living then, and it sure isn't getting any better for our generations now that inhabit the earth. Where is the love? Where is the gift?

Let me tackle that last question first. The gift is that once and for all a sacrifice was given. After Adam and Eve really messed things up and were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, God required that a sacrifice should be made to him, and that requirement of the Jews continued even through the time that Jesus walked the earth. As a matter of a fact, the first sacrifice that we read about in Genesis started the proof that man could not even get something as simple as this right. Genesis 4: 1-15 tells the story of how something that wasn't so difficult destroyed lives. There were times when people in the bible were obedient to God, such as Abraham and his son Isaac. A human sacrifice was required, yet in the end, a ram was exchanged and given to sacrifice. There are other incidences of sacrifice that stand out, but we will move on and cover this subject another time.

As mentioned earlier, Jesus was finally sent down as a final sacrifice for man's sins. Things had grown so chaotic that there was simply no way man could atone for his sins with the blood of an animal, or anything else for that matter. But for many people, it is still hard to grasp. Why did someone who supposedly lived a perfect life while on this earth die in such a cruel manner? I don't understand how God was able to complete it, but somehow he placed every sin that would occur from that day forward, including every one that we hadn't done yet as we weren't born, and all those who are still yet to be born this day on his son Jesus. Jesus said that through these events, we would no longer have to make a sacrifice for our sins. The game had changed now. We just had to go to God in prayer and ask forgiveness. A lot easier for many to do and a lot less animals to be slaughtered.

“Okay, I am with you so far,” you say, but you still don't get how this proves any of God's love for us. Here is where I want to get to the meat of this subject. (pardon the pun) For many the thought of the Trinity is hard to understand. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The word trinity means that they are connected, in ways that we can't understand, but they are. I talked about in a much earlier blog how we are something like a trinity ourselves. There is us, our body, our spirit. There is the parent part of us, and there is the child portion of us. You have a spirit, you are someone's son/daughter, and for most of us, you are someone's father or mother. Yet you are still in one piece as you walk this earth. God still has 3 pieces to him, but like us, he has the spirit, the son portion, and the father portion. Stay with me here, I'm still working on the back-story to get to the point I want to make.

For all of you parents out there, think on this. When a child is hurting, doesn't it make you hurt inside also? Whether someone physically or emotionally hurt them, or they fell while doing something, or their carelessness led to an injury, you still feel a pain inside when you see them experiencing a pain. And for the child it was quite a pain for them too, especially if the hurt could have been avoided.

And for you adults, how about that time you tried to help someone and instead they used your actions against you? You tried to do good, and somehow they turned it to bad? Or when you are constantly doing something for someone who you want to like/love you, yet they never acknowledge you or what you've done, not even taking the time to say thank you.
That sucks, doesn't it. You want to cry, you're all bottled up inside because you don't want them to know that they've hurt you. Yet the hurt is still there. Painful and almost crippling emotionally in everything that happens between you and this person, though chances are, you still strive to somehow receive that recognition that you desire.

Now imagine if someone you love so dearly is hurt by everyone that you know. Although they did no wrong, somehow the whole world has turned their back on them and you're watching and listening as they cry out to you, knowing that through this there will be a growth and a learning experience for all those involved. Now imagine that multiplied by quadrillion billions of trillions. Now you have a small piece of what God had to have felt. 

The disciples had run and tucked their tails, with even Peter, who was the one who swore that he loved Jesus the most, denying that he was a disciple of Jesus for 3 times before the next morning. Jesus was abandoned. Very few stuck by Jesus and accepted without denying who he was. His mother was one of the few, which isn't surprising to me. Watch any show or news broadcast. Who is the one person that they are interviewing who says that their son/daughter was a good person and would never hurt anyone? It's their mother. That's just the way they are. Fiercely loyal, loving, and most of all forgiving.

So God is sitting in Heaven, knowing all of this was going to play out, and having to watch it actually happen to his kid. Yet he couldn't do anything about it or the whole plan would be ruined, and Jesus would have been crucified for nothing. Me, I would have been so P.O.'d that I would have destroyed the world right then and there, so there would be no more worries about anyone else needing to sacrifice anything. You can mess with me all you want, and plenty of people have. But DO NOT TOUCH MY FAMILY OR I WILL WIPE YOU OFF THE FACE OF THIS EARTH! Okay, I had my rant.
But God isn't like that. 

There have been plenty of people in my life who have went out of their way to hurt me for many reasons. Recently I have dealt with the pain that 2 certain people caused me that was destroying me and leaving a dark cloud over my life and my spirit. I am done with them, now they have to deal with God on it. It can never drag me down again. And I have vowed to never deal with them again, thus opening the door again to that kind of pain.
God isn't like that though. Could you blame him if he said, “Okay you little turds, I took care of your biggest problem and in return, all I ask is that you come to me for forgiveness. That way when you die, you can have a clear conscience.” Who could blame him? Not me! Lord knows I do not deserve even that much from him.

But get this. Not only does he send his Son to die on the cross, but God is going to do something else one day. He is going to send him back. What??????? Mankind killed him off the first time he was here! Is God stupid? You know we'll do it again. Mankind always repeats his mistakes!
And the answer is ….. (drum roll) …... NOPE, he isn't stupid. This time we won't get the chance as humans to make that choice again. Those of us who have called on the name of Jesus, asked forgiveness of our sins, confessed with our mouths that he is the Son of God who was crucified and rose again for our sins will be given the final reward for those actions. Whether you are alive or already dead, Jesus is going to cause us all to rise in the air and return with him to Heaven. All of those who have refused to accept Jesus, who would still crucify him if given the chance again will perish in one of the worst possible times in history. Horrible atrocities will happen across all of the earth, culminating with everyone that was left when the rapture (as it is called) happened and spent a part or all of the remaining years on earth through the tribulation to be called to stand before God and then cast into a lake of fire that will never quit burning, relief from the fire will never be given, and their stupidity for not accepting Jesus when they had a chance will cost them dearly.

But the Christians will get to live in Heaven forever, worshiping God and living in a city that, though it is described in the bible with fairly good detail, is still unfathomable to most. And it is this detail that shows me that God truly does love me.

I was once a sinner, a screw-up, someone who was hated by many, loved by few, and who had spiraled to a point where no one wanted anything to do with me. But God still loved me, knew I would need him, and went through everything that I have described above.
Here is the proof that he loves me: God will send his Son back for me! Even though, because of me and all the others who have or will ever roam this earth, he had to watch his Son suffer humiliation and pain that we can only begin to try to understand the depth of. Yes, when I wouldn't go back with my human flesh and mind and want to have anything to do with those that have hurt me greatly, God is willing to do that and then live with me forever. That just blows my mind! Now that is LOVE! No other term could possibly describe it. L-O-V-E. LOVE. Wowser. When I was singing that song as a child, I never really understood what I was saying. It was just a cute song that made me feel good. Now I want to sing it lovingly to everyone, and as a tribute to God for all that he has done.

My question now is … Would you? Could you? Have you ever loved someone that much? Better yet, do you think that it is possible that someone could love you that much? Maybe you are someone who has lived your life so unappreciative of anything that was ever done for you. You probably even told yourself that no one has ever done anything for you, therefore you can try to justify not having to do anything for anyone else. Well, I just shot that out of the water. Before you were born, before you could have done or not done anything for anyone, someone did something for you. BECAUSE HE LOVED YOU. Isn't that why as parents we do things for our kids? Isn't that why you keep trying to gain the favor of someone, no matter if they never acknowledge your actions? We were made by God, and we are taken care of in the end by God. It doesn't matter what our actions are our entire life, the person who created us is the person who deals with us at the end of our life. God never leaves, nor forsakes you. He was there in the beginning, he is there in the end. All it will cost you to enjoy what great things God wants for you to have is to simply ask for forgiveness, acknowledge what he has already done for you, and live your life in a way that will be pleasing to God so that he will continue to want to give you many blessings on this earth and beyond.
Is it really that difficult to acknowledge the only True Love that you will ever know? Earthly “true love” will be fallible, as we are all sinners and screw-ups, but Gods love will always be true.

So it is time for you to ask yourself, “For the love of God …... what are you going to do about it?”

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