This Man Jesus

I’ve been thinking about this man named Jesus. When he was born, there were some who recognized who he was. And they saw who he was not. They knew he was the Son of God and not Joseph’s son. He was one of a kind. One could say. But he was perfect. And that’s hard to say. Because there has been no one before him who was perfect and no one since. And no one else will be. After all, he never sinned. No one else can say that about themselves.

As he began his ministry, he spoke words that were different from what people expected to hear. He was followed by many, but hated by many more. He said he had not come to bring peace. He came to bring a sword. A man would be against his father, a daughter would be against her mother. Family would be against family. But why?

He came to bring division.

He said he did not come to bring peace, yet he was called the Prince of Peace. He came to bring a sword, yet he provides a suit of armor. His message was radical, yet he is the long awaited Messiah. He died on a wooden cross, yet he was the Great Healer. He promised eternal life, yet he died a physical death.

This man Jesus is a mystery to some, and a Savior to all who call on his name. He performed many miracles, yet he didn’t save himself from torture and pain and death.

He causes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good. He sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. He is the chief cornerstone and the Rock of Ages. He was despised and rejected by men, but he died to save all of mankind.


This man truly was the Son of God!
Matthew 27:54


Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household! Matthew 10:34-36

The message of Jesus Christ started a revolution, and it is still going strong today. Both the message and the revolution. There are times of revival and there are times of rebellion against his message. Many have repented of their sins, and many have fallen away.

Jesus was a Jew, but his message was for all people. Jews. Gentiles. Everyone. He was not partial. His message was for men and women. He spoke truth to all people at all times.

His wounds healed my sinful heart. His death gave me eternal life. And when he arose from the dead on that third day, he made the way for my sins to be buried in the deepest sea.

He submitted to his Father’s will and left heaven. He was born a baby and grew to be a man. His earthly life lasted 33 years. But he packed a lifetime into those years. His ministry was only three short years, but in that time he upended tradition and the Jewish laws. He appeared to be a rebel, yet he spoke only truth. His message was not for the faint of heart, but for those seeking the Way. His life was prophesied and fulfilled. He was the final answer for a sinful world.

This man Jesus died for me. He literally breathed his final breath as a promise of eternal life in exchange for my repentance. He was God, yet he gave his few years to a human life on this earth and experienced all the temptations that mere mortals face. Yet he never gave in. He never submitted himself to those temptations. He was without sin. He was God in human form. Oh, the day before he hung on that cross, he begged his Father for his life. He asked to be given a pass on this act of sacrificial love. But God, his heavenly Father, said no. My will, Son, is for you to hang on that old rugged cross and die for the sins of all mankind. Just this once. And once was enough. He paid the ultimate sacrifice with his human life for my human sins.

Jesus is the Word of God incarnate, and yet he submitted to the Scriptures.

Michael Horton

Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.

Reason for Hope

I am by nature a pessimist.  Oh.  The glass is half empty.  Always.  There’s no pretty way around it.  I see the half of the glass that’s already been drunk.  It’s empty.  Gone.  That cold drink of water that I had craved.  Oh.  How it satisfied.  My thirst was quenched.  For a moment.  But it’s now gone.  Never to return.  It’s only a memory.  The rest of the water in the glass is inconsequential.  Doesn’t matter.  What mattered is what I no longer have.

Is that how it feels to live without hope?  Thinking the best of life is over.  Thinking that there are no more mountains to climb.  No more foes to conquer.  Thinking that you are the foe to be conquered.  Oh.  You may be standing now.  But not for long.  If there is no hope.

I don’t know what it’s like to live without hope.  That may sound strange for a pessimist.  But I’ve always had the thought that my best life was still to come.  Oh.  I know the day will come when that will no longer be the case.  But for today.  A girl can dream.  And I still dream.

So you may ask.  What is my hope?

Hope is the dream of something new

An old friendship renewed

Morning sun peeping through the windows

The win of a ballgame

A new love or a stronger love

The first glance at crooked teeth made straight

The first step once thought impossible

Fresh picked corn on the cob

A sight for sore eyes

Strength to pick up loose ends

The breath of forgiveness

A kiss on the lips

A warm chocolate chip cookie

A drop of rain on parched soil

The scent of wild honeysuckle on an evening drive through the country

The sighting of a rainbow in the clouds

Freedom to wave the American flag


If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

1 Peter 3:15


But there is more.

My hope is in a Creator who knew me before I was born.

My hope is in the baby born to a virgin and laid in a manger.

My hope is in a boy of twelve wise beyond his years.

My hope is in the Light of the World  who leads me out of darkness.

My hope is in a Provider who meets all my needs.

My hope is in a Redeemer who died on the cross for me.

My hope is in a Savior who forgave my sins.

My hope is in Jesus Christ who will return to this earth someday to usher all believers into heaven.

My hope is in a Heavenly Father who is preparing an eternal home for me in heaven.

If I lose everything, I still have my God.

So yes.  I do have hope.

 

Take Every Thought Captive

I had had negative thoughts all day.  Feelings of inadequacy.  Feelings of discontent.  Just not happy with the way anything went that day.  I was driving home and it suddenly dawned on me.  I had a choice.  I could choose to remain negative.  Or.  I could choose joy.  So I had a conversation with someone.  The initiator of all negativity.  The distorter of all truth.  So I spoke the words aloud.  I wanted him to hear me.  Loud.  And.  Clear.

In Jesus name, get behind me, Satan.  Stop filling my mind with negative thoughts.

Immediately my mind cleared.  Then the words of a song appeared.

Jesus is the joy of living.  He’s the king of life to me.  Unto him my all I’m giving. His forevermore to be. I will do what he commands me.  Anywhere he leads, I’ll go.  Jesus is the joy of living.  He’s the dearest friend I know.


We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5


Is it possible to capture every rebellious thought and turn it into a Christ honoring thought?  Is it possible to stop Satan’s twisting of truth and manipulation of thoughts and feelings?  Not in my own power.  Because there will be that driver who pulls out in front of me at the last minute.  There will be that coworker who never uses her indoor voice.  There will be that neighbor who doesn’t keep their lawn mowed.  There will be that food server who doesn’t refill my water glass when I desperately need more water.  There will be that controlling boss who has to have his way.  There will be that unbeliever who challenges your beliefs.

It’s so easy to get distracted by life.  The tight budget that keeps getting tighter.  The deadly flu virus that’s sweeping the nation.  The organizational changes at work.  The looming tax filing deadline.  The deadly school shootings.  The community devastated by 2 fallen police officers.  The list could go on endlessly.

Negativity is everywhere.  Submission to the gospel of Jesus Christ is crowded out by pride.  Obedience to Christ is trampled by rebelliousness.  Peace is shadowed by fear.

The thing is.  This isn’t a physical battle we’re fighting.  Oh. We’re fighting a battle all right. But it’s a spiritual battle.

Satan is working to keep people from believing in Christ.  He’s also working to keep Christians from growing and maturing in Christ.  Oh.  Satan isn’t God’s equal.  But there are demonic forces working to distort truth, to deceive and to disrupt God’s work in our lives.

This Christian life is a battle.  We must fight this battle to the death. We can resist temptation.  We can push Satan away.   We have a stronghold.  God is the Victor.

Another old hymn comes to mind to help remove the negative thoughts.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.  In the light of His glory and grace.

It’s Never Too Late

He turned and caught my eye.  He wasn’t sure if he should look.  But he did.  I wasn’t sure if I should return the look.  But I did.

He was pushing his bike in the intersection when the left arrow turned green.  It was my turn to go.  But he was in the way.  I had to wait.

Maybe he didn’t mean to catch my eye.  Maybe he was just checking to make sure I wasn’t going to charge into him.  Or maybe he was checking to see if I was going to make some obscene gesture.  Or mouth some bad words.  I didn’t do any of that.  I just looked at him.  I waited.

I continued to look.  I saw sadness about him.  Uncertainty.  Unhappiness.  Desperation.  I wondered why he wasn’t riding the bike.  I wondered why he wasn’t driving a car.

I wondered what got him to this point in his life.  Had he made some wrong decisions?  Did he have some habits he couldn’t break?  I didn’t mean to judge.  But I did.

I remember someone else I see regularly standing on that same street corner.  She holds a sign.  Need money.  No job.  Please help.  The thing is.  I’ve seen her there for over a year now.  Once a week.  I sometimes see her walking up to that corner.  I always wonder where she came from.  She pulls out her sign and unfolds it.  Like it’s her job.  I wonder if it is her job.   To stand on that street corner and ask for money.  Perhaps she’s standing on a different street corner every day.

I wonder why she hasn’t gotten a job yet.  I wonder if she’s scamming people for money.  And that’s her job.  I wonder if she really is homeless.  She doesn’t look homeless.

I don’t look her in the eye.  I look away instead.  I’ve been known to put on my sunglasses so I can look at her without looking her in the eye.  I don’t trust her motives.  I don’t mean to judge.  But I do.

Then I remember a man who was judged.  He was hung on a cross and left to die.  Three days later he shocked the world and left the tomb where he had been buried.  He could have saved himself.  But he didn’t.  He could have been the judge and jury of those accusing him of things he didn’t do.  Of things he didn’t say.  But he didn’t.

Instead, he showed love.  As he hung on that middle cross, dying.  One rebel hanging with him cursed him.  The other rebel defended him and asked to be remembered.  Jesus looked over to the man and offered salvation.  Later that day, the man was in heaven.  Meeting up with God.  Because one man, Jesus Christ, cared enough to look him in the eye.  To offer hope and salvation and eternal life.  Instead of judging him.  In the last minutes of that rebel’s life, he was forgiven.  He was given eternal life in heaven.

It’s never too late to receive Jesus’ love and forgiveness.  All you have to do is ask.  

It’s never too late to stop judging others.  It’s never too late to share God’s love.  It’s never too late to offer the hope of heaven.

Maybe I need to start looking more people in the eye.