Joy no matter what. A blog by Deanne Nelson.

Blogging, Speaking, and Writing | Jesus and Autism | The Nelson Family Journey

But the greatest of these… May 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — gdnelson5 @ 5:48 pm
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I start off by sharing that I am not an expert on anything. Oh, there have been areas that I once thought I might have known more than a little something about, but one thing that the years have given me (besides poor eyesight and an extra twenty-five pounds) is humbling revelation. I find that humility is the absolute best teacher, if we are willing to receive and be trained by it.

That all being said, there is no question that darkness and sin abound in our world. One does not need to be a scholarly theologian to come to that conclusion. What is so disheartening is the ever growing collateral damage that our sins are leaving behind. Sin has dire and destructive consequences to be sure. We live in a time where pain, violence, and offense have become the norm, but is it too late to find hope in this world? Our nation? Our workplace and neighborhoods? How in the world do we fight the sin and darkness that come to destroy ourselves and each other??

Now, I again reiterate that my word is not one of any power or authority in this matter, but I believe that the Lord God speaks truth into the hearts of those who seek Him. We are all but one prayer away from His advice, counsel, and direction. I am only sharing what has invaded my heart as I pray and ponder over all that is around us.

The answer starts with something that we all have open access to, but will we receive it and use it? The starting place creates the entire foundation, but will we skip over this step to get to matters that we believe are more pressing or crucial? Oh yes, many people believe that they have the keys to knowledge and understanding, but have we forgotten the most critical and basic of all requirements for hope and restoration to abound?….

LOVE.

It is a word we use in excess. We love coffee, the beach, Disneyland, our families, etc. We love to sleep too! But genuine and deep love comes from the Lord God. In the Greek language, there are multiple words to define varying types of degrees of what we know in English as ‘love’. One such word is ‘agape,’ and it refers to love that is everlasting, unconditional, and transforming. It is this type of love that can take a blameless man to a brutal death on a cross, and leave behind not a single shred of irritation, blame, or offense. Not only that, it is a love that offers total and complete forgiveness to anyone, no matter how much of a sinner they are. Let’s face it; we are all just a mess. This love does not need you to get ‘cleaned up’ or ‘right’. It is there for the taking. It comes from the Lord God, through way of Jesus Christ. He was the one who battled the shame, sin, and death for us on the cross, and what did He leave behind for us?…LOVE. Will you receive His love? I promise you this, it is the answer for your every need, question, and longing.

To the broken sinner…you are loved.

To the struggling drug addict…you are loved. God loves you right now, just the way you are. He loves you as you are injecting, snorting, smoking, or ingesting, and He loves you as you plead and fight through the pains of withdrawal. He loves you as you fall one more time to the beast of addiction, and He loves you as you try to convince yourself and others that this time is the last time. He loves you just as much as He loves any human being who is and ever lived. Will you surrender to Jesus and receive His love?

To the homosexual, bisexual, transgender, lesbian, pornographic partaker, prostitute, and all others…you are loved. God has formed every part of you and loves His creation. He knows you better than you know yourself, and so today, just know that you are loved totally and completely, just the way you are. The walls of shame and anger that you might feel in regards to God were not placed there by Him. Jesus Christ extends love and hope to all, and will not turn you away. Please do not turn Him away. He did not love you more when you were living ‘better,’ and He will not love you any less when you make choices and decisions that don’t align with His ways. His love is constant, no matter what. Will you surrender to Jesus and receive His love?

To the murderers, rapists, pedophiles, terrorists…yes, Jesus’ blood shed on the cross is that strong. You are loved in complete measure. The God who created you is merciful beyond human comprehension, and His love can be your true source of life and hope. It is a love that washes every stain, and leaves behind a new creation. God’s love for you is just as powerful and alive as His love for Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, or any of the spiritual ‘greats’ as we might perceive them to be. The foot of the cross is level ground, with a full and equal portion of love to all who come. Will you surrender to Jesus and receive His love?

To the atheist, agnostic, new world guru, Mormon, Baptist, Lutheran, Buddhist, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Hindu, Catholic, Christian, Jew, and ALL other religions…you are loved. God has never been bound by our religious boundaries. His unconditional and total love for mankind crosses right over all of them. He loves you today, no matter what ‘religion’ you happen to be practicing right now. When Jesus died on the cross, a way was provided for each and every individual to come to God. No need to earn certain theological or advanced knowledge, or to pass through a series of ritualistic steps of worthiness. You have an open pathway to His perfect love through Christ. He sees you, He knows you, and most importantly, He loves you. Will you surrender to Jesus and receive His love?

Hhhmmm, any others?  Have you ever lied, cheated, stolen, grumbled, or complained? Have you ever been envious, prideful, jealous, angry, bitter, selfish, or self-righteous? Ever felt that someone of a different race, political affiliation, or religion was beneath you? What about offended? Have you ever held an offense against another and harbored unforgiveness in your heart for them, for any reason at all?

I could go on, but I believe I have touched on every human being who has ever lived, and who ever will. If you take issue with this, I would refer you to the preceding paragraph, and hope that you do not take offense.

The apostle Paul sums it up under guidance of the Holy Spirit…“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.”… 1 Timothy 1:15. 

Why in the world would Jesus Christ do such a thing? The answer has always been there since the foundation of the world…LOVE. God loves you. He loves you magnificently. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”…John 3:16.

The question is, will you now take that love and pour it out into others? If  the love of Jesus would  flow freely out from those who have been willing to receive it, our world would literally have a love explosion! It would be colossal. We would see unity, restoration, healing, and joy across our land.

I suppose I could have cut straight to the chase and said that God loves all sinners, but there are some groups of people that I specifically mentioned in which some people feel might be disqualified. Not so. We are all sinners, plain and simple.

To my precious Christian brothers and sisters, we are truly free in Christ Jesus, but it was nothing that we earned or deserved. May we use that freedom to love all the more. While we certainly have the right to protest and boycott things we feel strongly about, let’s be sure that we are not boycotting the love He so strongly wants us to spread. He just might be sending you to the very people or places that you feel certain you must exclude. Be prayerful and willing to open your heart to where the Spirit leads, knowing that He might be speaking a different plan and purpose to another. May mercy and grace abound in these things.

“Three things that will last forever-faith, hope, and love-but the greatest of these is LOVE.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

Let’s get busy fighting the darkness of this world with agape love for one another. It is a powerful weapon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Wins July 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — gdnelson5 @ 11:40 pm
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Love Wins.

That is a very powerful mantra that we have all heard a great deal of in the past few days. There is deep meaning behind those words, and yet, there is stark contrast and disagreement throughout our nation as to what those words mean. It is not my purpose in writing this to offend, belittle, attack, or malign anyone, but I have accepted the fact that words spoken on controversial and ‘difficult’ issues will do those very things for some. I have found myself reminding the Lord God of this, as my flesh is more than ok with staying silent, but He reminds me that His gospel has the power to save and to never be ashamed of it. Silence is not an option.

From the beginning of creation, God has had good and honorable intentions for mankind. We utter phrases like ‘God loves you’ and ‘God is love’ repeatedly, but have we really taken those truths deeply and to heart? What does it mean to be loved by God? Does it mean that God loves us if we are on our best behavior? Or when we are experiencing what seems to be good blessings in this life? Has he rescinded that love when it appears that we are going through times of intense pain and hardship? What if a lifestyle choice does not align with His word or commands? Does he love us then? Will He love us more if we start making our best efforts to walk in His ways, and for that matter, will He love us a bit less if we start screwing things up left and right? How in the world does love really win???

The incredible news I have to share is that the Lord God has a heart for sinners. Yes, He is in love with sinners. It is critical that we not confuse His love for sinners with a love for sin. The Bible is absolutely clear that He hates sin, but He always has and always will love sinners. That is good news for me, and it is good news for you. Do not take those words flippantly, as it is an essential truth that needs to be grasped. And His love is pure and complete in totality. You cannot add to it by doing everything just right, and you cannot detract from it due to sins in your life that you cannot seem to get a handle on. Would you believe that God loves you just as much as He loves Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, or any other ‘religious’ figure you can think of? Let me be clear, God does not love deceit, pride, slander, adultery, homosexuality, materialism, drunkenness, idolatry,…to name a few. Idolatry is loving anything more than God. What do we spend our most time and energy on? That might be a hint as to what might be an idol in our lives. It is true that the greatest number of internet downloads are first to social network sites and second to pornographic ones. We seem to be mesmerized with ourselves and to sexual immorality. Jesus himself said that to even look at someone with lust in your heart is to commit adultery. Our entertainment industry has made certain that we are all guilty of that one. If sinners are not welcome in churches, then the seats and pews would have to be completely empty.  But  praise be to God that He loves sinners.

How do I know God loves you? The proof has been recorded for over a thousand years.. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”… Romans 5:8. This was no ordinary death. This was the very Son of God come to earth to cleanse us from our ugly sin problem. He was perfect, without stain or blemish from sin. He chose to die for us. There is no greater love than that. Do you accept that love? Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner, and that you are in desperate need of a savior? From the dawn of time, blood was shed as an atoning sacrifice for sins. That simply means that something had to die to pay the price for our choice to sin. In old testament times nations were wiped out and countless animals were slaughtered, all due to our fleshly desire to sin against God. But when Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross, the sin problem was forever dealt with. His one sacrifice would cover all sin from that moment forward. It was a colossal price to pay, and we are all blessed beyond any words I could express in what He did for us. No one can out-sin the cross. But each person must accept that sacrifice. Each person must come humbly before God and receive what Christ did for them on the cross. Each person must  repent of their sins, and trust that the Lord and His Holy Spirit will fill them with the grace and strength to walk away from the sins that entangle them. Only through the blood of the cross can such victory be obtained.

We can never walk in God’s freedom and blessing though if our choice is to embrace our sin. We as a society are crumbling before our very eyes. We have enemies all around that seek to destroy us, while we are decaying from within our own borders. As society becomes more and more comfortable and accommodating to sin, we see the curse of sin passed on from generation to generation. Sin will always leave dreadful consequences in its wake, and we are living that out in real time. There comes a time when God pulls away and allows us to wallow in the ugliness that we have chosen, and lifts His hedge of protection off of us. Never before was a country birthed from the very principles of the Bible as the United States of America was. We have turned our backs on those very virtues in an effort to be politically correct and pleasing to the flesh.  God’s ways will always overrule our opinions. “Let God be true, and every man a liar.’…Romans 3:4. Those who speak God’s truth are now viewed as bigots. We are guilty of calling evil good, and good evil. We do not want God or His commands in our work places, schools, court houses, medical facilities, and we don’t even want Him in many of our churches. We have watered down his perfect Word to make it more palatable for those who don’t want to live by its standards. Sexual sin is most rampant of all, and the one that we cling to with fierce veracity. Nope, no one is going to tell us what to do or how to live. My heart bleeds over it, and yet, God’s love is still there.

We need to seek the Lord God with all of our hearts about how to turn our society around. We need to come before him in prayer and seeking, humbly confessing our sins in deep repentance. We need to clear our own agenda and listen for His beautiful voice of correction and guidance. It is always there if we are willing to listen and obey. We are to LOVE one another deeply. Instead of being all stirred up about the sins of others, we should be focused on the state of the church and God’s witness to our world. We all share a great responsibility for the bitter decline of our nation. Judgment is a certainty..“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17.  This promise of God confirms that the downfall of nations begins first in the church. The church is the guardian of the gospel and so the greatest responsibility rests with it. The major social and moral issues are no longer filtered through sound Biblical doctrine. God’s true church has faded into the background, while corrupt governments have taken the reigns. It is a travesty that any US court is given authority to  legislate when and how life is said to begin, or what the definition of marriage is. We trample on dangerous ground when we refuse to concede that the master creator cannot be overruled. Marriage is the oldest of all God created institutions. Marriage came before the fall of mankind into sin. We should shudder in reverent fear that mere human beings have had the audacity to try and redefine it, and that countless supporters would chime in that ‘love wins’ in response. We raise our rebellious fists to a loving God who has brought so many comforts, protections, and blessings to our lives. We use our voices to remind Him that we believe we are in charge, and that we will not submit to His authority. Even so, His love remains and His forgiveness is right there if we humbly pray and repent. He holds no grudges and keeps a short account of sin if we are willing to turn from it. The price for true freedom was paid long ago by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. There is no other covering for sin than that.

God is very clear that there is only one way in which a nation can be cleansed and healed. “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.

There it is. Our marching orders are very clear. The only hope for America and our world lies in prayer and repentance before God. There is no hope in our government, our military, our technology, or any other thing we bring to the table. A nation insistent on rebellion against God will always see its demise. The devil has so many of us duped. He loves when we are at odds with each other over flags, rainbows, wedding cakes, on and on. We argue passionately over such things, while demonic and evil forces are closing in all the more. Are we awake? Innocent men, women, and children are being beheaded, burned alive, thrown off buildings, crucified, and other atrocities. Yes, this is the world we now live in. Are we praying? Do we have repentant hearts before the Lord?

If we as Christians truly believe that the gospel has the power to set people free from all sin and curses, then we are to walk with zero condemnation or judgment.  Jesus showed mercy to those who struggled with sin; He did not condemn them. The light of Jesus needs to overpower the stench of darkness that is so pervasive right now.

No matter how ugly and dark it all may seem, God can heal and cleanse our land. I do absolutely agree that love wins, but that fact was proven over a thousand years ago on a hill known as Calvary. That is the place where the savior of the world, Jesus Christ, paid the price for our sins. We can have hope for tomorrow and for all eternity because of His sacrifice. That is what love winning really looks like. index

 

 
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