He Paid the Price

by his wounds

As Good Friday approaches, I wanted to share this post again.

Have you ever been punished for something you didn’t actually do? Maybe you were rejected and punished even though you tried to do the right things. Maybe you willingly took the blame to prevent someone you cared about from suffering the consequences of their actions or choices.  We often stand up for ourselves refusing to take the blame, but there are times in which we willingly accept the blame to protect those we care about. Whether by choice or not, it’s not easy taking the blame or punishment for something you didn’t do.  But your love for those involved causes you to understand the consequences involved if the truth were known, so you accept their punishment.

That’s exactly what Jesus did for each of us.  “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).  He took the punishment for all of our sins.  He suffered a cruel death on the cross even though He never sinned.   Hebrews 9:28 says, “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”   Through his death and resurrection we are healed and can accept the gift of eternal life.

Why would Jesus be willing to endure the floggings, the crown of thorns, and the horrible crucifixion?  Love. An old hymn sums it up perfectly: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!”  Jesus is the most caring and loyal friend we could ever find.   He could have chosen at any time not to accept the punishment we deserve, but He loved us so much that He became a voluntary substitute for each and every one of us.

Jesus took the blame and punishment for every sin anyone has ever committed or will commit.  He knew the consequences we deserve, but He loved us so much that He was willing to suffer for our sins.  Mine, yours, every single person ever born.  It’s difficult for us to take the blame for something we didn’t do, yet Jesus, who was perfectly holy and pure, Jesus who knew no sin, bore the sins of the entire world.  No matter what we’ve done,  He paid the price.


I do not know the young men in this video, but their sweet harmony always makes me smile.

He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.

 I needed someone to wash my sins away,

And now I sing a brand new song, Amazing grace all day long.

Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay. – Author unknown

Related posts:  GPS for Life, Brag Book

Photo credit:  Photobucket.com

Recently I saw our community and surrounding cities become outraged by the actions of teens who dropped a dog off of a bridge and recorded it. These teens were verbally attacked, and people immediately began sending messages of their desire to adopt this poor dog which surprisingly survived. My first thought of this reaction by the community was: “Where is the outrage when this type of act occurs against humans?”

Don’t get me wrong, I was upset by this video too. I love my dog and hate to see any animal abused or neglected. However, if this much outrage were directed at crimes against people then we would live in a much different society, but we have become afraid, indifferent, and closed mouthed about the actions or inactions against human life.

What is the value of human life? That answer would probably depend on who you ask. I think most would say they do value human life, but do the actions of our own lives and that of society reflect that? National and local news are filled with stories of violent crimes committed against people.

Recently, I heard of teens attacking elderly people not for robbery but just for the thrill of hitting someone who is defenseless, I guess. I don’t understand it. What happened to respect for your elders?

Murder, robbery, assault…the list goes on and on. What happened to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?

Then there are stories that don’t always make the news but also show this lack of value for others. Children are neglected by parents who are more concerned with their own pleasures. This results in a greater number of children needing foster care than there are families willing to care for them. Innocent babies who have no voice are aborted each day while many couples go to extreme measures in hopes of conceiving a child. Children are a precious gift from God, yet does our society reflect that?

We need to view ourselves and others through God’s eyes and see the value that He sees in each and every person in this world. Interestingly, the value of art is determined by three questions: Who made it? How many are like it? And what would someone pay for it? Our value can be determined by these same three questions. We were made by a God who created an entire universe; no one is exactly like us; and finally the extraordinary price paid for us means that we are incredibly valuable.

John 3:16 says, “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.” How do we know that He loves us? He sent His own son to take the punishment that we deserve so that we could have eternal life. All we have to do is believe. That is how valuable we are to God!

You are valuable

You Can Do This

You can do it

Has God ever asked you to do something that absolutely terrified you?

What keeps us from stepping out in faith?

Fear is probably what causes most of us say, “I just can’t do that”.  We prefer to do things that are safe, but playing it safe causes us to miss many blessings that God has to offer.  The moment you step out in faith and trust God, He will provide strength.  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” You CAN’T do it alone, but you CAN do whatever God calls you to do through His strength!

What’s holding you back from being completely obedient to God?  There are three things you should do before saying “no”.

  • Trust – Place your trust in Him rather than your feelings.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” (Proverbs 3:5).
  • Pray – Seek God’s direction – “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths,” (Proverbs 3:6).
  • Proceed – Go wherever God leads you and do whatever He requires. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” (Isaiah 55:8).

I have to admit that God has asked me to do things that terrified me.  And believe me when I say that there have been things I absolutely refused to do and later regretted.  But when I’ve been obedient, things were much easier than I expected because God’s power was made perfect in my weakness.  I also found those were the times that have brought some of the greatest blessings in my life.

When God asks us to do something, it will often be out of our comfort zone.  If we are confident in our own abilities, His power gets stifled by our confidence, and it becomes OUR project instead of HIS.  But when we choose to allow Him to use us, despite our weaknesses, HIS power shines through instead of our own.

When you make yourself available, you will be amazed at what God can do through you.

Through His strength, you CAN do it, so say “yes” with confidence in His power!

Photo credit:  photobucket.com

What makes you happy? Many of us think if we just made more money or could win the lottery, we would be happy. For some, our happiness is based on relationships such as marriage or friendships. For others, happiness revolves around sports. And of course, if we can’t find happiness in other things, we tend to search for happiness in CHOCOLATE!

We all have personal issues that rock our world at times. Cancer, death, pain, strained relationships, heartache, and so many other things affect the happiness of our daily lives. Psalms 30:5 says, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Unfortunately that does not literally mean we will weep through the night and tomorrow everything will be ok. But instead it assures us that there WILL be a time of joy even in the midst of our trials.

The happiness that things such as money, relationships, sports, and chocolate provide is NOT the same as joy. Happiness comes and goes, but joy is long-lasting and brings true contentment. Happiness causes short-term pleasure, but joy is long-lasting. Happiness isn’t something that you can cling to during the trials of life, but real joy endures the trials. True joy is only found through a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

For Christians, joy is like a bottomless well of water. The water is always there, but we have to lower the bucket to get it. It takes effort on our part. We can’t just turn the knob and expect joy to flow freely. We must make the choice each day to lower our bucket. So how exactly do we get the joy into our bucket?

8 steps to joy

  1. Pray – When things are out of your control, pray as if every aspect of the situation hinges on your prayer. James 5:16 says, “The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” Prayer is not a one-sided conversation for you to tell God what you want or how you feel. He wants to talk to you too, but often we do not take the time to listen.
  2. Believe – Trust God to bring you through it. Psalms 34:19 says, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” His plan is not our plan, so things may not work out exactly how we wanted. But He WILL carry you through. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
  3. Read the Bible – Search for what God wants you to learn. Don’t just sit down to read quickly through a daily plan. Take the time to search for what God wants to say to you through those verses.
  4. Look for positive aspects of life – Each day make an effort to find one good thing no matter how desperate your situation. Record those blessings in a Gratitude Journal so that you can see and hold in your hand all the blessings He bestowed during the trials.
  5. Avoid whining and complaining – Instead of making you feel better, complaining actually highlights the negative, keeping it your focus, and just makes the situation worse.
  6. Serve others – Doing something for someone else in their time of need helps you forget your own troubles for a moment and increases your joy while decreasing your stress.
  7. Laugh – Laughing actually provides many benefits. It relaxes the body, relieves stress and pain, benefits heart and immune systems. Laughter really is good medicine. So watch a funny movie, hang out with a friend who tells stupid jokes, or whatever makes you laugh.
  8. Finally, guard your bucket.  – Don’t allow Satan to steal your joy. He wants to rob you of your joy and will use anything possible to discourage us, cause us to worry, and even create doubt.

When it seems that your Bucket Full of Joy is running low, go back to the well. Make sure that you are praying, believing, and reading your Bible. Make the choice every day to lower your bucket, and remember Psalms 30:5 which says, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

We won’t always be happy, but we can still have joy in the midst of the chaos.

joy

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tootsie-pop-owl

“How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” This was the catch phrase for Tootsie Pop commercials in the seventies. An animated boy asks this question to a turtle who sends the boy to the owl because he is much wiser. When asked, the owl begins licking and counting. After only three licks, he bites into the lollipop which greatly annoys the boy. The narrator of the commercial then announces that “the world may never know” how many licks it takes to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop.

There have been studies attempting to answer this decades old question with results ranging from hundreds to thousands of licks. I know there were many kids, like me, who ate Tootsie Pops and tried unsuccessfully to get to the center without biting. We took our time counting each lick, but finally just couldn’t stand it any longer, bit into the Tootsie Pop, and it was all over.

tootsie_pop

Many of us wonder just how many times God expects us to forgive those who sin against us. We often treat forgiveness like a Tootsie Pop. Just as we count the number of licks to get to the center, we tally the offenses against us. Once a person reaches a certain point, it’s all over. We are patient and forgiving for a while, but then eventually we just can’t stand it anymore, and that relationship is crushed like a Tootsie Pop. When our boss treats us unfairly, we turn in our key and hit the door. When friends hurt us, we push them out of our lives and seek revenge. When children disappoint, we turn our backs as if we never cared. When our spouse betrays us, we pack our bags (or theirs) and file for divorce.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

Jesus’ response to Peter was to forgive seventy times seven. That’s a lot of forgiving! I remember often losing count while trying to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop. Even if I could have made it to the center without biting, I probably wouldn’t have been exactly sure how many licks it did take! I think that was Jesus’ point in telling us to forgive seventy times seven. It would be very difficult to keep up with that many offenses against us, so instead of tallying each offense we need to just “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Remember, forgiveness is not a Tootsie Pop. Don’t even try to count the number of times you have forgiven someone. Just show them the same mercy that you have received. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

toosie pop

Photo credit: photobucket.com

You are Beautiful

fearfully made

When I was a child, I hated my red hair and wished to change it more than anything because I was different from the other kids. As I grow older and the gray begins to creep in, it creates an appearance of highlights. My friends are envious because I don’t have to color to hide the gray, so naturally I have grown to love and appreciate that my hair is different.

Unfortunately, new insecurities have slipped into my self-perception. It is fairly safe to say that most of you, like me, are also dissatisfied with something about yourself. Maybe you believe you are too short or too tall, too thin or too heavy. Your nose is too big or your lips too thin. Maybe it is your physical appearance, or you wish you were smarter. Maybe you struggle with your emotions or social issues.

We are constantly deceived by the world’s interpretation of beauty, but we need to put aside those lies and look to our creator for our worth. Instead trust what the Bible says in Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” This includes you because you were created by Him. Thankfully, God did not create us with a cookie cutter pattern. We are all different. We do not look the same, behave the same, or think the same. But we were all created by Him. You can believe that He knows everything about you, and He still loves you just the way you are.

We have a tendency to put more emphasis on the negative qualities we see in ourselves and not recognize the positive qualities.  Dove soap has an ad in which a forensic artist asks women hidden behind a curtain to describe themselves as he draws. He then draws what complete strangers see when they look at the same women. The difference is amazing! You can watch that video by clicking here.

How would you describe yourself? Consider physical appearance, social traits, personality, spiritual characteristics, everything about you. How would that description compare to how others would describe you and more importantly how God would describe you? Just imagine how much more beauty would be seen by your creator who loves you so much that He gave His only Son so that if you believe you will have everlasting life! (John 3:16)

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalms 139:13-14). You are beautiful because God created you!

2013 Top 10 Devotionals

2013 Top Ten Devotionals

#1 Wait for the Joy - Whatever has you frozen in fear or running the other direction to escape, may be the very thing that God is waiting to take your hand and guide you through. If you will just trust Him, He will be with you for the duration of the ride, sitting right beside you, and getting you safely to the destination He has planned for you. […] Read full post>>

#2 Power of Prayer - Satan wants us to lose heart in the power of prayer.  He wants us to be discouraged so that we don’t recognize and utilize the power of our prayers.[…]  Read full post>>

#3 Time with God - Do you feel as if God is moving farther and farther away?  Do you feel alone and unable to sense His presence in your daily life? […]  Read full post>>

#4 What a Day! - Even if healing is never received on this earth we can be sure that God has an eternal purpose, and someday when we reach our heavenly home there will be no more pain. [...]  Read full post>>

#5 Bucket Full of Joy -  What makes you happy? Many of us think if we just made more money or could win the lottery, we would be happy. For some, our happiness is based on relationships such as marriage or friendships. For others, happiness revolves around sports. And of course, if we can’t find happiness in other things, we tend […] Read full post>>

#6 Learning to be Content - Regardless of the circumstances we face, we can trust that Christ will give us strength to get through it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t come naturally. [...]  Read full post>>

#7 God’s Backseat Driver - Trusting God is sometimes like teaching a teenager to drive. Someone else has the wheel, and you have no real control. Moving from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s seat as your teen learns to drive can cause a lot of uneasy feelings. You have just lost complete control of the vehicle to someone who […]  Read full post>>

#8 Put Your Hope in Him - Even though things may not happen as quickly or exactly the way you desire, trust that God has everything under control and has a plan specifically for you.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, [...] Read full post>>

#9 Confined by Questions - There was a time in my life when I questioned everything I knew about God and whether it was all worth trying so hard to be faithful in the tough times.  During that time, God gave me the following scripture to restore my faith when it was wavering:  “But as for you, continue in what […] Read full post>>

#10 Trust Me - Trust does not come easily.  It often means letting go of everything we know to be rational, letting someone else have control, and hoping they carry through.  The good news is [...] Read full post>>

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