April 7, 2020 · 9:17 pm
This devotional by our pastor Randy Huddleston spoke to my heart, and I have his permission to share it with you.
The All-Sufficient Cross of Christ
Prepare yourself, take off your shoes because you are entering holy ground.
Sacrifice, selflessness, supreme, surprising, suffering, the Son of God nailed to a cross to die.
The injured party in the human drama was God. His joy and desire were to delight in the people he had made, but they turned on him and aligned themselves with his archenemy. God was stabbed in the back. The relationship was broken, and separation led to consequences for the hurt they had done. This was no small thing like spilled milk; this was the breakdown of divine and human connection, love, and the journey together. That brilliant, beautiful pair’s act of rebellion rippled like a tsunami across the created order affecting the animate and inanimate. It has come to you as part of creation and as a son or daughter of Adam and Eve.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12 (NLT2)
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Romans 8:20-21 (NLT2)
A solution was needed to sin, curse, and death. Neither human philosophy, self-made religion, or holier-than-thou living would be the solution. The solution had to come from above, and God provided it. He sent his Son.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 (NLT2)
Jesus, the God-man, Son of God, who lived a perfect and blameless life, humbled himself to be the sacrifice, the sufficient sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin. No other could do it. He knew the importance of what he did. His suffering and death were not to impress or please you but to provide justice before the Supreme Court of Highest Heaven. If the requirements of the highest law and Lawgiver were not met, there would be no future for humanity or this universe. Jesus on the cross was the all-sufficient, permanent, and perfect payment. He changed everything.
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 (NLT2)
Adam freely took from the tree and disobeyed God leading to death. Jesus willingly gave himself on the tree and fully obeyed God even to death. Adam’s death led to death for all. Jesus’ death leads to life.
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 (NLT2)
Jesus’ death on the cross did it, once for all, no need for continued animal sacrifices. Jesus’ cross was God’s plan, and when it was finished, people could have new life in him. Trying to earn points to get into God’s good graces is of no value by comparison to the once for all sacrifice of Christ. Salvation is only by God’s grace; no one can earn it by what they think is good.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT2)
- Have you ever considered Jesus’ death on the cross insufficient and tried to do good things to be saved?
- No other historical event has done more to set people free than this one selfless solitary sacrifice on the cross. Has the cross of Christ enthralled you?
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January 2, 2020 · 4:26 pm
Photo in Glacier NP
My mind in depression-anxiety mode gravitates to guilt. Past wrongs I’ve done loom large in my life. Even good sermons sound like, “You ought to have been or done better; you should be or do better; shame on you.”
Now I’m not talking about real guilt for which there is a solution. It’s important to face the sin which the Holy Spirit points out. This we can repent of and confess to God. Then we can look to 1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)” God keeps His promises, so that takes care of the real guilt.
False guilt wallows in regrets and manufactures “should-do’s” or “ought-to-be’s.” My mind gets busy with these thoughts, and my spiritual vision gets blurred. Then I don’t see the real and current sins I need to confess and repent of. And that kind of thinking gets my focus off of Jesus and onto me. Then I start expecting me to do what only He can do. So—more burden, more depression, more anxiety.
But there is hope at the end of this valley. And, much as I feared there wouldn’t be, there was an end. When one is down in the valley, though, a prayer from Psalm 86 ministers to the soul: “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. …You alone are God. …Give me an undivided heart…. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me…. (From Psalm 86:5-8, 10-13 New International Version.)”
Yes, Lord, an undivided heart, trusting You alone
And seeking Your kingdom, not my own.
May 13, 2019 · 5:46 pm
In the book of Hosea, God tells the prophet to marry a prostitute, so he married Gomer (Hosea 1:1, 3). In Hosea 3:1, God tells Hosea to love his wife again, even though she had apparently returned to prostitution. Hosea 3:2 says, “So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine” (NLT).
The book of Hosea shows us God’s faithful love for Israel in spite of her unfaithfulness to Him.
Hosea also has truth for us today: God paid a redemption price for us. It wasn’t silver or wine or barley, but rather the life-blood of His Son Jesus.
And God wants to redeem every person and make each one His own. He’s already paid the price, but He gives each one the choice to accept or reject the love and life He offers.
Thank You, Lord, for paying the price to redeem me from sin and darkness. Thank You for Your offer of forgiveness through Jesus. I love You because You made me one of Your beloved children in Christ. Amen.
One of my favorite Bible quotes: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12-13 NLT)
October 17, 2018 · 9:08 pm
“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34)
Yes, Lord, You are so good! You are good and do only good (Psalm 119:68 NLT). I praise You for Your total goodness. I also thank You for Your goodness to me.
Thank you for your unending mercy and loving-kindness! How I need Your mercy! If I continued to look at how often I’ve failed to show love or have gone my own way, surely I would faint from discouragement. But Your mercy is fresh every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and it endures forever! Thank You!
In the New Living Translation, “loving-kindness” is translated “faithful love.”Thank You, Lord, for Your faithful love! Your love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
“Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever! Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord? Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?” (Psalm 106:1-2)
“All the praise that is due God”—indeed, Lord, You are worthy of unending praise. No matter how many praises I sing or say, You are worthy of more.
“Bless (Affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)
O my soul, when you are tempted to feel sad or discouraged, remember God’s goodness and mercy and faithful love. Put into words some of His mighty deeds. Then affectionately and gratefully praise your Lord and bless His holy Name. And remember that His mercy and faithful love (even for you) ENDURE FOREVER!
(Scripture quotes are from the Amplified Bible.)
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Tagged as Bible, christianity, Eternal life, God, God's Faithfulness, God's goodness, Love, mercy, praise
November 7, 2017 · 9:43 pm
Don’t you hate it when you’re looking for something on the internet, and you get the screen “Error 404—Page not found”? But there are times in my life when I’m glad for “page not found”—like when I start to dig up those sins which have been confessed, forgiven, and forgotten by God. (See 1 John 1:9, Isaiah 43:25, and Hebrews 10:17)
Psalm 103:12 makes a great promise: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” And Jesus makes it true for all of us who trust in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Thank You, Father, for removing my sins so far from me. I can forget the past except for the lessons I’ve learned. I cannot meet up with those transgressions again. If a person travels east, they can go around the globe 100 times and still be going east. Also, if we travel west, we’ll still be going west no matter how far we go. So east and west have no meeting point, no “page” where my sin could be found.
I can’t thank You enough, O Lord my God.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Isaiah 43:25 “It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.”
Hebrews 10:17 “I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 “For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Him. Therefore the “Amen” is also through Him for God’s glory through us.”
(Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
August 20, 2017 · 4:23 pm
Verses from Psalm 86: 1-5, 8, 12-13, New International Version, with my thoughts:
1. Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Am I poor and needy? Maybe not financially since any American is rich compared to most people in other parts of the world. But I am spiritually poor when my faith is small and I get discouraged. I’m needy because I am a broken person living in a broken world and both body and soul can be wounded and/or knocked off balance.
2. Guard my life, for I am faithful to You; save Your servant who trusts in You. You are my God. The key to receiving God’s help is for me to faithfully seek Him instead of other answers and to trust His power and care. I will have no other gods besides the living God, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. I will be faithful to You, Lord.
3. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to You all day long. I will be persistent and patient in prayer.
4. Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You. I will trust in You, Lord, with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). (In Your presence is fullness of joy—from Psalm 16:11.)
5. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. Thank You, Lord, that You abound in love to me as I call on You.
8. Among the gods, there is none like You, Lord; no deeds can compare with Yours. For example, what other god could cause a dead stick to bud, blossom, and bear almonds as You did with Aaron’s staff?
12-13. I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. 13 For great is Your love toward me. You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead. Yes, I will glorify Your name forever and praise You with all my heart, Lord, for great is Your love for me!
(Image from Pinterest)
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April 2, 2017 · 9:26 pm
I don’t have to be perfect because Jesus Christ died for me and exchanged His righteousness and perfection for my sin and failure, and He rose again leaving sin and failure at the cross, and He lives forever at the Father’s right hand. He intercedes for us (me), and His Holy Spirit lives in me to work out Christ’s righteousness in my life.
My trying to be perfect and pretending to myself that I am–these prevent me from receiving the mercy and forgiveness Jesus went through so much to provide for me. “If we say we have no sin, we are calling God a liar” (1 John 1:10), and we can’t partake of the pardon and cleansing offered in 1 John 1:9.
I’m through trying to hide my sin, failure, and mistakes (from others and myself) behind a façade of personal goodness. I choose instead to hide them in the blood of Jesus where they are dissolved and carried away.
Let me cease from trying so I can rest in trusting.
October 30, 2016 · 4:52 pm
I failed; no, messed up; no, blew it—well, actually I sinned.
Nevertheless, I can go boldly to God’s throne of grace to receive mercy and help at the time I need it (Hebrews 4:16). I can receive mercy from God because of Jesus Christ.
When I repent and confess my sin to my Father, He casts my sin behind His back (Isaiah 38:17). Then He doesn’t turn around and look at it, so He doesn’t see it anymore. I can’t see it either because He is too big for me to see around Him.
Father, I’m so grateful, I think I’ll dance.
October 2, 2016 · 3:14 pm
In Deuteronomy 4:26-28, God warns Israel (through Moses) that if they break His covenant with them, He will scatter them among the nations, and only a few of them will survive. But then Moses tells them in verses 29 and 31 of that chapter, “But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. …For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.”
What a wonderful promise from You, O merciful Father. Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:23) Faithful Father, You won’t abandon me either (Hebrews 13:5). And You won’t forget the promises You have made to us who are in Christ Jesus. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Amen.
Isaiah 56:4 “For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those …who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me.”
Psalm 62:8 “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”
(Scripture verses are from the New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
December 22, 2015 · 2:57 pm
When my husband and I hiked in Kings Canyon, we got off the trail on one of the hikes. We weren’t sure when or how we departed from the route shown on the map, but we got into progressively rougher terrain and ran into more obstacles. We wondered, “Is this really the trail?”
Finally we decided to turn around, ask God’s help, and try to find our way back to a place we recognized. When we found the trail again, we thanked God, went back to the trail head, and looked for a hike that was more clearly marked.
As a follower of Jesus, I sometimes get off the path where He is leading. I find the going rougher and the obstacles greater as the Holy Spirit keeps prodding me to return to the right way. I’m so glad God doesn’t leave me alone, but instead calls me back into His light!
I used to get bogged down in hopeless regret when I made a seemingly big mistake or had grievously sinned. First John 1:9 assures me that God forgives and cleanses me as soon as I confess my sin and turn back to Him. However, I can’t go back in time and live those days the way God had planned. That righteous path is blocked for me.
Recently, thoughts on Jeremiah 18:3-11 encouraged me about that. There God says He can do with the people of Judah as the potter did with the pot he was making. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped, so he returned it to a lump and made a different vessel.
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6 New Living Translation).”
Because of God’s goodness and mercy, He plans a different route for me to go where I can honor and glorify Him again. That righteous path will be just as wonderful as “Plan A.” Not only that, “Plan C” would be just as marvelous as Plan A or B. Likewise, His plans D, E…Z, AA, AB, and on to infinity will be equally amazing. In God’s multifaceted, infinite wisdom, He makes each one of His “paths of righteousness” perfect.
I don’t want to fail or sin or in any way damage this vessel God is working on. But I do. And God, with His unlimited creativity and grace still has great plans for me to take part in as soon as I return to Him and His way. Indeed, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).”
Goodbye, Hopeless Regret. Hello, Joy in the Lord!
© Tricia Opitz Nov. 20515-Nov. 2016 https://triciajots4jesus.wordpress.com/
Picture credit: –”Potter in Rabka 03″ by User:Piotrus – my photos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG#/media/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG
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