Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Father knows best.

I'm so thankful that my Savior died for me.  I'm so thankful to have a way to the Father. I have the free[and very much undeserved] gift of salvation.  God loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me and cover me with his precious blood and let His body take the most horrific beating...all for me. All because of Love. If only I could love the way Jesus does--unconditionally--and sacrificially.  This is not an easy thing to do.  But it's something I want to make a serious effort at doing.  Some people are easier to love than others, but we are called to love one another.  

This brings me to another thing I'm thankful for.  I'm thankful for God's mercy and grace shown to me and His love drawing me closer to Himself and for the freedom of having an attitude that is more like His.  Although, this is a continual process, I can say that He has changed me so much over the past several months.  My attitude is so different than what it had been and He has shown me things and given me the direction that I had asked Him for.  It's funny how His answers aren't what I wanted, but ultimately they have been for my best.  For that, I'm thankful.  He didn't give me my yes, because He knew the place I had thought about going--was not the place for me.  He's shown me that I'm in just the right place.  He's changing my heart every day and He has given me a new out look on the place He led me to almost 7 years ago.  

God is good.  ALL THE TIME.  

What are you thankful for today?   

PS.  Sometimes I ramble--so for whoever reads this---forgive my seriously lacking writing skills. :) 

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Good Shepherd

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  He will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.  Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.  They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from my Father."   John 10:9-18[NIV]

Today in my Lifegroup we did what we call our "Jesus Board".  Here is what it looked like:
Jesus Board--March 24, 2013

As I was reading through some of the scripture written on the board this morning--I came upon this passage about Jesus, our good Shepherd.  After a very powerful morning in Lifegroup, our communion service, then in Bible study this afternoon--I've been reminded[as I need to be quite often] how incredible and amazing our Savior is. For the past four Sunday nights, my parents and I have been watching "The Bible" mini-series on tv.  Although the writers of the series have taken creative liberties and not everything is accurate--the heart[and purpose] of the story[the Bible] is still present.  The Bible was written to tell us about God and His great and mighty love for us.  It begins with the creation of man, then the fall of man, then the rest of the Bible leads us on the journey to the ultimate end and the restoration between God and man. Our Redemption in His Son, Jesus.  We see how God takes and leads His people through the good and bad.  Through their obedience and their falling away.  He is constantly pursuing His people--because He loved them.  That's the bottom line.  He loves us.  Therefore, He sent Jesus down to this world so He could live a perfect life and die an undeserved death to atone for our sin on the cross.  His broken body and shed blood, a perfect sacrifice to pay a debt[for our sin] that we could never repay. 

In this passage from John,  Jesus is telling us that He is our good Shepherd.  He wants to take care of us.  Even when we wander away, He goes out searching for us to draw us back to Him and to the security of His protection.  He is so passionate about His sheep[us] that He was willing to lay down His life for us.  He didn't have to, He did it out of His great love for us.  He, Jesus, the Son of God, who has all authority in Heaven and on Earth--willingly laid down His life.  Jesus knew what He came down to Earth to do.  He knew that His life would be brief on this Earth, and that it would end in His death on a cross for His sheep, but He knew that was not the end of the story.  He was the prophesied Messiah.  The King who would rescue His people.  He did not do it the way the Jews were expecting, but it happened just as God ordained it.  

This passage struck a chord in me tonight and brought me to tears.  This week known as Passion week--all leading up to Good Friday and Easter--is one in which we tend to reflect on what our Savior did for us on the cross over 2000 years ago.  I needed this reminder today.  The reminder of how great my Savior's love for me is--and that no matter what I've done or will do, He will always love me.  He's always there to take my burden. Forgive my sin. Comfort me.  Provide for my needs.  But, I don't want to just remember what Jesus did for me once a year.  I want to know it. Live it.  Every day. Jesus didn't die for me so I could be thankful that I have the free gift of salvation once a year.  It's an every day thing--one in which I constantly honor Christ with my life.  Because of God's great love for me---I should be obedient to His commands. I should live my life to please Him every day.  That is our one true aim. To live a life that glorifies God in all that we do.  Not just once a year---but every. single. day. I've failed at living out my faith.  But that's how it started.  It started with my faith and trust in Jesus.   I acknowledged my sin, accepted Christ's gift of salvation, and now I should live every day in response to what He did for me and share that gift of love with everyone.  

I don't want to forget or take for granted what my Savior did for me.  Not ever.  He's all I need.  He's the reason that I live. 

Oh hail, Redeemer, hail
For He has died for me
His praise and glory shall not fail 
throughout eternity

Majesty, Lord of all
Let every throne before Him fall
The King of Kings
O come adore
Our God who reigns forevermore 

[Chris Tomlin,  Crown Him (Majesty)]