Redemption

Forgive, New Song from Reflect Worship

Forgive, new Reflect Worship Song

Forgiveness. Nothing can heal and even protect our heart from all wounds like forgiveness. In fact, nothing else ever will. And though forgiveness is vital to healthy spirituality (and our salvation) let’s not pretend that it is easy.

Forgiveness is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Where is the justice in just letting someone off the hook? To let them walk free after what they did to me? To forgive their debt? Where is the justice in that?

Well, one needs to look no further than the cross to find the answer. The justice for all wrongs and wounds was meted out and inflicted upon the LORD Jesus Christ as he was brutally tortured and nailed to a suspended wooden beam to suffocate in agony. His heart literally exploded from all the pressure and stress and strain of not only the physical torture he endured, but also of bearing the hellish torment of every sin ever committed. Because he loves us that much Jesus experienced the hell (the justice) that you deserved. He experienced the hell (the justice) that those who have wounded you deserve. He forgave us once for all at the cross and so, he asks us – No, he even requires – that we forgive those who have sinned against us.

Here is our latest song Forgive:


(adapted from a poem by Rosamond Herklots)

This song “Forgive” is about how forgiveness is such a vital element of the Lord’s Prayer:

“…forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” Luke 11:4 NLT

Do we think about the fact that we are asking God to be as forgiving to us as we are to others? Hmmm… that should make us stop and ask ourselves, ‘God, is there anyone I am not forgiving? Will you help me to learn to forgive everyone fully from my heart?’

Jesus was once asked by his disciples:

“Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 NASB

I think about that as it relates to forgiveness as well. I would suggest that apart from a move of God and a profound act of grace from God on our behalf, it would be impossible to forgive. But with God…

I think about my friend Jon Stoffel. As they were out for a family outing, Jon, his wife, and his daughter Olivia were shot in a random act of violence by a distraught man. Jon and his daughter were killed and his wife survived. His last words to his wife in his parting moments were, “Forgive the shooter.”

I think about the families of the nine victims who were shot and killed by Dylann Roof in the South Carolina hate crime shooting who, by the grace of God, extended forgiveness to him. “This is how we deal with hate crimes”, they said. What the devil intended for evil God turned into good as the healing message of forgiveness went out across the world.

I think about Jesus last words to those who crucified him:

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 NLT

I think about Stephen, the first martyr, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit was able to say in his last moments:

“Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” Acts 7:60 NLT

I don’t pretend to suggest that forgiveness is ever easy. Our wounds may run very deep. But God’s love and grace can run deeper still and by His grace we can experience a “peace that passes all understanding” and extend that peace to others.

Who wouldn’t want that?

forgiveness kitten

I have written many other blogs on Forgiveness. Here are a few of them:

One of my favorite quotes about forgiveness:

‘Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.’ – Anne Lammot

Categories: Forgive, Forgiveness, Redemption, Reflect Worship Music | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Hallelujah, New Verses, New Version

Yesterday I shared the song Hallelujah on the piano at a nursing home. I had written some new verses for this song and talked about one of them with the group. As I spoke about the inspiration behind it, I was deeply moved. Here is the verse:

“Those who’ve been forgiven more,
Respond with love to the Lord,
So remember all the grace He’s given to ya,
He pursues you when you go astray,
When you choose wrong and lose your way,
Forgiveness gives you back your Hallelujah!”

The Inspiration:

hallelujah-squirrel.png editedOnce while Jesus was dining at the home of Simon, a religious leader, a woman who had a reputation for living a sinful life walked into Simon’s house. She stood at Jesus feet and sobbed in Christ’s loving presence. She was so moved and grateful for the grace, redemption, and lack of judgement she had found with Jesus that she washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

She even kissed Jesus feet and anointed them with expensive perfume. I was so overwhelmed as I spoke of how Jesus heart must have gone out to her… but then, sadly, this was compromised and soiled by Simon’s judgmental attitude toward the woman.

So Jesus told Simon a story about a king who forgave a man a smaller debt and another man a larger debt. Who do you think loved the king more?

Answer: The one who was forgiven more.

Jesus responds:

“I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Luke 7:47 NLT

Read more about that story and hear my two year old sing the song Hallelujah!

I suppose the reason I get emotional over that story is because I can so relate to being the prodigal who has been warmly welcomed home by a loving heavenly Papa. This woman’s story is the prodigal son story fleshed out in a real life event in Jesus life. The woman is the prodigal and the religious leader was the older brother. We all ought to celebrate the grace and redemption of Jesus and then, like the Father does, gently and lovingly urge the “older brothers” among us to join the party!

Here is a Ukelele version of this brand new take on the song. It has a new melody and everything!

More Nursing Home Ministry Update:

My ministry concerts just keep getting better and better. My wife asks me how my concert went day after day and my reply has been for a while now, “It was the best one yet”!

A year ago I had a desire to be able to start incorporating piano into my concerts. Now I have enough really nice arrangements of piano songs in my repertoire to fill up an hour or more and have written a few songs on the piano as well. I love it!

I wanted to learn to play Be Thou My Vision on the piano because it is such a beautiful and powerful song. Read the song story here! The first time I decided to try Be Thou My Vision on the piano at a concert I figured that I would just play block chords which I was confident I could do. Instead I was amazed when I played all this arpeggiation and how the song had such flow and feeling. It was a great feeling to have communicated the song so well!

I shared Be Thou My Vision recently in Sheboygan and one lady talked with me afterwords. “That was one of my most favorite hymns. Thank you for sharing that. I am so glad I came down and I almost missed it. I enjoyed it so thoroughly even though I am in such incredible pain!” she said as she gripped my hand.

It blessed my heart so much recently at my concert in Milwaukee when one lady afterwords said, “I just feel so full of God! I just feel so full of God!” And this after I shared with her the “Leonard Nimoy blessing” and talked about what God’s Name, El Shaddai, means. From my studies it indicates that God is the One who fully satisfies our hearts. All our longings, desires, needs, and dreams. God satisfies them all!

It is interesting to think that this is why there is absolutely no reason to sin. To sin is not to trust and to look elsewhere to meet your “needs” or to find your identity in something less than God our Good Shepherd. If Jesus is your Good Shepherd, he takes such good care of his sheep that they lie down in green pastures. You, an ignorant helpless sheep, have all that you need, you are so full of blessing to the point that your lying down at rest with all this lush provision all around you. Your thirst is so satisfied in God and the peace he gives calms your heart and mind, your cup runs over with blessing!

I’d suggest for us all to read and meditate on Psalm 23 NLT:

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.

Categories: Forgiveness, Gospel, Grace, Redemption | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Beauty of Repentance, the Gravity of Sin

A few years ago I read through the Bible in a couple months time and documented the experience of it. It was one of the best things I have ever done. In fact, just yesterday I was thinking about how blessed I was because of it. I had one of the most fruitful and amazing years of life.

Why? Because I prayerfully read through God’s Holy Scriptures asking the author, the Holy Spirit, to teach me and change me. I let his word reshape the way I think, and subsequently behave. In other words I repented – allowing his truth to become my world view.

We all have a tendency to drift away from the truth. We can, as a culture come to celebrate pride – the very sin that caused the devil to become the devil – and the most shameful and degrading of sins.

Peter said to his first audience after the Holy Spirit came:

“And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”” (Acts 2:40 NASB)

So how do we do this? Through whats called repentance. Repentance is actually the process I described above. Allowing God and his truth to reshape our worldview – how we view reality.

I am due for another read through the Bible. I was thinking of reading through it in 90 days. Who is with me?

The following post is one of the most difficult posts I wrote during that time in my life:

This is the hardest post I have written thus far. It has been stalled for days as I pondered about how to, and whether I should, tell you the issues that the reading thus far has brought up for me. It opened a pandoras box of questions, doubts, and fears – like letting the smoke monster loose on the island. This reference may have been lost on some you. (Incidentally, after all the evil was let loose from the pandoras box, the last remaining item was hope.)

And so my blogging came to a screeching halt as I tried to sort through these issues. I have to warn you, not only is this post long, but it is regarding some very sensitive and grave issues regarding the Christian faith. I share this because it is the truth from Scripture, and it may even save the soul who takes it (the Scripture – not me) seriously. It is a deadly serious thing to continue to pursue a life of sin as a “Christian”. But there is always hope that things can change for the better in ways you can’t possibly imagine right now because God’s love always hopes, always perseveres, and never gives up on us! (1 Corinthians 13:7)

“Repent” was the first message that both the prophet John the Baptist and Jesus ever preached:

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 3:2 & 4:17 NIV)

The word “repent” just smacks us in the ears, doesn’t it? It reminds me of “turn or burn” messages like Jonathan Edward’s sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, which to be honest, deeply offends me.

I don’t believe Jesus and John the Baptist are delivering a fiery “turn or burn” message to their audience here, but instead, calling them to change their minds and hearts regarding God and the truth He has for them. Jesus always told the truth because that’s what love does. Love doesn’t hide the truth from those they love, even when the truth may be difficult to hear.

The word “repent” meant something slightly different to the original hearers of Christ’s words than it does to us in the 21st century:

“Prior to the Christian meaning we have inherited, which for the most part is similar to Webster’s definition, the Classical Greek metanoia (repent) meant something quite different—changing one’s mind or heart about someone or something.” (http://www.metanoiaministries.org/Historical.html)

So “repent” meant to have a change of mind or heart about someone (God) or something. I like that. Repent then, in essence, means to take on a new worldview – to think about things from a radically different perspective.

We absolutely MUST first and foremost repent (change our heart and mind) about our notions of who God is!

Perhaps the most important Scripture in the Torah is when God reveals his Name to Moses. God tells Moses who he is and what He is like as a person. (In the book of Numbers, Moses reminds God of what he said in the passage below when pleading for forgiveness and for the lives of rebellious Israel).

Exodus 34:5-7 NLT:

Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out,

“Yahweh! The Lord!
The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected—
even children in the third and fourth generations.”

(Those last lines are regarding the far reaching consequences of our sin – see NOTE Regarding Exodus 34 at end of post.)

Just consider who this God is! He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe! The Almighty powerful God to whom we are all responsible to, and, as it turns out, he is GOOD! Have you ever considered how lucky we are that this is the One and only God? How fortunate and blessed we are that God isn’t a mean tyrant, that he isn’t seeking to make us all as miserable, spoiling all our fun… though this is how he may be portrayed by some. (Such as myself and others who have struggled with a self-righteous religion).

What if God were not these things? What if he was a capricious God? What if he was a God that demanded thousands of human sacrifices a year like the Aztec’s god? (Ever watched Apocalypto?) What if he was a harsh taskmaster, impossible to please? What if?

How thankful we ought to be that this is the God we are dealing with – a God of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, filled with unfailing love and faithfulness, lavishing love to thousands, forgiving iniquity, rebellion and sin… yet, he is also just, He does not let the guilty get away with anything! Does this sound like a God you could trust? Does this sound like a God you would like to get to know?

I’d like to pray about this before moving on any further.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for being God! Forgive our suspicion and our mistrust of you. We acknowledge that you are a good and loving God. We repent, inviting a change of mind and heart concerning all our past and present notions of who you are God. Reveal yourself to us and may we follow you and love you with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Thank you for being you!

Repenting of our Sin.

Let’s face it. How can what God said about not excusing the guilty bring any comfort to us when every last one of us is guilty? All have sinned!

In the law, the sins of homosexuality, adultery, blashphemy, dishonoring your parents, treating the holy and sacred (and the Holy God) with flippancy, or contempt all carried the death penalty. Of these sins, I was guilty of more than one!

In fact, I doubt anyone in the world could not read the Torah, the books of Moses and the law, without coming to the awareness that, by God’s law, they too are under the death penalty. For this is precisely what the laws purpose is! To condemn!

“If the ministry that brought condemnation (the law of Moses) was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!” (2 Corinthians 3:9 NIV)

And it doesn’t help our situation that Jesus in his “Kingdom Manifesto” (Sermon of the Mount) actually increases the weight of the law and applies it to the very motives of our heart. Hatred is murder. Lust is adultery. I was guilty of both.

I squirmed under the realization that God’s law condemns me. His law had it’s intended effect. That same night after reading through the law, I had a dream about how I treated the sin of lust so lightly. God considers my sin to be a far more serious and dangerous than I do.

Sexual Sin.

In the book of Numbers, when the seer Balaam was hired by Balak, the Moabite king, to come and curse Israel, God did not allow him to curse but instead compelled him to bless them three times. But Balaam’s heart was not for blessing Israel at all, as the story reveals. Balaam was more interested in the money Balak would have given him to curse Israel than in God’s interests to bless, so he told Balak how he could bring a curse to Israel. Send in the women!

His plan was to let the Moabite and Midianite women seduce the men of Israel into committing sexual sins and worshiping Baal Peor (a vile sex idol) to bring on God’s wrath. His plan succeeded and 24,000 of the men involved in this sin were killed in the subsequent plague from the Lord.

After considering this story in Numbers and my own sin, I felt the need to address and confront this particularly destructive sin of lust that afflicts 99.9% of all men.

Consider these two Scriptures regarding sexual sin:

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NLT – read more of the context here)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Jesus – Matthew 5: 27-30 NIV)

Cut off your hand? Gouge out your eye? This kind of hyperbolic language that Jesus uses here greatly emphasizes the gravity and deadly seriousness of this sin!

“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people – none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT) (See also: Ephesians 5:3-7 NIV)

We must recognize what a gift it is to be able to renounce and walk away from sin. What a gift! Praise God! What if there were no possible means of forgiveness for sin and you had to pay the penalty for sin yourself?

Remember earlier how God said, “But I do not excuse the guilty”? After pondering this, I realized that He didn’t excuse the guilty:

God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

God sent his son Jesus to be the “guilty one” – to be sin – to condemn sin once and for all on our behalf. Jesus absorbed all the fiery wrath of God in our stead. Not only that, but can you believe it? Now we are his righteousness?

Scripture is clear throughout that only God is holy. Man is not. And then he commands us to “be holy as I am holy”. With the command would he not also make a provision?

It is by grace through faith that we (believers in Jesus) become partakers of his holiness. (Please dispel any notion from your head right now of a puritanical somber, holier-than-thou, religious idea of holy).

You come to life when you are holy! You become who God always meant for you to be when you become holy! You had no idea how good life could be, how fun, exhilarating, and adventurous, so full of hope and promise, joy and peace and love that life could be before becoming holy! With holiness you start to actually enjoy God and you fellowship with him, and actually hear from him, and you “share a meal together as friends” and have “wonderful times of refreshing in his presence” when you are holy!

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19 NIV)

Guys, do you still want to pursue sexual sin, and dabble with porn? You have a free will. Go ahead. Indulge. But, don’t you realize that you are making yourself an enemy of love and therefore of God when you choose sin over him? It’s idolatry.

Consider the tenderness and forgiveness of Jesus in this story:

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8 NLT emphasis mine)

Jesus, thank you for the forgiveness of sin, victory over sin, and most of all, giving us your Holy Spirit, as we simply trust in you. Forgive us for running away from you. Forgive us for avoiding you. Forgive us for loving our sin more than you. We repent. Thank you for sharing your holiness with us as we simply trust in you. Please reveal to us all the vibrant beauty in what it means to be holy. May we pursue you with all our heart and remain pure in our devotion to you.

(NOTE Regarding Exodus 34) 

I don’t believe God is just being vindictive in his statement, “laying the sins of the parents on the children and grand children”. For in other places in Scripture he says he doesn’t punish the children for their parent’s sin (See Ezekiel 18). He is speaking of consequences of the parents sin.

As parents, we can pass on a blessing or a curse depending on whether we follow and love God, or not. If not, then the practical implications of inviting and serving demons in your home by choosing to sin is that your children will be raised with demonic influences. Not only will this impair them spiritually but they in turn will, more than likely, continue in the same sin patterns the parents followed and bear the same curse.

When will the sin cycle be broken? That’s up to me and you. Whatever the sin cycle is for you, whether it be alcoholism, a porn addiction, or an internet or entertainment addiction, the victory has already been won for us by Jesus. Jesus actually did accomplish something on the cross!

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Categories: Redemption, Repentance | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tullian Tchividjian, a man after God’s own heart

 Tullian TchividjianTullian Tchividjian stepped down from his leadership role as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after he confesses to an immoral relationship. His wife committed adultery, he then followed the same destructive path. His last few tweets as of today were:

“I’m so so sorry. I love you all…fade to black.”

“So grateful that God is a bottom feeder.”

“No vertical condemnation does not mean no horizontal consequences. Surrender early.”

“Welcome to the valley of the shadow of death…thank God grace reigns here.”

“You and I are persistent promise breakers. God alone is a perpetual promise keeper.”
From his twitter page.

His bottom feeder comment reminds me of the song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. As I like to say whenever I play that song, that chariot will swing as low as it has to in order to rescue the worst of us.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus suffered on the cross, He “swallowed death“. He became sin to make us the righteousness of God. Because of his love for us and for his Papa He voluntarily drunk the dregs of all it means to be separated from Love – His Papa – to rescue us from all that we had become apart from him. The way I like to think about Christ’s atonement is that Jesus has plumbed the very lowest depths of hell to rescue whoever might be there. He came for every last one of us sinners (see Ephesians 4:9-10).

Jesus took Tullian’s sin upon himself at the cross. At the cross Jesus became guilty of Tullian and his wife’s adultery and has already suffered the wrath of God on his behalf because of his great love for them. Jesus has done the same for you. He became guilty of all your sin.

Tullian is obviously receiving the forgiveness and restoration that Jesus extends to him. He has confessed his sin and can expect, along with anyone else who confesses their sin, to be completely forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)

One of the comments on one of the posts on Tullians Facebook page was this:

“Tullian Tchividjian, hearing the news was heart breaking. I pray God uses this to further his gospel and pray you and your wife find common ground. You said it yourself “I am the biggest sinner I know.” You are upholding that phrase well but you are also upholding a better practice, confession and repentance. What you did makes you no less of a leader to a lot of us. Depending how you handle the situation it could even make you a bigger one. Come out of this a better pastor, father, and husband. Don’t rest and give the devil hell.”

God will and is using this to further the Gospel (The Good News) that Jesus loves and forgives sinners. None of our sin will remain secret for long. All of heaven knows all our stuff already, and the Lord has said, “you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23) and “God cannot be mocked, we reap what we sow”. And again, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:2 NASB)

We will all stand before God one day and give an account for our lives. Jesus has assured us we have the opportunity through trust in him and by receiving his gift of righteousness that we can stand before him pure and clean and as white as snow warmly received by cheering crowds of heavenly saints and angels because we trusted and appropriated his gift.

Or, we can hide and cling to our sin and suffer the profound shame and regret in the presence of a Holy God and all the saints and angels.

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NLT (NASB says “will find compassion”)

Another quote from Tullian:

“If the depths of everyone’s sin was made public, we would all be much more gracious to each other.” ~ Tullian Tchividjian

He’s very quotable. I also wholeheartedly believe he truly is a man after God’s own heart. This phrase was used by the LORD of King David. His sins were made public too. He suffered some severe horizontal consequences. Many who are reading this have as well. There is grace for you!

The thing about grace that is often overlooked, and even perhaps not stressed enough (even by Tullian) is that grace empowers us to live holy lives. To live a holy life is a New Testament imperative:

“…but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth…” 1 Peter 1:15-17 NASB

He means it. He gives us the Holy Spirit to see to it. He expects it, commands it, and demands it. So, what does being “holy” mean? I have come to learn that, just like the commitment we make in marriage, it means essentially that you become 100% God’s… i.e. wholly God’s, surrendered. This is what the Bible also refers to as, “pure in heart”. We get to surrender our all to love! This is why I love the song I Surrender All which appears on our last album:

The result of this complete and absolute and total surrender is living empowered by the Holy Spirit to do and be and live as God would have you to. His Grace (His unmerited favor) works this into our lives:

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV)

God will change us because he loves us Tullian

I still love Tullian and still think he has a great deal to contribute to the kingdom of love in Jesus Christ… in fact, even more so now. I am reminded of a quote about Johnny Cash after he passed on: “Sinners make the best saints.”

I will still recommend Tullians books and teachings (Here is one not to be missed: Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything!). I also suggest you visit his Facebook page and subscribe for grace filled quotes and encouragement. I pray for the healing of his marriage and that God would bless his ministry to all the rest of us sinners made saints by the grace (unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor – and smile – of God upon us) of Jesus (whose Name means “I AM Salvation”). I encourage you to run to Jesus yourself and find his open arms welcoming you back into the sweet loving fellowship of your Papa who loves you intensely and immensely.

Jesus plus nothing equals everything

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Categories: Forgiveness, Gospel, Grace, Redemption | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Redeemed, Song and Story

Redemption is such a beautiful thing! I absolutely love the idea that any prodigal can come home to find Papa running to meet them. He embraces everyone who comes to him and showers them with affection and fatherly love. All of heaven rejoices! This is the very heart of God. Redemption is the heartbeat of heaven.

Jesus has said, “”It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 ESV)

Again, Jesus told a story to illustrate this in Luke 15 after he is “maligned” by the religious leaders who said, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them”.

Well, actually he tells three stories. Each story increasingly emphasizes the value of what has been lost and then found. The story of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and finally the lost son. I don’t know how many times I have cried at the story of the prodigal son.

I remember on one occasion I was reading Luke 15 at a nursing home and when I came to the verse where the Father says, “Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Jesus stood right in front of me and looked me in the eyes. He was speaking those words to my heart… and yes, I cried.

Psalm 107 is full of stories of people being redeemed and rescued as they simply call on the Lord for help. I hope this song, which is based on Psalm 107 blesses you and spiritually enriches your life!

Thanks for listening! Leave me a comment to let me know how this has touched your life!

ps. Take a moment to read Luke 15 again… and again!

Categories: Forgiveness, Redemption | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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