Posts Tagged With: Gospel

Lamb of God, Who HAS taken away all sin!

“…Lamb of God, Savior to all…”

We have a plastic nativity set that our girls love playing with. One day while they were carting the various characters around the house, baby Jesus went missing. I think I remember my two year old Emma say, “Baby Jesus was playing under the bed and then he disappeared”. Well, that was a special ability that Jesus did employ at various times… like the time when angry Jews were about to stone him (not with Marihuana but with actual real stones!) after he claimed to be “I AM” (the LORD YAHWEH!)

But now, there is no baby Jesus for our nativity’s feeding trough (the manger). So… we used a lamb and put it in the manger instead. Jesus was, after all, introduced by John – the guy who was fond of pushing people under water during swim parties – I mean, the baptizer, as “the Lamb of God“.

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the WORLD!” ~ John


What’s this all about anyway?

Well, every year at Spring time the Jewish people would have a huge family reunion and a great big feast and celebration at a festival called Passover (see Exodus) in the City of Peace (Jerusalem). To the Passover these one and only true worshipers of God would bring a one year old flawless lamb. They would bring the lamb to the temple and place their hands on the lamb. All the sins they had committed over the past year would symbolically and metephorically pass to the lamb and all the lambs innocence would pass to the worshiper. The lamb was then killed for those sins. It became the substitute that payed the death penalty that our sins deserve and demand. Justice demands that someone pay.

By the way, this sacrificial system was a tangible and physical way of showing their faith that God would provide the Lamb (Genesis 22) and once for all deal with the sin problem. The ‘seed of the woman would one day soon crush the serpent’s head’ (Genesis 3) and liberate all of humanity from the power of sin and Satan.

Well, Jesus was the ‘once for all’ Passover Lamb. When he died on that cross it was as if all humanity was placing their hands on Christ and ALL our sin passed to him. He payed the death penalty for our sin. The beauty part is that all of his innocence and right relationship with God passes to us who receive the free gift. This is the great exchange that occurred at the cross.

Have you received that gift? Have you made that exchange yourself? I can tell it you it feels great to be forgiven and reconciled to our loving heavenly Papa!

If you have received his gift of right relationship (righteousness), the Bible says that you now are “holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1) and now finally, at long last “we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made his friends of God” (Romans 5:11).

I am enjoying, as the Scripture says, “one blessing after another”, in my relationship with God. I have been wanting to, and realizing my pressing need to, forgo all distractions and develop a closer intimacy with God and really get to know him and then start to do everything and more that Jesus did! (John 14:11)

Have you ever noticed how distracted we are? (Or is is just me?) I get most distracted by those who are steeped in judgmental religiosity. I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to the demon of the religious spirit and those who represent and exemplify (and glorify?) this bully. But, alas, this too is a distraction from doing what is most important… that which Mary modeled for us when she chose to sit at Jesus feet and learn from the wise sage that is the Christ.

I need wisdom (Christ is wisdom). I need intimacy with him so I will not be so quick to be lured into the darkness, turning my back on the One who is Light (1 John 1).

I have learned that to remain holy before the Lord one needs only to keep looking at the Light (who is Christ). Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrew 12)… the One who was “lifted up” as the snake in the wilderness (John 3:14) who saves everyone who looks to him for salvation.

Are you struggling with anything? Nasty habits? Addictions? Depression? They all fade away in a moment when you are beholding Christ. Come to him and experience it for yourself. He is the One step program for complete and total healing (see previous post) and abundant life! (John 10)

If you are fully turned to the Lord, your whole body will be filled with light (Ephesians 1) and just like Christ, there will be no darkness in you. Do you want that?

So now we live by faith (by simply trusting) in the Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you. (Galatians 2)

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Categories: Following Jesus, Gospel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Hallelujah, Sung by Emma

womanwashingjesusfeetJesus was once having dinner with a religious leader when suddenly, in walks a woman who had a reputation for living a sinful life. She is at Jesus feet, sobbing. She washes Jesus feet with her tears and dries them with her hair, kisses his feet and anoints them with perfume.

It was an incredible humbling and extravagant act of gratitude. She had found redemption. She had found grace. She had found forgiveness. (Read the full story below)

I have been sharing this story for a month or more at my nursing home concerts. This story inspired a new verse to a song that I have been singing to my girls for the past several months. It is extremely popular around our house and currently my two year old’s favorite song. I am sure you know it as well. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

There is hardly a day that goes by that my Emma doesn’t ask me to sing this song to her. Sometimes she drags my guitar or Ukulele across the room to have me play it for her.

Here is the new 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!”

I love those last few lines and have felt the Holy Spirits smile and presence at times when I sing it. Forgiveness gives you back your Hallelujah!

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From the Gospel of Luke:

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”” (Luke 7 NIV)

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

We “Get To” Repent!

“Repent” is the very first message associated with the good news of Jesus. First proclaimed by his herald and forerunner John, it became the very first message preached out of the mouth of Jesus Christ himself:

“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 3:2 NLT)

Today is Yom Kippur. It is a day associated with the turning away from sin and atonement. Of course turning away from sin is one of the essential aspects of repenting. The other aspect has to do with identity. Thinking rightly about who God is, and who that makes you in relationship to him.

This is a big deal. It couldn’t get bigger. Thats why Jesus starts with:


So what does it mean?

Repentance literally means “to have a change of mind”. Start thinking rightly. About what?

Well, I would suggest that the most important thing to “have a change of mind” about is who God is.

Do you view God as he has revealed himself in His Word or as something else? Do you view him as the very essence and source of love and wisdom and beauty? Do you acknowledge him as Lord, the Master? Your Master?

Do you agree with him about what he says is wicked and evil? (Dare I say that most people don’t.)

Agreeing with him about what he declares evil in your own life is step one to being liberated from the evil that enslaves you.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9 NLT)

Who wants freedom?

First step is to agree with God about everything he deems as evil in your life.

Do you lust? Drink to much? Neglect God? Fail to honor him and put him first in everything? Confess it to God. Tell him in painstaking detail what you have done and failed to do, how many times you did it, who you did it with, and agree with him that it was wrong. Pour out your heart to him. He will forgive you. You have his word on that. Turn from your sin.

If you choose not to, I would not want to be you when you come to your “life review”. You choosing to remain tied to any sin guarantees that you are going to be ashamed come judgement day… and you forfeit so much!

“Those who worship worthless idols forfeit the mercy that could be theirs.” (Jonah 2:8 NET)

The fact of the matter is that if you don’t love Jesus more than anything else in your life, than you have an idol. That’s a given. An idol is anything that takes center stage in your life. What do you give your attention to? What do you invest your life in? Who has your heart?

Scripture says that those who fail to love Jesus are under a curse.

“If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22 NLT)

I was talking with a friend about falling in love with Jesus. We figured, if you are in love with Jesus and he is the pursuit of your life, then sin won’t be. You’ll come to hate your sin in the end for what it did to you and everything and everyone you influenced for the enemy. You’ll profoundly regret that you gave your strength and energies, attention and time to the enemy and enlarged the domain of hell because of who you chose to serve.

The wisest man (besides Christ) who ever lived once wrote:

“Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” ~ Solomon (Ecclesiastes 9:18 NIV)

I think about that.

Today I was pondering this warning in Scripture:

“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 our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT)

Anyone with a porn addiction or any other idol for that matter, will not inherit the kingdom of God… don’t fool yourselves.

Indeed a great deal of people are fooling themselves. They may say, “But I believe in Jesus”. The Lord’s brother James would say, ‘show me your faith by what you do‘.

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” (James 2: 17-20 NLT)

And what I read in Romans does not bring anyone comfort who still insists on clinging to their sin:

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:4-11 NLT)

What are we going to do?

Respond with soft hearts to the Lord? Or press onward on the broad road that leads to destruction?

This is NOT bad news people! You get to repent of your sins! YEAH!!!!

Did you miss the first part of that last passage of holy Scripture? It’s God’s wonderful kindness and (perhaps infinite?) willingness to forgive and show us mercy when we do repent of our sins.

Repentance is woven into the good news of Jesus from start to finish.

Here is the Gospel message as recorded by Luke:

“It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.'” Luke 24:47 NLT

Only someone who has suffered for years with an inability to repent can really begin to appreciate the fact that we “get to” repent. As someone who was mercifully granted repentance, I appreciate the magnitude of this kindness from the Lord. He allows me the wonderful grace of parting ways with my sin.

Here is a passage about being granted repentance (what a gift!):

So here’s the thing, keeping in mind that repentance means “having a changed mind”, then we need to remember that a changed mind about sin is but a small part of all that repentance truly is.

I am reminded of a Scripture in Romans:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NLT)

So repentance is really about adopting a whole new mind. It is to be transformed in the way you think and percieve reality… as God does! This is a life long pursuit.

The Atonement

Yom Kippur is a day for celebrating the atonement.

“It is finished.” ~ Jesus

Jesus spoke these words on the cross. What weight and significance do these words carry as the Lamb of God was slain for the sins of the whole world? Jesus has now reconciled all things to himself. What does the Atonement mean? What are the implications?

I’m going to close this post with a reflective reading on this Holy day of Atonement (Yom Kippur):

Christ Is Supreme

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. (Colossians 1:15-22 NLT)

Do you believe it?

Next, to explore: What does “the Kingdom of heaven is near” really mean?

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

Joyeux Noël

I have performed six Christmas concerts so far this December. Todays concerts were especially interesting. At the Rehab facility there was a young man named Vang (I believe he was Hmong) who seemed very interested in my Gospel presentation. When I prayed with the group he may very well have prayed with me to receive Christ and was eager to recieve a Gospel of John. He started reading it right away. I also felt led to give him a copy of my CD and he said he was glad to meet me. I am very glad because I think we have a new member added to the family of God!

At my last concert this evening I felt impressed to share about a movie I had seen called Joyeux Noël about a three day treaty that happened on several of the frontlines of World War 1 in 1914.

Here is the trailer for this movie:

It all started with the singing of Christmas carols among the soldiers.

A man spoke up at my concert, “Yes, it’s true. My dad was there and witnessed this event.”


Please be praying for me that as I continue sharing the Gospel that many will respond and also that I continue to be led by the Holy Spirit as I was today.

Categories: Listening to God | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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