Saturday, January 18, 2014

Learning What Persecution Is

          Some of us don’t even know what persecution is. We’ve gone through our nice, little, churchy lives, loving what Jesus did for us, but never doing anything radical for Him. It’s like we thought going to church was enough, reading our Bibles was enough, trying to be a nice person was enough. It’s like we were asleep.
          But now we’re awake. The delusion is shattered. All of a sudden, we are more in love with Jesus than we thought possible, willing to do anything for Him, so excited about God that we assume everyone else will be, too.
          But they won’t. Beloved, the world is still sleeping. They don’t want us making a bunch of noise, trying to wake them up. They’re comfortable, and our passion will make them uncomfortable.
          They will be mad at us when our Jesus talk rouses them. They will tell us to shut up, they will throw things at us, they will cuss us out, they will call the authorities. They will hate us like they hated Him.
          Don’t be surprised. We have to be prepared for our friends to leaves, to lose some of our popularity, to be denied opportunities, to be ridiculed and excluded and shunned. We must be willing to be treated like Jesus was treated. And still we must love like Jesus loved.

“But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”
-Matthew 5:44

“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”
-Acts 5:41-42

“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in Heaven.”
-Luke 6:22-23

Sunday, January 12, 2014

This Is Not a Fairy Tale

            God has shown you His love and told you He how feels about you.  You’ve learned that He loves and accepts you.  You’ve been told He desires you, that He delights in you.  You’ve had an awesome experience, an emotional rush, but you don’t think it can last.
            You feel like you’re living once upon a time in a land far, far away, like you’re stuck inside a storybook.  There is no way it’s real.  After all, nothing this good has ever happened to you before.  It has to be too good to be true.
            Wrong, beloved.  This is not a fairy tale.  This is God.  He never changes, never gives up, never leaves.  He loved you yesterday, He loves you today, He will love you tomorrow.  He loves you when you’re laughing, when you’re crying, and when you’re overwhelmed.  He loves you when you don’t even care.
            He created you.  He calls you Hephzibah, because He delights in you.  Your smiles make Him smile.
            He wants nothing more than to spend time with you.  He has so much more to show you, to tell you, if only you will listen.  Just sit at His feet.  Just be with Him. 
            He has infinite love.  He will never. ever. run out.  He is so excited to spend eternity with you!
            He died for you.  Did you catch that?  Jesus, king of kings, creator of the universe, God, thinks you are to die for.  There is no greater love.  He loves you.
            This is real. Beloved, this is not a fairy tale. This is God.