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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jesus Died for Us at our Worst 

Romans 5:6-8

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

Sometimes, I think it is easy to take a casual approach to Easter. We get caught up in the Easter Bunny and candy, and it passes by…just like any other Holiday. Yet, Easter is the very basic foundation of our faith. Without Easter, the gospel has absolutely no power.

Here is a truth that I think we really need to think long and hard about: Jesus died for us at our worst.

Recently, I re-watched a video from pastor Judah Smith about the story of Barabbas. Here is the link if you would like to check it out:

As you may remember, Barabbas is the criminal that was set free instead of Jesus. Barabbas was a bad man, he was a rebel, and a murderer. He deserved to be on death row, he deserved every punishment that was coming his way. Jesus was completely sinless. He had done absolutely nothing to deserve death. Yet, he allowed Barabbas to walk free and He walked to the cross in his place. In the video, Pastor Judah points out that Barabbas represents each of us.

I don’t know why I haven’t really thought about this before. I guess I don’t really think about myself as a bad, terrible person, deserving of death. I guess I have always thought of myself as somehow better than Barabbas. But, the truth is, I am not. None of us are. I have sinned, and I continue to sin. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. Each one of us deserves death, just like Barabbas. Yet, Jesus took our place. Do we really understand the amazingness of that simple truth?

Think of it this way: Put yourself in the place of Barabbas at that moment. Picture yourself tied up in chains, facing crucifixion for the crimes you have committed. Jesus, perfect, innocent Jesus, sits across from you. I like to think that when Jesus looked at me in that moment, the moment He was deciding to die in my place, that he would see me at my best. You know, He would look at me and say, Hannah has lived a pretty good life, she reads her Bible, she has quiet times somewhat regularly, and she goes to church. Hey, she even works in ministry! She is someone that would be worth dying for. But, what has hit me this week is that this is not at all how Jesus saw me in that moment. When he looks over at me in that moment, He sees me at my worst. He sees me in the midst of my sin, He sees me turning away from Him, putting other things before Him, walking away and saying, I got this Jesus, I can do this on my own. I don’t need you. You see, Jesus decided to take my place when nothing, absolutely nothing about me is worth dying for. I am just as bad as Barabbas. He has seen me at my worst and yet loves me enough to die for me anyway.

You see, absolutely nothing you can do will make God love you more and absolutely nothing you can do will make God love you less. He died for you before you did a single thing for Him. He died for you at your very worst.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Keys to Victory

1 Samuel 17 – David v. Goliath

What Giant are you battling in your life today? Is it fear? Anxiety? Depression? Insecurity? A Health Issue? An emotional wound? There is no doubt we all have giants standing in the way of the life that Jesus came to give us. Here are some “Keys to Victory” to defeating whatever giant stands in your way today – taught through the familiar story of David v. Goliath.

Keys to Victory over the giants in your life:

1. Focus on your God, not on the Giant!

         a. 1 Samuel 17:11 “When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.”
                  i. The Israelites focused on Goliath and were paralyzed by fear.

         b. 1 Samuel 17:26 “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
                  i. David shows up on the scene and really pays no attention to Goliath. He simply says, “who is this guy…that he thinks he can defy my God?” (Hannah paraphrase)

2. Remind Yourself of God’s Faithfulness

         a. 1 Samuel 17:37 “And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
                  i. Our God is undefeated!!! We can run into our battle with confidence, because God has never lost! When facing our giant, we need to intentionally remember God’s faithfulness in our life, through each and every battle.

3. Surrender the battle to the Lord

          a. 1 Samuel 17:45 “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

           b. 1 Samuel 17:47 “For the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hand.”
                      i. Our God fights for us! The weapons of this world are powerless against our God. We need to acknowledge our own insufficiency in defeating the giants our lives and hand the battle over to God. When God goes before us, He will always bring victory!