by Russ Vought
Most Christians can quote John 3:16, but do we really know down deep in our spirit the wonder of what God is saying to us? God so LOVED that He GAVE. He did not give a token and hold back the best. NO NO God GAVE His best. He not only GAVE His best but was willing to see His Son (His BEST) suffer horrendous pain to buy us back from the master of sin.
Unconditional LOVE is foreign to us because in this fallen world LOVE is more about self than about others. Therefore it is very difficult to truly understand and receive God's most precious Gift. We try to make ourselves good enough or impress God when all He wants is for us to accept His LOVE that was so marvelously expressed in the life of the PERFECT SON OF GOD.
The moment this truth penetrates the hard shell of our hearts there is a release of spirit. When we move past self and focus on the wonder of God's great love then and only then we surrender to Him. We bring the title deed of our lives and give it to Him.
Paul said it this way. "I have been crucified with Christ." (I died to self.) And again he said, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."
He prayed a prayer for the church that we could understand and receive the totality of God's LOVE for us that our fallen nature cannot comprehend.
As we move past self, wanting to escape hell and have the good life to truly understanding and receiving the matchless, merciful, gracious, unconditional LOVE God has displayed in His Son, then we will be able to say with courage and deep conviction, “Not my will but thine be done in this life that you have given me."
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
By: Linda Vought
Seemingly, in today’s society especially in the political arena individuals that are accepted are those committed to any other religion other than Christianity. The reason is that the world does not understand that Christianity was never supposed to be a religion; religion is only humanity’s attempt to be holy. Christianity is about having a relationship, a personal intimate relationship with the Living God.
Paul in his teachings and encouragement to the Corinthian church was inundated on every side as we are today with the ugliness of the world and its indulgences in sin. He tells the church to stand firm, and allow nothing to move them from their faith in Christ. They are to stand, be steadfast and unmovable, unaffected in their faith regardless of what the world may be throwing at them or should believe.
Why, Christ is the risen Son of God; no other founder of any other religion, sect or cult can claim such a marvelous thing. Buddha is dead. Mohammed is dead. Christ Jesus the Son of God is alive! Christ died for us, then rose again and seen by more than five hundred people after His Crucifixion according to the Bible and then on the day of Pentecost sent the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us in our faith.
Christ died for our sins, He took our place, and our hope is in the Resurrection of Christ. We are forgiven and accepted in Christ Jesus thus we are to stand firm be unmovable in our faith! This truth is the very foundation of Christianity. Thus, we are to give ourselves to Christ in the ministry of reconciliation and discipleship. As Christians, Christ is now our life, thus when we preach, teach, give, love, when we endeavor to minister for the Lord our labor is never, never, listen, it is never in vain!
In a large communist country, its leaders tell Christian evangelists and missionaries that when they come into their country they have the freedom to preach the gospel except for one thing, they are forbidden to preach on the Resurrection. If there is no Resurrection then our preaching, our faith, our life in Christ would be in vain, without the Resurrection, we have no hope.
Our hope is in Christ, the Living Son of God. Where is your hope today? Are you searching for peace but finding only empty coldness in your heart? Are there holes in your soul that will not heal? Is your life hectic and crowded by the cares of this world then it is time to examine. Whom do I serve? Whom do I love? Where is my hope? Today you can accept Christ as your Lord and Savior and receive forgiveness, acceptance, and His love. Why not experience the hope that only Jesus Christ can give. He died for your sins, and then rose again to bring you to a personal intimate relationship with Him. Why not now, ask Christ Jesus to come into your life, and receive His forgiveness and love.