Finished

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John‬ ‭19‬:‭30‬ NIV

After the unfair trial.

After the man’s judgment.

After the sentence to death.

After the unbelievable physical pain.

After the unbearable separation from the Father.

After receiving horrific judgment and sin of the world upon Himself.

Before His final breath.

“It is finished.”

My sin paid for. 

My debt paid.

My forgiveness, offered.

My redemption, complete.

My relationship with God, possible.

Before you ever began, He finished it.

Proof of Love

All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children”. 

Matthew 27:25 

After Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, abandoned by His disciples and denied by Peter.

Then He was brought before Herod to be judged. Herod sent Him to Pilot, but Pilot couldn’t find a reason for a death penalty.

It came down to the people and the people demanded that Jesus be crucified and the murderer, Barabas, be released to them.

Unfair, unjust, unreasonable are just three words that come to mind. He did nothing to deserve a penalty of death.

The crowd shouted: “His blood be on us and on our children.” 

He must have stood there marveling as He heard the crowd cry out for His death, knowing that He was going to bear their judgment physically, spiritually….literally.

Now their cry has become mine: “His blood be on us and on our children”,  not the blood of judgment but the blood of forgiveness.

While Jesus was on the cross, He drank deep from the cup of God’s fury against our sin so that you and I could drink deep of the cup of forgiveness. He took our judgment so we could be pardoned for all eternity.

Now their cry has become mine: “His blood be on us and on our children”,  not the blood of judgment but the blood of His amazing love and forgiveness.

If you don’t know how much Jesus loves you, look at the cross – the proof lies lifeless there.

Expansive Trust

There came a man who walked the earth, spoke truth to all who would listen, healed broken bodies and restored broken souls to God. It was His love that breathed life into the first lungs of man and His word that drove the darkness and chaos back before that.

He came to the earth He created for one purpose: to perfect love. The word perfect here doesn’t mean flawless as much as it means complete. Completed completeness. This love that bled when the lash tore open His back and wood of the cross dug into it, persevered through the unendurable physical and spiritual pain of the cross until He could utter the truth, “it is finished”. 

This love has been made completely complete. The debt of sin has been paid and the great chasm between God and man has been crossed.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18 NIV

When fear rises up to dismantle my faith or weave it’s tentacles around my feet to trip me up, I must remember this fact: I have nothing to fear. 

Christ took my punishment completely so that I could let His love complete me. 

Are you letting His love complete you?

Are you letting His love in?

Today, Jesus is holding out His love to you and asking you to take it, make it yours and start living in the expansive truth of it today.

Take it.

This is for you.

Ask God This Question

“Father, Reveal who you are today.”
Matthew 11:2 MSG

The most life-transforming moments happen when God reveals who He is to you.

The moments that you realize that He is proud of you, loves you with an unwavering constancy and is yearning to spend time with you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg – a lifetime of loving Him will barely scratch the surface of His love.

Jesus said to ask God to reveal Himself to you today.

You don’t need a lot of words.

You don’t need a lot of time.

You only need to ask and be open to receive it.

Then, be ready to be amazed.

That is it.

That is everything.

Before you get face to face with all that is happening in the world today, get face to face with your Father and let Him love you.

Uncontaminated Love

“The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love —love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭5 MSG

The whole point is to love others and live your life open to God.

To simply love and simply be loved.

To love God and love people.

It is simple but certainly not easy.

Self-interest complicates it. It is difficult to simply love others when your innate human desire to self-protect kicks in.

It is easier to go with the flow of human nature than to intentionally choose God’s way.

It is easier to hedge your bets against hurt than it is to be vulnerable and reach out.

It is easier to build your case of good reasons to disconnect than it is to lay them down and trust Jesus.

Going down that road, you will find yourself isolated and self-righteous instead of connected and invested.

A life open to God means that you recognize when human nature hijacks the work God wants to do in you and through you.

Sin complicates it, brokenness contaminates it, unforgiveness taints it.

The cross simplifies it. 

The only way to deal with your human nature is to take it to the cross of Jesus.

The place He laid down His life and took up your sin.

He took your brokenness there so He could offer you wholeness here.

He took the bitterness of unforgiveness there, so He could offer you the sweetness of grace here.

The cross is where you can lay down your nature and freely take up His. 

Be set free to be who God created you to be by simply loving those who God brings to you- they need it as much as you do. 

What do you need to take to the cross today? 

What does living your life open to God mean to you? 

Who, in your world, desperately needs your love? 

Love Life

You have been made to love and be loved.

You are made to need it.

Not just any love – not your spouse’s love, your friend’s love, your boyfriend’s love or even your mom’s love. 

When we look to humans to give us what we need, we find they are just like us- flawed and doing the best they can and in need of love themselves.

They will fail you and are not meant to fill you or fulfill you.

It is God’s love that can fill you, fulfill you, change you.

His unending, unchanging, un-quitting, transforming love. 

The love you need today is God’s.

“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” 

1 John 4:16-17 NLT

My friend, God has created you to have an amazing love life and you don’t need Valentine’s Day to celebrate it.

Because of Jesus, you are loved every day and through Him can love others every day.

Happy Valentine’s Life in Jesus.

May you feel as loved as you are. 

Need Direction?

“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”

Psalm‬ ‭25‬:‭9‬ NIV

If you need clarity and direction from God today, begin by bringing your pride to the cross.

Remind yourself who the Lord of your life is (and that it isn’t you).

How you live your life is more important to God than where you go.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah‬ ‭6‬:‭8‬ NKJV

Need direction? Need answers? 

1. Do what is right.

2. Let mercy be your standard in all interactions.

3. Walk humbly with Jesus.

There you go, my friend… it really is that simple. 

 

Do More Than Just Endure Today

There are two things that will keep your thinking clear and your hearts filled with God’s divine love: giving God glory and giving God thanks.

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”    

Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭21‬ NIV

You can know God and still get stuck in a mental habit of worry and fear.

Jesus died and rose again so that you can break the power of old mental habits and create new ones with His power.

When you make gratitude and worship your daily bread you are fortifying your spiritual life and strengthening your mental one.

It is the difference between enduring and embracing your life with Jesus in it.

God knows where you are and what your world looks like.

Replace your worry with worship and fear with gratitude.

Gratitude for what you have instead of dwelling on what you are afraid of losing.

What are you grateful for today?

How will you worship Jesus today?

Sustained and Trained

“He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:34-35‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My prayer for you today is that you would know His love as He pours His strength into you. That you would know His peace as you lean on Him. That you would rest in God’s grace as you walk by His guidance. That you would trust Him with the future and focus simply on the task before you. That you would be released from the restlessness within you as you receive a new determination to go forward in faith.

God will give you what you need right now to fight the battle before you.

You are stronger than you know because your strength comes from Jesus and His right hand sustains you.

Don’t give up, you are sustained and trained through the power of His love.

Hope Endures

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”        2 Peter 1:2-3 NIV

God’s divine power through Jesus has given you everything you need to live the life God made you for.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy.  

If it was easy, you wouldn’t need God’s power to do it.

You will need Him.

You will need His power to keep going in spite of the obstacles, the setbacks, the failures, and the frustrations that you will face this year.

Good thing you have Him.

The promise is made.

Hold on to Jesus.

Hope endures.

Happy New Year.