The Words I Would Have Said

This is for you, though I never knew you. We talked, but I failed to open your eyes to the truth. These are the things I wish you could have truly known in your heart, but I never got to tell you. These are the things I wish you would have heard if I had spoken them to you. This is what I wish I could have told you.

The world is full of hypocritical Christians. Christians who attend church every Sunday, belt out the worship songs, nod understandingly during the messages, and then go out Monday night to behave immorally and engage in activities that are not God-honoring. Christians who say that God is a God of love and mercy, but try to guilt-trip you into believing in Him.  Christians who scream their version of the gospel on street corners and try to “stuff it down your throat”, as you put it. Yes, the world is full of those. I know they’ve hurt you, and so you reject their message. But just keep reading. If you can stop bashing Christians for a moment, I promise it gets better. I’m not going to give you the same cliches that they have.

I know you’ve had experience with the Christians who shout ridiculous things at you, who seem completely intolerant, and tell you a lot of things you don’t want to hear. Believe me, I’ve had the same experiences before. I just wanted to let you know that true Christianity isn’t like that. Real Christians speak the truth in love, not anger or condemnation. For example, I told you that homosexuality is unbiblical, and it is. But I’m not going to scream at you and try to stuff it down your throat. What you do with any information is up to you; nothing that anyone says can ever change that. Christians are commanded to love one another, and actually tolerance (in the true meaning of the word, not the way that people mean it today) is a part of that in this sense.

We love others because we are loved by Christ. I know you said that you believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins – and that’s great! I believe that, too! But the awesome part is that it doesn’t just stop there. Jesus wants to have a deep, close relationship with you. He wants to be more than a “guiding spirit” in our lives, as you put it, even though He is that. He loves you with an unfailing, unconditional love, and if you believe in Him, then you will find that every single one of your sins are forgiven. Isaiah 53:5: “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” This is the amazing part for those who believe in Him, is that He doesn’t hold anything against you – not any sin you’ve ever done, are doing, or will do in the future. He’s completely removed it so that it is replaced with His righteousness, so that you are righteous in the eyes of God.

I know you say that you’re a Christian. You said that you think that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. But I don’t think you completely know what that means. Let me explain.

I know you’re angry. I know you struggle with certain sins. If we were to compare your life with the commands for living that God has given us, we would find that you’ve committed several offenses. Your life doesn’t match up with your claim to be a Christian. I know you have secret pains and a world of emotion that no one knows about. There’s a lot in your life that, when held up to God’s standards, seems unredeemable.

But I have wonderful news for you. There is no standard. What Jesus accomplished on the cross is freedom, as you told me that you believed – it means that you have been freed from your former life, your life of sin and shame, of guilt and regret, and that you are now bound to Christ.

He redeemed you with His blood; all you have to do is accept that. He died for you, and He wants you, He wants you to delight in His freedom and love and accept His forgiveness and redemption. But you push Him away because of the show that today’s so-called “Christians” put on.

Please, I know they’ve hurt you, but look at the truth. Look at what Christ has done for you. Don’t let others taint Christianity for you. Many will pervert what following Christ is supposed to be, and everyone will make mistakes sometimes. No one can be perfect. But turn your eyes to Christ, let Him be your example, and He will conform you to the image of His Son.

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Child of the King

Can you imagine a life where rags to riches wasn’t a fantasy, but a reality? Peasants were turned to princes, ruin to royalty, nobodies and lowdown cheaters and liars were scrubbed clean and given a worthy label. Life was restored in the eyes of the dying, and the broken were healed. Can you imagine a world where this happened in a flash, at the sudden falling of chains and a cry of freedom? Where each day brought a new soul release and life?

I know of such a kingdom that exists. It is full of souls that used to be the lowdown cheaters and liars, the peasants, the broken and dying people.

I am a part of this kingdom of life and freedom; it breaks the chains of the slaves and enriches the hearts of the poor in spirit.  This dream, this fantasy – it is a reality.

All that requires is acceptance. It’s at the tip of your fingers, spelled out for you plain as day in the Book you might have on your desk in front of you.

But I know the struggle you face, the battle that’s raging in your mind.

You can’t accept this – this truth doesn’t apply for you. Your sins would scare the pastor from his pulpit, send the elders chasing you out of the church, right? Your secrets are enough to earn you eternal damnation, and you know it. No, this truth is better left for those who are actually deserving of such a sweet bliss.

But I have good news for you. This truth does apply for you – in fact, it was made just for you. See, the King knew your sins, before you ever did, and He knew the punishment that would bring for you.

He saw the liar that you were, covered in filth from head to toe, the way that your heart was hard and blackened against Him. He knew your secrets, your dark past, the thoughts that went through your mind by the minute. He saw the good-for-nothing beggar you were.

But beneath that, He saw you as His beloved child, His precious heir.

There was the matter of your punishment to be taken care of. You had broken His laws, and justice was in order. He had to let that punishment be resolved, because He is a just King. Death had to take place for what you did.

However. He didn’t want that death to be over your head, separating you from Him forever. He overflowed with love for you, so much so that He sacrificed His only Son, His beloved Son – for you. It was the only way to save you, to free you so He could hold you in His arms forever. The Prince of Glory had to die.

And so He did. He prayed that His Father would take the cup from Him, that He would spare Him this pain if possible. But the King knew that there was no other way; so He let His Son die.

Remember, this is all for you.

That isn’t the end of the story. The Prince of Glory rose again, conquering death itself. The price had been paid – you were freed! The death penalty no longer was held over your head. The debt was paid, regardless of how high the cost. Finally, you could be in His arms forever, in the arms of the One who loved you so, so much.

He looks at you, and He doesn’t see the stains of yesterday’s sin or the remnants of the sin from ten seconds ago. He doesn’t see the thoughts that will run through your head tomorrow, or the lie you’ll tell in just a minute. That’s all been paid for, removed, forgiven already.

And He wants you to believe it.

He doesn’t want you to keep living the life you have, running in the same circle, desperately trying to please Him and tearing yourself down with each failure. He wants you to see how much He, the King of Glory, loves you. He wants you to run into His arms, to let Him love you, and to be in awe at His amazing grace.

The King has made you, the little peasant, clean, with a worthy label, as His precious heir. You are forgiven and free, loved and cherished in His eyes.

This grace is not a dream or a fantasy – it is reality. I’m not making this up. It applies to you. You have gone from rags to riches, from a nobody to nobility.

You are a child of the King of Kings.

What Manner of Man is This?

First off, I’m sorry for neglecting this blog so much lately. There’s been a lot going on (I know that’s my excuse every time, but… just believe me), and I haven’t had much to write about. However, I found something to share today. It’s just a little something, but hopefully it will encourage you as it does me.

I was flipping through the Psalms this afternoon and writing down attributes and characteristics, I suppose would be the right words, of God. We as Christians hear that we serve a God like no other, but we don’t completely understand what that means, especially if you’ve grown up in the same circles as me. Our God is truly unlike any other god of any other religion. These things are just from the few Psalms I read through, and this is only a small list; there is so much more we could say about our God, but hopefully this is enough to put us in awe of who He is.

What kind of God do we serve, who:

  • Pardons sins
  • Forgives transgressions
  • Does not stay angry
  • Delights in showing mercy
  • Is forgiving
  • Is good
  • Is abounding in love to all who call to Him
  • Answers when we call
  • Is great
  • Is God alone
  • Is faithful
  • Delivers us from the depths
  • Is compassionate
  • Is gracious
  • Is slow to anger
  • Helps and comforts me
  • Redeems our lives
  • Crowns us with love and compassion
  • Satisfies our desires with good things
  • Works righteousness and justice for the oppressed
  • Does not always accuse
  • Does not treat us as our sins deserve
  • Loves those who fear Him as high as the heavens are from the earth
  • Removes our transgressions as far from us as the east is from the west
  • Is clothed with splendor and majesty
  • Covers us with His wings
  • Gives salvation
  • Is strength
  • Is with us
  • Is our refuge and ever-present help in trouble
  • Is our shield
  • Delivers us from all our fears
  • Is close to the brokenhearted
  • Saves those who are crushed in spirit
  • Turns our wailing into dancing and clothes us in joy
  • Comforts us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death
  • Is the King of glory
  • Gives victory
  • Rescues us because He delights in us
  • Never forgets the needy
  • Encourages the afflicted and listens to their cry
  • Defends the fatherless and the oppressed

 

Now, tell me about another god who is anything like this. You can’t. We serve an amazing Father; He is God alone.

A Prince to Love You

So there’s this thing that people don’t know about me: I’m a strange romantic at heart. I don’t find pleasure in the overly-gushy romance – I won’t read romance novels, and Shakespeare’s portrayal of love is dramatically disgusting. I mean that my girly side draws me to the old fashioned chivalry, the selfless love. (I always knew I was abnormal, anyway.)

I was thinking over some of my choices of entertainment…

…Raoul goes through endless amounts of pain to save Christine…

…Lionheart faces multiple perils and dies for the best friend he betrayed…

…Will travels around the world twice over to rescue Elizabeth…

Before you leave because you’re so grossed out with me, I want to deliver the point I’m trying to make.

Think of the classic tale: the knight comes galloping in on his white horse to slay the dragon and win the hand of the princess. Got that picture in your mind? Okay, now contrast with today’s vision of love. (Picture any of the latest and greatest romance novels/movies, and you’ll know what I mean.)

What happened to love?!?!?!?!

Where did we get from the knight being willing to look death in the face and say that the princess is still worth it, to “hey he’s cute I think I’m in love”? What happened?!

What it is that I love about the characters I do is that they’re loyal. They’re devoted, dedicated. They’re willing to go through any and every trial because they’re willing to fight for the princess. Yes, they have their flaws. They’re not perfect. (And with the examples above, I totally see all their flaws and don’t excuse that. The heroines aren’t exactly perfectly moral, either. Just go with it for the sake of examples…)

But they’re not willing to give up just because it’s hard. They’re willing to lay down their life for the one that they love.

So, here’s where I begin my application.

Was I the only one who never really understood the whole “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” bit? I mean, yeah, He loves me… cool. But the whole lover-analogy, just, didn’t click. Until you start to analyze what we know as human love.

The traits I admire in the heroes of the story, the loyalty, the dedication, the selflessness, the all-consuming love – is found in Christ Jesus.

Does that sound weird at all? It still sounds weird even to me, just typing it out. But it’s true. And that would make us all a good deal happier if we could simply embrace it in our hearts.

We say “God is love”, but the word are hollow even in our own ears. God’s love is something that we read about in the Bible, but never really applies to us like we would wish for. We say that “He is enough”, but we’re not satisfied with Him. We keep searching and searching for something that will fill that need for true love in our hearts.

But apart from Him, we will never find something that will last.

On the contrary, we can love only because He has loved us. (1 John 4:19) Our idea of love has to come from somewhere… But for whatever reason, we reject it.

This should be eye-opening to us. God has His arms out wide, with so much love to lavish on us, waiting for us to run to Him and embrace it. And we turn our face away and curl up in our misery. And stay there. WHY?!?!?!?!?!

I know I’ve harped on His love for us more than ever before these past few months or so, but it’s something that we take for granted and don’t completely understand. (Not that we can ever fully understand God’s love… isn’t that so wonderful?!?!!!!)

People, you have to get it – God’s love isn’t dependent on how deserving I am of it. I guarantee you that the princess isn’t always worth the knight’s being scalded by the dragon. And yet, Christ, our Prince, is willing to face death itself, for me. He died for me. He slew the dragon, conquered death, and rescued me from the dungeon of sin and death.

He died to make me His bride, His princess. Now, I’ve not really been too keen on thinking myself to be one of those princess-y girls, but somehow this holds a different appeal. And it’s funny, because after I wrote this earlier this morning, I went to church, and the youth pastor talked about who we are in Christ. He talked about how Christ is our King, and that makes us technically princes and princesses. Maybe this would hold more meaning if those of you readers living in the States lived in a different country with a different legal system, but for now, try to picture what this really means in your minds, outside of old-fashioned illustrations.

I don’t know about you, but this excites me. You see, I know for a fact that I am not worth death. I am not worth slaying the dragon. I’m not worth going through hell for.

But Jesus thinks I am.

And that makes me happy. It should make you happy, too. Jesus thought you, with all of your flaws and imperfections, with all of your sins and scars, were worth dying for. I know it’s hard to believe, but once you grasp it, it’s so, so wonderful. He doesn’t see the things you see – He sees His child, His bride, His beloved.

Your Prince thinks you’re worth it to slay the dragon.