An Audience of 1

Many times, we are in situations where we are tempted to lie. Some of the reasons we feel the need to be deceptive are going somewhere we shouldn’t be going, doing something that we shouldn’t be doing, being with someone(s) who is ungodly, and/or working to get ourselves out of a potentially difficult predicament that we have gotten ourselves into. “What’s the problem with telling a little ‘white lie’?” you may ask.   I’ll let Jesus answer that Himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is all about the TRUTH and despises lying.

Most of us have been duped by the devil falling for his charades.  2 Corinthians 11:14 describes him this way, “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”  1 John 5:19 tells us “that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”  The world without Jesus is being fooled by the devil, the master deceiver. 

There are a number of Bible verses that are insightful and challenging to each of us.  Two powerful ones are below:

  • Hebrews 4:13 is clear, “No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” This verse is clear. God is omnipresent (everywhere all the time) and omniscient (all knowing). You can’t hide from God.  There will be a day when each of us will give an account before Jesus.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 validates this, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he/she has done in the body, whether good or evil.”  Payment is due, “whether good or evil.”

What does living a life of a lie (deception) or living a life of truth staying in communion with Jesus end up looking like? 

“Each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14&15).  Man doesn’t the rosy, lustful pictures that your flesh, the world, and the devil paint look so enticing! Lies may start off so good but always end up in death…absolutely empty of value and full of sorrow.  A hot affair, lustful pictures, status, getting high, or simply telling a lie to get yourself out of trouble may look so good in the moment, but the truth is they end up bankrupt.  What do you lose or forfeit in the process?

Learn to please God and live in obedience to His Word.  Once you do, you will discover that everything else in life takes care of itself.  John 6:33 declares, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.”  John 8:31&32 states it this way, “Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  We all have a choice.  I pray that each of us choose to live for an audience of 1…Jesus.

A Bitter Root

Pam and I have seen the results of a bitter root.  We have watched it defile families, friendships, church groups, neighborhoods, social groups, and ball teams disrupting tender and precious events for children, grandchildren, and friends such as birthday parties, weddings, and quite often, holidays. Non-communication, heaviness, ugliness, and darkness in our lives become the debris left over from bitterness.  We have watched a bitter root defile families down to the 3rd and 4th generation.  Frequently, a bitter root becomes overpowering, pervasive, and emotionally hurtful personally and to the ones we love.  Too often the relationships rupture with seemingly no hope of reconciliation. How tragic…but so true!  Many sweet people are living out lives crushed by bitterness. 

Hebrews 12:15 is a forceful verse, 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”  Grace is based on the sacrificial love of Jesus with a focus of loving, caring, and supporting others.  Opposed to grace, bitterness is focused on me, my wants, my goals, my hurts, and how someone has disturbed my life.   As a result, you determine “pay back” is in order which can be as subtle as a lie, deceptive manipulation, or stonewalling.   Emotions, the devil’s playground, overpower your thoughts then your behavior. Your malintent for this person(s) makes the “jerk” look bad and maybe a bonus of you looking good. “Finally, they will get what they deserve as will I!” What you don’t realize, the root of bitterness negatively impacts not only their life but your life frequently resulting in wounds and ugly scars.  If we “fall short of the grace of God”, it will eat you up and the others around you (“defiling many”).

The Apostle Paul states descriptively in Ephesian 4:26&27, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.”  The devil does not need much time to get a foothold in your life.  Once he does, a root of bitterness grows within you ultimately poisoning you and others.

Later in Ephesians 4, Paul instructs us. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Throw off all the stuff that result from a root of bitterness recognizing this is not what resides in a child of God.  Then, he tells us how to kill the bitter root in verse 32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Forgiveness is the antidote for a bitter root.  There are two roots in this Greek word translated “forgive”.  The first is the Greek word “char” which means joy.  The second is the Greek word “charis” meaning grace.  The outcome of forgiveness is joy and grace.  A constant attitude of forgiveness keeps you from “falling short of the grace of God.” 

The happiest people in the world are forgiving people.  Rather than bitterness and acts of malice, they are “kind and compassionate.”  These people are freed up to act like Jesus. Get rid of the bitter root in your heart with its antidote, forgiveness.  It may take courage but your life as well as the people around you will change.

Metaphor or Literal?

The Book of Jonah intrigues me. Some may call it a metaphor, but I believe it literal. For what distance will God go to get our attention? With Jonah, it started with a simple command, “Get up! Go!” Jonah didn’t seem to pay attention to the “why” God wanted him to go to Nineveh, only that he didn’t want to do it. He was afraid! So he did what many of us would do in such a situation, he ran from the Lord. Interesting, that Jonah was a worshiper of Yahweh, but he thought he could hide from Him. When he realized that God had found him (He always knew where he was), he knew what also had to be done. Here is the scriptural account: “Then the Lord hurled a violent wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart. The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god.” (8) “Then they said to him, ‘Tell us who is to blame for this trouble we’re in. What is your business and where are you from? What is your country and what people are you from?’ He answered them, ‘I’m a Hebrew. I worship Yahweh, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land.’ Then the men were even more afraid and said to him, ‘What is this you’ve done?’ The men knew he was fleeing from the Lord’s presence, because he had told them. So they said to him, ‘What should we do to you to calm this sea that’s against us? For the sea was getting worse.’ He answered them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea so it may quiet down for you, for I know that I’m to blame for this violent storm that is against you.” Jonah 1:4-5,8-12 Many things happened with this event. Even though Jonah initially felt fear, he confessed his belief in God, the Maker of the sea and dry land. When he realized that he was the cause of the storm, he had them throw him overboard. They didn’t want to, but in the end, knew that was the only way they would be saved. That day, “The men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.” 1:16 They turned to God, when the sea immediately became calm when they threw Jonah overboard. They believed in the God that Jonah worshiped. God spared Jonah, but taught him a lesson for his lack of faith in trusting Him with what He had asked him to do, “Go to Nineveh.” When Jonah was swallowed by the huge fish, he was alive and prayed to God and surrendered to fulfill what God requested of him. So God caused the fish to vomit out Jonah on dry land. The rest of the story is how Jonah proclaimed God’s message to the Ninevites, who heard the message and repented of their ways and sins and God showed His mercy on Nineveh. Jonah learned a lesson that day that still is for us today: God still will go to extremes to enable us to get His message to those He loves and wants to change; God is forgiving even when we try to run from Him; God has the willingness to use us even when we don’t think we would be right for the job, for we fear entering into something unknown. The end result of obedience touches many more lives. “The men of the ship were changed, along with the people of Nineveh, and even along with Jonah, after he got over himself, and just trusted God. So many times God wants to use us for something that may not make sense right away to us, and He wants us to be obedient even when we don’t understand His reasoning. We often try to hide from God, maybe not in the hold of a ship, but in the recesses of our own mind, trying to convince ourselves that God is not asking anything from us, when we know in our hearts that He is. But know this: God pursues us in a love relationship that will take us places where we may not want to go, but it brings glory to Him. He has us doing things we may not want to do, but it will be for His glory and our blessing. Let’s not be like Jonah, and immediately react to fear instead of faith. Let’s trust the Lord, even when we are afraid, and then step out in faith anyway. That is called courage, reacting to faith in the face of fear. So don’t look at the storm around you, think of why you are in it, and see what God has in mind for you. Pastor Andy

It’s All About the Ball

Success in most sports is all about the ball.  For example, in football, a “touchdown” or a score happens when the “ballcarrier” runs the ball across the opponent’s goal line.  One of the players can cross that goal line a gazillion times without the ball in his arms, but it does not increase the score at all.   In baseball, a “run” (or score) is determined by how many times a runner touches “home plate” without being touched or forced out by the ball.  In basketball, the winner is decided by the number of baskets shot into a “basket or goal”.  In soccer, success is calculated by kicking the ball in the opponent’s net.  Think about tennis, golf, and bowling. Reduce most sports down to its simplest factor, and you discover that “it’s all about the ball”.

Christ-followers need to understand that our faith is all about Jesus…nothing else. We are eternally saved when we invite Him into our hearts and pray so that we can talk to Him.  Bible Study teaches us how to grow in His grace and mercy and how to conduct ourselves to live more like Him.  We talk to each other in a way that brings glory to Jesus. When we get together, it is referred to as a community of His people who “share Him” as one.  

The Great Commission challenges us to go and reach others to introduce them to Jesus. The Great Commandment is to “love Jesus with all our heart, soul, spirit, and strength.”

John 14:6 is crystal clear about our objective as Christ followers, “Jesus is the way, Jesus is the truth, Jesus is the life…There is no other way to heaven but by Him.” 

We make the Christian life so much more complicated than it is.  “Seek you first the Kingdom of God and all other things will be taken care of” (John 6:33).  Keep your eyes focused on Him.  Once we get our eyes off Him, we find ourselves loaded down by earthly baggage and paralyzed with deception from the enemy, the devil.  Hebrews 12:1&2 guides us on how to get back on track when we get caught up with this world, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing (or focusing) our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

1 John 1:7 gives us crystal clear guidance how to walk with Him in life, “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin.” Proverbs 3:5&6 are simple but impacts our every moment in life, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your understanding, in all your ways recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 explains that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” If we are “in Christ”, we look like Jesus.

From the very first moments of a day to the last moment before sleep, keep your eyes on our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus, and share life with Him. It’s all about Jesus…

Rotten Words

The other day, I walked by our kitchen pantry and had to gasp for air.  Something in the pantry was rotten.  Once the door was open, I discovered that one of the potatoes was rotten and had started rotting the other potatoes around it.  Man did it stink!  We ended up cleaning the other potatoes to protect and keep them whole and tossed the infected bag.

Isn’t it interesting in scripture what Paul the Apostle called “rotten”…our spoken words.  If you speak “rotten words”, it is not only symptomatic that you have a rotten heart but most likely have started rotting those around you.  The only way to stop the rotting is for you to get your heart cleaned up by Jesus and then moving forward speak wholesome, edifying words to others. Stop rotting your spouse, your children, and your close friends or associates.  “Confess” your rotten tongue to Jesus, 1 John 1:9 says that He “will cleanse you and forgive your sin.” Since this may have been habitual for a long time, you may discover that this is difficult to clean up.  Work with Him to make your mouth a stream of purity and affirmation.  Ephesians 4:29 is clear about this, “Let no [u]unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”  NIV and NASB version of scripture uses the word “unwholesome” but the literal meaning is “rotten”.  Learn to “speak truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), as verse 29 states, your words will “edify” and “give grace to those who hear.”  Your wholesome words will stop the “rotting” process and start building up others around you.

Let’s see in the verse immediately following, verse 30, who else is impacted by “rotten” words. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”  Your rotten words “grieve God”.  Why is God so impacted?  The very individuals that Jesus died on the cross for are being corrupted by the profanity gushing out of your mouth. Dear brother or sister, it is time to clean your mouth up. 

James 3:2-10 is a long passage, but the message is crystal clear, “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as wellNow if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

Today, “take out the rotting trash” that has been habitually coming out of your mouth.

Royal Blood

Did you know you have royal blood in you?  You weren’t born with it, but you were reborn with it. God chose you before the beginning of time to be His people, but He only wanted people who wanted to be with Him. He chose the human race to be His children, but many in the human race rejected His choosing.  We are told in Scripture: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:9-12   Paul would tell the church at Ephesus: “For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.  In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,”  Ephesians 1:4-5   His choosing of us doesn’t mean that we don’t have a free will to reject that choosing. For those however, who accepted the grace He poured out, became His children, adopted through Christ our Lord.  Even though the world might not think of you as a royal priesthood, you are what God has enabled you to be, a holy people. This also does not mean that we don’t struggle with sin, but even though we will struggle with sin as long as we live in this flesh, we still belong to God, adopted out of a world of chaos, and given the ability to live differently from the world, even while being in the world. But we are strangers here, temporary citizens, and our true home is with Him in eternity. Let’s not let the unknown of eternity sway us from our confidence that we are destined for a place far above what we live in at this time. Even though we might love where we are, you can only imagine what heaven is like when it is so much more glorious than here. So let’s not lose heart; let’s keep our heads up and our eyes focused on Christ. He will return to get us or we will leave this flesh at some point and meet Him. Either way, we will be with the Lord, all because we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession. We have obtained the mercy that we didn’t once know, but now know. So let’s proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who made it all possible. Enjoy your day, because you are loved, and you are called. Pastor Andy

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Catching Is a Tough, Dirty Job

The dirtiest job on a baseball field is the catcher behind the plate.  He/she has to put on protective equipment which is hot, clingy, and sweaty.  To boot, it is the most violent position on the playing field.  Winning or losing depends on a team touching home plate more than the opposite team.  Often, the catcher has to stand in the way of the runner before he/she touches home.  Usually, this is a bang-bang play meaning the ball arrives at the same time as the runner intent on scoring.  Many times, this ends up being a very unpleasant, brutal experience.  As if this is not enough to dissuade a player from being a catcher, the pitcher often throws the ball in the dirt and the catcher has to block it, and the batter frequently foul tips the ball.  In both cases, it ofttimes ends up bouncing off the uncovered areas of the catcher. I can tell you from personal experience this hurts!  There is nothing pretty about being a catcher.

On top of the above a catcher has to be an unselfish player.  His/her primary job is to make the pitcher look good.  In fact, the success of a catcher is measured by the success of the pitcher.  The catcher must stay in sync with and trusted by the pitcher.  In fact, an outstanding catcher is called a great receiver.  A good catcher has to be a student of the pitcher and the opposing team.  He/she must know what pitch needs to be thrown to support the pitcher’s success. Consoling and motivating the pitcher when things are not going well is very important for a catcher. At times, firmness without being perceived as attacking is called for to keep the pitcher in the right frame of mind.  By the way, the catcher never embarrasses a pitcher in front of others.

Catching is an accurate, perceptive metaphor for active listening.  For a healthy relationship to grow and flourish, both parties need to become good catchers…not an easy job.  Initially, it is a tough task but can become the change agent for struggling, conflicted relationships. Your job as an active listener is to set your mind on understanding and becoming a good student of the speaker.  It’s not about your own personal success.  The success of active listening is based on the edification of the speaker whether that be a spouse, child, friend, boss, client.  As an active listener, your job is to transcend from your opinions to the feelings of the speaker mirroring back to the speaker what he/she is saying, using phrases like “Let me make sure that I got this” or “So, I understand you to be saying…”  These phrases are meant to understand and encourage the speaker reflecting that you are a trusted listener.  By the way, everything that is personal to the sender must be kept confidential.  Never embarrass the speaker.  During the process, the active listener must validate the speaker with phrases such as “I can understand that…” or “It would make sense to me that you would think that…”  Empathy is essential with phrases used like ““and I can imagine that you must feel…” or “that makes sense.”  Don’t forget the success of the catcher (listener) is measured by the success of the pitcher (speaker). 

Understanding that you may have animosity towards the speaker, why would you give this person the gift of active listening?  “Chew on” Philippians 2:3&4, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”  Active listening can change hurtful relationships forever.  It is hard, unselfish work but good listeners become change agents.  Pam and I know this to be true because active listening changed our marriage.

Passing the “Smell Test”

During my business career, one of my favorite bosses challenged each of us to have our senses open during the deal making process to not only know what was being said but what was not being said.  Is the deal “too” good?  Are the folks desiring to partner with us or wanting to work for us a bit “too” slick?  Our senses were to be alert and watchful ensuring the deal and the people offering it are “genuine, factual, honest, full of character, down-to-earth,” and we were not being “oversold” or” being deceived”.  “Passing the ‘smell test’” became important to the way we did business.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to “pass the ‘smell test’”.  What aroma emanates from the character of our life and lifestyle?  Is our fragrance Christlike?

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 states it this way, “14 But thanks be to God, (as His servants He) uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”  Many so-called Christians are “peddlers” of Jesus for their own gain.  They fail the “smell test”.  True Christians are the “aroma” of His essence “that brings life” to others.

Ephesians 5:1-2 says for us to “follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  The “therefore” in verse 1 connects us back to the previous verses in Ephesians 4:20-32 which reveal how we are to “walk” in the fragrant producing “way of love.” 

  • “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (v.29).­ ___
  • “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (v.31). ___
  • “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (v.32). ___

Furthermore, Ephesians 5 details the “way of love” producing the aroma of Jesus:

  • “There must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (v.3). ___
  • “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (v.4). ___
  • No “immoral, impure or greedy” person nor one who spouts out “empty words” emanates the fragrance of Jesus” (vv.5-6). ___

The world desperately needs to “breathe” the aroma and fragrance of Jesus.  Do you pass the “smell test”? Put an (*) above the ___’s that you need to work on and become the fragrance of Jesus.  Don’t try to change in your own strength but in His.

Are you ready

While many of us believe that we are in the end times, I wonder how many of us are truly ready for the end times? What I mean by ready is that if the Lord would return today, would we want Him to wait just a minute for some undone project, or wait for us to check on that loved one just one more time? We know that Scripture tells us: “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” Luke 9:62 But isn’t it almost like you can’t help it, unfinished things just seem to take precedent when faced with an immediate decision. But even though we wait impatiently, for the Lord, He is giving us time to get right with Him. Here is what Scripture also tells us: “Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door! Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” James 5:7-11 The Lord has been patient with us concerning His return, but let’s not be lulled into thinking that it won’t be in our lifetime. It could be today, or even tomorrow, or next week. It might be 50 years. But let’s take a lesson from the Israelites who became complacent when they hadn’t heard from God for a while. They forgot and were lulled into some other type of action such as worship of idols. We have been becoming more complacent in this generation. But now we see things happening in the spiritual realm; we see changes happening between those who believe, and those who do not. We think it might be the advent of the return of Christ. There is nothing wrong with that thinking if it brings us back to the focus we are supposed to have in Him. The question is, Can we change from our complacent behavior in time for His appearance? We will not be given the opportunity to go back and finish that one more thing when that happens. We will not be able to ask the Lord to let us complete one more project here on earth. If we do that, we are putting the things of earth ahead of our love and trust in Christ. Our focus needs to be on Him, our trust completely in Him. While we wait, we are patient, but aware; we are focused completely on Him while we live in this present time. We do not let the distractions of the world cause us to become complacent, but daily live for Him returning, even today. Let’s trust Him and let our trust fully rest in His care of us, not in complacency that He will pack up for us when He returns, but He wants to find us ready, not to take the things of the world, but to gladly leave all things, and follow Him.

Don’t Blame Him

Isn’t it easy to blame others?!  Blaming others is an attempt to move accountability off you to another.  From the very beginning of mankind, we have blamed others.  Adam blamed Eve.  Oh, by the way Adam, where were you when Eve chose to take a bite out of the forbidden fruit?  You were looking over her shoulder shirking your responsibility.  But, just as God walked into the garden and found you hiding from His presence, the index finger for the first time in the history of mankind was used to point right at Eve and blame her.  Don’t you hate to be around people who are quick to blame? The following quotes hit the nail on the head when it comes to blame:

  • John Wooden, who won ten NCAA national basketball championships in a 12-year period as head coach for UCLA, says this, “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.”
  • “When you blame and criticize others, you are avoiding a truth about yourself” (quoting.com).

If you want to look weak-minded, blame others.  You are in essence not stepping up and becoming responsible. 

Let me tell you something that you may not like.  Don’t try to blame God for your problems. He has done everything He possibly could do to put you in a position to know Him personally. John 3:16&17 declare, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  God sent His only Son to die for you to be reconciled to Him.  He has done everything to remove the sin that is keeping you back from knowing Him and has made this an easy proposition.  Confess that you are a sinner, not blaming others, and invite Him into your heart as your Savior and Lord. Verse 3:18a says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned.” This is GOOD NEWS!

Often, we are not willing to surrender ourselves to Him deciding to choose another path.  John 3:18b-20 describes this, “Whoever does not believe (in Jesus) stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” The truth is, we love the things of the world and don’t feel God is needed.  God paid the ultimate price for you.  Yet, you have chosen the cheapness, lust, and status of the world. When the cares, guilt, and vengeance of the world overpower you, DON’T BLAME HIM. 

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  “He made Him sin for us who knew no sin so that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  If you choose not to know God and His special kind of love with peace that passes all understanding, DON’T BLAME HIM! 

Furthermore, if you are His child and have gotten back into the world, “Confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”  If you choose not to do that, DON’T BLAME HIM!

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