Tag Archives: Christian

It Is Finished

There he was, a criminal on each side, arms stretched across the cross. The events of the past few hours may have seemed completely out of his control, but he was still fully in control. In fact, he was in control of this moment. He has just gone through an excruciating time for us and his work is completed, so he cries out, “It is finished.” And, he gives up his spirit. No one took anything from him; he gave everything willingly.

As John 19:28-30 states, Jesus’ mission is finished; it is completed. Now, he is giving us an invitation, and how we respond is our decision.

What will you do with his invitation to bring mercy and grace today? What will you do with his invitation to help you in all aspects of life today?

You’re Unique

We’ve all seen coffee cup phrases. The encouraging words that are just right to place on a coffee cup and present to someone as an encouraging gift. Most gift shops stock these cups and they make great gifts for a person who just needs a little encouragement. The phrases usually originate from Scripture as the Bible is full of them.

You do not have to read very far into Philippians before finding a coffee cup phrase; maybe even one of the most encouraging phrases in Scripture. It is in the sixth verse of the first chapter; he, who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion.

There is no denying this is an encouraging statement. The Lord is at work in our lives, and he promises he will complete what he has started. God is completing a good work in our lives in spite of what we may do to try to stop him. The Bible’s biography of Moses helps us understand how this truth works. In spite of Moses at times, God completed a good work in his life.

What do we have in common with Moses?

What do we have in common with Moses? This may seem like an odd question. You may be thinking, “We can’t possibly have anything in common with Moses.” True, Moses had a once in history childhood, grew up to be a shepherd in the desert, and spent his senior years leading the Israelites through the desert. Unique is an understatement when describing his life, yet we share common ground with Moses.

A Once in History Life

I said above Moses is the only one who lived his life story. God placed Moses in a unique time and called him to a unique purpose. Moses was the individual God needed in that moment to fulfill that part of his plan.

Glimpse through Moses’ biography, and you can see how each phase of his life prepared him for the next. Growing up in Pharoah’s palace would have enabled Moses to become familiar with Egyptian customs. Shepherding sheep in the desert prepared Moses to be the shepherd of God’s people in the desert. God began a good work in Moses and carried it through to completion.

The same can be said for us. God has placed us in a unique position. Every person has a spot in God’s plan and a purpose to fulfill. Scripture speaks of each person’s uniqueness.

• The Psalmist says to the Lord, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was woven together in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).

• “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

• Esther was told, “You are here for such a time as this.”

Glimpse through your own biography. See how the previous phases of your life have prepared you for the current phase. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. Moses had a once in history life, and so do we. Share how the past has prepared you for the present with us.

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His Invitation

Everyone has made mistakes. When we look back at the past, we can beat ourselves up for a lot. We are all in need of grace.

And, the good news is Jesus offers us grace.

He has done a lot for us. From standing silent before his accusers to removing our guilt, Jesus brings much grace to us.

Isaiah writes, “Yet it was our weaknesses that he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down, and we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins. But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole; he was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own, yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).

All of this was so he could bring us grace. “But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief, yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants, he will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied, and because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous. For he will bear all their sins” (Isaiah 53:10-11).

Jesus came knowing all of this was going to be done, and he didn’t back away from any of it. He went through with the Lord’s plan so he could bring us grace, and he invites us to come and find peace with him.

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Silent for Us

He was innocent, yet the people brought many false charges against him. The Roman official couldn’t find any reason to charge him, so he gave the people a choice. Who did they want released? The innocent or a known murderer were the options, and the people shouted for the murderer to go free.

The trial came, and he remained silent. He offered no defense or accusation against his accusers. He was silent through it all: the trial, the verdict, and the punishment. He was innocent, but he remained silent for us.

Why did he remain silent?

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream, but he was struck down for the rebellion of my people” (Isaiah 53:7-8).

His silence was a gift to us. He was innocent, but no one else was, so Jesus exchanged places with the guilty; Jesus exchanges places with all of us so we could find peace with God. He did this all for us.

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For Us

He came from the Father full of grace and truth. He was full of mercy and love. His compassion ran deep, and his actions for us were bold. For us, his love was immeasurable, and he did what only he could do.

  • For us, he carried weaknesses and sorrows that did not belong to him. They were ours, but he carried them for us (Isaiah 53:4).
  • For us, he was beaten so we could be whole; he was whipped, so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:5).
  • For us, he was pierced and crushed (Isaiah 53:5).
  • For us, he was unjustly condemned (Isaiah 53:8).

He is Jesus, and his love for us compelled him to help us by doing what only he could do. He took our guilt so we could have peace.

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Guilt Removal

We kick ourselves when we’re down. We beat ourselves up today for yesterday’s mistakes. We know we’ve messed up, so we feel guilty. Having feelings of guilt is certainly a shared experience.

Psychology Today post reports, “We experience 5 hours a week of guilty feelings. One study found that if you add up all the moments you spend feeling mildly or moderately guilty, it adds up to a pretty significant chunk of time.” 

It is not that we experience Guilt which causes a problem. It is our handling of the guilty feelings which makes a difference. Guilt is a trigger that can lead us to action, and it can be used by the Lord to help us discover true peace.

Guilt can be the tool which drives us to the Lord. Our guilt can push us to fully accept the Lord’s grace. Those mistakes, those failures of the past can create much guilt, but we can be set free in God’s grace.

Notice the words of Psalm 103:12, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

Look to the east. Now, look to the west. The horizon stretches as far as we can see. Through Christ, that is how much distance there is between us and those mistakes of yesterday. The Lord offers us peace through his grace, and he invites us to rest in his peace rather than wrestle in our guilt. Challenge yourself to rest rather than wrestle today.

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Never Grows Weary

Is the Lord going to get tired of me? Is he going to stop helping me? Is he going to turn his back and ignore me? No, of course not; that would be the complete opposite of his character.

Psalm 103 gives us a glimpse into how merciful, compassionate, and gracious the Lord is toward you and me. Verses 8-11 say, “The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.”

This Psalm is a reminder of God’s grace. We do not get what we deserve; we get far more! In his grace, we can find freedom in Christ. The Lord removes our guilt and replaces it with his peace. He removes the guilt from past mistakes and replaces it with a hope for a better future. When you think of your past, do you concentrate on the guilt of past mistakes or the peace of Christ’s forgiveness?

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Never Rejects

Rejection. This is one of our deepest fears; we all want to belong, and the fear of someone rejecting us keeps us from moving. It may keep us from asking for that date or applying for that great job. And, it may be keeping some of us from asking for the Lord’s forgiveness.

We feel our lives are too messed up; there is no way the Lord wants to mess with someone like us. But, we are assured that is not true. We can be confident the Lord will never reject our request for forgiveness.

The Bible shows us the Lord will forgive the guilt of our past mistakes, and reassures us the Lord will always receive us.

  • Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit; you will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
  • 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive.”

The Lord will never reject us! We can ask for forgiveness knowing he will grant it through his grace! Don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from asking. You won’t be rejected.

Asking for Mercy

He was taking a stroll on the rooftop, looking over the kingdom he ruled, when someone caught his eye. She was beautiful, and he longed to spend some time with her. He sent for her, and she spent the night with him in the palace. The next morning, with the one-night stand over, he sent her home.

Some time later, she sent him a message informing him they were expecting a child. This was a problem because her husband had been on the battlefield for a long period of time, so the king thought he could trick the man into coming home and spending the night with his wife. After all, this would keep their affair secret. It didn’t work, so David eventually gave orders for Uriah to be killed in battle, and Bathsheba became his wife.

The Bible tells us the Lord sent Nathan to David to deliver a rebuke for his sins. It seems David is filled with guilt and shame because of his actions, and after Nathan’s visit, David pleads for forgiveness as he writes Psalm 51.

“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love, because of your great compassion,” David writes. “Blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean of my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion, for it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, I have sinned. I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just…. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow. O, give me back my joy again. You have broken me, now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins; remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God, renew a loyal spirit within me.”

David realized he messed up. In recognizing his mistake, David understood the Lord would forgive him, so David asked for forgiveness. We read in the Bible the Lord did forgive David, and he will forgive us as well.

We know we’ve messed up, and the Lord invites us to exchange that guilt for the peace he offers. Jesus invites us to exchange our heavy load of guilt for his light load of peace (Matthew 11:28-30), so make that exchange today.

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Full of Mercy and Grace

The Bible tells us a great deal about God’s character. He is an all-powerful, awesome Creator, who can begin and end events with a single word. He is a God with whom nothing is impossible. He is also a God of mercy and grace, worthy of praise. Notice what David writes in the Psalms.

Psalm 103:1-6 says:

“Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
 He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

The Lord gives righteousness
    and justice to all who are treated unfairly.”

Think about the picture these words paint of God. Dwell on his forgiveness and mercy. This Psalm goes on to remind us the Lord can take away our guilt, so challenge yourself to allow the God described above to be the Lord of life today.

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