Do you believe in magic?

When my kids were young (think 4 or 5 years old), I could do magic tricks easily. Pulling quarters out of ears or making a penny disappear were standard. Throw in a few cards tricks and they would be amazed.

magic-tricks

As an adult, I enjoy a good magic show. It amazes me how these magicians can make big things disappear! How does a helicopter vanish into thin air!?!?

But all of that is just slight-of-hand or misdirection. The helicopter does not really vanish.

The Word – Magic

The Worth – God is magic. No, not Harry Potter magic or Gandalf the Grey type stuff. He really can make stuff disappear!

magician

If you have not read the post “What do you want?”, please click here. It will give you a context that will make more sense when reading this post.

In that post, I had written a line near the end;

He took action so we can take action.

Let me unpack that a little more.

2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

John 1 tells us to “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

This is God doing magic! He took away the sin of the world. He made it disappear! The action that God took was to make it possible for us to be sinless. We now can become the righteousness of God!

He loved us so much and was longing to be connected with us again. He wanted us so much that he took His son and used Him to take away our sin.

When I was 16, I got my first speeding ticket. This was 1989 so it probably was not too much of a fine. It was more embarrassing because I had three friends in the car with me!

I broke the law and deserved to pay the fine. But then my dad performed a magic trick.

He told that he would pay for the first one. He paid my ticket. That was both merciful and gracious all in one simple act.

God did a magic trick 2000 years ago. Jesus became our sin. See Isaiah 53:6

cross bridge

The Work – This part takes faith.

Understand that Jesus is the way back to God.

Jesus also took our sin upon Him.

Our part is to accept that payment. Just like my dad paying my speeding fine, we can accept this gift.

We can now live our life because of what has already been done.

Stop trying to earn salvation and enjoy the magic that God has performed!

Live to reflect your righteousness!

After all, God is not going to bring back your sin.

You are free. Go out and live it!

 

Advertisements

White Blood Cells

***Warning: Graphic image in this post***

4,500-10,000. That is the normal range for a white blood cell count per microliter.

white-blood-cell

But isn’t blood red? Exactly what you were thinking, right? No worries, I am not getting into deep scientific stuff here. I’d be in over my head!

I just want to explore the reason white blood cells exist and how that can be encouraging to someone who wants to follow Jesus.

The main purpose for white blood cells is to fight infection. Bacteria, germs, and viruses that invade the body are attacked by the white blood cells.

If all goes well, the infection is eradicated. If not, sickness will follow.

wbc-attacks-virus

The blood that flows in our bodies has fighting power. Healing power.

It is amazing to know that God created our bodies with this inherent ability!

With that in mind, read Isaiah 53:4-5,

“4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But 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 passage has the title of Suffering Servant. I feel that it is describing Jesus even though is was written hundreds of years before he was alive!

Please read that last sentence again. By his wounds we are healed. His wounds came from the torture and crucifixion that led to his death. Scourging. Whipping. Nailing. Cutting. Stabbing. The blood of Jesus flowed that day.

jesus-on-the-cross

And now we can have healing. Primarily healing from sin. But secondly, from disease.

Having my sins removed (think white blood cells eradicating a virus) is so wonderful. That is the ultimate reward. Thank you Jesus!

But I think physical healing can be drawn from these verses as well.

Maybe an instant miracle.

Maybe a successful surgery.

Maybe a lifestyle change.

Maybe death which takes a believer to heaven thereby receiving a full healing!

I am not sure if you need healing (spiritually from sin or physical from sickness) but I do know that by his wounds we are healed.

We ARE healed. Believe it today friend!

As always, feel free to message me if you have more questions about the healing available to you today.

 

AB+ and 44

Today is my birthday. It was a pretty decent day. I had some great family time. Work was enjoyable. Had lunch with my wife which is rare so that was pretty awesome.

happy-birthday-meme

Now I am writing this blog. I have not written since late July. Taking time off was planned but not this much time. This blog has been good for me. It helps me to process what I read in God’s word and what I hear God telling me.

Back to the birthday. I am 44 today. Is that middle-age? Whatever 44 is called, so be it.

My life began 44 years ago. At some point, I became born again. For me, there is not a specific date that I can call my “spiritual” birthday. But I know it has happened. On that day, the blood of Jesus washed my sins away.

The blood of Jesus is an interesting thing. Somewhat morbid if you ask me. And then the bible says that though my sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. How can blood do this? What is so important about the blood that Jesus spilled while hanging on the cross? How can I be forgiven? More about this in upcoming blogs.

My blood type is AB+. In my adulthood, I have donated about 3 gallons. Take a look at this chart.

blood-types-red1

According to the chart, only AB+ people can receive my blood. On the other hand, I can receive from any type. Good deal for me.

Again, according to the chart, Jesus must have been O- because anyone can receive His blood.

He is the universal donor. Because today is my birthday, I have been thinking a lot about my life and all the it encompasses.

Of this I am sure: Jesus is my life. His blood purifies me from sin. His blood gives me victory over sin. His blood empowers to live like He wants me to live.

As I stated, I will explore the Blood over the next few posts.

Can I leave you with two questions though?

Do you remember your spiritual birthday?

If not, would you like to have one?

Are you building a wall?

A number of years ago, my wife and I built a fence around our back yard. I can still see my wife and her parents wrestling with the post hole digger while I sat in the air-conditioned house. There was a torn meniscus in my left knee so I was excused from that type of labor.

And boy was I bummed. =-) (Please note the sarcasm)

But that was not really the point. We built this fence. It was quite an undertaking. And the reason we needed to have the fence was to keep my two year old daughter from escaping! She is eight now and has learned not to run away at any given chance! =-)

People build fences, wall, barriers, etc. to keep things out (or sometimes in!). Do you recognize some of these?

The Great Wall of Chinagreatwall-of-china

The Western Wall

 

640px-western_wall_with_the_dome_of_the_rock_in_background

The Berlin Wall

463104049_27844a7a48

Not pictured are Hadrian’s Wall and the Atlantic Wall. These are the famous ones that come to my mind. What walls do you think about?


 

In the apostle Paul’s day, there was another wall or barrier. It was in the temple and it seperated the court of the Gentiles from the temple proper. It even had an inscription on it saying that no foreigner can enter. Death will be the result.

Walls are meant for separation. To divide someone or something, you simply put up a wall.

What about the walls that do not consist of brick and mortar? These walls can’t been seen on the internet because they are in our hearts. We build these walls to protect ourselves from harm. There are people and situations that can do damage and so we build walls.

The ultimate wall is sin. This barrier is too big and strong for us to break down.

So I ask you again, what walls are in your heart?

Paul wrote to the Ephesians some words about a wall,

14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

Three words, “destroyed the barrier”.

There is a literal and spiritual meaning here.

  • The wall in the temple has been destroyed. Christianity is an international fellowship. Any person can come to Christ. Jesus not only brings peace, he is peace.
  • The wall of sin in our hearts has been destroyed. We have the access that sin once prevented. Need peace? Read Three Ps in a Pod. part 3

 

Christ already did the work. So put down the bricks with which you are trying to build a wall.

Let God reign in you. Only He can keep those walls from coming back up. He is good!

 

 

 

 

Exiled! part 1

Have you ever been exiled? I know, not a word we use in everyday speech so here is the Merriam-Webster definition:

Full Definition of exile

  1. 1a:  the state or a period of forced absence from one’s country or home 1b :  the state or a period of voluntary absence from one’s country or home
  2. 2:  a person who is in exile

 

Last week, in my post 3 small simple words, I briefly mentioned Jeremiah 29:11. It was in reference to popular verses in the Bible. Let’s zoom out and start at the beginning of the chapter. Here are the first 3 verses:

1This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2(This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:”

Can we put ourselves in the place of the Israelites? They were not in their homeland. And I don’t think they were camping for the weekend either! Check out the map;

exile route

They most likely had feelings of anger, frustration, fatigue and a whole host of others. And to top it off, they knew they were God’s chosen people! How could God let this happen!?!? Did he not love them enough to destroy the enemy and bring them home? Of course God can do it for he can do anything. But that is not the point. The people of God were exiled because the rebelled against God. Sin was the reason. We see this pattern in the Old Testament frequently. The people of God rebel and backslide. Bad things happen. Then, through a leader, judge, prophet or an event, the people humble themselves and God restores them. In this particular instance, God uses the exile to discipline the Israelites.

Fast forward to 2016. Are you in a state of exile? Are you far from your home? I am not really speaking literally now although that could be the case. Is your heart far from God? Do you feel as if you are living under the control of an evil ruler? Is your life forced upon you rather than you living free?

You see, sin will exile you from God. It separates us, the created, from God, our Creator. Our choices can affect our standing with God. We can consistently choose to keep sin between us and God. That is living in exile. There are also times, perhaps, when we are the victim of other people’s choices. Life clocks us up side the head. More feelings of exile. Overall, living in exile seems to be more common than living in true freedom!

So what do we do? If I find I am living in exile, what can I do? The answer will have to wait until next week. but I do have one final thought for you.

Verse 4 says, “4This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:”

Read it again.

One more time.

“to all those I carried…”

Even when sin or circumstance sends you into exile, God is really not that far off. In fact, if God did not want you to be in exile He could stop it. But he loves us so much that He gave us free will. We get to choose whether or not we will love Him or hate Him. Serve Him or deny Him.

His arms are big. He can carry the entire human race. We just need to choose Him and not exile.

Be encouraged, God loves you. Until next week.