salvation

Debt

14_debt-paidDebt. At some point we have all had it, a little or enough to look at the number and cry, whether a credit card, mortgage, phone bill, student loan, cable, etc. Debt is a major part of the society we live in, just considering the massive debt the US is in, but that is neither here nor though. The question of the hour, so what?? Whenever a person faces debt, the relief of being able to pay it off or work it off brings a sense of happiness, comfort, satisfaction, gratitude, completion, and self-worth. So obviously, the greater or more substantial it is, the more it means when a debt is satisfied or forgiven, and the more grateful and sometimes humble a person tends to be.

There is the story of a woman who was being herself for a purpose; she was honest about her situation and about the debt that she owed. When she realized she had the opportunity to pay it off, she did so in a manner of extreme thankfulness. So much in so that she was judged, slandered, and criticized right in her face, but because she knew who she was and didn’t deny it, she pressed on still because she desired her relief. Her name is unknown.

When you understand how much of a wretch you are, how dark your heart really is, and how unholy you truly are in comparison to a perfect and holy God, you realize you owe a debt that is far greater than anything you could ever pay, literally or figuratively. Being you for a purpose means acknowledging the dire need for a Savior and how completely lost and blind you are. Considering the last blog, “Murder,” no matter how good you think you are, trust me you are far worse, and I am learningpaid in full that and how immensely far from perfect I really am continually. Thus, I am more and more grateful for the cross and for the blood of Jesus. It was his, and only his, sacrifice that saved me and paid my terribly deadly debt in full.

Like Mary, we have to be honest about how messed up we truly are and that we are in need of someone to wipe out or forgive all that we owe. Again, I heard it put this way, “we will never know how unholy we truly are until we realize how holy God is.” When we are true to who we are with who created us, we can no longer hide behind our insecurities or failures, or use the mask of our accomplishments and achievement, because He sees us; He knows us; He created us. When we come before Him and take off the make-up, the cover-ups, and the veils of pride, arrogance, ignorance, perfection. deceit, denial, egoism, self-righteousness, judgement, and self-pity, He is then able to break away the pieces that shouldn’t be there and mold us, like a potter (Jeremiah 18), into the person He designed us to be. It is then His grace and mercy can begin to calculate how much is owed, and his blood takes the information and uses just enough drops to pay the bill. The beautiful part is that whenever we need more, it is there for us whenever we need it.

Just for me, the more I understand how wicked my heart really is and how much He loves me in spite of me, thus, the more I want to love and serve Him. Being me for a purpose, the good, the bad, and the ugly, I realized how high the price he paid for me on Calvary, and though I can never pay Him back, I plan to spend my life trying as if I could.

I love the story of the woman and her alabaster box, because she was a woman at the crossroads, no longer afraid or worried about what people would say; she didn’t care, for in that moment she knew she had nothing else to lose; it was now or never, all or nothing. She gave all of herself, and put it all on Jesus’ feet. She recognized there was only one person that could make her whole and that would afford her any type of compensation for her debt, and give her life meaning, restore her value, significance, and worth, and instill a purpose for her life. She did what she had to do, and Jesus paid it all.

Be you for a purpose and take off the mask. Remove the blinders. Open yourself up fully to the only one that can pay the debt for your soul.

Unwanted

If you ask me, the Bible is full of some of the greatest love stories ever. With that said, I watched a movie recently based on Hosea and Gomer, and I was really intrigued by the dynamics of the story that I had never picked up on before in reading, so I did some further looking into it and was even more captivated by how it so intensely portrayed our relationship with God.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, Hosea was the prophet God had told to marry the adulterous woman Gomer. Now at first, I was always under the assumption that she was a prostitute, but more than likely she was pure before she got married and developed and the heart of a harlot. I find this very interesting. It wasn’t until after she was married that she started to wander and refused to be satisfied by a man that would do anything for her. It was almost like she didn’t want to be loved, didn’t believe she could be loved and cared for so much, and or didn’t feel worthy to receive the love of a such a man. Thus, it’s almost like she did everything to force Hosea to give up on her. Don’t we do that?

GomerThe love of God is so straightforward, yet it goes beyond comprehension, and many times we feel unworthy or less than fearfully and wonderfully made, and we either we act out, becoming afraid and doubtful of its genuineness and test the love of God, or we just don’t want it, because our pride wants us to be able to live the way we want without boundaries, but I think the latter. Like Gomer, even though God pursues us and reminds us daily of His love, as would Hosea, we decide to live a life that takes that precious love for granted and many times we end up in a far worse situation than we should’ve ever been in. Gomer was no different. As a result of her many escapades, she ended up in bondage waiting to be sold to the highest bidder. But no one wanted her. She had damaged herself so bad that she ranked lower than a slave. No one wanted her.

In spite of his heartbreak, pain, frustration, and sadness Gomer caused, Hosea bought her back and promised to always love her. Woah! What kind of love is that?! That’s God’s heart for us, no matter what we do to Him, He will never stop loving us, because His love for is does not depend on us. Even when we stray, His arms are always open, calling us back home. Now does that mean we can go and act like we ain’t got no sense? Of course not, especially when we know better. Hosea even told her she had to stop doing craziness after he bought her back.

When we get to the point where we realize that God will never abandon us or forsake, no matter who we are or what we do, something in us will want to love Him back and want to have that love with us wherever we go in life. As human, by definition, we do not want God’s love, until we meet Jesus, and even then there are kinks in our lives that we strive to straighten out, but he promises to walk with us and be with us through eternity. Matter of fact, the name Gomer means perfect and complete. That is so mind blowing.

When I read that, it clicked that the story of Hosea and Gomer is a reflection of God’s perfect and complete love and salvation (meaning of Hosea). So what’s the point?

Living a life of purpose, you can’t fight God’s love. He is a gentleman so He won’t force you to accept His love or make you love Him in return, but I mean why wouldn’t you? As Gomer did, and as Hosea prophesied to the Israelites, we try everything and everyone else to satisfy us and make us happy, but sooner or later, at some point we come to understand that the Lord was there the whole time and no one else can love you like He can; no one else has your back like He does. He is all that you need to fulfill His awesome purposes in your life. God thinks you are worth every bit of love He has to offer you, and even if every other person has stopped loving you for one reason or another, even if it was your doing, God will never change His mind about you. You can’t make Him stop loving you. So bask in it on purpose, because if you are like me, even when you are being you for a purpose and living in purpose, sometimes His love is all that is holding you together, the only thing stopping you from giving up.

A Screwtape Perspective

So, if you are unaware, we are living in the final days. Now to give you a time frame or a IMAG1165-1-1date, by no means will I attempt to do so, but I will just say, open your eyes. Jesus laid it out flat when the disciples asked him for the sign of his return in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. For some time I wondered why such bad things foreshadowed his return, but if you haven’t read either of those passages, here are a few things: wars and rumors of wars, nations against nations, weird weather in random places, lack of love, children going against their parents to the extreme, brothers fighting each other, Christian persecution, pestilence, fearful events, and increase in natural disasters or events (famines and earthquakes).

Now if you just watch the news or read through Facebook, you can see the truth of each of these happenings, whether a random shooting, children killing their parents, parents killing their kids, monsoons, earthquakes, diseases and sicknesses, or wars and tension between nations (ie Russian, Ukraine, US, Iraq, Egypt, Liberia, Libya, etc). It’s heartbreaking to be honest and it again just makes me wonder why things are getting so ridiculous. I understand God is sovereign, but it’s like seriously. Then I think well, many of our problems are a result of our desire to not want anything to do with Him or His Word, just in the US alone, not to mention the persecution of Christians around the world.

Besides all that, I have been reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters.” So far the book has blown my mind to get a further glimpse into the mind of Satan and the tactics of him and his counterparts. Nonetheless, in one of the letters, Uncle was speaking on how the idea that war or pestilence are a shoe in for attacking the faith alone is an exaggeration and can actually hinder the Enemy’s desire for people to undermine their faith and keep people from turning to God. The reasoning is that in the midst of things like war and pestilence, people tend to call out and seek redemption from a higher power, the Enemy of the Enemy.

To bring it all together, through all the terrible things that are happening in the world we live in, God is getting our attention so that we can get right with Him before it is too late. If Jesus would come back when the world was all honky dory, there would be no incentive to get right, and more people would be lost. With all that is going on, people are seeking help and an answer for what is happening. I am hear to say Jesus is that answer an he is on his way back, and with everything occurring, he is providing more and more opportunities for people to come to a saving knowledge of His love, mercy, grace, power, and redemption and salvation. Uncle Screwtape (a high ranking demon in the book) even said so Himself, it’s through the suffering that people turn to God, and the Devil and his demons don’t like that; misery loves company and they will do all in their power to bring as many people to Hell with them.

Open your eyes. Your God-given purpose, your destiny, your calling is so pertinent to giving and or providing an answer to the struggles of so many others. By choosing to be all that God made you to be, being you for a purpose, you will help usher in the coming of the Lord Jesus, in a way that only you can, providing hope to those that need to hear and know that a better day is coming.

Avengers

avengers

So, generally speaking, I am a super hero fan and my favorite super hero movie is “The Avengers.” I was watching it last night, but this morning I got to thinking about the battles of each avenger and Loki and began to see each one represented people in the church. Now if you think I took this it a little to deep, that is fine with me, still, realize that these comparisons I am about to make are not meant to be a perfect parallel to the movie(s) or the comics, just something to think about.

With all that said, the first on the list is Hulk. The way I see it, the Hulk represents the self-pity Christian, the one who tends to say “woe is me.” Like some of us, Banner was afraid of what was inside of him and refused for some time to embrace it, although, he had good reason. Sometimes we get a glimpse of what God has called us to be, but those things about us that seem out of control, whether mentally, emotionally, physically, or whatever it is that makes us different, force us to hide it or deny it, and in doing so sometimes we hurt ourselves or others and become depressed. Some just become angry altogether (like Banner), others just run away and run from God and some turn to things like drugs, alcohol, or busy themselves with a career. Nevertheless, when we finally tap in to who we are in Christ, and know that our imperfections make us perfect (Ps 139:13-14), understanding that God’s Word will help us gain control (Heb 4:12), there is nothing that can stop you. The Hulk then becomes one of the most powerful people in the body of Christ, especially when you have people around you like Tony Stark.

Iron man is the arrogant Christian who may very well have every reason to be, because of the success and money. Yet, Stark did have to overcome some major demons and often times felt invincible and was disruptive. Many Christians are like that, they don’t consider other people’s feeling or individual walk, and can be brash and take things into their own hands, without putting others ahead of themselves, leaving others behind. However, once Stark learned to humble himself, he was a very pertinent part of the Avenger team. Like Iron man, when believers use their gifts and talents for the benefit of the kingdom and not themselves (1 Pet 4:10), God uses such people in a marvelous way. However, these people often clash with Captain America.

Being older, Captain America had a different mindset that didn’t match with someone like Stark. He can be considered the close minded judgmental type of Christian. These people like the Captain, were faithful and take the gospel seriously, but too often they miss the bigger picture; they have tunnel vision and refuse to think outside the box and are orthodox and condemn those that aren’t. However, the moment they open their eyes and accept the new thing God is doing (Is 43:19) and humble themselves enough to learn, they are awesome leaders for the kingdom of God, even with the Black Widows.

Natasha Romanoff represents a person trying her hardest to redeem herself from her past sins. This person may not be a believer. Many times a person chooses not to come to Christ because he wants to get himself together and right all his wrongs. The beautiful thing about Jesus is that when you come to him, you don’t have to live with that guilt or live bound up in chains by your past (Luke 4:18), because when Jesus forgets, he remembers your sins no more (Ps 103:12; Mic :18), so why should you? As Black Widow tried to do, you can’t earn your salvation, that only comes through Christ, and the moment you come to him, the only one who can redeem you (Ps 78:35), and give him all your mess, that pain becomes a mighty purpose and you can lead others like Hawkeye.

Hawkeye I think represents the one who got to sure of himself, but it was then that the enemy came in and he fell under the trap. Many of us do that when we reach a certain point that we lose focus or misjudge the enemy and use our own wisdom, and next thing we know we are in some mess. That’s why the scripture tells us to be careful and watch out so that we don’t get so caught up that we fall (1 Cor 10:12), for the enemy is around every corner, and sometimes the distraction can be one like Thor.

I think Thor could relate most to the Christian that has a soft spot for the world; he knows its dangerous but still has a heart for it and it’s a constant battle, although you can’t serve two masters (Rev 3:16; Matt 6:24). More so, Thor thought he could defeat the enemy alone. As a believer, we have to let go of the pleasures of the world and be sold out, even if that means leaving family or friends behind (Lk 9:23). Now later on, God may send you back, but He needs to do a work in you first. Furthermore, like Thor, learn to appreciate and use the people around you that can show you the enemy for who he really is, who is a lot like Loki.

Loki simply represents the Devil himself, whose objective is to steal, kill, and destroy just as Loki. Let’s call his army demons. They came and caused a lot of Havoc on earth, but when the Avengers came together, called by Nick Fury, it was rough but they got it together and won in the end.

In this walk of life you may be one of these avengers, each with different gifts, talents, personalities, skill levels, and abilities, but ultimately that makes up the body of Christ (1 Cor 12) and God has called us, as Nick Fury called the Avengers, believing in us when others didn’t believe in us and we didn’t even believe in ourselves. Still, as with Fury, God doesn’t always tell us the whole story, but the more we follow Him, the more He reveals things to us (Amos 4:13). He has a special plan and a special purpose for each of us, and the more we learn to work with each other and not against each other (as the Avengers did in the first half), the greater our impact will be on this world for the purpose of God’s glory.