Tag Archives: john 3:16

The Birth Of Grace

I’ve got a friend who, when he sees people with a sour face, likes to say, “Smile! God’s in a good mood.” It usually takes them a second to hear what he said, then they laugh or smile. Many of us think of God as this angry, Old Testament figure who is sitting up in Heaven speaking in old English and is looking for someone to smite. As a result, we try to live a smite free life that makes us miserable.

If God is always angry, why did He give us the gift of His Son? I can tell you that when I’m upset or angry with someone, giving them a life changing gift is not an idea floating around in my head. In the Old Testament, we had a pact with God where we would do our part to keep the relationship open through sacrifice, but we constantly fell short. That did make God angry and upset. How do you feel when someone breaks a promise to you? No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t do it.

Out of love, God decided to establish a New Covenant between us. One where when we fall short on our end, Jesus makes up the difference. His birth was also the birth of grace. It announced that God would make a way to reestablish the relationship between He and us. His desire has always been that we would know Him, and go to live with Him for eternity. To take the burden off of us trying to keep our part, He sent Jesus.

John 3:16-17 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (NLT). Smile! That’s good news. This Christmas, celebrate the birth of grace into our world. Live your life in response to God’s love for you rather than out of the fear of being smitten.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Good News


For me, one of the greatest things about taking a trip to Israel is being able to put a picture with a story. For a lot of people, it’s the ability to walk where Jesus walked. There is something about being here that makes the Bible come to life. You get a new appreciation for the stories you have read your whole life. You see the caves of En Gedi that David hid in while running from Saul. The Kidron Valley is deeper than you have imagined. The terrain that Jesus and others had to walk through is formidable. I’d like to share one of my take aways with you.

First, there is a strong, vibrant Christian community of Arabs here. I know most people think all Arabs are Muslims, but that’s not the case. We went to two church services with Arab Christians and felt God’s presence strongly. Not only are there Arab Christians, but there are Arabs who don’t hate Israel or Israelis. These pastors we met reminded us of Romans 1:16 that says, “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile” (NLT).

These men and women are not ashamed of Jesus, and preach His name to Muslims around the Middle East. They know their lives are in danger every time they preach the Good News, but they do it anyway. They know that God loves Arabs and Muslims and He wants them to find the truth. One of the ways they do that is to remind Muslims that the Quran says that not only was Jesus a prophet, but that He’s the Word of God. If He is the Word of God, then they need to see what He teaches and how it’s opposite of what they’re taught.

We have to remember that Jesus didn’t just die for the Jews and the Americans, He did for everyone. John 3:16 says that whosoever “believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” We can’t be picky with whom we share the Good News with. God’s desire is that none would perish. It’s up to us to reach who we can, how we can. As the verse above said, the Good News was for the Jew first and also the Gentile. We can’t be afraid or ashamed of this Good News.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Habit Of Love

I believe that there are several habits we as Christians can adopt in our lives to become the type of believer we truly aspire to be. While Hebrews 11 has compiled a list of heroes of the faith for us, there have been many people who have lived since that time whom we can learn from as well. If I were to ask you to think of a person, past or present, who exemplified a life of faith as a believer, you could probably think of a name quickly. Whether they were written about in the Bible, history, or have just touched your life in some way, they have habits in their life that you and I can adopt into our own lives to become that type of Christian.
  

To me, one of the greatest habits we can adopt is the habit of love. In John 13:35, Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples when we show love for each other. There’s no greater habit than to be able to love others the way that God loves them. To be able to do that though, we have to change the lenses that we use to look at people. We have to see them through God’s eyes and not our own.

The least valuable person on earth is worth enough to die for in His eyes. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love was not dependent on our actions and involved Him doing something for our good. It wasn’t just words.

It’s easy to say you love the least of these, but God is looking for more than words. He’s looking for love in action. He wants us to show His love to a broken world because that’s what can bring healing and worth. He wants us to feed and clothe the homeless, embrace those with HIV or AIDS, and to give grace to those who least deserve it. That’s the kind of love He has shown you and I. We are to do no less.

I John 3:28 say, “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (GNB). Having the habit of love in our life doesn’t mean we sit around and talk about the problems in our world. It means we go out and do something about it. You’ll never solve homelessness, poverty, or other things that cause brokenness, but you can do something about it for one person. Andy Stanley said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” Don’t let the enormity of the brokenness in this world keep you on the sidelines. Instead, let the love of Christ help you to run to all the crises in this world with open arms.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Love All. Serve All. (Video)

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:28 (NLT)

If you are having trouble viewing the video, click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Free From Condemnation



If you’ve ever watched “Duck Dynasty”, you know who Uncle Si is. If you don’t, he’s the crazy uncle we all have, but would never put on TV! Uncle Si was asked by someone once what his favorite Bible verse was. He told them John 3:17. He then said, “Most people can tell you what 16 says, OK. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.’ But they don’t know nothin’ about 17. It says Jesus didn’t come to condemn us. If anybody had a right to condemn someone, it would be the son of God. If he didn’t do it, then hey, we definitely are not qualified to do it. (1)”

As crazy as he can be on that show, there’s a lot of wisdom in what he said there. As Christians, we have to be careful because it’s easy to forget where we’ve come from. When that happens, we think of ourselves as more righteous than others and begin to look down on the lost or unsaved. The problem with that is that the One who is the very embodiment of righteousness did not come to the world to condemn it, but to seek and to save those who are lost. If He didn’t come to condemn the world, what makes us think it’s our job? We should have the same mission as Christ: to help the list find salvation instead of condemnation.

Another thing for believers to be careful about is condemning each other. People who consider themselves more righteous (religious) than others have a tendency to bring condemnation on others who do not believe the way they do. The problem with that is that Paul wrote in Romans 8:1, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)” If someone has accepted Christ as their savior, then we have no right to bring condemnation on them because their sins have been forgiven.

If you’ve been living under condemnation either self imposed or given by someone else, let me encourage you to read Romans 7 and 8. In chapter 7, Paul was very frank about his shortcomings as a believer. We all fall short. We all still sin. We all struggle to do what the Bible tells us even after we become believers. After Paul admits that he’s one of us, he flips in chapter 8 to remind us that there is no condemnation for being human. He reminds us that God does what we cannot do and that is salvation. It’s His work, not ours.

If you’ve been the type who condemns others, think back to the words Jesus spoke to the adulterous woman in John 8:10-11. “Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I.'” (NLT) If you’re a Christian and you’ve been living under condemnation, then set yourself free based on Romans 8:1. If you are not a Christian and want to live free of condemnation, go back to John 3:16-17. God sent His Son to die for your sins. He took your condemnation for you so that you could be free and go to Heaven. He didn’t come to bring condemnation. He came to set you free from it.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Getting To Bethlehem

From the moment Jesus was born, people began to look for Him. The heavenly announcements rang throughout the universe. God wanted everyone to know His son was born. He took His omnipotent power, wrapped it in flesh and made Himself as vulnerable as He could. He wanted us to know the depths of His love by giving up everything to come be a part of our broken world. From His announcements, three types of people came to see the child. They were all eager to find Him, but not all reached their goal.

The first to hear the news were shepherds in a field. God looked for those who were nearby to tell the news to. They were sitting around chatting when an angel appeared to give them the announcement. After he told them, more appeared and they begs to sing. Luke 2:16 says they hurried to Bethlehem and found the baby. When some of us hear the story of Jesus, we hurry to accept Him into our lives. We hear the Good News and rush to a changed life. Rich or poor, God doesn’t care, He just wants to find those who will listen and be moved.

The next to find out about the birth of Jesus were the wise men from the east. They saw a star that lead them to Bethlehem. Many theologians believe that it took them around two years to make their way to Bethlehem. When the arrived in Judea, the found the palace in Jerusalem to inquire about the new king. King Herod explained there was no king born. He called the priests in and asked where the Messiah would be born. When they said Bethlehem, he sent them there, but wanted to know where in Bethlehem.

I love how “The Bible” series depicted the wise men arriving to see Jesus. They had this look of shock on their face. One of them said, “The King of kings was born in the most humble of places.” For some of us, the birth and life of Jesus doesn’t make sense. We are a far way off from salvation. It takes us time to come to the truth and to have our lives changed. We don’t accept the message right away, but we continue to seek. If that’s you, God is still calling out and sending His signs to lead you to His son. Keep seeking and you will find Him.

The third person heard about the birth from the wise men. After the left for Bethlehem, King Herod was scared that he would lose his throne. He didn’t want to give up everything he had to embrace everything God had. He set out to kill the baby and stop the message. An angel appeared to Joseph though and warned him. His family alone was spared from the massacre. There are many who will hear the story of Jesus, but will refuse to give up their lives for His. They won’t want to get off the throne of their lives and let God be in control. They will do everything they can to stop the Gospel. Yet God still invites them to come.

John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” Each of us have been invited to come and see. Each of us reading this have heard the announcement of His birth. Whether you’re near or far, the choice is yours to make your way to that manger. The choice is yours to accept eternal life. God has not quit announcing His plan. When we hear it, we have to choose to get off the throne of our life and let Him sit on it, we can choose to seek Him more or we can choose to try to do away with the message. It’s your decision.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized