In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sin.
1 John 4:9-10 on Good Friday
A New Year in Christ!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
Founding Father and second President John Adams, in 1798, foretold the state of our nation apart from Christ:
While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while she continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep… simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion (Christianity). Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other…
Every day, so often, even in the moments, I’m reminded of the need to recalibrate my pride and humility against the Standard:
He…Christ…made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Ours is a world of contrasts.
(photo credit: C. Pinsky, National Geographic)
There are always choices. The world works to blur the lines while God seeks to reveal them; to define them in our lives so we can see clearly His truth.
Light vs. Dark
Good vs. Evil
Right vs. Wrong
Up vs. Down
Wisdom vs. Foolishness
Accepted vs. Rejected
Heaven vs. Hell
Life vs. Death
Give vs. Take
Vigilance vs. Complacency
Others vs. Self
God… vs. all other gods.
Which do you choose?
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
— Phillipians 3:12
‘I was laid hold of by Jesus Christ.’ That is how Paul thinks of what we call his conversion. He would never have ‘turned’ unless a hand had been laid upon him. A strong loving grasp had gripped him in the midst of his career of persecution, and all that he had done was to yield to the grip, and not to wriggle out of it…
There is suggested in the word, too, distinctly, our Lord’s personal action in the matter…laid hold of by the personal action of Jesus Christ. He is present in His Word, and, by multitudes of inward impulses and outward providences, He is putting out a gentle and a firm hand, and laying it upon the shoulders of all of us. Have we yielded? Have we resisted, when we were laid hold of? Did we try to get away? Did we plant our feet and say, ‘I will not be drawn,’ or did we simply neglect the pressure? If we have yielded, my text tells us what we have to do next. For that hand is laid upon a man for a purpose, and that purpose is not secured by the hand being laid upon him, unless he, in his turn, will put out a hand and grasp. Our activity is needed; that activity will not be put forth without very distinct effort, and that effort has to be life-long, because our grasp at the best is incomplete.
— Alexander Mclaren (1826-1910)
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
– Genesis 12:1-3
God bless America!
The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.
— Proverbs 20:7
A blessed daughter.
“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God…
…so that the things which are seen…
…were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
Chickaloon Bay and Turnagain Arm, Alaska (PANC – June 10, 2018)
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)