About kurt bennett

Just a regular guy who loves to search the scriptures.

Which Thief Are You?

Easter thief on the cross

Crosses Path, Lourdes, France

In our last post we looked at why Jesus had to die. We looked at a great truth: how he had to die because of what you already know about yourself. How you already know the hurt your anger causes, and how it rears its ugly head too easily and too often. You already know you look at things God wouldn’t have you look at, say things God wouldn’t have you say, do things God wouldn’t have you do.

You know, and so does God.

But God’s love is so powerful, if you just humble yourself and talk to Him, and confess those sins you committed against Him–He will forgive you. Look at Jesus, hanging on the cross, in the very process of dying, yet what did he say to the thief hanging next to him?

The thief said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Even on the cross, even as he’s dying, he’s reaching out to save this thief, a man who by his own admission deserves to die this way. It was his passion to save him.

It’s his passion to save you.

God has said there’s no exception. Whether you’re a thief, or a liar, or hot tempered, or a sloth, or filled with greed, or a glutton, or a drunk, or a fornicator–it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you humble yourself before him. What matters is that you ask him, even as the thief asked him.

Ask him to remember you when He comes into His kingdom.

“I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus said. “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25)

Your sin is no barrier. The guilt you feel right now is not an obstacle. No matter how dark a place you’re in, no matter how black your night, every single one of your sins will be forgiven. Every crime against God will be washed away by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Every wrong written on the pages of your life will be blotted out by Jesus Christ’s blood.

You can stand in heaven safe and secure, no matter how dark your night. The night was never darker than it was for those two thieves.

One didn’t humble himself before God and believe on the One who God sent.

One did.

One died in his sins.

One was saved.

The night was dark that Friday. But the Son rose that Sunday. The tomb is empty. he left footprints on the shore, he left bread broken.

He’s alive. He’s alive and waiting for you to loose your prideful anti-Christ state of mind.

Which thief are you?

I’d love to hear from you. Email me at kurt@kurtbennettbooks.com.

[Image via maxleo.fr - Creative Commons]

What You Already Know About Good Friday

Easter why did Jesus have to die? Good Friday

Why did Jesus have to die?

Why did Jesus have to die? Why did he die on Good Friday? The truth is, you already know. If you let your conscience loose long enough, you already know your anger hurts people you care about. You already recognize you put images in front of your eyes that God, out of love, would have you avoid. You already know how slow you’ve been to step up and contribute to your family, the way you know God would have you to.

You already know you lack humility before God.

You already know.

And so does God.

Why?

God is perfect. And God’s justice is perfect. And God’s love is perfect. So what is He to do then? How can God reconcile His perfect justice with His perfect love? Here we have a seemingly impossible dilemma because one thing is certain: you sin against God, and so do I, and so does every living human being on the planet. Even a glance at Matthew chapter five confirms it. (Matthew 5:21-48) Yet when you look at the life of God in flesh and blood, when you look at the life of Jesus Christ, it’s impossible not to see how He loves us, in spite of our sin.

So what is God to do then, with His perfect justice and His perfect love? God reconciles His perfect justice with His perfect love by reconciling you to Himself. And the way He did that was to provide His own Son as a sacrifice, to pay the price for your sins against God, to pay the price for my sins against God.

And the only way that could happen was if Jesus died, on Good Friday–on your behalf.

God loves you so much, God’s desire to reconcile with you runs so deep, He said: Yes, you can reject Me, die in your sins, and go to hell–but you’ll have to do it over My dead body.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid… John 19:1-8 (To read the conclusion click on the link to John Chapter 19)

Contact me at kurt@kurtbennettbooks.com.

[Image via Christopher Brown - Creative Commons]

Love Like Jesus–Don’t Give ‘Til It Hurts (and what that has to do with your inner circle)

give till it hurts

Inner Circle

Loving and Giving Until It Hurts

Carol is a single mother with a heart as big as the moon. She loves strays of all kinds: stray dogs, stray cats, stray iguanas (today she informed me there’s a local herpetological society that will contribute toward your care of a stray iguana). She also loves stray people. But early in life she thought she could help a stray person who was struggling. She was sure that with enough love she could bring out the good person she knew lived inside him. She loved him, and loved, him, and loved him. But no matter how much love she gave, she couldn’t compete with his addiction. He spent his money (and hers) on his habit. He neglected her. He neglected his job. He neglected his kids. Finally he left. Not to be deterred, she found another stray. Surely with enough love she would turn this person around. But the pattern repeated until he finally left too. Now and again she would surround herself with several stray people at a time, each one was in a dark place, and that too sent her life into a destructive spin.

So she asked me today, How does this work? We’re supposed to love people like Jesus loved people, but how do we do that without our good efforts deteriorating into something self destructive? Continue reading

Go Measure the Heavens

Why is Christianity so restrictive

Bow Shock Around LL Orionis (spans trillions of kilometers) – Hubble Telescope Image

 

Go measure the heavens, go weigh the mountains on a scale, go take the ocean’s water and number each drop, go count the sand on the sea’s wide shore, and when you have accomplished this, you still won’t know how much God loves you. (Spurgeon)

 

[You might also like Why is Christianity So Restrictive]

References:

C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons on Jesus and the Holy Spirit, 2006, Hendrickson Publishers, p. 399

Father Francis Beaten, Then Shot Twice in the Head

Father Francis Beaten and Shot

Dutch Jesuit Priest, Father Francis Van Der Lugt, was killed by a masked gunman–shot twice in the head. He was killed at a monastery in the Syrian rebel stronghold of Bustan al-Diwan. Some report that he was beaten before he was shot.

Father Francis was famous for his refusal to leave Bustan al-Diwan in spite of the obvious danger. In a video interview from February, 2014 he was asked why he wasn’t taking advantage of the opportunity to leave Syria and return to the safety of his home in the Netherlands. Father Francis said he didn’t want to abandon the twenty-eight remaining Christians, and that even if there were no Christians, he would stay to help all Syrians.

One of his passions was rescuing the religious art in the area from the destruction of the war. He would often search through the rubble of churches and mosques looking for the remains of religious artwork, some pieces as old as 1,000 years.

Father Francis laid down his life for his friends–even as his Savior did.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

References:

John 15:13

Luke Chapter 23

Jerusalem Post

BBC

Catholic Herald

NOS

Video: Homs priest says “‘hunger’ is the biggest problem”

NY Times

 

 

Senna Part 2–Teach us to number our days: Psalm 90:12

kurt bennett:

From the archives, one of our most popular posts.

Originally posted on God Running:

Senna Part 2--Teach us to number our days: Psalm 90The story of Formula 1 race car driver, Ayrton Senna is so compelling that I couldn’t help but write this post to let you know how the whole thing ended. After his victory over his rival Alain Prost (see post on Genesis 33 to read Part 1 of Senna’s story) he went on to win two more world championships. Ayrton Senna was a flawed man, yet greatly loved in his native Brazil, and around the world, for his humble, unassuming nature. In an interview after winning his third world title, Senna talked about how he was happiest when he was learning and improving as a driver, and also as a man. At the end of the interview he made this comment:

“There is a lot to go, a lot to learn, a lot to live, but I have plenty of time.”

I don’t know anything about Ayrton Senna’s beliefs or theology, but…

View original 330 more words

Why is Christianity so Difficult?

why is Christianity so hard?Why is Christianity so hard? It’s not. Not if you’re all in. What I’ve found in myself and observing others is that if you live your life for yourself, you’ll experience a certain level of comfort, or, if not comfort, then at least some measure of self gratification. But if you give yourself completely to Christ, you’ll experience an abundant life–the best life possible. It’s when you or I are in between that it gets hard.

Jesus said the Christian life is narrow (Matthew 7:13-14), but he never said it’s hard. In fact he said it’s easy. (Matthew 11:28-30) The thing is, it doesn’t become easy until you’re all in. Jesus said he came so we could have a rich abundant life (John 10:10), but you and I won’t experience that rich abundant life unless we connect with Christ to the fullest extent we can.

I think many Christians today find Christianity hard because they’re not disciples. It might seem like a paradox but the deeper you go in Christ, the richer and more abundant your life becomes. You love God more. You grow more. You love people more. And you also lose yourself, and that part can be scary. You lose yourself because your focus turns away from you and toward loving God and loving people. That idea can be frightening. It’s frightening because we don’t want to let go of ourselves. We fear losing the self-life. But if you ever have the courage to try it, if you ever find the courage to just plunge into Jesus Christ and become a real follower of him and his words, you’ll discover what many have discovered before you:

Intimacy with Jesus results in the best life possible.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” -Jesus Christ, Matthew 16:25

Lose yourself in Jesus Christ, and see what happens to your life.

[Image via Pictoscribe - Creative Commons]

The Answer to Proverbs 4:7 + 1 Corinthians 1:24 = X

Bible verse equation answer Proverbs 4:7 1 Corinthians 1:24

Last post I asked you to solve the equation: Proverbs 4:7 + 1 Corinthians 1:24 = X

We had some great responses to this equation in the comments section. In this post I’ll share my own solution. (If this is your first time seeing this equation, and you want to solve it yourself, stop now and look up the Proverbs 4:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:24)

Bible Verse Equation Answer

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (NIV) And the same verse in the King James version says, “Wisdom is the principal thing.”

1 Corinthians 1:24 says that Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God.

So from those scriptures I come to this solution: Proverbs 4:7 + 1 Corinthians 1:24 =

Jesus Christ is the principal thing. Get Jesus. Though it cost all you have, get Jesus.

[Image via Johannes Winger-Lang - Creative Commons]

Where Wisdom is Given Abundantly and for Free

God wisdom

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not… James 1:5

You know that guy who’s intimidating. The one who makes you feel like he’s unapproachable. Maybe at some point he had information you needed, but you didn’t ask him for it did you? You didn’t ask him for it because you were afraid he’d come down on you if you did.

Well God won’t respond like that.

I’ve read James 1:5 at least a dozen times, but I never saw it until this morning. What it says is that God will never come down on you when you ask Him for wisdom.

So ask Him.

God was pleased when Solomon asked for wisdom. He’ll be pleased when you do too.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 1 Kings 3:7-10

[Image via walknboston - Creative Commons]