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)

 

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References:

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

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]

Super Bowl Players Who Use The YouVersion Bible App

Some of the players in today’s Super Bowl use this app.

I love the YouVersion Bible App, use it all the time. If you’re interested, you can check it out here: YouVersion Bible App.

Martin Luther King Jr.: Favorite Quotes

A few of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

“The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

“The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

How Did They Do That? — Courage in the Face of Cancer

Survive Trial Cancer Jim Davis Why MeThe following is a guest post by Jim Davis. It’s an excerpt from his new book Why Me? (And Why That’s the Wrong Question) You can learn more about Jim at the end of this article.

What people need to know to survive a trial: A lesson from Mike and Pam Worley

Sometimes a person responds to bad news with such grace and strength, we think, “I want to know how they did it. Because if I ever face a storm like that, I want to be as strong.”

That’s the way I felt when my friends Mike and Pam Worley learned that Mike had cancer. Pam wrote this on Mike’s Caring Bridge site:

We just got back from meeting with Dr. M getting the results from Mike’s biopsy. I wish the news had been better than what we got, BUT it could be worse! Mike has multiple myeloma. It is a cancer of the plasma in the bone marrow… Chemotherapy will more than likely have to be done.

It could be worse? It’s cancer! Well, that’s probably what you just thought you were supposed to say, and now you’ll lock yourself in a dark room and have a breakdown, right? Continue reading

The Most Important Words Ever Spoken

Jesus is the Son of God. He said, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” Then he said, “From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” A few moments later he just came right out and said it, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:6-9)

So think this through with me. If Jesus is who he said he is, then who on earth is more important? He is the Creator of the universe. He’s the Creator of the 100 trillion cells that make up my body. He’s smarter than I am. He’s smarter than anyone–ever. He’s God. Why wouldn’t I want to hang on his every word? I mean really, whose words are more important?

#bible

7 Ways to Draw Closer to Christ in 2014

Closer to God

The Problem With Poinsettias

The problem with poinsettias is you have to water them. Kathy was away visiting family and one of my jobs while she was gone was to water the beautiful live potted poinsettias she bought as part of our Christmas decorations. Some may find this hard to believe but–I forgot. It wasn’t until a few days before Kathy’s return that I noticed the poinsettias were looking pretty bleak. Again you may find this hard to believe but this was not the first time I forgot to water plants in Kathy’s absence. Having experience with this problem I used my go to recovery plan: dump copious amounts of water on the plant and hope it recovers before Kathy returns.

Well the plan worked and the poinsettias did recover. However in the process of picking off the dead leaves to make the poinsettias look better, I accidentally severed a branch. It’s the one in the photo at the top of this post. It didn’t fare well after it was separated from the vine. It wasn’t long before it shriveled and died.

In John chapter 15 Jesus says plainly, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

1) Practice His Presence

“…without Me you can do nothing.” And that brings us to our number one means of drawing closer to Christ in 2014: Continue reading

What God Wants

What does God want

Jesus’ Last Moments

Jesus hung there on the cross between the two criminals. The sign Pilot ordered, hung over Jesus’ head, it said, This is the King of the Jews. The bible says the Jewish rulers were “sneering” at him. “He saved others,” they said. “Let him save himself if he’s God’s Messiah.”

One of the criminals who hung there with him also sneered. He said, “You’re supposed to be the Messiah? Save yourself and save us too.”

Darkness came across the land.

The curtain of the temple was torn in two.

Then Jesus called out loudly, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

And then he died.

(Luke 23)

How God Said It

In the story of Jesus’ death we see him mocked and sneered at while he hung there to die. Before that we feel his pain as we see him falsely accused, and whipped, and crowned with thorns, and nailed to the cross. We see it, we feel it, we experience it. That’s the way the bible is written. Have you ever noticed that? Have you ever noticed all the sensory experiential language in the bible?

  • Jesus’ first miracle had to do with tasting. He turned the water into wine. And the master of the wedding feast tasted it and said, This is the best tasting wine of the feast.
  • “Taste and see that the Lord is good…” Psalm 34:8 says.
  • Jesus said, I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. (John 6:35) In fact most of John chapter 6 is about Jesus explaining how we must eat and drink of him.

And there’s also all the talk about Jesus our bridegroom, and how we’re his bride.

  • Jesus said, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?” (Matthew 9:15)
  • The bible says in Revelation, “The marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready…” (Revelation 19:7-9, see also Revelation 21:2, 21:9-11)
  • And Jesus tells the parable of the virgins and the bridegroom in Matthew 25.

And those are just a few examples. So why does the bible push all this sensory and experiential language on us? What is God saying to us?

What God Wants

What is he saying to us? What does God want? Here’s what He’s saying to us: Continue reading

Love Like Jesus–Love the Unlovable

Love Like Jesus -- Socialize with Sinners Influence

(One of our most popular posts–from the archives)

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:16-17


How Jesus Loved People

Jesus loved people by spending time with them, in spite of their sinful lifestyle.


How to Love Like Jesus

There’s a blog I follow called Not Ashamed Of The GospelNot long ago, they posted a three part series about a ministry which reaches out to sex industry employees. I couldn’t help but notice there weren’t many comments offered on the last post in the series, An Insider’s Look – “Awkward!” I think for most people, that post was just too hot to handle.

Finally, one person posted and as best as I could tell he used scripture to infer this post about the sex industry ministry was an example of ungodly men perverting the grace of God.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to comment.

Continue reading

Thanksgiving and Noah’s Ark

Thanksgiving and Noah's Ark

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:20)

I think Noah demonstrates for us one of the most important keys there is to walking closely with Jesus Christ. The very first thing Noah did after he stepped off the ark was to sacrifice some of the clean animals and birds to God. I can’t imagine doing that. In my own flesh I would have said, “I have just seven sheep here, should I take the seventh and make a sacrifice? I have to populate the whole world from this diminished tiny herd. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until the animals have multiplied before sacrificing to You Lord?”

But in the words of Matthew Henry, “Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured.” Obviously Noah had a grasp of this truth.

And Noah had a grasp of the power of thanksgiving. Imagine with me that you’ve been cooped up in an ark with thousands of animals (and with all of the sanitation issues that implies). You’ve been cooped up like this for more than a year! For 377 days! What’s the first thing you want to do when you get out? Celebrate with a party? Go for a long walk just because you finally can? Build a house for yourself? Play some frisbee football? That’s what I’d want to do but that’s not what Noah did. Noah Continue reading