From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!
How about a little humor...
What did Adam say to Eve in the Genesis? "I wear the plants in this family!"
What's Ludwig Beethoven doing now? Decomposing!
Mrs. Caesar to Julius Caesar: "No way we're naming this kid, Sid!"
What's the difference between apathy and ignorance?...I don't know and I don't care.
Enough. Enough. The great saints of God always maintain a keen sense of humor. Walk with Him with joy!
We trust in the Lord in our midst as we pass these days. Soon we will be together again to praise Him in our beloved church in the fullness of His perfect timing!!!
Many of us used to "pick on ourselves" before we came to faith in Christ. Now that we have become women and men of faith we may yet have a tendency to "pick on ourselves" -- to beat ourselves up -- even after the time we have let go in order to let God do things in our lives His way. I've caught myself at times saying,
"If I was really living a life of faith in Jesus,
I wouldn't be doing that again. After all, I've
been working on faith in Jesus for seventy-seven
years now. I should be further along than I am."
Acceptance enables us to grow, to change for the better. That's what God wants for us. We can come to embrace our humanity because God has made known His love for us -- and we are made worthy -- through His grace, available for us to receive accomplished at great price to through the sacrifice of Jesus. Not worthy in one's self!!! Made worthy!!! That makes sense. I don't need to attempt to justify myself. That seems fake to me.
How about you? I just accept God's undeserved grace as a gift, because somehow God deems me worthy of His great love. Being justified I don't need to struggle with whether I am good enough or not. God accepts me as I am. No wonder the song "Amazing Grace" has become so popular.
Life is too short to spend behind "the eight ball"...as far as the Lord is concerned.. Get with it, Sister! Get with it, Brother! When Jesus died on the cross, He suffered and He died literally becoming our sin that we might be made innocent in His presence. I've said it before and I will say it again, if you were the only human being who ever lived, yet Jesus would have come to save you. That's how much God loves you and me, no matter what we've done, no matter what our circumstance may be. This is the reliable source of our sense of self-worth. Our worth, our value is determined by God's opinion of who we are in Him...not by who we think we are. Talk about reliable! We've got to "grab hold" of this solid Bible truth.
Even if we slip back into old, harmful ways of acting out, from time to time... thoughts of feeling helpless, of behaving badly as a result, we don't need to keep living in the shame of it all. We simply turn it over to Christ. We make our confession. We put that "guilt garbage" into His hands. Otherwise Jesus died on the cross in vain. Goodness! I would not want to be accused of thinking that Jesus' death on the cross was for no purpose whatsoever, just a meaningless tragic effort. Certainly I'm really ready to hand it all over to Him. We need to confess. We don't need to wallow in guilt. Nobody needs that in their life, and yet it's so prevalent.
Saint Paul makes it clear in Galations 5:1, it is for freedom's sake that Christ has set us free. God encourages us to take full advantage. We are not to be burdened by the demands of an arduous religious life. Christians are set free by the saving power of Jesus to live fully. As we are made free in Christ others are being made free by observing us.
Saint Francis used to say, "Preach Gospel truth all day long, and sometimes, talk about it." Living free we are an example to others.
So there are two types of guilt, good guilt and bad guilt:
On the other hand, you can have only a penny in your pocket, and trusting in God, you can be the happiest and most contented person alive. Shame, guilt and regret will put you into a prison of your own making. I know a man who is worth six hundred million dollars. He is on his fourth wife and he is miserable. Allowing Christ to free you from these "three killers" will complete your life, one day at a time. It really works. The Lord will never force you. It is up to you.
I'll end things today by taking on a bit of Theology...don't really mean to bend your ear...but it is such a lovely and completing thought I have in mind. In the sixth chapter of Romans, Saint Paul says that through our baptism we die to self and become a new person. So since we die only once, it means the person we were before is gone, and we have become a new person, "a new creature".
In a sense we are in the "first phase" of eternal life awaiting the everlasting life that will begin for us at "the marriage feast of the Lamb"...and yet...being born again, so to speak, we still have to deal with our human body. I call the experience the "creative tension of the gospel" which is of great advantage because it keeps us on our toes. This baptism makes us one with God and with His purpose here on earth. This baptism makes us part of His family and therefore we are precious to Him. He knows what we go through, because He became one with us through Jesus.
This is a brilliant biblical idea from the incredible mindset of God. It would take someone like Saint Paul to sum things up by saying "what counts is a new creation" (Galatians 6:15) and earlier in Galatians 3:16, "Only let us live up to what we have already attained." Paul could say, "Because of Christ, I am who I am." It is just the opposite of what happens in the world at large. We are given divine assurances about our lives as we live day by day. God does this to allow us to be totally human and yet to have assurances for our everyday lives that show us the marvelous plans the Lord has for us. People, we are loved!