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Posts Tagged ‘love others’

His influence was undeniable. Despite his blue-collar upbringing, he stunned religious scholars with his wisdom, calmed tumultuous crowds bent on murder, and rose from obscurity to fame within three years. Everyone from the impoverished to those steeped in power rushed toward the front of the crowd to catch a glimpse of the man called Jesus Christ.

Some called Him a heretic and others a hero. Many were convinced he was the promised king.

But Christ’s kingdom expanded beyond the borders of one country or one group of people. His vision extended centuries before and after his birth to include you and me.

The cancel culture of Christ’s day took the threat of one man and a ragamuffin band of disciples seriously. Rooting out the one who proclaimed, “Love your enemy”, they pierced Him through. But the enemy could not be thwarted.

The graveclothes were discarded, and a tomb stood empty. No amount of Roman propaganda could blanket the truth.

While we might like to think modern society embraces everyone or we’re more inclusive, I believe Jesus would be cancelled more quickly than any other individual living today.

Why?

Because Jesus was radical then and He is radical now.

What Makes Jesus Radical?

Jesus is Truth and that truth is expressed through the word of God. John 1:1-3 (NKJ) reads, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Not only does Christ embody Truth, but He embodies the Word. And the word of God shatters many of our progressive, forward-thinking ideologies.

Some of these might include the following:

  • “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJ)

 

Christ’s radical claim? He is the only route to heaven. The religious of His day were offended. None of their works, acts, or deeds moved them closer to holiness or heaven.

What the pious found even more troublesome was that the same man who accused them of being “white-washed tombs” ministered to the hurting and outcasts. The prostitutes and prodigals. The sick and the sinful.

These words from scripture still illicit angry protests and declarations that Christians hold to a narrow-minded framework. But if Christ is God, then wouldn’t it be unloving for Him to proclaim anything another than what is Truth?

Religion cannot save us. Enlightenment cannot lead us. Equality cannot equalize. Only Jesus sets us free from the power of sin and death. He proved it the day the graveclothes remained in the tomb.

  • Another of Christ’s radical statements, love others more than yourself. These words challenge many of us who cling to our faith today. As the shadow of evil moves from behind the veil, some of us may soon be called to live out these words in ways we’d never imagined.

 

Luke 6:27 (NKJ) reads, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”

The Lord’s disciples and countless others followed suit. They were martyred on the streets and cities across Rome. They lit amphitheaters and even children were fed to the lions. Yet, the Church thrived.

People must see the hope of Christ in our lives. Souls hang in the balance.

  • Perhaps one of the most compelling declarations Jesus made is represented by John 10:28 (NIV), “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

Not only is Jesus claiming to be God’s son, but He is claiming to be God. This is the mystery of the Trinity.

The Bible sets Christ apart from the leaders of other faiths. For example, neither Buddha nor Muhammad made similar professions.  If Jesus were to assert His divinity today, He would either be labelled mentally ill or a perpetrator of disinformation.

Yes, Jesus was and is radical. We, too, are meant to live lives of radical faith. Lives of love. Lives set apart. Lives sharing hope.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

P. S. I often linkup with these other wonderful bloggers.

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsMandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

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Leave a Jesus-impressionI cupped the butterfly in my hands–watching its wings gracefully open and close. It’s gossamer sails resembled the stained glass of a country church when the sunlight streams through the kaleidoscope of colors and I oohed and ahhed at its beauty.

Gently grasping black-tipped wings, I settled the creature in a field of clover and watched it for a few more minutes. Holding my hands up toward the sky, I tilted them first one way and then another. The butterfly’s scales had left a filmy sheen on my fingers and palm and I worried. Oh, please, let the butterfly dance in the wind again!

Are you like the butterfly? Have you been mishandled? Mistreated? Have you left bits of you behind where life has brushed hard against you?

Sometimes, the impact of brushing against life has sent me spiraling headlong into self. Self-preservation. Self-protection. Self-pity. And I concentrate more on the marks left on me–those places rubbed raw and left vulnerable–instead of looking to the One who strengthens and transforms me through the ebb and flow of living human.

I’ve forgotten to consider…what sort of impression have I left behind when others see the struggle? Has the whole of the difficult been about me or are other lives different…changed…or even better in some way because in the pressing into and through the hard places something like a spiritual transfer occurred? During those times do people see Jesus in me?

A dear woman I know is beginning her second round of  chemotherapy. Transluscent skin peeks from beneath the covers while Patty tells us this is her second missionary journey. Her life is being swallowed by the great, devouring enemy of cancer, but when she is pressed? Rubbed against? The words that flow from her mouth are gentle and sweet…offering hope and forever-life to other cancer patients…nurses…doctors.

Oh, that I when I brush hard against life I could be a woman like my friend. I don’t think it’s easy. We begin to leave Jesus-impressions when we soak our hearts in His word. His power. His presence. And isn’t that our calling?

Friend, where are you meant to leave a Jesus-impression today?

Blessings,

Tammy

 

Linking up this week at:

 

 

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As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!” He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. (Matthew 9:27-28 MSG)

 It was a journey. An agonizing process that at times seemed interminable. But, on a certain day in 2015, a prayed for…cried over…hoped for transformation occurred in the deepest part of who I was. God had scrubbed and swept the dark places, gathered the pieces of my brokenness into his hands, and reshaped that which seemed impossibly shattered into a complete, healed woman.

It happened. I could feel the difference—inside of that place where people are their most human.

This was no small feat—after more than forty years, 1,460 days, and 2, 102, 400 minutes—this was a miracle that defied explanation. I am convinced that God walked into the moment and heard my cries for mercy…grace…restoration.

In that moment, I became.

Now, I’m reading Christ’s words…feeling His heartache as He traveled from place to place.

“35 Jesus traveled around through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the Jewish synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went he healed people of every sort of illness. 36 And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.

37 “The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” he told his disciples.38 “So pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields.”         (Matthew 9:35-38)

In every place, Christ encouraged…offered Himself…loved others—one by one.

The discarded? The helpless? The hopeless? These were God’s people! These were the one’s He stepped out of heaven to rescue—as they are today. And in a very personal way, Jesus changed lives. He’s changed mine.

Like the disciples following after Jesus—regular people surrounded by their own mess—I’ve experienced God do the unusual and the unexplainable. I just can’t keep Jesus to myself! How could I?

So I’m praying that in my touch-and-go following after Jesus I’ll imitate Him enough…care for others enough…offer love enough that others will see in my regular life the extraordinary, personal God who still moves…still works…still rescues—because the hurting and the lonely? The needy and broken? They need to meet Jesus, too—one by one—through me. Through you.

Will you join me?

 

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