Victory still ripples through the souls of generation after generation set free. Can you hear the echo? "He is not here. He is risen!" Those who seek the evidence find out; He is risen, indeed!
Believe. Ask. Receive. Then, begin again. Start over as one who has been pardoned, set free and given a new commission... "to love one another as I have loved you."
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -1 Corinthians 1:18
Reality resonates. The wages of sin is death. Well earned and deserved wages. But, Jesus came to set us free from that penalty. By His love, His blood, His prayers and His tears were and are made new. He was the only one qualified to fulfill the asham sacrifice. Jesus took the cross to spare us, to pardon us, to redeem us and to break our chains. Shame bound, no more!
Our human nature was not strong enough to resist the enemy. We needed one who would be stronger... strong enough. So, God became man. What kind of love is that? Crazy love, right?
"You are stronger, You are stronger. Sin is broken, You have saved me. It is written, Christ is risen! Jesus you are Lord of all! Happy Easter!" - Stronger, by Hillsong
He became our guilt and set the guilty free. I don't fully understand what it means for God to be equally holy, righteous, just and loving. This is hard. Hard... like math... to this word girl. I've prayed to understand this concept better. He does answer prayer. Stick with me.
As the pastor alluded to this same dilemma yesterday... ... the Lord revealed an image this "keep it simple" child could understand. Magnets! It is like magnets!
I know... wait... scratch that. I can see... how magnets attract and repel. Another wonder of natural science that the Creator of the Universe placed in our hands to reveal His nature. Positive and negative attract. Both are needed to create the connected relationship that makes magnets both useful and powerful.
There can only be one God in this relationship. A three-in-one trinity, yes... but still one God. One Lord. One Holy Spirit. He is the positive force in the universe. When we try to arrogantly play the role of "Lord of Our Own Lives"... it pushes us away from the very one our soul longs to know. We resist him, instead of being pulled to him. We cannot connect. Unseen forces create a space... a divide... one that feels impossible to traverse.
We humans seem to carry delusions of our own lordship. We cling to the role with pride. We can be independent, willful souls who push Him away like two positive or two negative charges.
He is positive. It is in his nature. He is positively crazy about you and me. God's nature is to create and be a caretaker of what he creates. His powerful hand keeps this miraculous universe in perfect balance, but one soul returning is reason to rejoice. He would die for one... and once he died for all.
We are the negative charge. That charge didn't come with our soul breath, but with our arrogant sin choice that defied his one and only instruction. "You can have it all, but don't eat from this one tree."
A simple request for obedience in a land of abundance. One that said, "I love you enough to be obedient, even when I don't understand why." is all God required. We blew it. Big time!
Then the God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. "Genesis 3:22
One woefully sinful act changed the relationship forever. We earned the negative charge through Adam and Eve. The most loved and treasured of all creation was now "like God with the knowledge of good and evil". We broke the trust, damaging and changing the relationship. Instead of simply living in the light of his love, we would know darkness and evil.
Sin grew... as it does... from simple disobedience to weaving a web of lies. Instead of confessing... they lied to God. Haven't we all? I am sure I have. It usually begins with lying to myself, when I possess full knowledge of what is right and what is wrong.
Free Will was exercised and man charged and recharged with the negative of sin. The negatives of pain in childbirth, working the land to survive instead of pleasure... and the requirement of regular confession of sin with a sacrifice, so that humans would not forget again. Death and suffering came into the world. The struggles, trials and temptations are real... and they really do find us knee deep and drowning in sin.
God's perfect role in the universe was taken. Organizing time and space was good, but that creation couldn't help but follow God's rules and sing his praises. What if he gave a unique creation the power to push away and disobey - but then they chose him... in love... anyway? How awesome would that be?
Every soul that surrenders and returns finds compassion and grace. Those who choose him... for real... find they are adopted sons and daughters. It makes God's heart sing and rejoice, and all of heaven, too. We were created to be his and to know him, by choice and in love... not by force or by fear. Yes, we are special. You are special!
Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the of God over one sinner who repents.” - Luke 15:10
Apparently, the same hunger we all know... for intimate, deep relationships... came with our soul breath. Yes, He is our missing piece... and our missing peace. He longs for us, too.
Intimacy beyond anything we have ever known, with marriage being our best example of the concept, but none of us are perfect spouses. We were created to love God back and that love is where we find stillness and peace beyond any struggle this world dishes out.
Our God waits to be loved back... for us to return to him.
"I will give them a heart to know that I am the , and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall with their whole heart." -Jeremiah 24:7
He longs to be chosen with devotion and reciprocity. To be tenderly treasured, worshiped and adored without reservation. His heart grieves until he finds us faithful. He wants to be desired by us. No holding back even the tiniest part of our hearts. Full devotion and full relationship. Full trust.
He wants us to ask what he desires from us... and not just prepare our daily list of things we think we need and problems we would like him to manage.
My human mind wonders at the wonder of it all. God... commander of the universe... created something he chose to let choose him or reject him. When we blew it... again and again... he came to be with us in Jesus. Then returned to be a constant personal presence through his Holy Spirit, for those who claim victory at the foot of the cross, and invite him to stay.
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. -John 14:8
His love offering on the cross changed everything. Remember, nails didn't hold him there, love did. His love for us never changes, but our access to his grace changed forever.
This is the love of the same Lord who wants to share our morning coffee, our afternoons struggles and our evening whispers.
He wants us to cling to him like a magnet. Sin is the dirt that gets on my side of the magnet and weakens the sticking power. Keeping clean improves the magnetic relationship and strengthens the bond. In fact, that bond becomes so strong that the two become as one.
But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.-1 Corinthians 6:17
to God, and he will to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.-James 4:8
Today, I am grateful for the lesson from a magnet and the magnitude of a magnetic God.