Tag Archives: God the Father

Tragedy? Or God’s Will?

Filled with hatred and rage, Joseph’s brothers had thrown him into an empty cistern (click here to learn more about cisterns).

ancient-cistern

Can you imagine the fear he felt at his brothers’ rage?  Joseph was simply doing his father’s bidding.  I’m sure he knew his brothers didn’t like him, because they had made no attempt to hide their disdain from him.  Yet, they were still his brothers, and, confident in his father’s love for him, I don’t imagine it ever occurred to Joseph that his brothers’ would ever want to kill him.

Yet, their hatred of him became nauseatingly obvious, when they grabbed him, ripping his coat off him and hurling bitter angry insults at him.  Joseph was only seventeen years old, and there were eleven of them against him.  This was no mere child’s play.  He could see the fury in their eyes, as they grabbed him.  There was no gentleness in their touch and no holding back their ire.  They hated him, and they wanted him to know it, as they roughly dragged him to the empty cistern and threw him in.

Can you imagine how Joseph must have pleaded with his brothers, begging them for mercy?  Can you imagine the utter terror he felt, as they ignored his pleas?  Then after being dragged by his brothers, he was forced into the small opening of an empty cistern, falling, who knows how many feet to the bottom?  I can picture them covering the cistern, then walking away, while the boy cried out to them, still pleading for mercy.

Alone in the dark cistern, his throat raw from crying out to his brothers for who knows how long, do you think Joseph prayed?  I can picture his tear stained face pleading with El Shaddai for mercy, as it began to dawn on him that his brothers would show him none.  I imagine he thought of his father, weeping at the pain his death would cause the old man.

Then, probably after many hours, Joseph heard the sound of the cistern’s cover being rolled away.  I imagine his heart leapt to his throat, as hope filled his chest.  His brothers had returned!  They were sorry for their actions.  Praise YHWH (Yahweh), who had heard his prayers and answered them!  As light filled the dark chamber, I believe Joseph would have forgiven his brothers.  I can picture him grinning up at them, as he stood there, bloodied and dusty, with the stains of his tears still on his cheeks.  Did he thank his brothers for their mercy, as they dropped a rope down, for him to tie around his waist, so they could pull him up?

Did his joy turn into fear once more, as they drew him up, and he saw the same hatred in their eyes as before?  Did he fear they were going to kill him?  As he looked from one brother to another, did Joseph even notice the Midianite traders at first?  Was it his brothers or the Midianites, who informed Joseph that he was now a slave?  Did his brothers smile in satisfaction, as they saw the look of horror on Joseph’s face, when the realization hit him?

Did Joseph see his brothers, with their backs turned against him, greedily dividing the 20 pieces of silver they had just earned for selling him?  Did he rue the day that he was born?  Did he wish for death at that point? Did his faith in the Most High God falter or remain strong?  How he must grieved the loss of his father, his home and yes, even his brothers!  What a tragedy for such a young man to endure!  Or was it a tragedy?  Could Joseph’s tribulation have simply been the fulfillment of God’s will?

Too often, in today’s church, we are taught to believe that if we are faithful, our lives will be filled with health and wealth.  But, if you truly study God’s word, you will discover that this is a lie straight from the pit of hell.  Jesus told His disciples, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33 NLT)

Beloved reader, His words weren’t just for His twelve original disciples.  They were for everyone who would follow Him, then and now.  We will face many trials and sorrows in our lives, just as Joseph did, just as Jesus did, and just as His disciples did.  If someone tells you any different, they are lying to you.

Joseph's Bloody Torn Coat

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are alone in your suffering.  Joseph wasn’t.  Imagine how Jacob, his father felt, when his sons returned to him with Joseph’s bloody, torn coat.  Those of us who are parents, can imagine nothing worse than losing one of our beloved children.  I can only begin to envision Jacob’s horror, as his elder sons informed him of his loss.  How he must have lamented sending his beloved son to check on his brothers that day!  Did he blame himself for Joseph’s loss?  While his other sons tried to comfort him, Jacob swore that he would go to his grave mourning for Joseph, as he wept.  (Read Genesis 37)

Did his brothers feel any remorse for their crime?  Did they, too, suffer for the sin they had committed against their brother, Joseph?  Do you think they felt pain for their father’s grief?  We’ll explore this another time.

But remember this.  As tragic as it was, if Joseph had never been sold into slavery, there would have been no need for Moses to lead his people out of Egypt, more than 400 years later.  So, was this truly a tragedy, or was it simply God’s will?  Is your life a tragedy?  Or is it, too, God’s will?

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Far Greater Than the Angels ~ Hebrews 1:4

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave Him is greater than their names. ~ Hebrews 1:1-4 —  NLT ~

Image Credit: The Gaslamp Post
Image Credit:
The Gaslamp Post

Many people in this world call upon the angels to help them. Many call upon gods created in the minds of men. Many others call upon idols created by the hands of man. And yet, there is one God and Creator of the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them. There is only one God and Creator of mankind and only one way to reach Him…

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” ~ John 14:6 — NLT ~

Why would someone call on anyone else for help? In my darkest hour, in those times when I am desperate for help, I want to be sure that I cry out to the One who can help me…

You see, the angels have to answer to God, so why would I go to them first, when He is the One who must give them permission to help me? For you see, it is Christ who created the angels, and not only did He create them, but they were created for His purpose…

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through Him, God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t seesuch as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. ~ Colossians 1:15-16 — NLT ~

20 Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out His plans, listening for each of His commands. 21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve Him and do His will~ Psalm 103:20-21 — NLT ~

You see, beloved readers, the scriptures make it very clear that the angels were created to serve God and to carry out His plans. Therefore, if I choose to worship the angels, and seek their help, rather than His, my cries for help will be fruitless. For His holy angels cannot act on my behalf, apart from His will, and the fallen angels, who serve Satan, desire to steal, kill and destroy all of mankind. Therefore, to call on any other name, other than Jesus, whose name is far greater than the angels would be foolish.

This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave Him is greater than their names. ~ Hebrews 1:4 — NLT ~

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.  ~ Acts 4:12 — NLT ~

9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11 — NLT ~

You see my friends, when we need help and when we need salvation, to call on the angels would be foolhardy, because the only way to get any help at all is to cry out to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. For there is salvation in no one else. Indeed, the only way to God the Father is through Christ, and at His name, every knee will one day bow. That means that every angel, and even every demon will one day bow to Him. Even Satan, His enemy will bow down to Him one day…

So, in those times when we are weak, call upon Jesus, who is high above all else. In those times of dismay, cry out to Him for salvation. In those times of great joy and triumph, bow down to the Almighty God, and give Him praise and glory in Jesus’ name, for He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and He is far greater than the angels, and His name is far above their names!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Are We Spiritual Jews or Christians?

Beloved Readers,

Image Credit; prweb.com
Image Credit;
prweb.com

You may have noticed that I have not been writing very many posts lately, nor have I been reading very many of your posts. Believe me, I haven’t lost my love for writing and sharing God’s word. Nor have I lost my love for reading what my brothers and sisters are posting on their blogs. The fact is that life is constantly changing, and we just never know where our heavenly Father is leading us.

Just recently, I began attending a School of the Prophets, and if that wasn’t enough, I  also started taking a course called The Prophetic Voice of Hebrew. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to learn the Hebrew language, and I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful and amazing it is. On top of that, I’ve been spending more time with my grandchildren, so between class, time with my husband and time with my grandchildren, I haven’t had much time for reading or writing blog posts.

Image Credit: jew-gentile.com
Image Credit:
jew-gentile.com

However, in my Hebrew class, I had a homework assignment that just stirred my spirit. We were asked if we are Spiritual Jews or Christians, what they are respectively, and why. I first approached this as any other homework assignment, and I began writing a very unmoving, intellectual report, which left me feeling very dissatisfied. Then, as I was looking through the scriptures, I turned to Romans 11, and my heart began to burn within me. This was what Holy Spirit was leading me to talk about.

Have you ever thought about whether you are a Spiritual Jew or a Christian, and what the difference (if any) is between the two?  I pray that as you read this post, you’ll be just as blessed by it as I was when I studied and wrote it. I hope you don’t mind reading my homework assignment, but I was so excited about it, that I just had to share it with you too…

Are We Spiritual Jews or Christians?

The scripture passage that immediately leaps to my mind regarding this question is from Romans 11. As I read this passage, it brought tears to my eyes, for in this passage, we get a glimpse of the great depths of God’s love for both His chosen people, Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל) and for us as well.

See what love the Father has lavished on us in letting us be called God’s children! For that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it has not known Him. ~ 1 John 3:1 – CJB ~

Are we Spiritual Jews or Christians? Is there a difference in the two? What does our heavenly Father call us to be?

What is a Spiritual Jew?

For it is we who are the Circumcised, we who worship by the Spirit of God and make our boast in the Messiah Yeshua! We do not put confidence in human qualifications… ~ Philippians 3:3 – CJB ~ (emphasis mine)

Image Credit: Messianic Jew by:Louise Hansen
Image Credit:
Messianic Jew
by:Louise Hansen

According to the Apostle Paul, we, who worship by the Spirit of God and make our boast in Yeshua HaMashiach, are the Circumcised (Spiritual Jews). It is we, who do not put confidence in human qualifications, but instead trust in Yod Hey Vav Hey (יְהוָה) with all of our hearts, who are the Circumcised.

You see, according to scripture, the nation of Israel has turned its back on our heavenly Father, rejecting the very Messiah they so desperately longed and cried out for.

7 So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have – the ones God has chosen – but the hearts of the rest were hardened. 8 As the Scriptures say, “God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day He has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.”

9 Likewise, David said, “Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble, and let them get what they deserve. 10 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs be bent forever.” ~ Romans 11:7-9 – NLT ~

So, what does this mean to us? Hallelujah! This means that because the children of Israel turned their back on Messiah, Elohim, our Creator and our Deliverer, in His mercy and grace, decided to reach out to the Gentiles – us!

11 Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But He wanted His own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. ~ Romans 11:11 – NLT ~

Does this not bring tears to your eyes? Think of this – because His own people stumbled and were disobedient, God made salvation available to the Gentiles, just as He had promised Abraham thousands of years earlier…

18 “And by your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed – because you obeyed My order.” ~ Genesis 22:18 – CJB ~

Beloved, do you see the great love our Father has for us? Do you see that He has called us to be His children? Do you see that a Spiritual Jew is the adopted child of Abba? He has grafted us into His family, so that we are no longer strangers or aliens.

What is a Christian?

Image Credit; wildjazz.wordpress.com
Image Credit;
wildjazz.wordpress.com

The word Christian is mentioned three times in the bible. The first time it is mentioned is in Acts 11, which talks about the believers being scattered after Stephen was martyred, and some of the believers who went to Antioch began sharing the gospel with Gentiles, and a large number of them turned to Christ. When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabus to check things out, and he was overjoyed when he saw what was happening and encouraged the believers to remain true to the Lord. Then, he went to find Paul.

26 When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) ~ Acts 11:26 – NLT ~

According to this scripture passage, a Christian is a believer that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. The Complete Jewish Bible refers to believers as talmidim, which is:

A plural Hebrew noun meaning “disciples” in its truest sense: those who leave family to study and follow the ways of their teacher [rabbi]. They study not only to learn what their teacher knows but to become the type of man their teacher is. From the Hebrew root word “limmud” meaning “instructed”. Strong’s #8527. Pronounced tal mee DEEM.

Therefore, according to this, a Christian is one who not only studies to learn what his/her teacher (Yeshua) knows, but to also become like Yeshua.

The next mention of the word Christian is in Acts 26, when Paul is sharing his testimony and speaking in his own defense to King Agrippa. As Paul shared his testimony and reached the part where Messiah rose from the dead, he was interrupted by Festus, the governor of Caesarea, who accused him of being crazy…

25 But Paul replied, “I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. What I am saying is the sober truth. 26 And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak boldly, for I am sure these events are familiar to him, for they were not done in a corner! 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do –“

28 Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”

29 Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.” ~ Acts 26:25-29 – NLT ~

According to the scripture above, the Apostle Paul, also a Jew and even a Pharisee at one time, identified himself with the Christians (see verses 28-29 above).

Further, the Apostle Peter also encourages Christians who suffer for Christ, and he makes no separation between himself, (a Jew) and Christians. Indeed, look at Peter’s beautiful description of a Christian…

14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by His name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?”

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you. ~ 1 Peter 4:14-19 – NLT ~

Am I a Spiritual Jew or a Christian?

Image Credit: http://www.mscperu.org
Image Credit:
http://www.mscperu.org

After praying and studying the Word of God, I have determined in my heart that a Spiritual Jew and a Christian are one and the same. Therefore, I am both a Spiritual Jew, grafted into the Jewish lineage by my beloved Father, who saw me, just as the prodigal son’s father saw him, when I was far, far away, and in His great love and mercy for me, He chose me and called me His beloved daughter. And though I was unclean, He beckoned me…

“Come now,” says Adonai,
“let’s talk this over together.
Even if your sins are like scarlet,
they will be as white as snow;
even if they are as red as crimson,
they will be like wool.”
~
Isaiah 1:18 – CJB ~

Beloved reader, as one who grew up despised and rejected by her own family, this blesses me beyond measure, and I know that I’ve written more than two pages on this subject, so I will leave you with one final thought, from the Apostle Paul…

14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by whose power we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Dear Father!). 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our own spirits that we are children of God; 17 and if we are children, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Messiah – provided we are suffering with Him in order also to be glorified with Him. ~ Romans 8:14-17 – CJB ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

The Visible Image of the Invisible God

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation…

~ Colossians 1:15 — NLT ~

fc935-cross-and-crown-of-thorns

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me. 7 If you had really known Me, you would know who My Father is. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him!”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father! So why are you asking Me to show Him to you? 10  Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak are not My own, but My Father who lives in Me does His work through Me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen Me do.”

~ John 14:6-11 — NLT

Unknowingly, for the last three years, while the disciples lived with Jesus, and walked with Him, they were seeing God. Even though Peter boldly declared, “…You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” (Matthew 16:16b) they still didn’t comprehend that they were looking into the face of the Living God.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation…

Colossians 1:15 — NLT ~

What does it mean that Christ is the visible image of the invisible God? We see in John 14:6-11 that Jesus explained that He and the Father are one, and that He is in the Father, and the Father is in Him… Jesus looks like His Daddy. Strong’s Greek Lexicon defines the word image in the scripture above this way…

Image — Eikon
an image, figure, likeness
an image of the things (the heavenly things)
used of the moral likeness of renewed men to God
the image of the Son of God, into which true Christians are transformed, is likeness not only to the heavenly body, but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind, which Christ possesses
the image of one
one in whom the likeness of any one is seen
applied to man on account of his power of command
to Christ on account of His divine nature and absolute moral excellence

My beautiful daughter...
My beautiful daughter…

My daughter is the image of me. She looks a lot like me. She has many of my mannerisms, often to the point that we will be talking and find ourselves standing or sitting in the same position. She also thinks a lot like me, and praise God, she has a strong, unwavering faith much like mine. It amazes me how much she resembles me, not only in looks.

Perhaps because my daughter is the image of me, I am able to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “… Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father!…” (John 14:9b) My daughter could say the same thing to someone who doesn’t know me, and they would have a good idea of what I look like, because not only does her physical appearance parallel mine, but her personality, her gifts and her faith, though they are uniquely hers, are still much like mine. It’s so funny, because not only does my daughter greatly mirror me, her oldest daughter (my granddaughter) is the spitting image of her mama, in appearance and in her ways. The main difference in the three of us is only the color of our hair.

Me
Me

Not only do my daughter and I resemble one another, we also resemble Jesus. You see, the more time we spend in His presence, the more we look like Him, as we begin to be transformed into His likeness, by His word.

Whenever I minister somewhere, I don’t much care whether people can remember my name or not. It doesn’t bother me (not anymore) if someone forgets to put my name on a bulletin or to give me credit for something I’ve done in the Lord’s name, because ministering to others is not about me. What is important to me is that people remember that I ministered to them about Jesus, because my heart’s desire is that I would be able to change many lives in Jesus’ name, and that many would be snatched from the fires of hell, as God transforms their lives. I want God to get all the glory, honor and praise that He is due.

16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

~ 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 — NKJV~

If we are truly living for the Lord, we must walk with Him, and as we spend more and more time with Him, meditating on His word, we will be changed…

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

~ Romans 12:1-2 — NLT ~

As a Christian, (a follower of Christ), we need to have the same attitude that Christ has. When  people see me, I want them to see Christ within me. In order for that to happen, I must be willing to live as He lived…

6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, 

He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

~ Philippians 2:6-11 — NLT ~.

Hallelujah! Christ is the visible image of the invisible God… One of my personal prayers has been that God will one day allow me to see Him face to face. And then, just now, He brought the following scripture passage to my mind…

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited Me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave Me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for Me. I was in prison, and you visited Me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? 39 When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed Me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give Me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite Me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give Me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit Me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help You?’

45 “And He will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

Do you see what I see? The answer to my prayer is right there in Jesus’ words, as He spoke to His disciples. Whenever I look on the poor and the needy and help them, I am looking into the face of God, and blessing Him. However, every time I look at those who need help with contempt and disdain, I am looking into the face of God with contempt.

Do you want to see the face of God? Look for Christ. Do you want to see Christ? Look into the eyes of the poor and broken-hearted. Look into the eyes of those who are hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or are naked, sick or in prison, for it is there that you might see Christ, who is the visible image of the invisible God.

Father, I bless you for every time You’ve shown Your face to me, even though I failed to recognize You. I bless You for loving me, enough to give me the opportunity to see You and to serve You. Lord, I also ask for your forgiveness for those times I failed to serve You, even though I looked into Your eyes and saw Your need. 

I bless Your holy name, Lord, and I ask You to bless my readers, and draw them close to You, and let them see You in Jesus, and in one another! Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Religion vs. Spirituality vs. Christianity

Religion and spirituality are man’s attempt to reach God…

Image Credit: http://betteroffread.com/2012/04/03/the-rescue/

Christianity is God looking down on mankind, and seeing that we were desperately lost in sin. Knowing that the wages of sin is death, He reached down to mankind. God knew that there was not one man who ever had lived, nor would ever live who was without sin – no, not even one. So God, who loved the world so much that He gave His One and Only Son, so that whosoever believed in Him (Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God), should not perish, but have everlasting life. Christianity is knowing and recognizing that apart from Christ, we are dead in our transgressions.

Christianity is confessing with our mouth, right out loud, for the world to hear, and for us to hear, that Jesus is Lord. It is believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. It is having the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Image Credit: http://khollandsblog.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/remember-the-thorns/

To be a Christian is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. It is knowing that every man, woman and child who was, is and is to become a part of His eternal Kingdom, that is every Christian (who is a true worshiper), is the joy that was set before Him.

It knowing that Jesus is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven, and thinking about all He endured when sinful people did such terrible things to Him, so that we who love Him, don’t become weary and give up. Christianity is believing that Jesus Christ, the One who paid the debt that every man, woman and child owed (the debt that I owed), so that we who believe would become His beloved bride, His church (not the four walls of a building, but we, His beloved people), could spend eternity with Him.

Image Credit: http://pastorrussell.blogspot.com/2008/11/return-of-christ.html

Christianity is knowing and believing that the same Jesus who was crucified on the cross, died, and was buried, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven on a cloud. It is believing that Christ is preparing a place for His people… His beloved… His bride… and knowing that if He is preparing a place for us, then He will return for us, so that we may be where He is, reigning and ruling with Him for eternity.

Christianity is sharing this Good News… this Gospel with others. It is loving God, first and foremost. It is loving our neighbor as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us… It is loving our enemies… If we love Him and obey His commands (to love the Lord, our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves), then we will abide in Him, and He will abide in us…