Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
The bible tells us both men and women were created in the image and likeness of God. We all carry with us characteristics of Him. God is our Father and in his deep love for us He graciously gave us all the freedom to make choices that consequently alter our entire lives, good and bad. Some of the choices we make are heartbreaking to our Father because He has bigger plans for our lives than we could possibly imagine – just as an earthly father has hopes and dreams for his children. In the Bible, we learn about our Father’s immense heartache as His children chose a life that does not follow His direction. Adam and Eve chose to introduce qualities in their lives that are not of God. The result of their disobedience – or sin, is now born into all children of the earth. That sin has created an uncrossable chasm between us and God.
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
To help us cope with the chasm that sin creates between us and God He has written an instruction manual for our daily lives, His Word. His Word lives in completeness in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The scriptures within guide our day-to-day faith and intimate relationship with God.
John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”
Jesus came to earth to live out one purpose – to bring light into the darkness. The earth is full of evil, despair, heartache and turmoil. Yet, He is hope, grace, mercy and love. Christ is the light that shines into the dark places. He offered himself completely and whole-heartedly to those who were sick, those with crushed spirits and to those who were cast aside. He loved and served all people regardless of their past or present circumstances. He lived to conquer death, all darkness and all sin; for all people. We merely have to make a simple choice – to live in His Light. When we live in His light we believe and trust, with all depths of your soul, that His guidance is supreme. We know without Christ we are destined to live in darkness. With Christ as our lighthouse, all sin is redeemed.
“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.” Ephesians 4:4-6
The key to living in unity as a believer is living as one. Just as our Father, our Christ and our Helper are one, we as Christians are called to live as different parts of one body. Some of us are to be the eyes of the church and others of us are to be the hands of the church; yet others of us are to be the big toes. Every part of the body has a function, even some that may seem insignificant. Can you run without a big toe? When all parts of the body work in rhythm sharing one heart and one vision we are then connected in one faith and one hope. Our desire is to encourage all talents and giftings to be led by God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to join as one to bring others to a life of unity in Christ.
“Jesus replied, ‘Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.'” John 12:23-26
Jesus has called us to let go of our personal interests, concerns, fears, priorities and lifestyles. Jesus has called us to plant ourselves in the soil so that He can water and fertilize us. His desire is that we die to ourselves so that we may grow and give life to new fruit. He has called us to follow Him and his desires, not some of the time – but all of the time, fervently. Jesus has called us to be His disciples. Let’s clear the air here, Jesus has called us to be disciples and not converts. Converts go to church, they follow the rules, they believe in God, they hear the word of God and they just cheer on the sidelines. Disciples are the church; disciples follow in every step behind Jesus, disciples yearn to live out the word of God and disciples are committed wholeheartly to being the game changers, the players on the football field. Jesus has called us to be His disciples living in complete passionate self-sacrifice day after day. He has called us to make others disciples of Christ.
“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:5-8
Since the beginning of man, humans have longed for refuge from their sufferings, the human condition. We have longed for someone to rescue us from the pits of anguish that exist on this earth. Jesus came to do just that. He lived, died and overcame death to reclaim His victory. He took ownership of the pits of hell to offer us eternal hope, should we choose it. Even in choosing hope we still find ourselves in moments of hurt and suffering. God tells us not to lose focus as sin is still very present in our lives. Jesus lived to give us a future in spite of that sin, but he makes a promise that one day the human condition of suffering will cease to exist upon His return. The promise of His return gives us a deep longing for Him to make all things new again. He will end all that is the fruit of sin. It is important to know He will return in His own timing, on a day which no man or woman will ever be able to predict. When He returns and we have been faithful to His calls in our lives we will be rewarded every so greatly.