Friday, February 13, 2015

50 Shades

Painting by Mykul Anjelo


He wasn't beautiful. He wasn't popular. No one even noticed him.

But he cared for me. He saw my fears and my struggles. He saw my heart in all it's wretchedness... and this disturbed me.

He did't make it up the corporate latter. In fact, he was homeless. It wasn't the way he looked at me, though the thought of that makes me ponder. It wasn't the way he's provided, though he's withheld nothing good from me... No, it was the way he poured out his soul to death, FOR me.  

I'm in love with a man who gave it all for me. For you. He's full of great mystery and wonder.

50 shades of red, covered me:

1) To absorb the wrath of God
2) To show me the wealth of God’s Love and Grace for Sinners 
3) To learn obedience and be perfected
4) To achieved His own resurrection from the dead 
5) To please his heavenly Father 
6) To show His own love for me, and for you
7) To cancel the legal demands of the law against us, not just me 
8) To become a ransom for many, not just me 
9) For the forgiveness of our sins 
10) To provide the basis for our justification 
11) To complete the obedience that becomes our righteousness 
12) To take away our condemnation 
13) To abolish circumcision and all rituals as the basis of salvation 
14) To bring us to faith and keep us faithful 
15) To make us holy, blameless, and perfect 
16) To give us a clear conscience
17) To obtain for us all things that are good for us 
18) To heal us from moral and physical sickness 
19) To give eternal life to all who believe on Him 
20) To deliver us from the present evil age 
21) To reconcile us to God 
22) To bring us to God 
23) So that we might belong to Him 
24) To give us confident access to the Holiest Place 
25) To become for us the place where we meet God 
26) To bring the Old Testament priesthood to an end and become the Eternal High Priest 
27) To become a sympathetic and helpful priest 
28) To free us from the futility of our ancestry 
29) To free us from the slavery of sin 
30) That we might die to sin and live to righteousness 
31) So that we would die to the law and bear fruit for God 
32) To enable us to live for Christ and not ourselves 
33) To make His cross the ground of all our boasting 
34) To enable us to live by faith in Him 
35) To give marriage its deepest meaning 
36) To create a people passionate for good works 
37) To call us to follow His example of lowliness and costly love 
38) To create a band of crucified followers 
39) To free us from bondage to the fear of death 
40) So that we would be with Him immediately after death 
41) To secure our resurrection from the dead 
42) To disarm the rulers and authorities 
43) To unleash the power of God in the Gospel 
44) To destroy the hostility between races 
45) To ransom people from every tribe and language and people and nation 
46) To gather all His sheep from around the world 
47) To rescue us from Final Judgment 
48) To gain His joy and ours
49) So that He would be crowned with glory and honor 
50) To show that the worst evil is meant by God for good

I take no credit for this list. You can go here, to read in full on each reason that this man came so that I might be with him for now and into eternity.

Do you know him?

To read his profile go here: Isaiah 53

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Africa Advent: Free from Fear

One of my favorite stories in Scripture would be in Exodus 14. The great escape.



God’s people suffered many years, serving Pharaoh, sweating, bleeding and dying at his hands. God heard their cries and He sent Moses to release the people from bondage. So many aspects of this story capture my attention. God calling the unqualified servant. Water turns to blood. Each plague, unique and powerful. Fire pouring from the sky. Literal darkness. The Passover. The pillar of cloud and fire leading the people. And finally, crossing the Red Sea.  

But being in Africa I stop and pause on Exodus 7:10-12, the very first plea to free the people. God told Moses to have Aaron throw down his staff and it would become a serpent, so they would know God’s power. But then Pharaoh called the sorcerers and by “their secret arts” they also turned their staffs into serpents.

“…But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”

Here in Africa there’s a lot of African Traditional Religion (ATR). There’s animism and witchcraft. There’s a lot of “secret arts” that hold these people in fear and bondage.

I spoke with one teenage girl. I shared with her the story of Jesus and the many miracles he performed. Jesus had power over nature, death, sickness and demons. It wasn’t when Jesus raised the dead, healed the sick, or calmed the storm that caught her attention, but when he cast out the demons.

Her eyes lit up and her mouth dropped open. “Wow…” she gasped. I said, “Yeah.” Confused and interested, I asked, “Are there demons here?” She nodded and said, “Yes. Out there.” She nodded towards the whole township.



I see the power of God all around me breaking the bondage of fear and freeing the people from the “secret arts.” They find liberation and freedom in a God who’s power will “swallow” up the darkness they live in. A Jesus who came to cast out demons and to break the chains of fear.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Africa Advent: Forgiveness

Forgiveness isn’t easy.



I sat in a shack in the middle of a township in Johannesburg listening to Joseph explain his story of forgiveness. In the darkest shadows of the night, men came and killed Joseph’s father when he was just a boy. Joseph stood near by hiding because his father told him to run. The killers took off and Joseph approached his father’s lifeless body. His life completely changed.

My heart swelled and my eyes burned. “I forgive them. I want them to know… It would be the happiest day of my life if I could meet my father’s killers and forgive them face-to-face.”

He paused for a long time.

The Gospel is about forgiveness. How could we not? “If you don’t forgive. You are no better than the person who is killing.”

Joseph reminded me of another Joseph from the bible. Young. Forgiving. Faithful. Enduring.



***

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20)

And through the preservation of Joseph’s people came One who’d make all the sad things come untrue. He wouldn’t just forgive the wrongs of present, but of future and past and it wouldn’t be just a few people, it’d be the world.

*Photos by Heather K. Moss

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