Jesus Is…

Who is Jesus?This month at Do Not Depart we’ve tackled a huge question: Who is Jesus? Although we will spend an eternity discovering the full answer, we have touched on a few vital truths.

Let’s recap what we’ve learned:

Jesus is the True SacrificeAli reminded us that Jesus was the final and full sacrifice for sin. “We can have hope because we have a loving Savior who gave himself to rob our sin. We no longer need to live under guilt and condemnation! We’re set free from the punishment of sin! And we’re able to approach the throne of grace confidently (Heb 4:16) any and every time we draw near to God.”

Jesus was fully humanLindsey showed us from Scripture that Jesus was 100% human. “Because Jesus was fully human, he understands fully what it’s like to be human… He understands our struggles…  our fears … and our feelings of abandonment when God seems distant.”

Jesus was fully God – Jesus was 100% human, but Scripture teaches He was also 100% God. (God’s able to do math like that!) Lisa laid out a list of reasons why we must accept the deity of Jesus. “Everything is different for us since Jesus is divine. Awakened to a higher purpose, we have a fuller joy now and a kingdom home with God forever.”

Jesus is our High Priest – Jesus is the only mediator between us and God the Father. He gives us access to God. I love how Caroline reminded us that because Jesus is our High Priest, “we can come to Him any time, any place, with anything on our hearts.”

Jesus is the Messiah – Jesus is the Promised One, the Deliverer, the Savior, the One God’s people had long waited for. I loved Patti’s conclusion: “Jesus our Messiah bore our every sin. He was anointed to make intercession for us with His very life, and save us from an eternity of separation from God. Jesus is the Anointed Savior Who was promised from the beginning – our Messiah and our hope!”

We could say so much more about Jesus! But instead of me rambling on, I ‘d like to share some words from the Nicene Creed, crafted by some of the early church fathers at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again
according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end.

Jesus – who is our Savior, our Sacrifice, our High Priest, and our God – is coming again as King!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, NIV

 

Who Is Jesus?

Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus?Recently, I came across a book my grandmother gave me in 1966 about Jesus and His disciples. It includes a one-page description and an artist rendering of Jesus and each of the twelve. The full-color drawings are beautiful. They just aren’t necessarily accurate. For instance, “Jesus” is portrayed with light brown hair and blue eyes.

In giving Jesus these specific physical characteristics, the artist separated Jesus from His Jewish heritage. Maybe that’s how the artist pictured Him. Perhaps the artist was swayed by his audience’s expectations. But a Jew with blue eyes and light hair would have been very unusual in ancient Palestine. A blue-eyed, light-haired Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible.

After seeing that drawing, I started to wonder about other ways we might have “altered” Jesus into a Savior of our own making. Is our understanding of Jesus accurate? Or has it been morphed by our own worldviews and preconceptions?

Jesus bookJoin us this month at Do Not Depart as we explore the Jesus of the Bible. Our goal is to delve into the truth of God’s Word to better understand Jesus. My prayer for us is that God will correct any misconceptions. That He would expand and explode our view of the Savior. That we would be humbled and fall on our faces in worship.

Have you ever believed something about Jesus that God later corrected? What was it? How did He show you the truth?

12 Verses for God’s Comfort & Strength

God's comfort and strength

God's comfort and strengthThe grief was raw. The crisis was fresh. I woke in the middle of the night, overwhelmed, feeling the weight of it pressing in.

Feeling on the verge of an anxiety attack, I began to pray. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of Scriptures I had memorized. As I prayed them back to God, calm washed over me. Soon, I drifted back to sleep.

God’s timing is perfect. When that trial hit a few years ago, I was in the middle of writing a devotional book for “troubled times.” Because I had “hidden His Word” in my heart, it was there for God to use when I needed it most.

From beginning to end, the Bible assures us of God’s comforting presence and strength in times of trial and difficulty. The 12 verses below are some of my favorites. You can commit them to memory or print the pretty PDF version and keep it some place you’ll see it often.

  1. Deuteronomy 31:8 – God goes before and with us. We do not have to be afraid or discouraged because He will never leave or forsake us.
  2. Psalm 9:10 – God never forsakes those who seek Him.
  3. Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength.
  4. Psalm 73:25-26 – No matter what we lose in this life, we have God and He is all we need.
  5. Isaiah 40:31 – God renews the strength of those who hope in Him.
  6. Isaiah 43:2 – When we face difficulties, God goes with us.
  7. Jeremiah 32:17 – Nothing is too hard for our God.
  8. Matthew 11:28-30 – Jesus invites us to bring our burdens to Him.
  9. Romans 8:39 – Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
  10. Second Corinthians 4:7-9 The world may press us hard, but God’s strength and presence will not allow us to be crushed.
  11. First Peter 5:7 – God cares about us and every aspect of our lives.
  12. First John 4:4 – God is far greater than Satan.

Perhaps you’re going through a season of difficulty and trial. Or maybe someone who is close to you is struggling. These passages can be a balm to your soul. Plus, they’re merely a small sample of the amazing truths about God’s great love and care for us.

Share your favorites in the comments below or tell us how one of these verses has ministered to you. Rest in His loving embrace today!

The World’s Way or God’s Way?

Purity for Today's Christian WomanWhen I look at my three grown children I see hints of both my husband and me. My daughters have Wayne’s dark eyes. My son Mark’s eyes are green like mine. Sometimes when Mark speaks he sounds exactly like his dad. And occasionally the girls move in a way that mirrors one of my mannerisms.

Physically we are all a mix of our parents – good traits and less desirable ones too.  But unfortunately, the character and behavior of believers are also often a mix.  In some ways we reflect our heavenly Father and sometimes we look just like the world.

This month at Do Not Depart we are focusing on sexual purity for today’s Christian woman. The gap continues to grow between the world’s sexual standards and God’s. If we truly desire to follow Jesus, we must dare to ask ourselves: “Are my values and behavior in the area of purity being shaped by God or the world?”

God commands us to turn away from the world’s values and standards and instead be shaped by His thinking. His character. His ways.

“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 12:2, NLT

Sadly, many of us are shaped more by the world than we even realize. We live in a culture that is saturated with sex, sexual overtones, and sexual undertones. It is pervasive. Our society has “lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).

But God calls us to “put off” that way of life, “which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires,” and to be “made new in the attitude of our minds” and to live a holy life (Ephesians 4:20-24).

Today, let’s lay the world’s standards alongside God’s and see where we stand. The table below compares God’s truth with the world’s viewpoint on a number of sexual issues. As you review it, ask God to show you whether He or the world most shapes your attitude and behavior.

TOPIC WORLD’S VIEW GOD’S TRUTH SCRIPTURE
Sex Before Marriage At the worst: Anytime, anyone. At the best: Okay if you’re “in love” God created sex. But He designed it to be for one man and one woman within the context of a marriage relationship. Genesis 1:27-28, 2:20-25;Matt 19:4-9
Adultery Still frowned upon in some circles, but easily justified – loveless marriage, marriage problems, etc. The principle above also applies to the married man and woman. Sex should be reserved for the married couple. Exodus 20:14;Matt 15:16-20, 19:4-9; 1 Tim 1:8-10
Pornography –Defined as “obscene writings, drawings, photographs, etc.” Not only has our culture increasingly accepted pornography, our culture’s definition of what is “obscene” has also changed. So much so, Christian women read books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without hesitation. Reading & viewing sexually graphic material fosters sexual desire & even creates a physical response. Since Jesus said lusting after a woman is the same as the physical act of adultery, we must guard our hearts & minds from anything that causes this kind of reaction. Matt 5:27-30Phil 4:8
Personal Appearance Women dress to be sexually desirable. Even clothing for young girls reflects this. Edgy, sexy, flirtatious is the goal. God is the author of beauty. But our culture has replaced beauty with “sexy.” Christian women must be careful not to cause anyone to stumble by the way we dress. Our conduct in every area must be for the glory of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4;1 Cor 8:9;1 Cor 10:31-33
General Role of Sex We live in a hyper-sexualized culture. Sex pervades every area of our society. Advertisers know that “sex sells.” We give condoms to middle-schoolers and “Teen Moms” grace the cover of supermarket tabloids. God created sex as good, enjoyable, & productive. But He also created limits. Our limits are to be one man with one woman inside the bounds of marriage. Sin has warped it and made it vulgar. Eph 4:17-24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print PDF version.

What’s the verdict? Did you discover any areas that need to be transformed by God’s truth? Which areas do you think Christians struggle with most?

By Faith Moses Lived for Eternity

Moses Hebrews 11

A furniture store commercial caught my attention the other day. Not because I need furniture, but because of the push they made at the end to get people to come into the store. It went something like this:

Buy now and pay nothing for 60 months!

Okay. I see at least two things wrong with this. One, if you don’t pay anything for 60 months, you haven’t purchased anything. You’re merely putting someone else’s furniture in your house. Two, Anybody who can’t make a payment on a couch for five years probably shouldn’t be buying it to begin with. (I realize there may be a few odd exceptions and my husband and I have used credit before. But let’s roll with the illustration.)

This commercial is an example of the “live for the moment, instant gratification” attitude our culture fosters. And it’s so easy to conform, because our human nature likes to live for the here and now. To gratify all our desires immediately and to live the easy path of least resistance.

Moses Hebrews 11But people of faith are called to swim against that cultural tide. In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, these great heroes of our faith showed us how to live with our eyes on eternity instead of on today. Moses really stands out as an example of living with an eternal attitude.

By the world’s standards, Moses had it all. As the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, he had money, power, and status. He could have lived his entire life in lavish luxury and comfort, being waited on hand and foot by countless servants. But he turned away from it all to embrace something with far greater eternal value. Here’s how Hebrews 11:24-27 puts it:

24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. 27 It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.

Moses purposefully chose eternal reward and his relationship with God and God’s people over the “pleasures” of the world. Suffering for Christ was of more value to him than all the “treasures of Egypt.” Because Moses kept his eyes on the “One who is invisible,” he was able to keep the lure of the present in perspective. He lived by faith and for eternity.

Moses and the other members of the Hall of faith were not perfect people. For instance, Gideon hesitated to obey and both Samson and David allowed lust to lead them astray. But Hebrews 11:13-16 tells us all of them had a faith stronger than death because they lived this life with eternity in mind. Here are a few characteristics of their “eternally-minded” faith:

  • Looked beyond this physical life to the complete fulfillment of God’s promises
  • Had a deep trust in God no matter the physical circumstances
  • Spent their earthly life investing in their eternal future
  • Remembered their true home was with God

God created us for eternity; His purposes are eternal. Living with eternity in mind will greatly impact our here and now. For instance, an eternal perspective will help us keep life’s trials in perspective, welcome God’s refinement, and teach us to depend on Him. Like Moses, we will “live by faith” with our eyes fixed on “Him who is invisible.”

How would embracing this kind of eternal focus impact a situation in your life right now?

 Tweetables:

“People of faith are called to swim against that cultural tide.” Discussing Moses’s faith at @DoNotDepart: http://wp.me/p1Su7F-313 #ByFaith – Click here to tweet this.

How Moses kept his eyes on the eternal to live #ByFaith: http://wp.me/p1Su7F-313 from @KathyHHoward at @DoNotDepart – Click here to tweet this.