Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Merit of Self-Sacrifice

In John 15:13 Jesus makes the following assertion, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

Most of us have heard this before, or at least something similar. Very rarely do we pause to consider the validity of the statement. It seems…right. Right?

After all, when Hercules lays down his life for Megara, nobody questions the beauty of the profound gesture—everyone just cheers. When Jean Valjean puts his life in danger for the sake of his daughter’s lover, nobody chastises him for reckless behavior; they generally cry, overwhelmed by his selflessness. When American soldiers lay down their lives for their country, people are rightly sobered and awed.

But why is self-sacrifice the ultimate sign of love? Why must one extinguish his life flame to prove to another the depth of his love for that one? For that is what Jesus did—allowed Himself to be slaughtered by His own creation, all for the sake of love (John 3:16).

We are all commanded to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). The most extreme example of obedience to this command is to place your neighbor’s life above your own. Jesus’ self-sacrifice is beautiful because by subjecting Himself to the most agonizing physical and spiritual pain possible, He proved to the world that He is willing to give her EVERYTHING He has, even, in a sense, His life. He gave up His celestial comfort to live an incredibly lowly life, be ridiculed, be tortured, and ultimately die on a cross like a common criminal; He gave us all that He had to give. He couldn’t have done more. He let us destroy Him.

Now here is another thought. Jesus laid down His life for us, and according to His Word, we are supposed to emanate Him.

1 Peter 2:21 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”

And Matthew 16:25 promises, "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

So maybe God’s message for all of us today is something like this:

Don’t be too prideful or fearful to lay down your life; when you do, be your self-sacrifice emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical, I, the Creator of the cosmos and your soul, will surely lift you.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Looking for Love

Dear Readers,

I have something to confess: last year's Valentines day-inspired post was a bit cheesy--but true, none the less!  (WARNING: things are about to get a little cheesy) Jesus Christ can be our valentine every day of the year--if we let Him.

Here's another thought.  

People often talk or think about the romantic relationships they wish they had--for girls, someone dedicated and protective, like Edward Cullen without the glitter and fangs, for guys a smart-funny-cute-girl (not necessarily in that order)...and as people grow older, become men and women, their ideas about what they want change, but their core desire remains the same; people want someone to make them laugh, someone to hold them in darkling moments, someone who will fill the emptiness in their lives defines love as "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person."  Who doesn't want that?  And more accurately queried, who doesn't want OTHER people to feel that way towards them?  But when questioned, most people will reveal that their desire goes deeper.  People don't just want to have someone feel affectionate passion for them, they want someone to show them the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: patient, kind,  humble, respectfulselfless, protective, trusting, hopeful, persevering, and never envious, bragging, easily angered, bitter, or evil-loving.  

They want love that never fails, which according to American divorce statistics and life experience is nearly impossible.  But not for...God.  

Interesting coincidence that all people seem to crave the same seemingly unobtainable thing--this crazy, passionate, endless, all-consuming love...that no one but God can fully satisfy.

Maybe...just MAYBE...God puts that desire in our hearts because He wants us to turn to Him and let Him fill the vacancy inside of us.

Just some food for thought, or more accurately phrased, bread for life (John 6:35).



Monday, January 28, 2013

Are All Christians Called to Heal the Sick?

When it comes to miracles, I admit I tend to be skeptical, or at least doubtful that such displays of God’s power could possibly blossom from my feeble prayers. But lately, God’s been shifting my perspective about miracles, particularly physical healing—not only through life experiences, but through His Word.

To read my full commentary on the crucial subject of healing the sick, please visit Far East Broadcasting Company's brand-new blog, "The Great Commission" at this link (and read my first-ever published article!):

Ardently Yours,