Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe in the same God.
If these are the three major religions on Earth, and they each serve the same God, there is no doubt that our God is THE God.
However, if they believe in the same God, why are these three all separate religions? More…
Matthew 20:1-16 tells of a vineyard owner, who asks various people throughout the day to work in his vineyard for a day’s wages. At the end of the day, he pays them all the same. The workers who had been working since the early morning became angry that those who had begun working later in the day–as few as two hours before the workday ended–were paid the same. They had done more work, so they felt that they should get more pay. The vineyard owner counters with this response: “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a [a day's wages]? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
As a Christian, we are supposed to be a “little Christ;” that’s what Christian means. Being like Christ means obeying our Father and doing our very best not to sin against Him.
“Therefore be imitators of Christ, as beloved children.”
How far would you go to save a friend? Would you say a prayer for them? Inconvenience yourself? Go against social protocol? Risk embarrassment?
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1, one of my favorite Scriptures. Isn’t it amazing? The God of all the universe claims you and me. We are His. But I want to focus on the sixth word: redeemed. It’s used a lot in the Bible, but until about to months ago I didn’t even try to understand what is means. I just knew it meant that I was God’s, or something. Maybe that God loved me? All I knew was that it gave me warm fuzzies. But one day, several months ago, I actually looked it up. One definition says it means “to rescue from captivity; the payment of the price required to release a guilty person from an obligation.”
At the start,
It was bright.
Bright like the sun.
There was love
At the beginning.
Love and warmth.
In the first flush
The first flush of love,
There was warmth.
There was laughter.
Then the breaking
Creeping like frost
Frost on the flowers
And the window-panes.
The warm fled.
Winter stole across the field
The bright light field.
It became a tundra.
A dark frozen tundra.
There was sadness on that tundra.
Dark and cold.
There, where it was harsh
So dry, and so dark,
There was rebirth.
A new beginning.
A beginning made of
Of happiness, of confidence.
The freedom to be free
Free to laugh and to dance
To sing and to shout.
To be happy.
To be real.
I wrote this for Creative Writing, and I seriously don’t know what I was talking about then. I think I was just trying to write a poem that was numerically pleasing–in this case, the first paragraph has one line, the second two lines, and on and on. But looking over it again, it fits what happens when we come to Christ. At first, we have things that we think will make us happy: money, love, family, whatever. But then we realize that whatever we have doesn’t really make us happy. We just think it does. So then we get a little bit disillusioned, a little bit depressed, and everything seems really stupid and hopeless. But then somehow, we find Jesus, and He brings really happiness, real warmth, real love. We feel alive again. Even if we do have “tundra moments” again, they won’t be nearly as bad because we’ll have Him in our corner, rooting and fighting for us. So we can be crazy happy, because why on earth wouldn’t we be, really?
The night was cold and dark, the ocean was unforgiving. The boat was hurled back and fourth on the angry sea and the passengers grew nervous. This ship was hauling dangers cargo these were the worst of the worst prisoners they were being sent to Australia where they could no longer be a menace to society. As the passengers remembered where their journey was taking them they pondered if maybe the angry sea would be the more merciful way to go.
I’m always amazed when people share their testimony. You’d think it’s because of what God has done in their life, and that is amazing, but usually I’m amazed that they’re sharing at all. I have a friend who is so openly honestly about the past sins in his life that whenever I talk to him I want to just stand and stare. How is it that he can be so confident? I dislike telling my testimony. I don’t like letting people know I have problems. I don’t want them to know I struggle with sin, even though they have to know I do, because I’m human.
But then I started to realize that not telling people I sin is actually just my pride. I don’t want people to know that I struggle with this, that, or the other because somehow that makes me less of a person.
Then I realized how warped of a worldview that is. Being a sinner doesn’t make me less of a person. In an odd way, it makes me more of a person, because all people sin. And if people think I’m less of a person, then their worldview is warped too, because guess what? They’ve sinned at some point in their life, too.
I think what I’m trying to say is that whilst you don’t need to make your next Facebook status your biggest sin, it does mean that you can’t hide it. James 5:16 says to confess our sins to each other, and pray for each other, so that we can be healed. When we confess our sins, it’s like a weight is lifted, and we can breathe again. Or at least, that’s how it’s been for me. Once I’ve confessed my sin, the hold it has on me loosens considerably.
Don’t allow your pride or any other sin to trap you. Confess, and you’ll be forgiven.
Most people like to focus on the fact that God is love, mercy, and forgiveness. That’s good–if He wasn’t all those things, we would be completely screwed. Or at least I would be, because I’m definitely a sinner, and I’d wager that you guys are all too. So without God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, we’d all be headed straight to the gates of Hell.