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Who Gives Kudos:


   Monday, June 14, 2010

The Good Story

Today I am going to try to start forming a new habit. I read a small booklet thingy called “Our Daily Bread”. It gives you a small section of the Bible to read, and then gives you a small snippet of thought on that section. I have read books of daily devotionals before, but I never held on to the habit of reading them every day. I want to change that. I think I need to change this. So to help me not only read the daily devotional, but to help me really hold on to what I just read, I will be writing these. Just my two cents worth of thought about what I read.

               Today the devotional was about “The Good Story”. We love telling the bad stories, the embarrassing stories, the gruesome stories, and the scary stories. And with the way movies these days are going, and with the poor state of our media, I think the importance of a good story is becoming as forgotten as God Himself. And the story God tells us in the Bible is the best story there is. It is a true story.  A story that can save your soul for eternity. A story that can change your whole outlook on life. A story that can feed you in so many ways that you will finally feel full and complete. God created, designed, employed, and then gave all of mankind the best story on Earth: the story of Christ Jesus.

                Christ’s story is also probably one of the more difficult stories to tell. The reason for this is obvious. It is a story concerning how people act, behave, live, and view their lives. It is a highly personal story that deals with such powerful themes as where we come from, where we are going, and why we are here. It is a story of life lessons and rules. It is a story that guides our outlook on life, our mental attitudes, and our emotional states. Christ’s story is one that will start a fight quicker than any other story. It is personal. Even to people who don’t believe in God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit find themselves affected in some way by this story. It riles some and soothes others. The story of Jesus is the most powerful story.

                So why don’t I tell it more? Sometimes it is fear. I have already lost a number of people in my life by becoming a saved Christian. Some of it is confidence. Who am I to preach to others when I have been saved less than two years? Some of it has to do with my submissive and passive nature. I don’t want to start a fight. I don’t want to start a confrontation. Then there is awkwardness in me on how to do it. I don’t want to be a person who shoves Christ down someone’s throat. And I know many people will take it that way, no matter how delicately I broach the subject. And I really, REALLY don’t want to give Christ, and Christians, any more of a bad reputation.

                I sit here and I look at all those reasons and I realize they are nothing more than excuses. Excuses I give myself to keep this Great, Perfect Story all to myself. Is not any one of those excuses worth the risk if it means that I might plant a seed in your soul that saves you? Is you spending an eternity in Heaven rather than an eternity in hell not worth that risk? I mean seriously. If I don’t tell you the Good, Great, Perfect story who will? Every person reading this is worth it to me. I want you all in heaven with me, playing Clue with Christ. 

                So with all that said, what is this story? I will go through the Gospels with you to give you the details over these next few months. But an overview is that the One True God. The God who created the world in six days. He loved us sinners so much He gave us His One and Only Son. Jesus was the first born son of the Virgin Mary. Jesus lived a sinless life. Satan tempted Him in ways you and I will never understand. Jesus was tempted with greed, lust, gluttony, and all the horrific sins the Roman and Greek culture could think of. Christ Jesus never gave in to any of them. He performed miracle after miracle. He healed the sick. He made deaf men hear. He gave sight to the blind. He cast out every horrific demon. He brought Lazarus back from the dead. He preached and taught from the Old Testament. He calmed a storm with His hand. He befriended, loved, taught, protected, and served a man who would betray Him to the death. 

                Jesus is the Son of God. He held all the power in the world. He didn’t lash out at the guards when they beat Him. Jesus didn’t curse and scorn the men when they flogged Him. He quietly endured it all. He carried the cross on his flayed back. Even after they hammered huge nails through His hands and feet, and hung Him on a cross …He didn’t look on them with disgust or with malice. Christ asked His Father to forgive them. Even after He was betrayed, beaten, tortured, and crucified …He had compassion and love for us, and for the ones who did it to Him. He forgave them. And Christ Jesus died on that cross.

                Christ’s body was taken down off the cross. He was wrapped in linen and carried to a tomb.  Jesus was dead for three days. For three days He was locked in a tomb in the middle of a desert. The rock was rolled in front of the tomb to keep predators out, and to keep the smell in. There is no doubt He was dead. But on that third day when the women came to wash His body with oils they found this huge, massive rock rolled away from the opening. The linens were not strewn about, torn, nor displayed any signs of a struggle. They were simply empty.

                Jesus did appear to the women. He was alive. He still had the wounds in His hands, on His feet, and in His side. He defeated death. Christ is our living God. He has no grave because He is not dead. He does not answer to death or to Hades. They answer to Him. Christ did die for our sins. He died for my sins. He died for your sins. His blood has washed every last one of us—past, present, and future—completely clean. Jesus has already defeated Lucifer. Jesus has already won. Jesus will come again, end it all, and then reign forever with those who believe in a new heaven and a new earth.

                And that is a good story. It is a great story. It is actually the best story because it means we have nothing to fear. If you believe. If you believe in who Jesus is you will spend the rest of eternity with our Savior. But you have to believe. Christ repeatedly says that the only way to the Father, to God our Creator, is through Jesus Christ. No amount of good deeds, no amount of happy thoughts, and no amount of good living can buy your way into heaven. Only the blood of Christ can pay for your ticket. Nothing else. Nothing more. It is that hard and yet that completely simple. Christ has paid for a ticket for every last person ever to exist. Most of those tickets won’t be cashed. I hope yours will. I hope you stand with me, in a new and perfect body, to spend the rest of existence with the Holy Trinity.

                I will do more to spread this Good Story around. This is Great News. And I would rather have people upset with me, angry at me, or abandon me now if it means I have given you a chance to stand with me in heaven…rather than suffer alone in hell. You are worth it to me. Every last one of you. Because I love you all.

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