Life may not be fair – but I’ve got Jesus!

Life is not fair. Too often it seems that dishonest, prideful people get all the breaks. They scoff at God, yet he doesn’t immediately strike them down with lightning from heaven. It can be hard sometimes not to envy them when we see their prosperity. I love how the Psalmist so perfectly conveys this struggle in Psalm 73. 

He starts by honestly confessing his envy of the arrogant. 

“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.” (3-5)

He laments about their prideful behavior. 

“They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.” (8-9‬) 

About their utter disdain for the Lord Most High. 

“They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?” This is what the wicked are like— always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.” (11-12)‬‬

He wonders aloud, “What is the point of living pure?”

“Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence…When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply.” (13, 16‬)‬‬

But as he seeks The Lord, he finds peace.  He comes to understand the ultimate fate of the wicked. 

“till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.” (17-20‬)‬‬

And that ultimately, he has the Lord always beside him. That God is his strength no matter what he may face. 

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (23-28‬)‬‬

And every one of us that trusts in Jesus as our Savior can rest on that same blessed assurance. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John‬ ‭3:16‬‬‬


Heavenly inheritance

This short passage of scripture is amazing! Read it and re-read it and notice the greatness of God’s gifts to those of us that put our faith in Jesus Christ. 

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. – ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:3-14‬ ‭

In Christ, God has blessed us with every blessing in the heavenly realms. This is a done deal! It is already done in God’s eternal plan. It includes the amazing blessings God chooses to reveal to us here on earth but it also goes far beyond what we can see or imagine. I can’t even fathom what God has in store for me here on earth and even more when I enter His presence in heaven. Just the glimpse I’ve gotten so far in my life has been amazing!

God loves us and chose us even before he made the world! It’s unbelievable to know that God had me in mind, and he had you in mind, when he created the world. He already knew where on the great timetable of existence we’d show up. He already chose to include us in the great salvation plan he would unveil in Christ. We are here because God loved us and chose to give us life. We are saved because God chose to save us! I am eternally thankful that he chose me!

Our Salvation through the blood of his Son gave him great pleasure. Picture the smile on God’s face when you caught on and accepted his free gift. And as his adopted children, chosen in advance, he showers us with his kindness and adds to that all wisdom and understanding – which he revealed to us in Christ! And his plan is this: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth! (At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians‬ ‭2:10-11‬)‬‬

And there’s more! Because God chose us in advance to be united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from him. Again – a done deal! And we can be assured that we will receive our Godly inheritance because he makes sure everything works out according to his plan. Nothing takes God by surprise. Nothing messes up his plans. If God says it will happen – it will happen! No matter what our current situation may be, we have a heavenly inheritance coming! 

The moment we believed in Jesus for our Salvation, God gave us his Holy Spirit. By this we are identified as his. That means that the devil can’t have us! He might be able to mess with us, but he can’t take away our identity in Christ or our guaranteed inheritance from God. (For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬) And why did he seal us with his Holy Spirit? So that we would praise and glorify him!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! – ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭

Not everything is beneficial

“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. – 1 Corinthians 6:12

Some of the best things about birthdays as you grow up are all the “rights” you start to accumulate. At 13-years old you earn the right to watch certain movies and play certain video games . At 16-years old you earn the right to get your driver’s license. By 17 or 18-years old you can add even more movies and video games to your entertainment list. At 18-years old you earn the right to vote; to sign a contract; to get a tattoo; to make all sorts of decisions without parental consent. At 21-years old you earn the right to drink alcohol. 

Sometimes rights can be good things that are beneficial for conducting life. Other times they can be detrimental, and disrupt your life. In any case – more rights comes with bigger choices. More rights means more responsibility.

The Bible says that just because you can do something does not mean you should. In one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians he makes this very point. After pointing out that wrong-doers will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven he reminds them that they have been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 6:11) He then points out to them that just because they may have the right to do anything, not everything is beneficial. (v. 12)

This is a very important fact for Christians to remember. How many times do we make the choice to do something that the world has given its stamp of approval on without carefully considering  God’s thoughts on it? Sure – it may be legal and even socially acceptable, but if it goes against the Word of God, we should make a better choice. 

We may have the right to make certain entertainment choices, but we should seek God’s Word before we choose. Jesus himself warned – good things in, good things out; evil things in, evil things out. (Luke 6:45) The Bible also says we are to put aside deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:12). 

We may have the right to drink alcohol, but it doesn’t take much before it begins to impact our actions. Many bad choices with far reaching consequences have started with a couple of drinks. Alcohol changes us. We become an even easier target for the devil and his schemes. It makes us mockers and brawlers and it leads us astray. (Proverbs 20:1) It causes us to stumble in judgement. (Isaiah 28:7) And even if we have managed to control our consumption level, we should be careful that we’re not encouraging others that may not have control to do something that causes them to stumble. (Romans 14:21) That is why the Bible warns us to be filled with the Spirit, and not to be drunk. (Ephesians 5:18

Whatever right we may decide to exercise, we must carefully seek God through prayer and His Word before we make our choice. Are we just blending in with the world or our we standing apart for God?

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy. – ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:13-16‬ ‭‬‬

Choose Jesus

God is timeless. He has always existed. He has no beginning. He has no end. This is a difficult concept to understand in a world where everything we know has a beginning and an end. But it seems clear to me that in order for any living thing to exist, there had to be a Creator. I’ve never really understood how the smartest scientists can break the creation of the world down to a whirling molecule in a vast universe and not wonder how the molecule got there to begin with. Or for that matter, how the vast universe got there. Is it really so easy to believe that an empty universe has always existed and yet so difficult to believe that a Creator has? The mighty works of creation are far to intricate and amazing to exist without a Creator with a master plan. 

So this almighty Creator, God, created within this expansive universe a tiny but special place called earth. Not only did He make this planet to contain all the elements necessary to sustain life, He also made it beautiful. He made bodies of water that shine in amazing hues of blues and greens and make peaceful, calming sounds as they meet the shores. He made land that rises and falls in mountains and valleys covered in countless colors and textures.  He made the sky with the ever-changing tapestry of sun, moon and stars. He sprinkled it with clouds delicately reflecting a sunset or powerfully displaying a spectacular light show. He made an amazing variety of animals to fill the earth, each with its own special purpose. And then He made people. In his image. Capable of emotion and reason. With senses that enable them to enjoy His mighty creation. And He gave to them the earth in all its splendor to rule over and enjoy. He himself enjoyed the work of His hands, reflecting on all of His creation as very good! (Genesis 1:31

The first humans, Adam and Eve, started life in paradise. A garden planted by God himself. A garden filled with all kinds of trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. (Genesis 2:9) The garden was irrigated by a river flowing through it. Animals of all kinds dwelt alongside them. God himself visited with Adam and Eve there in the garden. (Genesis 3:8)  Adam and Eve knew God. They knew His love, His companionship, His provision. They didn’t know there was good and evil. They had no desire to choose their own way. Life was good. They were in need of nothing. Their joy was complete. 

Then along comes Satan. No doubt he was jealous of the blessings God had bestowed on Adam and Eve. Of the fellowship they had with God. Of the dominion He had given them over His creation. No doubt he wanted to take over as his desire all along was to be on the throne that God alone occupies. You see, he himself had once lived with God. But he was jealous of God and wanted to raise his throne above the stars of God so God kicked him out of heaven. (Isaiah 14:12-15) Now he sees this man and this woman being loved by God and sustained by God. They were oblivious to the battle going on around them between good and evil. God was trying to protect them from this knowledge. It was more than Satan could bear, so he decided to ruin it all. Surely he could tempt them to be unsatisfied with all that God had given them. To want more just as he had. If he could just put a little seed of doubt in their mind, a little lie that fractured their trust in God. Surely then he could convince them to break the one and only rule God had given them. 

Genesis‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.””

‭‭When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

And there it was. Satan’s first deception. Mankind’s first sin. The first opportunity to choose God’s way or the devil’s way. The moment when the blackness of sin had to be banished from the presence of the Holy God. And the moment when God’s redemption plan was set into motion. His eternal plan to cover over the blackness of sin with the blood of His Son and to make a way for us to once again know His love, His companionship, His provision.

The blood of Jesus Christ has always been the only acceptable covering for the blackness of sin. It is only by making Jesus our Lord and Savior that we can have the assurance of God’s presence in our life right now and throughout eternity. So like Adam and Eve, we have a choice. We can listen to Satan’s lies and join him in his eternal resting place – hell. Or we can trust in God’s promise and join him in heaven for eternity. This is the most important decision we will ever have to make. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – ‭‭John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭