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HYDRATE –WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 9 (Mt.5:13) “SALT”

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
Matthew 5:13

DRINK IT IN:
According to the Salt Institute, there are approximately 14,000 different uses for the mineral called SALT.

14,000 different uses for salt! Really?

So when I started going to Sunday School back in the mid 1980’s as a Jr. Higher, and was asked what it means when people say that Christian are to be the salt of the earth, and I answered, “we are to bring purity into every thing we do,” was I wrong? No. That is a right answer. But it is also what I call the typical “Sunday School Answer.” A Sunday School answer is the kind of answer that Christian’s like because its simple, concise and it doesn’t take a lot of thought. Again…not wrong, but not a “full” and insightful or inspiring answer. Its a little “bland” for the kind of answer that God deserves for the creativity that he invented in salt. So…what is a better answer?

I think that if we, as people, can discover 14,000 different uses for salt, then surely we as Christians can have a deeper meaning to what Jesus meant when He said that we are the salt of the earth.

Here’s my attempt at a better answer. Individual pieces of salt all by themselves are pretty much useless. Try it at home. Separate one tiny granule of salt and place it on your tongue. I just did it. It took me a little longer than I thought to actually get one tiny piece onto my tongue. My hands are big and my fingers struggled to get control of one tiny piece. But…I finally got it. Now, you should understand, that I do not have a strong sense of taste or smell in my life. It pretty much allows me to be able to eat anything as long as the texture doesn’t gross me out. So, as I put this individual piece of salt on my tongue, I think I tasted salt, but I couldn’t prove if it was just my imagination telling me it was salty or if I could actually, finitely, maybe, actually taste it. Either way…it was pretty unmemorable as far as experiences go.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Now go back to your salt shaker and do it again, except this time, lick your finger, put it in the salt and then back to your tongue. Big Difference! It actually made me grimace and get one of those faces that we get when we put something really sour in our mouths. It made the glands in the back of my mouth produce some extra saliva. It definitely caught my attention. You? (Don’t tell me that you just sat there reading this without actually doing the “test…if you haven’t…GO DO THE TEST!!”)

One tiny piece of salt, all by itself, is pretty uninspiring. It really doesn’t have much saltiness to it. Jesus says, in the passage I’m referring to above, that if “salt loses its saltiness, its not much good for anything except to be thrown out and TRAMPLED by men.”

Is it just me or is there a lot of trampling going on to the Christian Faith in our American Society? I’ve traveled to South America, Africa, Europe and have been to the Holy Lands. I do not sense the “trampling” as heavy in these places as I do here in our very own, “one nation under God.” So here is my thought. America is the greatest country in the world, and we know that its not perfect. I love the independent nature of an American. We as an American society are becoming more and more independent. God said in the very beginning, right after He created Adam, “its not good that man should live alone.” I could retranslate that sentence God said to, “Its not good for man to be totally independent,” and really not change the message that God intended.

One independent grain of salt is a good thing. Its what God made it to be, but all by itself, isn’t that great, doesn’t have that much impact, is kind of invisible. Agree?

If there are 14,000 uses for salt, then we can do better as Christians when it comes to being the Salt of the earth. I’m not going to have a brainstorming session with you right now about all the uses we as Christians could be in our world to prove that we are salt. What I want you to think about is how alone you might or might not be. Do you have other Salt pieces in your life that you team with, and together you are much “tastier” and noticeable to a world that has become a bit “bland.”

I love the passages of Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. There are other Bible passages as well, but these two passages in the Bible talk about most of the SPIRITUAL GIFTS that God gives to Christian when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and have the Holy Spirit move into us. These gifts that we now possess as a Christian are a part of what defines who we are and what we are good at. If you have the spiritual gift of mercy, you are an amazing person to be around when I am hurting. If you have the gift of teaching, you are amazing to be around when I am hungry to learn. If you have gifts of leadership, you are amazing to be around when I need somebody to point me in the right direction. But Hold On! If you are all by yourself…individual…independent…and you have the gift of mercy, but I am in need of the gift of teaching…your mercy will leave me still needing teaching. If you have the gift of teaching and you are all by yourself and I need someone with leadership, then your encounter with me will leave me still in lack of leadership. If I am somebody with the gift of leadership and I encounter you needing someone with great gifts of mercy…then I’m probably going to hurt you as you need more mercy than I am gifted with.

Do you understand what I am saying?

What if…we as a bunch of individual pieces of salt, got together and used our “spiciness” to push each other on to do good in the world. What would we encounter that we WOULDN’T be able to accomplish together? NOTHING! Think about your local church and the total number of people you have together, with all the different gifts you have amongst each other. What can’t you do? You can do anything! Even the average size church in America, which is approximately 85 people, can do anything…together!

We are the Church. We are the Salt of the Earth. We can do anything…as long as we stick together. Please don’t allow yourself to be separated from the “salt shaker.” It takes my breath away when I think about how many people, who fall onto hard times, quit showing up for Church services, and quit serving other people. Think of it this way….What happens to a Zebra when it gets separated from the herd?

The Bible describes the Devil as a roaring lion waiting to devour you. If you separate yourself from your group for any reason…lunch will be served. You are “salty” too! The devil loves a good Christian for breakfast, lunch or dinner…or just a midnight snack.

Stick together! If you don’t have a local church home…keep searching. If you don’t have somebody you can call when you fall on tough times…be one to somebody else and that will solve your independence and separation problem.

SWEAT IT OUT:

Do you know what your Spiritual Gifts are? If you do not, please contact a local pastor of a Christian Church and ask Him to help you. If you can’t find help with this, please ask me to help you. If I can’t personally help you then I will get you connected to a local church pastor that you can trust…wherever you live.

Are you using your spiritual gifts in the local church? Don’t forget that the local church is really just a big salt shaker. You are a granule with millions of other granules spread around the world in a bunch of different “salt shakers.” Be encouraged by that powerful fact! If there are 14,000 different uses for Salt, but you, as salt, do not use your “use,” then the church is really only 13,999 uses. Not bad…but not complete! Jesus wants COMPLETION, when it comes to the huge things He would have us being responsible for.

You are the salt of the earth! What a huge compliment Jesus gives you. Please don’t take it for granted. Make sure you are adding your spice to this world. The world hungers for what you can provide. You are needed.

The world is a better place because you live in it right now.
I hope you believe that. I believe it about you.

Today and from now on…use your strengths and giftedness to add some great spice to other people’s lives. I know that you will agree with me when i say that little things matter to people. So, how can you use your “saltiness” in a way that makes a little impact in the life of someone you now today? Try it. What do you have to lose if you try?

I say it again…the world is a better place because of you.

I hope you will live like you believe that!


HYDRATE –WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 8 (Mt.5:10-12) “Persecution”


“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in Heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
Matthew 5:10-12

DRINK IT IN:
When was the last time you were persecuted for being a follower of Jesus Christ?

Now…don’t misunderstand me here. Please don’t be like the people who stand out on street corners and yell from their megaphones, spew hate by picketing military funerals, or demand that people follow Jesus. These groups of people think they are honoring Jesus. They get more ‘pumped up’ when they get arrested, make the news and stir up controversy, because they think they are facing persecution on behalf of Jesus for doing good. This is not a biblical thing. This is not a holy thing. This is not something that Jesus did. These groups or individuals will state that their 1st Amendment rights give them the right to behave the way they do. They are right in the fact that legally, their 1st Amendment rights allow them to behave this way. However, the “laws” of God take priority over the “laws” of the land. In this case, they honor their 1st Amendment rights and dishonor their Lord and Savior. Jesus was always very kind and gentle to the people who were far from Him. I think that Jesus would use a mega-phone to let these kinds of people, who are behaving this way on street corners, know that they are actually doing harm to the Kingdom of Heaven…but I think He would “one-up” them…He would use a whip!

So, back to my question. When has your holy behavior landed you in “hot-water?” When have you been demoted for standing for Jesus in a gentle way? When did you not get the promotion because you refused to do things “under the table?” When were you left out of the circle of friends because you keep the “bar” to high? When were you last seen carrying your Bible to a lunch break to spend time with God? When was the last time you actually had to pay more taxes because you refused to lie about your income? When was the last time you dropped your ego and actually agreed to go to marital counseling with your spouse? When was the last time you got flipped off because you simply refused to drive ‘that’ fast? When was the last time people rolled their eyes at you for leading your family in prayer before your meal at a nice restaurant? When was the last time you gently spoke your biblical opinion about a hot “political” topic during a discussion about abortion, illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, or other “hot” topics? When was the last time you took one of your Saturday’s off and helped a neighbor in need? When was the last time you “persecuted” your bank account and personal lifestyle because you chose to give 10% of your income to the Lord’s work? The questions could go on for miles, but I think we get the idea.

Persecution comes in many forms. I’m simply asking when was the last time you faced any on behalf of Jesus Christ?

The following is a passage in Scripture that explains what happened to some Christians a long time ago for taking a stand, in love, for Jesus Christ.
“But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”
(Hebrews 11:35-40, NLT)

SWEAT IT OUT:
Would you take 30 seconds and sit quietly and see if God would remind you of an area(s) in your life where you could take a gentle, stronger stand for Him? And If you do, take a gentle stronger stand for Him, it might have you being a bit persecuted?

I pray for you that you will take that gentle strong stand. I pray that you will be persecuted for doing it. I pray that you will be happy about it. I pray you will be glad about it.

For if you do…You know that the Kingdom of Heaven is Yours.
Well…that is what Jesus says.


HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 7 (Mt.5:9) “Peacemaker”


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
Matthew 5:9

DRINK IT IN:
If you have children, what would you actually do for them in a time of crisis? If you are like me, then you would do anything to protect them, help them, encourage them, shape them. I think its instinctual. If God created the bear and the lion and He also created you. He’s only one artist. He created you with some similarities as the bear and the lion. Have you ever heard any stories about a person coming across a momma bear or lioness when their “kids” are around? They mean business. Its the same for you. You could be one of the most gentle and quiet people on the planet. But put your kids around you and then introduce a little danger in the form of other people or a criminal and its like you jumped into a phone booth, stripped off your regular clothes to expose a super hero ready to do some serious damage in the name of protecting your children.

God is a parent. If God made you in His image to be like Him, then you and God have similar qualities. God designed it that way. I think that God is willing to do just about anything to honor, and do what is very best for His children.

So, the question is; Are you a son or daughter of God?

Some may say, “yes, Trent…I prayed a prayer back when I was in Jr. High and gave my life to God.” My reply to that is, show me in the Bible where someone prayed a prayer and then, from that point on, is considered a child of God. I don’t want to be to cynical here, but please let me save you some time by telling you that, such a Bible verse/story is not in the Bible.

How do I know I am a son or daughter of God?

According to Jesus in this fist sermon He ever preached, He says that you need to be a PEACEMAKER to be considered a son or daughter of God. How serious is this? This is what is called a “salvation issue.” You have to agree with me that in order to go to Heaven you have to be a son or daughter of God. Agree? Jesus then says, that in order to be s son or daughter of God, you have to be a peacemaker. Agree? Then to summarize this line of thinking, we must be peacemakers in order to go to Heaven. You must be a peacemaker to be saved. Agree?

Jesus’ brother has something to say about this. James wrote, in James 3:18, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

I want to be more of a peacemaker. I have found this to be a personal challenge that is difficult. I am an intense person of passion and I most definitely don’t like the status quo. I like to get to the underlying issue of things instead of talk about the surface level of life. So many people, when I speak with them, feel that I am prying a little to hard into their lives. This causes walls to go up. It doesn’t help that I’m 6′ 3″ and 220 pounds. I do boxing workouts. I run 5 miles every other day. I speak the truth and like to be direct. I enjoy making the bully “sweat.” Does that make me a bully to the bullies? Does this disqualify me from being a peacemaker? What a dangerous situation. I must guard all this more carefully. I wish Jesus would have never said this thing about peacemaking. But He did.

So, what about you? Are you a peacemaker? Before we get too discouraged at our answers, let’s make sure we are defining peace the right way. Jesus says that there are different kinds of peace. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

But hold on! Jesus also said in Matthew 10:34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”

Is Jesus arguing with Himself? Is this what some call a “biblical contradiction?” The answer is a very clear, “No.” The answer is that there are different kinds of PEACE. As I write this, last Sunday was the Superbowl. We watched the underdog New York Giants beat the New England Patriots. At Half time of the Superbowl, Madonna performed and at the very end of a pretty good performance she had the floor light up with a great big flash of production and it said, “WORLD PEACE.”

Is this what Jesus is talking about when he says, ‘Blessed are the Peace Makers?” It would be impossible for Him to mean this. Because he also said that He did not come to the world to bring Peace but a sword. And I would say…”He did a good job of that.” Every since Jesus arrived and left this planet, there has been division and chaos. Want proof…march into your local public school and start talking about Jesus to the students. I’ll bet your circumstances won’t end in what could be called a peaceful ending. As Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 10:35-36, “I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be in your own household.” Jesus meant it, didn’t he?

How can Jesus say, “Blessed are the Peace-Makers,” when He says He didn’t even come to bring Peace, but a sword?”

He can only say that if there are two kinds of peace. 1. What Madonna calls “World-Peace.” 2. What Jesus calls, “Peace of Heart.”

I think, according to Jesus’ personality and style, the peace He refers to has nothing to do with tranquility, as in no war because every human being just loves one another. That is the dream of mankind. Its a worthy dream. Michael Jackson rounded up pretty much every music celebrity back in his day and they performed a song together that went like this. (I’ll be you can’t read it without singing it in your head!) “We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving…When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all. But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall, Let us realize that a change can only come, When we stand together as one” (You started singing it didn’t you!?) In order for this kind of peace to become a reality in the world…then evil would have to be completely removed from the planet. As long as evil is real there will never be the kind of Peace that Madonna or Michael was hoping for.

So, that leaves us the kind of Peace that Jesus gives. Simply put, His kind of peace is best defined this way. “The ability to be calm and confident because you trust that God is in control even in the middle of total chaos.”

We, on occasion come across people like this. We see them in the news. They have stories of Heroism and selflessness. In the middle of absolute chaos they somehow remained strong and confident and calm. Now…I don’t know if Jesus is the one that provided them with this kind of confidence or not. Jesus is not the only one who can provide this kind of peace. You can train for it and not include Jesus in it. You could be naturally confident and ready for action in any situation and be seen as a peaceful person, without Jesus. You could be missing some common sense in your life and therefore not naturally think about dangerous consequences and thus seem to be able to stay calm in scary situations. None of those have anything to do with Jesus, yet you are a person of “peace.”

What I’m trying to say here is that there are all kinds of people who have the Peace that Jesus is referring to and many of them do not have it because of a relationship with Jesus. What I’m saying here is that if you want to be considered a son or daughter of God then you have to let Jesus live inside of your heart and mind and when chaos is ripping all around you, you rely on His peace and calm that He provides because you know He is in control.

When you let Jesus have total control over every detail of your life, then whatever you encounter that isn’t peaceful, that is dangerous, that is scary, you have the ability to remain at peace and in self-control. You are at peace even in the middle of tragedy and chaos. You are able to stay “peaceful” even when your own death might be staring you in the face. Because God is in control. You don’t let the fears of the world control you. God controls you. In the face of insecurity, when someone is verbally attacking you or mistreating you, you don’t have to lash back, because your security is in God and what God says about you.

Peace…Jesus’ style…is the ability to remain calm and collected in the middle of Chaos because you acknowledge that Jesus is in control, no matter the results of the situation. Peace…Jesus’ style…doesn’t mean you just lay over and never challenge back or stand up for what is right. Don’t forget that Jesus is a peacemaker and yet He made a whip and whipped people out of the temple, and He called the Pharisees horrible names. Being a peacemaker…Jesus style…doesn’t mean that you have to be a wimp. It means there is a steadfast strength about you. Being a peacemaker means you are a well-rounded balanced person. Just like Jesus. Strong and gentle. Tough and kind. Offensive and defensive. Sly and innocent. Aggressive and peaceful. Truth and Love. Justice and Mercy. Get it? If you still want a strong picture of the kind of peace that I’m referring to here, then read the Bible story of the crucifixion of Jesus. I can’t think of a more horrible thing to go through than a Roman Crucifixion. So, read the Bible’s account and pay special attention to the attitude and demeanor of Jesus while this horrible thing is being done to him. You will see a man at peace with WHO is in control.

There are stories of women who have been raped and abused over and over but they survived it all and have been saved from that situation and they talk about the peace they were able to have in the middle of all the horrific things that were happening to them. They give credit to Jesus and the Bible. One lady tells the story of how she wrote a powerful Bible verse on her ceiling above the bed. And day after day, she would read the Bible verse above her bed while being raped and trusted that God was real and that she would be okay through all this. What a story of strength and victory. This lady tells of her story, as a story of victory today and about the goodness of God compared to the evil of mankind. There are stories of “tragedy” all over the world where Christians had unbelievable atrocities happen to them, yet they tell the stories as if they are stories of victory! How inspiring! What a witness to the power of God. What a witness to the PEACE of Jesus Christ being lived out by His sons and daughters.

SWEAT IT OUT:
What’s your worst nightmare? What could happen to you that makes you think you couldn’t handle it? I encourage you to think about it and prepare for it to happen in your mind and determine that you would be okay through it all. What is the alternative here? Worry, Stress, Fear, Doubt, Control problems, Nervousness, Anger, Hurtful reactions, etc.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be prepared for anything and therefore never be caught off guard. If you are caught off guard and in a moment of weakness do something really stupid, then you harm the witness of Jesus Christ. The Bible is full of teachings about the sons and daughters of God needing to always have their wits about them. We are always one decision or one reaction away from blowing our credibility with God and with other people. Every decision we make…matters. So…

Be prepared.
Be a Peace-Maker.
You will be considered a son or daughter of God.
There is no greater title.

“Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS for they will be sons/daughters of God.”


HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 4 (Mt.5:6) “Righteousness”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

DRINK IT IN:
Have you ever been out on a walk or a drive and you pass through the invisible waves of Bar B Que aroma floating out of someone’s back yard? It catches your attention immediately. I think it might be my favorite smell on the planet. Its almost torturous to smell such an aroma when I’m hungry. The smell nearly causes my mouth to water and my stomach to growl. When there is ample food available, I think one of the greatest feelings is when my stomach growls and I know that I am getting ready to eat something delicious. I just love to eat! You too?

Another powerful feeling is the desire called thirst. I grew up on a farm in Kansas and I remember the couple of times that I ran out of water to drink while out driving the farm tractor on those hot summer days. I was never in trouble of becoming dehydrated, but I remember the desire of thirst growing intensely when I had to wait for a couple of hours for my dad to drive out to the field to check on me. He would always have an insulated container with ice cold water in it. When he would arrive on the field I remember the strong to desire of wanting to get my hands on that ice cold water. Thirst is a powerful desire.

So it makes sense when Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

Jesus said things like, “Man cannot live on bread alone.” He also said in John 4:34, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.”

I wish I could give you some quick formula that would help you increase in your hunger and thirst for God. There is no quick formula. Its something that we grow into. Did you notice that these first four phrases, that Jesus mentions in His very first sermon that are recorded in Matthew 5, show a PROCESS of maturity.

The first step is being “poor in spirit.” This means being totally dependent on God. The next progression that Jesus mentions is being a person that “mourns.” This means recognizing that the world is not what God meant for it to be and it actually saddens you and causes you to long for what Heaven is. The third progression towards spiritual maturity is living a life of “meekness.” This means that we don’t focus on our own lives very much because we are serving others. When we are growing in these areas of our lives, then what is actually happening, is God is helping us to be in constant Hunger and Thirst for Him…which causes us to want to please Him and we know that righteousness is a key element in pleasing God.

“Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

When you hunger for Chocolate…what do you constantly focus on? Chocolate.
When you thirst…what do you constantly focus on? Your favorite beverage.

Hunger or thirst are actually focus! What we focus on is what we give our priorities to. Our priorities are what we commit to. What we commit to, is what we become.

You and I will become what we are committed to.

If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, then we focus on living right. When we focus on living right, then we do right. When we do right, then we make a strong impact on the circles of influence around us. When we have a strong impact on those around us, then we are living a life of purpose and significance. Living a life of purpose and significance is fulfilling. If we are fulfilled, then our lives are full.

Jesus says…”you will be filled…if you hunger and thirst for righteousness.” He’s not saying anything profound here. He’s speaking common sense.

Its not that Jesus sends some magical blessing down upon us when we hunger and thirst for righteousness. He is simply saying…we will become what we are committed to. What you hunger and thirst for you focus on. What you focus on, you become.

SWEAT IT OUT:

So, here is the deal. If you are frustrated with where your life is headed, isn’t it fair for me to ask you to inspect where your hunger and thirst is? Where is your focus?

If you struggle in determining where your focus is, then I want to share with you a short-cut to help you determine the undeniable truth as to where your focus is.

Do a quick peak at your CALENDAR. What are you spending a major portion of your life doing? You might say “work.” That’s okay. Work is a blessing from God. I’m not asking you to make God the “First” priority in your life…I’m asking you to make God the “Center” of everything you do. There is a difference in First and Center. If God is first in your life, then every time you go to work you are going to feel like you are letting God down because you are focused on work. So, the solution is to make God the center of your life and then no matter where you go or what you do, God is always in your central focus. Make sense? So, again, what are you spending a major portion of your time doing?

Another quick short-cut to help you determine where you focus is, is to take a look at your Bank Account expenditures. I’m not asking you to do this to make you feel guilty, I’m simply asking you to measure where you spend a majority of your money. It will help you understand where your priorities are. I do challenge you to set aside and give to God a minimum of 10% of all your income. This is something that God asks of every one of us. It is a part of hungering and thirsting for righteousness. This kind of generosity is good for you. That’s why God asks us to give it. Your giving not only helps you stay selfless, but also helps meet the needs of many that Jesus commands us to help. You should give this tithe/10% to a ministry that is clearly focusing on Hungering and Thirsting for righteousness.

Are you a part of a local church that focus’ on teaching and learning the Word of God and pushes you to serve others using your strengths and talents? Keep looking until you find the right fit. When you do, jump on board fully.

Take a few moments to rate yourself in how you are doing with the first 4 phrases of Matthew 5. Use a scale of 1 to 10 to show how you are doing in each one. Is one weaker than the others? Focus a little more on that one weaker one. Keep growing in the ones you are doing well in. You should be pretty balanced with each one. They should all be a strong and growing reality in our lives.

Focusing on the key elements I mentioned above are a critical factor in living a fulfilling life.
I hope you will commit to moving forward in all of these starting now.
Make your day today one of hungering and thirsting for righteousness.


Retweeting Jesus “RTJesusChrist #8”

Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.
Luke 23:34(NLT)

If Jesus would have used Twitter to send this message to His followers it would have had to have been delivered by the hands of someone else. Jesus was hanging on the cross when He “sent” this message. His hands were nailed down. He had just been severely beaten. He would have been deeply dehydrated. As I write out the remaining messages that were short enough for Jesus to have actually tweeted back in His day…the remaining “tweets” are all His final phrases before He dies on the cross. The next 7 “tweets” are going to be intense and serious. Each message that Jesus sends out from this point forward is a message He sends in the final moments of His life.

I like to say that when a person knows they are dying and they only have a few moments left…what they say is of vital importance for they only focus on the moment and what is deeply in their heart.

Jesus says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

As this message is going out, think about what was happening all around Him. Soldiers are gambling for His One Piece Undergarment. Bystanders are yelling at Him, spitting at Him, mocking Him, rolling their eyes, thinking He deserves every bit of what is happening to Him. He is literally bleeding out. He has two men, one on each side yelling at Him. He is being used as a warning to all Jews in the area. The warning is this…”Don’t mess with the Religious Leaders and Don’t mess with the Roman Empire.” Position and Power are dangerous things in our world. Jesus defied them and it got Him killed. Oh, He knew it was going to kill Him and even though He didn’t like the fact He was to die…He knew what would happen in a few days.

Imagine you are alive and well in Jerusalem at this moment in time. You are one of His followers and you actually receive this message in the form of a tweet. After reading it, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing,” what would you think or do? I think I would instantly recall things I had spoken about Him behind His back. I would have flashes of unholy behavior from recent times in my life and then think about how He walked around and healed that blind man, and how that woman stopped bleeding when she touched Him, and how Lazarus came out of his own tomb after being dead for like four days, and remember how He walked on the Sea of Galilee. I would remember him putting his hand on my shoulder and encouraging me to believe in myself even when important people in my life mistreated me and kept putting me down. I would think about that day He prevented a sinful woman from being stoned to death and how He stared into the eyes of her accusers and got them all to drop their stones and walk away embarrassed by their judgmental demeanor, knowing that their hypocrisy had been exposed.

What a tweet.

Even though you and I are guilty of all sorts of sins, and those sins actually separated us from our God…Jesus’ moments on the cross and His final breath, His shed blood, His sacrifice, took all of God’s anger towards us and our sinful actions and washed it away with our sins.

When Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing,”

Mankind’s very worst collided with God’s very best!

When the collision took place in that moment of history…who was stronger? God’s Best or Man’s Worst? God’s Best or Your Worst?

NO COMPETITION!

God wins. Yet in a crazy kind of way in this competition, we won too! You win. You are forgiven.

What’s your very worst? Can it even compete with God’s power, and love, and patience, and kindness? No way! Once again, No competition!

So if you are allowing your crap and your filth of your past and yesterday’s stupidity to hold you back and make you feel worthless…STOP IT!

If God can forgive it/you, why can’t you?

Here’s the deal…What Jesus says…Happens! How do I know that? Because Jesus said in the Great Commission noted in Matthew 28, “I have been given ALL AUTHORITY in Heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

If Jesus has been given all authority and He says, “Father Forgive them.” Then its done.

Be Free…Be Forgiven. And since you have been forgiven so much….make it a priority to forgive those who have hurt you. It’s worth it. Forgive. If I can help you work through forgiveness, just ask. I’ll do my best.

I challenge you to memorize this passage…”If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” Thats 1 John 1:9.

Always remember that GOD LOVES YOU!
When He looks down upon you from Heaven, He smiles WAY more than He frowns.
Believe it. Live it. Share it.
Amen?