Romans 5:6-8
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

God Loves Us Even when We are Ugly

Isn’t it wonderful that God didn’t just limit His love and grace to the few us humans that are cute and cuddly? He didn’t just love us when we loved Him and didn’t withhold His greatest expression of love toward us even when we least deserved or merited it.
Have you ever been around someone that was hard to love and get along with? On in any given day that could probably apply to any one of us. We can all have our ugly times and our ugly ways. Then there are some with which it has become a way of life. You know the ironic thing is that it is usually with the people that we love the most that we are often the most ugly. We can be ripping our spouse or children up all-day and then come to a stranger and be perfectly nice and polite.
Why is that? Perhaps it is because we feel safe venting our anger, frustration and anxieties upon the ones that we love because we feel we are safe doing it with them. Maybe it is because the ones we “love” aren’t meeting our expectations or living up to our standards. Perhaps we feel those loved ones will still love me even when my raw side is showing. Unfortunately, what was maybe a once-in-a-while bad hair day, can become a habitual bad hair life. We can become abusive on a continual basis to the ones we should love and respect the most. It may be our husband, our wife, our children, parents, family or friends.
There is a great lesson here as we look at God’s love. We see His love is unconditional and that He did love us in spite of our inward ugliness. He teaches us to be the same in our love for others. We see it coming through in the attributes of His Holy Spirit, love, joy, longsuffering, self-control, kindness, goodness, peace, meekness, faith and gentleness. As His people these attributes should be an ever-increasing part of our lives. When others are ugly toward us we have to look with the eyes of the Spirit into their hearts and ask why is this person hurting so bad that they treat others this way? Is there anything I can do in Christ to minister and help to heal those inner hurts, wounds and scars?
In our closer personal relationships perhaps we may be reaping in our loved one seeds of discontent and strife that we have sown by our own actions or insensitivity. Perhaps we have played a big part in why this loved one has become that not so lovely person. What do we need to do out of the love of Christ and the love we have for them to change our dynamics toward them to relieve these angry and resentful feelings that they may be expressing? So often anger and emotion keep us from coming to a resolution of our issues. Sometimes the expression of our anger and emotion only serve to drive those we love further away from us and cause them to withdrawal. You will never bring the head of a turtle out of his shell when he knows he is going to get clubbed as soon as He shows it. We need a truce, a cease-fire and to lay our emotions aside. We need to reconcile ourselves through the love of God to really hear and respond to the issues of the heart. Most all of us are creatures of habits and it may be those habits that are a constant source of irritation and dysfunction. Let us love one another enough to change those habits and behaviors for their sake and to help them become that lovely person again that we once knew.
What is love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Let us love one another as God in Christ has so loved us.



Treasure Unearthed

April 18, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:7-12
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Treasure Unearthed

I want you to imagine today the there is this large earthen clay statue of a man and it has been revealed to you that within this earthen clay man is a treasure of untold wealth, power and blessing. You can’t see it because it is hidden in this earthen covering of clay. If you are told you can have that treasure, but all you have to do is reveal it what would you do? Chances are that no matter how lovely the statue is outwardly, you no longer see or are concerned for the outward sculpture. You are intent upon reaching the treasure within. So you go to work on this statue with all of the tools that are at you disposal. You are using picks, shovels, sledge hammers, chisel and whatever else that will give you access to this treasure. While you are intently uncovering the treasure within, what is happening to this clay statue without? It is being put to death, destroyed and decimated. Yet what you discover is that the more the red earth is peeled away from the statue the more a new substance is revealed to take its place. It is a substance of life that cannot be destroyed and contrary to destruction it actually gives life to those who come in contact with it. All of your efforts to unveil and to remove the earthen outer man have left his clay flowing off of him like streams of water. What you have discovered is a new creation man under that earthen exterior that is only revealed more and more as it is attacked and put to death, not so much by those who are intent upon the treasure, but by those who are intent upon discrediting and destroying the treasure. The more others seek to kill and destroy it the more life that is revealed from it. After awhile the clay statue has been changed in its form. The treasure has been unearthed and it is the life of God, the Christ within that is the treasure that is now revealed. While death worked in the outer man of this clay vessel, the life of God was being revealed through the forces that were brought against it. Outwardly the old was dying, but the inner man was coming forth in life.
Such is the case in our own lives. We often see all of the forces of destruction and opposition in our lives as negative things. They bring to us much pain, anxiety, frustration and hurt, but each one of them causes us to reach into the resources of the treasure that we all contain in Christ. It causes us to draw from His strength, His healing, His forgiveness, His provision, His protection and His supply.
Paul goes on this passage in Corinthians 4:16-18 to say, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What is within us is rock solid and it cannot be destroyed. Though outwardly we are perishing, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Our heart and our eyes are not fixed upon that which temporal and soon fading away. It is fixed upon the eternal, unmovable, unchangeable, unshakable, faithfulness and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


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