Just thinking of how Pilate gave the crowd a choice to either let the sinner go and punish Jesus or let Jesus go and punish the sinner. The crowd chose Jesus to be punished and set the sinner free.Jesus made the same choice as the crowd. He chose, from the very beginning of time, to let Himself be crucified and set the sinners free. The crowd made their choice out of hate and Jesus made the same choice out of love. The crowd chose Jesus over the sinner to be punished out of pure spite for Him. We choose Jesus to save us sinners out of pure love for Him because He willingly took the punishment for sin.We all still have free will to choose today. You are choosing Jesus one way or another. You are either willingly choosing to cast Him away in spite or you are choosing to accept His salvation out of love. What do you choose? Sin’s punishment or God’s unyeilding grace and mercy?Where are you choosing your eternal soul to reside? With the crowd casting Him away? Or with Jesus at the cross, sin crucified, and covered in His love? This was not a choice He took lightly. You shouldn’t either. Eternity is a really, really long time.He loves you more than my words could ever express. One day every knee will bow realizing how glorious that love is. Every knee will bow at how holy our God is.Let the sinner go and choose Jesus.
As for me and my house….
A friend shared a testimony with me last night that reminded me of the joy of the Lord. It was an odd place to find joy, as it usually is on our journey with the Lord. She found it in the midst of her sins. She found it as the Spirit revealed to her that God was not cursing her but sin was. She found it when the Spirit showed her what all God has brought her through even though her own actions had put her there. How true is that for all of us! What a wonderful place to find joy! Right in the midst of God’s grace and mercy.
I turned to Joshua 24 for my bible study this morning. Of course, again as God often does in our journey, this chapter fits perfect with the heartfelt testimony I heard last night. Joshua is speaking to Isreal and prophecing what God has instructed him to say. God reminded Israel, not of the sins of their fathers in this chapter, but of what all God has brought them through. It is quite the list and I encourage you to read it for yourselves.
Even with this hefty list of grace and mercy by our glorious Father, some still seemed hesistant to fully live for the Lord. They had a whole lifetime (and generations before them) of serving other gods, after all. Some habits are hard to break. You find comfort in them although they hurt you in the end. That instant comfort becomes your standard operating procedure and even though it isnt a comfort that lasts it is hard to give up. Today, there are people who serve actual gods, but we can also recognize other gods as those vices we hold on to so tightly. The ones God instructs us to avoid or do away with but we say no. Or we say maybe, in time I will let it go. Or we try and just fail at it. It is those things that convince us that we cant come to God until we give them up. That is how we stay serving them because we believe that lie. Let me tell you some truth here and now….you come as you are and God will do the rest.
In Joshua 24:15 he states that maybe it doesnt feel right to serve the Lord, but then who are you serving instead? What has your other “gods” done for you that is as everlasting as what God has and will do for you? What did those “gods” do for the generations that came before you? He urges Israel to choose, once and for all, who they will serve. You see, he presented all the goodness and grace of God even though they didnt see it for themselves and even though they most certainly did not earn it. Thank God grace is a gift and not something we have to work for! Thank God His faithfullness outweighs and outlasts ours!
Joshua then stated a very well known line that many of us know and one of my favorites. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” What a powerful statement! He stated the truth, told them to make a choice, and then proclaimed where he stood on the matter. No waivering. What I love and adore even more is that he didnt make this statement just for himself. It was for his whole family as well. See, our proclamation of faith and living it out has a ripple effect. It ends generations of god followers and turns them into God followers.
The choice is yours today. I pray that the Spirit reveals to you all He has done for you just as He did for my dear, sweet friend. Just as He did for me. Who do you choose?
I can tell you my choice. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
How do you choose to suffer?
One of the bible studies I am doing speaks a lot on suffering with Christ. I have always had problems with that thought. Why would Jesus want us to suffer with Him? Didnt He become our sacrfice so we can have an abundant life?
As I grow in learning I have come to realize that to suffer with Christ is to deny self. Ugh, again, who wants to do that?? But then I realize that everything I dont like about myself comes from lack of self denial.
Overweight=lack of self denial with food.
Messy house, piled up school work=lack of self denial from procrastination.
Harsh mouth=lack of self denial to quelch anger/self centered thinking and show agape love instead.
I suffer from those actions. When I give in to lies of the flesh I suffer the consequences.
When I suffer through self denial then I only suffer a little while. Not only do I only suffer a little while, but the outcome from the suffering yields good fruit! I am a better person because of it. God’s glory shines through it! Even better, we do this through the power of God!!
So, if I am going to suffer either way….why would I NOT choose suffering for Christ? He is truly the way to an abundant life.
1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
2 Timothy 1:8
…Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.