Why did Jesus have to die?

In the last few weeks, we discussed some of the people and the events leading up to the Jesus’ death and resurrection.  This week, I want to discuss a little of what those events resulted in.  The result was not just composed of Jesus’ passion to be willing to die for us.  What Jesus did created a way for us to choose a new life that is better than the one we are already have. 

Jesus understood the struggles of mankind which is why he understood that he must be sacrificed on the cross.  But something that mankind, even his disciples, did not understand at the time, was that Jesus knew that God would not forsake him and leave him a sinful state as he took upon himself the sins of the world.  What Jesus took was not only the sins of man but also the shame that man would face as a result of sin.  He took our acts of disobedience, but he also took our hurts, our cares, our worries, and every other thing that makes us feel little of ourselves.  In Jesus’ act of compassion toward us, he daily stands before the Father advocating for us as the devil stands before God accusing us. 

While what Jesus did was the utmost act of love and sacrifice for all of mankind, it created a way for him to advocate for us in heaven.  It was God that allowed us to have a choice as to whether we follow Christ.  We can choose to walk a new life with Jesus Christ, or we can choose to reject that gift.  Choosing Christ opens the door for heavenly blessings, and those blessing come in many forms.  For those who choose to follow Christ, they have given Jesus the authority to stand before God to defend them as Satan accuses them.  No matter who you are, at some point in your life, Satan will decide that you are of no use to him and will begin to accuse you.  His evil ways will twist and distort everything you do to try to convince God that you do not believe in him and his son, Jesus.  As Jesus says in John 10:9-11 NIV,

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Bible Gateway

Let’s look to 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 for some insight into what a life with Christ looks like.  This passage comes from a letter written by Paul to the church of Corinth:

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Bible Gateway

Where does our faith lie?

As we follow Jesus, it is necessary to understand that the foundation of our faith lies with Jesus Christ.  Once we make the decision to follow him, we are given more gifts, and one of those is the ability to make more choices.  God doesn’t want puppets.  God wants us to choose him.  Each day, we make a conscious decision to follow Jesus.  So, once that foundation has been laid, we need to be careful as to what we use to build on that foundation. In 1 John 2:16 NIV, we are told,

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Bible Gateway

Through Jesus, we have salvation from the grips of Satan, but the path we choose to walk afterward will be tested.  Paul tells us in the passage above that we will pass through the fire.  That fire symbolizes testing. Now, understand this: just because we go through a fire does not mean that we have stepped out of the will of God.  Passing through the fire shapes us and molds us to be more in the likeness of Christ – the utmost example of love and compassion towards others. 

Therefore, if the “building materials” we use to build our life can’t withstand the fire, the result is not that we have failed.  The result is something for us to learn from.  If we are open to being teachable, what we can learn is not our faults but rather where we need improvement.  Sometimes it is a simple, “Don’t do that or this anymore.”  The change is always easy compared to the kind of impact it has on your life for the better.  It helps us to discover where our ways are not in line with the ways of Christ.  You must understand this: we pass through the fire to become better people.  Being shaped into the likeness of Christ helps us to become a person of compassion who knows how to love people. 

We need improvement

To honest, we all need improvement.  It is the state of our souls as a result of the fall of mankind.  When man fell, man fell into the hands of Satan.  They were warned by God of what not to do; it was his way of saving mankind from their desire to be God.  But when they disobeyed, they did not understand how their choice could affect themselves and the rest of mankind.  Mankind fell into the grips of Satan, but God provided freedom away from the pit of hopelessness that Satan plunged us into.  And we were given the ability to choose.  But as 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV tells us,

Everything is permissible—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible—but not everything is constructive.  Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Zondervan NIV Study Bible. General editor, Kenneth L. Barker, full rev.
ed., Zondervan, 1984.

We should be careful not to fall into Satan’s trap to tempt us to seek our own good.  This translates to selfishness.  Love does not come out of selfishness; selfishness is an evil deed.

We should note that it is part of our nature to make mistakes, because, frankly, none of us is perfect.  But if we set our sights to follow Jesus, we begin to travel a road that leads us to live a better life that pleases God.  But remember this: what we do and what we build our life on will be tested.  It will be tested so that we can find a closer relationship with God.

Go forth and be blessed, my friend.

How To Know Jesus

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What was I thinking— writing this book?

For those of you who have read my blog posts, you might have begun to learn a little about me.  There is so much more about my life to learn and what drives me to do what I am doing.  I honestly don’t like sharing much about my past, because, well, people judge.  So often people choose to take what you have said and find ways to use it against you.  Why is our honesty somehow considered offensive to someone who had nothing to do with what you have said?  Unfortunately, it is the world we live in; honesty isn’t readily welcomed.

But today, something deep down inside me said, “Cynthia, you must tell them why.  Tell them why you wrote the book, When The One You Love Doesn’t Love You Anymore.”  I considered doing a video to place on the front page of my website, but that voice told me that later could be too late.  I know, without a doubt, that it was God’s voice that expressed to me that today is the day to share this, not later.  So, friend, here it goes.

I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, in an area known for gang activity and crime.  It wasn’t the worst part of the city, but where we lived wasn’t too far from some of the worst crime areas.  Growing up, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to hear gunshots at night, and— trust me—nobody was shooting a deer to feed their family.  I remember being shot at one evening as I drove a friend home.  The police were called and guns were drawn as a road-block was set up to secure the area.  It was an intense night, and us girls, only around the age of 17, stood in disbelief and terror in the reality of what was happening. 

The environment that I grew up in did not leave room for dreams.  Many people who grow up the way I did struggle to succeed.  In the years to follow, our family went through a lot of changes.  Some changes were good, and some were not so good.  As an adult, I would find myself married and then divorced, not once, but twice.  I found myself, for years, dealing with depression and with no help.  There wasn’t availability to get counseling, and there wasn’t anyone to throw me a rope to pull me out of the pit I was in. 

THEN there was the day that everything changed.  God came to me in my lonely and depressive state and comforted me in ways that are hard to describe.  That day, I met God for the first time!  It is a day I will never forget!  That day set me on a path that changed everything and led me to places I could only dream of.  I met God, and I met my purpose!  I really struggled in so many areas of my life.  I am now a changed woman blessed in so many ways – some of those blessings are even things I never knew to dream, but they are awesome! 

You may ask, “So, why did you write that book, Cynthia?”  What is my answer?  I wrote this book, because you DESERVE to know.  You DESERVE to know the truth about life, and that life as you know it can be sweeter than anything you ever tasted.  Not too sweet, but that perfect balance of sweet that makes you laugh and experience joy like you never have before.  This is what it feels like to experience the love of God.

So, my friend, you DESERVE to hear the truth about what it is like to put your past behind you.  You DESERVE to experience success that doesn’t come from the toil of your own hands but from a diligent, gratifying working of the hands.  You DESERVE to experience true love.  You DESERVE to know that there is a way to overcome alcoholism, drug addiction, fear, stress, anxiety, financial crises, divorce, tragedy, the loss of loved ones and ALL of your struggles, no matter what it is.    You DESERVE to know what it’s like to not worry.  You DESERVE to know what it’s like for someone to die to save YOUR life.  You DESERVE a chance to change everything for the better.  You DESERVE to know Jesus.  And who am I to keep Jesus from you?  Who am I to choose who is blessed and who isn’t?  Who am I to keep all these things to myself?  It was never just mine to keep.  It was given so that it could be shared.  It was given so that lives could be saved.  It was given so you, too, could know what true love is.  This is why I wrote the book.

Go forth and be blessed, my friend.

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