Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
From a friend/colleague . . .
Dear Friends and Family,
Being on sabbatical has given me significant opportunities to spend extended time with God, meditate on scripture, and reflect on my life. I have had days of significant pain and days of great peace. I have experienced God’s overwhelming mercy, grace, and love. God is continuing to transform me into whom He wants me to be as his loved child, as a husband and father, and as one called to follow Him and be engaged in advancing His Kingdom in the cities of the world.
God has spoken through beauty, nature, music, friends, family, authors, and counselors, but primarily through the Word. Music has played a significant part in what I am hearing from God. It bypasses my brain and touches my heart and soul.
I have completed the first phase of the sabbatical, and am starting the second phase - Reflection. I am looking forward to what God will show me as I continue to interact with Him, his Word, and advisors in reviewing how God has used me over the past 10-20 years.
Here are three lessons that God has given me as anchors in His Truth:
1. Our identity in Christ is based on our birth, not our behavior. No matter how much we want to be in another family, our DNA comes from our parents, and we cannot change this reality. When God gave us a new spiritual life, he, as our father, gave us the DNA of his righteousness and made us his children.
Matthew 5:20; John 3:3-8; Colossians 1:13-14; Galatians 2:19-21; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
2. When Jesus forgives us, he invites us into peace that includes freedom from the distresses that are experienced as a result of sin. The consequences of sin are guilt, shame, fear, anger, loss of objectivity, and not being able to give or receive love. While there may be other consequences that remain in our life, the freedom God offers is about our heart and soul.
Luke 7:36-50 The Amplified Bible clarifies the meaning of the peace Jesus offered to the town prostitute.
3. Nothing we can do will make us more righteous than we already are. God has met the requirements of the law by sending Jesus to be a sin offering. He did this so that the law would be fully met in us, not by us! Principles, rules, and standards – no matter how reasonable and righteous they sound – are poor substitutes for a life of freedom and dependency on the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 3:2-3; Colossians 2:20-23; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 5: 2-6: Romans 4:13-25
Following Jesus with you,