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Hope

It’s 2:16 a.m. as I sit down to write. I shared a post on facebook tonight and I cannot sleep as I ask the Lord to examine my heart and here is what is burning in my soul.

Derick Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd is nothing but evil. Countless black lives murdered over the centuries due to racism is nothing but evil. Police officers getting shot  is pure evil. As I look to the Lord asking him to examine my heart this is what I see. Against the Lord alone have I sinned and done evil in His sight. Before the Lord I am just as evil. When I look at the Lord I feel like the apostle Paul who called himself the worst of sinners. My selfishness, my pride, my bitterness, my control all of these things are pure evil in the Lords sight. I am nothing but a wretch of a sinner. However, God in the depths of his love has poured out his mercy on me and his new everyday.

You see 9 years ago Jesus came to me when for the first time I saw the wickedness of my sin before God who alone is holy.  I had an Isaiah 6 moment. I saw I deserved God’s full wrath for all eternity for the evil I had done in his sight. All of my sin had been against the Lord and He was good to give me his just wrath for all eternity for the evil I had committed in his sight. BUT then like I said at the start of this paragraph Jesus had come to me. Jesus opened my eyes to see a glimpse of his radiant glory and He was telling me to come to him. His heart was full of compassion as well as the heart of the Father who had sent his only Son to make a way for me to be cleansed from all my unrighteousness in the sight of the Lord. It was Gods mercy and kindness that led me to repentance and I trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior for the first time. Jesus offered and gave me his righteousness for the justification of my sin.

Galations 2:20 has become my life verse. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” I fall short daily but God’s grace is greater still. I grieve my sin I still commit. I grieve the loss of so many black people over the centuries due to racism. I grieve my ignorance for so long. I grieve friends and family divided and attacking each other. I grieve for wives of police officers now. I grieve for our nation. I grieve for the billions of loved ones who have yet to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. I grieve.

Even though I grieve I have hope. My hope is nothing this world can offer. My hope is in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus is my treasure. I have this treasure in a jar of clay and I pray I can share this hope that is from God and not myself(2 Corinthians 4:7 paraphrased). I pray His people can bring glory to His name in proclaiming the mysteries of the gospel in all the earth acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Lane

 

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Breath

Words. Are there any adequate right now? There’s really not.

The only word adequate is the Word of God himself who is Christ the Lord. It’s him alone I hope you see if you chose to read further.

Take a good deep breath before you continue to read further.

Did you enjoy your breath?

Breath. This was something that George Floyd cried out for as a knee was held to his neck. “I can’t breathe” he cried as the demonic roots of racism had him by the neck.

Breath. David Dorn, a retired police captain, took his last breath as he was shot to his death by people looting in St. Louis as many fill the streets with sin.

Breath. 376,000 people world wide no longer have breath in their lungs and blood pumping through their heart due to COVID-19.

Breath. 28 people lost their breath to the smoke and flames of the fires that swept the continent of Australia earlier this year.

Breath. The world stood still in silent shock as news spread that Kobe Bryant, America’s basketball star, along with his daughter and seven other people took their last breath as a helicopter crashed on a foggy California day.

What is becoming clearer and clearer in this year of perfect vision, 2020,  is our days are limited and our breath can stop suddenly.  Although we have breath in our lungs the heaviness of the breath of this broken, cursed world is overwhelming.

BUT There is good news Loved one and I pray Jesus gives you breath.

Let’s take a look back at the very first breath given.

In Genesis 2 we read “The Lord formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.” Man became a living being when God filled him with his breath. This is good news. God did not make a robot. In love God made a living being that has a soul that can taste, see and choose. God made man to live!

 However, we don’t have to read very much further to find in Genesis 3 the reality of the curse of death we are in today all around us. Oh how heavy is the breath of the curse! We are breathing the effects of it all around us. The breaths of the living cry out for justice, righteousness and peace. It is overwhelming but read on there is hope.

When God spoke to the first man He gave him one restriction, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Any parent reading this knows that we give our children restrictions of love and protection. God gave this to protect the man! However, the moment the first man and woman turned away from God in wickedness their bodies became broken along with everything in the world and the curse would now follow them for all generations to us now. “For dust you are and dust you will return.”

Let’s  look back again at Genesis 2. It was only when God touched the dust with his breath that man became a living being and in Genesis 3 we see the curse promises that man will return to dust. Man would no longer have breath. All people will now return lifeless to the dust. For man to have life again God would have to breathe life somehow into man again.

In John 3 we read a conversation Jesus had with a man named Nicodemus about this very thing. Jesus says “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus questions Jesus in how this could be, “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answers him,  “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirt gives birth to spirt. You should not be surprised at my saying, you must be born again.”

Still how could this even happen?

The only answer would be for God to breathe life again having mercy and that is just what we read God offers. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” The Son breathes life to those who will take refuge in him. “Kiss his Son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm:12). Can you hear the good news? Can you see Jesus? We are all conceived dead in sin here. We are born gasping for life. We are all born gasping for Jesus.  Oh how man shall not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God! Jesus is the Word that gives us life! Jesus once said to a woman named Martha who was grieving the death of her brother, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”(John 11:25-26).

Oh friends. The mysteries of the gospel of Jesus Christ are too great to fathom!

The very one who breathed into the first mans nostrils came down to his cursed creation and took the curse upon himself. However, his blood couldn’t be held by the curse as He never sinned as the first Adam did.  Jesus stands at the door of the heart of the dead and offers his righteousness. He offers life and he will not turn any away who come to him. It is with our mouth we confess and with our heart we believe Jesus is Lord. We breathe out me and receive Christ. Jesus becomes your very life.

I’ll end with this scripture from Ezekiel (emphasis mine). Let God breathe into your soul.

“The hand of the Lord was on me and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said, ‘Sovereign Lord, you alone know.’ The he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them ‘Dry bones , hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones. I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.”

Let Jesus give you breath. Let Jesus give you life. Then go breathe life into the hurting, broken image bearers of God all around you that they may get a taste of the only One who can give them life and hope and turn to Him.