Playing Ball With God

According to statistics listed by ESPN, Johnny Bench was the all-time best catcher in the history of MLB, and according to Bleacher Report, Roy Karkovice was the best all time defensive catcher in the history of MLB. I am sure there are those who would debate this. However, I want to go on record as saying I have found the best “catcher” of all, both defensive and offensive, His name is Jehovah, the God of heaven and earth.

Play Ball!
This morning I played ball with God. Yes, I did. I was the pitcher, He the catcher. This may sound crazy, but God invites us to do this.

1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” The word “cast” in New Testament Greek means throw.  So basically it is saying, “Throw your anxieties on God because He cares for you.”

Where did Peter get that idea? Most probably he heard it as he sat in the synagogue listening to the Hebrew scriptures.

David used this expression and set up this concept of throwing things to God in  Psalm 55:22. He writes: Cast your burdens on the Lord, He will sustain you…”

The lexicon provides a detailed description of this Hebrew word, “cast’” defining it with several synonyms: hurl, fling, and throw. Each word draws out a different nuance of meaning.

Hurl implies a forceful throw, something with strength and determination behind it. Fling implies a quick, “I have to get help with this” toss. A “throw” may be done with more deliberation and focus.

Whatever way you throw your concerns, fears and troubles onto God, He is there to catch them. In fact He welcomes us to “cast,” and He is waiting to catch.

Trust the Catcher
Knowing that God invites me, even urges me to throw my cares on Him reassures me and gives me peace amid the questions, and troubles of my life. I know I can rely on God for help.

I need to know that there is someone more powerful and faithful than myself, or even than my best confidante.  Some of the times I need to remember this truth are when I am struggling in a relationship; dealing with things I see as unfair; overcoming a weakness; trying to grow in my faith; or, when I am challenged by situations or people that seem impossible.

I have found that when I look in God’s word for truths about the character of God, I am building  a foundation for my faith.  I more readily see God as the faithful Catcher. He can field any hard ball we throw at Him or unto Him.

There are truths about God in His Word that help me to trust that He will not only catch what I hurl unto Him, but that He will work with it. Here are a few truths about our Perfect Catcher that make me feel safe and stir my heart to trust Him.

God is Faithful in His Love
One of these truths is found in James 1:17.
“That every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. Who does not change like shifting shadows.”  James 1:17

This verse states that God is good and as a result good things come to us from Him. It also states that God does not change. In other words He has had, and always has, good intentions towards me and He will not change His intent.

Ephesians 1: 4-5 makes this truth in James 1 very clear: “For He chose us in Him (Jesus) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—.”

Before the foundation of the world, God looked down through time and He saw that I was not always going to trust Him, obey Him, or choose to do what was right. He saw times when I would be blind, ignorant, arrogant, and forge ahead in my own way and dishonor Him. Yet, even before all this came to be He planned to bring me close to Him, into His family, through His Son Jesus. To top it all off, it was His good pleasure to do this.

The cross was not an instrument of pleasure, yet it was God’s pleasure to give up His Son to the cross so I could be in “God’s good graces,” so to speak.

God Is Trust Worthy
I think of these truths and I know that God is faithful in His love and good intent towards me. When I feel overwhelmed by troubles in my life, it is not always my first response to cast my troubles on Him and trust that He will sustain me.

Sometimes my mind and heart are slow to do this. I have to push through my feelings and make a deliberate effort to recall truths like the one stated in Ephesians 1:4-5,  and then choose to believe it. Then, I can hurl my cares on Him with confident expectation of His care.

Studying the meaning of a small word like “cast;” seeing its history in the Old Testament through to the New Testament enriches my understanding of God and increases my faith. God relishes a relationship with us.

There are many other passages in God’s Word that show Him reaching out to us. I urge you to search out these passages and be encouraged by God’s good intent towards you.

Language of Prayer

Prayer Speak
When I read through the Psalms, I see what I would call a “language of prayer” interlaced through these scriptures. It is a language that is open, vulnerable, reverent and, at times, desperate.

It is a language that reveals truths about God’s character, His interaction with man and man’s interaction with God. For example, in Psalm 46:1, the psalmist shows us that he has found God to be a refuge and a present help in time of trouble. These descriptions of interactions between God and man, and the actual prayers that are detailed in the psalms help me in several ways.

First, it increases my understanding of God and His intentions towards me. Sometimes, during the problems of life, I mistrust God’s good intentions towards me. I tend to question His love for and care of me. At times, I have wondered if God had forgotten about me, or if He was mad at me. When I read how the psalmists felt and saw God, and how God interacted with them, I can see more clearly the truth about God and His nature, rather than be blinded by my feelings or circumstances.

That in turn increases my ability to trust God, because I can see Him for who He is, and more readily believe His good intention for me even if I am not “feeling it.” Being reminded of these truths about God encourages me to choose to trust the goodness of God. The third result is a deepening of my ability to express my praise, thankfulness and love for God. When I am trusting God’s goodness and care, it opens my heart to thank God.

Some of these actions of God are listed below. I encourage you to read them with care and thought, and ask yourself, “Is this how I see God in my life?”  If not, then take some time to pray and ask God to help you to see Him in these ways.

The God of the Psalmists and the Prophets Is Our God Too!
We speak to the same God that the psalmists, prophets and patriarchs spoke to, and we have a relationship with this same God. Perhaps you read these scriptures in the Old Testament and think that such interactions were from of old and not for me today. Yet God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 1:12 and 13:8). God’s character and nature are unchanging.

In Jeremiah 23:23, the prophet in chastising Israel quotes God as referring to Himself as “the God who is near.”
“Am I a God who is near, declares the Lord, and not a God who is far off?”

In context, God is telling the people that He is near to them, but also He knows them when they have distanced themselves from God, and so to speak are hiding out from Him.  The word for “near” is “karove” and it implies a nearness in time, in place and in personal relationship.  Other words for near in this context are: close at hand; neighbor; next to and approachable.

We worship the same God who defined Himself as the God who is near. Read about how the Psalmists describe God’s closeness and intimacy with His people. Let these words encourage you about how God interacts with you today. Again, I ask you to ask yourself these questions: Is this how I see God? Is this how I interact with Him?

Ps. 3:3– God is our protector. God is a shield and the One who lifts us up.
“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”

Ps, 4:7 –. God is the source of joy.
“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”

Ps, 56:8 – God knows our sadness and hurt.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.”

Ps. 9:12b – God does not ignore us, no matter how we are feeling about Him, or our circumstances.
“He does not ignore the cries of the afflicted…”

Ps. 38:3 – God answers our prayers to Him and He encourages our faint and weary hearts.
“When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me.”

Ps.11:4– God is Sovereign. God is in control, even when things in our life or the world around us are out of control.
“But the Lord is still in His holy temple; He still rules from heaven.
He closely watches everything that happens here on earth.” (TLB)

Ps. 42:8– God is constant. He is always acting on our behalf.
“By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me.”

These are just a few examples of truths we can learn from the language of prayer and praise found in the book of Psalms. I encourage you to read through the psalms to find your own expressions of how God interacts with us.

Snapshots of Compassion

I have always loved pictures painted, drawn, or photos taken.  Currently, I am taking a photography course and it has opened my eyes even more to the beauty and the story (ies) within each picture. As I read the Bible I realize there are pictures of God, of man and even videos (so to speak) of God and man together. I would like to present some to you. In my photo album of God these are filed under compassion and love.

Snapshots of Compassion
Picture this: A man is dressed in dirty clothes with holes and shreds. As we approach we see he is disfigured and has scaly, crusty white patches on his arms. Some of his fingers are missing, People begin to move away from him and murmur sounds of disgust.

Then we see a young man and a small group of his friends nearing the man. The man calls out something. He is calling out for help. His friends shrink back, but the young man moves forward and reaches out and touches the man.  Almost instantly, we see the man’s flesh restored to normal. His fingers are whole. His skin is not scaly and crusty, but smooth and new. Onlookers, still at a cautious distance, gasp. The man in tatters praises God.

Maybe this is what it was like when Jesus looked on the leper with compassion.  This photo is found in the gospel of Mark in chapter 1, we read of the incident in which Jesus looked upon a leper with eyes of compassion and a will to help him.

“A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing,  you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.  Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. Mark 1:40-42.

I love the part that says the Son of God was “moved with compassion,” and “I am willing.”  It is reassuring to know that God sees me with eyes of compassion, and that He is willing to help me. On the days when I feel like a leper on the sidelines of life, ignored, cast off, weighed down in my sin, or hurt by another’s sin; I pull out this picture and see God and His compassion. It reminds me of the truth about God and me. I return the photo to the album and move forward with new courage, faith and strength.

Snapshot: A Guilty Woman
There is a small crowd. Men’s angry voices can be heard. Wait! They have stones in their hands. Who is that in the middle of the circle? A women partially clothed is cowering in the dirt. A young rabbi looks on the scene with sadness and indignation. He enters the ring and scratches something in the dirt. Men drop stones and turn away. He turns to the woman, and speaks gentle words of forgiveness and direction. She rises and returns home. (See John 8:1-12).

When I am distraught about my sin, about wrestling with overcoming it, and failing; I pull out this snapshot of truth and am encouraged. Knowing that God views my distress through eyes of compassion helps me trust in Him, stand up, and move forward.

Snapshot: Men with Hard Hearts
The next picture was taken on the Sabbath in the synagogue. The synagogue was a great location for a picture. It was the focal point of the Jewish religious community. People went there to hear the law of God read and discussed.

In this picture we see men sitting, some are in the chief seats and there is a commoner seated on the floor. If we look closely at the expressions we see critical eyes and cold hard stares of the men in the “chief seats.” The man seated on the floor has a withered hand. Look closely at the picture and you will see sadness and fear in his eyes.

Also in the picture is a young rabbi who is looking with compassion on the man with the withered hand. He calls this man forward and heals him. In the next photo we see indignation and grief on the young rabbi’s face while we see anger and hatred on the faces of the men in the chief seats.

It is said that after this compassionate healing took place, the men of the chief seats met in a group and conspired to kill the young rabbi. (See Mark 3:1-6)

I love the fact that Jesus’ compassion for the man leads Him to act on his behalf even when it posed a danger to Himself.  While Jesus felt compassion for the man with the withered hand, He felt deep sadness at the hardness of heart of the other men. Seeing this picture of God helps me to trust Him. He is righteous and has a sense of justice. I can feel safe in confiding my hurts and problems to Him. He stands up to evil and champion my cause.

What’s in Your spiritual Wallet?
The compassion of God is well documented in the scriptures. Jesus manifests the character and nature of God to us (Col. 1:18; John 1:1-3). As we read the gospels we see pictures of God’s compassion.

When I was younger it was the custom for people to carry a wallet for their cash, but also most of these wallets had a section of plastic holders for pictures. Usually people put pictures of their family and close friends. It was a reminder to them of their loved ones and they could whip it out to give others a true description of their family and friends.

It is important to picture these truths about God in our minds and carry them with us in the wallet of our hearts.

In times when I am discouraged; feeling hurt and alone; misunderstood; let down by others; weary and tired of life, or guilty of sin, I pull out these truths of God. I look at them carefully. I put my faith in God anew and trust His compassion for me.  I am reminded I am not alone. I have a Father who understands, who cares and whose compassion is active in my life.

I urge you to read the Word of God, find and keep pictures of God in your spiritual wallet.

“I will rejoice and be glad in Your steadfast love, because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the distress of my soul.”  Psalm. 31:7

The God Who Sees

Looking for Compassion
Recently a friend of mine became homeless due to family stressors. She actually slept out on the streets a few nights. Eventually she returned to her home state and sought refuge living with her aging mother and a sister who is disabled.

In addition to being homeless, she was separated from her 10 year old son for about 6 weeks. They have since been reunited and are at her mother’s trying to put together their life. On top of all this, my friend found out that she has a bulging disc and needs immediate surgery. Such imminent surgery will hinder her ability to work and earn a living for her and her son. In my friend’s case it seemed like one difficulty after another happened.

At such times, we may ask; “Where is God? Does He see what is happening? Does He care about things like this and feel compassion? Will He help me?” To a “seasoned believer” these questions may seem ridiculous and even faithless, but to those who are enduring severe trials, such questions don’t seem so unreasonable. I have at times asked some of these questions during physical, spiritual and or emotionally trying times. I believe such questioning is a way the soul expresses its desire for God’s compassion and help.

We all want to be seen. We don’t want to be ignored or feel invisible especially when we are hurting or in difficult circumstances. There is a sense of comfort or peace knowing someone else knows and understands, even if our circumstance does not change.

Looking to God for compassion in our difficulties is a natural thing, whether we do it through pure faith or in frustration with questioning, we are, nevertheless, seeking God’s help. We see an example of this relentless looking to God for compassion in Psalm 123: 1-2.
“To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He is gracious to us.”

The question we may wrestle with is: Does God see me?

The God Who Sees
In Genesis 16 the Bible relates a similar story of a homeless woman, a woman pregnant with a child who was forced out of her home and ends up sitting alone in the desert, and to her utter amazement she is seen by God.

This is the story of Hagar, the Egyptian maid servant of Sarah, who is with child by Abraham as a result of Sarah and Abraham’s attempts to have a child. Actually, Sarah gives her handmaid, Hagar, to Abraham to sleep with in hopes of having an heir through Hagar.

When Hagar becomes pregnant she behaves in a disrespectful way to Sarah. Sarah retaliates with severe treatment and makes Hagar’s life miserable to the point that Hagar runs away. As Hagar sits alone in the desert an “angel of the Lord” appears to her and provides hope and guidance to her. Hagar is in awe that she has been seen by God, and she gives God the name “El Roi” meaning “the God who sees.”

This scenario is repeated in Genesis 21. Hagar’s son is growing up as the apparent heir, but in the meantime Sarah has a son, who is the true heir. Sarah cannot abide with Hagar’s son presence and demands that Abraham turn them both out. So again, Hagar finds herself homeless in the desert, but this time with a 13 year old son. She sat under a tree grieving, thinking she would have to watch her son die, but God saw her and heard the cries of Hagar and her son. God sent the “angel of God” to help them. Again Hagar has been seen by God.

God sees our condition and hears our cries. God is aware of us at all times and looks on us with eyes of compassion.

God Sees Us and We See God!
Maybe you are not homeless but I am sure that at some time you have had other situations going on in your life or heart that caused you to wonder if God sees and cares. The story in Genesis 16 and 21 reveal God’s character of faithful compassion. He sees; He cares, and He works on our behalf.

Our situation or our feelings do not change the truth of God’s faithfulness and compassion. I tend to see things from my small self oriented perspective. I think that if God sees and cares that He will automatically change my circumstances. I often have a “presto-change-o” view of God. When He doesn’t change my situation I can be tempted to charge God with unfaithfulness.

Sometimes God provides immediate healing or an immediate blessing to my need, but sometimes not. How and in what time frame God chooses to work in my life and reveal Himself to me is not my concern, but the fact that He does see me should be my focus.

When Hagar was out in the desert crying and the angel of the Lord appeared to her, God did not change her circumstance. In fact, the first time, He sent her back to Sarah. We don’t read of Hagar being disappointed or accusing God of not helping her. Why? Because she had seen God! Her focus was no longer on her, the situation, or Sarah. Her focus was on the wonder of encountering God. The scriptures record her response:

 “So she called the LORD who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “In this place,    have I actually seen the One who sees me?” Gen. 16: 13

She was in awe that that God saw her and spoke to her. She met God in the angel of the Lord. He acknowledged her and her difficulty. Her focus was off of her “self” and onto the great and awesome God. She was, so to speak, blown away by realizing that God saw her and acted in her life upon what He saw. I have to ask myself, how many times do I miss encounters with God because I am focused on myself or my circumstances?

We do encounter God, through His Word; through answered prayer; through the leading of His Spirit within us, and through people He places in our life. My soul burns within me when I read something in the Word of God, or experience something that helps me see God in a more real way in my life. I look for truths about His character, such as this one in Genesis 16 about God seeing us with compassion.

This story reconfirms for me that God does see me, but what is even more amazing is that He reveals Himself to me, and I see Him! What about you? Are your eyes open to seeing God?

In, By, Through and From Jesus

I have believed in God since a young girl. When I was teaching third grade a coworker invited me to study the Bible. I wanted to know God and had never read the Bible before so the thought appealed to me. (Imagine, saying you believe in God and yet never reading His Word)! My true walk with God began, the moment I opened the pages of the Bible.

I took the summer off from work that year and began to read the Bible from front to back. I fell in love with the God I met there, especially the God I saw in the Old Testament. Yes, I understood about Jesus and loved Him, but the character and nature of God that I saw in the Old Testament captured my heart.

A few years ago I read this verse in John 5:22-23: “For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. “

This verse made me think more deeply about my understanding and honoring of Jesus, so I began studying truths about Him in God’s Word.

I looked at what the Bible says we have in, by, through and from Jesus. These prepositions are small words, but they introduce great truths about Jesus. I would like to present a few of these truths, without much comment, for your consideration. Perhaps they will magnify Jesus in your mind and heart, as they do in mine.

Redemption in Jesus
Romans 3:23-25b states that we have redemption in Jesus through His atoning blood.

“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation (atonement) by his blood, to be received by faith.”

No Condemnation in Jesus
Romans 8:1-2 states that God in Jesus removes all condemnation from us. What a relief to our mind and spirit!

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

Grace in Jesus from Before the Beginning of Time
Before the creation of the world God planned to send His Son to save us and bless us.
The salvation of man through the Son of God, Jesus, was not an afterthought or hastily contrived bandage to the troubles of mankind.

I Timothy 2:9 and10 clearly reveal this truth:

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

We can read this same truth in Ephesians 1:4-5.

“In Christ, He chose us before the world was made. In His love He chose us to be His holy people—people without blame before Him.  And before the world was made, God decided to make us His own children through Jesus Christ…” (ICB)

Access to God through Jesus
I long to be near God, I think you do too or you would not be reading this. Jesus gives us access to God, to be able to draw near to Him, to be in His presence and to be able to interact with Him.

In speaking of the Gentiles and the Jews, the writer of the Ephesian letter reveals this truth about Jesus to us in Eph. 2:17-18.

“And He (Jesus) came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

And again, we see it in Ephesians 3:12:
In Him (Jesus) and through faith in Him we may enter God’s presence with boldness and confidence.

God’s Handiwork Created in Christ Jesus
When you are feeling that your life has no value, or you have no purpose meditate on this truth – a blessing in Jesus that is found in Ephesians 2:8-10:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship (His hands on work; His masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

No Discrimination in Christ
Galatians 3:25-28 reveals our true identity and value. We are all the same, we are one in Christ, and what is more we are siblings in the family of God in Christ.

“But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Truths for Life
There are many other passages in the Bible that reveal what I call the “in, from, by and through” truths about Jesus. These truths have magnified God in Jesus to me, and revealed the blessings I have in Jesus. They keep me strong in times of temptation; in times of doubting God; when I am question His goodness towards me; and in times when I feel under attack by others.

These truths help me to worship God and give Him the thanks that is due Him. I post these truths for you to meditate on and add to your faith, your gratitude, and relationship with God in Christ Jesus.

The Apple of God’s Eye

I love eyes. I love the colors, shapes and sizes of eyes. Some eyes seem to sparkle, while others penetrate, but the thing that draws me most to eyes are the various emotions expressed in them.

We can see adoration, love, joy, compassion, anger, greed, contempt and so on in one’s eyes. Many years ago there was a saying: “the eyes are the window to the soul,” or put another way,“the eyes are the mirror of the soul.” Its origin is not exact, but its meaning is clear.

There are many references to eyes in scripture. There are even verses that talk about the eyes of God. These references generally reveal the way God sees us. This is an important concept to consider, because many times we may feel that God doesn’t bother to look at us; or if He does, it is in a judgmental or disapproving manner. I think if we look carefully at scripture we’ll see that God looks at us with eyes of love.

In a study on the eyes of God, I found an interesting expression, one that you may have heard before. This expression is: “apple of His eye.” The “His” refers to God.

God Eyes Us With Value
Deuteronomy 32:10 describes God as keeping Jacob (Israel) as the “apple of His eye.”
“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.”

When looking at the context of this expression “apple of His eye,” we see in the previous verse (v. 9 ), the writer is referring to Jacob or the people of Israel.
“But the Lord‘s portion is his people, Jacob His allotted heritage.”

The expression in verse 10 is set among words of love and nurturing such as: God’s finding Jacob (the people of Israel); encircling, protecting, maybe even wrapping His arms around Jacob, and caring for him.

All these words have to do with care and nurturing so it follows that if God has Jacob as the “apple of His eye” it is a good and positive thing, not something to fear or dread. It implies God’s watchful care and does not imply judgment. It indicates that God values His people and centers His attention on them much like a doting parent.

A Truth to Hold Onto
The expression “apple of His eye” refers to the pupil of the eye, the center of the eye, and implies God keeps us at the center of His focus. This expression is not just a poetic description, it is a truth about God. He holds us at the center of where He can see us, and focuses on us because He values us. He looks upon us with eyes and a heart to care for us.

This expression indicates a permanent truth about God’s character, so it applies to us today as God’s people. We see this idea presented in 1 Peter 3:12a:
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are inclined to their prayer…”

There are days when I do not feel especially valued. Sometimes I feel forgotten or overlooked, even hurt. Maybe you have had those times too? Struggles in life, disappointments in relationships, and weaknesses in our own character can discourage our spirit and blur our thinking about ourselves and God. I know I can get my thoughts and emotions in a tangle of untrue thoughts about myself, other people, and God.

But truths like the one stated in Deuteronomy 32:10 reveal God’s character and heart towards us. In those down times we need to recall this truth and let it renew our thinking, untangle our thoughts and encourage our spirit.

Icing on the Cake of Truth
In studying the expression “apple of His eye,” I found an interesting application of it in
Zechariah 2:8 which further emphasizes how much God values His people.
Here is what God says:
“For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations     that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye—“

The eye is a very sensitive organ. The tiniest speck of dust or particle that touches our eye can be painful and irritating.  If someone were to actually touch my eyeball, it would be very painful and I would draw back from even allowing that to happen.

In this verse, God says that anyone who unsettles the faith of His people or harms them in any way, is symbolically taking their finger and poking the eye of God. When someone touches God’s beloved ones, those who are “the apple of His eye;” then, God responds in power against that person or persons.

Wow, that is like: you touch God’s people, you touch God. You reach out and harm one of Gods’ beloved, you harm God. He takes it personally and He responds personally.

We are God’s beloved; we are God’s people (1 Peter 2:9). God has this heightened sense of value towards you and me. He is watching and standing ready to defend and help us.

This has many applications not only as to how we see God valuing and protecting us, but it also applies to how we are to speak with and interact with one another. When I harm you – I hurt God. Is not this what Jesus said in Mt.25 in the parable of the sheep and the goats?

“And the King will reply, “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” Matt. 25:40

A Good Prayer
In closing this entry let’s consider this thought:
In Psalm 17:8, David prays and asks God to “keep him as the apple of His eye.”

I wonder how our outlook and relationship with God would change if we prayed: “Lord, keep me as the apple of your eye.” Perhaps we could add to it, “Teach me how to treat others as if they were the “apple of Your eye.”

Portraits of God

The book of Psalms provides some of the clearest and most detailed pictures of God; who He is and how He interacts with man. David, the author of some of the Psalms, journals, so to speak, about his relationship with God. He exposes his fears, anxieties, hurts, disappointments, doubts and joys.

David’s Journaling: A Window to God
By journaling in such an authentic way, David not only unfolds his feelings during the events of his life, but he opens up for us a window to look into an intimate relationship with God. David pens his life and relationship with God in such a way that we, the readers in the 21st century, can relate not only to his feelings but also to the awesome God he tells about in his writings.

Word Pictures by David
In the Psalms we find many word pictures which reveal God. These pictures are actual truths about God. As we understand these pictures we can have a more personal relationship with God because we see Him more clearly.

Psalm 18:2 provides an excellent example of such word pictures. There are several word pictures clustered in this verse. Each word describing God stands alone in its’ meaning but also is connected in meaning with the other word pictures.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Ps. 18:2

God is My Rock
In Psalm 18:2, David refers to God as his rock. Rock is used by David twice in this one verse. In the expression “The LORD is my rock,” the term rock emphasizes the qualities of a large, lofty, craggy rock such as the rock wall of a cliff, producing an enduring, safe place – a place hard to reach and difficult to destroy. It is the same word that is used in Numbers 24: 21 describing the enduring dwelling place of the Kenites in the rocky cliffs: “And he looked at the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said, “your dwelling place is enduring and your nest is set in the cliff.”

The second term for “rock” used in the phrase “my God, my rock,” has a similar meaning but is associated with the strength, protection, and stability that a rock or rock structure can provide. We see this definition illustrated in Exodus 33:21-22 when the scripture describes a cleft within a rock wall of a mountain. According the scripture God placed Moses inside this cleft in the rock so that Moses would be safe as the glory of god passed by him.

“Rock” is used often to describe God in the Psalms, and is associated with a place of refuge; strength and safety in times of physical and spiritual troubles.

Ps. 32:1-2 illustrates these concepts: “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!”

Ps. 62:2 says, “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”  This verse reveals a picture of God as a strong rock providing safety, stability and salvation when my world is shaken by trouble; be it a sudden severe illness; the death of a loved one; a financial loss; a marital rift; problems with children, or some other problem that threatens to undo me emotionally and spiritually. No matter how shaken up things get, no matter how shaky I get, God proves Himself as a solid rock on which I can stand.

Ps. 71:3 shows a God in whom we can live. He is a rock that is a place where we can live in times of trouble and return to as needed. He is a rock; fixed, immovable and reliable. God is the “stronghold solid as rock” in which I can live.

  • Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.” Ps. 71:3 NASB

God is My Fortress
One of the word pictures David provides of God in Psalm 18:2 is a fortress. A fortress is defined as a mountain castle.  It is a stronghold against the enemy. Again it is providing a place of refuge, security and safety. I like the idea that God is my safe place, my fortress of peace in times of storms.

Ps. 144:2 paints a picture of a loving God who provides Himself as a fortress that is strong, that holds me fast, and delivers me from evil.

  • “He is my loving God and my fortress,my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” Ps. 144;2

There are problems and evils in our world and in our own lives. Concerns about these problems can cause me to be fearful, insecure, and anxious. I believe other people feel these same concerns, especially the millennials of these times.

I believe the underlying fear and anxiety of the young millennials about good and evil in the world today is evidenced in their preoccupation with super heroes. These super heroes have super powers, vehicles, weapons and fortresses to combat evil. The scriptures tell me God is my fortress, my deliverer- hero.

God is My Deliverer
In Ps. 18:2 David calls God his deliverer. “Deliverer” refers to a way of escape; the one who brings me into security and safety; the one who rescues me.

In the New King James version, in Ps. 71:2 the word deliverer is actually translated “way of escape.”

  • “Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me,
    and save me.” Ps. 71:1-2

Other psalms and translations emphasize the concept of God as our rescuer or deliverer. In Ps. 40:17 David acknowledges his needy state and turns to God to deliver him.

  • “Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.” Ps. 40:17

In verses 1 and 2, David talks about how God delivered him from the pit. At times, I have been in the pit of discouragement, depression, sadness, or loneliness concerning things in my life. Being able to see and understand God as my deliverer gives me hope in those times. Having this picture of God in my mind leads me to trust Him and seek His help rather than remain stuck in the pit.

God is My Shield
Shields are protections typically used during times of battle. “Shield” in Hebrew is a buckler, a defense, something like the scaly armor-like hide of the crocodile that is fashioned and held up in a way that protects a person from death. Often in the book of psalms God is described as a shield.

  • “But you, Lord, are a shield around me,my glory, the One who lifts my head high.: Ps. 3:3
  • “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Ps. 33:20
  • “You are my hiding place and my shield;I hope in your word.” Ps. 119:114

In these verses we see God as placing Himself around us as a shield; lifting our heads in victory; a shield who is a help; and a shield behind which we can hide.

Describing God as a shield paints an amazing picture of who God is for us. Imagine being in a battle and God, himself steps in front of you as a shield and protection. He offers His body to receive the arrows, bullets or blows for you.

I believe that in the spiritual battles in life God is our shield daily, and most significantly He is this shield in Jesus the Christ, the Messiah: God incarnate offered Himself as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He stood in our place. He is our shield against the enemy.

God is my Stronghold
The word translated “stronghold” is a different word from both fortress and refuge. It is a place of safety, a sanctuary, and a rock strong protection, but, it is different in that the word “misgav” focuses on the height to which we are removed to safety. It emphasizes a refuge that is up high; a high fortification.

A more appropriate word for stronghold is “high tower.” The King James Version of the Bible translates “misgav” as high tower, emphasizing not only its strength but the safety vantage of its height.

  • “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Ps. 18:2

It seems that in describing God, David wanted to relate to us all the different aspects of security in the presence of God. Height has always been a vantage point in times of trouble. Most women when they encounter a mouse or a spider get up higher than the creature by climbing up on a chair. Likewise we see pictures of men climbing trees to escape a vicious dog or a bear. During floods we see people seeking safety on the roofs of their homes. So, we understand the concept of safety in a high place.

God lifts us up high to help keep us safe in times of trouble. The ultimate lifting from God is that those who believe in Jesus are even now seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6-7).

  • “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” 2:6-7

Concluding Thoughts
It is important to note that God did not remove all troubles and difficulties in David’s life. “Bad things” happened because of choices people made, and even because of some of the choices David made. David was denied the God given position of King by a prideful and jealous man. David was the object of Saul’s murderous intent and was chased around the country side by Saul and his army for years. David’s son Absalom was so rebellious that he ran David out of town and then publicly disgraced David’s servants that were left behind. David was despised by his wife Michal. One of David’s sons died because of David’s sin. In all these things David interacted with God in a real way. He saw God’s presence and love during all these difficulties, and derived help and comfort from God.

The word pictures that David and other psalmists write are truths about the nature, character and heart of God; about His interactions with us, and of how we can think about and interact with God.

Many times these truths have provided for me stability, strength, endurance and a true sense of the presence of God in my life. I encourage you to read the Psalms and look for word pictures that make God come alive to you; pictures that cause you to marvel at the intimacy that He seeks with us.

I Have Feelings for You, God!

One time I met a young woman in a book store. She was looking at books in the Christian book section. I love going to the bookstore. I gather an armload of books and sit at a table and browse through them. Truth be told I have at times read whole books at the library, oops, I mean, bookstore. It was on one of those days with my armful of books that this young woman, mistook me for someone who worked there, and asked me a question about a book to study the Bible.

She proceeded to tell me how she is beginning to study the Bible and wants to know how to get the most out of it. She has a sincere desire to know God. I offered to help her to study. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet.

Within a week we met and began studying. She has a craving to know God. She expressed her longing to learn as much about God as she possibly could. She wants to see God in a more real way and even, she said, to hear Him.

It is not everyday you meet someone like this girl. Inside myself, I was jumping up and down. I remember when I first began to study the Bible. I took the whole summer off from teaching and read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I was mesmerized by the Word. I had never read the Bible before and I was in absolute awe at the God I found in the pages of this book. Do you remember your first days of studying the Bible? Do you remember how eager you were to learn about God? Do you continue to have that eagerness that burning to know God?

Longing for God Looks Like This
Longing is a deep desiring; a yearning after, even a languishing for God. This longing is a yearning, a desperate desire that produces earnest seeking after God; a seeking to be in the presence of God; a seeking to be closely connected to God. The book of Psalms records various descriptions of longing for God.

Longing for God can be so intense it involves the whole body, not just the mind or emotions.

  • “You, God, are my God,earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
    in a dry and parched land  where there is no water.” Ps. 63:1

In Ps. 84:2, one can almost see the psalmists whole body engaged in soulful praise to God. It is like watching a singer who is so involved in the words and music of a song that their whole face and body expresses their intensity.

  • “My soul longs, yes faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

At times scripture describes this longing as a hungering or thirsting for God.

  • “As the deer pants for streams of water,so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” 42:1-2
  • “I stretch out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, as a parched land…” Ps. 143:6

Longing includes a desire to be with God; to be close to Him.

  • “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.When can I go and meet with God?” 42:2
  • “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” Psalm 27:4

Longing includes desiring to see God in His Word; to know the will of God in order to please Him.
It is unusual to see someone yearning for God, longing to know Him so much that they beg to know the will of God, the commands of God.

  • “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” Ps. 119:20
  • “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for Your commandments.” Ps. 119:131
  • “Open my eyes, that I may may behold wonderful things from Your law.” Ps. 119:18

Longing includes a desire to know God, to see Him more clearly.
Moses had a very close walk with God. We read that Moses had the privilege of meeting with God regularly. Moses’ times with God were so real and so personal that he came away with his face glowing, literally (Ex. 34:29, 35). Yet, Moses continued to long to see God, to know him more personally. He even had the boldness to ask God to see His glory.

  • “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. . . Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.” Exodus 33:11, 18-19

Paul was a devout follower of Jesus, he did many great things for God, yet he did not settle in his relationship with God. He continually longed to know God more deeply.

  • “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.I want to know Christ….” Philippians 3: 8-10

What about Me – What about You
I want to be close to God, but I have to ask myself some hard questions.
– Do I take the time be with God by reading and meditating on His Word?
– Do I clear my mind of the cares of this life so I can pursue knowing God?
– Do I praise and thank God and take time to honor Him?
– Do I cry out to God to see Him to know Him?
– Do I value knowing God more than having anything or being with anyone else in this life?
– Do I radiate to others the light and joy of being with God?
What about you?

The God Who Stoops

I have a friend who has a habit of saying a certain phrase almost every time she prays publicly. It goes something like this: “Father God, I thank you that you stoop down to help me.” Or, she might say.” I thank you that you bend down to pay attention to me.”

I used to say in my head, “Stop that! Stop that! God is GOD. He does not stoop down. He is high and lifted up. He is the exalted, almighty God. He does not have to bend, stoop or lower Himself in any form.” Of course I never had the courage to say it, and I am grateful that I did not say it, because I have learned that it is true – God does make Himself lowly for us.

No matter how majestic and powerful God is, and He is, He is in all things a “humble” God! Maybe humility does not fit your profile of God, and I can understand why you think that, especially when you look at God’s creation power and intelligence; His mighty acts of leading Israel and fighting for them; healings; resurrections, and of course the power and love displayed in Jesus. His majesty and glory are impressed upon us when we read passages in scripture that describe what people saw when they saw God. Let’s look at a few of these.

God High and Lifted Up
Isaiah 6:1-5 records what Isaiah saw when he saw God: “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim, each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Such grandeur! The train of God’s robe flowed through the temple. I can’t imagine the heavenly beings. Even these beings covered their faces because of the glory of God. Isaiah was so blown away he said “I am lost,” which really means I am undone, ruined, destroyed, coming apart.

Ezekiel 1:1-28 records in great detail Ezekiel’s encounter with the living God. Let’s focus on verses 26 – 28; “…And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel recorded the majesty he saw: the appearance of sapphire; gleaming metal (maybe like shining gold); the appearance of fire; brightness all around; rays of light as a rainbow, and the glory of God.  Ezekiel’s only response was to fall down before this great God.

Another account of seeing into the throne room of God is in Revelation 4. Reading verses 4 through 6, John describes the glory he saw with descriptors like: the appearance of jasper and carnelian; a rainbow with the appearance of emerald; lightning peals of thunder and a crystal sea, all indicating majesty, splendor and shades of the glory of God!

God Comes Low
It is true God is more majestic and awesome than we can ever think or imagine, yet God is humble! The word “humble” is used to characterize God in Psalm 18:35.

“You have given me the shield of your salvation; your right hand upholds me,
and your humility exalts me.”

The Hebrew word anava is used in this passage and it means: a lowly mind; modesty; meekness; humility and condescension (in the sense of lowering oneself to do something for another such as in God bending down to help us, as my friend mentions in her prayers).

Ps. 113:5-6 echoes this thought of God making Himself low on our behalf: “Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth.” (NIV)

The New American Standard Bible uses the words “humbles Himself” instead of stoops. In this verse the word shaphel means: to become low; to abase oneself; to be humble. So the psalmist is saying that God, who sits enthroned on high, lowers Himself to look into the affairs on earth; to intervene in the lives of men and to work on our behalf.

Proofs of God’s Humility
If you think about it, there are numerous examples of God’s humility in the Bible. The most powerful is in Philippians 2:5-8 states Jesus “emptied Himself” and took the form of a man and became obedient unto death, even the most humiliating death of crucifixion.

But, I want to look at an example of God’s humility that actually preceded Jesus becoming a man and dying on our behalf. Let’s look deeper into Ephesians 1:4-5. It is just one short passage that I think displays God’s humility in a powerful way.

“Even before God made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Eph. 1: 4-5 (NLT)

Before God created the world He, the majestic – all powerful God on high, deliberately made a plan to send Jesus into this world to die on our behalf in order to bring us into His presences as His sons and daughters.

God looked down through time and saw all the evil, the hate, the immorality, the deceit, the greed, the pride, and the selfishness of each one of us. He knew we would reject Him, ignore Him and worship ourselves over Him, yet in His great love, He humbled Himself and provided for our salvation. He sent His Son in the form of a man (in a body that could suffer, bleed and die) as the atonement for our sins. He lowered Himself to do all this so that we could come into His presence and have a relationship with Him.

God’s Humility and Us
As I walk in my relationship with the God , I see that He is constantly humbling Himself to work in my life. He is God and needs not to prove Himself to me, yet He proves His love and promises to me all the time. The God who is surrounded by heavenly hosts and angel armies takes time to know me and to support me in my daily struggles.

The God who is all knowing and is everywhere at once, listens to me and responds to my questions, and my calls for help. The God who created all things fixes my brokenness. The God of all power comforts me in my fears. The God of all purity and holiness understands my weakness and forgives me my sin. The God who has all rule and authority chooses to lift me up.

When I think about God’s humility it is too much to take in, nevertheless it is a truth about Him. I believe true humility is the off shoot of great love. This thought enhances my awe of God, and challenges my own sense of humility towards others.

Today, take some time to think about God’s humility in His relationship to you. If you cannot see it, ask God to open the eyes of your mind and your heart to see His great love which responds in humility to you.

Special Post:
At this time I would like to share a link with you. I have a friend who understands the majesty of God and who loves to thank God and praise God in song. She is making an album of praise songs. For more information on this check out the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1440539986/morgan-minsks-solo-album-praise

Get a Lawyer – Second Look III

The idea that I would need an attorney is a scary thought to me, because it means I broke the law and am going to be liable for some type of punishment unless I can prove my innocence. The closest I ever came to this was when I was attending graduate school in Abilene, Texas. I hopped in my car to go to a friend’s house and forgot my purse, in which was my wallet, in which was my driver’s license. Wouldn’t you know that on that day as I approached the campus there was a police car in the middle of the road with a police officer stopping all cars and checking driver licenses!

I confidently reached for my purse, which was not there, and immediately was filled with fear. To my relief, I did not get hauled off to jail, but I did receive a citation stating that by such and such a date I had to show up at the police station and prove I had a current driver’s license. I went on my way, relieved.

However, about a month later, I received a notice saying there was a warrant out on me and that I could be picked up at any time because I did not show proof of a driver’s license. (Just another thing I forgot)! I was instructed to report to the courthouse on said date. I immediately was filled with panic, fear and dread. I wasted no time, called an older friend and asked for help.

We both went to the courthouse. It was comforting to have someone by my side as I faced the judge. The friend who stayed by my side was there for moral support, so to speak. He did not do any pleading on my behalf.  It turned out that I did not have to go to jail or even pay a fine. I simply had to show the judge my valid driver’s license. Nevertheless, it was a frightening experience, which if I had been found guilty would have had a penalty to pay.

I Need a Defender
When I studied the scriptures to learn about Jesus and the salvation He offers.  I understood that Jesus took my sins on Himself, and that He paid the penalty for my sins which was death and separation from God.

However, after I believed and was baptized into Jesus (Gal. 3:27), I thought I was done with sin and that I would be sinless from that point on. So, when I did sin, I became fearful and anxious forgetting what God did for me in Jesus. Obviously, I was very naïve about my fleshly nature.

Since I came to Jesus I have overcome some sin tendencies, but I still sin. Infact, I have been a disciple for many years and through the years God has helped me to see sins I had committed that I never realized. This became a new source of anxiety. Have you ever felt that way or wondered about these things?

The thought of sinning bothers me, because I thought I would no longer sin and the scripture calls us to stop sinning. There are many verses in the New Testament that call us to live a holy life, such as Col. 3:4-7.

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” Col. 3:5-7

I have since come to realize that putting off my old self and putting on and growing in Godly character is a lifelong process. But the problem of sin remains. So, what do I do with the sins I commit after I have come to Jesus? In 1 John, a letter written to 1st century believers, the Spirit reveals the truth about this dilemma and provides God’s solution.

Jesus Our Defense Attorney
Jesus is not only our Savior, but also He is our advocate as stated in 1 John 2:1.

 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”1 John 2:1

The term in New Testament Greek for advocate is parakletos which is two words. Para means “alongside” and kaleo means “make a call”. It refers to coming alongside someone to give aid. This word is often used in the New Testament when the scripture refers to the Holy Spirit. However, in 1 John 2:1-2, it is specifically applied to Jesus.

In this verse the term advocate is used in a legal sense. It was used to indicate one who pleads a cause before a judge. Our equivalent today might be a “defense attorney.”

A defense attorney comes alongside a person to plead their cause before a judge. By using this word in describing Jesus, John paints a picture of Jesus as our legal representative coming along side us, in a spiritual sense, and pleading our case before the Father.

Jesus is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God presenting evidence to God on my behalf. The interesting thing is that Jesus’ advocacy is not a onetime thing, but rather it is a continuous process. The word “have” in the phrase “we have an advocate with the Father” is a present tense indicating a continuous action!

Jesus advocated for me on the cross and he continues to advocate for me. So, when I first came to believe in Him He presented my case to God, and He continues to advocate on my behalf as I walk along with Him. This is so reassuring to me, because I “mess up” a lot.

Jesus Is the Evidence
What evidence could Jesus possibly be presenting on my behalf since I know I am guilty of sinning, of going against the commands of Jesus? As a skilled defense attorney Jesus presents His evidence before God. The evidence that Jesus presents in not what I have done, but what He has done. All of His evidence on my behalf is based in His sacrifice, 1 john 2:1-2.

Article of Evidence#1: Jesus Became the Criminal
Jesus took my sins on Himself. In other words He became me and my sin. He gave up His status of being without blame, of being righteous or sinless. He took on my status as the transgressor, the law breaker, and He choose to give me His righteousness.

  • “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the      righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

Article #2: Jesus Took My Punishment
He took my punishment of death on Himself and gave me life.

  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
  • “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9

Article of Evidence #3: Jesus Made Restitution for My Sin
Jesus made up for my transgression by offering His blood to the Father. He met the requirement of the law by doing this.

  • “… He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12

Article of Evidence #4: Jesus Wiped My Record Clean
Jesus cancelled out all the charges that were against me and He satisfied the requirement of the law in His sacrifice on the cross. So my “record,” so to speak, is clear and clean before God.

  • And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Col. 2:13-14)

Yes, these are some of the pieces of evidence that Jesus presents to the Father on my behalf. Maybe He says to the Father, “Father, this woman is innocent. I carried her sins on me. Actually, Father, I am the sinner. I already took the punishment and I offered to You my blood to make up for her sins. She is righteous and blameless, free to live life with You, Father.” I don’t know, maybe that is carrying things too far. I am not sure how Jesus advocates for us, but I believe 1 John 2:1-2 is true and presents reassurance for me and you.

The purpose of this article is not to say we can sin and it is ok, but rather, it is to magnify God and Jesus and what He has done for us on the cross and what He continues to do for us.  When I take sin lightly, it dishonors Jesus and makes a mockery of His sacrificial death.

The truth that Jesus is my advocate reminds me of Jesus’ steadfast love for me. It is reassuring to know that when I do sin and have a repentant heart, Jesus is talking to the Father for me. He is presenting His evidence and interceding for me. I can be at peace and rest in the sacrifice of
Jesus.

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:33-34