Unequaled Love and Grace

Unequaled Love and GraceThis week’s memory passage from Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is Ephesians 2:4-5. These verses tells us that God, being rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even while we were dead in our transgressions, because of His great love for us, and that it is by grace that we have been saved.

Our God is rich in mercy. Even while we were dead in our transgressions, God made us alive with Christ. Why did He do this? It was because of His great love for us, which He demonstrated by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Though we had each turned to our own way, He laid upon His dearly loved Son all of our iniquity (Isaiah 53:6). How great is love that would prompt such an action! We truly are loved more than we could ever imagine!

It is by God’s amazing grace that we have been saved. It is not through our own efforts or our personal merit. Even our acts of righteousness are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We have been saved not because of anything that we have done, but rather what Christ has done for us. Our part is simply to reach out and receive, through faith, the salvation He offers us as a free gift of His grace (Ephesians 2:8).

Because of God’s great love for us, we have been made alive with Christ. We are saved by His wonderful grace. Such love and grace truly are unequaled, and to be found only in our Heavenly Father!

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With Open Arms

With Open ArmsWeek 10 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is nearly finished. This week’s reading was Luke 15-19. These chapters speak mainly of some of Jesus’ parables and teachings, a few of His miracles, some of His interactions with others, His entrance into Jerusalem, and Him clearing the temple.

In Luke 15, we read of three of Jesus’ best-known parables – the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. These parables clearly demonstrate the Father’s love for us, and how our Savior pursues us, seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10).

The parable of the lost sheep shows us how even when we go astray, our Good Shepherd (John 10:11) loves us so much that doesn’t leave us on our own, but rather pursues us. It us our job to simply rest on His strong shoulders (Luke 15:5), fully relying on Him as our Savior. The parable of the lost coin demonstrates that we are of value to God – so valuable to Him that He doesn’t give up until He finds us. The story of the prodigal son reveals the Father’s heart towards us – that how no matter what we may have done, when we turn to Him, He runs to us and welcomes us with open arms as His beloved children (Luke 15:20).

Let these parables remind of your Heavenly Father’s never-ending, unfailing love for you, and the fact that you have a Savior who pursues you, and rejoices over you when He finds you. Know that you are cared for by your Daddy in heaven, who cherishes great affection for you as His dearly loved son or daughter, and welcomes you with open arms!

Names of Jesus – Light of the World

Names of Jesus - Light of the World

Light of the World – John 8:12

Our Savior is the Light of the world. Those who follow Him will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).

The Light of the World lives inside of us, making us, in turn, a light in a dark place (Matthew 5:14). We shine forth His glory and grace, reflecting to the world a glimpse of who He is. Just as the moon has no light of its own, but rather reflects to the world the light of the sun, our light is not of ourselves. Rather, we reflect the light of the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2). Because of the grace He has shown to us, we can show grace to others. Because of the love He has given us, we can give out love to those around us. Because we have freely received, we can freely give (Matthew 10:8).

Jesus’ light makes us shine. The light of His love and grace is upon us, attracting those around us, and pointing them to Him. They will notice that there’s something different about us, and want what we have.

The Light of the World lives in us, causing us to shine forth His glory. We reflect His brilliance to those around us, pointing them to Him. Know that His light is upon you. Allow it to shine through you every day!

“Light of the World, You stepped down into darkness. Opened my eyes, let me see beauty that made this heart adore you, hope of a life spent with you.”

Names of Jesus – Bread of Life

Names of Jesus - Bread of Life

Bread of Life – John 6:35

In John 6:35, Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life. He declares that those who come to Him will never hunger, and those who believe in Him will not thirst.

In this world, many hunger and thirst for something that can satisfy. They try to fill the void that they feel inside with that which can never give true satisfaction. Time and time again, they come up empty, always longing for something more. The only One who can truly fulfill is Jesus. He promises that those who come to Him, He will never cast out (John 6:37). Never it all of the gospels did anyone approach Him in vain. He knew each of them individually, and in love, met them where they were at, and provided for their needs. He who did this is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Come to Him, and receive the Bread of Life, which alone can truly satisfy.

Jesus is the Bread of LIFE! True life is found in Him. John 10:10 says that He came that we might have life more abundant. John 3:16 says that all who believe in Him have eternal life (John 3:16). He wants us to experience the life He came to give us in our every area of need.

Those who come to the Savior will never hunger or thirst. He gives life to all who believe in Him. Receive the Bread of Life, knowing that in Him, you are complete (Colossians 2:10)!

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Names of Jesus – Lamb of God

Names of Jesus - Lamb of God

Lamb of God – John 1:29

In John 1:29, Jesus is called the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. In the Old Testament, when the Israelites sinned, they were to bring either a goat or a lamb as an offering for their sins (Leviticus 4:2, 27-28 & 32). However, the blood of such animals could never truly take away the sins of the people (Hebrews 10:4). These sacrifices were intended, rather, to point to Christ, and the work He would do for us at the cross.

Over 2,000 years ago, the perfect sacrifice – the true Lamb of God, who would take away our sins – was born into the world. God sent Him to be our sin offering (Romans 8:3), giving His life for us at the cross.

Just as in the Old Testament, an innocent lamb became the sacrifice for the sins of the guilty, our sinless Savior died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). In the same way that the transgressor was the one to slay the lamb (Leviticus 4:33), so was it for our sake that the Son of God gave His life.  As the blood of the sacrificial lamb was poured out at the base of the alter (Leviticus 4:34), so was the blood of Jesus poured out for us, that we might be justified (Romans 5:9). Just as the lambs that were brought as an offering for the sins of the people were burned on the alter (Leviticus 4:35), Jesus endured the fiery wrath of God’s anger against sin at the cross.

Jesus truly was the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world. In Him is found the fulfillment of the sacrifices offered in the Old Testament. Because of His death at the cross, our sins have been removed from us. We have been completely forgiven, because of the price that He paid. Let’s give thanks to Him for all that He has done for us!

“I am His because He is . . . the Lamb of God who rolled away the stone in front of every grave.”

Look To Him

Look To HimThis week’s memory verse from Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is Ephesians 1:7. This verse states that in Christ, and through His blood, we have redemption – the forgiveness of our sins – according to the riches of the grace of God.

In Christ, we have been redeemed. We all have sinned (Romans 3:23), the wages of which is death (Romans 6:23). However, Christ took our sins upon Himself, and bore  the punishment that should have been ours. His pure, spotless, sinless blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins (Matthew 26:28). He has redeemed us. We have have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), which He paid on our behalf.

Because Jesus paid for our sins in full, there’s no longer any price left for us to pay. It’s all been done away with in Him. God is no longer mad at us, and in fact remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12). He welcomes us with open arms as His beloved sons and daughters.

Rather than feeling like we need to pay for our sins in some way or another, God wants us to look to Jesus at the cross, and know that the price was paid for us over 2,000 years ago. It’s already finished (John 19:30). We need only receive what’s already been done for us. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). God’s Word declares if we believe in Him, then we are NOT condemned (John 3:18)!

In Christ, you have been redeemed. The price for your sins has been paid in full. Look to Him, and begin to walk in the redemption that you have been given!

Enjoy His Presence

Enjoy His PresenceWeek 9 of Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is drawing to a close. This week’s reading was Luke 9-14. These chapters speak mainly of some of Jesus’ conversations with His disciples, as well as some of His interactions with others, some of His miracles, the transfiguration, and some of His parables and teachings.

In Luke 10:38-42, we read the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha invited Jesus into their home. While Mary sat at His feet, listening to all that He had to say, Martha was distracted by the preparations that needed to be made. She eventually came to Jesus, asked if He cared that Mary had left her to do the work by herself, and told Him to instruct Mary to help her. Jesus responded by telling her that though she was worried about many things, only thing one was needed, and that Mary had chosen that which was better, and it wouldn’t be taken from her.

How often are we, like Martha, so distracted by the busyness and cares of this life that we forget to simply be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10)? All to often, we get so caught up in our daily schedules, and all we need to get done, that we neglect to spend time with our Savior. Though we get so worried and anxious about the many things that are going on in our lives, Jesus wants us to simply slow down for a while, and spend some time with Him.

In the midst of life’s busyness and chaos, let’s take a moment to pause, and simply enjoy the presence of Jesus. Let’s begin to make it our priority to do so. To aid in the process of doing this, check out Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan, which was designed as a readily practicable plan of action, and source of guidance for investing in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. For more info, click here.

Be sure to check back next week for more of our Names of Jesus series!

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Names of Jesus – Son of Man

Names of Jesus - Son of Man

Son of Man – Matthew 26:64

In addition to being called the Son of God, Jesus is also called the Son of Man many times throughout the gospels. John 1:14 says that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He came to earth as Emmanuel – God with us (Matthew 1:23).

Why did He come into this world? 1 Timothy 1:15 tells us that He did so to save sinners. We all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and despite our best efforts, we can’t save ourselves. Jesus came to accomplish for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He was the only one to walk this earth who was truly perfect, and He gave His life for us at the cross. He truly came to serve, not to be served, giving His life as our ransom (Mark 10:45).

Jesus came down from heaven, and entered into the world in which we live. Though God in His very nature, He didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but took on the nature of a servant, and was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-7). Know that the Son of Man came to earth to save you, and thank Him for all that He has done for you!

“Jesus, worthy is the lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and man.”

Names of Jesus – Son of God

Names of Jesus - Son of God

One of the names of Jesus, our wonderful Savior, is the Son of God. Even before His birth, it was proclaimed that He would be called this (Luke 1:35). As the Son of God, He and the Father are one (John 10:30).

When Jesus was on this earth, He showed us the Father’s heart of love for us, and desire for us to enter into relationship with Him. In beholding Him, we behold our Heavenly Father (John 14:9), whose love for us was clearly demonstrated through Christ’s death at the cross (Romans 5:8).

Just as the loving daddy in the story of the prodigal son ran to and embraced his erring child with open arms when he returned home, symbolizing God’s glad reception of us when we turn to Him, Jesus welcomed all who came to Him, declaring that He came to call not the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2:17).

Just as God has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), offering forgiveness to each of us, Jesus extended forgiveness to a woman who had been living a sinful lifestyle (Luke 7:48), and to a man who was paralyzed, in addition to healing him (Matthew 9:2), declaring to the Pharisees that He had the authority on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6).

As the Son of God, Jesus is the radiance of the glory of the Father, and of His nature, the exact representation (Hebrews 1:3). Fix your eyes upon Him (Hebrews 12:2), and in Him behold your Heavenly Father’s heart of love for you!

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Names of Jesus Series

Names of Jesus Series

In the gospels, our Savior is given many different names, which reveal His many characteristics. He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35), who gives us life.  He is the Light of the World (John 8:12), who makes us shine. He is the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for us, His sheep (John 10:11). Each one of His titles paints for us a portrait of who He is.

For the next few weeks, Called and Created will be doing a series of posts that will run Tuesdays-Thursdays on some of the wonderful names of Jesus! In doing so, we will learn more about the One in whom our salvation is found. Come join us in getting to know our Savior even better through our Names of Jesus series!

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