Past. Present. Future. Jesus changes the script.

 

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1This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.

12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

15This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.  1 Timothy 1:1, 12-17
The Apostle Paul reminds Timothy of his testimony and celebrates Jesus’ extraordinary grace. How gracious Jesus has been! Paul in no way deserved Jesus’ love; in fact Paul was a persecutor of the church. Paul rejected Jesus as the Messiah and turned to violence in order to rid Jerusalem and the region of anyone who confessed Jesus as the Lord.

But that all changed after the intersection of Jesus and Paul on the Damascus Road. Jesus has become the source of Paul’s faith, hope, and love. That’s true of you and me. We in no way deserved Jesus’ mercy. But somewhere in our history the Risen Lord Jesus intercepted us and brought us into his Kingdom. He is now filling us with faith, hope and love. We have been changed! He is changing us!

Faith from Jesus changes our view of our past:  forgiven.

Hope from Jesus changes our view of our future: secure.

Love from Jesus changes our view of our today: full of possibilities.

Selfies and The Chorus of Condemnation

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1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1-4

Take a picture of yourself. Go ahead.

Now look at it.

When you see yourself what do you hear?

What’s the voice in your heart?

Are you dominated by critique? A highlight real of your failures?

Do you hear a chorus of “Should have!” “Why not?” and “Shame!”

Or do you hear our Heavenly Father’s affirmation?

“You are not condemned.”

“I gave my Son for you.”

“Hey, those other voices are death to you; My Spirit is life to you.”

“You are free from this chorus of death.”

“You are free from this curse of sin.”

“I know your weaknesses better than you do.”

“I want you to know my strength for you better than you do.”

“You are loved. Live by my Spirit’s power and My Son’s good work at the Cross.”

The courage to silence the voice of condemnation comes as we cherish the Holy Spirit’s accentuation of Jesus’ grace towards us.