It Is ‘Finished’ [v158]

APRIL 2012

It Is ‘Finished’

Last month I discussed how the non-profit group I’m involved with, “Life Remodeled,” was preparing to build 7 new homes around the Detroit Metro area this summer. However, this ‘movement’ pretty much started one year ago (on Saturday, April 30, 2011), when we all yelled—with a sigh of relief and a sense of triumph—“IT IS FINISHED!”—as we were given the “Certificate of Occupancy” from the Westland city inspector. That would mean that we were then ‘legally’ allowed to give that home to the family the next day.

[ To see the ‘reveal’, click on this link:
http://liferemodeled.com/tv-show/ (Reveal starts at 44:22) ].

 
Those three words we screamed would tremendously change one family’s life—and they can CHANGE YOURS, too—if they are applied to your spiritual life. These are the same words Jesus cried out just before He died on the cross.

At first ‘glance’, this statement does not sound all that incredible—it sounds as if Jesus is just making an obvious statement. But this is more than the statement of a tired, worn-out, beaten man saying, “I give up!” This is not a cry of surrender. Rather, it is a cry of ‘TRIUMPH’—for you and me!

 
God, being ‘transcendent’ and pure, cannot tolerate any imperfection—like us humans. But, because God IS ‘love,’ and rich with mercy, He developed a ‘method’ to ‘legally’ satisfy the demands of His perfect laws while offering “forgiveness” to us, proverbial sinners. He would build a large two-lane ‘bridge’ of mercy and justice over the ‘chasm’ of sin separating us from Him, and take the penalty upon Himself—through His Son, Jesus [Ephesians 2:4-5]. As a Roman executioner lanced Jesus’ side to be sure He was dead, in Heaven, God the Father suffered too—He ‘personally’ became the “just and the justifier” [Romans 3:26] of those who do not deserve to live.

 
This showed that God’s love is equal to His anger; that His mercy is equal to His justice; and His forgiveness is equal to our guilt. When Jesus expired on the cross, because of the unlimited ‘scope’ of His perfect ‘sacrifice’ for us, this was accepted by God the Father as sufficient ‘payment’ for ALL of our sins—past, present and future!

 
So then, is this ‘forgiveness’ available to everyone automatically, all of the time? Well, no—not according to the Bible, God’s ‘Word’ to us. His forgiveness comes with some ‘conditions’. While God ‘stands’ ready to forgive any contrite and brokenhearted sinner, He does not automatically forgive us—because that would be ‘overriding’ our free will, and that would not be a loving ‘gesture’. God created us as free moral agents, and not ‘robots’, so we need to make that choice ourselves.

The thing is, the moment a person ‘receives’ or ‘trusts’ Jesus as their “Savior,” they are given ‘immunity’ from any punishment—God no longer ‘sees’ our sins, and they have been ‘removed’ from us by Jesus. He is our “propitiation,” and gives us His righteousness—changing our very nature, and reconciling us to God the Father forever!

Does this then mean we are no longer going to do any wrong? No. No longer ‘accountable’ for our wrongs? No. We are still subject to ‘natural’ and legal consequences [Galatians 6:7]. We can still ruin our reputation, health, and relationships by careless, unprincipled living. But we WILL NOT ‘lose’ Heaven—though we can lose ‘rewards’ to be given out in Heaven!

 
So, it doesn’t matter who you are or how badly you’ve sinned, Christ’s death on the cross not only removed the penalty of your transgressions, but will set you free of it’s control—and you can be permanently ‘pardoned’ forever! In addition, Jesus will help you through every trial you will experience here on earth [Ephesians 3:20].

Why did God do this?—because He loves you more than you do yourself. He ‘created’ you and wants to have a relationship with you forever! So, don’t let anyone tell you that you have to ‘do’ something to earn the favor of God—He’s ‘crazy’ about you! Trying to add to the ‘work’ that Jesus did on the cross, on your behalf, would be like adding eyebrows to the Mona Lisa. It is complete the way it is, and to add to it would cheapen it.

Consider this: If I give you free tickets to a ball game, but you don’t go, then you didn’t really ‘accept’ the full value of the gift. The full value is realized when the tickets are not only accepted, but put into use. Then they are ‘activated’. If you don’t use them, it doesn’t change the fact that I paid for them in full. The payment was made, you just didn’t accept the benefit.

The same goes for the ‘gift’ that Jesus is offering to you—reconciliation with God and eternal life! Jesus has paid the ‘price’ for your sins, and it’s just up to you to gratefully accept it, and ‘activate’ its benefits!

 
I liken all of this to the many orange ‘cones’ we have on the roads all summer long here in Michigan. It’s really frustrating driving in the construction zone, but you know that there will be one last sign that says, “End of Construction”—and you then know that your frustrations are ‘finished’!

 
Is this ‘FINISHED’ in your ‘heart of hearts’? Do you want reconciliation with God?Well, Jesus has already ‘done’ it all for you! The only thing you need to ‘do’ is accept His gift of salvation, and receive Him as your Lord and Savior—and He will be your ‘guide’ in this life to prepare you for eternity!

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
[John 1:12].

[Excerpts from: RBC Ministries; Charles Stanley; Bob Christopher ]

 
[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about the “forgiveness,” visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q11_d3_1of10.html

Blessings…Mark

 
LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v158) for APRIL 2012
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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LIFE REMODELED ‘BUILD’ IN PONTIAC
CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS!  We are now taking ‘applications’ for people who would like to be a part of our first build of 2012 in Pontiac, Michigan. We are looking for skilled ‘tradesmen’ to volunteer themselves of their crew; and “support” volunteers that would like to do either hospitality, safety, food prep, or neighborhood beautification (no ‘experience’ required).

For more information about how to get involved with the build in Pontiac, click this link to fill out the availablity/interest ‘survey’:
http://liferemodeled.com/get-involved

[Mark Besh – Life Remodeled]

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INTEREST VS. CAPITAL
Faith is the basis for forgiveness, not adherence to the law or some ritual. Suppose a bank lends you a million dollars at 10% interest to buy a piece of property. A year passes, and you have not resold the property. You now owe the bank $100,000 in interest. Now, suppose you manage to scrape up the money and pay the $100,000 just before the end of that first year. You are now in good standing with the bank. Now suppose that for 10 more years you are unable to sell the land, but you pay the interest each time it’s due.

What if, after your 10th payment, you tell the bank, “I borrowed a million dollars, and now I have paid you ten $100,000 payments—that equals a million dollars. I sure am glad I don’t owe you any more money.” Although you have remained in good standing with the bank, you still owe the principal, which is a million dollars. Now when Abraham and King David offered a sacrifice for their sins, they indicated an awareness of the moral debt they had incurred, as well as their faith in the sacrifice God said He would accept. Their offer of a sacrifice was like the interest payment. It left them forgiven and in right standing with God—even though the principal hadn’t yet been paid, since the Messiah hadn’t come.

Now let’s change the story. Suppose you borrow the money at 10% interest, but you are able to sell the land at a nice profit and complete the transaction within six months and close the deal. You then pay back the bank the original million dollars, plus the $50,000 accrued interest. How would you respond if one of the loan officers called six months later and demanded another $50,000 in interest? You would say since the principal and interest were paid in full, the debt is canceled, and nothing more is owed. The sacrifices offered in the Hebrew Scriptures were like the interest payments in that they left the faithful worshipper in good standing with God. When the Messiah actually came and died, He paid the penalty—the principal—in full.

[Bill Kraftson – The Search For Meaning]

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THIS LIFE ON EARTH
Easter means that this life on earth
is not all there is.
Jesus went “to prepare a place for us”
in His Father’s heavenly mansions
for all eternity.

Jesus died for our sins,
paying our penalty,
so that we could be forgiven.
He was resurrected, to prove
that death has no hold
on those who repent
and accept Him as Savior.

This life on earth is a prelude
to eternal joy with our Lord.
Easter is a celebration
of our eternal destiny.

[Joanna Fuchs]

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EASTER MEANS ETERNAL LIFE
A perfect God demands a perfect justice;
He cannot let us get away with sin.
We used God’s gift of our free will to trespass,
So heaven’s gates were closed; we couldn’t get in.

Our sin required our blood, a sacrifice,
To atone for all the wrongs that we had done.
“But I love them!” cried our Father, filled with sorrow;
“I’ll send my only Son to be the one.”

Good Friday marks the slaying of our Jesus,
The unblemished lamb, the perfect sacrifice.
He took our guilt and blame upon Himself,
So we could be with Him in paradise.

On Easter morning, he came back from death;
He vanished from the tomb, the empty grave.
His resurrection means eternal life
For us, the ones he came to earth to save.

This summarizes all the Easter story
And because of it, we’ll be with Him in glory.

[Joanna Fuchs]

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A SECOND CHANCE
God always wants the best for us,
But in Eden we sinned; we really blew it.
We disobeyed God’s direct decree;
We separated from Him, and we knew it.

You’d think we’d learn to behave ourselves,
But through all time, we just kept doing it;
Piling wrong on top of wrong,
Our punishment—we kept accruing it.

Jesus came and changed all that;
He paid the price for all our sins;
When we repent and believe in Him,
We change, and a better life begins.

Easter stands for a second chance
For us to choose to put things right;
If we repent, and really believe,
Our record is polished clean and bright.

When Jesus rose from the dead back then,
He guaranteed our eternal life,
Reunited with God in heaven,
Free from tears and fears and strife.

Easter ensures paradise
For all of us, for you and me;
We’re reconciled to our Lord and King
For now and all eternity.

[Joanna Fuchs]

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DEEP THOUGHT:

”Mercy is NOT getting something BAD that you deserve, and grace IS getting something GOOD that you don’t deserve.”

[Dr. David Jeremiah]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.”

[Psalm 51].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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