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I'd like to introduce you to a new friend I've made through a Facebook writing group, and the blogging world. Lynn Hare blogs at LynnHare.com. Today she posted this song with its lyrics and I fell in love. It is such a clear declaration of what God has done for us. I think you'll love it, and I hope you'll follow Lynn's blog too.


East and West ~ Jonathan David Helser

Today I’m excited to share my #1 favorite song with you:
“East and West” by Jonathan Helser from the album Live at Home.

“There’s no mistake I can make that could ever make you change Your love.”

Enjoy this 4-minute video and soak in the vast floorless sea of God’s mercy.

East went lookin’ for West
And never found him
Guilt went lookin’ for my past
But only found love

I heard about a sea where
Sin sinks like stones...

Head over to Lynn's page for the rest of the lyrics. They are not to be missed.

Thanks for coming by.

See you again soon,

Ben

 

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Kingdom of Heaven

When you approach God, do you sense His dissatisfaction?
Does every prayer begin with you lamenting your own unrighteousness?
Do you feel His displeasure with you?
Does it make you reluctant to spend time in personal prayers?

We have been conditioned by the theology of hell to see ourselves as distasteful to God. The message of man’s failure has been preached to the exclusion of all else so that we’ve missed one big news item.

Jesus satisfied the Father, once and for all, on the cross. [Tweet This]

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; - 1 Peter 3:18 NASB

If you have turned from your old ways and accepted God’s free gift of life and citizenship in the kingdom of heaven, the righteousness of Jesus is applied to your account.

I hear much about the forgiveness of sin, but there’s more to what Jesus did for us that simple forgiveness. [Hear me, I’m not trying to make forgiveness small—it’s HUGE.]

Think of a man with a massive bill to pay. A bill greater than the value of all his worldly possessions. He liquidates all his assets and he’s still in debt. His balance is negative. If some kind benefactor comes along and pays the bill for our debtor friend, what does he have?

Nothing.

He's out of debt, but may still have to go begging for food to survive.

But if that benefactor then takes our formerly indebted friend and sets him up in business, gives him a car, and a home and provides an income while the business is getting off the ground, what does the man need now? He’s gone from deep in debt to prosperity.

When our friend—no longer a debtor—meets his former creditor, how does the creditor feel toward him? There is no reason for our friend to grovel and beg for leniency because the debt has been satisfied.

And what is this man’s approach to the one who paid the debt?

Thankfulness.

The Father (both creditor and benefactor in this story) has not simply paid our debt, and left us penniless. He has filled our account with the righteousness of Jesus.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

God is satisfied with us. He didn't leave us in a place of begging for His tolerance. He has invited us in to the family, giving us a seat at His table.

Brothers and sisters, don’t allow the lies of our enemy to keep you stuck outside the gates of the kingdom of heaven. His lies have held back so many sons and daughters from ever experiencing the Father’s good favor. Any personal prayer they may attempt ends up looking more like a beggar at the road side hoping for a scrap of bread than a prince sitting at his Father's banquet table.

I implore you today, my sisters and brothers, take your place at the table. Feast on the Father’s provision. Bask in His satisfaction.

More on this soon…

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgHey, thanks for coming by.

Keep the light on!

Ben

3

They broke into the room in a furor. Caught in the act! All their suspicions confirmed, and the truth, right there in my arms.

Before I knew what was happening, they grabbed me, one by the hair, and two others took my arms. My feet stumbled to keep up with their pace but soon I was just so much luggage, pulled along behind them. Out the bedroom door, down the stairs, each step down sending pain up through my legs. All my kicking and struggling just added to my agony.

At first I was screaming for help, then I realized who my attackers were. This angry mob that broke into my home and dragged me out into the dusty road, was made up of those who were supposed to protect me, the ones I was supposed to call when I was in trouble. One wore a police uniform, two had the backward collars of the clergy. I recognized store owners and local businessmen. Even the mayor was there. I thought I recognized the pastors from three local churches.

Amid the shuffle, I heard someone ask, “What do we do now? Where to?”

The forward motion stopped and then they let me drop to the ground, face in the dirt. A foot pressed into my upper back holding me to the ground.

Then I heard a voice I knew. “Our law calls for stoning.” It was my rabbi. This man witnessed when my parents named me. He taught me the Torah as I came of age. He officiated at my wedding.

There was general agreement.

But then a voice I didn’t know called out, “Let’s take him to the teacher who just arrived in town. Let’s see what He'll do.”

Everyone seemed to love this idea, so they took up my arms again. Again my feet tried to gain purchase, but someone tripped me so I couldn’t get my balance. The short walk through town seemed to take hours to me. My mind was racing. My emotions skittered from fear to rage to shame and back again.

What would this man do with me?

When they found Him in the dusty square, they dropped me at His feet. As I looked at His dust-covered sandals, the stories of this man—Jesus—came to me. He’d been teaching in the square, and healing the sick. He healed dozens of men and women in the two days he’d been in town. Lame men were walking. The blind woman I see in the market every day could see. But I knew He was a Jew, like me, and they called Him a rabbi.

By now all my accusers had rocks in their hands, and some of them called out hurtful names.

My rabbi now addressed this outsider.

“This filth was caught in the very act, in the arms of a man. Our law says this abomination should be publicly stoned to drive this evil out of our land.”

Then he left me there in the dirt and backed away, stone at the ready. As he backed away he finished with “What do you say, what should we do?”

A cry went up from the angry pack, “Stone him” and then the vile epithets came in a wave, “Homo. Queer. Faggot. Queen.”

At the sound of these words, my tears began to flow into the dust inches from my face. The bile was rising into my mouth as everything I held dear slipped through my fingers. My life was over, and I felt I had hardly lived. Twenty eight short years ended by these hands of hate.

Part of me wanted to agree with this mob, and part of me hated them right back. Somewhere inside me was a voice screaming with the crowd that I deserved this scorn, a voice that called along with them, “Your broken.” How could it all end like this? If I could, I would go back and make it right. I didn’t want to hurt my wife this way. I didn’t want my kids to be fatherless. I didn’t want to die with this sin, this betrayal, this ugliness, the only legacy I left behind.

Then this rabbi they called Jesus, bent down. I turned my head toward Him to see what He was doing. It looked like He was drawing in the dust. I wiped the tears from my eyes so I could see what He was doing. He was writing. With my face so close to the ground, I couldn’t make anything of the words.

He stopped writing, still crouched down near me, and looked up at the army of hate surrounding us. He raised His hand to quiet them and said,

“The one of you who has no sin should throw the first stone.”

All the shouting turned to a murmurs, and soon silence.

I raised myself up enough to see what He was writing.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not bow down to idols.
You shall not take the name of the Lord lightly.
Keep the sabbath.
Honor your father and mother.”

My heart told me I had broken each of these, and many others too. Now my tears came in torrents. I was sobbing.

The Rabbi didn’t finish. He didn’t have to. Through my tears I was astonished to see we were alone in the street. The mob was gone, and the street was littered with stones. They just let their hate fall in the dust and moved away.

Then Jesus crouched down; He put His hand under my chin, and raised my eyes to meet His. Our eyes met.

He took the sleeve of His well-worn robes, and wiped the tears from my eyes.

“Son, where are your accusers?”

With my voice shaking, I said, “There’s no one left,” then cautiously, “except You.”

“Then, I don’t accuse you either. I want you to go and turn your life around, no more life of sin.”

He helped me up to my feet.

I hurt all over, bruised and battered from head to toe, but something deep inside was fixed, healed. The brokenness I felt minutes ago was gone. The confusion I lived with since the day of my bar mitzvah left with the mob. There was something rising up in me. Free? Forgiven? Clean?

I went home. I asked my wife to forgive me. Tears flowed again, from both of us. I sat with my children and repented before them. My humility before them broke the shame they carried because of me.

I can’t say meeting Jesus has made my life easier, but He gave me a path to walk, and gave me a desire to walk it. For the first time I can remember, I’m free from shame and regret. I’m free from the confusion. I’m free to be the man God created me to be.

I’m free!

===

Does this picture challenge your heart as much as it does mine?

Let me know how your heart reacts.

benheadshot1See you again soon.

Walk like Jesus.

Ben

5

By Carl Heinrich Bloch (http://masterpieceart.net/carl-heinrich-bloch/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly. - John 4:18 NASB

Ok – wow Jesus – now your just showing off.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus exposes the obvious sore spot in the Samaritan Woman’s character.

Yes – I get that she had to own her sin in order to gain life – there needed to be a platform for repentance. I get all that. But check this out.

By exposing the full breath of her failure and then offering her life, no one can ever convince her that she is not good enough for God.

When satan comes (and you know he does) and tells her that she is not good enough – “You call yourself a Christian?” “If God knew about your past and the things that tempt you, He never would have offered you eternal life.”

When Jesus exposes all her sin and the full extent of her failure, He takes away any future use of that failure as a weapon against her. [Tweet this] He is demonstrating to her that nothing can separate her from His great love.

How is it with you? You know [I know you do] that Jesus knew every thing about your past and your tendencies, your temper, your weaknesses, your fears and your failures, before He ever chose you. Before He whispered in your ear “come, follow me, my son” or “I have loved you with an everlasting love, my daughter” he forgave you completely.

Don’t let satan have that foothold.

Be free of that today.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

Shine

Ben

Hi all,

I wanted to post this follow up to Debbie's post that I blogged this morning. I really love what she is teaching about mercy this week. 

Ben
===

Under The Mercy

“But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to life up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’” (Luke 18:13)

In this verse, mercy, hilaskomai, means to make reconciliation. According to the Key Word Study Bible,  “mercy provides the satisfaction demanded by God’s justice whereby the removal of sins is attained.” Notice where this sinner placed himself in relation to the temple – at a distance.  He was very aware of his unworthiness to enter God’s presence, yet was desperate to be reconnected with God.  This man was crying out, “God, remove my sins! Bring me back into relationship with You!” He not only asked for forgiveness, but for God to completely take away his sins, as if they never happened. Can you relate to that prayer? [Read on]

 

Under The Mercy | Healing Our Hurts Together.

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Just Say NO to Shame

Mercy, eleos, must be defined again, for its meaning is so very beautiful and wondrous. According to the Key Word Study Bible, mercy is “special and immediate regard to the misery which is the consequence of sin…God’s mercy is extended for the alleviation of the consequence of sin. God’s mercy is the benevolent pity for the misery brought about by our sin. “  Read More

 

 

Just Say NO to Shame | Healing Our Hurts Together.

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Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." - John 13:10 NASB

I have a simple question today?

Are you bathed?

Are you bathed in the blood of Jesus?

Have you allowed the cleansing fountain of His precious blood wash you clean from your sin and idolatry? [Tweet This]

If so – hear this – you are completely clean!

Hallelujah!

Completely Clean!

Am I making myself clear?

The blood of Jesus washes you once and for all.

The filth you walk through on a daily basis – the mess you step in at work – the crud you trudge through in your family – the sewage that splashes on you as you walk down the muddy streets – all that He washes off when you sit with Him.

You settle in at the table He has prepared for you – right there in the presence of your enemies – and once you are settled – He take off His outer garment and grabs an apron off the hook on the wall, picks up a basin of clean warm water and washes all that life off your grimy feet.

Don’t resist His ministry to you today.

Hear Him as He washes the mud and dust and filth from the day away from you, and hear Him as He reminds you that you are COMPLETELY CLEAN.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

10

I heard a reading of Psalm 51 on Sunday. That is David’s wonderful penitent Psalm. You know the one … Create in me a clean heart… Wash me with hyssop…

But the first verse grabbed my attention.

According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. - Psalms 51:1

Did you know that the compassion of God trumps the transgression of man? [Tweet This]

Do you know what can wash away my sin?

Do you know

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:16

God’s been doing some blotting!

Would you be clean from your burden of sin?

Well let me tell you.. There’s power in the blood [I repeat] power in the blood.

Ben NelsonThanks for popping by today.

Come back soon.

Ben

5

There is this crazy train of thought running around inside my head – perhaps headed for an idea train wreck, but I am sure you will let me know if I crash and burn.

Here is the thing.

God is Holy – in fact He is Holy Holy Holy

One part of holiness is separation – sort of a “set apart”ness. And God’s holiness sets Him so far apart – so completely set apart – that He is unapproachable.

Many times I am overwhelmed by a realization of the great holiness of the Father. The problem with this is that it puts me right there beside Isaiah, in Chapter 6 where he cries out

Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 6:5

Sometimes we forget that God has actually dealt with this problem once and for all.

Yes – His holiness can rock my world, and seemingly amplify my sin in my own eyes, but He is no longer asking me to stay back, to keep away.

No longer does only one man have the privilege (perhaps dreaded privilege) to enter the Holy of Holies.

Now you and I are called into His presence.

We are told, at the very time we feel the greatest temptation, that moment that our enemy, the accuser, is saying “if you were a real Christian, you would not even have thought of that” – right then – that is the time the Father calls us to His throne.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:15-16

Do you see it?

It tells us in no uncertain terms, since Jesus has been tempted, He “gets it.” And that is why we must screw up our courage, stir up our daring, and walk right into the throne room of All Might God, King of the Angel Armies. [Tweet This]

And what will we find there? What awaits us?

… so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In His throne room we find, first, mercy because, we all know we need mercy . What we don't get is what we deserve! We don't get the fiery wrath of a holy God! Nope - Jesus got that at Golgotha.

And grace to help.

So there it is. Right in the middle of our sinful day, we sense the tug of the Spirit, we head over to the throne room (easy access granted to all who will be thankful and praiseful) and the Father  forgives all that has come before, and dispenses to us the exact implement of grace needed to face the temptation we are currently combating.

Don’t let the presence of temptation cause you to run for the bushes and put on your fig-leaf bloomers! Head to the throne and get the grace you need to face the day.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Shine where you are plugged in!

Ben

3

Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rode_1.jpg

As we ponder this story from the gospels of the four men who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, I am energized by what we can see clearly in Mark’s account.

And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven. ~ Mark 2:3-5

I really only want to pull two words out today: “their faith.”

Who “their?” you may ask.

As we noticed last week, the house was full of skeptics, and there was only one “who” in the stretcher, so that leaves the deconstruction team on the roof.

Jesus saw the faith, the expectation in these men. That expectation was clearly expressed by the lengths they were willing to go in order to get their friend to Jesus. They were willing to risk some real world trouble, and face some serious consequences in order to get their friend to Jesus.

This is so encouraging to me today.

For one thing, nothing is said about the one in the stretcher. When you have been sick or disabled for decades, it is pretty hard to stir up any expectation. You, as likely as not, will build up barriers against such expectations, and protect yourself against having hope spring only to be dashed once more.

But what I learn here is that we can bring our friends to Jesus.

I don’t want to build some magic doctrine that says everyone we pray for will be saved or healed.

But I will say this. We can bring our friend to Jesus.

We can do it with our words,
we can do it with our prayers,
we can do it with a posse,
you can do it in that chair.

We can bring our friends to Jesus. [Tweet This]

Why not do it right now? There is someone on your heart, someone who needs their sins forgiven, someone who needs their body mended. Perhaps there is a broken relationship the Spirit is highlighting.

Let’s bring our friends to Jesus today.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

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