Tag Archives: Savior

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Encouraging Words…For Guilt

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God’s Encouraging Word…

When I am Burdened with Guilt

Megan’s past weighed heavily on her conscience.  She lived under a soul-crushing conviction that the death of her nine-year-old daughter was the way God paid her back for her terrible life choices.

Nick resigned to live the rest of his life in despair.  His wife had begged him to get help for his alcoholism through their entire marriage.  Now she was gone and so was any opportunity to make up for the time he had lost because he was a lousy husband and father.  It was too late.

Johnny’s head hung low as he dissolved into tears.  When he looked up, he asked, “What kind of person would steal from his own family?”  He knew the answer.  That’s why he sobbed.

Do you feel guilt?  Does it hit you like a wrecking ball when you are confronted with the horrifying truth of how much damage and pain you’ve caused?  Does it leave you hopeless because you are faced with the fact that you’re never going to be the person you know you should be?  That if there is a God who is holy and perfect and expects the same of his people, then you are a failure and you don’t deserve anything good from him?

You should know something about all those people mentioned above.  They all found relief from guilt.  They found it in the only place it can be found—in that holy, perfect God who pledges, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

You might think your sins and weaknesses define you.  They don’t.  Not in God’s eyes.  You know how you highlight a phrase and then hit “delete” when you are editing a document?  God did that with your sins, that is, all your mistakes and your failures to be kind and love others.  He not only doesn’t see them anymore, he doesn’t even remember them.  He doesn’t recall the worst things you’ve done or your habitual failings.  Your sins not only don’t define you to God, they don’t condemn you to his punishment either.

How is that possible?  God loved you with a love so amazing that he charged his Son, Jesus, with your sins and punished him in your place.  All of the ways you have sinned or ever will sin have been paid for.  They are not on your record or clinging to your identity anymore.

Believe it. In Jesus, you can live unburdened by guilt and with a joyful freedom of forgiveness.

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Our Savior: From the World

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Overcome to be Thankful

It is November! Maybe you are still knee deep in collected, colorful, wrapped, hardened sugar and chocolate.  Maybe the carved rind of the large orange pumpkin is still holding up.  Maybe the outfit that won first prize for best non-traditional superhero still hangs proudly in your closet.  Maybe crazy, half-used makeup containers still litter your bathroom vanity counter, but November turns our eyes to Thanksgiving…and turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, melted marshmallow covered yams and more.  The name of the holiday implies that you have things for which you give thanks.

Do you? Or, as you think about that, are you reminded of the daily battles you face?  Do you struggle?  Are there days you feel under siege on all sides.  Family problems? Health issues?  Haunting mistakes from the past you regret but cannot change? Do you feel you have much more trouble than opportunities for thanksgiving?

Jesus once said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Is that a simplistic and ignorant claim from Jesus? How could he possibly hope to cover all the potential issues that could come up in your life, in mine, in the lives of the whole wide world?! How can people you trust a promise that was made 2,000 years ago?

Jesus didn’t talk about overcoming the world by healing diseases or mending broken relationships, although there were times he did just that. He spoke of something far more important than health issues, relationship problems, or regrets from the past. Jesus promised to break and overcome the cause of all suffering and all trouble in this world. Jesus spoke of his victory over sin. Sin is the root cause behind all pain and heartache. Sin is to fall short of living well and good.  It is when we fail morally, ethically, or in any way.  It is to put ourselves first when we know deep down someone else should occupy that spot. Sin totally sets you against the God who gives all good things.  Sin robs you of life, joy, and true thankfulness.  Jesus overcame sin.  He overturned its dramatic consequences.  He overcame every trouble of this world that we will face.  He overcame when he died to it on the cross and then rose in triumph over the very cause of his death.

Now you can overcome the world too – by putting ourselves aside and placing our trust and reliance in Jesus. He leads us through the hardest of times and finally will take us home to his world—the kingdom of heaven he has prepared for all who believe in him. When you know that Jesus overcame, you can be thankful. You can be thankful even if and when you face trouble because you can look beyond the trouble and see Jesus who has overcome.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

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Our Savior: From Satan

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The Horror is Real

Do you have your costume yet?  Is your house decorated with spiders, webbing, bones, skulls, ghosts and more? Halloween is coming.  Whether or not you dive all into the day, some people do.  Among the costumes, there are some truly scary looking ones.  Of course, there are the red suits, horns, tails, and pitchforks of the demons and Satan himself. Some will be crafted for children. Some sized for adults will include makeup fit for a horror film. As much as we like to have a little fun around this time of year with horror, terror, and devils, there is truth behind the masks.

The devil is real. He is a former angel who fell from God’s grace. He is called Satan, which means “adversary.” He has one goal. He literally wants to “give you hell.” He stands as a prosecutor before the judgment seat of God. He dissects your character flaws; pride, anger, greed, and lust. He’s convincing and convicting. Though he is the “father of lies,” he doesn’t lie about this. You can’t deny what he says about you. You have no rebuttal to make. It appears his case work will bring the eternal sentence of hell for you.

Yet, Satan does not have the last word. Jesus Christ came to your defense. Jesus’ mission was to defeat the devil and put an end to his evil work. Jesus did not just hinder, slow down or frustrate the devil. He came to destroy him in the most unlikely way – by his death on the cross.  All of the devils’ accusations against are taken away because Jesus forgave all of your sins on the cross.  The devil can no longer successfully accuse you before God.

Since he no longer can accuse you before God, he accuses you directly.  The devil comes to you to remind you of your failures and disappointments.  He will dig up the shameful acts fo your life. He will use them to convince you God would never forgive that. Know that this is his last resort.

The victory is already won! The victory belongs to Jesus. Put your trust in him. By faith, his victory belongs to you. Resist the devil’s temptations and he will flee from you.

We can turn some scary things into good-humored fun at Halloween. On a much deeper level, we can mock the devil who tries to bring true terror into our lives.  We can mock him because Jesus died for you so that the devil cannot have his wicked way with you.

Learn more about all that Jesus has done for you. You’re invited to join Beautiful Savior in worship of Jesus at 9:30am on Sunday mornings.

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The Savior by Faith

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The Savior by Faith

June ushers in warmer weather. We hope. School is out and summer begins in earnest. Will you get outside and enjoy the warm temperatures? Do you plan to do any swimming? Our gracious neighbor has a pool she opens to us. We’re planning to hit the sands of the beach along Lake Michigan. My two-year-old Son has discovered the fun of sprinklers in the grass. In the summertime heat, people love to get wet.

Followers of Jesus get wet too, when they are baptized, but it is not just for fun. Baptism is a wonderful gift of God. Water is applied and words are spoken as Jesus commanded: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). When those words and the water are combined like this, according to Jesus’ promise, baptism take place, which is a miracle of supernatural power. Through baptism, God’s incredible power is at work to take away the rebellion and disgrace that leaves you broken and cut out from his family. Baptism makes you a child of God and a member of his family.

Baptism isn’t just a magic act. The incredible transformation of heart birthed in baptism continues as you grow closer to God for the confidence and joy of life with him both now and forever. That growth is found in the message of the Bible as it guides the journey of life and refreshes when we grow tired, sapped, sore, and exhausted. The Bible is the “living water” (John 4:10) that Jesus gives us. Much more refreshing than any pool or beach or sprinkler! It quenches our thirst for belonging, for truth, and for peace – all found in Jesus, our Savior.

I hope you are excited about the gift of summer – relaxing on your deck, in the yard, at the pool, or on the beach. I also hope you know the gift of Jesus – a gift that lasts forever; a gift given in baptism and God’s Word.

Come and share with us the joy of being members of God’s family.

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Our Savior: The One and Only

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her son, our saviorThe ball has dropped in New York City. It’s 2016. How did you ring in the New Year?  Did you make any resolutions?

A common resolution at New Year’s is to lose weight and improve fitness. People aim for that goal in different ways. Some strive to improve their diet; either eating smaller portions or switching to healthier foods. Others focus more on exercise; building up their strength or following a cardio workout plan. Any or all of those options can help a person lose weight and reach their fitness goal.

Some goals don’t have as many options. One goal in particular only has one option. If your goal is to obtain eternal life in heaven, the one and only way to reach that goal is through Jesus. Jesus is the world’s one and only Savior.

Many people disagree with that. Maybe even you. It seems like there might be many ways to reach such a goal. Perhaps Jesus is one option among many.

Jesus didn’t come to be a path; he came to be the path. Jesus didn’t come to show us how we could obtain heaven on our own; he came to show us his glory and to be our Savior.

Many New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned. We know how weak we can be. We are incredibly weak when we try to live up to God’s expectations. We fall horribly far short. Jesus is not weak. Jesus is true God who came from heaven. Yes, he became human like us, yet he was without our weaknesses. He was without sin, that is, he never fell short. His great love caused him to leave heaven and dwell among us. He came to take away our sins by giving his own life as the payment for our sins – every time we have fallen short. He calls you to follow him.  He calls you to trust him as your Savior. He freely gives you the gift of heaven and eternal life.

Perhaps that’s a resolution you could take up: to follow Jesus. It’s not a resolution to discard after a few months. To follow Jesus is a goal that last an entire year, even an entire lifetime. It’s so worth it, because Jesus is the world’s one and only Savior and your one and only Savior.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

Join us at Beautiful Savior on Sunday mornings at 9:30am to hear more about your Savior, Jesus.

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Jesus is…King of Kings and Lord of Lords

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JesusWe live in a world that is often affected by tragedy and disaster. Right now our president and our country are contemplating military strikes against an Islamic group, known to support terrorists. Recently, hurricanes smashed into the lush islands of Hawaii. Even on the local level we hear of arrests made for drunk driving, drug possession and distribution, and even murder. Perhaps our own families have felt the deep pain and sad consequences of those vices.

Evil in the world around us and problems in our own lives bring fear. They bring a feeling of weakness and helplessness. Evil seems to have the upper hand. This world is out of control. We wonder, “Who is in control?”

Jesus is in control. The Bible assures us, “The Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” (Revelation 17:14). At the root of all this evil is a source. Human beings are to blame. Buried deep within ourselves is an incipient need to by my own Lord and king over my own life, which means I can justify any action I take as long as it is good for me. Inevitably, this self-centered attitude plays out and results in evil. The first time it played out that way, Adam and Eve justified eating forbidden fruit and threw our entire world into turmoil. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords because he is also “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Jesus’ rule and kingship was demonstrated in a unique way. On the cross, Jesus conquered sin. He conquered death. He conquered the devil. He conquered evil. He wasn’t caught off guard and forced to die. He has always been in control, even on the cross. Unlike us, Jesus was completely selfless, even as the true King of Kings and Lord or Lords. Jesus willingly gave his life for us, only to take it up again. His death on the cross would seem a defeat, but it was the defeat of evil, for Jesus rose again to life to assure us of his kingship.

He remains in control today. The Savior, whose love moved him to die for us, is the same Savior whose love leads him to rule everything for our eternal good. When you abandon your need to be your own lord and king and live trusting in Jesus’ kingship and lordship, your fears are calmed and you are strengthened to face the challenges of your life.

Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords is in control. He speaks to you through his Word, the Bible. There you hear his promises. There you receive his comfort and are assured of his kingship.

- “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

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June 2014

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The Lord of Glory

Lately I have noticed several people have gotten work done on the trees on their property. That sight caused me to consider those trees.  Trees are incredible!  They are strong, grow so tall, and are beautiful in the spring!  Most trees don’t really belong to anyone.  They grew from wildly scattered seeds, hundreds, and even thousands of years ago.  Except in a few cases, we can’t claim them as the work of our hands.  Those beautiful trees, and everything in our world, are the work of someone’s hands: God’s. Psalm 24 marvels at this fact with us:

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

Everything we see in all of creation, all of the beauty that is bursting forth at the seams as the weather warms, belongs to our Lord.  Each and every one of us also belongs to God.  That may not always seem to be the case.  Time upon time the people of our world, and their actions, do seem to belong to the Lord.  Time upon time, we ourselves, and our actions, have not belonged to our Lord.  Rather, on too many occasions (and a single occasion is too many), our actions have opposed our God and we have destroyed the beauty he intended for our world and for our relationship with him.

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart…

If we were to ask those questions, we know we would not meet the expectations.  We have not had clean hands or a pure heart. Yet, we know of one who was able to ascend that hill; who was able to stand in God’s holy place; who had completely clean hands and a completely pure heart: Jesus. Yet, Jesus took everything he was and everything he had and he gave it up for us.  He gave his life on the cross to vindicate us and to rescue us.  He gave his life on the cross for our sins and to be our Savior.

He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

Know what Jesus has done for you and rejoice!  Know what Jesus has done for you and look to him as your mighty and powerful God, the king of Glory! Be lifted up! Not only is your God the God who created strong, majestic, beautiful trees, along with all creation, but he is your own Savior, the King of Glory.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory.

Beautiful Savior’s newsletter articles in 2014 will focus on portions from short Psalms.  These Psalms can be easily committed to memory and serve as wonderful prayers and tools for daily meditation on God’s Word.

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Jesus Is….Son of God; Son of Man

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JesusWhat titles do you have? What titles would you like to have? Doctor? Professor? Governor? Mr. President? Princess? (Seriously!) The appeal is understandable. Those titles carry honor. They carry prestige. Some we can earn. Masters, doctorates and other post-graduate programs are in high demand. Some are simply given. All provide opportunities to have a great or better life.

What about these titles: “Holy One”? “Son of God”? Jesus had the highest of all titles already at his birth. The Bible shares how an angel named Gabriel spoke to a woman named Mary: “The holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Jesus is holy. He is the true Son of God. The titles “Holy One” and “Son of God” indicate that all power, wisdom and authority belonged to Jesus even at birth because as true God he possessed them from eternity. His name is above every name and over every title and authority that can be given.

Maybe you struggle with the concept of a God who is over ou universe and a man named Jesus who lived 2000 years ago supposedly has an impact on your life right now. Maybe that’s too much for you to put any stock in, but consider what it means for you if the Bible is true. Jesus, the Holy One, the Son of God, di not keep himself from seeking another title, decidedly a step down. It did not require a four-year graduate program or many evening classes, but it did require humble service, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Jesus also took the title Son of Man. He came down from heaven to earth to take up our cause and to die a humble death on the cross—a death that should have been ours, because we were born and created to be God’s own, but have instead pursued this title: sinner.

Jesus became our Savior. Even with the title Son of God he willingly took the title Son of Man, in order to die for us on the cross. Jesus loved us enough to do that for us, and now he gives you a new, prestigious title: Child of God!

“The holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” - Gabriel

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - Jesus

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Jesus Is…Savior

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It’s a simple word, but it’s not so simple to say, is it? It’s an admission of vulnerability. And nobody wants to be considered vulnerable. To cry out “Help!” is to admit that you can’t get yourself out of whatever predicament you are in. You need someone to come and save you. You have to swallow your pride, display some humility and admit that you can’t do it. You need help.

There was a writer who lived nearly 3000 years ago. His name was Asaph. Asaph needed help. So did everyone around him. Foreign nations had invaded his homeland. They trashed the reputation of Asaph’s God and threatened Asaph’s life, and the lives of his countrymen. So Asaph and his fellow countrymen went to their God – the only God.

They knew they hadn’t done anything to earn God’s help. In fact, part of the reason they needed help was because of their disobedience against God and his will. But they still turned to God because of his reputation: he is the God of salvation. They knew God is in the business of helping. In fact, not only does he give help freely but he specializes in it. Only God could help them out of their difficulties in life. Only God could save them from their greatest difficulty—their sin. They were not disappointed. God did save them from their enemies, but more importantly, he forgave their sin. That’s his reputation. He is the Savior.

God has the same reputation today. He is your Savior. Not too long ago we celebrated Christmas, the day when God sent us his Son, Jesus. We needed God’s help desperately. We were separated from God. We had sinned. We couldn’t help ourselves to get rid of our guilt. God helped us. God sent us a Savior. He forgives all our sin. God is in the business of helping. That’s his reputation.

God is your Savior. You can call on him for help and deliverance. He promises his forgiveness and love. He will help you out of trouble. Call on your Savior for strength to carry your burdens. Look to your Lord Jesus for help. He – and only he – can help you. He – and only he – is your Savior.



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