“I want to be successful”. “I hold very close my portfolio”. “I find myself fulfilled in being a mother and wife”. “I live to ride, I ride to live”. “I’d rather be……..” You get the picture. We each have our own desires and appetites. They’re not wrong in and of themselves. Scripture even tells us that God gives us desires of our hearts. It speaks of God fulfilling the desires of those who fear Him. Certain wants, appetites, and passions are part of God’s creation in and for us. We all have them and we each cultivate them. They can leads us to eternal life or to death everlasting. As a church, we have been feasting in the book of John for over a year now in our Sunday morning worship. We have reached chapter 6 and my what treasures we’ve found, what a Treasure we have! In my study of these 71 verses I have found not a compilation of several well known stories of Jesus, His feeding of 5000 men with a couple of dried fish and bread loaves, or His walking on water, or a difficult discourse to His followers who mostly run away from Him. In times past, I have wrongly taken these stories as simply stand alone examples of His great power over creation and His authority to judge and our only Way of eternal life. They are all that but so much more. John has written his gospel so that we may see, taste, savor and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that we might have eternal life by believing in Him. (John 20:31) Chapter 6 must be read and studied in that context, as a continuing discourse by John to describe Jesus as the Bread of Life. It is this that the miracle of the feeding of 5000 points to, it’s what the walking on the water points to, and it’s what Jesus’ rebuttal of ‘Jesus seekers’ points to. He is not simply our miracle worker, not only our strong and powerful king, not just Moses’ foretold prophet of old, He is so much more. He is to be our Treasure, our heart’s desire. I have been impressed with the fact that Jesus has turned away from those who have ‘wanted’ Him. Jesus withdrew Himself numerous times from ‘seeking’ people and even protected His apostles from seeker sensitive ministry. He did not entrust Himself to people who believed in His power, who wanted Him to be their King, who were drawn to Him because he performed signs. After having ate their full, I believe many ‘loved’ Jesus and would have followed Him to their death as they marched on Rome. They wanted Jesus. They were correct in the fact that He was all of these things but He still refused to grant life to the majority of the crowds because they did not receive Him for all that He was. He was useful to the crowd. He was powerful enough to bring down the Roman government, He was able to keep their bellies full and He was healing sick and dying people. He was useful and they wanted Him for that reason alone. They did not see Him as their Bread of Life, a feast spread before them for their satisfaction at the deepest level, the Treasure that leads to eternal joy. ‘He’ wasn’t enough, they desired His miracles. He wanted them to see that it was He and He alone that satisfies and not the miracle provided. They missed the sign giver and only saw the sign. They followed Him because He filled their bellies not because He filled their souls. It’s interesting that John does not record the fact that Jesus calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee, as do other gospels, but ends that story with the fact that the 12 disciples simply were ‘glad to take Him in the boat’ with them. It didn’t matter whether Jesus calmed the storm, He was enough. He was becoming their Treasure. Yes, He had provided 12 additional baskets of food for them but what was that to them at the point of death in this storm? Jesus, Himself, was enough and their utmost satisfaction at this moment. The disciples in the boat were beginning to get it. As unregenerate people we fail to see Him as our Treasure and our Bread of life, a Feast spread out before us for our greatest appetites. We are blinded to this truth, we can’t see Him as such. If you don’t see Him as Satisfier of your deepest needs, pray that He opens your eyes. Fall before Him pleading that you have eyes capable of seeing. We have this assurance of scripture that those who truly seek Him will find Him. God will open blind eyes. As believers, may we grow in the satisfaction of Him as our All in All, our Soul Satisfier. Let us ask Him to change our temporal, petty desires we still have to ones of eternal value which are only met by Him. Grow deeper in the richness of His glory and His presence. Let us feast upon the very Bread of Life and be ‘glad to take Him into our boat’ in the midst of life’s worst storms. Let His presence by our comfort. He might even calm the storm! soli deo gloria!
“Marvel not that I say you must be born again”. These are the words of Jesus to possibly the most prestigious and learned teacher of all Israel. A teacher who was confused and bewildered by this concept because he was so tangled up in his religion, his works, his keeping of the law, his commitment to tradition and his reliance on his own ability to gain God’s favor. He was what we consider today to be a learned theologian, a preacher and teacher of God’s word, a counselor of God’s people and pastor. Here was someone who should have understood that he was personally unable to gain God’s favor by doing anything good to obtain a right relationship with the Almighty and yet stood before God Himself marveling that God had rejected all of his works. Nicodemus asked Jesus ‘How can this be?’ that I have to be born again. How can I start over? How can all of my keeping of Your law be for naught? Surely I only have but one more thing to do and then I can enter God’s kingdom, tell me what that is. He was confused by his ‘religion’ and would not believe, he would not receive Jesus for who He had revealed Himself to be. He felt there was more, more that he could do. What is that we hang on to today, that keeps us from believing, from receiving Jesus? Is it our church attendance or our commitment to a personal ministry? Do we feel that our head knowledge or belief in Jesus as a Savior who died on the cross and raised in three days from the dead is what will secure our eternity with Him forever. Jesus very clearly said to Nicodemus that there had to be a supernatural ‘new birth’ of a person for Him to enter the Kingdom of God. That this was an act of the Spirit of God and not of our own doing. Salvation was conceived, authored, and secured from Heaven. Our salvation is all to the glory of God because it is only He that saves. It is for our good but it is all to God’s glory. Read the story of Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3. There is a tension found here between the new birth being solely of the Spirit of God and the necessity of our believing or receiving Jesus. The tension is for God to reconcile. It is for us to believe the truth of the Scripture, to receive Jesus for all He has revealed Himself to be and then to give God glory for His work in saving us. Submit yourself to the truth of this word and ask God to reveal himself to you and give you the grace to believe. Marvel not that I say you must be born again! soli deo gloria!
“Marvel not that I say you must be born again”. These are the words of Jesus to possibly the most prestigious and learned teacher of all Israel. A person who was totally confused by this concept because he was so tangled up in his religion, his works, his keeping of the law, his commitment to tradition and his reliance on his own ability to gain God’s favor. He was what we consider today to be a learned theologian, a preacher and teacher of God’s word, a counselor of God’s people. Here was someone who should have understood that he was personally unable to gain God’s favor by doing anything good to obtain a right relationship with the Almighty and yet stood before God Himself marveling that God had rejected all of his works. Nicodemus asked Jesus ‘How can this be?’ that I have to be born again. How can I start over? How can all of my keeping of Your law be for naught? Surely I only have but one more thing to do and then I can enter God’s kingdom, tell me what that is. He was confused by his ‘religion’ and would not believe and receive Jesus for who He had revealed Himself to be. He felt there was more, more that he could do. What is that we hang on to today, that keeps us from believing, from receiving Jesus? Is it our church attendance or our commitment to a personal ministry? Do we feel that our head believe in Jesus as a Savior who died on the cross and raised in three days from the dead is what will secure our eternity with Him forever. Jesus very clearly said to Nicodemus that there had to be a supernatural new birth of a person for Him to enter the Kingdom of God. That this was an act of the Spirit of God and not of our own doing. Salvation was conceived, authored, and secured from Heaven. Our salvation is all to the glory of God because it is only He that saves. It is to our good but it is all to God’s glory. Read the story of Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3. There is a tension found here between the new birth being solely of the Spirit of God and the necessity of our believing or receiving Jesus. The tension is for God to reconcile, it is for us to believe the truth of the Scripture and to give God glory for His work in saving us. Submit yourself to the truth of this word and ask God to reveal himself to you and give you the grace to believe. Marvel not that I say you must be born again! soli deo gloria
Have you ever found yourself discouraged in a God called ministry? I mean down and depressed because you have lost heart even though you are convinced that God has placed you in that ministry for such a time. God has opened doors and maybe even granted blessings and success. But discouragement still has set in because of pettiness of people, the lack of concern and commitment from others, or the feeling that you are the only one who truly cares about that ministry. You have a full life to juggle outside this ministry including family. The pressure of doing things well as unto the Lord takes it toll. Ever been there, youth worker, children’s ministry teacher, elder, deacon, fellowship or maintenance director? If you have been involved in Gospel ministry for any period of time the answer is a loud and hardy YES! It’s great to know that even the Apostle Paul grew weary and discouraged even when God Himself opened doors to ministry. 2 Cor 2:12-17 tells of this time in Paul’s ministry. Paul had lost heart to preach even though God had opened doors and blessed his ministry. A short blog doesn’t allow me to go into detail of all the issues which had Paul down but suffice to say that a loved church falling into apostasy, false accusations against him personally, a sickness near unto death, a dear friend that is missing in action and a riot which has threatened his life and ministry was more than enough for Paul to lose heart. But as we study these short 5 verses, we see Paul finding encouragement in the very ministry that caused his discouragement. He begins to think of all he had to be thankful for. ‘But thanks be to God‘…. what a place for us to begin our rode back to encouragement. Regardless of any results that we experience or the lack of such, Paul tells us to be thankful that God is leading us in a triumphal procession as fitting of a conquering hero of Roman times. God is leading us as triumphant troops of Christ’s army who is the conquering commander, as we cry behind him in procession, “Triumph, Triumph, Triumph”. Thanks be to God that we in ministry do not have to win all the skirmishes and struggles. Christ has assured the victory and we march as victorious. It’s interesting too that the successful results of our ministry are not counted as we might think. It’s not how many conversions, baptisms, church members or attenders that Paul gives thanks for. Success to Paul was that the Gospel message clearly pronounced was it’s own success whether people respond as he wanted or not. The message rises to the throne of Heaven as a sweet aroma to God Himself. People are converted and that glorifies God. Others hear the same Gospel message and yet reject it and are condemned to Hell. Either way God is glorified by the message presented. God is glorified in His grace and in His judgement. We are privileged to be the messenger of the Gospel message that always result in His glory. Paul was thankful that he had been chosen to be the messenger of the Good News. When we are discouraged we have to stop and ask ourselves, why was I chosen to fight this battle for God, why me to wear his armor, why me to march in this triumphal procession? I have no answer but thankful I become. Secondly, according to Paul we need to be thankful that the clear truth of the Word of God declared without adulteration brings Him glory. We do not water down the Gospel to make it palatable for people. The responsibility of preaching and teaching truth is our duty and privilege, the results of that teaching are God’s. Discouraged in truth ministry? Find encouragement in the very ministry that has caused the discouragement. soli deo gloria
John 12:27 Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled……” What troubled Him? This is a question which has intrigued me for the past several weeks as I began my study for our church’s series of messages for the Easter season. The time of Jesus’ saying that He was ‘troubled’ was the culmination of what we call Holy Week, the beginning of which was the Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem. He had entered being proclaimed by His followers as ‘King of Israel’. Maybe His followers had finally heard and seen Him for who He was. It should have been a joyous and celebratory time for our Lord, or so we would think. But as we look at the mood and demeanor of our Savior that week, we see over and over the description of a troubled soul. Weeping, frustrated, suffering, nearly a ‘tormented’ being. Was it the prospect of impending torture, scourging, denial, betrayal, abandonment by friends, or the physical death by the cross? He was keenly aware of each of these coming events. Surely it must be one, if not all, of these factors that our Lord was so troubled over, or so we would think. What ‘we would think’ is so many times wrong and it would be if we thought any of the former. I hope we as a church become impressed with what impressed itself on the very soul of our Lord, something that troubled Him and should trouble us. For as we see it in it’s most vile and horrible light we will never look upon it the same again. We will use it as a reminder of our only hope and eternal life and see it as a symbol of grace which should spur us on to holy living. What prospect troubled the very Creator of the universe to such a degree? It was sin and it’s penalty of death. It was not necessarily the physical death and anguish but the punishment of sin and the forsaking of the Father. Something which was so foreign in God’s perfectly created good world and something which was so unnecessary for His own sake. This separation from His Father and the glory which He shared would be such weight on His soul that He would sweat drops of blood and cry out in complete anguish, “Why have You forsaken me.” It was the cross of Christ. This week we saw the heaviness of Jesus and the centrality and necessity of the cross in His instituting the Last Supper. Next week we will see Him leave the supper and proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane where he will be troubled to the point of sweating blood and finally we will see the utter anguish of His words as the Father turns his back on Him at the Place of the Skull. A period of twenty hours, the purpose or ‘hour’ for which He came. Yes, He was troubled and so should we be by the prospect of sin’s punishment. But as we sense that trouble and understand that He died not His own death but ours, what a celebration we will have when on Easter morning, we hear the angels say, ‘He is not here but He is risen!’. Sins punished, Forgiveness available! Rejoice! It is my hope as Pastor that we get a deep sense of the vileness and filthiness of the cross and the sin that required it when we see the cross as a symbol on a t-shirt, or piece of jewelry or as an icon within a church. I pray that we pause and remember the cost to our Savior, that we give thought to the grace extended to each of us who by faith participate in the cross with Him. Soli Deo Gloria
I never expected the theological depths found in the story of a man being swallowed by a big fish and then delivered alive on dry land after three days. This fun to tell and hear children’s story has been a staple of last minute or surprise teaching opportunities for many years by more than one faithful Sunday School teacher. If you find yourself having been raised at all with any influence of a Christian church, you know the story very well, right?….. Maybe not. The past several weeks we have been preaching and teaching through the book of Jonah. We always follow up our morning worship hour with Sunday School and the topic of discussion and discovery for the adults is the morning message (man does this keep the preacher honest). The discussion these past several weeks has been wonderful. The topics which the book of Jonah has led us to has caused us to stretch and rethink our individual perception of God and who He is. Stretch and conform our thinking to a biblical view. As Pastor, I have found myself nearly at a loss for an adequate answer to some of the questions posed. Questions dealing with God’s sovereignty and His will. Why do bad things happen, sin and evil in general, election and man’s will, creation and the fall are just a few of the questions discussed these past 5 weeks. Yes, when you give serious consideration to the issue of God’s sovereignty, these issues become unavoidable in your study. Unavoidable but not always answered satisfactorily. In many of the cases, I have felt I nearly copped out when asked these probing questions by coming ultimately back to the cause of all things, God’s will. Why did God place His love on Israel, because he loved them. Why does God bring prosperity and create disaster, because He, the Lord does all these things. Why did God chose to persevere with Jonah and save Jonah from himself, because He did. Why did God….because He willed it. As I found myself in study today, I came across this statement from one the church’s divines. He sums it up better than I ever could…. “. . . it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will. For his will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are. For if it (God’s will) has any cause, something must precede it, to which it is, as it were, bound; this is unlawful to imagine. For God’s will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply: because he has willed it. But if you proceed further to ask why he so willed, you are seeking something greater and higher than God’s will, which cannot be found. Let men’s rashness, then, restrain itself, and not seek what does not exist, lest perhaps it fail to find what does exist” I hope the folks of Center Hill have found this study to be as rewarding and convicting as I. I believe they have. It is encouraging when 75% of the adult congregation find the Word preached so compelling, not by human attraction incidentally, that they remain to discuss it further. When this occurs lives must be changed and God is honored. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!…. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33 By the way, who was the divine quoted above? No fair googling. E-mail me the answer and I’ll let you know who is right in Sunday School this week. SOLI DEO GLORIA!!!!!
As our church continues her series in the book of Jonah, I was once again challenged in the depth of this book as I consider the attributes of our covenant keeping God. Our passage this week led once again to God’s sovereign rule over all creation and we are beginning to get a glimpse of God’s mercy. When God sets His mind and purpose on something, He will go to all lengths to accomplish it. Disobedient Jonah has said ‘no, I will not go and preach to pagans’ contrary to God’s desire and will for him. God now intervenes supernaturally in circumstances to bring about His purpose in and through Jonah’s life. As we read the first 16 verses of the book of Jonah, it becomes apparent that God was determined to use Jonah, either as an obedient child or as a disobedient servant. It isn’t directly stated in the passage, but logical deduction tells us that Jonah didn’t enter into his disobedience quickly or immediately. No, his disdain for the Ninevites was rooted deeply. His rationale of God being merciful and gracious was a learned truth. His choice to turn west to Tarshish instead of east toward Nineveh began with one and two and three steps. He searched out a ship in a port city going as far from Nineveh as possible and decided to pay his own fare to further his disobedience. Then content in his rebellion against God, he falls asleep in the lower deck of the ship. Jonah’s sin took thought, planning and time. But just as Jonah’s disobedience didn’t instantly appear, neither did God’s judgment appear instantly in it’s fullest toward Jonah. Our God is a merciful God, slow to anger and judgment. He wants Jonah’s repentance and humility and sets His purpose to that end. He turns the storm up in intensity as the sailors row harder and throw out the cargo, examples of our human efforts to thwart God’s purpose. The tempest is raging. But God is so committed to His purpose of Jonah preaching to the pagans of Nineveh, he brings a ship full of ‘innocent’ sailors to the brink of a watery grave instead of allowing His erring child to continue on his disobedient journey. It is the same for His church today. God will bring the gentle nudge toward obedience, then the push and finally the knock down should we resist in His will. He is like that, He is merciful. He wants to save us from our sin and He will go to any length to do that. James Boice expanded on the philosopher Virgil’s statement, ‘The descent to hell is easy’. I quote ‘When we disobey God, he does not rearrange the stars of heaven to say, “Stop, do not go farther.” He let’s us go. At first he does not put great obstacles in our path. If we choose to stop reading our Bibles, he does not send a prophet to get us reading them. If we stop praying, he does not send a disaster into our lives to make us turn to him. Not at first!! He simply allows us to go downhill and to pay for our own foolish choices. However, when we persist in our disobedience, he gets tougher. He begins gently, just as we gently disobey. But in the end he sends a tempest.” How is it with you today? Has God called you to something specific and yet you have gently started to disobey. You cannot thwart His will. He is sovereign and will accomplish what He plans. He is also merciful and will not allow His children to continue in their disobedience but may very well wield all the forces of the omnipotent to produce an obedient child. Study Jonah and find a deeper and greater assurance in a purposeful, merciful God, willing to save. soli deo gloria
We at Center Hill begin a short 5 or 6 week series on the book of Jonah during our Sunday Morning worship. My intention, as Pastor, was to continue in our series from the pastoral Epistles after the break we took to study biblical ordination. However, the Lord has brought the prophet Jonah to my mind on numerous occasions during the past month or so and I have become aware of the rich doctrine taught in the book named for him. The doctrines of God’s sovereignty, mercy and love. We began this past Sunday with an overview of the book and I posed a question to our folks during the message and then later in our adult Sunday School class. Do you believe in the sovereign rule of God over all matters? We say we do even if we only have the most rudimentary understanding of the gospel. It is actually the very foundation of our hope. We hold to the truth that even during the worst of life’s calamities, there sits on the throne of the universe an omnipotent, good God in control working all things for His glory and our good. It is the very bedrock of our hope in times of trouble. But do we really believe in God’s sovereign rule when His will comes into conflict with the obstinate disobedient human will? You’ve heard it said from the young lady considering marriage, “I now he doesn’t claim Christ, but we love each other. I know what God’s word says, that I’m not to marry him, but I don’t care. It will work out”. What about God’s sovereign rule in that case? Or what about “I know I should apologize and ask for their forgiveness but I just can’t, I just can’t. I was wrong and I know God’s word says I should make this right but I just can’t talk with him, I won’t”. What about God’s sovereign rule in that case? It seems that man’s will trumped God’s, right? Jonah is told by God to go east to Nineveh because He had a purpose for him there but instead Jonah said ‘no, I’m going west’. And so he does and even pays his own fare for this disobedience, amazing. But turn loose the Hound of Heaven and watch stubborn grace at work. Watch as a sovereign God controls the forces of nature, appoints fish, a plant and a worm, and changes the hearts of a vicious murderous people from haters of God to lovers of God. His will will not be frustrated. Join us for this series as we look deeper into the attributes of God and see His merciful, loving control over His creation to bring about His perfect will of redeeming a people for Himself in spite of His disobedient children, unbelieving bystanders and pagan idolaters. soli deo gloria
We at Center Hill are drawing to a conclusion in our study through the book of Acts during our Sunday morning worship. We find ourselves looking at Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem and his subsequent hearings/trials/defenses of the false allegations against him. He has stood before riotous crowds, murderous Jewish leaders, Roman Commanders and Governors, and in next week’s message, a King. The stand out characteristic of Paul during his public speeches of defense has been his unwavering proclamation of the person and finished work of Jesus Christ, his Lord. It is Paul’s commitment of winning as many to Christ as possible, even in the midst of uncertainty for his personal safety, that has impressed me most about this Apostle. The point made in our message this week was simple, we can and should remain as faithful as Paul when faced with such great opposition and even in the daily, possibly mundane, opportunities to witness. We find ourselves asking questions such as what will people think of me, will my family and friends take me serious, will this cost me any embarrassment. It is at this moment that the issue becomes a matter of supremacy in our life. What do I value as supremely important when the cost adds up? I believe Paul valued God as most supreme in his life and thereby faced the threat of harm with assurance and boldness to proclaim the real calamity facing every man. Paul used the springboard of his situation to glorify God by declaring clearly that the situation facing him was in God’s hands and that he was simply to point the hearer to Jesus Christ as the answer to their greatest need, the need for forgiveness. The denial of his civil rights, or false accusations, or prison conditions, or the plight of the down trodden church was not foremost in Paul’s speeches. Clearly he realized that God had purpose in bringing him into suffering and that was for His glory and that the name of Jesus should be honored. Wow, what a testimony and example from historic Christianity! There are modern day examples of true witnesses for Christ which should be honored. Case in point is Gianna Jessen. Gianna is an abortion survivor. No not a mother who had a botched abortion performed on her and survived to tell her story. Gianna was the baby intended to be murdered by the abortion doctor. Her testimony is amazing. Amazing in so many ways. Her survival is simply a miracle from God and evidence of His providence. Her referring to the results of the failed procedure, cerebral palsy, as a ‘gift’ is astounding. Her zeal for life and bright outlook on tomorrow is incredible. But what is most amazing about her testimony is that it is given in front of a possible hostile crowd and yet she proclaims the name of Jesus Christ and the fact that her situation is all for God’s glory. She is a walking, talking sermon of God’s mercy and grace and is not ashamed to proclaim it in the midst of people who will undoubtedly malign her and the message. As atrocious as the sin of abortion is, it is not the central message of Gianna’s testimony. She uses her situation as a springboard to proclaim the supremacy of God in her life and the person of Jesus Christ as her sole answer to her needs. This is incredible. Watch the attached video, filmed in 2008 as she addresses a gathering of influential politicians and religious leaders in Melbourne Australia, and be encouraged to proclaim Christ and His great worth in every opportunity that God brings into your path. Let us not fall prey to the danger of simply white washing our testimony to a non-offensive tale of ‘God being our hope’, our ‘faith growing in hard times’ and ‘God sustaining us in the midst of trouble’. Truisms, yes, but they are not the gospel. The gospel must include the person and finished work of Jesus Christ as the answer to man’s greatest need, forgiveness of sins. Let the supremacy of God and His ‘Good News’ be the central message in our witnessing. Gianna Jessen from LMF CAM on Vimeo. soli deo gloria
Peter, do you love me? This was the question posed by our Lord to the Apostle after Peter’s denial of Him the night of His crucifixion. Notice that Jesus didn’t ask him if he believed in Him, or if he had professed or confessed Him, or obeyed Him or even if he had placed his trust in Him. No Jesus asked Peter if he LOVED Him. Our Lord knew that on the very night he denied Jesus, Peter had professed that he would never fall away. That night, he had participated with Jesus in the most intimate of times, the first communion service and sat under Jesus’ most passionate and personal teachings. And only hours before his denial, Peter had come to the defense of His Lord by drawing a sword. If anyone expressed evidence of devotion for Jesus, it was Peter. If ever their was one who should not have denied Jesus, it was Peter. But he did. In asking the question, ‘Peter do you love me’, Jesus was probing the very heart of one who had not known the weakness and depravity of his own soul until that night. It was only after being confronted with his great falling away, that Peter truly understood the depth of the mercy of our Lord and the freedom of forgiveness. As Peter ran from the courtyard and wept bitterly, he demonstrated his repentance of his great sin. And having just seen in the ‘look’ of Jesus (Luke 22:61), the immeasurable grace and offer of forgiveness, he could not help but love the One who would forgive so great a sinner. For love is the natural response of forgiveness shown. What if we were asked today if we loved Jesus? As a Christian, we might find ourselves confused when asked if we belong to the elect, if we have truly professed Christ, or if we are a disciple of the Savior. But there should be no confusion or doubt when asked, if we love Jesus. If we have wrestled with our sin, turned from it’s appeal and experienced the liberating forgiveness of Jesus Christ, then we cannot help but say with some confidence that we love Him. How is it with you today? Do you love Jesus? If the answer is no then evaluate if you truly are of the faith. If you answered, yes, then celebrate this Easter week with renewed assurance of Jesus’ love for you and His unending mercy and grace in granting forgiveness to His repentant children. soli deo gloria