The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed.
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.—Isaiah 43:4 (God’s message to Israel)
Jesus was given in exchange for you.
I traded His life for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.—Isaiah 43:4 revamped (God’s message to the world)
Mere sinners own nothing but a fierce hand
We never loved him we pushed away his pierced hands
I rejected his love, grace, kindness, and mercy
Dying of thirst, yet, willing to die thirsty
Eternally worthy, how could I live for less?
Patiently you turn my heart away from selfishness
I volunteer for your sanctifying surgery
I know the Spirit is purging me of everything that’s hurting me
Remove the veil from my darkened eyes
Last Friday I started working in an after school program at an elementary school in Cranston. It’s a pretty cool program, the students play games, eat a snack, then go to an enrichment class. The school offers a wide number of programs and activities and the students choose which program to go to.
I have twelve students from the fourth and fifth grade in my class and I am teaching them about the Civil Rights Movement. I was very excited to teach this topic because I enjoy learning about this period in American history but I was not sure how my students were going to react. After all, my class meets Friday afternoons from 3:45-4:40. Aren’t they sick of school by now?
I began my lesson by asking the students if they knew about the Civil Rights Movement and only a few students raised their hands. Next, I asked if they knew about Martin Luther King but this time almost every hand went up. Since they didn’t know much about the Civil Rights Movement I summarized what life was like in pre-1965 America for African-Americans and people of color. Then I asked them to do a think-pair-share activity about how it made them feel or what words came to mind. The students began to call out words like: injustice, slavery, sad, bully, and depressed. I wrote their responses on the chalkboard then I asked which words I could erase, that is, which of these “sad things”, as we called them, did not happen anymore. The first student confidently told me to erase slavery but I told her I couldn’t erase slavery. “In fact,” I said, “there are more slaves today than ever before.” The next student asked me to erase depressed. I asked if modern slavery made him depressed. He nodded his head so I couldn’t erase depressed either.
After a few minutes we went through each word and the board looked exactly the same. The students frowned and looked troubled. I took advantage of this opportunity and explained that civil rights issues are not a matter of the past, are relevant in today’s word, and civil rights heroes are still needed. Lastly, I asked them to think of positive words that counter the negative words or words that they associated with being a civil rights leader. The students did another think-pair-share and I wrote their responses until I ran out of room on the chalkboard. I told them the board was full but the students challenged me, “No, Mr. B! There’s room in the corner and we have another word!!” Judging from their reaction I guess they liked my class. This is going to be a fun eight weeks.
I saw Lecrae at a late night concert during Passio2011. I liked his music but rap really wasn’t my thing. Long story short, I’ve been listening to his albums almost nonstop in the car this week.
"Eleven members of my family are dead. They are all dead," Haji Samad, an elder from Panjwai district.
I will never be able to love Jesus as much as he deserves. Yet his love is more than I deserve and greater than anything I comprehend. This is beautiful. This is the unfair exchange. The scandal of grace. Jesus, beautiful Jesus.
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all.
My soul, Lord, to You surrendered.
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!—Luke 15:1-7
Grace isn’t fair and the moment it becomes fair it will cease to be grace.
Grace isn’t something that you can earn, deserve, win, or lose.
Grace can only be accepted by the fragile, wobbly, and humble heart.
Grace crosses out our
vices, addictions, and failures. Then it erases them.
Grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
God’s grace makes us beautiful masterpieces.
God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. That is grace and this is how God chose to encounter us.
God didn’t tell us to be good enough.
God doesn’t need to give us multiple lives to attain perfection.
God didn’t command us to keep trying to become perfect.
Instead, Jesus took our penalty, becoming everything evil while he was on the cross, and placed His perfection upon us.
Author’s Note to Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.