One Word, Best Gift

As I was having some worship time this morning, I was thinking, ‘What is the one word I would use to describe Jesus?’ I thought of all the words assigned to him: Master, Savior, Counselor, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Mighty God, Emmanuel, Christ, Lord, Son of God, Son of man, the Word, Lamb of God, New Adam, Light of the World, King of Kings, King of the Jews, Rabbi, Chosen One, I Am, Bread of Life, Creator, Only Begotten Son, Alpha and Omega, Almighty, High Priest, Prophet, Teacher, Advocate, Mediator, Judge, Chief Cornerstone, Shepherd, Living Water, True Vine, Branch, Bridegroom, Dayspring, Carpenter, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, The Way, the Truth and the Life, The Image of God, and the list goes on. I’m sure I’ve left something out so don’t mark me off on this. As you read through those, can you see how much is used to describe him? It’s remarkable, isn’t it? Just think then how can we define Jesus with one word?


I sat there on the floor of my sewing room, pondering, because I decided I needed worship time more than I needed to do whatever it was I had been doing. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of having an intimate relationship with Jesus and what that has meant to me in my life. I thought, ‘What would that one word be to describe Jesus?’ The words came flooding out; precious, loving, dear, merciful, cherished, best friend, loyal, and the list went on and on. I couldn’t put one word on such an intimate and beautiful relationship that I’ve had with him. He is so loving and so caring. He is there for me any time I need him. He is Always by our side. The only reason we may think he is not, would be because the world gives us distractions, but he is there. We just need to seek him and recognize that he meant it when he said he would Never leave our side. I felt his presence as I thought of this, and I talked to him. I asked, “How do I tell someone else all that you mean to me? How do I describe you in one word? It’s simply impossible!” But think about it, could you describe your favorite family member or best friend in one word? Maybe there is one word that stands out for them, but I don’t know of one word that stands out for Jesus other than love and best gift.

Jesus is the best gift that I could share with anyone else, with you, because if you take the time to get to know him, he will change your life. Your life will become more peaceful and more relaxed. He will center you and I’m not saying that in a new age way. If you put him at the center of your life, the rest will fall into place. It’s not that you won’t have trials, we live in a fallen world, but when you do have trials, take them to Jesus and he will help you with them. But more than that, he gives us a new life when we believe on him. He gives us grace. I asked one of my daughter’s for her one word for Jesus and she said grace. Funny that she said this as she was shearing her son’s hair because he had just cut it with the scissors so low that she simply had to shear it. She did not punish him, because by his life choices, he had punished himself. He was hiding in his room because he didn’t like what he had done. She gave him grace. How often do we hide out because we are ashamed of what we have done? Yet Jesus has seen all the mistakes, all the sins, all the things we think are irreparable and he fixes us. He fixes our problems, our too short hair, he shears away the mess, and he loves us through it all. We were created for relationship with him. He brings us back to him through his death and resurrection. Jesus died for all our sins and mistakes, so that we might have a new life in him. He died to give us life more abundantly.

That is one of the best words I can tell you about Jesus, is that he gives Life and he gives life more abundantly. Not only does our life on earth become better, but we gain eternal life by believing. Our sinful nature is replaced by a new nature. Our old heart becomes fresh and new. I have seen this happen where people who didn’t care about life, others, or themselves even were brought back to being happy people by trusting in Jesus. He is our (more words to describe him) transfiguration or transformer!  To transfigure means to transform into something more beautiful or elegant! I love that word, because that is what Jesus does to us when we allow him to. Will you allow Jesus to transform you today? I pray you have or do.

You can pray this with me: “Jesus, I come to you and ask you to forgive me of all my sins, I want to follow you. I believe you died for me and I give my life to you. Please accept me back into your fold. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

If you asked Jesus into your life for the first time or if you have had a long absence from God, then I suggest you find a good ministry to follow in your area. May you find the one word which is the best gift in your life. To me that word is Jesus.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. – John 10:9-11 NKJV

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” – John 14:6-7 NLT

So, from now on, we refuse to evaluate people merely by their outward appearances. For that’s how we once viewed the Anointed One, but no longer do we see him with limited human insight. Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 TPT

Mirror Image

If we are created in the image of God, then when he looks at us, what he sees is incorruptible. He sees us as whole. So those who believe on Jesus and look in the mirror and see the corruptible or a sinner, are not seeing Christ within them, and need to adjust their perspective. God does not see us as sinners, he sees us as redeemed. 

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 

“…being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever;” – 1 Peter 1:23 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 

“My old identity has been co-crucified with Christ and no longer lives. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me— we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, dispensing his life into mine ! So that is why I don’t view God’s grace as something peripheral. For if keeping the law could release God’s righteousness to us, then Christ would have died for nothing.” – Galatians 2:20-21 

So if we have been crucified with Christ when we are saved, are we not persecuting him when we call ourselves sinners and in effect rejecting his Grace, amazing Mercy, and our own salvation? Are we not saying his sacrifice was not good enough? If we cannot see him when we look in the mirror, it is only because our perspective is off, not because anything he has done. It is like a person who goes through a body transformation of some kind. If you get a haircut after years of long hair or dye your hair another color, you may not recognize yourself at first. It takes a while to accept your new image, but the image Christ gives us is a Holy one. If we have the the mindset that we aren’t worthy, then we need to reread the Bible and look up where it says we are a ‘royal priesthood’ and ‘a chosen generation!’ We are God’s heirs! We are his and nothing can separate us from his Love! (Romans 8:31-38) We need to remind ourselves that the person we were before is gone. For some people, it is easier to accept than for others. We each grow in different increments, but the more we understand the Word, the quicker we grow. So if you’re having trouble seeing yourself as redeemed, or if you’ve strayed from your faith, talk to Jesus just like you talk to a friend and read the word. If we immerse ourselves in the word, we easily recollect it and it becomes our sword, our companion, and our daily reminder of who we are.

“But you are God’s chosen treasure —priests who are kings, a spiritual “nation” set apart as God’s devoted ones. He called you out of darkness to experience his marvelous light, and now he claims you as his very own. He did this so that you would broadcast his glorious wonders throughout the world. For at one time you were not God’s people, but now you are. At one time you knew nothing of God’s mercy, because you hadn’t received it yet, but now you are drenched with it!” – 1 Peter 2:9-10 

Wow! I want to be drenched with the Word of God! What a blessing. But first we must study it and capture its meaning. If we know that we have freedom from the law because Christ fulfilled it and gave us a perfect law – one of liberty or freedom, which frees us from seeing ourselves as sinners. Yet, we still must guard our hearts to not sin in the future. We do this by renewing our minds with the word, loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. And by loving others, even our enemies.

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” – James 1:23-25 

Prayer. Father, help me see  Christ when I look in the mirror. Help me to follow Jesus’ example Help me to love others.  

Stop Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater!

We, as Christians can glean so much from other churches and ministries and their teachings, when we put aside our differences. Even Paul said in his letters to Corinth that we know in part and we prophesy in part. Can you imagine if we could put all discrepancies in doctrine aside and follow the pattern of Jesus Christ? His perfect love as a guideline would create amazing gatherings. Think how much greater our knowledge and understanding would grow if we could walk in His perfect love and not cast aspersions at other ministries, denominations, or religions, but appreciate them for what they contribute to God and others. To have the ability to not point fingers would be to ‘write in the sand’ as Jesus did and say to former adversaries, ‘Where are your accusers?’ Instead of drawing attention to the areas where we don’t agree, we should find common ground. Here are a few examples of simple doctrinal beliefs that overlap for some:

    The mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
    Baptists believe in the Virgin birth, that Christ died for sinners, and in the resurrection.
    The Church of Christ believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God.
    Lutherans believe that people are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
    Catholics believe in a Spirit-guided revelation of scripture.
    Many non-denominational and/or pentecostal churches believe in divine and miraculous healing.
    Mennonites believe that as followers of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they should spread grace, joy, and peace to the world.

All of these are examples of ideas formed out of perfect love and without that love, they are but clashing cymbals. When a nonbeliever hears arguing, it is pure noise. How can a person get excited about a church that doesn’t show love? If there’s constantly bickering, name-calling, and back-stabbing of other religions or leaders, or amongst members, then what would entice them to come in? Can we stop throwing out the baby with the bathwater by trashing others?! Let’s practice the same love we do to our family and friends and keep the baby too.

 

Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways. For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

If we could meet in the unity of faith, there wouldn’t be quarrels over doctrine or whose church is correct, instead we would save our energy to praise God and love each other. We would love like Jesus. We would no longer have a veil that restricts our understanding or our perception of others. We would see and still love ‘warts and all.’ We must focus on love and hold tightly to it and offer it to all those we meet and the Holy Spirit can work through us to heal wounded hearts. Now, can you imagine what a celebration it will be, when we truly see like Jesus does, when he looks beyond perceived shortcomings? I think David gives us a glimpse in his last Psalm…

 

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! -Psalm 150:1-6

And while we’re basking in His presence and bathing, it might be a good time to follow Jesus’ example and have some humble pie by washing the feet of other ministers. Some of that ‘holy water’ might feel good to both the giver and recipients. Wash clean those who are already clean to refresh and renew. We should know his teaching and follow his example in order to live a life of blessings to others. Then we won’t be throwing out the baby in the manger, in the adjacent pulpits, or in our own congregations. We are all babies until we come to full maturity. I don’t know anyone who has become mature, only those who boast of their own knowledge or superiority, which in itself is immature. And if we are casting aspersions and not walking in love, we are not following Jesus’ example and throwing out him and his reason for coming to earth.

Jesus said to him, “You are already clean. You’ve been washed completely and you just need your feet to be cleansed—but that can’t be said of all of you.” For Jesus knew which one was about to betray him, and that’s why he told them that not all of them were clean. After washing their feet, he put his robe on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I just did?” Jesus said. “You’ve called me your teacher and lord, and you’re right, for that’s who I am. So if I’m your teacher and lord and have just washed your dirty feet, then you should follow the example that I’ve set for you and wash one another’s dirty feet. Now do for each other what I have just done for you. I speak to you timeless truth: a servant is not superior to his master, and an apostle is never greater than the one who sent him. So now put into practice what I have done for you, and you will experience a life of happiness enriched with untold blessings!”

John 13:10-14,16-17