We hear in church that “Jesus died for everyone,” but why are some people saved and others are not? Did Jesus only die for some people? These are questions Christian hip-hop artist FLAME struggled with too. Read his account about this struggle in his faith. The following is adapted from Extra Nos: Discovering Grace outside Myself.
There’s never a perfect time to turn over a new leaf in life, but as a Christian, it is always necessary to offer forgiveness. We are meant to show God’s love and Christ’s light to all. Yet forgiveness can be difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible in our sinful and broken world. Are you struggling to find the words to forgive others, whether that’s a fussy child, someone you’ve been on bad terms with, or even yourself? Read below for prayers for forgiveness that can help you bring everything to Him in this new phase of your life.
The epic saga of Joseph and his brothers spans thirteen chapters of the Book of Genesis, and most Christians are familiar with it. Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery, where he suffers and then rises to power in Egypt. A famine forces his brothers to come to him in search of grain; and after an extensive back-and-forth to assess if his brothers have changed, Joseph reveals his identity and forgives them. It’s a glorious picture of how God can work through even the worst betrayal and suffering to bring about salvation (in this case, literal, physical salvation from starvation) and healed relationships.
“When I urge you to go to confession, I am doing nothing else than urging you to be a Christian.” (Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation)
As a child, I had a misguided understanding of what a Christian was. I believed a Christian was sinless—or at the very least, a Christian was able to avoid “big” failures on his or her own.
This post is adapted from Flowing from the Cross: Six Facets of God’s Forgiveness by Dan Paavola.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Nineties-era country music is a treasure chest of hidden gems. I was born in 1985 in the Midwest and spent a large amount of time on my grandparents’ dairy farm. When I hear people talking about standing for something, a song begins playing in my mind— “You’ve Got to Stand for Something,” sung by Aaron Tippin, written by Buddy Brock, and released in 1990. The song is a classic, and I can assure you the music video will take you right back to the nineties in a hurry.
Have you ever fully thought about God’s forgiveness? About what it means that He has forgiven us?
I’m not good at forgiveness. I hold grudges. I say I forgive but then I don’t forget. I am not slow to anger and quick to forgive. In my sinful nature, I don’t want to forgive someone easily. They need to earn my forgiveness. I am so thankful that God’s forgiveness isn’t like mine.
Forgiveness is at the heart of our relationship with Christ. Through the forgiveness won for us on the cross, we are a part of God’s family. It’s an amazing gift that we receive through the Sacraments. Here are four verses to consider when thinking about God’s forgiveness toward us.
Jesus began his public ministry in the Gospel of Matthew by saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!" Repenting is clearly important to Jesus. What he was asking people to do back then—and us today—is turn away from the worldly kingdom. Jesus is asking us to turn from the things that are ruling and governing our lives, to take a step outside the walls of our self-built fortresses and begin to look for a new kind of King in a new kind of Kingdom.
When we sit in the dirt feeling the effects of our shame and guilt, sometimes we wrongfully feel that our sin is bigger than our Savior. We sometimes become afraid that the accusation is too awful and there’s no coming back from our spot in the dirt. It is then, that our Savior stoops down into the dirt and lifts us out of our shame and guilt. It was for this very purpose that He came.
Christianity is unique among world religions in that it presents peace and reconciliation with the Creator of mankind through grace, mercy, and sacrifice at God’s expense. This is in opposition to meriting goodness from the higher power based on our natural goodness or abilities, earning it through obedience and good works, or merely praying that the Lord will be nice. The richness of our heritage includes presenting this Gospel message to the Lord’s people and allowing it to have the most prominent place in worship, preaching, Bible study, chapel, Sunday School lessons, and the like.