Today, one of my friends asked if I have favorite scriptures. The truth is, I have several favorite scriptures. John 3:16, Hebrews 11:1, and 1 Corinthians 13:13. But, if I had to pick one, it would be 1 Corinthians 13:13 because I feel it encompasses the concept of everything I believe about life with Jesus.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 is a verse that summarizes everything we need to know about God. Concisely and stated, God loved the world so much that He sacrificed His only Son so that our sins could be forgiven.
The world had become separated and rebellious against God. Sin was rampant. And, you see, God could not look upon sin, so something had to be done. A sacrifice of atonement had to be made.
When we sacrifice something, it should be precious. What good is a sacrifice that we don’t care about? Is it a sacrifice if we are willing to throw it away anyway? No, a sacrifice is something valuable to us, and the thought of giving it up makes it a sacrifice.
God loved His Son like a father loves a child. And God loves us like a father loves a child. The sacrifice of God’s only child is a sacrifice like no other. And, He made that sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven, we could have a way to build a relationship with Him, and we could be invited into the Kingdom of Heaven to enjoy a glorious life forever in the presence of God, our Creator.
There is no greater love than the love our Father has for us. His sacrifice is evidence of that.
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
We know there is a Creator, God. We know God saved us through His Son, Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. And we know that Christ is coming back for us.
We know God loves us merely by all He has done for us. We have faith in God’s promises. Our Father has never and never will lie to us. Hope is living this life without a doubt, but with the expectation of Jesus returning to take us home to the Father’s Kingdom.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV)
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love is the greatest gift of all time. It is a gift that can be given and received simultaneously. It is out of love that we have been saved. Out of love, we have been given an opportunity to have eternal life in Heaven. And, for that, we are asked to do nothing except to believe and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Jesus Christ is the epitome of love. His sacrifice says it all. We live life with faith and hope of His return. As He loves us, He asks us to love others. Bestow upon others the kind of love He has bestowed upon us.
Do you have favorite scriptures?
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-white-jacket-sitting-beside-woman-in-blue-dress-shirt-6860466/
Copyright Marlene C Bertrand April 1, 2023
Marlene Bertrand is an evangelist and a reputably ordained minister. In 2012, Marlene established a ministry with Christian House International to share the gospel with the world. Through Voice of Hope, Marlene hopes people will learn about the Lord, our Savior and will come to know, love, and trust Him for a life forever in the Kingdom of God.
I have a past; you have a past. Everyone has a past. What we thought, said, and did are done. As much as we may desire, we cannot change the past. It has already happened, and we can do nothing about it.
We are proud of some things in our past which positively affect us. But because none of us are perfect, we regret some things in our past and wish we could forget about them. There is nothing we can do to change the past. But there is something we can do to change the present.
Since it is likely rare that a positive past harms our lives, let’s discuss the challenges we face with negative experiences. We call these negative experiences baggage.
Unpack Your Bags
Holding onto your past keeps you from living a joyful life in the present. If you like to hold onto and relive the negative things that happened in your past, now would be a good time to stop doing that. Unpack your bags and take a look at all those things that you feel bad about.
Did you do something to hurt someone and now you feel guilty? Did someone do something to harm you and now you feel hurt or degraded? Analyze all the negative things you are holding onto. Determine what it is about those things that cause you feel bad, then let them go.
Let It Go
If someone hurt you, let it go. If you are caught up in sin, let it go.
Stop beating yourself up. You weren’t meant to live your life based on your past behavior. Remember, Christ sacrificed His life for us so that we could live a life free from the bondage of sin that you were or are now engaged in. Or, perhaps, sin was placed upon you because someone laid the burden of their sin upon you.
When someone lays their sin upon you, you are likely to respond to their sin. When someone lies to you, lies about you, or blames you for something, you are likely to respond in a way where now you are acting in a sinful way. For example, someone who is jealous may subject you to unfair treatment because of their sin of jealousy. And, now you live a life of anger or fear because of what they might say or do out of their jealous nature. You are now, also, in bondage of their sin and that, in turn, may place you in sin, depending upon how you respond to their sin. Sin can produce a vicious cycle.
Let go of the sin by giving it up to the Lord. Ask the Lord to help you through the turmoil and anguish of sin and He will help you. Meet the Lord with a heart to receive and give forgiveness.
Forget about the past, living life as if it never happened in the first place, because guess what, when the Lord forgives you, it is forgotten. Your slate is wiped clean, giving you an opportunity to live a guilt-free life. Once forgiven, you are a brand new person in the eyes of the Lord. So, let go of your past and live anew.
We are all sinners. We all do bad things. The best life practice is to recognize our sin, deal with it, then let it go. Acts 3:19 says that our sins may be blotted out.
Acts 3:19 (New King James Version)
Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…
Remember, Jesus Christ was sent to us as a Savior to take on the burden of our sins. He sacrificed His life so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have grace with our Father, God.
Ephesians 1:7-10 (New King James Version)
In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him.
1 Peter 2:24 (New King James Version)
…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.
Begin a New Life
We cannot change the past, and we cannot predict the future. The most we can do is live life today in a way that leads to a promising future. God loves you no matter who you are and what you have done in the past. He promises that when you recognize lousy behavior and ask Him to cleanse you of them (forgiveness), He will grant it (forgiveness) to you and make way for you to have a life in the Heavenly Kingdom.
Give yourself a better chance of a better future by letting go of past hurts and bad habits.
Hebrews 4:15 (English Standard Version)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Jeremiah 11-13 (Christian Standard Version)
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.
Copyright March 23, 2023 Marlene Bertrand
Marlene Bertrand is an ordained minister. In 2012, Marlene established a ministry with Christian House International to share the gospel with the world. Through Voice of Hope, Marlene hopes people will learn about the Lord, our Savior and will come to know, love, and trust Him for a life forever in the Kingdom of God.
Join us as we share our Christian journey of hope through faith, love and life.