God's good news
It's news I'm most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God's powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God's way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along:
"The person in right standing before God by trusting him, really lives."
Ignoring God Leads to a Downward Spiral
But God's angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn't treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
So God said, in effect, "If that's what you want, that's what you get." It wasn't long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them, the God we bless, the God who blesses us.
Oh, yes! Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn't know how to be human either, women didn't know how to be women, men didn't know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men, all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it, emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
Since they didn't bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it's not as if they don't know better. They know perfectly well they're spitting in God's face. And they don't care, worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the very worst things best! Romans 1:16-32 The Message, Eugene H. Peterson
It really is just that simple. Don't believe it? Read it again, look at our world, and then follow the light home.
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is. John 3:16-21 The Message, Eugene H. Peterson
THE LOVE OF GOD
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would even dare to point a finger? The One who died for us, who was raised to life for us, is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're like sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing, nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable, absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:29-39 The Message, Eugene H. Peterson
The Resurrection of Jesus is the Main Event of History!
THE LOVE OF GOD
Dear God, please forgive me. I know I’m a sinner, and that my sin is against you. I believe Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe He died for my sin, in my place and I believe you raised Him from the dead, back to life. I'm now asking you to please forgive me for my sin. God, I want to start over, with a new life, clean and forgiven. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from now on. Help me to do that. Help me, so that will be a reality in my life. Please guide my life, and help me know and understand what all this means, and how best to do what you want, and live in a way that honors you. God please help me, in the name of your son Jesus. Amen.