Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Month: March 2015

Rights

Face down on the dusty carpet while Adi prayed for me to be freed from a spirit of hatred I realised I had no rights.

I’d always known hating was wrong but I’d metaphorically shrugged my shoulders at God anyway and chosen to please myself. And now I was in a desperate situation, longing to be free, and not entirely sure I would ever rid my life of hatred.

In that awful moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God loves me with an everlasting love and is determinedly faithful to me. Years before, I’d chosen to hate even though I knew it was wrong. With my face in the carpet, I knew I had created the problem and that I didn’t deserve to ever be free of it. Jesus knew all about my sinful choice. He was well aware of my rebellion against Him. Yet He chose to die for me – to take away my sin and to pay the full price of committing it – so that He could set me free from the consequences of my wilful wrong choice.

LoveFor many people in our society, ‘Jesus’ is just a swear word. But God has given an invitation that anyone who believes in Jesus’ name has the right to become a Child of God. To believe in Jesus’ name is to believe that He is who He says He is – and He says He is God the Son. Some 2,000 years ago, the Son of God became a human being. He knew all about the restrictions of having a body. He felt hungry, thirsty, tired and probably was desperate for the loo on occasions. Just like us. Jesus experienced rejection, pain and death. He did it because it was the only way we could know who God is, and so that we could have true freedom and abundant life – to enjoy peace, love, security, acceptance.

John, the man who wrote about God’s invitation to believe in Jesus’ name, also wrote about God being light and shining in the darkness. When God’s light shines into situations, there is nowhere for darkness to hide. When you walk into a dark room, you don’t waste time chasing the darkness out of the room, you simply switch on the light. That is what happens in our lives when we accept God’s invitation to turn to Him and live to please Him. Darkness goes and God fills us with His light.

God’s light versus darkness and God’s love versus hatred seemed to be a theme of John’s life after He had met Jesus and become a follower. John wrote that we can have assurance that we have eternal life – eternal life is simply to know Jesus and the abundant life He gives that is full of joy, peace and hope – if we believe in Jesus’ name.

As people who deliberately choose to please ourselves and don’t really give a toss what God thinks or wants, we have no rights. Yet God is so bursting with love for us that He gives us the right to become His children if we believe in the name of Jesus.

Jesus: there is no other name through which to know God and to experience real freedom.

Linking up with:

Renewed Daily - Recommendation Saturday

Heaven, How I Got Here

Heaven How I Got HereThis is the story of the thief on the cross by Colin S Smith. It is a short book based on part of Luke’s account of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The book opens at 6 am on the day the thief was to be executed by crucifixion. Each short chapter is based on a period of time – one gripping chapter is about a single minute – during Good Friday.

The author imagines the thief’s background and childhood, explores how the condemned man might have felt on execution day, and his changing reaction to Jesus. As the thief’s eyes were opened and realisation dawned as to who Jesus really was, the reader can follow his thought process. Colin S Smith explains the gospel simply and clearly, cleverly woven as the thief’s own thoughts.

I enjoyed reading this book. I find well-researched fiction based on an event or person from the Bible brings the account to life, particularly if it stays true to the culture of the time. Heaven, How I Got Here did that for me.

It would be a blessing to any follower of Jesus this Easter, but it would also make a perfect read for someone exploring what Easter is all about.

I have given this book **** on Amazon and am grateful to Cross Focused Reviews for providing me with a free copy to review.

 

© 2017 Mandy Baker Johnson

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