Ephesians 2:4-5 ” But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

We can’t begin to fathom God’s great compassion towards us.  For we are separated from Him by our sin… spiritually dead…with no hope.  But God saw us through eyes of unconditional love…looking beyond who we were, to who we could become in Christ Jesus.  This gift of grace is extended to all…for it says, “it is by grace you have been saved.”  The work has already been done, it was accomplished on Golgotha when Jesus was crucified.  There is nothing we can do to receive it, for it is God’s unearned and unmerited favor that bestows this free gift  of eternal life on us.  We may never be able to fathom God’s mercy, but we can accept and trust in His Son, Jesus.

Jeremiah 14:10 ” This is what the Lord says about this people: ‘They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the Lord does not accept them; He will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.’ “

In this world of immediate gratification… where there seems to be no control or limits placed on decency or morality anymore…should we be surprised when young people aimlessly wander through life without goals, plans, and purpose?  Their whole life has been centered around the next selfie…the next Social Media post…the next momentary pleasure.  For when you ask them what they want to be doing in five years and how they’re going about achieving that right now…they give you a blank stare.  Without direction, we flounder.  Without limits, we lose inhibitions.  Without a plan and purpose, our life is truly meaningless and empty.  God has a plan and purpose for everyone…a wonderful life full of joy, self-discovery, and most of all peace.

II Chronicles 20:15 ” He said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ “

The biggest cripplers of our Christian walk are fear and doubt.  They effectively incapacitate and render us useless for the Lord, and are the favorite tools in Satan’s arsenal.  God says, “Fear not!”,  but instead, our eyes are fixated on the trouble around us and we freeze – paralyzed in fear.  He says, “The battle is Mine not yours”,  but we doubt, and surrender before we’ve even started to fight.   When we operate in fear and doubt, we’re rejecting and denying God and His power.  And even today if I asked you, there’s probably something that fear and doubt are holding you back from doing in your life.  Satan loves fear and doubt…but he’s also anxious…for he knows that if Believers would conquer their inner doubt and fear and grasp a hold of God’s truths…they could change the world for Christ.

Colossians 2:2 ” My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ…”

You may have been like me…your parents took you to Church every Sunday, you participated in activities at Church, and you even memorized Bible verses.  You had lots of head knowledge about God…but it never migrated south to your heart.  It wasn’t until years later when I had a very personal encounter with Jesus, that my life was changed forever.  So what happened?  We can go through life knowing “about” something, but it’s not until we come to the full comprehension and experience it for ourselves that it’s made real.  When God reveals the spiritual truth of just who Jesus Christ is to us and that He died for our sins…there is no longer any confusion.  For the spotlight of truth shines brightly onto our wretched lives, and we see ourselves for what we really are…a sinner needing salvation.

Esther 1:10-12 ” On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him to bring him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. But when the attendants delivered the King’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come.”

Some suggest that when King Xerxes gave his drunken order for the Queen to appear in public with her royal crown – that was all she was allowed to wear…thus she refused to comply with something she found offensive.  Another meaning for being “in high spirits” here is not making good or proper decisions.  Whenever we allow foreign substances to alter our mind and thinking we will make poor, spur of the moment decisions.  For when alcohol, and drugs cloud our thought process, really stupid decisions can be made…with really sad far-reaching  results.

Psalm 97:10 ” Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.”

In one breath the Lord admonishes us to hate evil, in the next, He teaches us to love one another and to love our neighbor as our self.  So how can we love someone who’s immoral and unethical behavior goes against everything Godly we stand for? Or how can we show love and compassion to someone who flippantly thumbs their nose at God?  It’s all about separating the sin from the sinner.  We are to hate the sin but love the sinner.  We can abhor the sin, but still show true affection…we can detest what’s happened to the person,  but still remain devoted in friendship…we can loathe the mess they’ve gotten themselves into, but still love the person we know.  By hating the sin and not the sinner,  we show the true love of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Gospel.

Romans 9:20 ” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “

I’m not accusing anyone of flagrant disrespect towards the Lord…for we’d all be quick to deny it.  But what I’m asking  is more about the covert and secretive disrespect we show the Lord…the brashness that no one seldom  knows of.   The sin of omission is simply not doing what God wants us to do.  It’s apathy and neglect on our part, but also thinking we know more than He does.  Now we’re not brazenly telling God we refuse…we’re just quietly ignoring it…hoping it’ll just go away.  But one of the most glaring signs of covert disrespect we can show God is to declare to Him, ” I can’t do that!”    So as the verse asks…just who are you to talk back to God?