The 3:16 Challenge

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)

 

What do all these people have in common: An AIDS orphan in Ndola, Zambia, a prostitute between clients in the Soy Cowboy district of Bangkok, Thailand, an abaya wearing divorcee raising a child by herself, a quiet art student in Chung Ching, China and a high schooler from Tampa, Florida?

 

Any guesses?

 

What about these people: A homosexual woman raising a child with her lesbian lover, a man who is the quarterback on his college football team, an illegal immigrant in hiding, a convicted murderer of a school shooting and a regular church attender?

 

Answer: Each and every person listed above needs to hear about the one and only Son of God, Jesus Christ.

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NASB)

 

And until these people hear of Jesus Christ, how will they be able to accept Him – if they do not know Him?

 

“11 Now the Scripture says, everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

 

14 But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! 16 But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? 17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” Romans 10:11-17 (NASB)

 

We may look back at these lists and think, “Well, I can see how that person would be loved by God, but that one…that one doesn’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness! It just wouldn’t be right!” If we find ourselves struggling to come to grips with the reality that all people are invited to come seek forgiveness through the completed work of Jesus Christ, it’s time to have a serious soul check before God Almighty.

 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (HCSB)

 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NASB)

 

Ladies, let’s get honest here—the grace and eternal favor of God cannot be earned, manipulated, stolen, accumulated or statistically generated. It is not a matter of how “good” we may look to others or how detestable someone else’s life may look compared to our own; it all comes down to the rebellious nature of the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

 

“Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.” 1 Samuel 2:3 (NASB)

  

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB)

 

 

When modern day slavery is at an all time high, when suicide rates of young ones has become a global epidemic, when the lost, broken and hurting feel that there is no way out of their lives of pain—MAY WE BE CROSS-EYED—and turn them to the cross of Jesus Christ. May we share with unabashed joy the hope, healing and new life offered to all who truly come and fall at the feet of Jesus Christ; who died upon a cross for all so that we may eternally live through accepting Him as the Lord of our lives (Acts 16:31)! 

 

I challenge each and everyone reading this article today, to take the 3:16 Challenge. What is it? You may be asking. Whenever the clock says 3:16, morning or evening, pray for the lost and hurting to come to a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. And not just pray for them, but ask God for the opportunities to reach these lost people. Because, ladies, it doesn’t matter how “good” life on earth may look for a given person, if they do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, hell and eternal punishment for the rebellion of each soul awaits (John 3:18). And you know what? God loves each one of us enough to offer freedom out of this place of eternal separation from God—through personal acceptance of the love and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ for our own lives (1 John 4:9-10).

 

You see, when Jesus Christ died upon the cross of Calvary between two criminals, He cried out, “Father, please forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). And when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, just as He said He would (John 10:18) on the third day from being in the tomb (Matthew 28:6), the punishment for all rebellion of humanity against a righteous and holy God was satisfied (Isaiah 53:5). Therefore, we now know the name by which we can be saved from hell—Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God (Acts 4:12).

 

Check the time…is it 3:16? Let us pray with passion to the God who passionately loves all people from all backgrounds, all nations, all cultures and all twisted living. We do not earn the love of God–it is freely offered to all–now may we freely love those enough around us to share of God’s glorious plan of redemption, hope and healing for each complex situation and failed attempt at life….Jesus Christ proved that each and every heart was eternally valuable to Him through His death for our failings while He Himself was innocent of all sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). And now, it is our responsibility as the Church of Jesus Christ to pick up His passion for those He came to save–ALL (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

 

Dear Lord Jesus, please ignite Your Church to boldly proclaim Your name and Your message of hope, restoration and ultimate healing through You! May hearts be stirred, feet be moved and mouths be opened to share of this glorious news that You loved Your own creation so much that You gave Your own live to ransom us from the grip of condemnation and redeemed us to enjoy peace, purpose and eternal life with You! Give us Your eyes for those around our world and our cities who are in such desperate need of Your gospel of unconditional love for all people—for we all so desperately need Your forgiveness. Thank You for offering it so freely, without finding fault, for all who call upon Your name. You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords! We lift up Your name high, Jesus, and ask for Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen!

The Greatest Gift At Christmas Is Jesus Christ

With Christmas shopping budgets in full swing as we look down our lists of those “needing” gifts; may we not neglect the greatest gift that EVERY PERSON on your list truly needs. You see, regardless of age, personal preference and even geographical location, the ultimate desire of every soul remains the same.

 

When we consider what really matters, we will never find it in a store of any kind. Lasting contentment and the sincerest of joy will never be tied to a sale rack, address or even “striking it big”. So, what should we put on the top of our shopping lists? What should we prioritize most as the marketing schemes convince our society that “happiness” and even “joy” is found through the reconstruction of our physical self, pleasure injected from a needle or even through the ownership of the latest name brand line? Simply stated, the top of each of our lists needs to be Jesus Christ. Sound a bit overreaching? Allow me to expand upon this point.

 

Lasting feelings of hope, love, security, acceptance and unquenchable peace are found through a right standing with Almighty God. Period.

 

As Thanksgiving is now behind us and our culture counts down to the day of Christmas—even if it is no longer politically correct to even mention the day of Jesus Christ’s physical birth by name—many feel great stress and anxiety as this season of artificial holly, fir scented candles and credit card bills take center stage. And if we are not careful, in the midst of this season of sincerest of Joy, we too can fall prey to the never-ending cycle of “more” that continue to be pumped out through marketing plans and storefront windows. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, should it matter how many lights are on our homes, if we bake as a family or even if we cut down our own Christmas trees? Of course not. Yet, if we allow our culture to define the season of Christmas, we will find ourselves striving to keep up with the latest “do it yourself” Christmas project and feeling as though you are missing out on something. And the truth is, you would be right.

 

The truth of Christmas is centered around a noisy outer room of a home in Bethlehem, where Joseph and his betrothed wife Mary needed to stay for the night while she gave birth. You see, she had been with child—not of Joseph, but of the Holy Spirit of God. And it was time to deliver the Child who was called Jesus. He is the very Son of the Living God. And due to His full diety and full humanity (also known as the “God-Man”), He was able to live a sinless life that we could never live. Why is this relevant? And why does this matter in 2017?

 

I am so glad you asked! You see, the world that we see today is broken. The Holy Bible records that when the Earth and all of creatures of the earth were created, God declared them as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). It wasn’t until Adam and Eve rebelled against God, through disobedience, that sin entered the human experience (Genesis 3:6). And as a result, they were separated from God (James 1:14-15). The perfect union with God that humanity had known within the Garden of Eden was lost (Romans 5:12). But! This is the where the joy of Christmas comes in! It was after that act of rebellion, that in His great love, God launched the greatest rescue plan to save His creation (Romans 5:17). And the fulfillment of this plan was through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). Jesus came to redeem and reconcile all of humanity back to God (John 3:16). And by admitting our wrongdoings and believing that God raised Jesus from the dead, we will experience the greatest gift of all; peace with God (1 John 1:9-10). And this peace with God includes eternal life, unquenchable joy, and hope that endures for all time (John 14:26-27). How? Because as a follower of Jesus Christ, we can rest assured that we have the victory over every heartache and adversary because we follow the Risen King, Jesus Christ (1 John 5:1-21). Amen!

 

Ladies, to each heart reading, may you be encouraged this very minute! I give testimony to the fact that even now, hearts are being led to repentance and are seeking the Lord Jesus with full hearts. Believers of Jesus Christ are presently doing the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:3-5) and rejecting the lies of culture that happiness and “inner joy” are found through laser treatments and other sources with high price tags, rather than through the completed work of Jesus Christ.

 

This is an exciting time to be a follower of Jesus Christ! There are so many hurting and desperate people—right in our own zip codes (Matthew 25:40)! May we be used by Jesus Christ in this season of greatest joy to share the hope of reconciliation with Almighty God and everlasting peace with those who are in dire need. May we continually run to the feet of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ as we shine His light to a lost and suicidal world; a world that is killing itself with striving, addictions, power grabbing, worship of people, piling of possessions as well as sexual promiscuity.

 

May we be filled with the love of God and the unwavering spirit of Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost; that includes all people regardless of age, gender, religious affiliation, mother tongue or nationality. May we spread the news of the true definition of Christmas joy! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to reconcile all of humanity back to Almighty God through the great exchange of His righteousness for our rebellion…think about that for a minute. God loved you, me and the rest of the world SO MUCH that He sent His only Son into the world to suffer and die in our place, so that we could regain right standing with God. What a good and truly loving God. May we rejoice in the reality of Jesus’ birth and thank God for His great love, that was manifested through the birth and years later the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave to atone for the wrong doings and short comings of every single person who has ever drawn a breath.

 

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 (NLT)