Good News!

God loves you and has a good plan for your life

Many people believe in God, but disagree about what he is like. If God exists how can we know anything about him?

The only way that we as created beings can know anything about the creator who is outside of the creation we inhabit is because he has chosen to reveal himself to us. The Bible is the record of that revelation. God revealed himself to different people at different times down through history; through visions, and miracles, and through prophets (those who spoke on God's behalf). But all of these were just leading up to the ultimate revelation: God chose to become a man and show himself to us. That man was Jesus. Jesus was not just a good man, or an inspiring religious teacher, he was God made flesh. Through Jesus' life and words we have the ultimate revelation of God. If we want to know what God is like we only have to turn to Jesus.

Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father [God], and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:8-9)

Jesus revealed that God is "Our Father," in fact the word he used to address God literally means "Daddy." He is not a far of and distant deity, unconcerned over the suffering that goes on in his world. He is a loving father - the ultimate father - who is intimately concerned for each one of his children. More than any natural father loves his children, he loves us, he only wants the best for us. He wants to see us succeed and do well.

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)

Through Jesus you can receive forgiveness for the things that separate you from God

But God did not just come so that we could know about him, he came that we might know him. Jesus came not just to tell us about God, not even just to show us, but to open a way for us to come into a real and living relationship with him. That we might not just know that God is our father, we can actually experience that relationship. As such Jesus came on a mission - a mission to die.

When Jesus died on the cross, many at the time saw it as a tragedy or as a defeat. Here was a man who had healed the sick, fed the multitudes, walked upon the waves of the sea, even raised the dead, but yet seemed powerless to save himself. Yet unlike the men crucified either side of him, Jesus was not paying the price for his own misdeeds... but for ours! When he hung on the cross he was dying in our place. The reason he chose to die was so that we could live. Because he has paid the price in full for every evil ever committed he can now offer us a full amnesty from the things we have done that separate us from God - the things the bible calls sin.

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

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

Jesus is not just one of many ways to get to God. He is the only way. Shortly before he went to the cross, aware of what was ahead, Jesus prayed earnestly that if there was any other way, God would spare him from the ordeal ahead. This is the only prayer of Jesus that was unanswered. It was unanswered because there is no other way. Jesus had to go to the cross, and if we want to come to God we must come through him, and the forgiveness he offers. We cannot do it though any of our own efforts, no matter how good they be, we cannot get it though any other spiritual path no matter how well intentioned. Jesus is the only way.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

You can receive this new life today!

As wonderful as the cross is, it is empty tomb and not the cross that is the ultimate sign of God's victorious plan for our lives. For Jesus did not stay dead, but he rose again - still as a man, but no longer as a mortal man - he now lives forever, and so continues to offer to all men, this way back to God. He defeated death, so that those who come to him might have eternal life. Not just life after death, but a new life before death, one filled with the life and power of God.

In order to receive this new life we first have to surrender our old life. To receive forgiveness we must admit that we have done wrong. The gift of God will cost us nothing, yet demands everything. This new life cannot come as just a patch on our old way of life, it can only come as a complete replacement. This total surrender is what it means to "make Jesus Lord" of our lives. It means that we no longer live for ourselves but for him. Ironically, it is in this surrender that we find true freedom, and in giving our lives to him that we truly find them.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25)

The good news if you want to receive this new life, is that there is nothing to stop you. You can do it today, and begin a new life with God that will fulfil you in the way that nothing else can, because it is what you were made for.

All you have to do is through prayer (talking to God out loud - he will hear you) acknowledge that you need forgiveness, accept the forgiveness Jesus offers and surrender your life to him. He will then give you this new life. Then tell someone. Tell someone what you have done, that you have become a Christian - a follower of Jesus Christ.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

If you have done this, praise God! It is the best decision you have ever made, and one you will never regret, but it is only the beginning. I'd love to hear from you to help you get started. email me: chris.hhodges@lineone.net

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