The Brother who was Called James


James; the brother of Jesus Christ.  An amazing character in the saga of the early Christian church.  But James didn’t start out as an amazing man, but as a confused individual who knew nothing of God’s plan for his life.

James wasn’t a great leader at first.  He didn’t believe in the person of Jesus Christ. He didn’t believe Jesus, his own brother.  He thought Jesus was confused and mentally unstable. He was ashamed of how Jesus presented himself, and he couldn’t understand the motives behind Jesus’ work.

Jesus actually hints at James’ unbelief when Jesus says in Mark 6:4 (NLT), “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”

James was a nobody, and the doubt in his heart kept him from seeing the amazing works that Jesus was performing daily among the Jews and gentiles.  His doubt separated him from God, and that separation is an experience that is prevalent in many of us today.  We are yearning for something, but we just can’t quite figure out what IT is.  God calls us to put down the doubt, throw away the lack of faith and and let God pick you up from the ashes.

It took a while for James to realize this.  Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough, The rumors and eye witnesses of the apostles claiming they had seen the risen Jesus wasn’t enough.

But when Jesus appeared to James, he realized he was wrong the whole time.  Jesus’ appearance to James isn’t in the gospels, but it is in 1 Corinthians 15:7 (NLT), Paul writes that Jesus “… was seen by James, and later by all the apostles.”

James went on to be the overseer of the Christian church in Jerusalem.  He became an amazing leader, and ultimately was martyred for his belief in Jesus Christ as the messiah.

But now, we are full of doubt, as humans, we want to be able to see so we can believe. But nevertheless, God is still there with open arms.  It doesn’t matter if we go to church every day, or have never stepped foot into one.  It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve been or how you’ve done it. God loves us all, and Jesus’ mercy is for all.  God’s grace is stronger than doubt, and definitely larger than any sin you or I have ever committed.

If you want to learn more about God’s grace, I strongly recommend looking up Romans chapter 5, and if you want to ask me questions, ask me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

 

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When It Is Finished


Two days ago, I went running in downtown Lynchburg.  The weather was great; a perfect day to go running.  As I was running on the path, I passed an overweight gentleman who wore a weighted vest and was speed walking.  I presumed he was drastically trying to lose weight the best he could.  As I passed him, he nodded at me in a friendly gesture, and I replied, “how are you doing today?”  As I kept running, I heard his reply.  He said, “we’ll see when it’s finished.”  I guess he was in some pain from working out, and wouldn’t be able to tell how he really was doing until it was over.  This brought up a theological point to my mind.  Many people in this world don’t believe they can know their position in the eyes of God.  For Christians, we know exactly where our position with God is.

God doesn’t tell us that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we might be saved.  He tells us that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we will surely be saved.

John 3:16 NLT  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

This is a common verse, that many people quote everyday.  We don’t have to wait for the finish to know whether or not we are acceptable in the eyes of God. Because of God’s son Jesus, everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is made acceptable by Christ’s sacrifice.

The book of 1st John is a perfect read if you struggle with wondering whether or not God’s grace covers you.

1 John 5:11-13 NLT “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life , and this life is in his Son.  12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.  13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.”

There is no doubt.  If we believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, we have no doubt that we are saved.  We do not have to wait until the journey is over to find out how we did, or what “grade” we got.  Believing in Jesus Christ as our savior is the way to salvation, and the Bible clearly tells us that we can be sure of it.

I wonder!


I’m the type of person to wonder about things. Normal things! Weird things! Anything really. Like I wonder how much happiness a person gets from people liking their Facebook status? Is it a lot of happiness or is it just a little? I wonder how many guys only hold the door open for the pretty girls, but let it shut in the face of the girl that they wouldn’t care to notice? I wonder why God allows people to suffer? But then again, I wonder why people allow other people to suffer? How many secrets are kept behind closed doors and away from the public ear? Who is allowed to know those secrets? I wonder why all the yummy food is the worst for me, and why chocolate can’t be like asparagus? There’s a few things I don’t wonder about. I know that the world is a much better place when people love each other. I wonder when we will realize that? I know that so many global issues could be solved if we all put others before ourselves. I wonder when we will give up selfishness? I know that there’s a famine right now in Somalia and Ethiopia. But I wonder how many people really care? I know that young girls, the age of my little sister, are being kidnapped and put into the sex trade. But I wonder when the world will decide to act against it? I know that kids in Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo are being kidnapped and forced to massacre innocent people for the rebel army. I wonder when we will stand up to stop it? I know that we can make a difference. But I wonder who will be a part of that “we”. That’s what I wonder! What do you wonder?

-Zachary