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"In the days of Jesus, young Israelite students began memorizing the Old Testament by ten years old … and by fifteen, they could ask their rabbi, “Can I become your disciple?” The rabbi could either say, “You’re not good enough, you don’t have what it takes,” or he could say, “Follow me.”

[In Mark 2:13-17,] Matthew also had the family name Levi, which means he most likely descended from the Levitical priests like Moses, Aaron, Ezekiel, Ezra, and Malachi. So Matthew’s family was banking on him becoming a disciple … but when we meet him, he’s a hated tax collector, a sell-out of his own people. Which means Matthew’s rabbi had told him, “You’re not good enough.”

I can just imagine that long walk home, Matthew’s father seeing his son from the doorstep and realizing he didn’t make it, backing into the house, the silent click of the door. I can imagine Matthew’s heartache, his rejection … and like the Prodigal Son, grabbing his inheritance to buy a tax collector’s booth.

Then Jesus walks by Matthew’s table, and in a moment predestined before the foundation of time itself, Jesus says the words that Matthew Levi has been waiting to hear his whole life: "Follow me."

Matthew was probably thinking, “Why? Why would you want me? I’m a screw-up. You don’t know what I’ve done. I’m not good enough, I don’t have what it takes. Not even my father wants me.”

But Jesus, without a single question, without qualifying him, without telling him to clean up first, was telling him: “Levi, it’s your mess-ups that qualify you for this kingdom of mine. It’s because of your mess-ups that I want you. In my eyes, you are good enough. You do have what it takes. Come on. Follow me.”"

J.S. from this message (via jspark3000)

(via jspark3000)

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"I’m just going to come out and say it: People don’t go to hell because they are gay. Ever. Never in a million years will God send someone to hell for being gay. People go to hell because they want to be the gods of their own lives. People go to hell because they want to be kings. They want to determine what is right and wrong.

The truth is we are all going to limp across the finish line to some degree. Of course there is victory in Jesus and of course are we more than conquerors through Christ as the apostle Paul says; but even Paul had a thorn in the flesh. Most of us have a spiritual Achilles’ heel. We all will have spiritual bruises, cuts, and sores. Some will limp across the finish line still fighting their addiction to porn. Some will limp across the finish line with their addiction to food. And some will limp across the finish line with their attraction to the same sex.

The issue isn’t whether someone is good or bad, but whether he is repentant or unrepentant. Who is God of her life? Who’s in control? What or who are they pursuing? Are they looking to him or trusting in self? Because I trust that if Jesus’ grace has radically collided with a heart, I believe that person will begin to align themselves with Jesus’ image, looking more like him everyday."

Jefferson Bethke, from Jesus > Religion (via jspark3000)

Spot on.

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Tides

I CANNOT WAIT for the new Bethel album to come out. I cannot wait to belt out the lyrics to this anthem of victory with all of my heart and soul, to glorify the risen and glorified King Jesus forevermore! Glory glory glory Jesus!!!

http://www.ibethel.tv/watch/1833/sunday-morning-worship/2013/08/25
(the song starts at 13:11, but the entire set is absolutely incredible!)

The moon and stars they wept, the morning Sun was dead
The savior of the world was fallen
His body on the cross, His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon Him

One final breath He gave as heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave, the war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

The ground began to shake, the stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome!
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated!

Forever He is glorified, forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen! He is alive! He is alive!

The ground began to shake, the stone was rolled away
His reckless love would be overcome!
Now death where is your sting? 
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated!

Forever He is glorified, forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen! He is alive! He is alive!

We sing hallelujah! We sing hallelujah!
We sing hallelujah, the Lamb has overcome!

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unkaglen:

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followandreblog asked: I’m a bit confused about justice and forgiveness. I am 100 percent sure that forgiveness is essential, but today I read the Proverbs, and see two different verses about how acquitting someone guilty is not right. Or is it because acquittal doesn’t necessarily…

To forgive someone is to declare them utterly guilty, and then remove the penalty of that guilt.

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Jesus to the Rescue

Lately, I’ve been reminded more and more that I count for very little. I have many weaknesses and insecurities that the world’s standards could count as ineffective. But thank God that those in Christ function in an upside-down kingdom!

What’s perplexing and awe-inspiring about this upside-down kingdom is that God loves taking the useless things in the world and making them useful. He loves sharing his worth with the poor, and he loves giving crowns of majesty to the lowly. He puts the power to move mountains in our timid prayers. He gives foolish men the ability to convict three thousand men of their sin, while adding to their number day after day. And best of all, he removes the grip that death so firmly holds upon our throats as soon as we whisper our confession of faith in the one found worthy, Jesus

After being saved by grace though, I often fall into the trap that I now have to live the perfect life that I once could not live. I often feel like I have to save the world of all its trouble — and while grace empowers us to do amazing things and to live in the upward call of perfection, Christ sometimes asks me to just get out of the way.

To attempt to save by the power of Chris rather than the power of Christ makes me an enemy of the cross. To try to perfect in the flesh what was perfected in faith makes me a skeptic of the power of grace. I’m reminded that Jesus loves giving us grace. God loves showing us mercy. If he does, then I should too. Thank you Jesus, for coming to my rescue when I was incapable of saving myself. My prayer is that I would become less, and that you would become MORE! That by the power of Christ, Chris can see people be transformed and rescued by the love of God.

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"But why Judas? Why have someone from His inner circle betray Jesus? Why not just a stranger? But that’s the point. It had to be someone from His inner circle. Jesus already knew that Judas was going to betray Him. He knew from the beginning. Yet, He still invited Judas to His table and ate with Him. Jesus allowed Judas to drink His blood and eat His flesh. Jesus knew. Jesus knows you’re going to be messy and sinful. We don’t have to keep reminding ourselves of that…even the devil reminds us how sinful we are. No, we have to keep reminding us that Jesus knew that we were going to mess up…yet He still invites us to His table to eat with Him"

— (via jjajangmyun92)

(Source: cashewjam92, via jyw)

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unkaglen:

Let’s talk about habitual sin, shall we? Oh my, how much doubt has come into the world through habitual sin? How can I be saved if I go on sinning? We ask again and again… as if our behavior had anything at all whatsoever to do with our salvation.

Let me give you a simple test to help you…

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brooks-owen:

2,000 years ago, Jesus turned water into wine. And ever since then people have been trying to turn it back into water. 

(via brooks-owen-deactivated20131223)

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unkaglen:

inahbunag asked: How should I get to the place where I love myself? I think that’s the problem with me sometimes.

Unka Glen answered: That’s easy, just receive some humility from God.

Now, that’s maybe not the answer you were expecting, given there’s a chance that humility is what…

Dropping knowledge.

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"Not every dude who picks up a $5000 guitar and jams out a praise song is really singing to the God of the universe. There’s a kid in China who can’t hold a note and he sucks at guitar, but he is actually singing in gratitude to the God who made him and gives him breath. That’s worship."

— (via jspark3000)