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God loves us and wants us to be happy. This doesn’t mean that every moment of everyday we will be experiencing heavenly bliss. We have all gone through difficult times in our lives. Times of pain and suffering. Times of anguish and despair. When we go through rough spells, and we sometimes question whether God really loves us and wants us to be happy, I think that we should remember the words of Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I find three important ideas in this verse that can help us when the hard times come. First, fix our eyes on Jesus, not on our problem. Jesus who loves us and gave himself for us and who will never leave us nor forsake us. Second, focus on the joy that will inevitably come when the pain is gone. Every trial that we go through, God will use to make us happier people in the end. Third, endure. Don’t give up. Don’t lose faith. Always trust in the goodness of God. Always believe in his love and that nothing can separate us from his love.

Many times, when New Testament writers want to talk about Jesus passion and suffering on the cross, they use the word “blood”. And they use that word a lot, mainly to encourage Believers in their Christian walk, especially when that walk happens to be through the valley of the shadow of death. As we approach Good Friday, it is helpful to consider the following verses:

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Acts20:28

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:20

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14

The joy that was set before Jesus that enabled him to endure the cross, was us! You and me, fellow believers in the Messiah and adopted children of God. The benefits that we experience from the blood of Christ are – being included in the church of God; being reconciled to God; redemption and forgiveness of sins; and clean consciences that allow us to serve the living God.

As lent comes to an end and the celebration of the risen Lord approaches, let us rejoice and be glad, no matter what we are going through, because God loves us and wants us to be happy. We have the blood to prove that.


My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought

My sin, not in part, but the whole

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

Horatio Spafford


birth of JesusSunday, December 1st, started the Advent season on the church calendar. Foundation For His Ministry’s Home for Needy Children in Oaxaca, Mexico is joining the world wide celebration this year.  Advent is the time of the year when many Christians look to the future.  We look forward to the second coming of Christ, the second advent, with hope.  Hope for the day when God’s perfect justice reigns supreme.  A time when God’s will is done and his kingdom is come on earth as it is in heaven.  We also look forward to celebrating the first advent, the incarnation, God with us.  It is appropriate to ask the question during this season, “Why was Jesus born on this planet?”  There are many good answers to this question.  One answer is that he was born to bleed.

Blood is God’s way.  Blood plays an important role in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.  Here are just two verses that communicate to us the importance blood plays in God’s Word:

Lev. 17:11    For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

  Heb. 9:22   Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

The first notion we get of blood being spilt is in Genesis, chapter three.  Adam and Eve have sinned, rebelled against God and His one rule.  Now they find themselves naked and ashamed.  Their great cover-up is fig leaves.  God says “No good” and kills an animal, takes its blood stained hide, fashions garments from it for the sinners to wear.  Here we have a peak into the future when God will use blood to not only cover our sins, but to wash them away.

Ables blood sacrifice
Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Able.  They made offerings to God.  Cain was a farmer and offered produce from his field.  Able was a shepherd and offered a blood sacrifice  of one of his animals.  God was pleased with Able’s offering but not Cain’s.

Noahs sacrifice
God brought Noah and his family safely through the flood.  Noah killed some of the animals on the ark and offered them as a sacrifice to God.  God promised to never destroy the earth with flood waters again.

God called Abraham to be the father of a great nation, a chosen people.  To mark the men as a people chosen by God, they were to be circumcised.  Blood flowed from the males.  They were holy and set apart for God’s purposes.  Later on the Apostle Paul explains to the new chosen people of God, the Church, that bloody circumcision of the body is no longer necessary, but circumcision of the heart is.

Severed animals
God makes a covenant with Abraham, and it is sealed by blood. Abraham brings before God a  heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.  Abraham cuts the animals in half, their blood dripping into the earth, and God walks between the animals, as if to say, “May this be done to me if I don’t keep my end of the deal.”  Of course God is faithful and forever does his part.

Binding of Isaac
God told Abraham to take his son, his only son,whom he loved, and to kill him as a sacrifice to God.  Abraham took Isaac to a mountain, bound him, and as he was about to plunge a knife into his heart, the angel of the Lord intervened.  In stead of spilling his beloved sons blood, a ram that was caught in some bushes, became a substitute blood offering.  Centuries later, another beloved son was sacrificed and bled on the same mountain as a substitute for all mankind.

Passover and blood on the door posts                                                                                                         God’s chosen people, the Hebrews, have been enslaved by the Egyptians for many years.  God sends Moses and nine plaques to try and set His People free.  It hasn’t worked, but a tenth plaque is on the way.  God commands Moses and the Hebrew people to kill a spotless lamb and put its blood on the doorposts of their houses.  When the destroying angel comes to kill the firstborn male of every house, it will passover all the houses with the blood.  The Egyptians sons die that night and Pharoah lets God’s People go.  One day all humanity will stand before God in judgment, and all those not marked by the blood of Christ will be destroyed.

Mt Sinai and the law of sacrifice                                                                                                                      On Mt Sinai, God stipulates, codifies and puts into law the practice of sacrificing animals for the forgiveness of sins.   Every spotless animal that has its throat cut and its blood spilt for the forgiveness of sin points humanity to the ultimate perfect sacrifice of Jesus blood being shed for the forgiveness of sin.

The last supper                                                                                                                                                     Mat. 26:27    And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Blood of Jesus                                                                                                                                                    And then Jesus bled.  He sweat drops of blood as he prayed “Not my will but thine be done.”  He bled when the blood of Christsoldiers hit him.  Blood flowed down his face when a cruel crown of thorns was jammed on his head.  Blood ran down his back as he was mercilessly  whipped.  Blood dripped from his hands and feet while he hung on the cross.  Blood poured out of his body when the sword pierced his side.  And God said, “There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood.”

Paul and the blood                                                                                                     Romans 3:25  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith.                                                                                                          Romans 5:8-10  God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled  to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Hebrews and the blood                                                                                                                                           Hebrews 9:12-14   Jesus did not enter (the more perfect tabernacle) by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so  that we may serve the living God!

Revelation and the blood                                                                                                                                        Rev. 5:9,10   And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,           and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

As we celebrate the first advent of Jesus, with colorfully wrapped gifts under a Christmas tree covered with blinking lights and pretty bows, and as we gaze on the nativity scene with baby Jesus in a manger, surrounded by his parents, shepherds and sheep, it might be good to take a moment and meditate on the fact that the innocent baby laying in the manger, was born to bleed.  And because of His Blood, we are forgiven of our sins, and freed from  Sin.      

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I am grateful for Shinto, for Buddhism, and for Confucianism.  I owe much to these faiths.  The fact that I was born with a spirit of reverence, that I have an insatiable craving for values which transcend this earthly life, and that I strive to walk the way of the golden mean, I owe entirely to the influence of those ethnic faiths.  Yet these three faiths utterly failed to minister to my heart’s deepest need.  I was a pilgrim journeying upon a long, long road that had no turning.  I was weary.  I was footsore.  I wandered through a dark and dismal world where tragedies were thick.  Tears were my meat day and night.  Buddhism teaches great compassion, but since the beginning of time, who has declared, “this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many unto remission of sins”?      Toyohiko Kagawa, quoted by John Stott in The Incomparable Christ                                                                                                          

Why Am I Here?

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