Daily Devotion #2

He is Real
 
"But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name."  John 20:31 NLT
 
Growing up in a Baptist church and as the child of a PK (Preacher's kid, lol) I most certainly heard and knew a lot of hymns.  One of my favorite ones is 'My God is Real,yes God is Real'.  I did not really know what I was singing, but in growth I truly understand it now.  God is real, Jesus is real–in fact even history does not dispute He lived.  Even other faiths and religions recognize Him as a prophet and acknowledge the validity of His miracles.  Here are the lyrics to the first verse and chorus:
 
Verse 1:
There are some things I may not know,
there are some places I can't go;
but I am sure of this one thing,
that God is real for I can feel Him deep within.
Chorus:
Yes, God is real,
real in my soul.
Yes, God is real
for He has washed and made me whole.
His love for me is like pure gold,
yes, God is real
 
I was talking to my linesister Ebony yesterday and during the course of our conversation I said that I believed that if someone had an experience of which they cannot doubt Jesus' existence and presence in their lives, it would be impossible to question if He was real.  I have always believed in God (of course, being a PK's kid), but I did not always know or feel God's presence in my life.  I believed in Jesus truthfully because I was supposed to, but I did not really know Him for myself.  Only in recent years and in studying the word on my own lately that I really come to understand the brevity of what Christ did.  And even more recently on receiving an email from a friend about the ongoings in her life, I can truly say I thank God for the gift of Jesus.  But nothing has more clearly proved Christ exists to me than the acts of God in my own life–saving me from death time and time again and reuniting me with Him whenever I fall short–because, why save a sinner?  Why heal someone undeserving?(Rom 8:11) Why deliver me from certain death?(Rom 5:8) Why if He isn't real????  I have experienced for myself the loneliness of having people doubt, ostracize and scorn you…but were it not for God and Jesus in my life…I would have long given up.  Only through Christ am I–a sinner–able to go to God in all of His holiness and pray before Him.
 
In Romans, Paul talks extensively of what God did for us.  In Romans 5:6-11, Paul says the following: "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But 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, when 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! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Jesus died to redeem us (both Gentile and Jew) from life under a unlivable law–that really only applied to the Jews.  In the email my friend revealed how she tried to conform her life to the law and how miserable it made her, even down to how it affected her family life.  Reading that showed me that were it not for God's mercy and compassion, and Jesus' humility, we would truly be condemned to death, both in life and after life.  Because we know that no single good work will get us to heaven, but God's grace alone.(Eph 2:8-9) 
 
I read and actually heard someone mention recently how the priests of the Old Testament went once a year to offer a sacrifice of atonement to God.  The blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the mercy-seat that covered the Ark of the Covenant and as long as the Blood was seen, the people were forgiven and in right standing with God.  This no longer has to be done because God gave a better, all-inclusive sacrifice for our sins.  Being covered by Jesus' blood allows us to focus on God and His eternal grace, and thus conform ourselves to the image of Christ.  Because of Jesus, I have the Holy Spirit living within me, leading, guiding and comforting me.  Because of Jesus, I am alive and well to see another day.  Because of Jesus, I am forgiven and entitled to share in His glory.  Like the song says, Jesus' blood washed us–and made us clean of the guilt that sin brings.  We are no longer condemned; instead we are free to live with God forever.  Because of Jesus, we can come to God for ourselves instead of through a proxy–because He is our proxy!  No more animal sacrifices, no more going to the priests with our mess, but we can go straight to God, because Jesus is our High Priest and He lives.  Jesus is real…all you have to do is believe it…or better yet ask Him to prove it to you!
 
"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.'  Philippians 3:8-9 NLT
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