Tag Archives: gospel

The Accessible King

2016-12-through-jesusQueen Elizabeth has reigned for almost 65 years. We all know her face, but if any of us sought to enter her private quarters at Buckingham Palace without proper credentials, we would be arrested and jailed. No one enters the presence of royalty without the right credentials.

God is King of the universe. None of us can enter God’s presence without the right credentials either. Without right credentials, access to God is impossible. Then what are those credentials?

Paul tells us, “Through Him [Jesus Christ] we have access…to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18).

This is the message of Christmas—we have access to the King through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ makes the King our Father as well. It all began in a manger, was accomplished on the cross and confirmed in His resurrection.

By giving us access to God, He made the King personal. If we received a personal phone call from Queen Elizabeth, inviting us to dinner, we would never forget it. What Jesus Christ provides for us surpasses anything Queen Elizabeth can offer. This access is available, not just to special people, but to all who trust Jesus Christ, whatever our backgrounds and stations in life.

Through Jesus Christ, God the King becomes both a Friend and a Father, but He is not like any other. Just as we would never treat the Queen with casual familiarity, so we would never take God for granted, but honor Him for who He is.

We live in a world increasingly out of control. Our hearts fail from fear. We may suffer with frail bodies. We may struggle with deep problems in our families and marriages. We are subject to accidents and other mishaps. We may find our minds slipping away from us. We may wrestle with drives and desires that get the best of us. We all bear loads beyond our ability to bear alone. Our lives are full of unrest and worry. Even as believers, certain things drive us to despair.

Only the King can help us. We need to know we can access Him at any time, and that He wants to dwell with us and us with Him. We need to know He welcomes us, that He will hear us and take us seriously. We need to know we are not just faces in a crowd.

We need to know He will regard us as members of His family whatever our failings. We need to know we make a difference to Him. When we have taken time to seek Him, we need to know that He is always waiting for us.

We cannot know our purpose in life or successfully face life and death apart from our access to the King. We would never gain access to Him apart from His taking the initiative to provide us the right credentials. He has willed that His Son, Jesus Christ, come into the world and become our access to Him.

Thank the King He has made it possible for us to approach His throne with confidence and boldness through Jesus Christ. Millions of people are waiting to hear this message. In the coming year, let us join together to make Him known.

May you and your loved ones have a blessed Christmas and New Year.

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When Our Children Don’t Succeed

All of us who have children want them to succeed in life. We become overjoyed when they do, and we proudly tell others of their accomplishments. Their success reflects upon us. In a very real sense, we regard their success as our success.

What if they don’t succeed? What if their accomplishments are few, or worse, what if they fail and become burdens to our family and to society? Whose fault is it? Most parents tend to blame themselves. They spend endless hours asking themselves where they went wrong and where they failed God, not always able to arrive at solid conclusions.

May I offer a word of comfort to such parents: God the Father is the most perfect of parents, but all of His children (you and me) are abject failures in His sight. Is it possible that God the Father does not judge us as parents on whether our children succeed in life but on the way we live out His love and grace toward them? None of us will ever have a perfect family this side of heaven. So what is God looking for?

Christian family counselor Emmerson Eggerichs suggests a worthy biblical model for a good parent in the father of the prodigal son and his ungrateful older brother. In their own ways, both sons are miserable failures.

In this parable, Jesus clearly wants us to imitate the father’s grace toward his sinful sons. Throughout this parable, the father demonstrates remarkable patience in the face of outrageous behaviors and attitudes. As we study this parable, we become amazed that the father does not disown both of them for their insulting and ungrateful ways.

The father in Jesus’ parable represents God Himself. This means that to become successful parents, we must learn to first love God even more than we love our children. When we learn to love God first, we soon become overwhelmed by His grace. When we see the powerful grace of God working in our own sinful lives, we begin to take a different attitude toward our children and their failures. We begin to see them from God’s perspective.

Rather than see (and even resent) our wayward children as imperfect reflections of ourselves, we begin to think of them in the way that God regards us. Rather than judging or even rejecting our children, we begin to show them the same grace of God that He has displayed toward us. Like the prodigal son, some of our wayward children may return “home,” humble and repentant and ready to serve God and their fellow man.

Even if our children do not return, we will have the peace of knowing we succeeded in demonstrating the grace of God toward them.

Let us all learn to become overwhelmed by the grace of God. Let that growing experience of His grace make us the best parents. It will also help us to submit to our husbands, give ourselves to our wives, and do things that encourage rather than discourage our children. It will also make our gospel message more credible to a world filled with failure.

God’s grace helps us to accept others’ failures when we see how God receives us in spite of our failures.

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