OH, HOW HE LOVES YOU AND ME: HOPE FROM DESPAIR

I have liked the song, “Oh, How He Loves You and Me by Kurt Kaiser, since first hearing it probably in the 1970s. It has a lovely tune with an important reminder of the great love that Jesus has for us all.

A song can have simple lyrics and still relate a powerful Truth. I believe this short simple song does just that.

The lyrics remind us that Jesus gave his life then asks, “What more could He give?” Also we’re reminded that Jesus went to Calvary to show His love for sinners (meaning all of us).

One line especially makes this song right for being included in my blog. The song acknowledges that what He (Jesus) did there (at Calvary) brought hope from despair.

As sinners we would be left in utter despair with no hope if a perfect Savior had not willingly gone to Calvary to show His love for us and pay the price required by a holy God. What Jesus did there at Calvary truly brought hope from despair.

When we have received by faith the redemption that cleanses and gives new life then we can experience a sure hope. We can agree with these simple yet powerful lyrics, “Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.”

We know love by this, that Jesus laid down His life for us….” (I John 3:16)

FROM COWS TO CHRIST: HOPE IN COLORFUL EQUATION

I grew up in rural America where the sight and sounds of white-faced hereford cattle in our pasture were part of my daily environment. Although our cows weren’t typically for milking, I remember we had one milk cow when I was a child.

My older brother’s chore was to milk that cow, and my self-appointed chore was to supervise. Anyone with a younger sibling may relate to how annoyed he was with me at times.

I remember that the milk did not always find its way into the bucket. If I stood too close I was sure to get “showered” by big brother’s accurate though wasteful aim. But I digress… back to the point I want to reach.

As a child I considered it a miracle that a reddish-brown cow could consume green grass and produce white milk.  I won’t attempt to explain that process in this blog, but I will mention another “mystery.”

There’s a colorful equation that seems somewhat miraculous as well. It can be simply expressed as black + red = white. No artist can solve this color equation except One. Only the Master Artist of the Universe can accomplish the steps of applying red to black and ending with white.

According to the Holy Bible, each human heart (past an age of “accountability” or spiritual awareness and understanding of right and wrong) is sinful and dark — let’s say black with sin.

When a person chooses Jesus as Savior and accepts His payment for sin, then His red blood that was shed as the payment covers the sin.

Then God the Father chooses not to see the sin but sees (through the red blood of Jesus) the person’s heart clean and forgiven. The new (reborn) heart has been washed white as snow.

It is a miracle, because only God is able to do it. No human can accomplish changing one’s own dark and sinful heart to one clean and white as snow. Only Jesus’ lived a purely perfect and righteous life, so His shed blood was needed for each of us. Thankfully He loved us enough to be our sacrifice and to pay our debt in full.

I think this can then be considered a miraculous equation: black + red = white. Of course, it may not be a literal equation, but I think it is a simple (and colorful) way to express a profound truth.

If this blog leads you to ponder this truth, then you may want to answer these questions:

Is my heart black with sin?

Do I trust Jesus to apply His blood payment and pay my sin debt?

Do I accept God’s forgiveness and receive rebirth and new life?

If you have already come to Him, then follow Him, live in hope, and share the good news! If you have not come to Him, then WHY NOT???

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:20, 21)

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)

“But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  (Romans 10:9, 10)

“For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  (Romans 10:13)

“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

Want to give your life to God but not sure how to pray? Prayer is simply talking to Him. Your heart’s attitude is more important than your words, but here’s an example of what to say….

“Dear God, I admit I am a sinner, I want to turn away from sin, and I ask you to forgive me.

I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, paid for my sins when He willingly became a sacrifice for me on the cross where He died. He was resurrected and now is in heaven praying for me.

I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Thank you for new life with your Holy Spirit to help me obey You.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Amen!

SILENT NIGHT: HOPE ON A HOLY NIGHT

If you are familiar with traditional CHRISTmas songs, then you’ve probably heard one of the best-known and most beloved hymns, “Silent Night, Holy Night.” The words were written by Joseph Mohr in 1816, and the music was composed by Franz Gruber on December 24, 1818. It was first performed that CHRISTmas Eve night in Oberndorf, Austria, at a worship service exactly two hundred years ago.

Silent Night, Holy Night! All is calm, All is bright! Round yon virgin, Mother and Child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

Shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from heaven afar. Heavenly host sing alleluia. Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

Silent Night, Holy Night. Son of God, Love’s pure light, Radiant beams from Thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus Lord at Thy birth, Jesus Lord at Thy birth!

Silent night, holy night! Wondrous star, lend thy light; With the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King! Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!”(Mohr)

I don’t know if the first Christmas night was a “silent night” as Mohr imagined, but I do believe it was a holy night filled with great hope! A young virgin mother who experienced a miracle in a Son’s unique birth surely would have been hopeful for more miracles in His life.

A man devoted to the young mother and devoted to the mission God had chosen for him was hopeful that with God’s help he could become an earthly father to this Child born of Holy God Himself.

Lowly shepherds heard an announcement by a heavenly host of angels and had enough hope to hurriedly leave their flocks to witness the miracle baby that was proclaimed along with peace and joy to the world and even to them personally!

I imagine that one holy night was overflowing with hope! All these first CHRISTmas participants experienced hope, because each experienced Jesus, the baby in the manger, who had stepped down from heaven to become the awaited Messiah. Before the world was created God’s plan for our salvation was set in motion, and hope was always included in His plan.

Wherever there is Jesus Christ, there is always hope! A Savior with no hope to offer the world would be sadly lacking.

Are you looking for hope? Jesus is near to be found, and He has an never-ending portion of hope for you personally.

“Suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.'” (Luke 2:13, 14)