GOOD NEWS •• NEW LIFE •• LIFE'S GOOD
Good News / Great News
The Good News...
We all like good news. Then we turn on the evening news and wish we hadn’t. No good news there! So if we all want good news, where does all that bad news come from?
comes from us. All of us. I’ll explain. Ever made a bad decision? Really bad?
Okay, multiply your answer by 8 billion not-perfect people and the bad news
picture begins to emerge.
So where’s the good news? Glad you asked!
The Bible tells
us that God actually made us perfect. He made us in His image. A rough-sketch
self portrait, if you will. He also gave us the greatest gift He could give
responsible adults... a free will.
Then we used our shiny new free will to turn away from Him.
Think this out:
The Bible says ‘God is light’. So if you turn away from light, what are you
turning toward? The Bible says ‘God is love’. Turn away from love and you turn
toward... what? Darkness... hate... violence... greed.... You name it on the
bad side.... Suddenly the ‘bad news’ source snaps into focus. It’s us turning
away from God - the source of true light... love... peace... generosity.... You
name it on the good side. Which do you prefer?
“So, where is
God in all this dark-side nastiness?” you ask. Years ago, as a young atheist, I
asked the same question. A friend gave me this illustration:
At night you
don’t say ‘there is no sun’. You understand the earth has turned its back on
the sun, and therefore it’s dark outside. It’s like that with us and God.
Except, in this case, our turning away is a moral choice against good... and by
default – a choice for bad. And the Bible says that choice is a one-way street
away from God... toward eternal separation from God.
Wow. Why doesn’t He
He already has.
The Bible tells us that He loves us so much – despite our bad choices – that He personally intervened to open a door of return for us. He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a life of never turning away, and to give that life as payment for our turning away.
... And The Great News Is...
…the Good News is free! Jesus paid it all to give it all to you... if you want it. And if you want it, come and get it!
<<<><•><>>> • • • God’s Character…
“Wow... I did a
really good job! Hey, y’all, check this out!!”
that’s not a direct quote. But looking at
the Bible’s creation account, the facts are clear. God was pleased with His
Six times in
Genesis 1, God looked at what He’d made – the sun, stars and moon, seas and
fish, sky and birds, earth, trees and animals – six times “God saw it was
good.” Then God made mankind in His own likeness (like an artist drawing a self
portrait), and for the first time, it says He saw that it was “very good”. Very
Wow. Think about that for a moment. So when’s the last time you were
described as ‘a really good job’? Or, more precisely, as “very good”?
And then the
follow-up: when was the last time you saw yourself as very good?
on which day you’re asking, right? And if “very good” was God’s accomplished intent,
why does our reality look so different? Well, because He gave us a very good
free will and we don’t always use it in a very good way.
And all of that “not good” brings bad consequences.
So if God made
us in His likeness, what does He look like? The Bible gives several answers,
but we’ll focus on one. It helps to think of us looking like God’s character.
But when we turned away from Him, His character was no longer possible for us.
So God sent His Son Jesus
to restore our relationship with God – IF we’ll accept His invitation. When we
do, God begins to develop and grow His character in us. The Bible describes nine of the various
aspects of God’s good character like good ‘fruit’ as if growing on a fruitful
tree. (see Galatians 5:22-23) These include:
love - much higher than ours)... Joy (you’d like more joy in your life,
right?)... Peace (the ‘peace of God beyond understanding’)... Patience (we all
need more, especially on the autobahns)... Kindness (this is getting better and
better)... Goodness (a good thing) Faithfulness (also a good thing)...
Gentleness (from a position of inner strength)... Self-Control (this one is
key). We’ll cover all these in more detail in coming posts.
The Good News is that God’s intent for you is “very good”. But we all need God’s help to have God’s character.
... And The Great News Is...
God’s character is yours - if you want it. And if you want it, come and get it!
<<<><•><>>> • • • LOVE
The Good News: Love is…
Casual ‘hooking up’? Total ‘all-in’ commitment?
What you think
about ‘love’ often depends on where you’ve been. If you’re looking back over 50
years of your blissful marriage, your view of love will be positive. If you’re
looking back on the last two years of
vicious vendettas in the wake of scorched-earth
warfare leading to devastating divorce, your view of ‘love’ will be something
else entirely. If you’re a child of either of these marriages, you’ll have yet
another picture of ‘love’.
But no matter what
you think of love, God has a better way. As God says about His ways in the
Bible: “For as the
heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways....”
His higher, perfect ways come from His higher, perfect nature and character. And His higher... perfect love
is part of His character. In fact, that
entire chapter (Isaiah 55) is worth a careful read and serious reflection. In it, God
issues a call to all of us to turn back to Him so He can bless us. He calls us to
stop choosing the lesser... the worthless… the imperfect... the broken... the
darkness... the envy... the hate... the hurt... the depression.... Think of any
evil you can, and it all comes from somebody, somewhere, at some point turning
away from God’s good to anywhere else they can think of.
As we’ve said previously, God is perfect. To turn away from His good is to turn
toward the evil. And that evil comes from the darkness that is, by nature, turned
away from God.
Now back to the earlier question of love. The Bible tells us explicitly “God is love.” (1 John 4:7,8)
exactly, is God’s ‘higher way’ when it comes to love?
God’s love puts the ultimate good and true needs of the beloved ahead of its own interests. He proved His love for us - while we were still rejecting Him - by the sinless life, atoning death and vindicating resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, on our behalf. So when we turn to God seeking reconciliation with Him, He begins to grow His character in us. And His character includes His love.
It’s not instant. But a start in the right direction is much better than continuing in the wrong direction. The transformation is a lifelong process that starts with us choosing God and His character.
Therefore the question:
If the love of God (and the other aspects of His character) were growing in
you, what kind of difference would it make in your life? Your marriage? Your
family? Your job? Your life?
Hm.... Good question. Ready for the good answer?
And The Great News Is...
Love - God’s love - is yours ... if you want it. And if you want it, come and get it!