I have swept away your sins like a cloud.
I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.
Oh, return to me,
for I have paid the price to set you free.
Isaiah 44:22 (New Living Translation)
I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions,
And like a cloud, your sins.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.
Isaiah 44:22 (New King James Version)
I’ve wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings.
There’s nothing left of your sins.
Come back to me, come back.
I’ve redeemed you.
Isaiah 44:22 (The Message)
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master.
Romans 12:11 (The Message)
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Romans 12:11 (New International Version)
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
Romans 12:11 (New Living Translation)
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 John 4:10 (New Living Translation)
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10 (New King James Version)
This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
1 John 4:10 (The Message)
How would you define real love? God defines it by giving His son so that you and I can live a victorious life!
That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Galatians 5:26 (The Message)
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:26 (New International Version)
Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:26 (New Living Translation)
by Max Lucado
If you ever wonder how in the world God could use you to change the world, look at the people God used to change history. A ragbag of ne’er-do-wells and has-beens who found hope, not in their performance, but in God’s proverbially open arms.
Abraham- God took what was good and forgave what was bad and used “old forked tongue” to start a nation. Moses- would you call upon a fugitive to carry the Ten Commandments? God did. David- his track record left little to be desired, but his repentant spirit was unquestionable. Jonah- God put him in a whale’s belly to bring him back to his senses. But even the whale couldn’t stomach this missionary for too long.
On and on the stories go: Elijah, the prophet who pouted; Solomon, the king who knew too much; Jacob, the wheeler-dealer; Gomer, the prostitute; Sarah, the woman who giggled at God. One story after another of God using man’s best and overcoming man’s worst.
The reassuring lesson is clear. God used (and uses!) people to change the world. People! Not saints or superhumans or geniuses, but people. Crooks, creeps, lovers, and liars—he uses them all. And what they may lack in perfection, God makes up for in love.
Jesus later summarized God’s stubborn love with a parable. He told about a teenager who decided that life at the farm was too slow for his tastes. So with pockets full of inheritance money, he set out to find the big time. What he found instead were hangovers, fair-weather friends, and long unemployment lines. When he had had just about as much of the pig’s life as he could take, he swallowed his pride, dug his hands deep into his empty pockets, and began the long walk home; all the while rehearsing a speech that he planned to give to his father.
He never used it. Just when he got to the top of the hill, his father, who’d been waiting at the gate, saw him. The boy’s words of apology were quickly muffled by the father’s words of forgiveness. And the boy’s weary body fell into his father’s opened arms.
The same open arms welcomed him that had welcomed Abraham, Moses, David, and Jonah. No wagging fingers. No clenched fists. No “I told you so!” slaps or “Where have you been?” interrogations. No crossed arms. No black eyes or fat lips. No. Only sweet, open arms. If you ever wonder how God can use you to make a difference in your world, just look at those he has already used and take heart. Look at the forgiveness found in those open arms and take courage.
And, by the way, never were those arms opened so wide as they were on the Roman cross. One arm extending back into history and the other reaching into the future. An embrace of forgiveness offered for anyone who’ll come. A hen gathering her chicks. A father receiving his own. A redeemer redeeming the world.
No wonder they call him the Savior.
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer
remain in the dark.
John 12:46 (New Living Translation)
I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.
John 12:46 (New King James Version)
I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.
John 12:46 (The Message)
Have you ever gone camping and went on a night hike? As you walk up the hill and turn your flashlight on it can be seen for miles! Jesus came into a dark world to be that light to lead people out of the darkness.
Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
John 20:21 (New Living Translation)
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
John 20:21 (New International Version)
Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”
John 20:21 (The Message)