We are Barabbas

A few weeks ago, friend of mine shared a video on her Facebook and tagged me in it. I had watched that video at least three times since, because it was absolutely lovely and made me think!

[Here is the video in case you missed my earlier blog]

I’d like to add to this video, with my own thoughts and discoveries – a short reflection and commentary. Here are the main points Judah Smith presented:

  • We are Barabbas; we are the prisoner being freed.
  • We did not deserve that freedom. Like Barabbas, we were “thugs” and “rebels” (according to Judah Smith).
  • Like Barabbas, we are not thankful to Jesus for this transaction (not realizing Jesus set him – or us – free). In fact, Barabbas did not even know who Jesus was.
  • Our salvation and help comes from God, not within ourselves.
  • Jesus died so Barabbas (we) can live.
  • God loves us more than we could comprehend.
  • Your greatest challenge is simply BELIEVING.

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Barabbas was the leader of an insurrection, or a violent rebellion, against the government and a murderer. 1 Samuel 15:23 says rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft. Many books in the Old Testament speak against witchcraft. Exodus 22:18 says “you shall not permit a sorceress to live.” Since the two are synonymous sins, then rebels DESERVE their deaths. Revelations 21:8 and Galatians 5:20-21 confirms this. Yet, here comes Jesus, the Son of Man and God in the Second Trinity, to take the place of such shameful sin and place it on Himself. This is love.

This is salvation. A free gift.

We were friends of this world and kin to sin; rebels to God and murderers of all things Holy. Daily we sin, grieve the Holy Spirit, doubt, turn our backs to God, leave un-repented sin, refuse to believe in God and accept His gift of salvation. These are enslaved free slaves. John 8:34 says, “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” However, as Jesus traded places with us. “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36). “For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.” (Romans 6:20) Hence, we can not serve two masters – as we are free from one, we must serve one.

Yet, there are those who profess one and return to their old ways. As Judah Smith puts it, “You can not shake yourself free. There’s no answer within yourself. There’s only ONE – The One who TOOK YOUR PLACE.” God wants your sin. He wants you to live; He has plans for you on Earth (“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11) and a life after this. His blood is sufficient; It IS finished.

Jesus is ENOUGH!

My love

If you feel bound to sin, if you haven’t given your life to the One who gave it to you. I want you to give me 60 more seconds – Just 1 minute. Turn off your television, surround yourself in quietness, clear your mind. Just for 1 minute. You don’t have to know God to pray to Him; you don’t have to be a Saint to seek Him as we all are sinners. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) With all your heart and soul say this prayer. Allow God to make Himself known to you; allow Him to break those chains on your feet and walk with Him; allow Him to love you.

 

God in Heaven, I acknowledge that I am Barabbas – a sinner who has rebelled against you. I no longer what that title, I want to be Your Child and a Brethren of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I am returning to You, Father, as a prodigal son, as a lost sheep and I know You are waiting with open arms and a celebration. I confess in my heart and with my tongue that Jesus is Lord. Jesus, please come into my heart and life, make a home in my soul. I accept You as my personal Savior and Lord. I want to be Your servant, and only Yours! Create a thirst in me to seek You, to do Your Will, to read Your Word, and share You with those I come into contact with. Though I may stumble, I believe and know You will be there to pick me up as You have already carried my burden on the Cross. These things I ask in Your Holy and Gracious Name. Amen.

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Daily Devotion: Blessed are the MEEK

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:5

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This week seems to dive into an introspection of our speech and personality and how it pertains to our Christianity. You should not aim to change yourself for the sake of “appearing righteous” because this will only lead to disappointment, discouragement, and possibly feeling like you are a “Failed Christian.” Such a deep change will occur overtime and purely on it’s own; in the meantime, it’s important to aim to show certain qualities to the world. We are Christ’s ambassadors and our lives show if living for God and not this world is actually worth it. Make a change…

Starting with being meek. 

It is one of the Beatitudes, it’s a prime quality of Our Savior and it is easier said than done. Meekness. What is being meek? When I hear the word ‘meek’ I immediately envision a prophet or Christ Himself; a soft voice, a still tongue, and a modest attire. Those are prime qualities linked with being meek. According to Wikipedia, words/phrases like “God-fearing, righteous, humble, teachable, patient under suffering, willing to follow Gospel teachings; an attribute of a true disciple” better describes the attributes of a meek person. This surpasses my personal definition by a long shot.

Look back at those attributes and ask yourself if you think you’re up to par yet.

God-fearing: the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 110:10) A complete understanding of who God is and what He can do will put things into perspective, thus roots wisdom.

Righteous: there are no righteous, sinless people on Earth. We must aim for righteousness by aiming to be sinless. By relying more on God and not on our own understanding we will yield less and less on our sinful desires.

Humble: Have you ever been boastful, prideful or show-offy? It happens to us all at times but we must aim for humility. Be modest in speech and dress, if you do then chances are you won’t have to apologize or swallow your words in the future.

Teachable: This means you must be able to take advice and criticism: a hard pill to swallow. Learn to simply nod and smile when someone advises you before speaking. If you continue to do this you’ll form a habit of accepting criticism without throwing over a table or arguing.

Patience under suffering: Patience is a virtue. I’ve had a lot of practice becoming more patient while waiting for government offices to handle any important documents I may need. Sure, you can take patience into your own hands by acknowledging that God is always in control… and you can always visit a government office as a cherry on top.

Willing to follow the Gospel teachings: Being willing and simply doing are completely different. If I am willing then I will not feel hampered by following God’s Word, I won’t feel self-deprived because I don’t mind being abstemious. Maybe this comes from growth in your Walk with God or simply your love for Him.

Remember that being meek does not mean you must be dull, lack-luster in personality, and lose all your characteristics. It is an addition and modification to your personality and is a blatant illustration that God is working within you by humbling you! In becoming meek, remember: to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. (Titus 3:2)

Prayer: Father, I thank You for all that You continuously do for me. I want to be more like Your Son, Jesus Christ. Please, help me and guide me to become more meek in a world that is boastful, prideful, and boisterous. May Your Holy Spirit fill me and humble my heart to Your likeness so that I may inherit the earth. This I ask in Your Holy Name. Amen.

Speak Like A Christian – Part ONE (with Tips!)

Lately, I’ve been thinking about doing this specific blog because this is a specific problem I have – my mouth. Our mouths are the most dangerous, lethal weapons in the world. We have the power to uplift, encourage, strengthen, enlighten but we also have the power to sadden, discourage, and evoke fear, hate and other negative emotions in others.

Usually, it’s responding to comments, criticism and concerns that tests our tongues. We are told such negative things at times and don’t know how to respond, even with constructive criticism. The Bible says “death and life are in the power of the tongue,” (Prov. 18:21) both physical and spiritual death and life.

What does the Bible say about speech?

 

1. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

 

 Our words should be acceptable to God; He should not be saddened or grieved by the words we speak. TIP: It helps many to count to 10 before speaking, and imagining how the other person would feel before responding. Remember to imagine the outcome and do this especially when altercations arise.

How do we know our words are acceptable to God?

  1. Bible-speech. As you grow try learning certain scriptures each day, and use them in your daily speech, adding them to your tongue as your life progresses. This is something I just started doing and it’s actually pretty fun! Using cue cards or a small notebook to hold these scriptures will be helpful throughout the day.
  2. Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Paul tells us we must think about things which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report (admirable), and praise-worthy. I’m telling you to say such things.

  1. Complimentary. Giving someone a compliment makes quite a huge difference in the way they see you. Get into the habit of complimenting people, aim for giving out free compliments at least 5 times a day. Be careful not to appear as fawning, they’ll think you want something from them and possibly run away with their wallets tucked underneath their armpits. No, I’m not speaking from experience…

 

2. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

 

Do you just have those days when you’re in such a bad mood that even if a kitten crossed your path you’d feel the need to turn away and grunt? We all have bad mood days it’s when it affects others where these days become infectious.

Sometimes, I may be in a bad mood and one of my friends are walking around extra-jolly and peppy. It makes me want to strangle myself because I’m an envious Mr. Grinch. Because Mr. Grinch was so grumpy he tried to make others grumpy and he focused more on the negative than on the positive. We can all get like Mr. Grinch from time to time, we’re HUMAN but we can’t stay in that negative attitude, we’ll only bring others down with us.

TIP: Start thinking about all the things that make you happy. Reminisce on the good ‘ole days, you know, before you turned into a green frowny face. Lastly, learn to react based on facts instead of emotions. (This one is especially for me!)

 

3. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. – Colossians 3:8

 

There are four things to focus on here – anger, hatred, gossip, and cursing. Of course, even if you’re a Christian you will still have remnants of these. It’s important not to materialize and vocalize these. You’re expected to be angry at people, but hatred should be highly avoided. Remember that God rules over everything and everyone; if someone has done you wrong, leave it to God.

Gossiping is addictive. Women and men are guilty of this (yes, men are great gossipers). Remember to build up your brothers and sisters, speak to them directly instead of speaking about them to other people.

I was never too big on cursing, although at some point I had started to adopt some curse words. Fortunately, I don’t curse anymore. It’s a habit that may be hard to break, but it is breakable. TIP: use substitutions for curse words, it helps a lot to break the habit.

 

Try following these tips this week. Next week I will post Part Two which focuses on specific responses to questions/insults common these days.