Thursday, December 25, 2014


"For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh..." (Romans 8:3)

 Christmas Day is winding down. The food has been eaten and presents opened. All the church services and church productions leading up to today are memories that are beginning to fade into the past. As I reflect on the activities and the reasons why we have all of this celebration, the word "helpless" comes to mind.

When Christ was born over 2000 years ago, He laid down His right to His throne and along with it, His authority. He humbled Himself (Philippians 2:5-8). He made Himself helpless...a baby. He was dependent on mankind for His daily care. He laid His life in the hands of the people whom He came to save; the people who would eventually crucify Him.

Why did He go through all of this? What was the significance? Why all the hoopla? Because we are helpless and only He could help us. As explained in Romans 8:3 above, the law was given, but it was too weak to save us. It was too weak because it required our ability to follow it flawlessly. We are helpless because we are sinful. The law actually served to show us how helpless we are (Galatians 3:24-25

That doesn't sound like good news because we don't like our faults being pointed out and we also don't like to be told we are helpless. However, the sooner we recognize and accept our helplessness, the sooner we can realize the tremendous gift and inheritance that God the Father has waiting for us. All our efforts end in disaster, but God's efforts end in an indescribable, wonderful eternity. (Romans 3:10-12, Isaiah 64:6-7, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Romans 5:8)

God's offer of salvation has nothing to do with our ability to be good or do good. We will fall short every time. Just one failure (sin) causes us to fall short of God's glory, but the price God paid by sending His perfect Son to die on the cross FOR YOU is sufficient for all time.
 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11, NASB)
I pray that if you have not already done so, you will soon accept this gift that God has held out to you. Come, confess your helplessness to God along with me and allow God to lift you up into His glorious inheritance. Then...let your life be lived for Him out of gratitude rather than appeasement.

For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm Not Enough, But I Am Complete

OK. If you subscribe to the email version of my blog, this one is coming to you twice.  That's because I am a new blogger and have uncertainties and overlooked details that catch me questioning things. I posted this last week and then realized that I had posted a similar blog. However, the content was not intended to be the same. Soooo, long story short: I deleted last week's post but decided to put it back. However, I plan to rewrite the content the way I intended it to be in the first place. That should post sometime before the week is up. It will be entitled "Helpless". Regardless, thank you for sticking with me in this learning adventure. I pray that you have been encouraged even a little!
I have some food sensitivities...many food sensitivities to be a little more specific. So many that my selections are very slim and I eat 99.5% of my meals at home so I know exactly what is in it.  Because of this there are days that no matter how much I eat of what I can eat, it's just not enough. Sometimes I continue to feel hungry and other times I just cannot feel satisfied with what I have eaten even if I am full. On those days, nothing is enough.

In our world which is highly saturated with psychoanalytics, many of us have felt this way about life, perhaps even about ourselves: "I am not enough". I have days like that: days in which I just don't feel like I am enough or have enough to meet the demands, requests or expectations of those around me. However, it is  not a lingering or predominant feeling.

One reminder I try to keep before me, though is that I am not enough to meet God's standard of perfection. I am not good enough, smart enough, clever enough or convincing enough to impress God.
10 as it is written
This is not a self-abasing attitude that I am practicing, nor is it a form of penance. It is simply reality. Why do I keep this reminder before me then? Because although I know I fall terribly short of God's standard and that those failures are an offense to Him, I gladly rejoice that out of His love for mankind, He has provided what I need to be not only acceptable, but abundantly supplied. Philippians 1:6 says, " For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." 

This perfection is accomplished because Jesus, God in the flesh, laid aside His rightful place on the throne of heaven for a short time to come to earth as a baby. He grew to manhood living a perfect life all the way through to His death on the cross. This is how He paid the debt we owe for our sins. The best part of this story is that after men put Him in a tomb and sealed it and placed a guard in front of it, He rose and overcame death.

What you must do to RECEIVE this same victory, this GIFT of eternal life, is accept it. It's that simple. If you accept this gift, understanding the magnitude of what He has saved you from, then your grateful heart will experience a change of desires and you will want to serve and obey what God says through His Word, the Bible.

We deserve worse because we are not enough, but God's love is enough for the whole world (John 3:16). He offers it, but He doesn't force it. However, He is a righteous God who demands justice for breaking His law, so the penalty must be paid one way or another: either by you or by Him. He has an abundant supply with which to pay and His desire is to pay, because He loves you (2 Peter 3:9).

Please receive His Christmas gift today and know that He completes the parts of you that aren't enough just like He has done and continues to do for me. You will be satisfied!
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift"

For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Maleficent = Good?

 "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20, NASB)

Let me start with a couple of notes:
The first is a spoiler alert. If you have not yet seen the movie Maleficent just be warned that I will be addressing the main plot in this post.  Second, please take note that I am not saying anything negative about the movie in this post. I am simply making a point about a current trend in our culture. I actually found the movie very entertaining and it was clean. We did not have to use our ClearPlay filter at all.

There seems to be a trend in the media to take what once was considered bad or evil and call it good. There are many subtle ways this takes place, but one of the prominent ways has been through movies that are targeted primarily at a young audience. One example in which this is subtly done is the fairly recent release of OZ: The Great and Powerful. At Oz's first encounter with Theodora, she introduces herself as Theodora the Good. Soon after, the truth is revealed that she is inherently evil. However, her surrender to evil is the result of her sister's deceptions.  Evil is justified by unfair treatment of others.

The plot is very similar in Maleficent. Maleficent is simply a guardian of her people and is looking out for their welfare, protecting them from the insatiable appetites of mankind. She finally opens her heart to trust a boy only for him to grow up and give in to greed. Out of his greed to become king he betrays and physically and emotionally harms her. It is out of this betrayal that she speaks the curse upon his first born.  After attempts to hide the child have failed miserably, Maleficent is seen following the child all throughout her life always protecting her while hiding in the shadows. The conclusion is that Maleficent was simply misunderstood and abused by mankind, yet she redeems herself from her wicked intent in the end.

The message is disseminated time and again that "evil is not always evil. It is simply a matter of perspective and a relative standard." The truth is that since God created everything that is in existence, including mankind, He gets to set the standard. His standard is much higher than our standard:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts(Isaiah 55:7-9, NASB)
We must be careful to remember that God is the sovereign ruler over all creation and we are dust compared to His greatness and power. However, we must also know that God's love is just as great as He is mighty and beyond our imagination. Though evil will never be good, and though we can never do enough good to reverse the evil we have done, God has provided for our evil to be washed away so we can live in the presence of His goodness forever. That was accomplished on the cross through the sinless sacrifice of the blood and body of Jesus Christ. He not only gave His life to pay our fine, but He defeated His death and ours when He rose from the grave on the third day.  Will you accept His gift today and have the evil of your heart wiped away just like He did for me 34 years ago? He has made my heart grateful by His wonderful gift!
  1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 6 The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children... (Psalm 103:1-17, NASB)

For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet