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For the Love of God

April 5, 2006

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

What motivates you to get going in the morning? Is it the memory of freshly brewed coffee from Starbucks, or the alarm clock beckoning the beginning of a new workday, or the bills in the top drawer, or the cry of a baby, or animals needing attention in the barn? Are your goals short term or long term? Are they temporal or eternal? And what motivated Jesus to come from heaven to earth, take on human flesh, and live His life as the sin-bearer and the servant of righteousness?

Jesus came for the love of God. God gave His only and unique Son to live and die a sacrificial death out of His love and His grace. Jesus gave Himself, giving His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20.28, Galatians 1.4) for the love of God. In this divine act of love, divine justice is satisfied. Those who believe in Jesus have everlasting life. Their sins are forgiven and they are justified freely by Godís grace. Bearing our sins and being the servant of righteousness, Jesusí whole life of personal, perpetual, perfect obedience even to death on a cross is a gift of grace, a costly declaration of divine love. Thus the demand of justice was met by the provision of love. Love moved God to send His Son into the world to die the death that His justice demanded, and the atoning death of Jesus Christ is the ground of our acceptance and enjoyment of divine favor, the love relationship of the covenant of grace.

There is life, real life, no other way. This divine life, this abundant life, this eternal life, this fullness of life, is in Christ.

We all want the good life, donít we? We want good health, good days, plenty, happiness, liberty. We want to be loved, appreciated, admired, approved, accepted, and forgiven for our faults and failures. We want comfort, ease, good friends, and family. We want our lives to count, to mean something to someone.

Follow Me, Jesus said. Follow His steps, the Apostle Peter said. Follow me as I follow Christ, the Apostle Paul said.

Money helps, but winning the lottery doesnít ensure happiness. Happiness, according to the article "What Really Makes Us Happy" by Dorothy Foltz-Gray in the February 2006 issue of Prevention magazine, is "a level of contentment that stays constant through changing circumstances, such as the loss of loved ones or winning big bucks." Scientists have set out to see what makes people happy, and according to this article by Foltz-Gray, "heart strengths" like gratitude, hope, zest, and the ability to love and be loved top the charts. Some draw on creativity, some draw on curiosity, and some draw on their strengths to give them resilience. (Prevention, February 2006, pages 157-163)

What floats your boat? Where do you find yourself in the flow? Jesus likened life to bread and to a river. He said He is the Bread of Life and that those who come to Him shall never hunger; and those that believe on Him shall never thirst. (John 6.35) Believe on Jesus and out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7.38) Revelation 22.1 says, "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." Your soul and your spirit will be teeming with life so much so that you will bless others mightily.

Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD, found that the most satisfied people pursue 1) the pleasant life, with good times; 2) the engaged life, in which you give or lose yourself to some passion or activity; and 3) the meaningful life, a life of purpose that may not see many highs or bliss but in which you participate in a greater cause. (Ibid, p. 161)

Jesus had a life full of enjoyment. He knew joy, a joy so profound that for the joy set before Him He could endure the cross, despising the shame, and find Himself rising from the dead to sit at the right hand of the throne of God, pleasures forevermore. (Hebrews 12.2) Consider Him.

Jesus lost Himself to the grand passion of loving God and loving all that God created. He came to die our human death (Phil. 2.7). He died for our sins (1 Cor. 15.3). He was delivered up for our offenses (Rom. 4.25). He died for us (1 Thess. 5.9, 10). He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9.26). As a merciful and faithful High Priest, He made propitiation for the sins of the people (Heb. 2.17).

His was a life of purpose, passion, and pleasure. By bearing our sin and being the servant of righteousness, Jesusí death accomplished great things:

His death overcomes the law (Romans 7.4, Gal. 2.21)
His death overcomes sin. (2 Corinthians 5.21, Col. 1.22)
His death overcomes our death. (Romans 5.9; 2 Tim. 1.10;
Hebrews 2.14; Rev. 1.17)

Jesus Christ abolished death through His substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice (Isaiah 53, Romans 3, 1 Cor. 5.7, 2 Cor. 5.21). He did all this for the love of God as Godís love filled Him and flowed out from Him. And the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5.5) that we might be filled with Godís love and have His love flow out from us into the lives of others.

We are called to have fullness of life, to live a life for the love of God. Jesus died for us, for our sin. He then calls us to follow Him; to take up our cross and follow Him; to deny self and follow Him; to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. We are called to die with Christ and die: to the world (Galatians 6.14) because it is not the source of life; to the enslaving powers of the world (Colossians 2.20); to the slavery of the law (Romans 7.6); to a life in sin (Romans 6.6); to living unto yourself (2 Corinthians 5.14-17).

For the love of God we are to lay down our lives, our selfish ambitions and "me" focus, take up the cross, and live our lives serving one another in love with compassion and grace. It is the Holy Spirit given to us that enables us to live such lives of love. For the love of God, what will you do tomorrow morning?

In May we have a mission team going to Mozambique, a nation in Africa where AIDS orphans abound, and children suffer who never asked to be born in such deplorable conditions. 40% of the population is under 15 years of age.

Steve, Susan, and I are being sent to Mozambique to bear some of the weight of their burdens, spiritual and physical. Weíre being sent and weíre going for the love of God. God loves people all over the planet, and He has sent us to 60 nations so far to proclaim His gospel and be vessels of ministry to countless thousands. Will you help? The love of God has touched our hearts and lives. The love of Christ constrains us. What about you?

For the love of God,

Mary Craig

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Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays, grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060.
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Send in your prayer requests because every Tuesday night we pray for them individually and personally, not in a stack. Be blessed! We love you.

Beloved, if God so loved us,
We ought also to love one another.
By this we know that we love the children of God,
When we love God, and keep His commandments.
1 John 4.11, 5.2

Celebrate the Resurrection!

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Copyright © 2006 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.


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