I declare several times a month that I will only shop at Aldi “from now on” in order to save money.  However, I always find myself back at Giant Eagle picking up several items when my goal was to get one specific thing.  After all, we live very close to a Giant Eagle so it’s hard not to return often.  With a family our size, we almost always need something.  Then I play the old well it saves gas money card.  Nevertheless, one particular cashier there always pays special attention to the kids…Mrs. Rosanne.  She and my two-year-old, Harper, have a tradition going.  After we pay, Mrs. Rosanne happily puts a “paid” sticker on each of Harper’s hands. Harper laughs, says thank you and tells her bye with a huge smile on her face.  Today, after Mrs. Rosanne applied the stickers, she put the handheld scanner over one of them.  Harper’s eyes lit up as the red, cross-shaped beam covered it. 

 In that moment, as I watched the “cross” hover over the “paid”, I couldn’t help but to think of my beautiful Savior; of the One who paid for my sins, the One who paid for all of our sins.  To be honest, I use to shy away from the word (and topic of) sin.  But the more I began to understand it over the years, the more I realized how dark, ugly and deceptive it was.  The more I realized how important it was to expose and deal with it in my own life.  So once I  began wrapping my mind around the tip of the vast black hole of sin in general, I started to appreciate Jesus and all He’s done for me even more. That is why things as simple as seeing a bright orange “paid” sticker takes my mind back to the cross.

 I once heard a Francis Chan sermon about the lies Christians (and others) believe.  One of the lies he mentioned at the end was that we believe we are good people.  As a society, we’ve created and lived by a mindset that says if we aren’t murderers, donate to charity and mind our own business every day, we are good people.  Mark 10:18 says  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.  “No one is good—except God alone”.  Jesus himself said he isn’t even good and he was sinless!  Not to mention, the bible also says even our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).   I could go on and on.     

The point is, no one is immune to being in need of a Savior.  When you really examine God’s character through His word, you begin to discover just how righteous and just He really is.  You begin to see the true nature of humanity and why Jesus came to die on the cross.  Therefore, God is the only one worthy to hand out ultimate judgment.  And when you look at all the facts, we really deserve that judgment. And this may be hard to hear, but technically, we deserve Hell too (no matter how good we think we may be). But because of His relentless and unconditional love for us, He sent His son to pay for our sins providing a way for us to live eternally, with Him.  He was willing to reach His children at all costs.  Now that is love. I’m so thankful Jesus closed the gap.  I always cry during the crucifixion scenes in movies about His life and death.  I want to jump in the TV and scream no!  Stop!   The irony is, I could have very well been one of the people screaming crucify him!  Anyhow, I cringe at each nail driven into His flesh and at each drop of blood that leaves His body.  Sometimes I forget it’s just an actor.  But nevertheless, it helps me to be more mindful of all He really endured for us not only on the cross, but also during His entire ministry.

There is so much deception and evil lurking in the human heart (more than we care to admit).  It’s especially difficult to see when we live in a culture that teaches us to follow our hearts (that’s a whole other post in itself).  I read a quote recently that stated, “The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human.” It couldn’t be truer.  There is a plethora of scripture about the heart as well.  I encourage you to research them and pray for a deeper understanding (see verses below as well).

Listen, don’t let “Jesus loves you” be shrunken down to some cliché little saying in your mind.  Soak it up for the powerful truth that it is.  He loves you more deeply than any love you have ever experienced in your life. 

Pray with me today!

Father, thank You for Jesus.  Thank You for not leaving us to experience what we deserve, but for sending a way out.  Thank You for who You are and all that You do. I pray today that You help us all experience Your radical love on a level so deep, it makes us want to go out and change the world.  Lord, put a fire and boldness in the depths of our souls and remind us that You are with us every step of the way. We love You so much.  In Jesus’ name, amen. 

You are so deeply loved, friends.  So much so that the King of the world paid for you with His life.

Until next time…

The bible is rich in powerful wisdom, beautiful analogies and inspiring stories that help us to better understand God’s character and successfully grow in the midst of life’s ups and downs. There are so many more scriptures that tie into what I shared today, but I will leave you with these for now.
 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with his stripes, we are healed” – Isaiah 53:5
 “For you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23
*Watch Francis Chan’s Popular Lies Christians Believe sermon: 
 I encourage you to mediate on them throughout your week. Study the context. In addition, pray for God to show you exactly how you can apply them to your life now. Nothing is too small for Him to use; you just never know what He’s up to! And as always, I am on this journey with you so let’s do this!