Living Into My Contract with Jesus


GodReflection: My Contract with Jesus Reviewed

gary-2015I am glad I reviewed my old contract with Jesus. It was good to see the nine signatures. Six of which are those of Jesus. They are bold and clear. They are signed with his blood.

The three places I signed are legible but not near as strong. Yet, they remain valid.

  • I am promised my sin is forgiven.contract4
  • Jesus gives me Holy Help to navigate life.
  • He promised restored perfection.
  • I agree to walk by faith.
  • I repent of my self-sufficiency.
  • I died in baptismal water and was raise to life in Jesus.
  • Jesus guaranteed it all with his blood.
  • Jesus Affirmed his body was dead.
  • His Resurrection validates my contract.

It is a fair question to ask what I’ve learned from my reexamination of a contract drawn up six decades ago.

I begin with two observations. The first brings encouragement. In the spirit of Psalms 34:8, Taste and see that the Lord is good, I would like to think my life’s walk has drawn me to greater clarity and to increased trust in each promise affirmed by Jesus.

Second, I believe I’ve made progress over the past sixty years in the follow through of my attempts to walk by faith. I’ve grown in my awareness of the Holy’s navigation as I’ve tried to discern what it means to live a new life in Jesus.

However, my reality is I haven’t arrived. My aged gait makes a rather graphic picture living2of my faith walk. With my cane in hand I am terribly aware of the lack of dependability my legs provide.

Likewise, with my spiritual cane in my hand I am still called to live into my contract with Jesus. The finish line is yet past the curve ahead. It is still out of sight. A glance at the mortality tables lets me know I’m in the final lap.

From the vantage point of my contract with Jesus I look back over the history of my race thus far, then gaze down the lane of the final lap to see three realities ahead.

I will need to trust Jesus to get me to the finish line. The length of the race doesn’t matter. There are still unknowns ahead. To walk by faith to the very end is God’s plan to living7grow us and renew us for the next reality.

That means I must yet reduce dependence upon self. The further I run the more I understand how little power I hold. At this point I shouldn’t be alarmed. From the beginning my contract with Jesus affirms he is more than capable to carry my load.

And to end on a high note. A reread of my contract with Jesus gives me greater hope in resurrection and a restored new earth that I’ve experienced at any point in my life.

As you have read over my shoulder over the past ten posts, my hope for you is that your trust in your own contract with Jesus has been strengthened. And, my prayer is that as each of us live into our contract with Jesus, we will all do a better job in sharing his gift of cleansing grace with those placed in our path by the Holy.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Living Into My Contract with Jesus  

Gary@Godreflection.org  www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

His Resurrection Validates My Contract


GodReflection: My Contract with Jesus Reviewed

gary-2015I’ve never witnessed a dead person return to life among the living. Jesus knew resurrection was a difficult concept to get across. With odds greater than a lottery win all humanity arrives at terminal death.

I think of the unique story of the prophet Elijah who prayed to God and raised from death son of the widow from Zarephath. Eventually however, the boy died again at a later point in his life.

The Gospels record at least three occasions when Jesus raised the dead. When the Baptizer send his inquiry to Jesus from a jail cell, Jesus responds with: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk . . .  the dead are raised . . .” (Matthew 11:4-5). I assume over the three years of Jesus ministry he raised others from the dead not chronicled in the Gospels.

resurrection2Then, when I turn to Jesus teaching, I see him tell the disciples multiple times about his own resurrection after three days in a tomb. I read also that not one of them expected him to return to life after they witnessed his crucifixion.

It’s a fair conclusion to draw that first century followers of Jesus found resurrection a difficult concept to grasp. Even in the presence of Jesus it wasn’t a daily reality.

So here I stand two thousand years later why should resurrection be important to me? Why should I, one who never witnessed resurrection, believe Jesus conquered death and returned to life? Yet, I do.

This is something I don’t want to get wrong. His resurrection is important to me because it is a proof offered by Jesus to validate my contract with him. Not only was he raised but gps16he still lives.

If his resurrection didn’t happen then I’m walking the wrong trail. If Jesus wasn’t raised my walk will hit a dead-end of nothingness.

I think of the thoughtful testimony of Paul the apostle:

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15: 17-22).resurrection1

As last year near closure I came across a book by Andy Stanley with the title: Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World.

It was a rich read. His thesis was both interesting and, in my view, correct. My faith in Jesus depends on the validity of his resurrection. My salvation does not hang on my complete understanding of the book of Genesis or the book of Revelation. My salvation is summarized by Paul’s witness of early followers. Their witness is strong. My contract with Jesus is certified by Jesus’ resurrection.

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.

After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born (1 Corinthians 15: 3-8).


resirrection5Jesus signature is strong.
His own red blood from the quill remains bold and clear. It is easy to read—Jesus The Christ Son of God (risen from the grave). His grace filled signature covers all my sin. It covers every misstep whether intentional of not. He reads my heart not the list of my mistakes.

On one signature line of our contract his blood red signature honored by the Holy declares that he returned from death to live again. His witness affirms my own resurrection. If you have not signed a contract—all heaven yet pleads for you to accept Jesus’ signature and place your own by his as your gift of submission.

I would love to hear from you. What role does his resurrection play in your life?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: His Resurrection Validates My Contract  

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

Jesus Contract—He Affirmed His Body was Dead in a Tomb


GodReflection: My Contract with Jesus Reviewed

gary-2015The morning I started to draft this post I received word that my friend and lifelong cousin Norman died of a fatal heart attack the previous evening.

At breakfast this news found me in the middle of a reread of Timothy Keller’s book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.

As I ate my cereal, I came across these words in his chapter on The Challenge to Faith:

. . . It was not God’s intent for human life . . . even a peaceful death at the age of ninety years old is not the way things were meant to be. Those of us who sense the “wrongness” of death—in any form—are correct. The “rage at the dying of the light” is our intuition that we were not meant for mortality, for the loss of love, or for the triumph of darkness . . . we were not meant to simply go to dust, and that love was meant to last.

death10Death notices bring loss. They come with life on this earth. I can’t get use to them. Over the decades if I had a certificate for each death from family and friends, I would have a supply to cover the walls of multiple rooms.

In three places, Jesus signed the contract I made with him to give me assurance that death notices will be eliminated. His signature guarantees one day I will live without death.

He joined death to conquer its hold on me and those I love. That makes death a vital component in the account of Jesus’ crucifixion. Because of Jesus death I have hope packed in expectation.

death6The people who filled Jerusalem for the Passover celebration found themselves at Calvary as witnesses to the crucifixion scene of three men—one who claimed to be God’s Son and King of the Jews.

They heard his cries, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” “It is finished.”

Among the crowd all could see—Jesus died.

The apostle John stood by Jesus’ mother Mary and close enough to speak with Jesus, affirmed in his Gospel that Jesus was dead.

death4Roman soldiers knew he was dead. One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear and they all saw the flow of blood and water (John 19:34).

The wealthy man Joseph and the learned Nicodemus felt the feel of death when they took his lifeless body from the cross and touched the cold dead skin as the two of them wrapped it, with spices, in strips of linen (John 19:40).

Friday evening, Saturday and in the first hours of Sunday death reigned. In the blackness separated from the light of the Father, the perfect Jesus served sin’s death sentence in my place and in your place.

death7Jesus signature is strong. His own red blood from the quill remains bold and clear. It is easy to read—Jesus The Christ Son of God (risen from the grave).

His grace filled signature covers all my sin. It covers every misstep whether intentional of not. He reads my heart not the list of my mistakes.

On one signature line of our contract his blood red signature honored by the Holy declares his body was lifeless inside a tomb as he died in my place. If you have not signed a contract—all heaven yet pleads for you to accept Jesus’ signature and place your own by his as your gift of submission.

Have you ever dared to imagine how life will be without death?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Jesus Contract—He Affirmed His Body was Dead in a Tomb
Gary@Godreflection.org          http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Jesus Contract—He Signed with His Own Blood


GodReflection: My Contract with Jesus Reviewed

gary portrait4In my family I was among those who were the first generation to be raised off the farm. My birth place wasn’t exactly the big city although we enjoyed streets, blocks, neighbors and grocery stores.

blood5My dad’s cousin Bill couldn’t get the farm out of his blood so he and his wife raised their family of four boys and a girl on a farm in a fertile valley a few miles northwest of our little desert town.

Periodically, cousin Bill would pick up his telephone and set a day for dad to visit the farm. It was time to butcher a chosen animal or two for the family freezers. Dad would always take me and my brother to witness the process.

blood1As I reflect upon those occasions, they involved nothing less than the sacrifice of an animal. The cost of how beef, lambs, and pork arrive on the family table was a bloody and gruesome lesson for a young boy.

There was no doubt life was in the blood. In a most practical sense their life blood was lost to sustain life at our table.

It was from the centuries-old visual of animal sacrifice that God chose to communicate how much he loved his creation. He would come to earth as a helpless baby, live a perfect life, and be abused by the very human beings he had created. Lovingly, he became the sacrificial lamb that willingly allowed sin to drain the blood of life from his body.

blood9That sacrificial blood filled his pen and bears witness with his signature to his gracious declarative gift. Jesus hung in my place on a cross for my sin.

All heaven declared life is in the blood.

That is precisely what gives value to my contract with Jesus. He signed it with his blood. Validation flows from hundreds of eyewitnesses. They know  Jesus’ blood fills the pen. His signature is what I needed to cleanse me of sin.

A reread of my old contract brings renewed assurance for my daily faith walk. A brief recap of its content thus far.

  • I am promised my sin is forgiven.
  • Jesus gives me Holy Help to navigate life.
  • He promised restored perfection.
  • I agree to walk by faith.
  • I repent of my self-sufficiency.
  • I died in baptismal water and was raise to life in Jesus.
  • Jesus guaranteed it all with his blood.

Jesus signature is strong. His own red blood from the quill remains bold and clear. It is easy to read—Jesus The Christ Son of God (risen from the grave). His grace filled signature covers all my sin. It covers every misstep whether intentional of not. He reads blood8my heart not the list of my mistakes.

Look at the contract you made with Jesus. His blood red signature is honored by the Holy. If you have not signed a contract—all heaven yet pleads for you to accept Jesus’ signature and place your own by his as your gift of submission.

If you have signed a contract with Jesus, do you trust his signature to a greater or  lesser degree than you did when you formed the agreement?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Jesus Contract—He Signed with His Own Blood

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Jesus Contract—I Agreed to the Baptism Clause


GodReflection: My Contract with Jesus Reviewed

gary portrait4I grew up in a church that held in high esteem The Acts of The Apostles. It was the Bible book that served as the foundation of our Sunday School curriculum once we outgrew flannel graph.

My church preached from it on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and in fall and spring evangelistic meetings. (Yes, I have greatly exaggerated my church experience with Acts, but there was no doubt Luke’s Acts of the Apostles was our book.)

As a child even though I didn’t understand all that transpired in the waters of baptism I baptism1had witnessed baptism scores of times.

Then at the age of eleven Jesus light flooded my young reality. I saw the need to place my trust and faith in him. I understood that repentance came with my contract so I declare my new understanding with my signature on the Repent line. I knew what I had to do next.

baptism12It was almost by osmosis. Even at eleven years of age I had heard the conversion stories of Luke’s Acts multiple times. In every text, the main character—or characters—who committed to follow Jesus immediately entered baptismal waters.

In my last post I attempted to recall my week of decision as an eleven-year-old. I wrestled with my new awareness of sin for an entire week. I didn’t talk with anyone about it nor did I share what I planned to do. But come next Sunday I would resolve my discomfort.

I attended Bible class first. I was fully aware of my next step when we assembled for congregational worship. I remember nothing of the song service, nor the prayers.  I have no memory from the communion service or the slightest thing about the sermon.

baptism15What I remember is the song led after the sermon. In our church tribe we were all familiar with The Invitation Song.

That was the time when Christians who had moved into the community could make it known they wanted to be members of our church family.

It was the time when folks who hadn’t been doing well on the Jesus path could come in front of the church and ask for prayers and seek encouragement.

baptism7We all knew the invitation song was the prime time to declare one’s desire to be immersed in the waters of baptism.

So as the song began and reached its refrain—I am sure to my parents and siblings surprise—I step into the aisle and moved to the first church pew to make my desire known.

Jesus is calling, calling, calling, Jesus is calling today;
Why should I linger, linger, linger, I will arise and away.

They are so happy, happy, happy, who do their Savior obey; Why should I linger, linger, linger? I will arise and away.

As I filled out my intent card and visited with the preacher the song continued all around me.

Jesus is pleading, pleading, pleading, why should I wander in sin; While to His glory, glory, glory, Glad He would welcome me in.

Angels are watching, watching, watching, hoping that I will obey; baptism2I will accept Him, love Him, serve Him, Jesus, I’m coming today.

Jesus is waiting, waiting, waiting, Open now standeth the door; Soon the night falleth, falleth, falleth, closed are the gates evermore.

They are so happy, happy, happy, who do their Savior obey; Why should I linger, linger, linger? I will arise and away.

All these years later to think about my signature on the Baptism line brings a sense of peace, joy, confidence and gratitude. A reread of my old contract brings renewed assurance for my daily faith walk.

Jesus signature and my signature are still vital to the contract. He signs as guarantor. To receive access to his promises I signed the line that affirmed my desire TO BE BURIED baptism6AND RAISED WITH HIM THROUGH THE WATERS OF BAPTISM. That is what I needed to cleanse me of sin.

Jesus signature is strong. The red blood from his quill remains bold and clear. It is easy to read—Jesus The Christ Son of God (risen from the grave). His grace filled signature covers all my sin. It covers every misstep whether intentional of not. He reads my heart not the list of my mistakes.

Won’t you join me and reread your contract? Is your signature still strong?

I would love to hear your baptismal story. If you haven’t made that commitment you can rest assured that Jesus is still calling, pleading, watching, and waiting.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Jesus Contract—I Agreed to the Baptism Clause

Gary@Godreflection.org         www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

Jesus Contract—I Placed My Name on the Repent Line


GodReflection: My Contract with Jesus Reviewed

gary portrait4It’s a deal for my now as well as for my eternity. Jesus made me three promises: 1) All sins forgiven, 2) Holy Help to navigate life, 3) Restoration of everything to perfection. He signed his name with a failproof guarantee by each of these three items on our contract.

In addition, he stacks those three promises full of other benefits like peace of mind, forever friendships, inner joy, a future free of pain, a future free of loss with no more death. Not to mention a forever in the presence of Father, Son and Spirit.

The first place I signed was to trust that the Holy would produce on the promises so I signed that I believed. I would trust Father, Son, and Spirit to power my walk by faith.

repent3Then came the second clause on my part of the agreement—I placed my name on the Repent line.

In my church tribe we use the phrase “the age of accountability.” We all knew what that meant. For us it meant the time when as children we would receive a wake-up call. It was our aha moment.

As a child I lived with a free pass. During the early years my parents and our community helped me learn right from wrong. I didn’t get labeled as sinful for my bad behavior. As little tots I doubt that we ever felt we were petite sinners.

I can’t explain it other than it was probably the Holy who nudges us from within. As adolescent approached a light came on inside and for the very first time it dawned upon me, “I can’t be good under my own power. I sin even when I know I shouldn’t. I need God’s help.”

repent5I can’t say I remember the exact instant when that became my reality. I do remember I wrestled with my new repent6awareness for an entire week. I didn’t talk with anyone about it nor did I share what I planned to do. But come next Sunday I would resolve my discomfort.

From the bits and pieces picked up over the eleven years of life in my church I recognized I had reached the age of accountability. I was an eleven-year-old sinner. With church and family as my witness I needed to tell Jesus, “I repent.” I will share more about that moment in my next post.

Even as a young boy I had witnessed many people make contracts with Jesus. I knew what I needed to do. It was time to place my name on the Repent line.

Here I am six decades later I find myself in the process of a review of my contract with Jesus. What were the sins committed by a preadolescent that were in need of repentance?

Like any good Pharisee I could have made a list of all the sins I hadn’t committed. Growing up in a Christian home and within the life of a church we weren’t exactly into bank robbery and murder. So, what were the sins of a sheltered child that required repentance?

repent8Could it be that what I repented of as a child who had grasped—only over a week’s timeframe—that he could not be perfect be the exact sin that all must confront?

Could it be that I didn’t need to name a particular sin? Rather, I recognized that sin—any sin—was the great separator. It came between me and the Holy.

To sign on the Repent line is to declare, “Ok, I see that I need to change my direction. I repent of the allusion that I can learn to be good on my own. To be perfect is not within my reality. I repent of the rationale that since all humans sin there is no consequence for the wrongs I commit.”

I signed on the Repent line to declare, “I can’t live life under my own steam. I need the cleansing blood of Jesus to stand in for my sin.”

Once again, that makes Jesus signature and my signature vital to the contract. He signs as guarantor. By my name on the REPENT LINE, I sign to receive access to his promises.

A reread of my old contract brings renewed assurance for my daily walk.

Jesus signature is strong. The red blood from his quill remains bold and clear. It is easy to read—Jesus The Christ Son of God (risen from the grave). His grace filled signature covers all my sin.

Won’t you join me and reread your contract? Do you still trust Jesus signature? Let’s recommit together.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Jesus Contract—I Placed My Name on the Repent Line

Gary@Godreflection.org  www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Jesus Contract—I signed on the Faith Line


GodReflection: My Contract with Jesus Reviewed

gary portrait4Faith is a word I tend to paint over with a thick holy coating and sometimes forget how common it is to daily transactions.

When my dad signed the contract for my childhood set of World Book Encyclopedias, he signed in faith the entire set would be delivered. The salesman signed with faithful expectation my dad would pay the money.

faith1In college I signed contracts for tuition loans, meal tickets and dormitory space. I signed good faith contracts that I would be present for classes and do the work. The school signed good faith contracts they would provide classroom space, trained professors and accreditation to back their courses.

Routinely, we sign contracts in good faith for marriage, places to live, automobiles, insurance, utility services, and gazillions of other matters brought upon us by the demands of 21st Century life.

When we participate in good faith contracts, good faith deposits, good faith efforts and good faith estimates the assumption exists that all parties will live up to their word. We call this integrity.

contract13We all know that we human types don’t always live up to our original intentions made in good faith.

Marriages dissolve, deposits disappear, good faith efforts are not always met, and good faith estimates are not always honored. Lawyers, Judges and their assistants are numbered in the millions because people don’t honor contracts.

Jesus’ signature on our contract places it in a category above all others. Jesus has an eternal history of absolute integrity to back everything he has promised. Talk about a strong signature. It is honored by the Holy.

With my track record and the performance chart of my fellow humans it is a wonder that Jesus would accept my word on anything. And so, I stand in humility and awe that Jesus would trust me when I sign a declaration of faith. Especially, when he knew I would not always live up to my signature.

contract9It’s hard to say what I understood as an eleven-year-old boy when I signed on the faith line of my contract with Jesus.

I suspect it was little more than an acknowledgement of Jesus as God’s Son who died to remove my sin.

I signed on to follow him by faith but it would take a lifetime to start to comprehend what that meant.

To be fair I’ve felt the warmth of his smile on the occasions when I honored the contract and trusted in his care through the unknown. Those times become clearer in meditative hindsight.

In my more somber moments I regret the times when I failed to trust the Holy and missed opportunities to work with God in His mission. I missed out because I did not walk in faith.

faith9The obstacles seemed too tall to scale and too wide to go around. Obviously, I couldn’t do it on my own. My failure was in my lack of faith. I forgot to trust the Holy.

The reality is when it comes my time to check out of this present earth journey, I will still be far from perfect in my faith walk. The good news is: all is well because Jesus signature is on my contract.

I can trust Holy God with the next reality.

Once again, that makes Jesus signature and my signature vital to the contract. He signs as guarantor. To receive access to his promises I signed on TO LIVE BY FAITH.

A reread of my old contract brings renewed assurance for my daily faith walk.

faith7Jesus signature is strong. The red blood from his quill remains bold and clear. It is easy to read—Jesus The Christ Son of God (risen from the grave).

His grace filled signature covers all my sin. It covers the times when I’ve failed to trust—when I’ve failed to live by faith.

Won’t you join me and reread your contract? Is Jesus signature on your contract?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Jesus Contract—I Signed on the Faith Line

Gary@Godreflection.org    www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com