If I could only share one thing

Dear friends,

First and foremost, I am a Christian.

Jesus Christ is my Lord, my hope, my everything. I pray to live in a way that glorifies Him, but unfortunately, I don’t always — I fail, but Jesus never faulters.

Many of you know my Savior; some of you don’t. Regardless, I pray for each of you. Every few months, I pray through my friends list, focusing on about five to ten friends a day until I reach the end. You are all precious to me.

Your lives matter to me, but even more importantly, I believe that every one of you matters deeply to my heavenly father–our loving creator. I respect your right to believe differently and to roll your eyes and scroll on. But because I’m convinced that Jesus Christ is the only path for true joy, peace, and eternal life without torment, I’d be a monster not to share, so bear with me.

God knows our hearts and minds even more intimately than we know ourselves. He knows we are a hot mess of sin. No matter how much we try, our human frailty is never enough. We glorify ourselves, we hate, we destroy, and we ache for something better—something more.

We ache to know Him, but we can’t on our own. He is loving, holy, perfect, and just. We long for that, but can’t even really fathom it. God created us in His image, but sin entered the world, infusing us with its toxins. We gravitate toward evil, and even when we try to do right, our motives are ultimately corrupt.

Enter Jesus.

Jesus loved you enough to leave His heavenly throne and walk the hard and painful life of a persecuted man who lived in a time of oppression and division.

He lived a human life, fully God, yet fully man. Whatever your sorrow, He knows. He cares.

Jesus died for us. My transgressions against God justify my death and my eternal separation from Him, but His son took on a debt (my debt!) which I could never pay.

He rose again. I believe in the miracle of the resurrection, and I serve a risen savior. My God is a God who has conquered sin and death.

God reaches down and calls His people to Him so that we can trust in Him, believe in Him, surrender our own agendas to Him, and follow Him. To guide us in this, He’s given us His word (the Bible), and His Holy Spirit within us.

Those who trust in Him receive eternal life. It is only when we have peace with God that we can ever know real joy.

To those of us who love Jesus, this world is not our home. One day I will dwell with Him, free from this failing body, free to be who He created and intended me to be, fully at peace with Him, and free to know Him fully. In the meantime, I know I never walk alone.

If you don’t know Jesus and are interested, I encourage you to read the Gospels: the books of Mathew, Mark, Luke or John. (I suggest Matthew, but others recommend starting with John.) Feel free to message me if you want to know more.

Much love,

Dell

References:

Revelation 4:11 Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor an power,for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Psalm 139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

To Take His Name: נָשָׂא

“You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” Inigo Montoya’s heavily accented voice plays in my mind when I hear or read cautions against “taking God’s name in vain.” In the Princess Bride, the Dread Pirate Roberts repeatedly thwarts pseudo-intellectual Vizzini. Lather, rinse, repeat, several times, each punctuated by Vizzini’s declaration of “Inconceivable!” Finally, after numerous repetitions of “Inconceivable!” Vizzini’s henchman, Inigo Montoya, replies, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Both Exodus 20:7 and Deuteronomy 5:11 instruct us in the oft quoted third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Familiar as this mandate is, I believe it is misunderstood, and it comes down to translating the little word “NASA.” This NASA has nothing to do with America’s space program–rather it’s the little Hebrew word translated, “take.”

From my word study, the Hebrew word used here doesn’t mean “say” or “utter”, rather it means “to take up,” “carry,” “wield,” “lift,” or “bear.” In some contexts it even means “wed” or “marry.” It first appears in Genesis 4:7 when Cain says that his punishment (for killing Abel) is more than he can bear. (Hebrew word nasa H5375) Later in Genesis, Joseph uses this word for “carry” as he sends his brothers back home; “And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, (Hebrew word nasa H5375) and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth.” In Exodus 19:4 the Lord says, “ Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare (Hebrew word nasa H5375) you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” Other uses refer to a beast of burden bearing a load.

Of course, we shudder when we hear the name of our Lord trampled or sullied, but I don’t believe that’s what the third commandment addresses–it goes far deeper. The third commandment tells us not to bear Christ’s name (ie, “take up” or “carry” it as our own) lightly. Remember the initial audience of the 10 commandments: While Moses was up on Mount Sinai, receiving the tablets from God, the chosen people, a people bearing His name, melted down their jewelry to build a golden calf. Prone to wander, they took their status as His People as something of little consequence. The first two commandments segue into the third.

It would be easier if we could keep the third commandment simply by not uttering “OMG”, or abstaining from saying, “Jesus Christ” as a curse or filler syllables. It isn’t that easy. Instead of merely cautioning against profane use of words, it is admonishing those of us called Christians to not to bear Christ’s name tritely–a charge that is far greater weight and privilege!

I don’t think the third commandment condemns the unsaved person who misuses my Lord’s name, even as a curse. (No, that doesn’t mean it is ok–just that it’s not explicitly addressed in this particular commandment.) The third commandment speaks to those of us who take up Christ’s banner, calling ourselves “Christians” out of convenience without true regard for The Christ, whose name we claim. Just as we must not partake of the the sacraments (such as communion) indiscriminately (lest we drink condemnation unto ourselves per I Corinthians 11:29), so are we not to declare ourselves Christ-Followers flippantly. To say, “I am a Christian” isn’t to say that I am a moral person, or a church goer, or part of a certain social group; to say, “I am a Christian” is to say that due to unmerited grace from God, who bought me back from my rebellion at inconceivable cost, I belong to Him and owe Him everything.

-Dell