Tag Archive | Ed Young

Always Keep Looking At Jesus

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This morning, the day before we celebrate Thanksgiving in America, I was reading a devotional by Pastor Ed Young. His last words to me today were these: Always keep looking at Jesus, and tell others what you see.

With so much controversy, meanness and downright hate we hear from everyone from the press to the people on the street these days, these words are brilliant. Always keep looking at Jesus, and tell others what you see.

Oh, if only everyone, even those who don’t follow Him, would do that, how much different would things be? When I look at Jesus, I see obedience. He always and only did what His Father told Him to do. He obeyed his earthly parents. The result of that was a perfect life, lived always at the center of the Father’s will. How did He do that? Well, being fully God Himself helped, but He listened. He often went off to a quiet place to pray. His food was to do the will of the One who sent Him.

When I look at Jesus, I see compassion. He healed those who came around Him—and even some who had to have someone come in their stead. He spoke kindly. He had life in His words for those who were dying. The only time he spoke roughly, it wasn’t to sinners, it was to those who thought they were godly, but were “whitewashed sepulchers.” They might look good on the outside, but inside, they held only death. Hypocrites. He had no tolerance for them. The lost He lead to life. I don’t know who said it, but I love this quote: Jesus did not come to make bad people good; He came to make dead people live. Jesus’ words brought life to those who heard Him.

When I look at Jesus, I see unconditional love. He knew people all around Him were bound for hell, and He loved them. He spent time with them—yes, sinners! He taught them. And then, in the act of ultimate love, He died for them. The Scriptures say that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Without forgiveness, people perish. Ultimate love, ultimate compassion, ultimate obedience.

When people see me, hear me, read what I write, can they tell I’ve been looking at Jesus?

When you look at Jesus, what do you see?

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Free Indeed

Basketball_3_5Pastor Ed Young wrote of a time when he would take his two sons around to different parks to look for pick-up basketball games. One day they settled in to play a half-court game while another game was being played on the other half court. As Pastor Young watched, the difference in the two games was astoundingly clear: In one, there were no rules, and it was a free for all. In the other, a clear set of rules was being followed, and boy, did he see some great ball being played. The players clearly knew what they could and could not do, and some were even calling fouls on themselves. The rules set them free to shine with some amazing b-ball skills. On the other half court, no rules created mayhem. In volleyball terms, we call that “jungle ball.”

The same applies to the road: If drivers aren’t following the rules, accidents happen. If you drive the wrong way on a one-way street, you’re going to crash into someone sooner or later. If you don’t stay on your side of the white line, again, an accident is likely to occur. There is only freedom to get where you’re going safely if everyone abides by the rules.

Yes, we want freedom, but that comes with a responsibility to be aware of those around us and to live by, yes, rules. Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

We’re so big into “rights” in America. But really, so much of what we call “rights” is really “privileges.” If we put other people before ourselves in every circumstance, then we are truly practicing freedom; the freedom to love people the way Jesus called us to love. And boy, will we see some life being lived.

John 8:36 reminds us, “So if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” Because He set me free, I am His bondslave, bound to do what He wants me to do, and that is to not put myself before others.

 

Image courtesy of bayoupreps.com