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We all have a STORY.

The world often lies to you, telling you that your story doesn’t matter, that you have to be better, smarter, stronger, more popular, more talented, or more athletic to have value and purpose. Those are all lies! You matter because you were created by God. You were “fearfully and wonderfully” made by Him for His purposes. God has given you purpose and value that no one or nothing can ever take away.

To truly understand your value and purpose, you have to understand how you fit into God’s story.

God’s Story

In the Bible, we see the beginning of the story He is writing when He created the heavens and the earth. He followed that with the masterpiece of His creation, man and woman (Adam & Eve), who were created with the purpose of reflecting His glory as they enjoyed perfect relationship with Him.

The harmony of God’s creation was broken when Adam and Eve chose to believe a lie from a fallen angel named Satan. They disobeyed God, and the consequences of their disobedience (called sin) were devastating! Sin not only broke Adam and Eve’s relationship with God, it entered creation and caused eternal separation from Him. Pain, sin, death, and separation from God have been passed down through humanity to all generations to follow. With mankind having no way to right the wrong of sin and facing a seemingly hopeless destiny, God provided the greatest rescue of all time.

Because of His love for His creation, God Himself became human in the person of Jesus.  Being fully God, yet fully human, He lived a sinless life here on earth. In the ultimate act of love Jesus willingly laid down His perfect life on a cross, paying the debt of mankind’s sin for all who put their trust in Him. Because Jesus was fully human, He could represent humanity; because He was fully God, He alone could afford to pay our debt. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the greatest display of mercy and grace the world has ever known. Jesus met our greatest need, something we could never do ourselves.

After three days in a borrowed grave, He rose again. By doing so, he demonstrated that His mission to defeat sin and death was complete. For forty days he appeared to His followers here on Earth, demonstrating His victory over sin and death, before returning to reign with God in Heaven. But that’s not the end of the story…

For those who trust in Jesus, God has promised forgiveness of sins and restoration of our relationship with Him. A restored relationship with God is life-changing. He brings hope, peace, joy, and life abundantly as we trust Him. He gives us His Holy Spirit to live in our hearts as our perfect guide and encourager. Even today, Jesus intercedes on our behalf, sitting at the right hand of God in Heaven.

The story God is writing from creation to restoration is captivating, and He created YOU to be an important part of it. Joining God in His Story allows you to discover forgiveness, significance, and true purpose that can’t be found anywhere else.

The moment you trust Jesus Christ, you have relationship with God. You become a part of His story fulfilling the purpose for which you were made. The more you grow in relationship with God, the more you will begin to understand His story and how your life is a part of the greatest story ever!

The Invitation to Join His Story

Have you ever trusted Jesus Christ and embraced a relationship with God?

If not, and you would like to join God’s story, click HERE for more information on how to do that.

So have you joined His story?
Do you need more information about His story?
Would you like to share your story?

Please feel free to respond and share.  Be blessed today as you live out your important part of THE GREATEST STORY EVER!

For spiritual encouragment, check out these devotionals HERE.


*Kenneth "Tripp" Atkinson is a pastor, speaker, writer, and coach that lives in the Atlanta, GA area.

complacency and coming judgment

Seek good, and not evil, that you may live;
and so YHWH, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.
Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that YHWH, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
Therefore thus says YHWH, the God of hosts, the Lord:

"In all the squares there shall be wailing, and in all the streets they shall say, 'Alas! Alas!'
They shall call the farmers to mourning and to wailing those who are skilled in lamentation,
and in all vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through your midst," says YHWH.

Woe to you who desire the day of YHWH! Why would you have the day of YHWH?
It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him.
Is not the day of YHWH darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god-- your images that you made for yourselves,
and I will send you into exile beyond Damascus," says YHWH, whose name is the God of hosts.

--Amos 5:14-27 (to Israel in a time of peace and prosperity)

salvation by one name

"Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man stands healthy before you. This one is the stone--that was rejected by you, the builders--which became the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else. For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

--Acts 4:10-12 (Peter speaking the rulers, elders, scribes, and those with the high priest in Jerusalem)

protectors of the church

And now, behold: I know that you all will see my face no more, among whom I went about proclaiming the kingdom. Therefore, I testify to you on this day that I am innocent of the blood of all. For I did not shrink from proclaiming the whole purpose of God to you. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which he obtained through his own blood.

--Acts 20:25-28 (Paul addressing the elders of Ephesus while in Miletus)

my theology

Hello,

today I wanted to share with you my theology. I hadn't entirely left God with some of my last posts but have come back to Jesus and don't believe in other deities anymore. It was a bit of a sin that I left but I wanted to see whether other gods existed and experimented in order to broaden my horizon. But as I said, now I have come back and went to divine services in my lutheran church and took communion a few times and am better now.

So here is my theology, I would call it a theology of the cross. Basically, on the cross God in Christ reconciled the world and everything in it to himself and made peace between man and Him. Prior to that, in the incarnation, his son Jesus revealed himself but as such he was rarely accepted. He had to sacrifice himself first so that forgiveness would come before faith and so he could keep loving even those people who did not accept him because of ignorance. On that cross Christ forgave everyone their sins, past, present and future, and on top of that he changed the system of righteousness and nailed the handwriting of the mosaic law on the cross and put it out of the way. Now it is not these rules anymore which mediate between man and God but instead the crucified Savior who acts in love and forgiveness not because we force him but instead simply because He is such a person and has such a will.

With the mosaic law out of the way we can turn to two other systems of commandments that might help us be enlightened about ethics. One would be God's law, which means the 10 commandments, and the other is Christ's law that means the 2 love commandments of loving God and neighbor. These two laws do not speak of punishments for sinning but instead describe an ideal ethical reality. If everyone followed the 10 commandments, we would have a wonderful world. And if we also followed Jesus' love commandments it would be all perfect.

We know from the bible that Jesus was sinless, but I don't think this means complete sinlessness according to the mosaic code. It was instead sinlessness according to the same law that Jesus preached, the 10 commmandments and the two love commandments. Jesus fulfilled these two systems perfectly and interpreted them rightly, for example that doing good on the sabbath is acceptable and commendable actually. He did not see his righteousness as coming from mosaic law and instead considered this law only a mere shadow, as a cause of anger and wrath, as unable to produce the good and as something that made sin alive and causing death. As we can see, here too Jesus follows his ways of forgiveness and love.

About salvation, part of it, the salvation of eternal life after death, Jesus has already finished on the cross. But it is not a reality of those who disbelieve and these people will receive redemption in the afterlife when they go to God as all humans must because it is appointed to us to die once and then go to judgment. But Jesus is the advocate of those who sin and he stays that way in Heaven in the afterlife so the judgment of God is loving and fair, he knows we are but dust, we have a body that can experience pain and suffering, there are many bad influences on us for example the influence of satan and we are simply not perfect and not always loved enough to secure us to a life of purity without fear. And even if someone were utterly sinful God would still love this person because love is above justice. Things like war and terrorism where God must sometimes strike down evil men, don't carry over into the next life.

So that is my theology of the cross and I believe it is big enough to show the grace of God that extends to all of his creation and which expresses God's love in Jesus Christ that reconciled everything to him. As in Adam all sinned, in Jesus Christ all are made alive. The death is swallowed up by life. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

jesus is lord

I love Jesus. Without him, life is so empty. He is our solace and comfort. Jesus, the bringer of grace. Fear is abolished and has ceased for me. Because I believe in God's son. The world troubles me often, but in this Jesus I can trust like St. Paul has written. God loves us. There is no more crying for me, because I have found someone who is greater than my sorrow and pain.

update about my transgender side

As some of the oldtime readers here might know, I have some transgenderism to me. I rejected it for quite a while when I still followed conventional evangelicalism, but since I also accept Allah it came strongly to me that I also need to embrace my transgender side. Heaven is sweet so that we can fulfill such longings there easily, but Allah impressed on me how important and liberating it is to also see these things in this life. I am not fully tg and instead more of a queer type, with an asexual and autistic twist to my hobbies and behaviors, and that gave me reason to think of Jesus as someone who kind of stuck me on my male body. But this was not true, Jesus is just the kind of deity-being that loves and (sometimes accidentally) inspires earnest and thorough thinking.

This year I finally found back my youth love and we will meet and marry in not too distant a future. It is likely that I will test and try and do my tg experience too. I heard the spirit say too me jokingly and yet earnestly that I need to embrace my female side to love my male side too.

Unity in Christ

I wish all the Christians of the world could grow to live together in a 'unity in diversity'. The history of Christianity is full of schism and sectarianism, with different groups insisting on their own version of doctrinal uniformity, and declaring themselves 'out of communion' with anyone who does not accept their particular interpretation of 'the truth'.

Yet at the heart of the Gospel, God is truth, and love is truth, and grace is truth. And speaking personally, I consider myself in communion with all other Christians, whether I share all their views or not. The reason for this is that I believe our unity is only, ever, in Christ.

From everlasting to everlasting, the Holy Trinity has been in communion and relationship, God with God with God. It is the very wellspring of love. And this 'relationship' is fundamental to who God is, and who we are called and invited to be. We are called into relationship with God, in the eternal household of God, and into relationship with one another.

And to do this, we need to open our hearts to love and grace.

We need that so much. In the end, I do not believe it is doctrinal exactitude that matters so much to God, as opening our hearts to God's love and grace and life. And loving one another, even though as Christians we are diverse, we are different, we are created unique. In some senses, perhaps the real test is not 'who is right' but 'who will open their hearts to God's love and grace?'

So I believe that I am in communion with all other Christians, because I am in communion with God... with the eternal communion of the Trinity. And when we talk about unity and communion, I believe that originates in the eternal relationships of God. I think that we are in communion with one another, whether we like it or not, because we are in Christ.

That being the case, I think it is a shame if we get distracted or separated by doctrinal differences or variety. Being in union and communion in Christ, we should wish and pray for one another's flourishing and the flourishing of our diverse ministries: helping the poor, caring for the sick, being kind to our neighbours, building community, welcoming people into relationship, not cutting ourselves off from one another.

dreaming

The past two years were very strange for me. I had a lot of new input to work on, coming from my interest for other religions than christianity. I embraced some Islam, some Olympian religion, some buddhism, some hinduism and more. My conjecture was, all gods are good and that the ancient scriptures are not always to be taken as truth but instead as a play, as a game where we talk with god in the form of spiritual art. Especially in Olympian religion scripture is art. It's perfect for theater. It's not the truth that Prometheus got the fire for us, but it really widens our sense if we work through such artistic plays with the divine and us.

In that sense, I have become a christian polytheist. Jesus Christ is the God that I chose to be my own God. And in Him I see the son of the Spirit of the Cosmos and of the Higher Power that is love. "Pick up the stone and you will find me, cut the wood in two and there am I." I don't see Jesus as a halfgod, instead I see him as special in the sense that he is so different from the other gods. He is a friend of mankind and unites us to the heavenly realm where of course everything is better. And as a child of the Cosmos he is not simply a god but instead a wonderperson, a wonderchild. And we can turn to Him in trouble and He in cross, resurrection and ascension to Heaven is a sign now that the gods mean well to us.

belief in something positive

In my life I have been confronted with two main different views about why we believe in Christ.

One view could be characterized as the positive one - we believe in Christ because He loves us. Salvation here means to draw this love of Christ in God into our lives so it would manifest here for our sake and, also, for the sake of our love for God that is supposed to increase.

The second view I would characterize as a negative one - we believe in Christ because if we do not do so, we get punished or at least our sins are not forgiven.

In the first scenario, we believe in God because He is good. In the second scenario, we believe in God so He would not be inclined to evil towards us.

I think the major problem an inquiring person might have about salvation and the complexities surrounding it, would be to know how he could escape being the recipient of God's evil in the face of their badness, sins, shortcomings, unbelief, and such.

The question is also, how can we have belief in Christ if we or those people we might care about like our maybe unbelieving friends and family, are threatened with things as severe as hellfire punishment if we cannot right away have perfect faith? And if we are supposed to at first GROW such a perfect faith, how is that different from being put in hell in the meantime? If God comes to fight with us, my only means of defense would be to withdraw my faith as a gut reaction of mine. If God comes to love us, this is out of the question really and every evil inclination towards God that would remain would simply be a temporary insanity.

How can we serve God if we in our ministry still cling to the negative view of salvation that I presented? When God loves mankind, how and why could we take away from it?

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