Nick Jones

God, Life, Religion

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New Life

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On March 23, 2017 my second daughter was born. Here are five things I’ve noticed about her thus far:

  1. She has A LOT of hair. Seriously, it’s like a mop.
  2. She’s big for a C-section at 38 weeks (8lbs 12oz, and 20.25″ long).
  3. She loves to sleep. This has really been a blessing as she’s a pretty good sleeper.
  4. She’s really chill. What other baby do you know will let the nursery nurse poke them in the foot for the required blood tests and not even fuss or flinch. She didn’t even make a face, just went on sleeping.
  5. She loves to be held. With all the family and friends that have come through the hospital she has enjoyed being held by all of them.

As with every parent, I see the potential life that this little girl could live. Her whole life is before her. My daily prayer continues to be, as it has been since my oldest was born, “Lord make me the father You are so that my children will fall in love with You.”

Faith and Doubt

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“Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?’ This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone receive a little.'” -John 6:5-7

Why does Thomas always get the bad reputation when it comes to doubting? Whenever we reference doubt in Scripture frequently we look to good ‘ol doubting Thomas. And rightly so, he wouldn’t believe that Jesus had raised from the dead unless he was able to empirically prove it through his own senses. But why do we always point out this one disciple in this one instance?

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Saved!

“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” – Luke 17:19

According to Luke Jesus was walking along the border of Galilee and Samaria when he came across ten lepers. These people had been ostracized from society. They couldn’t associate with anyone other than those who had the same malady, which usually meant they stuck together in groups and in little communes.

As Jesus was entering a local village (Scripture doesn’t identify which one) these ten lepers call out to Him. “Jesus, have mercy on us!” They’ve heard about Jesus, they no doubt recognize Him by the crowds that were following, and they’ve kept their distance. Jesus shouts back, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” Luke then says in verse 14, “And as they were going, they were cleansed.”

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How Do I Become Righteous?

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” –Matthew 5:20

That is a strong statement for Jesus to make. What Jesus is informing His hearers here on the mountain is that in order to obtain salvation, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, one must be more righteous than the most righteous people. The scribes and Pharisees counted themselves righteous because they were sons of Abraham and because they followed what the law required. According to them they were righteous because they obeyed the law. They made themselves righteous.

The Bible is clear that in order to obtain salvation one must be righteous, one must be free from sin. Jesus says in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We must be righteous in order to be saved. Which then leads to the question, how do I become righteous?

Many will say that if we keep the ten commandments, obey the Bible, do good works, all those things will make us righteous. Sounds good right? “Righteousness is right living” is what I’ve heard before. And many Christians focus on being good and following what the Bible says. The unfortunate thing is that when we do that we become legalists because we are trying to become righteous in our own power.

What does that look like to God? Isaiah has some words about that, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” All our righteous deeds are a like a filthy garment in the eyes of God. We can’t make ourselves look more righteous in God’s eyes. When we try in our own power to be good, we are trying in our own power to save ourselves, to make ourselves righteous. And when we try to make ourselves righteous in our own power we are putting on filthy rags.

Jesus asks us to put on His righteousness. In Revelation 3 Jesus tells the church of Laodicea who is lukewarm and believes themselves to be rich and fully clothed that they are instead naked. And that the only way to solve that problem is to “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you m ay become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourselves and that the sham of your nakedness will not be revealed.”

We Christians today think we have it together. We think because we obey the commandments, help people out, believe the right things that God has to save us. The problem is that we are relying on our own righteousness. Christ says, “Buy from Me My white garment of righteousness. Put it on.”

Even though it’s free, it will cost you everything you have, everything you are. Because to buy from Christ means to give Him all. When we buy His righteousness we trade ourselves, we give up ourselves. And when Christ clothes us with His white garment, we are instantly righteous. Now we always have the choice to take the garment off (and frequently do), but when we submit to Christ, He puts it back on us and we are righteous again.

We get righteousness by submitting to Christ, moment by moment, day by day. We get righteousness by taking Christ’s righteousness as our own, infiltrating our lives, and running our lives. Definitely easier said than done.

For the previous post in this series on the definition of righteousness Click Here.
For the next post in this series that deals with what righteousness is not, Click Here.

My Grandmother

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Two weeks ago my grandma passed away. It’s been an interesting two weeks. I have been struggling how to write this post. For the last several years I’ve seen her go downhill, and for the last few years I have been in denial. Not denial that she would pass away, but denial that I had already said goodbye and was going to be ok when she passed away. In my mind I knew that she would pass away sooner rather than later, and so mentally I had thought that I had prepared myself for the inevitable conclusion.

Two weeks ago my grandma passed away, and it hit me harder than I thought it would. Granted I have been blessed that I have made it to 31 years old without losing any of my close relatives. Up until this point all four of my grandparents were living. I feel funny writing about the grief that I am going through as I realize how blessed I am to have so little death in my family.

Two weeks ago my grandma passed away. This grandma taught me how to iron my clothes. This grandma taught me how to cook Indian food. This grandma taught me that presentation of food is just as important as taste. This grandma taught me how to host a gathering. This grandma taught me how to properly set a table. This grandma celebrated my birthday and my brothers birthday with us even when it wasn’t our birthdays. This grandma took us camping. This grandma encouraged my brother and me to act out Bible stories even if it was just for her and grandpa. This grandma was so much to me. And to see her go downhill was so hard for me.

Two weeks ago my grandma passed away. As soon as I was told she was in the hospital and would be going into a nursing home my family drove up to where she was. On the Sunday we arrived she recognized me, my wife, and my daughter. She knew who we were. She was happy to see us. It was good to see her, even though it was hard to see her. That would be the last time I would see her.

Two weeks ago my grandma passed away. She passed away April 20, early in the morning. My mother called me after I had come back home. After Sunday she didn’t recognize anyone. After I had seen her she went downhill much more quickly.

Two weeks ago my grandma passed away. There will always be a hole in my heart. But the words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4 ring in my ears:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:13, 16-18

Two weeks ago my grandma passed away. But someday soon I will see her again. Someday soon when Christ comes she will be raised up in complete health. Someday soon she will rise up when Christ sounds that trumpet and I will see her again. What a glorious day that will be!

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