Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Great Transfer

I was watching a television drama in which one of the stars committed a horrible crime due to duress. When the authorities came to her home to make the arrest, her husband stepped forward and confessed to the crime. His love for her compelled him, an innocent man with a good name, to take her place.

Immediately the guilt of the crime was transferred from her to him. In the eyes of the law, all of her guilt and forthcoming punishment was placed on him, and his total innocence was given to her. Did she deserve it? No. Quite simply, he made the choice because of his love for her. He did not want to see her suffer. He helped her when she couldn’t help herself.

The Bible says, There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NLT).

This transfer of guilt for innocence, shame for honor, punishment for freedom, and yes death for life is the most magnificent expression of love known to mankind. We are all beneficiaries of this great transfer. When the Creator of all things, past present, and future made the decision to rescue His fallen mankind, He knew that there was only one sacrifice that would make the great transfer possible, His Son, His only Son Jesus.

God’s love for us compelled Him to take action when we could not help ourselves. It is written, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NLT).

The Bible tells us how that when Jesus was on trial, the crowd was given a choice to either let Him go free or the worst criminal & rebel Barabbas. They chose Barabbas, a man guilty of many crimes to go free. He was the first of us who was guilty of rebellion and many sins, to have his guilt transferred to Jesus, and the innocence of Jesus transferred to him.

The Bible says, “For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus)” (II Corinthians 5:21 KJV).

God transferred our sin to Jesus on the cross, and transferred His righteousness to us. Incredible! What love! As we accept this great transfer of love, we become as innocent, pure, and holy, in God’s eyes, as Jesus. When God the Father transferred us into Jesus Christ, it was a sovereign act.

We didn’t plan it, ask for it, or desire it. But like the guilty woman whose husband took her place, Jesus Christ took our place. Just as we didn’t deserve His righteousness, He didn’t deserve our sin, guilt, shame, and punishment. Yet He took it. If He would do that for us, how much more so should we accept His offer of grace, mercy, and righteousness?

We who have accepted Him and know Him shall praise His name forever. For those who have not accepted Him, His nail-scarred hands, which should belong to you and I, reach out in love. He would say to you with a smile, “Come. Accept me. The great transfer has been made.”

Friday, April 24, 2015

Why Iraqi's ISIS Escapees Are Coming to Christ in Droves


By Greg Yoder


"Could this happen to us in America?" That was the question from Patrick Klein President of Vision Beyond Borders following his recent trip to Northern Iraq.
The refugee crisis in and around Iraq is mind-boggling. According to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), there are more 250,000 refugees living in Iraq. There are another 426,000 refugees from Iraq. And, another 1.9 million internally displaced people (IDPs). That means there are 2.4 million people who have incredible needs in and around Iraq.
Klein just returned from visiting refugee camps in and around Dohuk. The stories he heard were heartbreaking. The testimonies of Christians were amazing. The needs of refugees: overwhelming.
President of VBB Patrick Klein says he visited Iraqi refugees forced from their homes in Mosul–many of them, Christians. "Most of them have lost hope, and they're just discouraged. They say, 'Where do we go? What do we do now? Maybe if we come to America or Europe, we can start a new life.' I don't want to see 300,000 Christians leave Iraq [with] no Christian witness left in Iraq."
Many of the refugees are college educated, middle class Iraqis who had good jobs and bank accounts to help support their families. That all changed with the Islamic State started taking over in June. "There were 52,000 security forces protecting Mosul and the surrounding area. There were 3,000 ISIS. They believe Maliki, the former president of Iraq, told the generals to lay down their arms and surrender, and they don't know why."
When that happened, ISIS started going from village to village forcing Christians to leave. "A lot of [the Christians] had Muslim neighbors they knew for 30 years. These Muslim neighbors said, 'Get out of Iraq. You don't belong here. We hate you Christians."

They were forced to either convert to Islam, leave, or die. "One man told us: 'I think God is chastising us because we forgot God. We stopped reading our Bibles. We stopped praying. Maybe God is using this.' He said, 'I want to tell you, my family and I we're having devotions together every night. We're praying together. We're reading the Bible together.' He said, 'We realize that all we have is Jesus.'"
According to Klein, this trip was the hardest trip he's ever made. It forced him to ask an important question. "I thought: 'Could this happen to us in America? Could we be forced with a decision? Are we going to follow Christ, or walk away from everything we own?' I pray that the church in America would love him passionately, that we would not lose our first love."
The spread of ISIS is also impacting nominal Muslims who are helping refugees. Klein says, "A lot of people–Muslims–are saying, 'If this is what Islam is, we don't want to be Muslims anymore,' and they're opening up to the Gospel."
VBB is working through local churches on the ground there to provide for the needs of refugees. They hope to fill a shipping container. "We're going to send hygiene supplies: shampoo, soap, washcloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, basic toiletry supplies. And then, we're also going to send in some medical supplies: vitamins, Tylenol, bandaids, and Neosporin–things like that."
Klein says you can either send in cash so VBB can purchase the supplies, or you can collect them yourself and send them to VBB's Wyoming office. Click here for additional information about VBB and their work worldwide.