It was in November 1980 that approximately 3,000 people lost their lives due to an earthquake in southern Italy. When I saw this horrible suffering, it turned my young university student life upside down. My expectations about a career and success were severely shaken up.
With tears in her eyes, one Italian woman who had been scarred by life experiences told me, “I have lost everything. My parents, my husband, the children, the house, and the farm. But no one can steal Jesus Christ from me. He will stay with me forever!” Struck to the core, I cried out to God, “Lord, I also want to have the kind of faith this woman has. Please help me!” Although I knew the Bible, I suddenly realized: “I need Jesus to change me from the inside out!”
Now I know: “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross”
Are you also sure that your certificate of debt has been ripped apart?
Suppose you were drowning. Someone throws you a life preserver. Would you grab on to it? There’s no question about it. Of course you would!
As a counselor, I have encountered many desperate situations. I tried everything to help the people involved. I was often shocked by their response: “Sorry, your life preserver isn’t my favorite color!” Simply put: “I thought you were going to help me in a different way!” When it’s a matter of life and death, the color certainly shouldn’t matter!
Jesus’ disciples heard this. Many of them said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?`
Jesus showed us on a one-to-one basis who God is, and verified what he spoke by means of great signs and wonders. Throughout the centuries, many people have grabbed on to this Life Preserver and have experienced peace, reconciliation, and help despite difficult circumstances. Jesus can perform a miracle in our lives, but he meets each person in a way that brings about his purpose in their life. It’s worth listening to the transforming power of his words and encountering him personally.
When I’m in Nepal, the scents, the noise, the atmosphere, and the distinct culture fascinate me. In Kathmandu, you inevitably find your way to the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world. While it’s very unusual for us “Westerners,” it’s completely normal for the people of Nepal.
They circle around the temple, hoping that by doing so the approximately 1,000 gods will look favorably upon them. Many are rooted in this tradition and “pray” regularly. They want to be certain that they have paid enough homage to the gods. This fear-driven, oppressive ambiance spreads insecurity and doubt. The question remains: When is it really enough? Religion requires rituals and effort in order for one to be accepted. This is the case in every religion. Many Christians also believe that they have to earn their salvation in this way.
Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Jesus Christ alone brings deliverance and salvation. He is the Giver of eternal life. This living relationship produces good fruit. A relationship with God can never be earned. It is and remains an undeserved gift that Jesus paid for through His death on the cross. What is your response to this offer? How will you respond to this offer?
Knowledge is power! This is how we learn, believe, and behave. We keep giving more and more room to the constant technological and digital development, even in our relationships. How healthy is this development, and where do the weak still find a place in this world?
What we consider to be deeply meaningful doesn’t always make sense in God’s eyes. The Bible says: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” and “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile” (1 Corinthians 3:19-20). Does God think intelligent people are stupid? Is He perhaps afraid of them? Completely the opposite is true! Our ability to think is necessary for us to experience an open and honest relationship with God. Why else would He have given us this gift?
There are people who think that they can outsmart God. What do you think? To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.
I notice that many people seem to feel intelligent when they exclude God from their lives. This is why the Bible speaks of foolishness. Whoever tries to cancel the Creator is acting unwisely and will be canceled himself! What do you think about this?
This is a saying that we’ve all heard, and there really are many roads that lead to Rome. But that’s exactly where the problem begins.
Once when I was driving from Rome to an appointment, I missed the right exit off the highway and was forced to take a gigantic loop around to get back on track. I got delayed and was stuck in rush hour traffic. I missed my important appointment. What a wasted day; all my traveling had been in vain.
Much more serious consequences result when we get on the wrong track in life. That’s why Jesus reminds us that he is the only way, the only truth, and the true life, and that only through him can we come to God. This statement is so extreme that it is still met with a lot of resistance today. The religious leaders burned with anger at the very thought of accepting Jesus as the Son of God. They wanted to secretly silence Him. But Jesus conquered death and rose from the dead.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Absolutely nothing and no one can destroy God’s plans and His promises. Only one road leads to God: Jesus Christ. Do you believe this?
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