Why Jesus Is More Than Just a Good Idea

Why would a woman throw her beloved 6-month-old firstborn son into the river?

“Every three years, hundreds of thousands of people come to bathe in the Ganges River. They come believing that this Hindi ritual will wash away their sins.

Missionary Varghese often witnessed for Christ among the crowds that gathered at the Ganges. One day, he came upon Alila kneeling in the sand, crying uncontrollably and beating her chest. With much compassion, he knelt down next to her and asked what was wrong.

‘The problems in my home are too great, and my sins are many. So I offered the best I have to the goddess Ganges- my firstborn son,’ she told him through her sobs.

The woman had just thrown her 6-month-old baby boy into the river.

Brother Varghese’s heart ached for the desperate woman. As she wept, he gently began to tell her about the love of Jesus, who could forgive her sins. ‘God is not mad at you,’ he said. ‘He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for your sins.’

Alila was puzzled.

‘I have never heard that before,’ she replied through her tears. ‘That is wonderful.’ Then she asked, ‘Why couldn’t you have come 30 minutes earlier? My child would not have had to die.’”

This is just one heart-breaking story from the Gospel for Asia headquarters. Unfortunately there are millions like Alila, desperate to know Jesus, aching to break free of the bondage that their false gods have created. This bondage forces them to continually strive to make peace with God through better behavior and sacrifice.

This striving leads people like Alila, when faced with the depth of their own sin, to take desperate measures to try and earn a relationship with God. No one has ever told them that Christ came to for this very reason, and that His gift is free.

If your heart is moved to help, you can. And it will only take about 5 minutes of your time.

Every Christmas, many Christian organizations give gifts of compassion to the world’s neediest people. Proverbs 18:16 says that a gift opens the way for the giver, and these gifts ultimately give missionaries favor with the people so that they can share the Gospel. These gifts include anything from food to water purifiers to Bibles to blankets. They range in price, so most anyone can be involved.

If you’re interested in donating a gift, click here to browse through the Compassion International’s Christmas gift catalog. This is one of many organizations who offer a gift catalog during the holidays. It’s a very easy check-out process. For those of you with children, they’ll love to surf the website with you, look at the pictures, and hear how they can meet a simple need across the world.

Also, Highpoint Church (my amazing church) is collecting funds to install a water filtration system at a school for handicapped children in Peru. If you’re interested in giving towards this, click here.

In honor of Christmas, I’ll leave you with this verse. It’s been ringing in my mind as I’ve typed this blog, and it’s the reason that people like us and Alila have hope despite our failures.

“In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel [God’s people], and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” Ephesians 2:12-13, 17-18 NLT

Merry Christmas!

Choose Faith

A few mornings ago my husband woke up stressed out. I felt for him; he had several big projects due at work, a key employee that was leaving the company in a matter of days, and some crucial responsibilities at an upcoming employee conference. And these were just the majors.

Like anyone in his situation would be, he was battling anxiety and discouragement. He was well-aware of the seeming discrepancy between God’s promise and His circumstances. When he looked at all the looming projects with one-less critical employee, it became difficult to believe that “God will take care of all of [his work] needs in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

Although the specifics of each of our situations may look different, the underlying attack from the enemy has been the same since Adam and Eve: Did God really say…?

And the really irritating part is, the enemy knows just the right time to ask it- when our circumstances look bleak and God’s promise looks impossible. What is your personal “Did God really say…?” struggle? Maybe some of these will resonate with you:

  • Did God really say to win my husband over with the purity of my own life? (1 Pet. 3:1) Because, really, I can think of a much better way to get my point across.
  • Did God really say that He knows how to rescue His people from trials? (2 Pet. 2:9) Because I’ve been in this pit for what seems like forever and I don’t see any relief in sight.
  • Did God really say He would never leave or forsake me? (Hebrews 13:5) Because right now it seems like He’s nowhere to be found.

When God makes a promise, the temptation is to only believe it if it aligns with our current reality. Take Abraham and Sarah, for example. They were promised an heir from their own bodies through whom the Lord would bless the entire world. Decades later, they were still childless. Romans 4:19 says that Abraham had to face “the fact that his body was as good as dead- since he was about a hundred years old- and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.” Do you think they were tempted to stop believing God? Of course! In fact Sarah, in an act of desperation, gave Abraham her maidservant in hopes that she may be able to help God out a bit in fulfilling His promise. Ultimately, though, Abraham believed God. And this belief was enough for him to be counted righteous in God’s sight. Romans 4:20-21 explains it this way: “Yet he [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”

When God’s promise looks impossible or untrue given our current circumstances, we have a choice: we can stand in faith or shrink in fear. May we be a people who allow the time between God making a promise and fulfilling it to strengthen and refine the very thing that pleases Him the most: our belief.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1).