Tag Archives: salvation

The Joys of Childhood

And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted,
and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into
the kingdom of heaven
.
Matthew 18:3
portrait photo of three smiling girls
Photo by Di Lewis on Pexels.com

Today, I was once again reminded of this verse. We often think of its meaning for conversion, but perhaps we would do well to apply it to life! Become as a child—what does that mean or look like? Well, a little child…

  • Is completely dependent on her Father
  • Does not pay the bills
  • Does not plan the future
  • Does not buy the groceries
  • Is blissfully ignorant of all life’s trials. Mom may be secretly shedding tears of grief and anguish as a child chatters on about all that is important to her.
  • Does not worry about problems
  • Smiles a lot
  • Enjoys simple pleasures
  • Does not expect great things
  • Simply trusts

That’s where I need to be. I’m not talking about shirking responsibilities or having my head in the sand, but there are so many disappointments that I cannot change. This is especially true in the ministry.  I cannot make folks come to church, read their Bibles, make right choices, be unselfish, think of others. All I can do is live it before them, pray for them, and perhaps give a word in season to them. How freeing is that!!! Sigh! Oh, how nice to be God’s child!

And now, little children,
abide in him;
that, when he shall appear,
we may have confidence,
and not be ashamed
before him at his coming.
1 John 2:28

Six Hours—When Time Stood Still

selective photo of teal cross decor
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The world may rush on by today not remembering why they have the day off, but Christians know, or at least they should. Good Friday—the day the Son of God died—is truly good because it was on that day that Satan’s chains of death were broken. All eternity hinges on this day—the day our sin-debt was paid for on that Roman cross!

The world may try to obliterate any remembrance of God. They even change the name of time itself from B.C./A.D. (Before Christ/Anno Domini, or the year of our Lord) to B.C.E./C.E., but the date itself cannot deny the fact that something extraordinary happened over 2,000 years ago. But why can’t we get it exactly right? Why must the calendar be adjusted every four years by including one extra day during Leap Year? Aren’t we sophisticated enough count our minutes and days to match the exact rotation of the earth and its journey around the sun?

Perhaps someday we will have yet another calendar which will accomplish the elimination of Leap Years, but as I was thinking about this extra 24 hours every 4 years, I did the simple math: 24/4=6. Six hours every year lost somewhere, but where?

Could it be that our wonderful, awesome, omniscient, loving God had us “lose” that six hours every year to remind us once again of Christ’s suffering on the cross? For six hours, Jesus suffered the agony of the cross, satisfying the sin-debt of every human being that ever or will ever take a breath.

Six hours when time stood still.

Perhaps in eternity, we will understand all that happened that day, but while here on earth, with our limited finite minds, we can never comprehend the enormity of that day. God, the Father, sacrificed His own Son—His Only Son—for His image-bearers, even though the majority of mankind completely ignore His greatest gift. Instead, they choose this life over eternal life, sin and death over forgiveness and life, anxiety over peace, sorrow over joy. But at any moment, on any day, anyone can receive that change by simply trusting Jesus to be his Savior! Suddenly, it all becomes clear. Like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, the lost sinner realizes his weight of sin and comes to the cross for cleansing forgiveness. At the foot of the cross, the burden is lifted! Hallelujah! No wonder it’s a Good Friday!

So, take a moment to be still today and remember the six hours when time stood still.

And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. Mark 15:25

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say,
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?Matthew 27:46

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said,
It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30

March 12

barn blur close up countryside
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—John 10:7-9 Jesus is the door/gate

BACKGROUND: 1-5

  • Thief and robbers crawl through the window. (false teachers trying to steal souls away from the truth of God’s Word)
  • “into the sheepfold–the sacred enclosure of God’s true people.”
  • Climbs up some other way—wanting heaven but not entering in God’s way. OUCH!
  • Other ways? Works, philosophies, religions
  • One door—One shepherd (tolerance?)

V 3: The porter opens (Jesus has the right by His own blood to be admitted as the only True Shepherd).

  • The sheep hear.
  • He calls them by name.
  • He leads them. PTL!

V4: He takes them out to pasture. They follow!

V5: They WILL NOT follow a stranger but flee!

V6: The disciples did not understand. (We’re in good company when the truths of the Word are unclear!)

In verse 7, Jesus calls Himself the door of the sheep. “This simple creature [the sheep] has this special note among all animals, that it quickly hears the voice of the shepherd, follows no one else, depends entirely on him, and seeks help from him alone–can not help itself, but is shut up to another’s aid” [Martin Luther].

V 9: Jesus states again that He is the Door.

COME THROUGH JESUS (the Door)=SALVATION

Go in and out and find pasture (The Shepherd is responsible for feeding as well as caring in every way for the sheep). This is fellowship!

APPLICATION:

  • Am I His sheep?
  • Am I following?

    agriculture animals baby blur
    Photo by Trinity Kubassek on Pexels.com
  • Am I eating?
  • Am I resting in Him?
  • Am I pushing at the fence?

 

The One Word Difference

the rookieIn the 2002 movie The Rookie, Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) checks his pitching speed by pitching past a vehicle speed check; however, two of the lights which make up the numbers aren’t working. Instead of reading 95, the number comes up 75.  As he walks away dejected the camera swings back to the numbers and the two unlit bars sputter to life revealing the truth.   Those missing lights made all the difference in the message.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12

Every translation I checked uses the word “received” in this verse. It’s a powerful statement and it cuts a wide path through witnessing opportunities. So often we talk about Jesus—and that’s good. We talk about church—and that’s good. We talk about the love of God—and that’s really good. We may mention sin, and possibly the word “repent” and those words are really important, but this verse cuts to the chase. For me, this little word made all the difference. I was raised in a Christian home and in church, but that church did not “preach the Gospel.” When I say that, I mean that I never heard verses like: “Ye must be born again (John 3:3),” “But whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13),” and John 1:12. I honestly thought that they were Baptist terms and was shocked when I read them in the Bible for the first time.

So, when a friend sent me a Gospel tract and it dawned on me that I had believed as long as I could remember, but that I had never received Him, I did so that night. As I just read back over the tract, I realize for the first time the power of God’s Word! I always thought that the writer of the tract asked the question, “Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Savior.” IT DOESN’T! It merely quotes John 1:12! When giving my testimony, I’ve always said, “When the tract asked if I had ever asked Jesus to be my Savior, I knew that I hadn’t.”  

IT WAS NOT THE WORD OF MAN WHICH BROUGHT ME TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST, BUT THE WORD OF GOD!

One little word: receive.

But as many as received him,

to them gave he power to become the sons of God,

 even to them that believe on his name. John 1:12

Notice the end of the verse: “even to them that believe on his name.” Hmmm. So… does this verse mean that someone can believe and not receive, which would mean he or she would NOT be a child of God?

That would be my testimony. I “received” Jesus as my Savior the summer before my senior year in high school. Did it make a difference in my life? Absolutely!  I shudder to think where I would be if I had not been saved—born-again—converted. I don’t think I would have ended up in jail or anything, but I believe my marriage may have failed, my kids’ lives may have shipwrecked, and I may have been a “successful” career person… and lost!

As we approach the end of another year, would you consider the state of your soul? Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Savior?  Have you “received” the gift of salvation? Are you born-again? Believe me, if you are, you will know it! Your life purpose becomes pleasing and serving your Savior. He is not only your Savior but your Master and best Friend.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

* (FYI: the term “Cut to the chase was a phrase used by movie studio executives to mean that the audience shouldn’t get bored by the extra dialogue and that the film should get to the interesting scenes without unnecessary delays.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cut_to_the_chase)

Back to School or Back to Knowledge?

sch-supp3-rockwell3

Thou Hast Rejected Knowledge

BY HENRY M. MORRIS, PH.D.  | FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 20

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6)

This lament over the ancient apostasy of Israel embodies an agelong principle that surely applies to those nations today that once professed Christianity but are now dominated by humanism. Our own nation is experiencing an awful scourge of moral anarchy among our children and young people, and the reason why is because their parents and grandparents have largely “forgotten the law of thy God.”

America—particularly its intellectual leadership—has “rejected knowledge,” so its people are being “destroyed for lack of knowledge.” This ignorance exists despite an abundance of supposed actual knowledge (i.e., “science”) in our educational institutions, for such facts are almost universally taught in a secular context. Our teachers have forgotten that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

Even in evangelical and fundamentalist churches and schools today, there is often too little emphasis on knowledge and too much on experience. Christian faith is not “feeling”; it is a volitional commitment to a true intellectual understanding of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” said Christ (Luke 13:5). The Greek word for “repent” means “change your mind!” One can only believe right if he first thinks right, and this requires true knowledge.

Listen again to Hosea’s warning: “The LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy [i.e., kindness], nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7). HMM

 

The Best “CLEAN”

 

downloadThis is not an ad for NORWEX, but I must admit—I’m sold on these cloths, and that’s saying a lot. I’m a hard sell, and when my daughter started selling NORWEX, I thought, “I’ll buy a few things just to help her out.” Well, nearly a year later, I’m still overly amazed!

This morning, as I washed my face with a NORWEX face cloth, I thought once again how amazing this microfiber/silver “baclock” cloth is! Lately, I have felt like I have to wash my face several times a day. We live in NE PA at 1700 ft. elevation. There are times when AC is nice, but for the most part, especially in the spring, the cool evening temperatures make life livable without it. HOWEVER, we’ve been having high temperatures and high humidity and my blood hasn’t thinned out yet. (Is that really what happens? :))  Yesterday, the temperature dropped but we literally lived in a cloud for most of the day. When I went down the mountain I was surprised to see that it was just a cloudy day, but then I noticed that the tops of the mountains—the place where I live—were shrouded in clouds!

CLEAN!  What a nice feeling! The dirt and grim (and glistening, if you know what I mean!) are gone! My skin feels fresh… and super clean!  And, of course, that made me think of my soul.

Not only do we get to enjoy the cleansing power of the cross when our souls are redeemed—made completely spotless in the sight of God because of His Son’s ultimate sacrifice—but we are able to enjoy a deep daily cleansing.  I call it Daily Soul Scrub (DA-P3 = Daily, Alone with Paper, Pen, and Prayer, explained in “Still Waters”).

We sometimes think that a splash of the Word to our souls is enough.  You know: you fling open your Bible, read the first verse you see, and yell, “Done!” The Word of God is alive and it is powerful, but it needs to be applied carefully! Some days, that may be all we can afford, but can you imagine the physical example if that becomes our normal habit? Yikes! Peeyoo! Without sounding too harsh… why do we notice when we need a bath but we don’t notice when our spirits are dirty?

Often, we are tempted to sprinkle the Word into our souls, taking in the little bits of Bible that are splattered within a podcast or radio broadcast. We are blessed to have wonderful resources and I’m all for using them, but DA-P3 is like the first scrub of the day.  It’s alone.  It’s personal. It’s essential!

When our daughter smeared margarine on a mirror and then simply wiped it away with a NORWEX cloth, I was stunned. It was miraculous! (Not really.) But I thought, “This must have been how the Native Americans felt the first time they saw a stick shoot fire and bullets!”

Oh, how miraculous is the Word of God! Trying to cleanse our souls with Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, or the Five Pillars of Islam is like trying to wash my face with a mechanic’s rag. It’s a very useful item to the mechanic, but it belongs in the garage, not the bathroom! Those manmade truths may clean up my life, but they will never be able to remove the sin from my heart! Years ago, I had a wonderful conversation with a Hindu woman. She really knew her religion and her sincerity broke my heart. However, when I asked the question, “What do you do to get rid of sin?” she had no answer even though she admitted that she often pondered the question!

Ah… the best clean! Aren’t you glad that it is free and available to all!!!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:7-10 (Such powerful truths!)

 

 

 

 

 

Recalcitrant, Dead and Inert

ID-100159550The first word in the title stopped me  — what does it mean ? In this wonderful age of devices and gadgets, I just highlight it, and, bingo, there’s the definition: having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline.

So, when the call comes that a funeral has derailed our plans for Bible Conference, I find myself a bit recalcitrant, and that, my friend, is not an attribute of holiness!

Lately, the desire for holiness in my life has moved to the front burner. Am I living a holy life, and what does that mean? A recent quote said, “Think not on a holy life, but on a holy moment as it flies” (John Kitto).

Holiness is a lifelong process of making right choices! So, when I read this devotion, I felt that perhaps it could be a help to you as it was to me! R.C. Sproul has a way with words, even if they are big ones ! 🙂

Becoming a New Creation

As Christians, we are new creations. Our hearts of stone have been turned into hearts of flesh. In this metaphor, flesh is used as a positive figure, not a pejorative one. Where once my heart was cold and recalcitrant, dead and inert to the things of God, now it throbs and pulsates with spiritual life. Once I was biologically alive but spiritually dead. Now I am biologically alive and spiritually alive as well. I am a new person.

There is radical discontinuity between my new self and my old self. This radical discontinuity, however, is not total discontinuity. A link between the old man and the new man remains. The old man has been dealt a mortal blow. His total destruction is certain, but he is not yet dead.

The conflict of the Christian life is a struggle with sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us if we are in Christ, yet sin is still in us. Regeneration liberates us from the bondage of original sin, but our corrupt nature is not totally annihilated this side of heaven.

Paul speaks of the warfare that goes on between the flesh and the spirit. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Thank God for the new heart of flesh He has implanted in your spiritual being.

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