Tag Archives: devotion

Is pride ever appropriate?

God’s Response: It is right for me to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me.  Romans 15:17

God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. . . . As the Scriptures say, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the LORD has done.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:14

Pride is appropriate when you feel a grateful satisfaction for what God is doing through you. It’s okay to feel pride in a job well done when you have honoured God in your task. It’s okay to be proud of your children; they are a gift from God. Paul was not proud of what he had accomplished but of what God had done through him. Like Paul, take pride in what the Lord has done. Then your focus is on him and not on yourself.

God’s Challenge: Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. — Matthew  23:12

Excerpt from: Beers, Gilbert; Beers, Ron. The One Year Mini for Men (p. 141).

Pride – can take you down

Why is pride one of the “seven deadly sins” when other things seem so much worse?

God’s Response:

When he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. 2 Chronicles 26:16

Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Ezekiel 28:17

Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. Acts 12:23

The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: “I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there!” Luke 18:11

Pride is the main reason for our falling away from God. We become vulnerable to Satan when we believe that we are strong enough to resist his attacks. He loves to prove us wrong. Pride can also creep in when we become prosperous and take the credit for our fine life. We forget the Lord when we have plenty and don’t rely on him for food each day.

The bottom line on pride boils down to forgetting God. You forget to thank him, to give him credit, and to rely on him. And when you get to that point, your pride will lead to a great fall.

God’s Challenge: Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Source: Beers, Gilbert; Beers, Ron. The One Year Mini for Men (p. 140). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Awesome Mothers in the Bible

Let’s pause to take a look at 10 extraordinary mothers in the Bible. These women obeyed God’s calling, served sacrificially, and built a life of faith for their family. We can learn much from the examples of these Biblical mothers. I am thankful for the compilation work done by Crosswalk here: 1

1. Sarah: The Mother Who Waited

In Genesis 11:30 we learn, “Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.“ This would have grieved both Sarah and Abraham, and in Genesis 15 when the word of the LORD came to Abram he answered, what will you give me LORD since you have not given me an heir? God tells him to look at the stars in the Sky, for that would be the number of his offspring. Abraham and Sarah waited 15 years before God renewed His promise, and 10 more years before the promise was fulfilled and Sarah bore a son, Isaac.

Sarah probably wouldn’t win an award for waiting and she even laughed at the idea that God could do what He promised, but thankfully God’s promise did not rely on the level of Sarah’s faith. God fulfilled His promise according to His plan and Sarah responded in Genesis 21,

“’God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.’ And she added, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’”

Can you imagine waiting that long for a blessing? Sarah tried to believe the promise, but she had doubts until it finally came to fruition. Then she laughed with joy at what the LORD had done. Isaac would go on to continue the legacy of his father Abraham.

2. Hagar: The Mother Who Endured

Hagar was an Egyptian slave and a maidservant to Sarah, the wife of Abraham; she didn’t have much say about anything and especially not in becoming Abraham’s wife. Though her status changed, she was still secondary to Sarah.

Once Hagar became pregnant with Abraham’s child, a rift developed between her and Sarah. After receiving mistreatment from Sarah, Hagar fled toward her homeland. But she met the angel of the LORD who told her to return, He also promised her numerous descendants through her son whom she was to name Ishmael.

Later, Hagar and her son Ishmael were sent away into the desert, where she believed they would both die. But God is faithful and showed her a well. Genesis 21 tells us, “God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.”

Hagar thought she would get to escape her misery, but God called her to return to it. She obeyed, and He blessed her and her son just as He promised He would.

3. Rebekah: The Mother Who Believed

Rebekah was a woman of great faith, obeying God when Isaac’s servant told her of the man who wanted to marry her. Genesis 25 tells us that when Rebekah became pregnant she could feel the babies jostling within her. When she asked the LORD why this was happening, He answered her: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” In that time, the older would have never served the younger, and the firstborn son would have inherited the best of everything.

When Isaac was old in age, he told Esau to hunt and prepare food so that he could receive his blessing. But Rebekah overheard this and told Jacob to bring her food so she could prepare it for Isaac first. Jacob was unsure about deceiving his father, but Rebekah responded in Genesis 27, “My son let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.” I think it is safe to say that she remembered and took very seriously what God had spoken to her during her pregnancy.

Rebekah risked deception to follow God’s promise because she believed what He said was true. It should be noted that God did not call Rebekah to deception, but God is sovereign despite the good or bad choices we may make. And His plan unfolded exactly as He had told her. Later her son Jacob would wrestle with God and be given a new name, Israel.

4. Leah and Rachel: The Mothers Who Had to Share

When Jacob went to stay with his uncle Laban, he met one of his daughters, Rachel, and loved her. He wanted her for his wife and was willing to work seven years to marry her. But Laban tricked Jacob by giving him his older daughter Leah in marriage instead. Jacob worked another seven years for Rachel, and he loved her more. Leah, knowing that she was unloved, bore Jacob many children to please him, while Rachel remained barren.

Both women ended up giving their maidservants to Jacob, who in turn bore him more children. Genesis 30 tells us, “Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.” Rachel bore Jacob two sons, Joseph and Benjamin, before she died in childbirth with Benjamin.

Siblings like to compete, but can you imagine having to share a husband with your sister, feeling like you always had to outdo the other. But God blessed both Leah and Rachel with children, continuing his covenant promise with Abraham. Leah and Rachel’s sons would go on to form the 12 tribes of Israel.

5. Jochebed: The Mother with a Plan

A new pharaoh in Egypt came to power who was under no obligation to honor Joseph’s deeds in Egypt and keep the special arrangement with the Israelites. He was worried about the Hebrews outnumbering and overtaking the Egyptians, so he made them slaves. He also commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew baby boys when they were born, but they did not listen. Then Pharaoh gave another decree in Exodus 1, “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”

A Levite woman, Jochebed, gave birth to a son and hid him for 3 months. Exodus 2 tells us that when she could hide him no longer, she coated a papyrus basket with tar and pitch, placed the baby in it, then she set it in the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Jochebed’s daughter, Miriam, watched to see what would happen as Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bath. When Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket, her servant’s retrieved it for her and inside she found the baby crying and knowing he was a Hebrew child she felt sorry for him.

Miriam then spoke up and asked her if she would like her to fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby; she agreed and Jochebed returned with her daughter to nurse her own baby. Pharaoh’s daughter paid Jochebed to nurse and raise the baby until he was old enough to come live with her. She then adopted him as her son and named him Moses.

Jochebed was determined to find a way to save her son, and God blessed her plan. Not only was her son saved from death, she was able to nurse and raise him until he was old enough to go live with Pharaoh’s daughter. Her son, Moses, went on to free the Hebrew people from Egypt, leading them in the desert toward the Promised Land according to God’s plan.

6. Samson’s Mother: The Mother Who Followed the Rules

She is not mentioned by name in the Book of Judges, although some would say she is the Hazelelponi mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4. We cannot know for sure, so we can deduce that what she did is more important than her name. She was married to a man named Manoah but was unable to conceive. Judges 13 tells us,

“The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, ‘You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.’”

Samson’s mother knew there was something special about the angel of the LORD, and when her husband was afraid they would die for having seen the face of God she became the voice of reason saying He would not have told us these things if He were going to kill us.

She gave birth and named the baby Samson, and the LORD blessed him. Although some of his actions were questionable, the LORD used him mightily in His plan to defeat the Philistines.

7. Naomi: The Mother-in-Law Who Shared Her Faith

Naomi and her family fled to the country of Moab because of a famine in their land. Her husband died, and her two sons married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. After 10 years both of Naomi’s sons passed away, and Naomi heard that the LORD had blessed the land of her people with food again. She told her daughters-in-law that they could return home to find new husbands. Although they both wept at her leaving, one refused to leave Naomi’s side. Orpah returned to her people and her gods, but Ruth said,

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

Ruth was already learning from Naomi’s faith even during a time of bitterness. Naomi continued to watch out for Ruth and instruct her wisely in her dealings with Boaz, who became her kinsman redeemer. The LORD blessed Naomi, and she gained a son when Boaz married Ruth. Ruth and Boaz had a child, and the women of the land said to Naomi,

“Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

The child was named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David who would be king. -Ruth 4:17.

8. Hannah: The Mother Who Kept Her Promise

Hannah was married to a man who loved her very much, but he also had another wife. This wife was able to bear children, but in 1 Samuel 1:5-6 we learn that the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb. The rival wife provoked Hannah continually, but Hannah would go to the house of the LORD to pray. Her husband tried to console her saying, “Don’t I mean more to you than 10 sons?” in 1 Sam. 1:8. Hannah prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly; she made a vow saying,

“LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

In fact, she was praying so hard that her lips were moving but no sound came out so that the priest, Eli, thought she was drunk. The LORD blessed Hannah, and she gave birth to a son and named him Samuel, “saying, ‘Because I asked the LORD for him.’” -1 Sam. 1:20

She did just as she had promised, and when the boy was old enough she took him to the house of the LORD and presented him to Eli. Hannah then prayed,

“My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.” And her beautiful prayer continues in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.

Samuel lived a life dedicated to the LORD, and he would go on to lead the people of Israel, anointing Israel’s first and second kings—Saul and David.

9. Elizabeth: The Mother Who Believed in Miracles

Elizabeth was married to a priest named Zechariah, and Luke 1 tells us that both Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous before God, observing all of His commands. But Elizabeth was childless, and they were both old in age. Similar to people in Job’s day, people would have thought that sin prevented Elizabeth from bearing a child. This would have been very hard to face, especially being a wife of a priest.

When Zechariah was serving in the temple, an angel of the Lord, Gabriel, approached him and said,

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.” –Luke 1:13-14

Zechariah still questioned how this would be possible and because he doubted he was struck mute for the duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Elizabeth was overjoyed at this blessing of life and said, “The Lord has done this for me… In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” –Luke 1:25

When Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to visit her cousin Elizabeth, the baby leapt in Elizabeth’s womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She took great joy in Mary’s pregnancy and blessing from the Lord. And when it came time for Elizabeth to give birth, she named her son John. When neighbors went to confirm this with Zechariah he wrote the same name and his mouth was opened; everyone wondered at what the child would be since his birth was miraculous.

John would go on to baptize people from their sins with water. He would prepare the way for the Messiah.

10. Mary: The Mother Who Is Blessed among Women

Mary, a virgin pledged to a man named Joseph, was also visited by the angel Gabriel. He said to her in Luke 1:31,

“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Mary wondered at how this would be possible, and the angel told her, “The Holy Sprit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Mary embraced these words in faith. When she visited her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth proclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” Mary believed God would fulfill His promise.

An angel of the Lord also visited Joseph, who put him at ease with Mary’s pregnancy. As we read in Matthew 1, Joseph took Mary to be his wife, but they did not consummate the marriage until after she had given birth. Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem for a census, where she gave birth in the humblest of environments.

Mary treasured up many things in her heart as she raised Jesus, but she also had to endure the greatest sacrifice of all time—her son was the Son of God and He had come to give Himself up as a sacrifice, the one and only sacrifice that could be made for mankind. She had to watch Him suffer, be tortured and mocked, and die a cruel death on a cross by crucifixion.

John 19 tells us,

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

Even while He was dying, Jesus cared for His mother and gave her a new son to love her. Mary was blessed among women, for she was chosen by God to bear His Son and raise Him. Though there was death there was yet joy for Mary, as her son did not stay dead. He rose again from the grave, securing eternity for her and all who would believe.

1 Liz Auld is the managing editor for Crosswalk.com.

Two Paths, One Way

Let us look at the end of the great Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says very provocative words to many “religious” people of the world. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven.” What a statement. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven.” He goes on to say, verse 22, “Many will say to me on that day,” – referring to the day of final judgment – “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy or preach in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

Proverbs 30:12 says: “There is a generation who is pure in their own eyes, yet is not washed from their filthiness.” Romans 10:2 said: “There are those who have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” Millions of people who feel religious, millions of people who associate with Christianity, millions of people who would say to Jesus: “Lord, Lord,” have no hope of entering heaven.

Millions of people who would proclaim their identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, are unaware of the importance of this teaching.
In the second chapter of John, Jesus responded to some superficial believers with rejection. He was in Jerusalem it says in verse 23: “During the feast, many believed in His name, beholding the signs He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them.” Why? Because He knew their hearts and He knew the superficiality of their belief. Is it possible, it is common knowledge, it is generally true, that the majority of people — in Christendom — who acknowledge that they believe in Jesus will never enter heaven?

We’re not even considering the world of religious people who are in religions other than some form of Christianity. There are no more unsettling words of Scripture to someone associated with Christianity than the words, “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter my kingdom.”

First, apart from believing in Jesus Christ, no one will get to heaven, no one. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” In Acts 4:12, it says, “Neither is there salvation in any other. There is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved.” That familiar John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Salvation comes to those “who confess Jesus as Lord,” – Romans 10:9 and 10 – “and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead.”

There is no hope of heaven for those who do not believe the gospel. That we understand. No gospel, no salvation. No Christ, no salvation. No understanding of the cross and the resurrection, no salvation possible.

More shocking, is that even among those who believe and say, “Lord, Lord, we preached in Your name, we cast out demons in Your name, we did mighty works in Your name,” there will be those who have no hope of entering heaven. This then is a mind boggling passage in a day and a time when lots of people call themselves Christians.

To set a context for these words, go back, if you will, to verses 13 and 14. Matthew chapter 7, verses 13 and 14, and listen to the words of Jesus. “Enter by the narrow gate: for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” Here is the final curtain call after the greatest sermon recorded in the New Testament, the very well-known Sermon on the Mount that occupies chapter 5, chapter 6 and chapter 7.

At the conclusion of that sermon, Jesus gives what some might call an invitation. This is not only an invitation. An invitation is maybe too refined a word –a little too social word — a little too much liberality with the word invitation. Maybe there’s too much scope for the pride of man — too much freedom with the word invitation. In actuality, at the close of His great sermon, Jesus gave a command — in verse 13: “Enter by the narrow gate.”

Every biblical call to the gospel is a command. Repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. These are all imperatives, commands, mandates which call for decisive action, too obedience or disobedience, compliance or rebellion. So the Lord ends His sermon with a command and a strong and unmistakable command. It is now: make-up-your-mind time in your heart. His whole sermon has been a contrast. The whole sermon has been a contrast between true religion and the religion of Judaism. And, frankly, between true religion and all other fake religions, which is one or another form of the same thing.

There are only two possible ways to God, two conceivable ways to God. One involves your work, your effort, your righteousness, your goodness. The other acknowledges that you have none of that which pleases God. It either involves something you do to please God or nothing you do to please God and there can’t be any other way. There is no third alternative.

There are only two possible paths to heaven. Either you contribute to your getting there or you don’t. Either you bring your righteousness to God and it counts for your salvation to one degree or another, or your righteousness is filthy rags that counts for nothing. So there are only two kinds of religions. Either you can be good enough to contribute to your salvation, or you can’t be good enough to contribute to your salvation. Either you have the ability to do something to please God, or you do not have the ability to do anything to please God. That is still the distinction.

Only two religions in the world, only two. 1. The religion of divine accomplishment; you can do nothing, God has done it all. That’s the true Christian gospel. 2. Or the religion of human achievement; you do something, God does something and together, relatively, you make it to heaven and that’s every other religion in the world, but the true one.

Even many, many forms of so-called Christianity. The religion of the ego, of the self, of human achievement says that you have things that you can do that please God. Your goodness matters, your religious activity, your ceremonies. This is the religion of works. This is the religion of merit. You’ve got the perfect doctrinal lineup! This is the religion of self-righteousness. This is the religion of the flesh. It involves what we think, know, do. Or there is the true religion of divine accomplishment which is all of faith, all of grace, and all what God does. And they don’t mix. They don’t mix.

It’s very confusing to be a legalist. It’s very confusing to think you can earn your way to heaven because you know you can’t be perfect and so you want to make sure there’s a little cooperating grace there. But they can’t be mixed. It must be in humility, all of grace.

The Bible says, “By the deeds of the law, no one will be justified,” Romans 3:20. No one. The Jews of Jesus’ day were just part of the worldwide satanic counterfeit religion, the system of human achievement. And Jesus assaulted their religion, attacked their religion. He was clear “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” John 8:44 NIV

The essential attack of the Sermon on the Mount, was meant to totally discredit the religion of human achievement, attacked what they did that they thought merited righteousness before God. He attacked their praying. He attacked their giving. He attacked their service at the temple. He attacked their worship. He attacked the things that they thought, of all things, were unassailable. And that is the point of the Sermon on the Mount. He dismantles their confidence in the religion of human achievement. And He offers them the only true way to heaven. And that is the religion of divine accomplishment, which says, “I can do absolutely nothing.”

Look at how the sermon began: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What does that mean? Those who are destitute, those who have no merit, no righteousness, nothing to offer, it is those who are spiritually broken, shattered, crushed; those who therefore mourn over their horrific condition; those who therefore are humble; those who therefore are hungering and thirsting for a righteousness they know they must have and cannot attain in and of themselves. They realize that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed freely to all who call upon him in faith. There’s no other way, this is the narrow gate way.


Source Edited from the teaching of John MacArthur

How to find salvation and forgiveness through Jesus Christ

The Bible versions used are as indicated with each quote.

Luke 5:20 (NKJV): When He [Jesus] saw their faith, He said to him, “…your sins are forgiven you.”

Our Problem We are all sinners because we are all born into the human race. Because of Adam’s disobedience, sin came into the world. The punishment for sin is death.

Romans 5:12 (NLT): When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

God’s Solution Though we were undeserving sinners, God sent Jesus Christ to reconcile us back to God. He died in your place, taking the death penalty for the sin of all mankind. Because of His death, we can be justified when we accept Jesus and the work He did for us.

Romans 3:23-24 (MSG:  Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

Another version reads this way as per Romans 3:23-24 (NKJV):…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption [paying of your sin-debt ie. death] that is in Christ Jesus…

God’s undeserved gift is eternal life, when we unite with Jesus. Yes, the reward is ETERNAL LIFE. That means you get to live forever and your soul never dies, because you are now free from the final soul death of sinners.

Romans 6:23  (NIV): For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in [union with] Christ Jesus our Lord.

God loves you, just as a father and mother love their children even when they misbehave (while still sinners). He proved His love and demonstrated it when Christ, His own Son, died on the cross to reconcile you to God. Christ agreed with the father long ago that it was necessary (to get the attention of mankind) that He pay the price and get us out of the sin-then-death mess. If our hearts could be moved to love God, by seeing love in action through Jesus, God knew we could respond with reciprocal love and commit our lives to God. God and Jesus, presented a true action-hero story based on proven history—a real life story—in order to move our hearts.

Jesus lived while forgiving, loving, healing, and raising the dead. He was crucified for being gentle, kind, and good. His death awakened mankind’s sinful hearts to understand two things: the recognition of what man can do as a sinner—unspeakable betrayal; and it inspires an impassioned love for God, who gave His own Son to die your death. God planned the whole thing—he knows we acknowledge love stories—He did it to save you! The cross of Christ is the greatest expression of love, despite betrayal. Millions follow Him because of this.

Romans 5:8 (NIV): But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He put His love on the line, even though many would not love God in return.

Romans 5:8 (MSG): But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News of God to man. By believing in Jesus Christ and what He did for you, and that He died and was raised—you can be saved, and the gift is eternal life.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (NLT): Now let me remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is built on this wonderful message. And it is this Good News that saves you if you firmly believe it–unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me–that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said.

Many view God as the judge who just wants to create hard rules to follow. Not so. Here we see that God’s intention is not to find fault and condemn us, but to save the world (make it right with God) through Jesus, His Son.

John 3:17 (NIV): For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

It may help to read the above Scripture in other versions.

John 3:17 (MSG): God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

John 3:17 (AMP): For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

The two choices are clear. If Jesus isn’t accepted as your Saviour; and His death does not cover you as the price paid for sin, then the death penalty for sin remains for you to pay. Believe in and trust Jesus, it’s that simple to win eternal life.

John 3:36 (NIV): Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see [eternal] life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

Again, we only need to affirm our belief in Jesus to be saved from the death penalty.

John 3:16 (NASB): For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Do you want to receive Jesus as YOUR SAVIOUR and live for eternity? If you want Him to SAVE YOU RIGHT NOW (just pray the prayer at the end of this article), just believe in the name of Jesus as your Saviour. Then you will be referred to as a child of God—that is our right.

John 1:12 (MSG): But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.

Here it is expressed in another version. John 1:12(NKJV): But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

You can’t work your way to heaven just by doing good works, or by being extra good.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT): God saved you by his special favour when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Jesus is proactive when it comes to saving you. He is patiently waiting at the door of your heart; He gently knocks on your heart’s door as a gracious friend. Dining indicates intimacy; Jesus views His relationship with us as our “friend”. He is trying to get you to also hear His voice, so you will open up to Him.

Revelation 3:20 (NIV): Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

We believe with our heart, not our head. When we accept Jesus, we confess Him as our Saviour without shame. Then we are saved, and have eternal life.

Romans 10:8-10 (NASB): …if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

The following version expands on this to indicate that believing in Jesus means you trust Him to save you. In doing so, you are found acceptable to God. It is that simple! Romans 10:8-10 (AMP): For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.

If you can trust Jesus to save you, that is all you need! Salvation is within easy reach.

Romans 10:8-10 (NLT): Salvation that comes from trusting Christ–which is the message we preach–is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.”

Once again, here is how we gain salvation in Christ. Romans 10:9: For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

By acknowledging Jesus, He goes to work to acknowledge you as saved, to God His Father. That is amazing—your “in” with God.

Matthew 10:32 (NIV): Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.

You can only have eternal life through Jesus. No minister, pastor or pope can give you salvation; you only are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. It is a promise.

1 John 5:11-13 (NIV): And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Take God’s Solution—Why wait?

Pray this prayer to accept Jesus and His Salvation—today. Jesus tells us that today is the day of salvation. And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…” Luke 19:9

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I confess that I am an undeserving sinner, like everyone, born to die. I accept you Jesus and acknowledge that you paid the price for my sin when you died on the cross; and I know you were resurrected and still live. I also know that I now have eternal life. I accept your free gift of Salvation—Thank You Lord. Help me to live up to my faith, through the power of your Holy Spirit.

What’s Next? Look for a good church. Read the Bible, especially the New Testament daily. Find Christian friends. Start going to church.

Consider Jesus

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus. (Hebrews 3:1)

Herein is an excerpt from: Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All: An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. You can listen free to The Holiest of All at Librivox

Consider Jesus! This is the central thought of the verse, and of the passage of which it is a part, as it is indeed of the whole Epistle to the Hebrews. It is the one aim of the writer to persuade the Hebrews that, if they but knew aright the Lord Jesus as the faithful, compassionate, and almighty High Priest in heaven, they would find in Him all they needed for a life such as God would have them lead. Their life would be in harmony with their faith, in harmony with the life of Him whom their faith would apprehend.

Consider Jesus! is indeed the keynote of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The word consider, from the root of the Latin word for Star, originally means to contemplate the stars. It suggests the idea of the astronomer, and the quiet, patient, persevering, concentrated gaze with which he seeks to discover all that can be possibly known of the stars which the object of his study are. And Jesus, who is God, who became man, and perfected our human nature in His wonderful life of suffering and obedience, and now dwells in heaven to communicate to us its life and blessedness—oh, what reason there is for saying, Consider Jesus. Gaze upon Him, contemplate Him. For some increased knowledge of the stars what devotion, what enthusiasm, what sacrifices are ofttimes witnessed. Oh, let the study and possession of the Son of God waken our devotion and our enthusiasm, that we may be able to tell men what beauty and what glory there is in Jesus.

Holy brethren! Thus the Hebrews are now addressed. In the previous chapter the word brethren had been used twice. He is not ashamed to call them brethren. It behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren. The sacred name is now applied personally: Christ’s brethren are brethren in Christ. And the heart of the writer warms to them personally, as he seeks to urge them to what with him is indeed the one aim of the Epistle—Consider Jesus.

Holy brethren! He that sanctifieth, maketh holy, and they who are sanctified, made holy, are all of one. We saw how holiness is the common mark of Christ and His people: their bond of union, and the great object they both aim at. One of the great mysteries the Epistle is to reveal to us is that our great High Priest has opened the way for us into the Most Holy Place or the Holiest of All. In Hebrew it is the Holiness of Holinesses. There we have boldness of access, there we are to have our dwelling encircled by the holiness of God. We must know that we are holy in Christ; this will give us courage to enter into the Holiness of Holinesses, to have God’s holiness take complete possession, and fill our whole being.

It is Jesus who makes holy: it is we who are to be made holy: what more natural than that the thoughts should be coupled together: holy brethren, consider Jesus. Holy brethren! partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus! What is elsewhere spoken of as a holy calling is here named a heavenly calling. That does not only mean a calling from heaven, or a calling to the heaven, whence the call proceeds. No, there is much more in it. Heaven is not only a place, but a state, a mode of existence, the life in which the presence of God is revealed and experienced in its unhindered power. And the heavenly calling is that in which the power of the heavenly life works to make our life heavenly.

When Jesus was upon earth the kingdom of heaven was nigh at hand; after He had ascended and received the kingdom from the Father, the kingdom of heaven came to this earth in power, through the descent of the Holy Spirit. Christians, at Pentecost, were people who by the new birth entered into the heavenly kingdom or state of life. And the kingdom entered into them. And they were partakers of a heavenly calling, because the spirit and the life and the power of heaven was within them. It is to such men the invitation comes. Holy brethren! partakers of the heavenly calling! consider Jesus! If you would know what it is to be holy and to live holy, consider Jesus who makes holy! If you would know the privileges and powers that belong to you as partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus! He is God, the King of heaven! He is Man who has ascended to heaven as your Priest and Saviour, has opened it for you, and can communicate its life and blessedness.

Oh, consider Jesus! set your heart on Him; He will make you holy and heavenly. There is more than one of my readers who mourns that he knows so little what it is to live a holy and a heavenly life. Listen, God’s word speaks to you—Holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling! consider Jesus! This is your weakness: you have looked at yourself and your own strength; you have not studied Jesus! This will be your cure: each day, each hour, consider Jesus, and in Him you will find all the holiness and the heavenliness you need.

1. In the latter part of the Epistle all the glory of Jesus as He entered heaven, and opened it for us, as He became a minister of the heavenly sanctuary, and leads us to dwell in the Father’s presence, will be opened to us. But let us even now, from the commencement, hold fast the truth that the knowledge of Jesus seated in heaven is the power of the heavenly calling and the heavenly life.

2. Do not think that you know all that can be told about Jesus. Believe that there are wonders of heavenly joy to be revealed to you if you know Him better: His divine nearness and oneness with you, His ever-present indwelling to succour and lead you, His power to bring you into the Holiest of All, into the Father’s presence and love, and to keep you there, will be revealed.

Chapter excerpted from Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All: An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1894), 103–106.

Obedience and Health

There made He for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He proved them, and said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee (Ex. 15:25, 26).

It was at Marah that the Lord gave to His people this ordinance. Israel was just released from the yoke of Egypt when their faith was put to the proof in the desert by the waters of Marah. It was after He had sweetened the bitter waters that the Lord promised He would not put upon the children of Israel any of the diseases which He had brought upon the Egyptians so long as they would obey Him. They should be exposed to other trials, they might sometimes suffer the need of bread and of water, they would have to contend with mighty foes, and encounter great dangers; all these things might come upon them in spite of their obedience, but sickness might not touch them.

In a world still under the power of Satan, they might be a butt for attacks coming from without, but their bodies should not be oppressed with sickness, for God had delivered them from it. Had He not said, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God.… I will put none of the diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord that healeth thee?” Again elsewhere, “Ye shall serve the Lord your God, … and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee” (Ex. 23:25; read also Lev. 26:14, 16; Deut. 7:15, 23; 28:15–61).
This calls our attention to a truth of the greatest importance, the intimate relations which exist between obedience and health, between sanctification which is the health of the soul, and the divine healing which ensures the health of the body, both are comprised in the salvation that comes from God. It is noteworthy that in several languages these three words—salvation, healing and sanctification are derived from the same root and present the same fundamental thought. (For instance, the German Heil, salvation; Heilnug, healing; Heiliqung, sanctification). Salvation is the redemption which the Saviour has obtained for us, health is the salvation of the body which also comes to us from the Divine Healer, and lastly, sanctification reminds us that true salvation and true health consists in being holy as God is holy. Thus it is giving health to the body and sanctification to the soul that Jesus is really the Saviour of His people.

Our text clearly declares the relation which exists between holiness of life and the healing of the body. The expressions which bear this out seem to be purposely multiplied: “If thou wilt diligently hearken … if thou wilt do that which is right … if thou wilt give ear … if thou wilt keep all His statutes, I will not send any sickness upon thee.” Here we have the key to all true obedience and holiness. We often think we know well the will of God revealed in His Word; but why does not this knowledge bring forth obedience? It is that in order to obey we must begin by hearkening. “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God … and give ear.…” As long as the will of God reaches me through the voice of man, or through the reading of a book, it may have but little power with me, while if I enter into direct communion with God, and listen to His voice, His commandment is quickened with living power to facilitate its accomplishment.

Christ is the living Word and the Holy Spirit is His voice. Listening to His voice means to renounce all our own will and wisdom, to close the ear to every other voice so as to expect no other direction but that of the Holy Spirit.

One who is redeemed is like a servant or child, who needs to be directed; he knows that he belongs entirely to God, and that all his being, spirit, soul and body ought to glorify God. But he is equally conscious that this is above his strength, and that he needs to receive, hour by hour, the direction which he needs. He knows also that the divine commandment as long as it is a dead letter to him, cannot impart to him strength and wisdom, and that it is only as he attentively gives ear that he will obtain the desired strength, therefore, he listens and learns thus to observe the laws of God. This life of attention and action, of renouncement and of crucifixion constitutes a holy life. The Lord brings us to it in the first place by sickness, and makes us understand that which we are lacking, and then also by the healing which calls the soul to this life of continual attention to the voice of God. Most Christians see nothing more in divine healing than a temporal blessing for the body, while in the promise of our Holy God its end is to make us holy.

The call to holiness sounds daily stronger and more clearly in the church. More and more believers are coming to understand that God wants them to be like Christ; and the Lord is beginning again to make use of His healing virtue, seeking thereby to show us that still in our own days the Holy One of Israel is “The Lord that healeth thee,” and that it is His will to keep His people both in health of body and in obedience.

Let him that looks for healing from the Lord receive it with joy. It is not a legal obedience which is required of him, an obedience depending upon his own strength. No; God asks of him, on the contrary, the abandonment of a little child, the attention which harkens and consents to be led. This is what God expects of him; and the healing of the body will respond to this child-like faith, the Lord will reveal Himself to him as the mighty Saviour who heals the body and sanctifies the soul.

Excerpt from: Chapter 28, Andrew Murray, Divine Healing: A Series of Addresses (Nyack, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing Co., 1900), 162–167.

God and Natural Disasters

The following page is written by Jerry Bridges of Nav Press, one of the greatest contributors to solid Christian teaching on Sanctification and other great doctrines.

“Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things”—Jeremiah 14:22.

In September 1985, an earthquake struck Mexico City killing some 6,000 people and leaving more than 100,000 homeless. A friend of mine wanted to use the event to teach his young children a simple science lesson, so he asked them, “Do you know what caused the earthquake?” He planned to answer his question with a simple explanation of fault lines and shifting rocks in the earth’s crust. His seismology[13] lesson quickly turned into a theological discussion, however, when his eight-year-old daughter replied, “I know why. God was judging those people.”

Though my friend’s child had jumped to an unwarranted conclusion about God’s judgment, she was theologically correct in one sense. God was in control of that earthquake. Why He allowed it to happen is a question we cannot answer (and should not try to), but we can say, on the testimony of Scripture, that God did indeed allow it or cause it to happen. All of us are affected by the weather and the forces of nature at various times to one degree or another. Most of the time we are merely inconvenienced by weather—a delayed airplane flight, a cancelled Fourth of July picnic, or something else on that order.

Frequently some people somewhere are drastically affected by the weather or the more violent forces of nature. A prolonged drought withers the farmer’s crop, or a hailstorm destroys it within an hour. A tornado in Texas leaves hundreds homeless, and a typhoon in Bangladesh destroys thousands of acres of crops. Whenever we are affected by the weather—whether it is merely an inconvenience or a major disaster—we tend to regard it as nothing more than the impersonal expression of certain fixed meteorological or geological laws. A low pressure system settles over my hometown, bringing a huge snowstorm and closing our airport the day I am to leave for a ministry engagement. Forces within the earth continually bend its crust until one day it snaps, causing a major earthquake. Whether it is trivial or traumatic, we tend to think of the expressions of nature as “just happening” and ourselves as the “unlucky” victims of whatever nature brings forth. In practice, even Christians tend to live and think like the deists…who conceived of God as the One Who created the universe and then walked away to leave it running according to its own natural laws.

But God has not walked away from the day-to-day control of His creation. Certainly, He has established physical laws by which He governs the forces of nature, but those laws continuously operate according to His sovereign will. A Christian TV meteorologist has determined that there are over 1,400 references to weather terminology in the Bible. Many of these references attribute the outworking of weather directly to the hand of God. Most of these passages speak of God’s control over all weather, not just His divine intervention on specific occasions. Consider the following Scriptures:

“He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth…For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength…By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:  And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy” (Job 37:3, 6, 10-13).

“Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains…He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow” (Psa 147:8, 16-18).

“When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures” (Jer 10:13).

“And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered” (Amo 4:7).

Note how all these Scriptures attribute all expressions of weather—good or bad—to the direct controlling hand of God. The insurance companies refer to major natural disasters as “acts of God.”

The truth is, all expressions of nature, all occurrences of weather, whether it be a devastating tornado or a gentle rain on a spring day, are acts of God. The Bible teaches that God controls all the forces of nature, both destructive and productive, on a continuous, moment-by-moment basis. Whether the weather is nice or bad, we are never the victims or even the beneficiaries of the impersonal powers of nature. God, who is the loving heavenly Father of every true Christian, is sovereign over the weather, and He exercises that sovereignty moment by moment. Complaining about the weather seems to be a favourite American pastime. Sadly, we Christians often get caught up in this ungodly habit of our society. But when we complain about the weather, we are actually complaining against God, Who sent us our weather. We are, in fact, sinning against God (see Num 11:1).

Not only do we sin against God when we complain about the weather, we also deprive ourselves of the peace that comes from recognizing our heavenly Father is in control of it. Alexander Carson said,

“Scripture represents all physical laws as having their effect from the immediate agency of Almighty Power. . . .Christians themselves, though they recognize the doctrine of divine Providence, are prone to overlook it in practice, and consequently to be deprived, in a great measure, of that advantage which a constant and deep impression of this truth is calculated to give.”

Whether the weather merely disrupts my plans or destroys my home, I need to learn to see God’s sovereign and loving hand controlling it. The fact is, for most of us, the weather and the effects of nature are usually favourable. The tornado, the drought, even the snowstorm that delays our flight are the exception, not the rule. We tend to remember the “bad” weather and take for granted the good. However, when Jesus spoke about the weather, He spoke about the goodness of God: “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mat 5:45).

And in some cases he sends destructive weather such as hail: Joshua 10:11 As the Amorites retreated down the road from Beth-horon, the LORD destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.

Though God sometimes uses the weather, and other expressions of nature, as an instrument of judgment (see Amos 4:7-9), He most often uses it as an expression of His gracious provision for His creation. Both saint and sinner alike benefit from God’s gracious provision of weather. And, according to Jesus, this provision is not merely the result of certain fixed, inexorable physical laws. God controls those laws. He causes His sun to rise, He sends the rain… We as Christians need to stop complaining about the weather, and instead learn to give thanks for it. God, our heavenly Father, sends us each day what He deems best for all of His creation. What about the natural disasters that occur frequently in various parts of the world?

Many sensitive Christians struggle over the multitude of large-scale natural disasters around the world—an earthquake in one place, famine in another, typhoons and floods somewhere else. Thousands of people are killed, others slowly starve to death. Entire regions are devastated, crops are ruined, homes destroyed. “Why does God allow all this?” we may ask. “Why does God permit all those innocent children to starve?”

It is not wrong to wrestle with these issues, as long as we do it in a reverent and submissive attitude toward God. Indeed, to fail to wrestle with the issue of large-scale tragedy may indicate a lack of compassion toward others on our part. However, we must be careful not to, in our minds, take God off His throne of absolute sovereignty or put Him in the dock and bring Him to the bar of our judgment.

While working on this chapter, I watched the evening news on television one night. One of the top stories was about several powerful tornados that swept across central Mississippi killing seven people, injuring at least 145 more, and leaving nearly 500 families homeless. As I watched the scenes of people sifting through the rubble of what had been their homes, my heart went out to them. I thought to myself, “Some of those people are undoubtedly believers. What would I say to them about God’s sovereignty over nature? Do I really believe it myself at a time such as this?…Why bring God into chaos and suffering such as this?” But God brings Himself into these events. He said in Isaiah 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

God Himself accepts the responsibility, so to speak, of disasters. He actually does more than accept the responsibility; He actually claims it. In effect, God says, “I, and I alone, have the power and authority to bring about both prosperity and disaster, both weal and woe, both good and bad.” This is a difficult truth to accept as you watch people sift through the rubble of their homes or—more to the point—if you are the one sifting through the rubble of your home. But as the late Dr. Edward J. Young commented on Isaiah 45:7, “We gain nothing by seeking to minimize the force of the present verse.” We must allow the Bible to say what it says, not what we think it ought to say.

We obviously do not understand why God creates disaster, or why He brings it to one town and not to another. We recognize, too, that just as God sends His sun and rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous, so He also sends the tornado, or the hurricane, or the earthquake on both…God’s sovereignty over nature does not mean that Christians never encounter the tragedies of natural disasters. Experience and observation clearly teach otherwise. God’s sovereignty over nature does mean that, whatever we experience at the hand of the weather or other forces of nature (such as plant diseases or insect infestation of our crops), all circumstances are under the watchful eye and sovereign control of our God.

To find out more on the doctrine of Providence click here.

Excerpted from Trusting God by Jerry Bridges copyright 1988. Used by permission of NavPress, www.navpress.com. All rights reserved. Jerry Bridges: Bible teacher, staff member of The Navigators Collegiate Ministries, guest lecturer at several seminaries, conference speaker, and author of The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, Trusting God, The Gospel for Real Life, and others. Jerry went home to the Lord in 2016. To see his contribution to Christian literature see Wikipedia.

If I be lifted up, I will draw all to myself

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” — John 12:32 KJV

On this weekend, while the world of Christian faith surrounding us celebrates Easter, it is fitting that we spend a few quiet moments here considering a text from the Gospel, the Biblical record of the life of Christ.

Jesus left heaven to live where we do, share the daily life of a fellow human, and ultimately offer Himself as our substitute, so that we might experience His world where righteousness and freedom ultimately dwell.

Many of us go about our daily routine without much thought about how we can go to be with God. We are so accustomed to life as we know it that we scarcely recognize how much evil has become intertwined with just about everything.

But Jesus came to offer us something better. That could only happen through his death. Just as a transplanted organ often is possible only when the donor dies, so Salvation, and it’s outcome, living forever, required the death of its donor — Jesus.

Jesus must be lifted up both as sacrifice and as a witness that there is something much better than the little trinkets that we prize so much. And we MUST remind ourselves and others that Jesus is our hope, our promise and our redeemer.

So, in our own life, we need that constant reminder that Jesus has to be an unashamed theme of our thoughts, our conversation and our only hope of salvation each day.

John demonstrates elsewhere that people who embrace parts of faith can, at the same time, completely forget, that without Jesus, we have nothing. That’s it. Period.

So once again, I need Jesus. I need to stick close to Him. To ask the question throughout my day — “What would Jesus do here, with this challenge, I’m facing?” That’s how I make Jesus real.

And when Jesus is lifted up, He promises that He’ll do the drawing. Let’s lift up Jesus. In our neighbourhood. In our family. Where we work. The adventure can be ours.

Source: Pastor Mark Johnson



When the world’s gone bonkers

My dear friends, I was doing my best to write to you about the salvation we share in common, when I felt the need of writing at once to encourage you to fight on for the faith which once and for all God has given to his people. For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received.” —Jude 3,4 GNT

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our spiritual diet. What we choose to consume, that which we avoid.

Tucked away in the back of your Bible, right next door to the Revelation, is a really short book — Jude, just a short chapter long. And yet, how densely filled with things we need to think about. Especially now.

The days we are living in are not a time for a ‘soft gospel’ approach to Scripture, God or how to live. The storms that swept the south last night, the spiralling costs of food, hostilities between nations and neighbours are signs that the end of all things is just before us.

I fear that too many people of faith aren’t hearing and grasping the things that are going on around us.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I simply read the news that’s available to me on my laptop with my Bible open beside it. The world has gone bonkers. Irreligious people are busy building their Babels. The disasters and human response were both foretold in Scripture. No one needs to act surprised.

But just as at the birth of Christ people were pinning their hopes for the future on all the wrong stuff. So, today, the masses are wilfully ignorant of what’s next. But you and I can know where we are in the stream of things. Think of the Bible as a road map, necessary to each of us as we are about to travel an unknown road.

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to bring you faultless and joyful before his glorious presence— to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might, and authority, from all ages past, and now, and forever and ever! Amen” — Jude 24, 25 GNT

Why not join me in reading all of Jude TODAY? Important words for an important time.

Source: My good friend Pastor Mark Johnson’s weekly wisdom presented in Facebook.