Tag Archives: salvation

December 30; What Not To Wear

Revelation 15-18

So often we can become impatient for God to give our enemies what we think they deserve. But as I read John’s vision in the book of Revelation, I realize God is not out to avenge our enemies. But He will certainly deal with His.

His final judgment will be unimaginably awful for anyone who rejected Him during their lifetime on Earth. It is a truly frightening account of their future.

Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments. (16:7)

God isn’t going to arbitrarily torture someone just because He didn’t like them, or because of the color of their hair. But a painful existence is ahead for anyone who has ignored God’s wooing, His hand of correction, His conviction over sin, His constant attempts at winning the world. His judgments are true and just.

Jesus says, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” (16:7)

So let me ask us this: What are we wearing? What clothes are we hanging onto? Good deeds? Charity? Church attendance? Morality? Good luck with that.

Those are exactly the things NOT to wear. When those filthy rags disintegrate, and they will, you’ll be standing there as naked as the day you were born.

For me, I want to be awake, wearing the righteousness Jesus bought for me on the cross. I want to keep that robe close to me because it is the only ticket into heaven anyone has.

I want that for you, too.

 

December 25; The Reason

Hebrews 13; I John 1-2

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

As we celebrate the Baby in the manger today, let’s not overlook why God became a flesh and blood baby 2000 years ago. The Apostle John tells us this:

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (I John 1:8b)

We call it a season of love, of hope, and peace. And it is absolutely all of that! God’s love motivated Him, and love is a byproduct of His appearing. Hope is ours because He came, and peace the world cannot understand rests within His children because that Baby born in Bethlehem grew up to die.

We celebrate everything that Christmas represents. But let’s not forget Jesus came because of the ugliness of sin. Your sin. And mine. Jesus came to destroy Satan’s hold on us. This precious Baby was born to save.

I pray you will realize the seriousness of the season as well as the joy of it all. The reason Jesus was born is…

YOU!

December 23; Our High Priest’s Birthday

Hebrews 7:1-10:18

Melchizedek is a curious fellow. He appears in Scripture for a few verses, then promptly disappears. We don’t know where he came from, or where he went after talking to Abraham. He was a priest, but not from the tribe of Levi. Curious.

Yet the writer of Hebrews compares Jesus to this mysterious Old Testament priest. He tells us in 7:16 that Melchizedek represents the “one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry, but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.”

Jesus was descended from Judah, not Levi. And with Him came a new and better covenant than the one God had previously made with Israel. (vs 22)

No more animal sacrifices. No more need of any priest to enter the Presence of God on our behalf. Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate, perfect sacrifice for us all, then He sat down at the right hand of God in heaven where He serves as our High Priest in that sanctuary set up by the Lord, not by man.

I hope you’ll read these chapters in Hebrews today. As we get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s do so with the knowledge of what His birth meant. Let’s thank Him that the baby didn’t stay in the manger, but grew up to be our sacrifice. Jesus was born to die.

But He is not dead. Right now, today, this very minute He is sitting next to the Father and interceding for you and me. He is praying for us. Does that make you want to fall at His feet in humble praise and thanksgiving? Does that make you want to love Him like He deserves to be loved, obeyed like He demands, and serve Him in any way you can? It does me.

I want to say “Happy Birthday Jesus, my Savior, my King, my amazing High Priest. I love you!”

 

December 21; A Charge

2 Timothy 2-4; Hebrews 1

I hope you will read Paul’s charge to Timothy and hear God speaking to you. The fact is, the time of Jesus’ return is 2,000 years closer than when Paul wrote these words. We may be 2,000 years before that blessed event yet today, but Scripture tells us to be prepared. It could be 2,000 years from now. It could be today.

This is Paul’s charge from chapter 4:

  1. Preach the Word
  2. be prepared in season and out of season
  3. correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction
  4. keep your head in all situations
  5. endure hardship
  6. do the work of the evangelist
  7. discharge all the duties of your ministry

Friend, our relationship with God has to be intentional. It cannot be mere emotion, or something we put on a shelf like a trophy. You and I need to be using our minds, keeping our heads in all situations.

In chapter 3 Paul talks about the evils of the last days and warns us about those who live lives of greed, pride, disobedience, slander… He tells us to have nothing to do with them. Why?

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires… 

Now before you men start to feeling smug here, I’ve known some pretty gullible men, too. I don’t think I’m going out of bounds to suggest this warning is for all of us. None of us are immune from the wiles of the devil.

And I can’t help but think evil is worming its way into our homes through the internet and cable TV. Be ware!

That’s why my prayer is that any who read this blog will be encouraged to be in the God’s Word every day. Reading. Studying. Praying about it. Memorizing it. Re-reading it. And obeying it. Please let God grow you and strengthen you through the pages of His precious Word. And take Paul’s charge to Timothy as your own.

 

 

December 20; Everything You Need

Jude 1:17-25; 2 Peter 1-3; 2 Timothy 1

Do you realize that, if Jesus is your Savior, you have everything you need to make it through this life? Peter tells us the divine power of God Himself gives us everything we need for life and godliness.

Don’t miss the word, “everything.” And don’t underestimate God’s power.

But then Peter says; For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith…

I recently read an article about a woman in our town whose name is Shawn, One day Shawn noticed a very tired woman walking along the street. She stopped to check on her and found out the lady walked to work every day. And it took her three hours one way to walk to her job at McDonald’s. Shawn decided to help, and for some time picked her up every day and gave her a ride. When Shawn wasn’t able, her sister or her son made the trip so that tired woman wouldn’t have to walk to or from work.

Then Shawn did something else extraordinary. She bought a car, put it in the woman’s name, paid for insurance for two months, and filled the gas tank. She handed the woman the keys to the car.

That woman now owned a car. No strings attached. I ask you, wouldn’t it have been a waste if she never put the key into the ignition? Wouldn’t you wonder about anyone with such an amazing gift who DIDN’T use it? What if the woman insisted on continuing to walk to work, a car in her drive, gas in the tank, and keys in hand? You’d think something was wrong with that picture.

At least I would. Here’s the thing. That car belongs to the woman. But in order to take advantage of  that gift, she has to use it.

In 2 Peter 1: 5-6 Peter tells us to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love. Then verses 10-11 the apostle says:

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yes, God has give us everything we need, but Peter reminds us if we want to make our election sure we need to use what is given, and to grow it. What a waste it is to have everything we need for life and godliness, and not use it.

 

December 15; Attitude Check

Philemon; Philippians 1-2

I remember that, as an adolescent girl, I could be a bit moody. No really, I could. I could get upset over what now seems insignificant, but at the time seemed the end of the world. And I remember on more than one occasion, during one of my displays of emotion, I’d hear the stern voice of my Dad say, “Change your attitude.”

It was not a suggestion.

I hear God say the same thing to me today. I hope you’ll read Philippians 2:5-11, and do an attitude check on yourself. Paul tells us our attitudes should be the same as Jesus’.

I’ve always loved these verses which speak of what Jesus did to pay for my sins, the lengths He went to die on a cross. And these verses thrill me every time I read about the Name of the One I love.

The truth is, I have no reason to have a bad attitude. I have no reason for self-pity, jealousy, bitterness. When I get a good look at what Jesus gave up to ransom me, and I realize He never complained or regretted what He’d lost, I am ashamed to remember the times when I made a big deal of things unimportant in the light of eternity.

I don’t believe God is talking about sadness, or grief, or disappointment as being sinful. Those were emotions Jesus Himself felt. But God is speaking to me about my overall attitude when bad – or good – things happen.

Paul says IF I have any encouragement from being united with Christ, IF any comfort from His love, IF I have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and IF I have received tenderness and compassion, (I emphasized the “ifs” because of course I have received all of that and more. It’s not an “if.” It’s a definite) then change your attitude!

Time for an attitude check. May my attitude, and yours, be the same as that of Jesus.

December 11; The Danger In Gentle Breezes

Acts 25:23-28:10

I love how the experiences of people we read about in Scripture are life lessons for us today. Please don’t read the Bible merely for the information. My prayer is that you will allow the living Word of God speak to you and change you every time you open its precious pages. I’d like to share what speaks to me about Paul’s experience at sea.

Paul was a prisoner, heading to Rome for trial. The centurion in charge of Paul booked passage on a ship. There were guards on board, but so, evidently were some of Paul’s friends.

The ship landed at a place called Fair Havens after a difficult first leg of the journey. It was a dangerous time of year to be sailing, but Fair Havens was not a good spot to dock for the winter. Paul warned the centurion that there was danger ahead if they set sail.

But the centurion didn’t listen to Paul. The pilot of the ship, the one with experience sailing in all kinds of weather, the one who’d most likely traveled this way before, the assumed authority on the matter, assured the centurion they could make it to Phoenix, a great place to hold up during winter.

“Look at the calm sea, feel that gentle breeze,” he may have told the centurion. “Things are looking good for sailing if we leave now.” He may have even added, “Trust me.”

The Bible says they set sail. But it wasn’t long before the gentle breeze turned into a raging storm, and totally consumed the ship and its passengers. For days they fought a losing battle against the wind and waves.

Friends, I see a picture of sin here. Too often people, even Christians, listen to so-called authorities, and ignore what God says in His Word. Whether it’s parenting, worshiping, mental health, gender issues (the list goes on), there are people passing themselves off as authorities on any given subject, and going against what God has said in His Word. But because people, even Christians, listen to those so-called authorities, they jump into the boat. They put their faith in something or someone other than God. Their course is doomed.

People don’t normally jump into the boat while the storm is raging. They step in when the water is calm, and the breeze is gentle. They adopt one innocent sounding idea and make it their own, even if the Bible takes a different view on the subject. But there is danger in that gentle breeze.

Maybe they are confronted with temptation, but someone somewhere has said if it doesn’t hurt anyone else, it’s not that bad. One little white lie, one peek at porn, one cup of coffee with a married co-worker. It’s a gentle breeze. Besides, others wiser and more experienced than I tell me I deserve this. But there is danger in that gentle breeze.

I know you know that gentle breeze turns into a raging storm pretty quickly. And you find yourself in a sinking ship, battling something you never would have had to battle  if you’d  listened to the voice of God and stayed ashore.

Let Paul’s experience serve as a warning. There is only one authority. And He has written His wisdom down in Scripture.

Let Paul’s experience give you hope, too. Even if you are caught up in the raging sea of sin, all does not have to be lost. Just like God provided one way for the sailors and passengers to be saved from that storm, He has provided one way for each of us to survive, too. His name is Jesus.

The only way you will get out of this storm, the only way you will get out of this life alive, is through God’s provision of His Son. It’s only the cross that saves.

Don’t take my word for it. I am not an authority. But let God’s Word be the authority it is. There is no other Way, no other Truth, no other Life. And God wants you to know that for yourself.

There are those who would encourage you to feel that gentle breeze of temptation and sin. But, dear one, there is real danger in that gentle breeze.