Tag Archives: the Savior

1&2 Peter; Too Late

Can you celebrate the birth of Jesus and ignore the fact that He is coming again? He first came as a baby boy, grew to be a man, rocked the world at that time, and continues to rock our world after His death on the cross, and resurrection.

Christmas is not just a birthday. It’s the beginning of the end. Jesus will come again, and Peter reminds us it will be a day of reckoning. Are you ready?

I hope your Christmas holiday will be blessed with happiness and precious moments with family and friends. But I also hope – no, I pray – that when you consider that baby in a manger, you will consider how His birth has impacted you. That baby was born for love of you. That baby was born to save you.

Do you now Him? I pray you do. But if you’ve never confessed your sin and allowed Him to forgive you through the blood of Jesus, do it today. I can’t imagine a better birthday gift to give that Baby Jesus, than your heart.

Because He is coming again. It could be today. And when He comes it will be too late for you to suddenly accept what He died to give you.

May you celebrate the birth of YOUR Savior this season.

Ezekiel 45-48; Sweet and Salty

My favorite dessert.

But I’m not going to talk about the gigantic piece of chocolate cake with thick fudge frosting, drizzled with hot fudge, a scoop of ice-cream, and peanuts that my friends and I shared last night at dinner. Give me a second…

Ok. I’m back. 🙂

I live on an island in the Atlantic, surrounded by beautiful, mysterious marshland. There are several rivers near me that flow through the marshes and into the ocean. You can take your boat from the salty waters of the Atlantic, right into fresh flowing water that comes from the mainland. And vise versa.

Sometimes those rivers overflow their banks and pour their sweet water into the marshes before rushing into the ocean. That is quite a sight to see. Really, the marshland scenery changes all the time. I love it.

The water from these rivers never stops flowing. Every minute of every day, thousands and thousands of gallons of fresh water pour into the ocean Yet with all that fresh water, the ocean is still salty. That’s a fact.

So when I read chapter 47 I was a bit confused. Water from a river making salty water fresh? That’s not the way it works.

So as I sat here considering how this passage could be true, God reminded me that this is a vision, Connie. Not a science lesson.

Oh right. A vision!

So – what does the fresh water represent?

Jesus! The Gospel!

What is described in Ezekiel’s vision is so true in the life a believer. This water we know as Jesus Himself, changes our saltiness, uselessness, our guilt, into something refreshing, and fruit-bearing. Sin cannot do what Jesus can do. The Gospel is life-giving! It’s a miracle.

Then I thought back to chapter 46 where God tells Ezekiel that people must come into the temple by one gate, walk straight through, and exit through the opposite gate. No turning back. It speaks about we who come to know the Lord, and leave our past behind to follow Him. That’s what God demands:

“Don’t look back, Lot’s wife. Don’t look back. Keep going.” (Oh, she turned to salt when she disobeyed, didn’t she? She didn’t accept the fresh water of salvation that was hers for the taking. And she died in her sin.)

Keep moving, Christian. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep sharing the Gospel and allow God to do the impossible – changing salt water into fresh, changing sinners into saints through the blood of Jesus as people confess their sins and repent.

Now that’s sweet.

Jeremiah 46-52; When It’s Close To Home

God had given Jeremiah a word, and Jeremiah was faithful to relay the message as it was given. It started out with a prophecy against Egypt, then against the Philistines. God continued to give prophecies against Moab, then Ammon, Edom, Damascus, and the Arabians. These nations, these people had rejected God, had fought against God’s people, and God let them know the consequences they would pay for going up against Him.

But then God gave a prophecy against Babylon, and I have to think this message wasn’t as easy to deliver for Jeremiah. The Babylonians were enemies of Israel, just like Egypt and the rest of them. But Matthew Henry reminded me that the king of Babylon had been kind to Jeremiah. There was a personal connection between the prophet and the king.

This is what Henry says about Jeremiah 50:1ff:

“Here is a word spoken against Babylon. The king of Babylon had been very kind to Jeremiah, and yet he must foretell the ruin of that kingdom; for God’s prophets must not be governed by favor or affection. Whoever are our friends, if, notwithstanding, they are God’s enemies, we dare not speak peace to them.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible; Zondervan Publishing,1961; page 1018)

I don’t know about you, but as much as I appreciate Matthew Henry’s insight into God’s Word, sometimes reading him is like reading a foreign language. I guess, if you were born in 1662 like he was, his vocabulary wouldn’t sound so strange. But for those of us living in the 21st Century, here’s what I get out of Henry’s old world vocabulary:

It’s not always easy to talk to the people closest to us about sin, about their need of the Savior. It’s not always easy to tell someone they are wrong, especially if that person is a really nice, good, upstanding person. And it’s hard to speak the Truth when we know we might offend someone we have a personal relationship with.

But Henry reminds us that all unbelievers, everyone who rejects God or ignores Him, anyone who thinks they are ok on their own, are enemies of God. The Bible is clear; you are either for God or against Him. There is no category of “nice guy” that cancels out our guilt of sin, and our need of Jesus.

Did you get what Henry said? God’s prophets, those of us entrusted with the Truth must not let our affection for someone prevent us from sharing the Truth. And if our loved one, or our sweet friend, or our kind neighbor, has not confessed sin and accepted Jesus as their Savior, WE MUST NOT TELL THEM EVERYTHING WILL BE OK.

We must not say of someone who rejects Jesus and dies, that they are in a better place. They are in a horrible place. More horrible than we can imagine. We must not say of an unsaved person who suffers a painful death that, well at least they are not in pain any more. Because the reality is they are in more pain than they ever experienced in this life. If we say otherwise, what message are we giving to those of our friends and family who have yet to accept God’s grace?

We must not tell someone who is rejecting Jesus, ignoring Him, living in sin, that their choices aren’t carrying severe, eternal consequences. We must not speak peace to a non-believer because, no matter how nice they are in this life, they are without hope without Jesus. They have no promise of peace, so we must not pretend that they do.

It’s not easy sharing the Gospel when that lost person is close to home. But aren’t those the people we love the most, the people we care for above all people?

Do you believe lost people go to hell? Look into the eyes of that lost loved one and see their eternity. Can you be as faithful as Jeremiah to deliver the Truth in spite of your personal feelings for that person?

Can I?

 

Esther; An Edict Not Revoked

Whenever I read this book I wonder, when I get to the part where the king who condemned all Jews to death, why he doesn’t just rescind his order and let them live once he discovers the truth. Why doesn’t he send out an updated edict and let the Jews off the hook? Instead, he gives the Jews a way to survive the death sentence.

Today Warren Wiresbe (With the Word Bible Handbook) put a light on the subject that helps me see things a bit more clearly. If you have read other posts of mine you know my strong conviction that all Scripture is given us by our loving Heavenly Father for the expressed purpose of revealing Himself to us. So what can a book that doesn’t even mention His Name teach us about God?

His Sovereignty. His dealing with prideful people. The fact He blesses obedience. And this:

JESUS!

Dr. Wiresbe reminded me God, from the time of Adam and Eve, has proclaimed an edict: Sin requires a death penalty. ALL sin, every sin comes with a deadly price tag whether we think that’s fair or not. And God is not going to revoke that edict.

Every impure thought, every vulgar word, every unkind action, all disobedience condemns you. You’re not going to talk God out of it, either.

Just like the Jews in Esther’s day were condemned to die, we are condemned to an eternity of death, separated from God.  But God provided a way for us to survive. He didn’t revoke the edict – He FULFILLED it! Jesus died so we don’t have to. That was our death sentence Jesus took on Himself.

Now here’s the other thing: The king didn’t write the new edict allowing the Jews to be saved, then lock the paper up in a vault. He sent couriers out into the land to tell the good news to everyone!

We need to be doing that, too. Your neighbor, your brother-in-law, your co-worker might need to know that they have a death sentence hanging over their heads, and that salvation is their’s for the asking! Jesus paid what they cannot pay. And they can have eternal life through the precious blood of their Savior.

Our Holy God cannot rescind the edict. Sin=Death. But Praise God that He Himself provided a way of salvation from the penalty of death my sin requires. I live because Jesus died. Praise God.

He did the same for you!

November 11 – What Jesus Wants Us To Know

John 14-17

I love reading John’s personal account of his last intimate moments with the Savior. Jesus talked to His disciples around the dinner table about what was ahead, about His suffering and death. He promised them they’d see Him again, that He would be preparing their place in eternity. He assured them of God’s love. He promised the Holy Spirit. And He prayed for them.

As a follower of Jesus myself, I hear Him speak these words to me, too. I am assured that Jesus and the Father are One. That Jesus is the way, the truth, and life, and no one can go to the Father except through Him. I am strengthened when Jesus tells me He has overcome the world.

Do you doubt that Jesus is God? I challenge you to read these chapters today. But before you do, ask God to reveal the Truth as you read His Word. Put aside pre-conceived notions for the ten minutes it will take you, and allow God to show Himself to you, and to introduce you to His Son.

Because you’ll read the words, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (14:9)

Jesus is Who He claims to be. Jesus is God. Jesus is the Savior of the world.

And He wants you to know Him.

August 3 – The Flip Side

Isaiah 64-66

The books of prophesy contain so much hope for God’s people. Christian, there is joy ahead. There is peace. Our longings met, and our hunger and thirst satisfied. We won’t be haunted by memories of past mistakes. We’ll enjoy a new heaven and a new earth forever in God’s Presence. The reality is beyond our imagination.

But the flip side of that coin is so much worse than we can imagine. God, through Isaiah, is talking about the redeemed who “will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed Me. For their worm will not die, and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrent to all mankind.” (66:24)

That’s hell. A fire of regret and agony caused by memories of missed opportunities. A thirst that can never be satisfied, knowing for eternity that you are the lowest of the low, abhorrent, disgusting, defeated, wrong. And the worst part of that is that you will truly be separated from God with no hope of ever seeing the light again.

Ever.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, rest assured you have a glorious future ahead of you. If you haven’t accepted Jesus, the flip side of that truth should scare you out of your mind.

March 27 – How long?

Joshua 16-18

God had given the land to the Jews. All they had to do was take it. Some tribes went right in and cleaned out the cities in order to occupy what God had given them.

Other tribes held back. Joshua asked them: How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your Fathers, has given you?” (18:3)

It’s Easter Sunday morning. Jesus is alive! His death on the cross bought our salvation. He was buried to carry our sins all the way to hell, separated from the Father.

But He rose again, and offers us new life. Eternal life. A life free of guilt and hopelessness. He did that for me. He did that for you.

Some people have accepted God’s provision. We’ve repented of sin and allowed Jesus to be our Savior, the very thing He was born to be.

Others stand there looking at the gift, like the Jews in Joshua 18 stood looking at the land. But they just haven’t taken that step toward accepting what Jesus bought for them, what He freely offers to them with open arms.

God is saying to you, “How long will you put off taking possession of what is already yours? How long will you refuse what Jesus died to give you?”

Dearest Jesus, we celebrate You today. We sing about the fact that you defeated death itself by dying, then living again. That tomb is empty. We praise You. We worship You. I pray for any reading this blog who are still standing there with that precious gift in front of them. May they reach out and accept what you have already paid for. May they repent of sin this minute, and allow You to forgive them, that which you are so eager to do. May each of us know the blessed reality of having the risen Savior walking with us today.