Today there are a lot of people struggling with things they need to be saved from. Alcoholics wish God would set them free from the bottle. Drug addicts beg God to deliver them from their pills. Porn addicts hate the images that haunt their screens. On the highways, road rage is destroying the testimonies of fish emblems. People everywhere are begging God to save them, but God will not save them until they are willing to be their own savior.
Noah had to build his own boat. The Israelites had to walk into the Red Sea. Ruth had to gather her own grain. Naaman had to to dip himself into the Jordan River. The crippled man had to take up his own bed and walk. The woman caught in adultery had to go and sin no more and the soldier at the foot of the cross had to acknowledge personally that Jesus truly was the Son of God. All these people had one thing in common. Before God would save them, they had to be willing to be their own savior.
When the Israelites were standing against the Red Sea, they complained and begged God for help. God told them to quit begging and get up and walk. Their salvation came when they were willing to go forward and save themselves. Now there are alcoholics who need to burst their own bottles, drug addicts who need to flush their own drugs, porn addicts who need to turn off their own computers and people with road rage need to shut their own mouths. You can be saved from your sin but only if you are willing to be your own savior.
Don’t misunderstand me. Eternal salvation is found only in Christ. Salvation cannot be earned nor can it be bought. No one can brag about what they have done in order to be saved. However, Jesus has never saved anyone who would not be saved. Before a person can be saved, they must recognize the need for salvation and have a desire to be saved. When people realize how hopeless they are, they will save themselves by taking a leap of faith and place their trust in Jesus Christ, who is the Savior
So turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face and the desires of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His mercy and grace. You can save yourself, but only by trusting Jesus to be your Savior.
Esther is a young woman who has a choice to make. Her family, friends and people face extermination. She must choose. Will she put her life in danger and try to save her people? Or will she do nothing and watch as everyone she loves is destroyed. Her uncle Mordecai tells her that she was born, “for such a time as this.” She chose to put her life on the line and she was used by God to help save her people.
You and I are here in this place and this time. You did not choose this time and maybe didn’t choose this place, but here you are. I would like to suggest that you may have been chosen for such a time as this. You were uniquely created for the responsibilities and opportunities of your life.
Like Esther you have choices to make. Maybe your choices are not as drastic as hers but they are yours to make. I take that back, your choices are just as drastic as hers. Your choices are life shaping for you and everyone in your life.
You may never stand before a king, but every day you will stand before someone. If you will be like Esther, you can make a positive impact on this world, but you must choose wisely. Today choose righteousness, choose wisdom and choose kindness because you never know whose life you maybe saving. After all you were born for such a time as this.
Well, I saw it on Facebook. A young boy is confused; he thinks he is a girl and he wants to be a girl. But he was created by God as a boy. His parents know this. They try to help him by sending him to a Christian counselor. The young boy commits suicide, most likely because he had been influenced by evil people who have an agenda to pursue. These people with an agenda to pursue then write a story about this boy and placed it on Facebook. In this story, they smear the boy’s Christian parents as intolerant bigots. They blamed them and the counselor for the boy’s death. This is called propaganda.
Here is the problem; some good people read the tear-jerking story about the young boy and are moved emotionally. They “like” the story and “copy and repost” it to their social media page. Never mind that the story does not tell the whole truth. Never mind that the story attacks God’s will and righteousness. Never mind that the story attacks Godly parents, all that matters is that their emotions prompted them to continue this propaganda.
So what is the result of good people “liking and reposting” this propaganda? Simply this, other confused young people who may have some respect for you see you as having approved of this story. Your approval encourages them to reject God’s will and continue in their confused state of mind.
This does not just apply to this story, but many other stories I have seen on Facebook. I have seen good people spreading propaganda about policemen, legalizing drugs, euthanasia, and many other things that are simply wrong. If you are a child of God you need to stop doing this.
The bottom line is this; emotions are fickle but God’s Word is not. When you are bored or have a lot of time on your hands don’t just sit and mindlessly accept everything you read on the internet. God made you with a brain, use it. And stop spreading propaganda.
I found a dead bird lying under a bush. There were no wounds on its body, nothing to show why he died. It looked as if it had just come to the end of its life. As I looked at the tiny remains, I thought about the life and purpose of a bird. What is a bird’s purpose? Well, it seems a bird’s purpose is to live, raise its young and sing. By doing what it was placed here to do, it fulfills its ultimate purpose, which is bringing glory to its Creator.
Consider the lifespan of the average bird. Many can live up to ten or twelve years. Some live much longer while others have shorter lives. A bird’s life can be hard. When the harsh wind and cold rain of winter comes, they cling to a branch, fluff their feathers and endure. After that the hot dry days of summer may make their food hard to find. But you never hear a bird complain. You will only hear bright, cheery songs from the birds. Their song should remind us that God is always good and greatly to be praised
As I sit here on this beautiful morning, I watch the warm sun melt last night’s frost. As the sun rises, I hear a coyote howl and turkeys gobble. In the distance an owl gives one last hoot and close by doves are faithfully cooing to their lifelong mates. Quietly, I listen as the birds begin their symphony of praise to a Creator that only mankind can know.
Yes, it is true; we who are created in the image of God are the only ones who can know God. And yet when it comes to glorifying God, the birds put us to shame. We are the apple of God’s eye and yet more often than not our voices are lifted in grumbling and complaining. Listen. Our salvation was purchased by the Blood of Jesus so shouldn’t we out sing the birds. The bottom line is this. No matter what is going on in your life, God is worthy of all honor and praise and glory.
I must confess, what I am about to say I find it difficult to practice. You see, I am a child of God. That means I am in Christ and Christ is in me. In Christ, I am a new creature. This means I can no longer see the world through the filter of the culture I was raised in. The love of Christ compels me to see people with the eyes of Jesus.
Consider the tenderness you always have for a small child. Most of us will always treat children with kindness. We know that their view of the world is simpler than ours. Because of their innocence, they do not have a complete understanding of their surroundings. For this reason we will stoop to their level and speak to them with words they understand. We don’t expect them to act like grownups
The tenderness you have for a child, our Savior has for all people. When the Pharisees falsely arrested and condemned Him to death, Jesus still loved them. When Pilate tried to wash the guilt from his hands, Jesus would gladly have taken him by the hand and led him into righteousness. And when the soldiers beat Him and nailed Him to the cross Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them because they don’t understand.” Jesus did not come into this world to condemn anyone. He came to bring salvation to all people. Because He sees everyone through eyes of Compassion, it breaks His heart when people reject His love
We often look down on people who have made bad decisions. Emotions, personal situations and cultural peer pressure often lead people to make poor life choices. We tend to see these people as people to avoid. But the people we try to avoid, Jesus sees as precious souls. If indeed we are in Christ and Christ is in us, then we will love as He loves and learn to see everyone through His eyes of Compassion.
There is a popular game show that awards points not for giving the right answer but for asking the right question. Imagine if you will this scenario. Contestant number one says, “ I would like to take Struggling Churches for 500.” The host then says, “ 1 Corinthians 16:22 says If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let Him be accursed.” Contestant number one is then awarded 500 points when he asks the question, “ Why are so many modern churches dead and dying?”
This is not really a game show question. It is reality. The word “accursed” means to be separated from God. All around there are empty church buildings whose doors are closed forever. Once they were a life changing source of hope. Now their light is darkened. Why? Because man-made traditions became more important than the commandments of God. Personal preference overruled the presence of the Holy Spirit and the love for their church overcame their love of Christ. So Jesus said, “ I hold this against you. You have left the love you had for Me in the beginning, so I have come and taken your light from this place.”
When the Apostle Paul said “If you don’t love Jesus, you will be accursed” he was not pronouncing judgement, he was simply stating a fact. He spoke these words as a warning to God’s people and to God’s church. In the same verse, Paul prays that the grace of the Lord Jesus would be with us. Jesus wants His church to live. In Revelation 2, He calls for the loveless church to remember where they were before they fell, to change their hearts and to love Him as they did at first.
Why are so many churches dead and dying? Well it seems that so many have forgotten the first and greatest commandment. That is to love God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. Remember the church is made of individuals. So let each of you who are Christians determine to return to your first love. If your church is one that is struggling, I challenge you to earn God’s favor with your obedience and prove your love with your actions. If we are rooted and established in the love of God, we will be filled with the fullness of God.
When young Samuel was awakened in the night by the voice of God his response was,” “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” This young man had grown up in the temple. He had heard the Word of God preached and taught. He probably knew as much about God as most adults. Yet he had no preconceived ideas about what God was going to say. He woke that night anxiously waiting to hear something new from God.
A lot of people today have it all wrong. Instead of saying, “ Speak Lord, your servant is listening” they say, “Listen, Lord, your servant is speaking”. People often read the Word of God, not with an open heart but with a personal agenda. They don’t want to hear what God has to say. They want God to say what they wish to hear.
The truth is many people read and learn Scripture, not to please God but to manipulate God. Some people read the Bible looking for passages they can use to support their twisted ideas of righteousness. They foolishly cherry-pick Scripture verses that suit them. Like Satan, they can quote the Bible but they have no relationship with the Author of the Bible.
I remember hearing an old preacher say, “If you are reading the Bible to learn about God, Stop it!” This old preacher was teaching that we should not read scripture to learn about God, instead, we should read His Word to rest in His presence. Like the Disciple whom Jesus loved, we should lean on His breast and listen to His heart. If we wish to experience God’s love, we will open our Bibles and say, “Speak Lord your servant is listening”.
When I was younger I loved to deer hunt. As an ethical hunter, I always wanted my shots to be perfect and the death of the deer to be instant. However, the deer did not always fall in their tracks. Sometimes they ran. When they did it was my responsibility to follow them. Following a wounded deer requires determination. Determination is also needed to be a follower of Christ. This devotion is an audio podcast. Click on the link below to listen.
His name was Joseph. His calling was the most important task ever given to a man. Joseph was chosen to be the earthly daddy of the Son of God. He could have rejected this responsibility but He didn’t. Instead, Joseph chose to be the daddy he didn’t have be.
If I asked you to tell me what Joseph said, you couldn’t do it. None of his words are recorded in scripture. From the Bible we learn that he was a just, thoughtful and patient man. Yet it appears that he was not a vocal man. Being a righteous man, and knowing that actions speak louder than words, Joseph simply stood up and did as the angel of the Lord commanded.
The words of famous men are often immortalized, but the reserved and quiet man will not be remembered by many. His taciturn nature will frustrate his wife and children. But his love is revealed through his actions. God has created him quiet, but faithful. He does not seek to be noticed, he just seeks to please God. Great men show their greatness not with words but with deeds.
Most men are like Joseph. They are chosen by God for an important task. They may never build great buildings or lead great companies. But God chose them to touch the world with the hope that is within them. That is the most important task.
Remember, I said the words of Joseph were not recorded in the Bible? Well that’s not entirely right. One thing he said was reported in Matt. 1:25. In this scripture we are told that when Mary gave birth to her Son, Joseph called His name “Jesus”. Now the truth is people may forget everything you say or do in this life. So it is important to live your life in such a way that people will remember that like Joseph, you spoke the name of Jesus.
Will a person who has never heard the Gospel be allowed into Heaven when they die? This is a question that I often hear. But most people don’t like the answer I give. However, before I give my response let me say this. If this is your question and you are a follower of Christ, you are asking the wrong question.
My opinion on this subject is not worth a dime. What does the Word of God say? That’s what matters. The Bible says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This means that everyone deserves to be separated from God for eternity. The Bible also says “There is none righteous, not one.” So it does not matter if they have heard the Gospel or not, no one is good enough to go to heaven, no one!
But don’t accuse God of being unfair. You see God loves all people so much that He gave His only Begotten Son to die on the cross. Anyone who puts their trust in Jesus can have eternal life with God in heaven. However, how can anyone trust in Jesus if they have never heard of Him? And how can they hear of Him unless someone tells them about the Gospel?
Now there are 7.9 billion people in the world today. A lot of those people have never heard the Gospel. Now we all know that among Jesus’ last instructions to His followers before He went to heaven were these words. “Go into all the world, make disciples of all nations.” That tells me He wants all people to hear the Gospel. So let’s do some math.
I have been a follower of Jesus for 56 years. If the first year I was a follower I had introduced one person to Christ then there would have been two of us. The next year if we each led a person to Jesus there would be four saved. Using this system four would become eight, then eight would become sixteen, and sixteen would become thirty-two. Following this multiplication process, if I reach one person a year and each one of those people reaches one, the math shows that after only thirty years over 10 BILLION people would have heard the Gospel. That is almost 3 billion more people than exist today.
Here is the bottom line. It is not the will of God that any should perish. God has the plan to reach all lost people. You are His plan. Now, will the person who has never heard the Gospel go to heaven is the wrong question. The right question is, What am I going to do about the people who have never heard the Gospel? If someone has not heard the Gospel today, it is not God’s fault. It’s ours!