We must not only listen to the truth we have heard and read in God’s Word. We must accept it and believe that it is true. Once we do this, it requires that we ask for and receive God’s free gift of salvation. This message will never change and there are dire consequences to not accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord. There are false teachers who will tell you there are different paths to heaven. Do not be deceived by these people. God will punish them in due time. Over and over, God has confirmed that His Word is true and that He is faithful. His great love for us requires that we accept it. Anything less than a full acceptance of His love and salvation is an affront to the Creator of the universe. He is still showing His unending love for us by providing for us, guiding us in paths of righteousness and hiding us in the palm of His hand. Is there any reason that a person would not accept such a wonderful, free gift right now? If you say later, you have made a decision and you may never have another opportunity. Do not ignore this great salvation.
Though we may have never met or heard about each other, it is still our duty to pray for one another. We need to pray fervently for God to fill each of us with His Spirit. His Spirit is the only way we will gain knowledge of God’s will and purpose for each of our lives. God has promised us wisdom if we ask for it sincerely without doubting or wavering. In Proverbs, we are reminded to get wisdom and knowledge and with all of our getting to get understanding. While we may never have complete knowledge of all of God’s plans that does not excuse us from asking for and receiving as much as God knows that we can handle. Wisdom is knowledge understood and applied to our lives. With God’s wisdom, we can live lives that please and honor Him. That type of lifestyle will produce good fruit and add souls to God’s kingdom. We must continue to study God’s Word and grow spiritually. As we do this, we can be assured that we have access to the same Resurrection power that brought Jesus back from the grave. That enables us to share in His inheritance and therefore we will be filled with joy. He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness where we have been bound in the service of satan. Now, that He has purchased our freedom and forgiven us, we live in His kingdom and walk in the light. We can live without worry and fear, both of which are fruits of the lifestyle we had before we came into the Light.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Jesus is asking us the same question today, “If you don’t accept Me and My words, whose words will you accept?” Do we answer as Peter did, “To whom would we go?” If we truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and His words give us eternal life, why would we look anywhere else? We must understand that hearing the Gospel and knowing the Scriptures is not salvation. The “head” knowledge has to become “heart” knowledge. The devil knows the Scriptures but he denies the Kingship of Jesus. Unless we become “born again” and allow the Holy Spirit to make us a new creation, we are not the children of God. There are people who go to church every Sunday, but never understand that they have to do more than just hear the Word. They have to believe it and allow it to work inside of them. Why did Jesus choose Judas knowing what Judas would eventually do? The same reason that He died on a cross for all of us knowing that not all of us would accept that truth. It is a love that the human mind cannot understand.
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.–John 3:16 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Paul is again emphasizing that even new Christians should understand that salvation requires repentance, which is more than turning away from sin, it is also turning to something new and that is Jesus. We are saved by grace through faith in God. We know that we should be baptized as an outward representation of what we believe in our hearts. It is symbolic of dying to sin and our fleshly desires and being resurrected to a new life in Jesus. We understand that after the resurrection, some will go on to eternal life with Jesus and others to eternal life in hell. What we need now is to understand what Jesus wants us to do until the time of our physical death. He wants us to follow His example and lead a lifestyle that draws others to Christ. He sent His Holy Spirit to lead us “into all truth”. If we following His leading, we will grow in spiritual knowledge and wisdom.
We hear it almost every day. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Truth is that good and bad things happen to good and bad people. Is God still in charge? Why does God allow these seemingly paradoxical things to happen? Of course, God is still in charge and yes He does allow bad things to happen in good people’s lives. We can look at Job and see that this is true. God knows where we are spiritually at all times. I believe that God allows tests in our lives so that we can know where we are spiritually. The one thing we can know for sure and hang onto is this: Whatever God allows in our lives is for our benefit. Our experiences are how we learn and grow. We can be assured that God will not allow any temptation that we can not overcome and He always provides a way of escape.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.–1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
God sends rain on the just and the unjust. It is not our business to determine who gets what, when or why they get it or don’t get it . Earthly stuff is temporary, we are to work to lay up rewards in heaven. The rest is God’s business and He always takes care of His business.
12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. 13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming –Psalm 37:12,13 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
What an honor to be called friends by God, the Creator of the universe. What a great privilege to be chosen to join Him in His work to expand His Kingdom here on earth. If we accept Him and His call, we will spend an eternity with Him and each other. As friends of God, we are to learn from Him and bear fruit worthy of that friendship. As Jesus said, we must do what the Father does. We can know what the Father does by studying the lifestyle of Jesus because He only did what He saw the Father do and only said what He heard the Father say. If we believe in Him as our Savior then we will love each other. We will go about doing good because He has “called us out of darkness into His marvelous light”. We will trust the Holy Spirit completely to lead us into His truth.
When something really good happens to us do we take the credit for that event or do we give the glory to God? Do we say “look what I have done” or do we say “look what the Lord has done for me”? When He chose us, called us and redeemed us, did we tell everyone we knew? The Psalmist encourages us to “tell others” just as Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. After a bout with satan, when we are feeling all alone and distressed, who came to rescue us? Did we take the time to thank Him or was it “just another day at the office”? When we are hungry and thirsty and we receive food and drink, do we stop to thank Him before we eat or do we act like this is something that we deserve? We are all pretty good at asking God to watch over those we know who are about to leave on a trip or are presently traveling. But when we or they return safely from the trip, do we gather around and thank God for the safe return? Does our lifestyle reflect an “attitude of gratitude” or is it more like “I’ve worked hard and I deserve this ___________” (fill in the blank). We need to heed the reminder found in James 5:17, “every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above”. Let us be careful to always give Him praise for His goodness toward us.
It is said that on a dark night with no obstructions, the human eye can see the flickering flame of a candle up to a distance of thirty miles. How is this possible? Even the smallest of lights will dispel darkness. This is true of that quality that we refer to as “good”. Good dispels evil. As Edmund Burke put it: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Even those who have never read God’s law or those that say there is no God know this is true. All humans innately know the difference between good and evil. For most humans, it is natural to choose to do good whether they believe in God or not. That innate knowledge (we call it the conscience) that God has put in the heart of a human is what prevents total chaos from occurring on the earth. Even those who have never read the Bible or heard the Gospel know the difference between right and wrong. That knowledge becomes more real and more powerful when we receive the Holy Spirit. An atheist can only be an atheist because his/her beliefs are based on a wrong assumption. If the foundation is faulty, then the whole house will crumble. So, good men and women, let us build our house on a solid foundation of truth, light our candles and be a shining light in a world of darkness and evil. Only God knows how much darkness each of our lights will penetrate. Let us take the advice given by Tom Bodett and leave our lights on so a lost and dying world can find their way home.
Jesus had just healed this blind man by making mud with dirt and His own spit. Can you imagine anyone in today’s society allowing Jesus to put that compress on their eyes? Can you imagine how many lawsuits Jesus would have been faced with because of His actions? How many shots and vaccines would this man have been advised to take because the spit of Jesus had touched his skin? Even back then, Jesus and the once-blind man had to suffer rejection and persecution because Jesus did this good deed on the Sabbath. It is not recorded that even one person besides the blind man himself, was excited and happy for him. When called by the Pharisees, even his parents refused to stand up for him because they feared rejection themselves. Isn’t still that way today? When we see good things happen to people, don’t we question and doubt? Don’t we try to tear down rather than build up? Don’t we look for hidden reasons that this happened? After all, it is just smoke and mirrors, right? As long as we think we can see, we will not ask for sight. As long as we trust our own intellignece, we will not ask for God’s wisdom. We, like the Pharisees and religious leaders will remain blind and ignorant because we claim we can see and understand when we cannot even imagine what God has in store for us. Not just in the sweet by and by in heaven, but right here and right now. We must ask God to open our eyes to see and our hearts and minds to believe so that we can access all the power and wisdom that He wants to give us.
18 “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. — Deut. 17:18 NLT
God knew that once the Israelis had settled in the land and become comfortable, that they would look around and desire what the other nations had. They would grow tired of the judges and desire a king so they could be like the nations around them. God had given Moses several guidelines for the king once he had been anointed. Most of those were what not to do and had to do with position and possessions. But the positive thing he was required to do was to copy the whole body of the instructions on a scroll. To be sure, he did this himself, he had to do it in the presence of the priests. Then he must keep it with him and read it every day. One would think that this would have been sufficient to keep the kings in line with what God expected. But that was not the case. The majority of the kings were not godly and worshipped other gods. The lesson that we can learn from this is that head knowledge is useless unless it affects the heart. The devil knows the Bible but it doesn’t keep him from being the devil. Just reading the Bible on a daily basis will not change us. A heart change only takes place when we fully believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins. Just saying the words does not make it happen. We need confession and we need believing.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. 10 We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved — Romans 9, 10 NCV