Tag Archives: salvation

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.

1&2 Thessalonians; Here Comes The Judge

As I read Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, some of the old hymns were running through my mind. “One Day He’s coming, O glorious day!” “With power and great glory, He is Coming Again.”  “When The Role Is Called Up Yonder I’ll Be There.”

There is a lot of speculation about the events surrounding the day Jesus returns to earth. There always has been. Paul reminds us that the only thing that really matters is the fact that Jesus will come back, in the blink of an eye. And no one will have a heads-up on His timing.

If you read these letters, you’ll hear Paul encourage us who know the Savior to be busy doing His work, reaching out to the lost, telling people about Jesus. Because when Jesus comes back, He will judge the world.

And He will show no mercy to those who don’t know Him.

Only those who are wearing His righteousness, purchased for us with His own precious blood, will be declared, “Not guilty,” because Jesus took our guilty verdict on Himself. We will be able to look into the eyes of this Holy, fearsome, Judge, and see only forgiveness and love.

But anyone looking into those same eyes, standing before Him trying to wear their own righteousness, will have reason to be terrified. Those who stand before the final Judge on their own will hear the guilty verdict they deserve.

Personally, I look forward to gazing into those piercing eyes. Because, when He judges me, He’ll be seeing someone who is washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. I pray you can say the same.

 

Acts 9-14; Catch the Fever

I love reading about the birth of the Church. I love Saul’s conversion, Peter’s vision and Cornelius’ faith. I love reading how Peter followed an angel out of prison right under the noses of all those guards. I love the accounts of healings, of the Holy Spirit poured out on new believers.

But what spoke to me today as I read was the effect the Word of Truth had on so many people. Peter spoke so plainly of Jesus, as one who had been an eye-witness. Peter used Scripture to back up what he was saying, and I believe many people finally understood what their Old Testament Scriptures were about for the very first time.

Lives were changed. And the Good News spread like wildfire. People were excited to share what they believed with people they loved.

Sometimes I assume everybody knows Bible stories, everyone has heard Jesus died on the cross for sin. I think everyone knows there’s a heaven and a hell. But I am wrong to think those things. There are people right here on this island who have no clue.

We have the Truth. We have the best news ever. We have the answer to every longing, and we hold the keys to heaven. Does that excite you? Does that make you want to get out there and share what you have? I think it should.

At least that’s where I’m convicted today. Am I excited about Jesus, the cross, grace, eternal life, freedom from sin? Or do I take those things for granted? Ouch.

I’m thinking if I went back to my roots, like Peter directed the early church to go back to theirs, and if I remember what it was like to find my Savior, I could get excited about sharing that experience with someone else. And maybe, my excitement will be contagious. Maybe you’ll catch the fever, too. And maybe others will catch it from us!

 

Luke 1-3; It Changed The World

It is the birth that changed the world. Luke’s account of that birth and the events surrounding it is the most familiar to us of all the Gospels. As a Gentile, Luke would not have been raised in the Jewish tradition. He would not have studied the Old Testament prophecies from his youth. But Luke was a man of details, and researched those details about the birth of Jesus for himself. What we read is not a fairy-tale.

These things happened to Elizabeth and Mary, to Zechariah and Joseph, Simeon, Anna, and John. The shepherds really did witness the angel’s announcement, really went to see the newborn Jesus, and really spread the news to everyone they knew.

The Messiah has come!

I hope you’ll read these chapters and put yourself in the scene, and allow yourself to feel what it must have been like to be one of the first to realize what was hoped for all your life has finally happened.

Because the truth is, everything you’ve hoped for, all that you’ve longed for, has already happened in the birth of that precious baby so long ago. That baby grew up to die for you, and to give you Himself. It is the birth that changed the world. It’s the birth that changed my world. And it’s the birth that could absolutely change your world, too.

Zechariah 11-14; One

The first couple of times I read these chapters I was excited to see how Jesus is woven into so many verses. Then it dawned on me. He’s not just thrown in there a tidbit at a time. It’s all about Jesus! If things about Jesus are woven into this tapestry, the completed product is Jesus Himself.

Jesus, who doesn’t act like a foolish shepherd, but who is the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd who cares for His flock, who searches for His lost sheep. Jesus, the Shepherd of the Church, the Gospel that blesses some, and sends others reeling.

Considering these chapters, Matthew Henry said that those who reject Jesus, and are determined to further their sinful agendas consider the Church an obstacle, and want it gone. (Sometimes I  have to remind myself this guy wrote hundreds of years ago.) What Henry said seems to be gaining momentum in our present society, doesn’t it? But Henry also reminds us that no matter how hard they try to rid the world of the Church, it is built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ, and it will stand until the end. As bleak as it has looked in any age, as it may look right now, we win because of Jesus.

Jesus, the One who was pierced for our sin, is the Great Leveler, as seen in Zephaniah’s example of the split Mount of Olives. Everyone escapes through that valley. It’s the only way.

Jesus answered him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

The Great Leveler.

Zephaniah reveals Jesus, the Living Water flowing out to all the earth. Reminds me of Pentecost when the Spirit of our Lord was poured out on the believers, and people heard the Gospel in their own languages, no matter where they were from. Then those people took that same Good News home with them and told others who spoke their language about the saving power of Jesus. That Living Water is still reaching lost souls everywhere.

I hope you’ll read the book of Zephaniah and let the old prophet encourage your relationship with Jesus, help you to see Him, and know His great love for you. There is so much more in here than what I’ve shared. It’s a book about the Name above all names.

14:9 tells us what those of us who know Jesus personally already know:

There is only One King, One Lord. One Name.

Jesus.

 

Obediah; There is Hope

I can’t help but think of the sweet reunion between Esau and Jacob as recorded in Genesis 33. A lot had gone down between the two, but when the brothers met after years of separation, they hugged and kissed each other. It seemed all was forgiven. It seemed they would finally live in peace.

If you know their history, you know peace was short-lived. That makes me sad.

Obadiah tells the descendants of Esau that judgment is coming because of their hatred for and mistreatment of Jacob’s family, the family God chose above all other nations to be His instrument. Edom will be punished for rejecting God.

Once again I am reminded how serious God is about being obeyed, about being honored as the only true God. All other religions are doomed to destruction.

But I love how God, even after rendering a death sentence for sin, points to the Messiah. No one has to die in their sin. There is hope. There is salvation through the blood of Jesus for anyone who believes.

The kingdom is the Lord’s. I pray you are a citizen.

Isaiah 16-19; Never Too Far Gone

It is God’s will that no one die without Him. Throughout the Old Testament we see example after example of God using Israel to reach out to lost people, to reveal Himself as the One True God, the Righteous Judge, and Savior of the world. Sometimes people listened and were saved, like the people of Ninevah in Jonah’s day. Sometimes they refused to bow and were destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. But don’t miss the many ways God tried to get their attention.

In the chapters I read today, Isaiah is throwing out warning after warning to people who have rejected God; Moab, Damascus, Cush, Egypt. The prophet, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is clear when he tells how God judges His enemies.

But I love how chapter 19 ends. “In that day…” when God’s enemies repent, God forgives and embraces them as His children. “In that day…” God’s former enemies become His people, His handiwork, His inheritance.

In this case, “In that day…” was fulfilled when the Messiah came and did what He came to do. The apostles preached the Gospel, and people of every nationality were saved. It is believed that it was Mark who started churches in Egypt, just like God told Isaiah would happen. This is good stuff!

Has God laid someone on your heart, but deep down you think that person is too far gone; that he or she would NEVER accept Jesus as their Savior? Don’t you believe it. Keep praying. Keep living Jesus.

I see Scripture assuring us that as long as a soul inhabits the living, it is never beyond what God can do to save them.