Christ Jesus Came Just to SAVE Sinners!

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1Timothy 1.15

Sometimes when I read this verse, if I am not careful, I get caught up in the statement that Paul gives about himself. He said that he was the chief of sinners. I do not want to quarrel with him about that. He knows his past better than I do. But I do want my focus to remain on the main thought of this verse: “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners …

On my two visits to the Holy Land, I will quickly admit that some sites spoke to my heart more than others. Among those sites were two in particular: Golgotha (the place of the skull), which was the place of the crucifixion, and the Garden Tomb that is still empty. Each time I saw them, they were both stark reminders of WHY Jesus came to this earth in the first place. He did not come to work miracles, even though He did a number of them, He did not come to be a phenomenal teacher, even though He was the best that ever was. He did not come to die as a martyr, even though that was something that was talked about then and is still talked about in some circles today.

It can’t be made any clearer than this: “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners … ” No matter what else seems to be of major importance in my life today, I must NEVER forget that Jesus came to SAVE sinners. I am one of those sinners, but there are so many more who have NEVER even heard that Jesus came, must less that He came to die for their sin. I don’t want to ever lost sight of WHY He came and my responsibility to this lost world BECAUSE He came. Just my thoughts …

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Whatsoever Covers It All!

And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3.17

The totality of each day’s actions needs to be governed by the words of this verse. The word “whatsoever” is all-inclusive. Could we approach this day with this attitude? “Lord, I want to be so attentive to the Spirit’s voice, that when He speaks to me in a whisper, I will hear Him. I do not want to argue with Him but I want to follow His leadership completely.” How different would your day be if that becomes your prayer right now?

Perhaps the greatest part of the struggle for each of us is found in this last phrase: “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Again, I’m not sure how difficult this is for you and how dramatically it would change your life. I do know this, when you and I do things each day that are NOT done in the name of the Lord Jesus, that means we are acting in a purely selfish manner and God is not glorified by such actions. When we CONSCIOUSLY think about our actions and realize that we are God’s hands, feet, and voice in this world, suddenly that things that I DO, the things that I SAY, and the places that I GO take on a new significance.

Do you think the Colossian Christians had some special need that Paul was addressing, or could he speaking to all of God’s children (including us) through his words here to the Colossian believers? I tend to think the latter is true. Our lives are as much n view here as those first century believers. May God’s Spirit have our attention from this moment on today? Just my thoughts …

Simple Observation! Powerful Truth!

Wherefore thou are great, O LORD God: for there is none like the, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” 2 Samuel 7.22

Most of us would NEVER publicly challenge this first statement about God, but how many times have we LIVED like there was someone or something greater than our God? God has just spoken to David in such a remarkable way and promised him a great future for his son Solomon. And David’s response was this: “Wherefore thou are great, O LORD God … ” Only God could have MADE and KEPT the promise He had just made to David. Think about this! How many promises has God MADE to you and KEPT? If you are like me, you can’t count them all. They are more than memories … they are milestones in our walk with God.

there is none like the, neither is there any God beside thee … ” Do you see it? None like thee? “neither … any … beside thee … ” Not only is there NO OTHER God LIKE this God. There is no other look alike or want-to-be god who is ANYTHING like our God! Are you feeling special yet? David was!

Now for David’s closing thought: “according to all that we have heard with our ears.” Nathan, prophet of God, had just finished talking with David ABOUT God. David had seen and heard God work in his life and the life of his family so many different times. He had just been reminded one more time of Who God is and What God could do. When you and I are careful to watch what goes on in our lives day-by-day, we cannot escape seeing the hand of God at work over and over. It is SO important for us to do what David did – share with all who would listen and read, what God had done and was doing in his life and in his kingdom. Let’s be ALL ABOUT that sharing! Just my thoughts …

 

 

 

The Results Could Be unexpected but Wonderful!

See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men.” 1 Thessalonians 5.15

There are some people in our world who have a bent toward evil thinking, no matter what anyone else does or says. It is sad that Paul found it necessary to remind the Thessalonian believers and us this: “See that none render evil for evil unto any man … ” It doesn’t say don’t render evil to just believers, but do not render evil to any man. The inherent characteristic in the heart of every believer ought to be a heart of love for those whom Jesus loved. Never forget that we must “count no man cheap for whom Christ died.” To treat others with an evil spirit is to build a wall that we can’t get over rather than a bridge that will help guide them to Christ.

The flipside of this issue is to “ever follow that which is good … ” The supernatural response to the world around us is to “ever follow that which is good … ” When you and I do something that the world would ever expect, we are never more like Christ than at that moment. And just to remind us again of the universality of this supernatural response, we read: “both among yourselves and to all men.

What can you and I do yet today that would leave the world standing amazed at what God is doing through us? Could we SPEAK a word of kindness? Could we DO an act of kindness? Could we show Christ’s LOVE to someone who sincerely believes that God absolutely does not love them? Let God’s Holy Spirit guide you. He does that best when you and I give up OUR control and put everything in His hands. Once again, these are just MY thoughts …

Let Him Be Who He Says He Is!

 

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1.8

There are some verses that you read and you say, “I like that.” Some you read cause you to say, “I love that.” And some cause you to say, “Wow, I so believe that!” This is just such one of those verses. The God Who spoke these words became so real to me today after the message that our grandson, who had battled for life from day one (over two years ago) went to meet his Creator today. I came to realize anew and afresh that although life if filled with changes – some welcomed and some not – but our God is ALWAYS the same. THAT is comforting!

I am Alpha and Omega …” Everything – I mean EVERYTHING – starts and ends with Him. Although this baby boy will be so desperately missed, as I pillow my head tonight, he is whole and he is safe in the arms of Jesus. That old song, “Heaven’s Sounding Sweeter All the Time” became a little more real for me today. So many I have loved are already there – they are waiting for the rest of us to come.

The last two words of this verse speak volumes to me: “the Almighty.” Can you, even in your wildest imagination, think of something that God CAN’T do? Neither can I. He IS the Almighty One! Tomorrow I may face something that I can’t handle – but He can! I may face a temptation that I will struggle with greatly, because I don’t want to yield – and He will be the Almighty One to see me through it. Life is TOO short to have to go through it with a God who is Not ALMIGHTY. But we don’t have to. Just my thoughts …

Let’s Get On with the “Work of Righteousness.”

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32.17

What is the “work of righteousness”? It is that which is accomplished as the direct result of righteous behavior. Righteous behavior is what God wants to accomplish in a person’s life, in the life of a people called after His name, in a nation that longs to honor God. God certainly wanted His people THEN, just as He does NOW, to exhibit the work of righteousness in their lives. In order for this to happen, someone other that us needs to be in charge of our lives – i. e. the Holy Spirit. While it seems that I address this point often in these blogs, it is because the secret to our pleasing God with our lives lies with Who is in charge.

So what is the effect of such day-to-day living for us and those around us? The answer is both simple and profound: (1) quietness and (2) assurance. The work of righteousness in our lives will produce a spirit of quietness that will enable us to live in this helter-skelter-world and not be affected by it. Our spirit will remain quiet because the object of our affection is not this world’s doing. On the contrary, it is the product of a confidence in the One Who controls it all.

Assurance is confidence produced by faith in the only One worthy of our faith. When I place confidence in mankind, more times than not I am disappointed in the outcome. But when I place my confidence is the One who always keeps His promises, I have never been disappointed. Maybe this is the day to start putting ABSOLUTE faith in God and see what that faith produces. I have never been disappointed and neither will you. Just my thoughts …

Hang On!

But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13.16

As the author of Hebrews nears the end of the book, it seems that there are two things he does not want to forget to mention: (1) doing good, and (2) communicating (sharing) what we have with others. One translation reads: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Why would the Holy Spirit speak of these two things as sacrifices? Could it be that doing good to others is not something that we do easily? I think most of us have a heart for God and want to glorify Him with our actions but when He wants me to do something that is contrary to my inherent will, I really struggle. The struggle lasts until I WILLINGLY yield my spirit to God’s Spirit and obey what He wants.

Although God is pleased with my sacrifice, how much better would my actions be if they were simply a manifestation of God’s love at work in me? Is it possible that you and I value OUR feelings about things over what God says about our responsibility to others? More time than not that is precisely the situation.

share what you have …” Are you thinking, “That’s all I’ve got”? No, that’s all you have in hand. God has a whole lot more in reserve … just for you. When we look at only what we can see with the naked eye, we fail to acknowledge that our God owns it all. THAT is shortsighted. If what God asks me to do is PLEASING to Him, WHY would I want to do ANYTHING else? Don’t ever stack your fears up against God’s greatness – those fears lose every time. Let go … and let God be God! Just my thoughts …

There Is a Price to Pay!

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deuteronomy 6.4-5

These words are not just good for Israel. They are good for us also. One day the Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus so they asked Him this question: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” And Jesus responded: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 39This the first and great commandment.” God didn’t suddenly change His mind somewhere between Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 22. I recently read a book by Mark Batterson entitled: “All In.” If you and I are able to love the Lord with ALL our heart, soul, and might, you could say, “I’m all in!”

Consider for a moment the ramifications of loving God in this way. What would change in my life? My view of the world would be different because I would see the world through God’s eyes. My view of my fellow man would change. I would see every man as a soul for whom Christ died. And I would realize that EVERY person is in one of two families: the family of Satan or the family of God. I would view myself differently, because I would see my life through God’s eyes. I would see sin as God sees it and stop making excuses for my sin. I would see God differently. I would see Him for Who He REALLY is and not just who I want Him to be.

Is it really worth the effort to sacrifice what I want in order to love God as He wants me to love Him? I must make that decision for myself – today, and tomorrow, and the next day, etc. And you must make the same decision for yourself – today, tomorrow, and the next day, etc. These again are Just My Thoughts …

Go Ahead – Let Him Do It!

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2.13

I entered Bible College in 1957 and met a lot of new friends. I was challenged by a fellow student to adopt a life verse. So, one day I heard someone quote the verse above, and I thought, “That’s it! That’s my life verse.” I have never forgotten the verse and my commitment to govern my life by it.

The thing that amazes me day after day is that the God of this universe chooses every day to care about MY life. I can’t tell you how many times I have wondered, “Why me, Lord?” I have so little to offer God. The only thing I have to give God is “me.” And yet, I have discovered over and over since that day early in 1957 that every time I allow God to be in control, my life goes so much easier. God actually WANTS to work in me. He can take my nothing and make it into a usable vessel. And that is all God wants, to be able to use me for His glory. I recall the words of Dr. Bob Jones Sr. who said, “The greatest ability is availability.” Are YOU available to God? Have you told Him that?

God wants to do two things through His children: (1) to exercise His will through us, and (2) to do of His good pleasure. I wonder if we can embrace the idea of God doing His pleasure in us? Have you ever thought that you could bring pleasure to God? The only way that can happen in any of us is for us to take our hands completely off our lives and give God total control. That is not a once-for-all decision. It requires of us that we do it every day. That may seem monotonous to you, but it is very pleasing to God. Go ahead! Try it! I think you will like it! Just my thoughts …

Liberty vs. License

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3.17

Someone asked a little girl a question once: “Can you explain the Trinity to me?” To which she replied, “Sure I can. It’s two in one and one in three and the one in the middle died for me.” That’s a pretty good explanation. Some people struggle understanding the Trinity. The verse above tells us that “the Lord is that Spirit.” The key thought here is “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Again, some people confuse liberty with license.

There are some believers who take great liberty with their lifestyle. “After all, now that I am a believer, I can do anything I want, since I have eternal security.” That is confusing license with liberty. License says, “I can do anything I want. Liberty says, “I want to do only those that glorify God.” So, let’s dig a little deeper into restricting my actions that will glorify God.

There should be no wondering about our lives glorifying God. When we are faithful in reading His Word, the Holy Spirit will point out the things that will glorify God, and what will not. “But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for that showed it, and not for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: 29Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? 30For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that which I gave thanks? 31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33Even as I please all men in all things, seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians10:28-33)

Over the years, I have gone to these verses to remind myself that my liberty in Christ is not a license to live like the world. Just my thoughts …