Archive for the ‘salvation’ Category

Despite the multiple guards, redundant fences, high walls and electronic/video sensors, some prison inmates still find ways to escape.

We’ve all read articles about such escapes and we’ve shaken our heads in amazement.

There is one prison from which none can escape.

“No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave.” Psalm 89:48

This is such a sobering truth that every human must confront.

Some ignore it until it happens.

Some obsess over it and are nearly paralyzed by angst.

Some think that the grave is nothing more than a start-over stage and they’ll come back to life in a different form or as a different person.

We cannot escape from the grave but we CAN be rescued.

That’s why Jesus came, died, went to the grave and was rescued by the power of God.

Read Romans 6:1-7 and I Thessalonians 4:6 you’ll read more about how you can be rescued from the grave when physical death comes knocking at your door.

I really do hope that someday you’ll join me and countless other rescued people in heaven.

As always, I love you

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In Mark 2, Jesus healed a lame man in front of a large crowd. Here is how the crowd responded:

“This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’” (v. 12).

As incredible as was this healing, you have received from God a miracle even more amazing if you’re a Gospel-trusting Christian.

Your soul has been saved from the eternal suffering you deserve and it is destined to the eternal celebration that you desire.

It is the miracle of salvation that has transformed your forever in flames into a forever in the clouds.

No matter how much physical healing that a person experiences in this life, its value pales in comparison to the soul healing that assures joy and peace and freedom and reunion forever.

Listen, we all know that some groups of believers exalt the place of physical healing and even use it as a barometer of faith, particularly among those in leadership roles. If your prayers have not healed somebody, then what’s wrong with your faith? At least that is the inference sometimes.

Praying for healing IS part of what Christians should do. But far more important than physical healing is spiritual healing.

For the body is a blade of grass that exists for a moment and then is gone.

The soul is forever.

When your soul was saved through faith in Jesus Christ — now that was a REAL miracle, taking that which was as good as dead because of sin and instilling it with the promise and power of eternal life.

There was no way that this could happen without divine intervention.

It really was a miracle.

Not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual.

Never lose your amazement at the miracle of God’s grace exchanging the hell you deserve for the heaven you desire.

Never stop praising God.

Never stop telling others that what God has done for you, He can do for them.

And I’ll do the same.

As always, I love you

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Never forget that the desire of God’s heart is to have a forever relationship with you.

That’s why He sent Jesus to earth.

That’s why He asked Jesus to die on the cross for your sins and mine.

And that’s why He placed in scripture the words found in Hebrews 6:19-20.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”

If you don’t have that anchor of hope to keep you safe in the storms, please receive it by embracing Christ as Savior.

Believer, if you’ve pulled up that anchor in the past because of various poor choices, throw out the anchor again and find the soul rest of knowing you will not be swept away by the waves of sin and hardship.

I’ve spent many a day on the ocean in various forms of rough weather and I can tell you that bouncing around on an anchored boat is not pleasant, but it is infinitely more comfortable than the thought of being smashed to bits and killed on the rocks.

Choose safety. Choose Jesus.

He’s faced the greatest storms ever and yet His faith in the Father held firm.

We’ll endure every storm, too, if we hold onto Jesus.

As always, I love you

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You’ve heard the nostalgic phrase, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.”

This phrase, of course, is not talking about international travel, but instead the deep-rooted mindset and cultural habits that permeate the heart and soul of folk born and raised in the country.

The same principle applies to all sorts of settings, actually.

Some people spent countless hours of childhood and adolescence appreciating the recreational activities of their hometown area, such as skiing in the mountains, and even if circumstances have them in a hot, flat climate, they never stop seeking a job and home address that will allow them to “go home.”

I was reminded of this yearning when I read from Galatians 1 this morning as part of my daily Bible reading. In Galatians 1:6, the Apostle Paul writes these words:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.”

Paul had earlier preached and taught to thousands of people in Galatia, of which some chose to leave their pagan lives of sin and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That gospel defines the Way of salvation — recognition of personal sin, understanding the need for a personal Savior since good works cannot erase the fact of sin, repenting of that sinful lifestyle, surrendering to Christ with a verbal and baptismal confession and continuing to show trust in God’s gracious forgiveness as the believer grows in a godlier lifestyle.

For a time, the Galatian believers practiced these beliefs. They lived as if they had not only taken themselves out of the worldly influences, but that they had removed the worldly ways from their inner nature.

But they found out that the spiritual transformation requires an ongoing effort. And when they didn’t keep pressing on in their learning and discerning, a spiritual vacuum was created in their hearts and souls, a vacuum that Satan was quite happy to fill by re-packaging their prior religious beliefs in ways that sounded Christian but that were still permeated with “I can save myself” poison.

The believers started listening to and accepting the old lies that God’s grace was not enough, that they had to perform certain religious rituals invented by humans in order to gain the reward promised by God.

Paul was blunt in his writings because the people were at risk of forfeiting their salvation. For if the believers stopped trusting Jesus as their only Way to salvation, they would be headed toward eternal destruction.

It’s essential that we learn this lesson, that we must keep pursuing the Savior and His saving grace in order to push back the ever-present creeping of our worldly nature that calls us to trust good deeds, not God’s grace, as the means of salvation.

God’s grace took us off the bus to hell, but if we don’t keep checking the Bible map, we just might end up taking the wrong turns and walking there.

As always, I love you

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There’s not a whole lot in common between a sugary sweet pre-school teacher who wouldn’t kill a roach and a foul-mouthed thug who commits crimes with no remorse.

One thing they do share, however, is their final enemy.

Ironically, each one’s hope for conquering that enemy does not rest with being sugary sweet and kind or with being macho tough.

Instead, victory will come only by admitting failure and weakness and the need for a Deliverer.

Today’s devotional reading included the brief statement from I Corinthians 15:26 —

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

The larger context of this verse was the Apostle Paul’s teaching about the fact and relevance of Christ’s resurrection.

Paul said that if Christ had not been raised from the dead, then Christians are the ultimate losers who deserve to be pitied more than any other group of people.

But Christ was raised.

Death’s grip on Him in the tomb was broken.

It couldn’t hold Him because of His faith in God’s promises and power.

And it won’t hold us if we believe the same and demonstrate it by confessing as Savior the Firstborn among the dead.

I have faced a number of attacks and enemies during my life and I’m sure that more are in store.

I don’t like that fact but it is part of living in a fallen world as an uplifted person.

I’m eternally grateful that I have a guaranteed victory over the final enemy I’ll face — my physical death.

Because I’ve believed in the fact of Christ’s resurrection and because I’ve obeyed His commands for salvation — verbal and baptismal confession — death to me will be a comma, not a period.

Please, I plead with you, make sure that you have secured the promise of final victory.

The benefits will be out of this world.

As always, I love you

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I’m so glad to know that there is no struggle we face that is greater than our Lord’s strength to carry us through to the other side of trouble.

This has been true in my life and this has been true in yours.

Even in those times when our faith wavered and we toyed with the idea of trusting our own wisdom and strength, God’s mercy and protection continued.

He knew then that we were clay people still being refined and strengthened in the fire and Her patiently loved us, provided for us, put hedges of protection around us and waited for the light bulb of spiritual realization to come on in our hearts.

And it did.

Thank God.

A well-known verse that helps me many times is Proverbs 3:5-6. You know it. It says that we are to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. In all our ways, we are to acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths.

When I do this, my life and ministry are better. When I don’t, they’re not.

It’s that simple.

I share this information today because of a passage in today’s reading from the One-Year Bible.

The righteous may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers them from them all” (Psalm 34:19)

The fact is that a saving relationship with Jesus Christ is not intended to save us from facing problems in this life, but instead to save our souls into an eternal life where there will be no more problems but instead eternal bliss.

In His mercy, God does deliver us from many of our earthly problems, whether they be physical, emotional or financial. But earlthy deliverance is not why Jesus died on the cross.

Our deliverance into eternal, holy fellowship with the Father and His children is why Jesus died on the cross.

Listen, we’d all like to have lives with no earthly troubles. And, in fact, we do have seasons when the troubles seem to be less prevalent.

But then Satan is given more freedom to test our faith and more problems appear.

At such times, our faith can shine and our God can be exalted.

We simply have to trust more than ever that our help comes from on high and that the Lord will deliver us from the problem, whether in the short term by guiding us into resolving the problem or in the long-term by strengthening and guiding us to live with the problem until we graduate to glory.

Either way, we’ll be delivered.

We’ll be refined.

God will be glorified.

And isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?

As always, I love you

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I have been doing more travelling lately because of Lori’s work-related residency in rural north Georgia.

Fortunately, there have been no ticketing and boarding glitches for the airline flights that I’ve purchased in order to see her for a couple of days every now and then.

Such things have happened to me in past years, however, and perhaps to you.

Thankfully, a suitable resolution was found in each case and I was able to reach my destination.

The possibility of being left off a list of approved travellers is why I ALWAYS print out a ticket purchase receipt AND boarding pass, keeping both with me when I travel. For without confirmation of the purchase, I just might be prevented from making the trip to see my beloved Lori.

I was reminded during my Bible reading today that Christians will require a similar confirmation if they want to spend eternity in heaven.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books…. All whose names were not found written in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12-13, 15)

I don’t plan on missing my flight to heaven and that’s why I’ve made sure to do that which results in my name being written in the Book of Life.

What’s that? Surrender my heart and soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, confessing my faith in Him with my words, my baptism and my committed service to His Kingdom.

I seek to live as His bondservant and rejoice that He is my Master.

The confirmation that He purchased my soul from eternal death is imprinted on my heart and typically demonstrated in my conduct.

I don’t know when my soul will be called to the boarding gate as with my physical death.

What I DO know is that when that announcement comes, I want to be standing at the right gate, have my name is on the passenger manifest and that I have the right spiritual identity in my heart. That way, I won’t be prevented from seeing my beloved Lord.

I pray that you have that same assurance.

As always, I love you

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