The Confidence of the Cross

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

I hope this great truth never escapes our attention or is put on the back burner of familiarity, dimming the bold message coming from it: for us to gain life, Jesus had to lose His.

But life is now the promise of today and all days, and that day that is to come because of the precious gift our Lord secured for us.

His love for you and me would not settle with allowing brokenness, sin, and destruction to continue to litter the pathway for our existence here on this earth.  No, when He laid down life it was to regain life – when He gave up everything, it was that we may gain even more.

Imagine a love that is so on fire for you that He will go to extreme measures so that you will get to heaven, so that you will get to be with the Father.  He already knew what this was like, and nothing would stop His pursuit to make a way for you and me to experience it too.

Life is the confidence of the cross.  The enemy’s purpose is to destroy life, but Jesus’ purpose is to give everything heaven has to offer, everything the enemy is working so hard to prohibit: LIFE.

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” John 11:25

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:12

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The Gates of Glory

Your beauty, O God, cannot be compared. I pray for many souls to be able to experience Your gates of glory. To walk through the doorways of heaven and to have their eyes feast on the sight of wonders beyond compare.

I pray for hearts to feel the embrace of love as everything in heaven welcomes them home. I pray for many to know what it is like to leave all the worries of this world outside those doors and to celebrate total freedom from all that tried to hold them down.

On this side of those gates, we can only imagine what that day will look like. But over there, the rich fulfillment of every Scripture-breathed promise will be seen, known, and felt, beautifully overwhelming us with the glory of our God.

Oh, that day is coming, dear friend. All will be revealed, and we will wonder no more. No, because there, we move from wonder to experience and this experience is its own reward.

Father God, thank You that You have prepared such a glorious place for us to dwell with You for all eternity. Beyond those gates, You welcome us into Your heavenly throne room. You welcome us into Your presence forever, no more to be separated by sin, death, and every failing thing this world offered. “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11). Beyond the gates of glory, our souls will take in every beautiful thing that You are without hindrance or obstacle. Beyond those gates is where I want to be, and I thank You for this salvation You have secured for me. It is my heart’s desire for many souls to be blessed to enjoy Your presence. In the mighty and matchless name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!

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By the Seaside With Jesus

“And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.  And he taught them many things by parables . . .” Mark 4:1, 2

By the seaside with Jesus. To sit under His words. To hear His gentle yet commanding voice. The stories He told were more than just stories. They unfolded the realities of life. More importantly, they opened the truth of the Kingdom of God.

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear,” He speaks (Mt. 13:9), knowing the choice will always be up to the individual heart.

He will plead for you to listen. He will die in case you do. For no story is worth more than the story of love played out in the life of this beautiful Savior who sees us, knows us, and still decides to lay it all down for us regardless of what our choice may be.

Sitting with Jesus beside the sea is a beautiful scenario. But sitting with Jesus within heaven’s walls is even more glorious. It’s a story whose chapters never end, being read through eternity is the love we have found in this Friend.

Don’t settle for the here and now, look for Him then. For by the seaside, those stories lead to a marvelous end.

I would love to sit with Jesus, with my toes in the water, but on this earth, I don’t want to loiter.

Those stories, those words, put a seed in my soul, and I declare today, on good ground, it was sown.

The call of the sea is beautiful to me, but more pulling is the call, with Him, to spend eternity.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:3

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One Sure-Fire Way!

If you have ever had hiccups the advice comes out of the woodwork on how to deal with them. “Hold your breath” some will say. While another may tell you to drink this or that, believing this will be the cure.

Growing up, we received a lot of advice on how to do this or get rid of that, or how to treat a specific ailment. Some refer to these homegrown remedies as old wives tales, and yet, history shows that some actually help in dealing with illness and the like (chicken noodle soup is a definite go-to for me). And it doesn’t matter if you didn’t agree, you would never convince those who pass down these remedies that it doesn’t work, for they have seen it help in the past and are convinced it can still help today.

David knew a thing or two about going through some things. Adversity was no stranger to his doorstep and yet, for all he faced, he always managed to stay in the faith.

How did he do this?

One way we can see this happening is through his own testimony found in Psalm 16:8 where he states, “I have set the LORD always before me . . .” Was this David’s sure-fire remedy for remaining when others would have moved?

Let’s examine the facts. When facing Goliath, David said, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (1 Samuel 17:45).

When dealing with Saul’s mess, the Bible says, “David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him” (1 Samuel 18:14). Leaving it all in the hands of God, David refused to lay a hand on king Saul (1 Samuel 24:12, 13).

When his son, Absalom, drove David from his kingdom in his rebellion, and Zadok desired to bring the ark of the covenant, David spoke, and said, “Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation” (2 Samuel 15:25). 

When cursed by Shimei, David refused to allow vengeance to take place on his behalf. Rather, he said, ” . . . let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day” (2 Samuel 16:11, 12). 

And when faced with his own sin, David said, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). To God he said, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3). “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”(51:10).

David found God even in the adversities he encountered. The rest of Psalm 16:8 is when David proclaimed, “Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Keeping God before his face was David’s way of being able to come through many difficult times, and yet still be dubbed “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).

We can learn a thing or two from David.

How can we keep the Lord always before us?

  1. Simply put, don’t take your eyes off God. When Peter was invited to walk the waves with Jesus, his focus shifted to what was before him instead of the Christ who stood with him, and he began to drown (Matthew 14:25-30). Peter may have seen Jesus physically, but David saw God with a heart of faith and that’s where he kept his focus.
  2. Don’t compromise your beliefs. If God is before you, His word, His instructions are before you (Psalm 16:7), and like the three Hebrew boys, there is no fear of the furnace that will cause you to sway from that truth (Daniel 3:16-18). Hold on to His unchanging hand.
  3. Establish your hope in God alone (Psalm 16:11), now, and in the time to come. One day, this will all be over and we will see God face to face (Revelation 22:3-4).

David’s sure-fire way of dealing with this life will work in your life, too. With that king of old, we too can say, “I have set the Lord always before me.”

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“Throw away those filthy rags.”

If there is one thing I really cannot stand, it’s a messy house.  I am not saying my house doesn’t get messy, because it does.  But I can’t stand it that way.  When I see a mess, I see chaos and clutter.  Some days I can let it go, but then there are those days that I just cannot.  I cannot go to bed knowing in the morning as I fumble my way to the coffee pot, I will encounter a housekeeping tragedy.

I am one of those weird people who enjoy watching other people clean their houses on videos.  And let me clarify, I do not like to just watch anybody.  The few who I do watch, who I am drawn to, are professionals or are reputable.  Some older than me.  Some are younger than me, but because of their experience, I can learn things from them about cleaning that I may not have known about.  I may have been cleaning a certain way, and now I possibly may have learned a new, better, or more efficient way to get things clean and keep them clean.

Whether watching videos or in my own experiences of cleaning, one thing I do know is that what materials you use to clean matters in the results you will get.  Inefficient tools produce inefficient results.  And if one is trying to make something clean by using a dirty rag – it is not going to work.  All you are doing is spreading the previous filth from which the rag was used, what appears to the naked eye to be clean, but now it’s riddled with invisible germs and all kinds of gross stuff you can’t see.

So, we see with those filthy rags we didn’t actually clean anything.  We didn’t make anything right or better than it was before.  All we did was re-contaminate what we thought we were cleansing. 

Isn’t that like our human nature to step back and look at something and think that we made something right on our own, with our abilities, thoughts, and actions?  To take credit for things we ought not to?  Especially when it comes to spiritual matters and our Christian walk?  It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking we have obtained any of His goodness on our own.  As if by our will, we can check off invisible boxes that said we were good enough in this area and that, therefore the graces, mercies, and salvation bestowed on us is our just reward.

No, my friend.  That thinking is so far from the truth and reality of our stance before a holy God.

Isaiah let us know that no matter what we think the best of us is, in and of ourselves, it still amounts to nothing but dirty rags before a holy God.  “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (64:6).

On our own, what we bring to the table of our lives and try to clean up, just amounts to mess on top of a mess.  Our nature has been sinful from the beginning.  This is why Jesus stressed to Nicodemus our need to be born again (John 3:3).

Outside of Christ, there is nothing within us that is powerful enough and good enough to wash away our sins and make us clean.  Any attempts within us to answer the charge against us are just that – attempts.  They are futile self-efforts of futile self-righteousness.  And self-righteous efforts never go far in God’s account book of records.  Because for one to claim self-righteousness means they can get right with God on their own and in their own way.  Who they are, their works, and their efforts speak for what they think they deserve.

By all accounts, Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, ticked off all the right religious boxes to be able to boast of his own acquired righteousness in the flesh.  In his own testimony of himself found in Philippians, he states:

“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” (3:4-6).

Have you ever been there with the mentality that the good you are or have is because of you and your efforts?  Have you ever looked down on another, even in just your heart, and felt they should be holy like you until God had to come in and knock you off your beast of pride like he did Paul to let you know you didn’t have it as together as you thought you did?  You are still harboring some mess inside of you.

At another time, in giving a defense for himself, the apostle Paul said, “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day,” (Acts 22:3).  And still, to add to his accolades, Paul said at another time, “…I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee…” (Acts 23:6).

Paul supposedly had all the right stuff, and yet, he had nothing, and without Christ, he was nothing.

Back in Philippians 3, Paul continues to write:

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith,” (7-9).

Going off his own righteousness obtained by checking off the boxes of the law, Paul became a persecutor of the church.  After his transformation, he went from persecuting Jesus (Acts 22:4-8) to calling Him in Philippians 3:8, “My Lord.”

My friend, I don’t care what we think we have or bring to the table.  When we meet Jesus, we realize as Paul did, we have nothing on our own.  And that is a good place to be!

No matter who we are or what we perceive we have or do not have, we all start out with Jesus in the same way.  As Paul testified, “…not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith,” (Philippians 3:9).

So, whatever those “good enough’s” are that any are holding on to, without the righteousness found only in Christ, all those “good enough” efforts and ideas of self-realized righteousness are as “filthy rags.”

Throw away those dirty rags.  We all need Jesus Christ in order to be made right before God; in order to be saved.

Jesus, Himself, said, “…without me ye can do nothing,” (John 15:5).  He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).  To make a long story short, we all need Jesus!

I have heard some say something along the lines of, “Well, I’m not as bad as some.  I don’t do this or that.  What do I need to repent for?”  In other words, they may not be super-saints (are any of us?), but they are not that bad either, so why do they need Jesus?  Aren’t they good enough the way they are?

To them, I give Jesus’ answer: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).

At another time, Jesus put to rest the idea of those who thought they were righteous on their own.  In the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, the Bible says:

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14; bold emphasis added).

Friend, throw away any filthy rags of self-righteousness for they will never make one right before the Lord.

Come to Him humbly like that tax collector, realizing without Jesus cleaning us up on the inside, we will never be clean enough: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” 

When one trusts in themselves and their own works of righteousness, they put themselves in the dangerous place of tossing God’s grace aside and adopting a prideful position in life that opposes God and His plan of salvation. 

The Bible strictly warns, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

That is the best part of the gospel message.  It is never about what we can do, bring, or add to the equation.  It always has been, and always will be about Jesus Christ and what He has already done.

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:6-11)

Some Pharisees and those in religious circles could not accept Jesus’ message because they, in their self-righteousness, thought they were okay the way they were.  They were religious but didn’t have Christ.  They looked to be okay in all the right places and to be doing all the right things but took credit for their own perceived holiness.  Therefore, they looked down on others when it is only through the sacrifice of Christ that one can receive “atonement” and be made right.    

Then, there are those who don’t know or won’t acknowledge Christ, because as previously stated, they are not as bad as some, and think they are “good enough” the way they are.  But it is when none of us were “good enough”; when all of us were “sinners” that “Christ died for us.”

Self-righteousness is a set of filthy rags that many try to clean their life with.  We may not see the surface dirt, but the invisible attitudes of the heart, God sees it all.

Friend, we must throw away any filthy rags of self-righteousness and realize none of us got here on our own.  Everything we have and are is because of the work that Jesus Christ has already performed on the cross.  No self-works.  No self-efforts.  No self-righteousnesses can save any of us.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

And, that salvation, my friends, comes through Jesus Christ alone! 

If you want your life to be truly clean, then one must come through Him who is perfectly clean, “without blemish and without spot,” (1 Peter 1:19).  No filthy rags will do. 

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The Real Gift of Christmas Was Born!

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

He is not found on display in a decorated window.

Nor will He be purchased from off the store shelf.

No, the only purchasing to be done is

when He came to purchase you for Himself (Titus 2:14).

 

For you, the Savior has come.

For you, the prophecy had been fulfilled.

For you, heaven’s glory was housed in a manger.

For you, He was born by God’s overshadowing will.

 

The greatest Christmas gift one has ever,

or will ever receive,

is the truest reason for Christmas itself

found in Christ our Lord, the newborn King.

 

If it were not for us, He would not have come.

If it were not for us, there would be no need to be born.

But born He was, God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16)

purposed to save us from sin and eternal death.

December 25th is waited for with hope throughout the year of giving and receiving gifts. But on that holy night, at the announcement of the Lord’s birth by the angel, the shepherds working the sheep in the field knew the real gift of Christmas had been waited upon for much longer.

“For unto you.” Let the beauty of those words speak to your heart. The gift of Jesus was given for you, for us, for me.

God’s gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes at His birth (Luke 2:12), and linen at His burial (John 19:40), was personally wrapped and given for failing humanity.

May we ponder, as Mary did that night, the real gift of Christmas a little more closely this year. I pray that you would feel the Father’s love as He presents this Gift to you for unwrapping. I pray you would know the heart of the Father more fully as you receive His “indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15) for yourself.

Christ was given, by the hand of God, for all who were, and for all who were to come: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

For this Christmas, and all to come, no Christmas gift could be or should be cherished more, than this gift of God’s great love (John 3:16).

At the trial of His crucifixion, Jesus spoke these words:

To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:37

The gift was born for you.  

Thank You, Father God, for the personal gift of Jesus Christ into my life. Neither words nor time would be enough to express my deepest gratitude for the Savior. Your Gift has intervened in my life and saved me, helped me, protected me, and blessed me far more than I deserve. My thank You seems inadequate for this season, but humbly thank You, I do, and I praise You for the real Gift of Christmas in my life.

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“Walk In Peace!”

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee,” Isaiah 26:3

Peace is something that may seem far out of reach for most.  It is greatly desired and sought after; yet, many will never lay hold of it.  Why is that?  The answer is because of where it is found.  It is found in a made-up mind centered on who He is and a devoted heart that believes in the promises He has made.  “Perfect peace” speaks of the character of God at work.  Wherever He operates and whatever He delves into is marked by perfection.  That means when He established something that He wants to offer to all mankind He does so without there being anything wrong with it.  No fault in it whatsoever.  And He does here also.  As a matter of fact, the only thing that can mar this “perfect peace” that He is so willing to give is how man (the human race) accepts it.

When one’s mind is focused wholeheartedly on an idea, then that becomes the single vision of that person.  Once the picture of the mind’s eye is narrowed in one direction, that’s where one will be led to follow.  Now imagine a time of being in the midst of arduous and severe trials and tribulations.  Where there are sorrows and disappointments that seem to do nothing to encourage one’s focus on God, only working to tear away at one’s faith.  Yet, through it all, that person takes a stand within them and says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

The person who is able to stir up his faith in this manner as a defense and a shield to his mind, using the focus of God at work in his life and verifying it through His Word, will be kept in “perfect peace.”  He has made an on-purpose decision that no matter how bleak and dismal it may seem right now, God is greater than all, and “His tender mercies are over all His works,” (Ps. 145:9).  “How is one able to do that?” you may be crying out in frustration.  I answer you with Abraham’s example as referred to by Paul in Romans 4:20-21, where it says, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”  Simply put, as our verse in Isaiah 26:3 says, “Because he trusteth thee.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” That is including, “perfect peace.”  All His promises are in His Word and the one who bases the foundation of all that he believes on that one rock-solid truth will be upheld and kept through the worst of storms.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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It’s a Matter of Choice

 When I was a child, one of the simplest toys we used to play with was dominoes.  I never played it as the game intended.  My only use for dominoes was to stand them aright like little soldiers in a line just to watch them fall.

After the pattern of my desire had been set, I tipped the first one, and that’s all it took.  As the first fell, it tipped the second, and the second tipped the third, and so on until they all lay still in the place where they had fallen. 

My designs were simple, but there are those who master intricate patterns and make designs on a grander scale.  And when their first domino tips, a beautiful display of artistry and showmanship unfolds, mesmerizing the onlookers.

The time and talent it takes to perform such works are amazing.  Investment of oneself is key for without that dedication the performance that brought the end reward would have never been accomplished.

And that’s how our lives pretty much go.  Daily we are faced with a myriad of decisions and each of these decisions matters.  Like dominoes, one will affect another, and then another, and so on, with not only the present moment of the decision being impacted but also the future that is to come.

With people being caught up in the here and now, the future, with its possibilities and consequences, is not the first thought on their minds. 

On the other hand, there are those who are concerned about their future and want to know what they can do to improve its outcome, be it physical, financial, or relationally.  The better investment of oneself in these areas is for a better turnout. 

But what about spiritually?

There was a young man who came to Jesus and wanted to know about his spiritual future.  He wanted to know what to do to gain eternal life (Mt. 19:16).  Jesus’ response to him was to follow the commands of God (v. 17).

“All these things have I kept from my youth” (v. 20), the young man replied, and yet, was there something still missing?  Did he feel a certain void?

I don’t have a definite answer, but I do know he pursued Jesus with more questioning, asking Him, “What lack I yet?”

“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Mt. 19:21).

Jesus’ response to his question of lack was not something the young man was expecting.  The answer he had been looking for to secure his future was found in giving up everything and following Jesus.

He had a decision to make, and like those tipping dominoes, one would lead to another.

After processing what Jesus required of him, he went away (v. 22) and Jesus explained how hard it was for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven, the eternal life he was looking for.  It would be akin to threading a camel through the eye of a needle (Vv. 23-24).

With their thinking that the rich man had the better vantage point, the disciples were astonished at what Jesus had spoken and asked Him, “Who then can be saved?” (v. 25).  Jesus plainly let them know, “With man this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (v. 26).

Thinking about their lives and the decisions each of them had made in walking away from everything and following Jesus, Peter asked Him, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” (Mt. 19:27).

That’s an important question, Peter.  When you decided to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, the first domino fell.  Everything that followed came from the ripple effect of your first choice.  And while there may be many occurrences that happen in the middle thereof, the end result will be the very thing the young man was searching for but missed out on: everlasting life (v. 29).

When asked to follow Him, the young man turned away, but Peter, along with the other disciples, invested themselves and followed on.

The path to follow may not always be easy, but after all the dominoes have fallen, and all the choices have been made, one day we will look back over the story of our lives from the vantage point of salvation, and be mesmerized by the beauty of heaven before us, for that’s what will we have, and it is a glorious future to behold! 

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A Truth You Must Know

Perfection.  Innocent.  Pure and undefiled is how the world stood.  It was beautifully unmarked and untainted from heaven’s sky to the dirt on the ground.

Then came sin with all the diseases that follow its wrong course.  There was now pain and sorrow, hurtfulness and despair.  Perfection has been injured.  What was beautiful has received a scar.  The world was fallen – utterly torn apart (Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12).

Torn apart from its innocence.  Pure no more. 

Torn apart from its Maker.  What would happen now?

Would He turn away and erase it all?  Could the shattered love that spoke of its good still see hope in the end?

He did. 

God didn’t leave the fallen world without an answer to its depravity.  He refused to forget His love for the ones He made.  He made a choice and had a plan to redeem what was broken.  In Jesus Christ, He had the cure: “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Gal. 1:4).

We can look around and measure the world by the wickedness we see.  Or we can look at how much grace was bestowed on you and me. 

In the world, we were far from perfect or right.  In the world, we too groped like people in the night.  But His plan shone a light to help us see that this is not the end of the story for us or humanity (Jn. 3:16).

Friend, if you have fallen, may your eyes upon Him turn.  He has not forgotten you.  God is waiting for your return.  There is salvation ready in His redemptive plan.  Something that could never be earned by any woman or man.  But because His love for us is so real, His only begotten Son became our everlasting seal:

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel . . .” (Col. 1:19-23)

When we believe, we are redeemed, covered by the ransom’s cost which His holy and undefiled blood has bought (1 Pet. 1:18-19).  That is the truth you must grasp today.  The question is, will you accept the Gift that saves (2 Cor. 9:15; Jn. 3:16)?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

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The View That Will Change Your Life Forever

Some views will change your life forever.  The scenic wonder as you look out over the mountaintops. The sun that sets below the horizon daily.  The waves that crash on the ocean shores where land and sea collide.  Seeing and feeling the peace of a forest walk as nature saturates your senses.  When our eyes meet with places like these, there seems to be an extraordinary pull within us that longs for us to want to relive that experience day after day.  What your eyes see and what you experience has a way of affecting you on the inside.

But what about what your heart sees?  How do you respond to the vision of Jesus before you today?  When you look at Him, who do you see?

One day Jesus had a private moment with His disciples. In that moment, He wanted to know what they saw, not with their eyes, but with their hearts.  After asking about the opinions of others (Mt. 16:13), He wanted to know what those around Him thought for themselves: “But whom say ye that I am?” He asked (Mt. 16:15). 

With that questioning digging into their personal understanding of Him, only one spoke in revealed truth that centered itself in his very being and wouldn’t let go.  Only one man, by the name of Peter, saw Jesus for so much more.  “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (Mt. 16:16) he said without hesitation or flinching, being fully confident in his answer.

In Jesus, I believe he saw not just the miracles, and wonders, and powerful teaching.  He saw Him for who He was: “The Son of the living God.”

When you see Jesus for who He really is, your life will be filled with wonder in a way you have never experienced before, and you will be changed forever.  When the veil of truth is pulled back and revelation dawns upon your knowing heart, and heaven shows you the Son, things will never be the same. 

As your eyes of faith look upon Him and your soul is drawn to Him, you find in Christ what you have been searching for all your life.  Forward you walk.  Closer to thee, O Lord, I must be, becomes the craving of your inner man, and it cannot be satisfied with another.

I know how the world views Him.  They call Jesus many things and have many opinions.  But as I rise this day and every day, I see your glory.  I see Your hand in the very details of my life.  I feel you in my heart, and as with Peter, I see the Son before me.  That is a view that has changed my life forever. 

Blessings ~

Father God, we are praying today for many souls to see You for who You are.  We are praying for eyes and hearts to be opened to the eternal truth: salvation can be found in no other, but only in Jesus Christ can lives be truly changed forever (Jn. 14:6).  May many grab hold of this truth today and believe and receive Him for themselves.  In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, AMEN!

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