Archive for February, 2014
He who spares the rod hates hhis son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24)
The Bible has so much practical advice for how to live. And even better advice for the life to come.
“All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47)
God saves. Not through human strength or earthly wisdom. Not with armies and guns. God saves through His mighty power.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:14)
Every day is a day of decision for Jesus. For Christians, it is the intentional decision to live out our faith that day. If you are not a Christian, you will decide today to become a Jesus follower, or you will decide not to. But all of us will make a decision today.
“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:43)
There’s not one set of rules for some people and another set of rules for others. God’s salvation is available to all men, on the same basis. “God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34–35)
Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. (II Thessalonians 1:4)
Church people were talking the amazing faith of the Thessalonians in the face of persecution and trials. I wonder what the church people say when they think about us?
A few months before his death, Mikhail Kalashnikov wrote a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Kalashnikov wanted to know if he was responsible for all of the deaths caused by his greatest invention, the AK-47 assault rifle.
In the letter, Kalashnikov said, “The pain in my soul is unbearable. I keep asking myself the same unsolvable question: If my assault rifle took people’s lives, it means that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, … am responsible for people’s deaths.”
Kalashnikov’s situation was unique, but his feelings were all too common. Many of us know that pain: remorse over something we’ve done in the past. We blame ourselves for something we did or didn’t do. We see the consequences of our words and our actions, and we wonder if there could ever be forgiveness for someone like us.
I’ll state a few things quite frankly:
- You are a sinner. You have done things in the past that were wrong. Things that hurt others. Things that hurt you. Things that hurt your relationship with God. I can say that quite confidently, for we are all sinners. (Romans 3:23)
- God wants to forgive you. He wants to wipe your sin away, remove it “as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12)
- God sent his son to die for your sin. And my sin. And the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
- Through Jesus Christ, you can receive forgiveness for any and every sin that you have committed. (1 John 1:9)
In the New Testament, we read of a man named Paul. He was a devout Jew who thought that Christianity was a false religion. Because of that, he persecuted Christians, seeing to it that they were imprisoned and put to death. Then he had a vision of the risen Jesus and learned that he was mistaken.
A man like that would have every right to believe that his sins could never be forgiven. Yet God sent a Christian teacher named Ananias to tell Paul how to receive forgiveness and begin a new life. After telling Paul about Jesus, Ananias said:
“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” (Acts 22:16)
It doesn’t matter what you have done. Your sins can be washed away. You can start over. God will cleanse you and give you a new life.
Don’t suffer as Kalashnikov did. Let God wipe away your past.
“You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws, and that you will obey him. And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands.” (Deuteronomy 26:17–18)
When we came to the Lord, we promised to live according to His will. May we never forget our promise; God will never forget His.
God’s invitation is still real. He wants you to be part of his people. He wants you to acknowledge him as your God.
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5–6)
A treasured possession. God’s treasured possession. That’s who we are as Christians. (1 Peter 2:9) Don’t let the world tell you otherwise.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (II Timothy 4:8)
Physical exercise is good, so go to the gym. Spiritual training is better. So go to church too.