Because you have broken the chains of sin, now you are called Blessed among the saints. Hallelujah!Your great wisdom is like that of Solomon, about whom the Queen of Sheba said, “How happy your men must be!How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!Praise be to the Lord your God…” (I Kings 10:8-9).
Your family and peers in the workplace know and respect your godly ways.Today you have overcome the world by choice!Unlike those who tinker with wickedness, your testimony speaks of grace, mercy and holiness and the world acknowledges you as different from mere church-goers.
At one time your journey took you in the wrong direction.But you no longer walk in the counsel of the wicked; your footsteps are now ordered by the Word of God, not by the devices of a world gone mad for sensual pleasure and a quick fix.Now you shun the advice of outsiders.Praise the Lord!
No longer do you conform to the world by being party to its ways, or long to be like the crowd of evil-doers.You have chosen instead to live as one who is a life-member of the congregation of the righteous.
Finally, since you have chosen holy living as your mantel, your life is a symbol of all that God is, rather than a mockery of heaven.You have departed from empty thinking to wholeness; your light which once burned dimly now illumines everyplace you go.To God be the glory!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I yearn to walk in the way of godliness, not the way of the wicked.Let me overcome the temptation to be popular, and taste the sweet nectar which flows from squeezing every drop of blessing You have for me today.Amen and amen.
Eight women gathered around the kitchen table.Some knew each other; others met for the first time.But, there was one common denominator – God was at the center of our joy!
Our hostess had prepared a lovely spread of appetizers, dinner items and desserts.She encouraged each of us to share how we met her and/or something good, bad or indifferent that happened in the intervening years.
As each took their turn sharing a joy or concern, we witnessed how God had brought us through our personal struggles or provided for us when we stepped out on faith - bringing us to where we are today.In our own personal way of expression, we acknowledged that we accomplished nothing without God in our lives.We are blessed!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, there is a reason and a season for everything.In Your infinite wisdom, you brought us together to break bread and to minister to one another.
We cried, we laughed, we sang and danced and we thanked You.
When we have those down periods from time-to-time, may we remember these opportunities to witness Your Word.
I am reminded that -- "Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you." (Matthew 18:20 CEV)
Some things we taste, see or smell just stay with us.Mine is mango ice cream from a little ice cream parlor in Key West. Florida.I was just a child as we drove from Miami to Key West, observing the blue Atlantic Ocean to the east and the distinct green waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the west.Along the way we saw the Everglades with the alligators and the lovely orchids and colorful birds.All that pales in comparison to what my taste buds experienced in that little shop.I will never forget the way I savored every drop of that ten cent cone, overflowing with the rich color of cream and mango.
My first taste of Christianity occurred about the same time in my life, when I was a ten year old boy.That, too, I have never forgotten.With child-like faith I opened my heart to the wooing of the Holy Spirit and let Jesus Christ walk into my life and take away the burden and guilt of my sin.Every day, I revisit that experience in some way and give thanks to God for allowing me to experience salvation.Some things just stay with us, don’t they?
GospeLines Prayer:“Glory, Father!Your saving grace is better than mango ice cream!Thank you Lord Jesus for the daily experience of salvation.I can live without ice cream, but I cannot live without You.Continue to help me mature in my wants and desires, that I may grow more and more in love with those things that last, and put behind me all that will melt and wash away.Set my feet on the firm ground of your Word.”Amen and amen.
Every Sunday at churches all around the world, pastors give an altar call - a call to the unsaved to profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior and to ask Him into their hearts.If you respond, are you assured of heaven?That's a question many are asking but surprisingly few are equipped to answer.
Paul commended the Bereans because they received the word with great eagerness but then examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.Let's do the same and see what the scriptures say about salvation.
Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved." (John 10:9)
What are His commandments that come to us through the scriptures?"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. (Mark 16:16)If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)
"Your faith has saved you; go in peace. (Luke 7:50) It is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved. (Acts 15:11)Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
"But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…" 2 Timothy 1:8-9
What does all this mean?Like any message, we cannot take it apart but must understand and accept the complete message.Scripture tells us to believe and confess that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead.We are to believe in our hearts that it is by grace we are saved, through faith - not works - salvation is a gift from God given to us before the beginning of time.
So, should we confess that Jesus is our Lord?Yes!Should be believe that God raised Him (Jesus) from the dead?Yes!Should we be baptized?Definitely!That's what saved people do because we are commanded to be baptized.Should we have faith that we are saved by the grace and mercy of our Father?Absolutely!Is that enough?Let's keep reading…
We are also called to a holy life and told to "stand firm to the end." (Matthew 10:21-22 & 24:12-14)What is a "holy life"?Listen to James.
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?Can such faith save him?Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.You believe that there is one God.Good!Even the demons believe that - and shudder." James 2:14-19
Are we saved by our works?No, we are saved by the grace and mercy of our Father through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.However, just like the product of a fig tree is figs; the product of a Christian is a holy life.
A holy life is a life that produces good fruit ("A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." Matthew 7:18).Standing firm to the end means that we are to produce good fruit for the Lord for as long as we live because, that's what saved people do!
Are you saved?If you have confessed that Jesus is your Lord and Savior and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead; and, if you love Him and obey His commandments, standing firm until the end, producing fruit according to the gifts God has given you then brothers and sisters, be at peace.You are saved!
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
Salado is a sleepy little town in central Texas where my family spent many weekends together.At age 10, my oldest son discovered a shop near our hotel where he was befriended by a wonderful lady.Anytime we wondered where he was, we could find him there.
As we were leaving, we stopped to thank Daniel’s new friend for taking time for him.It was filled with expensive hand-made pottery, each piece carefully signed by the artist.Dan accidentally bumped into a small candy dish and broke it.His little world shattered and he broke into tearful sobbing, both from embarrassment and because he feared he had disappointed his friend.
The kind lady read the situation and assured my son that she was not upset with him.We left Salado that day owning a broken piece of pottery, but money could not have bought the lesson my son learned from his friend.
That was 20 years ago.The carefully repaired dish sits prominently on a lamp table in the family room.It is a reminder that friendship need not be broken by accidents; that happy endings can come of bad situations; it is a symbol of hope, that most bad things that happen in life can be mended.And it reminds us that bad things can happen to good people.
GospeLines Prayer:“Father, as hard as I try, there are still times when I break things….friendships, human spirits, self-esteem.Let me a mender be to those in my life who have experienced brokenness, and never let me be guilty of causing heartache due to my own spiritual clumsiness.”Amen and amen.