In the last hours of His life, historians say that Jesus climbed twenty-eight marble steps in the praetorium of Pilate to reach the throne of his accuser.Roman Catholics claim this stairway, sanctified by the feet of our Lord, was taken to Rome in 326 AD. It was considered an act of discipline, honor, and self-denial to be allowed to climb the Scala Sancta.
Martin Luther went to Rome to prove that no one in the world deserved heaven more than he. Seeking the merit of the church and favor of God, he made his way to the top of the great sacred stairway on his hands and knees.It was there that he heard the voice of God say, “The just shall live by faith.”No works of penance, no acts of self-torture could do that. He knew then and there, once and for all, that men were saved by grace not by works!
Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me...”(Galatians 2:20). Not by works, not by the law, but by the grace of
God do we find peace in this life. It is when we cease the struggle that pride makes us think we can win, and when we submit ourselves to the forgiving love of God that peace finally comes! Amen and amen.
"It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God's gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there's more life to come - an eternity of life! You can count on this." Titus 3:4-6 (The Message)
status quo (kwō) n. The existing condition or state of affairs.
Some people, Christians included, want a particular situation to remain unchanged.We often fail to realize that Christ was about changing the status quo and bringing us into the fullness of our lives through His spirit.
How many of us are sitting in the same position we have been…spiritually?How many of us have grown beyond yesteryear?How many of us have truly asked God to come… not only into our hearts…but into every aspect of our lives?
Not many, eh?We don’t really want to change.We don’t want to grow.We don’t want to admit to ourselves or others that our lives have been and are on the wrong track as long as we remain with the status quo.
But, God offers us His unchanging hand…that’s the “status quo” I’ll gladly live with!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I have been sitting in the same cesspool for too long.It was almost as comfortable as a worn pair of leather boots… conforming to my foot.Who wants to break in a new pair?I DO LORD!!!!
Change me Lord.Remove those shackles that have bound me to anything other than You.Release me from my private prison.May I learn not to be comfortable with the status quo.
The status quo has got to go!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, October 31, 2007
"The Devil Made Me Do It"
God thought of everything when He directed Israel through the wilderness, giving them specific guidelines for dealing with transgressions.The Old Testament is filled with instructions for feasts, sacrifices and offerings.There is even provision for “the-devil-made-me-do-it” sins. We might call them unintentional sins, but they are sins nonetheless, and sin disrupts fellowship with God. “Now if you unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the Lord gave Moses... the priest is to make atonement... and their sins will be forgiven.” (Numbers 15:22-25)
The word for unintentional meant wandering away, as a sheep might wander away from the flock. It referred to sin that stemmed from the weakness of human character rather than outright rebellion. It's part of what we inherited from Adam and Eve, the natural inclination to sin against God. We don’t mean to do it but it happens anyway. How frustrating is that!? To the devoted Christian it can heap guilt upon us every time it happens. As in the Old Testament, God has provided a way to handle those aggravations.Immediate confession brings immediate restoration! Deal with it the moment it happens and our Father extends His forgiveness and grace which is His natural response to repentance.
GospeLines Prayer:Merciful God, every time I sin it hurts me. Turn not away from me in my weakness; forgive my transgression and receive my confession and repentance.Restore our blessed fellowship and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.Amen and amen.
Today is my wife's 49th birthday.She's away from home on a business trip; but, she's not alone.I chose to accompany her so we could share a little "alone time" and celebrate her birthday together.Of course, that meant we had to leave our twin girls at home.
They're 15 and very responsible; so we weren’t too concerned.We asked their older brother and his wife to stay with them so we knew everything would be fine... right...
About 9:00 last night we got a panic call from Alyssa (one of our twins).They had gone to a football game (Their high school was playing their biggest rival) and were to be picked up by their brother when the game was over.Just as the game ended, and without any warning, Angell (the other twin) collapsed.
The emergency personnel at the game gave her oxygen and called 911 - she was rushed to the hospital.As my son waited to pick them up, he was forced to move to make way for the ambulance not knowing that it carried his sister.
What now?It's late and we're at least 4 hours from home.Stay calm... don't panic...BUT IT'S OUR DAUGHTER...
We made lots of phone calls.I think at lease one of our cell phones was in constant use for the next few hours as we waited for some word.
As time passed and word from the hospital began to arrive, the seriousness diminished.We were still extremely worried; but, somehow, the terror was gone.
No, not somehow - the peace of God was filling our souls.His grace and mercy was evident all around us as His voice said, "Be at peace.She's in My hands."
Today's a very different day.Angell is at her brother's home and feeling fine.The doctors found nothing unusual; but, they suggested we follow-up with our physician next week.And God is still in charge...
How often when we're in an emergency situation do we forget to ask our God for help and sustaining strength?He has promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20).Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)
Even when the situation seems out of control and we do not know what to do - even when we're afraid and scared - He is there.He hears our cries and He reaches out to us with love beyond description.
GospeLines Prayer:Thank you Lord for Your love.Help us to remember Your love when we're in trouble; but, also help us to remember when things are going smooth and to always give You praise.Amen and Amen!
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
It doesn’t snow much on the Gulf Coast of Texas, but it’s just as well that it doesn’t. Folks down here haven’t learned to drive in the white stuff. So, we don’t know a lot about it except that people say there are no two snowflakes alike. I read the other day that snowflakes are made from ice crystals which form on dust particles as they fall gently from the heavens. Did you know that all snow crystals have six sides? But you shouldn’t expect to easily find a perfect six-sided snowflake. They occur only about 25% of the time. Why?Because a snowflake has a bumpy ride and difficult journey on it’s way to earth. Each flake is buffeted by wind, water and other snowflakes.
It reminds me of people, only in reverse. We are on our journey toward heaven, and along the way it gets bumpy and difficult, and we are pushed around by people and life. It may come as a shock to you but there are no perfect people. As we struggle toward eternity, we latch onto many different things for survival; sometimes we will attach ourselves to the dirt of the world.Anything that seems to be going in the right direction is a probable host but it may have an improbable ending.
I have a news flash for you: Jesus died for a lousy bunch of beaten up, pushed down, bumped around human beings just like you and me. He never asked for perfection from us. All he asked for is our souls. If we will attach ourselves to Him, he will take care of the rest.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, sometimes the journey gets difficult and I find myself bruised and bloodied.There are days when I can become a really big mess.Thank you for overlooking my stumped toes and skinned knees and loving me when I am unlovely. Amen and amen.