“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil,” John 17:15.
Early one bright and clear morning, the freckled-faced boy looked down at his poor, helpless, old dog. The dog had been his faithful companion for as long as he could remember, and, now, he had come to the end of his life. “Davy,” he said as he stroked the old dog’s whitened face, “I’m going to tell you the story my Sunday School teacher told us yesterday. It made me feel good and I hope it does the same for you.” Quietly, the aged dog lay still, for there was love and comfort in his boy’s voice.
In the innocent voice of the young boy, he began, “Jesus was about to go away and leave the good friends He had made on earth. He was sad to leave them but happy He had done what His Father had asked Him to do. One cool, quiet evening in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed for His friends. He asked God to keep them from evil. Davy, I know you love me because you kept me from stepping on that rattler two years ago, and you always walk me down the drive to catch the bus and wait for me to get home. Jesus loves His friends even more than that, Davy. He loved them so much that He prayed for them before He died to save them.” With that old Davy died.
Tears streamed down the boy’s face as he bowed his head and thanked the Lord for making dogs like Davy and for praying for boys like himself.
Yes, my friend, Jesus loves you so much He prayed for you even before you were born.
“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah,” Psalm 32:5.
Jesus gave us insight into the true heart of mankind and the devastation of sin when He explained what happens when a person sins: “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20). The most devastating thing about sin is not the offensive act of sinning, though that is bad enough. We sin when we do something wrong, offending or violating someone, transgressing God’s definition of right behavior. As if that were not bad enough, the devastation that takes place in the hearts of the offenders is even worse.
Because we were made in the image of God, we each have a God-consciousness and a general moral code written on our hearts. Add to that moral code the overwhelming conviction of God’s Spirit, and you have little chance of escaping feelings of personal guilt when you sin. This is the devastation of sin—the feelings of personal guilt and shame that overwhelm us and prevent us from bringing our sin to light for fear of rejection and rebuke. This desire to keep our skeletons in our closets is what drives many people into spells of discouragement, depression and despair. That is why the psalmist said his bones were wasting away while he remained silent about his sin (Psalm 32:3).
What is the answer for this devastation of sin? We must expose it to the light of God, confess it and seek reconciliation with God and with the offended person. When confession is made, forgiveness is enjoyed.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you confess your sins today?
Author – William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
What am I ever going to do with all the blessings being heaped upon me? I live in a sinful body, under a sinful system. But the grace of the altogether lovely Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus by which I am eternally saved has also led me down the narrow road which His Word affirms to be correct. From other pathways, the moans and groans of sinners in the pain and agony of a life gone awry play loud and clear from community to global scenes. How I wish they knew Whom I know; what I know, and had the blessings I experience every day.
When one walks in the narrow path of the Lord, the blessing attendant to that life abound on every side. They become numerous, even mountainous in abundance. the Psalmist said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation, Selah” Psalm 69:18 In the maze of normal life events, he cautioned himself and us to not get lost in temporal things saying, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:2.
Most everyone has a story to tell about someone they know who has fallen in the quagmire of sin, so why would I not be next? I think of His benefits toward me. I was given godly parents; exposed to the Word early and consistently. I have a loving Savior Who died for me. I have a faithful wife and dear children and grandchildren who love me and look up to me. I have a ministry that God called me to perform faithfully. I have a loving church to preach to and who hears my weekly messages. I live in a country where I am still free to worship God as the Bible teaches me I should. I have the blessed privilege of investing time, money, and life into His service, and He tells me that investment will net one hundredfold. The reality of my life is: Help! I need sideboards to contain the abundance of blessings that just keep on coming.
It is little wonder then that Jesus said, “ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38. How true it is! I am a very blessed man!
My prayer for you is that you will be blessed more than I am. If you think you are not so blessed, please stop now and meditate on Psalm One. It will put you on the pathway of life that requires sideboards. Even then, your containment capacity will not be sufficient.
Sideboards for Seniors
IT’S STILL ALL ABOUT ME!
The Kind of Christian I Am!
Some folks believe that trusting Jesus, and becoming His disciple is surrendering life and its potential to a static life of religion. Oh, how the devil delights in spreading that lie! The truth is that in Christ, nothing is lost but the condemnation of sin, and the new life in Him is continuous gain upon gain. Joyfully, in Christ, life is still all about me, but in a much better way! Think with me about this.
Why did God leave heaven and become a man? It was to fulfill the types and promises of the Old Testament, and to pay the penalty of sins on behalf of mankind. He did this for me! You see, it really is all about me!
Why did He provide an everlasting salvation for all who repent of sins and trust Him as the personal Savior, especially me? Oh, yes, it is all about me!
Why did He create the living organism known as His body, the church? He did it that I might learn of Him, grow in grace and knowledge. Yes, it is all about me!
Did He not promise His dear children new life, and a new, incorruptible body, even me? Oh, yes! It is about me!
Does He not give us the opportunity to mature in the faith once delivered to the saints? Will that not qualify us to rule and reign with Him in the age that is about to happen? Does this include me? Indeed! It is all about me!
He will show me how an entire universe may be destroyed and return to the unseen state? I will see how creation is done. Because once resurrected I will ever be with the Lord, I will have a bird’s eye view of the creation of new heavens and a new earth! Hallelujah, it is all about me!
Who then will get to live in the New Jerusalem on the new earth, but his disciples of every age? That includes me! It is indeed all about me! Who then has the joy of studying, praying, coalescing the rightly divided Word that takes one from mountaintop to mountaintop? Among others, it is I! Thank the Lord it really is about me!
Dear reader this is for you, too, because of God’s love. I claim all these blessings for myself within the constraints of the Blessed Word of God because that is the kind of Christian I am!
Luke 24:26, 44-47
“Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Luke 24:26.
In the garden, man sinned but it was no surprise to God. He, Jesus and the Holy Spirit already had a plan.
From Genesis through Malachi, the need of a Savior was indicated and foretold. The Law required that every detail be fulfilled and yet, it remained unfulfilled by man—that is, until the perfect sacrifice came (Luke 24:44; Acts 4:12; Heb. 4:15).
Indeed, God cannot lie, therefore He must fulfill His required justice for sin, honor His Law, secure due regard for His kingdom and make a way of pardon for sinners as He promised. Jesus Christ filled all of these requirements.
We can be thankful that Jesus was willing to leave His heavenly abode and be the sacrifice for sinners. And thankful too, that God in His love allowed His Son to bear the burden of sin on the cross, to bear torture, mocking, embarrassment, shame and agony for us. The necessity of Christ’s death was so that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15), and that we might have life abundant while we live for Him.
Friend, the only way that you can benefit from His death, burial and resurrection is to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
“Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury,” John 19:40.
Jesus had many disciples; some of them, because of fear, were afraid to be seen with the others. But when they were needed, they gathered courage and stepped up to the task, while the other disciples slipped into silence. Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were not well-known but nevertheless were important disciples.
Joseph, a wealthy man and honorable counselor, went to Pilate and begged to bury the body of Jesus. Nicodemus joined Joseph, and together they took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial. The body was washed, wrapped in linen and spices of myrrh and aloes were tucked into the folds of the cloth.
At some burials a bed of spices was formed and the body was laid on top. We do not know if this is what Nicodemus did with the hundred pounds of spices or not, the Bible does not say. We do know that Jesus was not embalmed and before He could be He had arisen.
In the end, Joseph and Nicodemus found a place of service for our Lord. Yes, even secret disciples can be used by God.
In closed countries there are many secret disciples. Thankfully, in America we have religious freedom—for now.
1 Corinthians 6:14-20
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s,” 1 Corinthians 6:20.
On this day, we are celebrating Valentine’s Day. We have come to know this day as a day to express our love to those we have deemed worthy of our love. Florists and confectioners alike have prepared elaborate and costly gifts for our beloved ones. However, no one has ever paid as much for a gift as Jesus.
The Father set the price as a pure demonstration of His love. The Son paid it. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9, 10).
The sacrifice of Jesus bought slaves, and set them free; it bought the ugly and made them beautiful; it bought the sick, and made them whole; it bought the castaways and made them family. He bought us for a price that no one else could ever pay. Once and forever, He bought us with His life, His blood, His death and His resurrection. Oh, the love that Jesus has for us!
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not (1 John 3:1).
Galatians 1:3, 4
“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,” Galatians 1:4.
Jesus gave His life for us! The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus combined is the fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion and declared it throughout the Bible. Furthermore, it is the reason we do not have to wait until Heaven to enjoy the blessings of being believers! The beautiful reality of the sacrifice of Jesus is that He gave His life for us so that we can give our lives to Him. It is a win-win situation. (Gal. 2:20)
Salvation is so much more than escaping hell. It is having victory over Satan through Jesus while we live on earth (Rom. 8:38, 39). Satan cannot defeat Jesus. He has tried multiple times and failed; he will never win. But Satan can defeat us if we do not let Jesus fight with us. We are not watching the battle from the sideline; we are soldiers in the Lord’s army. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10, 11). Jesus gave His life so that we can be more than conquerors with Him (Rom. 8:37).
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31).
“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice,” Luke 22:61.
Just a few hours before the Gethsemane prayer meeting, Jesus admonished Peter to pray for spiritual strength, to be on guard because Satan wanted to use him. Peter, like many, depended on his physical strength rather than his spiritual strength. It is better if we depend on God; for when we are weak He is strong, and He will help us when we depend on Him (2 Cor. 12:9). Peter had not yet learned this truth. Admitting our weaknesses is the first step in becoming a stronger Christian.
Most Christians fit into one of two categories: the tested and the testers. The tested Christians have been flat on their backs, either literally or metaphorically, and have learned to reach up and out to God and that He will help them. God is willing and honored when they ask Him to lend them His strength. The testers think that they are stronger than the temptations and trials they face or will face. This false thinking leads down a broken hearted path. Peter seemed to fit into the second category. He learned the hard way that failure has a great cost.
The rooster crowed—Jesus looked straight into the heart of Peter—shame filled his heart and tears filled his eyes.
After a good cry, confession and repentance, Peter became one of the most spiritually strong disciples of Jesus. The change began with the heart piercing, loving eyes of Jesus.