A Stolen Bible

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Romans 4:7

Ramona grew up in a troubled home. Her mother was a Christian, but her father was an abusive alcoholic. As a young adult, Ramona made many unwise choices, married multiple times, and descended into drug and alcohol abuse. One night at the Pagoda Hotel in Hawaii, she saw a Gideon Bible in one of the drawers and she took it home with her. About two years later, she started reading it. “After reading a while,” she said, “it was like the words on the pages came to life and opened my eyes. God cleansed me of the anger and resentfulness. He set me free.” Her life changed so dramatically that she forgave her father, cared for him in his latter days, and had the joy of leading him to Christ before his death.1

The grace of God is a shaft of light that can penetrate any darkness, illumine any heart, and brighten any life. God’s arms are open to receive us always—regardless of where we’ve been or what we’ve done.

How blessed we are to find and receive the forgiveness of God!

Believe in God’s instant forgiveness. How long does it take you to forgive your child? Time is not considered in forgiveness. The estrangement of a lifetime may be forgiven in the twinkling of an eye. F. B. Meyer, in Steps Into the Blessed Life

Set Apart for God

Romans 12:1-3

By placing faith in Jesus Christ, a person becomes a new believer and is sanctified—that is, set apart for God’s purposes. Unlike salvation, which takes place in a single moment, sanctification is a lifelong process. We who are followers of the Savior should be letting the Holy Spirit control our lives. If that’s the case, we are currently being sanctified, regardless of what we may feel or how our actions appear to those around us. In other words, we are progressively maturing in our faith.

And if we are progressing, we must be working our way toward something. The apostle Paul explained the Christian’s mission: “For those whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). A believer’s character, conduct, and conversation should be reflections of Jesus, who lives within. On our own, we might place too much emphasis on behavior and get caught up in following rules and rituals that look Christian without truly reflecting Christ. But God has given each believer His Holy Spirit as a teacher and guide. The Spirit works to transform our minds and hearts so that we are markedly different from our unsaved peers. When we allow the Spirit to control us, we speak and act in accordance with our true identity: God’s sons and daughters.

Our Father wants His children to be living examples of who He is. He doesn’t expect perfection—He knows we can’t be totally sinless in our human body. But He shows us how to think and act so we may “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called” (Eph. 4:1).

Preaching the Resurrection

“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)

There are multitudes today who believe that Christ’s resurrection was a “spiritual” resurrection, insisting that the idea of a dead body returning to life after three days in the grave is completely unscientific and impossible.

This was not what the apostles preached with great grace and great power, however. They would hardly have been excited about any kind of spiritual resurrection, since everyone—both Jews and the pagan Gentiles—believed in life after death. If that was their message, no one would have doubted, and no one would have cared. Even when the disciples saw the resurrected Christ, they first “supposed that they had seen a spirit” (Luke 24:37). Christ even had to urge them to “handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

When the disciples finally became convinced of His bodily resurrection, they were quickly transformed into courageous evangelists, willing even to die in support of their glorious message of salvation. The resurrection was, indeed, contrary to scientific law and all human experience, and this very fact proved to them that their Lord was Himself the divine lawgiver and author of all human experience. All other founders and leaders of human religions, ancient or modern, are themselves subject to death, but He alone has triumphed over death. Only the Creator of life can conquer death, and the resurrection proves that Jesus Christ is Creator as well as Savior.

Therefore, when we today, like the apostles of old, proclaim the resurrection of Christ, we know that His name is above every name, and this enables us also to witness with great power, in great grace. HMM

God Acts like God

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. —Luke 18:13

Always, always, always God acts like God. Aren’t you glad you aren’t going to sneak into heaven through a cellar window?…

Aren’t you glad that you’re not going to get into heaven by God’s oversight? God is so busy with His world that you sneak in. You’re there a thousand years before God sees you!

Aren’t you glad that you’re not going to get in just by being a member of a church? God says, “Well, that’s a pretty good church. Let’s let him in”….

All of this cheap talk about St. Peter giving us an exam to see if we’re all right—it’s all nonsense!
The Great God Almighty, always one with Himself, looks upon a moral situation and He either sees death or life. And all of God is on the side of death or life. If there is an iniquitous, unequal, unatoned, uncleansed, unprotected sinner in his sin, there’s only one answer—all of God says, “Death and hell.” And all of heaven can’t pull that man up.

But if he beats his breast and says, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13), and takes the benefits of the infinite agony of God on a cross, God looks on that moral situation and says, “Life!” And all of hell can’t drag that man down. Oh, the wonder and the mystery and the glory of the being of God!

Thank You, Lord, for Your consistent grace, which does not allow us to slip through the cracks but has mercy on us and saves us. Amen.

Stratagem of satan

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables. (2 Peter 1:16)

It is amazing that Satan’s wiliest stratagem against Christian believers is to use our virtues against us! Perhaps it is more amazing that he often does this with great success.

By means of temptation to sin he strikes at our personal lives; by working through our virtues he gets at the whole community of believers and unfits it for its own defense.

To capture a city an enemy must first weaken or destroy its resistance. The Church will never fall as long as she resists. This the devil knows; consequently he uses any stratagem to neutralize her resistance.

Satan first creates a maudlin, inaccurate concept of Christ as soft, smiling and tolerant. He reminds us that when Christ, as a lamb brought to slaughter, opened not His mouth—and suggests that we do likewise. Then if we notice his foot in the door and rise to oppose him, he appeals to our desire to be Christlike. “Love everybody and all will be well,” he urges.

The shepherd, taken in by this sweet talk, is afraid to use his club, and the wolf gets the sheep!

Prayer sometimes tarrieth like a petitioner at the gate

Prayer sometimes tarrieth like a petitioner at the gate, until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord, when he hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered his servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. By and by thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be\ content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord’s time be better than thy time? By and by he will comfortably appear, to thy soul’s joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition.