God from the beginning chose you for salvation. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
We make life’s journey in small daily steps, but there are important mile markers along the way. The most important is meeting Jesus Christ through faith, by grace, in a personal way that brings us salvation.
The apostle Paul loved that word, using it repeatedly. In Romans, he wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 1:16; 10:10). He told the Thessalonians, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
Salvation is the act by which God saves us from sin, death, and hell.
If you aren’t sure you’ve passed this mile marker in your life, sincerely pray now, asking the Lord to forgive your sins. Tell Him you believe Jesus died for you and rose again. Give Him your whole life from this day. With your mouth, make confession unto salvation.
It’s a small prayer, but it’s a big moment!
Your salvation depends on what [Christ] has done for you, not on what you can do for Him.Billy Graham
You left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. Ruth 2:11
I arrived at the cancer care center, where I’d be serving as my mom’s live-in caregiver, feeling alone and afraid. I’d left my family and support system more than 750 miles behind me. But before I could even touch my luggage, Frank, a man with a huge grin, offered to help. By the time we reached the sixth floor, I’d made plans to meet his wife, Lori, who cared for him during his treatments. The couple soon became like family as we leaned on God and each other. We laughed, vented, cried, and prayed together. Though we all felt displaced, our connection to God and each other kept us rooted in love as we supported one another.
When Ruth committed to caring for her mother-in-law, Naomi, she left the security of familiarity behind. Ruth “entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters” (Ruth 2:3). The overseer told the landowner, Boaz, that Ruth “came into the field” and “remained” working “except for a short rest in the shelter” (v. 7). Ruth found a safe place with people willing to care for her as she cared for Naomi (vv. 8–9). And God provided for Ruth and Naomi though Boaz’s generosity (vv. 14–16).
Life’s circumstances can provide roads to unexpected places far beyond our comfort zones. As we remain connected to God and each other, He’ll keep us rooted in love as we support one another.
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross paid for all our sins, but believers are still susceptible to temptation and disobedience. So it’s important for us to understand what to do when we yield to our sinful desires. God has graciously given us a way to receive cleansing so we can continue to grow in holiness. We’re to …
See sin as the Lord sees it. Our God is absolutely pure. To Him, every sin is an offense that violates His law, grieves the Holy Spirit, and belittles Christ’s sacrifice.
Take responsibility for it. Trying to soften the heinous nature of sin by calling it a mistake, weakness, or shortcoming is unacceptable. We must acknowledge our disobedience instead of making excuses or blaming others.
Confess it. Agreeing with God about our wrongdoing is a blessed privilege. Once we confess, He washes us clean of the guilt and empowers us to turn away from that sin in repentance. In this way, we can begin walking afresh in holiness.
Although John explained how to deal with sin, his main purpose was to encourage us to turn from it and walk in obedience to God. Sin should be the exception in our life—not the rule.
“Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.” (Psalm 65:9)
The inexhaustible river of God, watering the whole earth, is nothing less than the refreshing rains coming down from the heavens, “visiting” the earth on its amazing journey to the oceans, whence it flows back up to the skies again. This river incorporates all the rivers of Earth, yet it is like no other river, for once it reaches the ocean, it rises into the heavens, there to flow back over the thirsty ground and finally descend once more on its endless journey.
What a wonderful provision is this river of God! Without it, all life on Earth would soon die. Far more valuable than gold, it continually “enriches” the earth on its regular visitations “to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth” (Job 38:27).
Thereby does God also prepare corn to feed man and beast. The word “corn” in this and other passages probably refers generically to any of the cereal grains that provide the basic foodstuffs for people and animals all over the world. This is implied in the creation passage itself. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth….And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat” (Genesis 1:29-30).
This is God’s wonderful life-giving river. “He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth” (Psalm 104:13-14). The Creator is also the Sustainer (Colossians 1:16-17). HMM
They measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. —2 Corinthians 10:12
We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone.
Large and influential sections of the world of fundamental Christianity have gone overboard for practices wholly unscriptural, altogether unjustifiable in the light of historic Christian truth and deeply damaging to the inner life of the individual Christian.
They have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit. The glowworm has taken the place of the bush that burned, and scintillating personalities now answer to the fire that fell at Pentecost. OGM008-009
The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus also called the Spirit of Truth, has not come into the world to fool around; He will be found wherever the Lord’s people meet, and in confirming the Word and the Person of Jesus Christ, He will demand moral action! TTPII, Book 8/029
Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.—1 Corinthians 9:24
What and how much we eat can greatly affect the way we feel. If the nerves are starved on account of a lack of vitamins, they will kick back in physical depression—exactly the same way that a starved soul or spirit will kick back in psychological depression. So discipline yourself to eat correctly and nutritionally.
Next, discipline yourself to take appropriate physical exercise. God designed our bodies for movement, and if they don’t move, they get sluggish. Then what happens? A sluggish body contributes to a sluggish spirit.
Time and time again, when counseling people who are suffering with depression, I have recommended (along with other suggestions) that they take up physical exercise. One should not, of course, embark upon vigorous exercise, like playing racqetball or jogging, without having a medical check-up. But I have been surprised at how even a short, brisk walk can do wonders for the soul.
I feel a word of caution may be needed here, because many people in our culture are fast becoming exercise “freaks.” It is possible to regulate the body too much! You should get enough exercise to remain fit, but also keep in mind that too much attention to exercise or sports may drain higher interests. Everything must be kept in balance: just enough food to keep you fit and not enough to make you fat; just enough sleep to keep you fresh and a little less than that which would make you lazy. We must keep our bodies like a fine-tuned violin, and then the music of God will come out from every fiber of our being.
O God of my mind and my body, I come to You to have both of these brought under the control of Your redemption and Your guidance. May I pass on the health of my mind to my body and the health of my body to my mind. Amen.
“As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way.”—1 Samuel 12:23
It can be tempting at times to give up on God’s people! They are so imperfect and can be so sinful, yet they are His people. Samuel had thoroughly warned the Israelites of the dangers in appointing a king over Israel. Yet they wanted to be like the nations around them, insisting that they were willing to pay any price. Almost as soon as the people were granted their desire, they recognized their sin. But it was too late. What was Samuel to do? They had ignored his warnings. Now they wanted him to continue to minister to them. It would seem appropriate for Samuel to abandon them and allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions.
Samuel knew, as Jesus knew, that God sends His servants to the sick, not the healthy (Matt. 9:12). Samuel did not take the people’s response as a rejection of him but as an indication of their walk with God. Samuel was serving God, not the Israelites. When God commanded him to minister to them, he could do nothing else, despite their resistance to his message.
At times people will not respond as they should to the message God speaks through you. Don’t become discouraged; it is a reflection of their relationship with God. You are God’s servant; if Jesus spent His time with the spiritually needy, you can expect Him to ask you to do the same. Don’t lose your patience with God’s people. Keep in mind that God loves them as much as He loves you.