VIDEO The Hound of Heaven and a Young Russian Agnostic

Andrea Wolfe, on staff with the CoMission office in Raleigh, North Carolina tells the following story:

In the 1930’s Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers. In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with vengeance. Thousands of Bibles were confiscated, and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags-prison camps-where most died, unjustly condemned as “enemies of the state.”

The CoMission once sent a team to Stavropol. The city’s history wasn’t known at that time. But when the team was having difficulty getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored since Stalin’s day.

After the team had prayed extensively, one member finally mustered up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there. Sure enough, they were. Then the CoMissioners asked if the Bibles could be removed and distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was “Yes!”

The next day the CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man-a skeptical, hostile agnostic collegian who had come only for the day’s wages. As they were loading Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually they found him in a corner of the warehouse, weeping.

He had slipped away hoping to take a Bible for himself. What he did not know was that he was being pursued by the “Hound of Heaven.” What he found shook him to the core.

The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. It had been her personal Bible. Out of the thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the very one belonging to his grandmother-a woman, who throughout her entire life, was persecuted for her faith.

No wonder he was weeping-God had powerfully and yet tenderly made Himself known to this young man.1 Such was his divinely appointed meeting with the sovereign Lord of the universe, the “Hound of Heaven” who had tracked him down to that very warehouse! Remember Jeremiah’s words: “`Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. `Do not I fill both heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” (Jer 23:24).

The “Hound of Heaven” and You

Jesus is truly the ever-present, all-seeing “Hound of Heaven.” He can track us down wherever we’re hiding! And once on the trail, he sets his heart with relentless zeal and undivided focus to the pursuit-a zeal that originally led him directly to the ignominy of a Roman cross!

Choosing to leave behind the luxuries of Heaven’s golden palaces and the unrivaled joy of the Father’s presence, Jesus willingly descended into the ghetto of this present world-the realm of sin and Satan-in order to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Through the brutality of his suffering, climaxing in his voluntary death, he secured a startling triumph over hostile forces arrayed in battle against Him (and us). Having earned a once-for-all victory for His people, and having been resurrected to an indestructible life, He has returned to Heaven and His Father, where he continues to seek and to save that which was lost (Heb 7:25). The young Russian man knows what this means. So does his grandmother. Do you?

You see, Jesus is still pursuing people through the message of the cross. The message of the cross rises above the myriad of voices and the noise in our culture, seizing our consciences by the throat and laying bare the depth of our selfishness and estrangement from God. If Jesus Christ was God Almighty incarnate, and His death was necessary to quell my rebellion, then I guess I know God’s estimate of my sinfulness. “Oh wretched man that I am,” says the apostle (Rom 7:24). But the good news is-for those who love Him-that all our filth has been transferred to Christ who willingly bore the guilt and pollution of our sin, death, and shame.

Thus, the message of the cross not only instructs me concerning the disastrous consequences of my rebellion, it also faithfully imparts the priceless knowledge of God’s “other worldly,” all conquering love-a love that changes “rebel” into “reconciled” and whose intensity can only be likened to a blood hound hot on the trail.

Like a major landmark enroute to the place where God lives, the cross shows you and me the way home into the arms of our Father. It does not repel us from Him; on the contrary, it leads us confidently into His presence. Surely if He would suffer to this extent for us, then He must love us thoroughly.

In short, the cross calms my agitated, nervous heart and is like a smiling, gracious butler, who sees plainly that I am not clothed properly, but who nonetheless incessantly pleads with me to enter God’s home where the real party never ends. Through the cross God himself has provided the wardrobe appropriate for the festivities! He called our young Russian friend and now he calls you. Won’t you come in?


1 R. Kent Hughes, 1001 Great Stories and Quotes (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1998), 393-94.

Related Topics: Theology Proper (God), Devotionals

 

https://bible.org/article/hound-heaven


The Hound of Heaven

Jan 6, 2013

God skillfully and lovingly employs affliction and adversity, pressure and pain, and trials and tribulations as crucial instruments in his process of maturing his children. Jesse Johnson teaches from Psalm 119:65-72.

The “Trans” That God Really Cares About

 

 

Hardly a day goes by where we don’t hear about “trans” – as in transgender. Whether it’s a trans child or a trans celebrity or a trans lawsuit, trans is ever before us.

But it’s not just transgender that’s in the news.

We also hear about transracial and transabled and transhuman and trans-species, all of which leads me to focus on the trans that matters most to God: transgression.

I don’t mean that God doesn’t care about people who identify as transgender or who wrestle with other variations of trans.

I simply mean that the “trans” that matters most to Him is the trans in transgression – as in disobedience, sin, wickedness, evil.

What is the actual definition of transgression?

The English verb “transgress” comes from two Latin words, trans meaning “across” and gradi meaning “to go,” coming into English by way of Old French. So, to transgress is to “go across, step across,” while a transgression is the act of going across or stepping across.

In short, to transgress is “to act in violation of some law,” and you can transgress boundaries, customs, codes, or guidelines.

In our English Bibles, “transgression” has a very specific meaning: intentionally breaking God’s laws. This means there is a willful nature to our actions. We know something is wrong, yet we do it anyway. We know God forbids it, but we disobey. We don’t just fall short of the mark while making our best efforts. We determine to do what is wrong. This is self-will. This is pride. This is rebellion.

Accordingly, the Hebrew word translated with “transgression” in most of our English Bibles means “an act of rebellion,” and it is related to a verb meaning “to rebel.” It’s not surprising that both the verb and the noun occur many times in the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, there is a more specialized word for “transgression,” and it carries the meaning of “stepping over” or “violating,” with specific reference to God’s law.

To explain this further, let’s say you’re driving 100 mph on a narrow, winding road that has no speed limits since it’s on private property. You are driving dangerously and foolishly and you might crash and even die, but you are not breaking any law because there is no law. But if you’re driving 100 mph on a public road with a 40 mph speed limit, not only are you driving dangerously and foolishly. You’re also breaking the law. You’re guilty of transgression.

That is the state of the human race.

We’re not just like a curious toddler, innocently touching something we shouldn’t touch. We’re like a rebellious toddler, looking Mommy in the eyes defiantly and touching the very thing she forbade us to touch. Only we’re not toddlers. We’re adults, and we’re fully responsible for our actions – for our transgressions.

Whether or not we like it or acknowledge it, God has given us His laws, His holy standards. They tell us what is right and wrong.

The most important ones are not just written in the Bible. They are written on our hearts. And when we sin against these laws, we sin against God and we transgress. Our sin is an act of rebellion against the Lord.

Of course, it is possible to harden our hearts to the point of insensitivity and we longer have any sense of guilt. But that’s not how it starts. A normal man who steals from an elderly woman and then, in fear that she’ll report him to the police, beats her to death, knows that he has done wrong. A normal woman who lies to her husband and deceives her children to carry on an illicit affair knows that she has done wrong.

Even atheists have consciences (some have very sensitive consciences). It is because the God they deny gave them a conscience.

And when any of us sin against those internal, divine standards, we transgress God’s laws. The penalty for such transgression is death.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that Jesus paid the death penalty for us. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, “he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned– every one– to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:5-6).

Our sins and transgressions are incredibly ugly – just look at the ugliness of the cross. But they have been paid in full by the Lord Himself, and if we turn to Him in true repentance and faith, He will completely forgive us.

That is what we have just celebrated during this Passover-Easter season, and that’s the trans issue that God really cares about – dealing with our transgressions.

And when our sins are forgiven through the cross, something else happens – the best “trans” of all. We experience radical transformation, going from death to life, from condemned to forgiven, from lost to saved, from unclean to holy. Our God is a God who transforms!

For my own story, “From LSD to Ph.D.,” which describes my transformation from a heroin-shooting, LSD-using, 16-year-old, Jewish, rebellious hippie rock drummer to a husband and father and grandfather and minister and professor, click here.

By God’s grace, you can have your own story too!

 

 

by Dr Michael Brown

http://barbwire.com/2017/04/21/trans-god-really-cares/

What Is Your True Purpose?

1 Samuel 16:6-13

What do you live for each day? A pay raise? Retirement? Then perhaps you’ve discovered the reality that basing aspirations on getting ahead in this world typically ends in disappointment. People with a misguided sense of direction often wonder why they feel unfulfilled.

Maybe you’ve already achieved a goal of saving for the future or moving up the corporate ladder. You give to charity and volunteer at church, but somehow still feel a sense of insignificance or aimlessness. If so, there is a truth you need to hear: God gives each of us life for a very specific reason—namely, to serve Him. Nobody finds inner peace without reconciling this fact. Our society teaches us that pleasure, prosperity, position, and popularity will make us happy. But living in the service of self always leaves an emptiness no earthly reward can fill.

Besides, worldly philosophy won’t stand the test of time. Few of us are going to live even 100 years. So whatever we’ll become in this life, we are in the process of becoming that right now. Consider David: He was anointed king long before actually assuming the role (1 Sam. 16:12). He spent many years serving the purpose of God in insignificant places while developing into a great man. As his story shows, discovering God’s purpose for your life is the surest path to success.

Our Father’s purpose for us comes from His heart of love—which is perfect. None of us can know the things He has in store for us, but we can trust His plan. Surrender to Him and say, “Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done.”

The Works of the Lord

“Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.” (Psalm 111:1)

The first phrase of this majestic psalm of praise, “praise ye the LORD,” translates the compound Hebrew word hallelujah. The psalm in its entirety boasts about the works of the Lord (i.e., Jehovah) in various realms.

The psalmist promises to praise the Lord with his entire being, wholeheartedly extolling His works. He will do so in two spheres. First, in “the assembly of the upright,” where “assembly” refers to an intimate circle of friends of like faith. Secondly, in the larger “congregation” called together for that purpose.

The next three verses identify some of the praiseworthy acts of God, each verse employing a different word for “works.” The word translated “works” in verse two usually refers to God’s “great” handiwork in creation, well suited for careful study (i.e., “sought out”), bringing “pleasure” to all those who recognize that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). (Incidentally, this verse two of Psalm 111 is inscribed on the entrance to the famous Cavendish Physics Laboratory in Cambridge.)

The word for “work” in verse three implies an ongoing practice and carries the connotation of His providential acts. He reigns in righteousness, honor, and glory over all His creation.

Finally, the phrase “wonderful works” (v. 4) usually refers to God’s great redemptive acts on behalf of His people Israel (vv. 5-6, 9), as well as all those who put their trust in Him (see Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31, for example). Surely “the LORD is gracious and full of compassion” (v. 4).

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: . . . his praise endureth for ever” (v. 10). JDM

“Quench not the Spirit.”

Numbers 11:24-34

Numbers 11:24, 25

See what the Lord can do, and let it encourage us to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest. Many a Moses is burdened for want of helpers, but the Lord can send him all the assistance he needs.

Numbers 11:26

Perhaps Moses and the people had not looked for prophetic gifts to follow the gift of the Spirit, but only the power to govern; hence the excitement when two of the elders began to preach in parts of the camp where the prophesying at the tabernacle had not yet been made known.

Numbers 11:27, 28

Jealousy for his master’s honour moved Joshua to slay the irregular ministry of Eldad and Medad; and still there are many who are zealous to put down those who presume to prophesy, because they are “men authorised by God alone,” as if that were not authority enough.

Numbers 11:29

Moses was of a noble spirit. If the men were really moved by the Spirit of God, he had no desire to restrain their unusual procedure; but far otherwise, he wished that all the Lord’s servants had the same gifts and graces. Irregular ministries have been the means of the salvation of thousands, and therein we rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Numbers 11:30-32

They feasted themselves without fear, though they had been told that evil would come of it. No doubt they fed ravenously, and then gave their whole minds to the curing of what remained, as if they thought they should never have such provision again. Greediness is, in itself, a plague, and brings other evils with it.

Numbers 11:33

These gluttons digged their graves with their teeth. Many die through sins of the table; drunkenness and gluttony devour their thousands. Thus by one sin God punished another. Those who murmured for flesh, received, as a penalty, death while eating the flesh for which they murmured.

Numbers 11:34

Scandalous sins have their memorials; may they act as warnings to us, that we do not become discontented and greedy. The Lord make us thankful for His mercies, and save us from fleshly lusts.

 

O Lord, Thy messengers ordain,

And whom Thou wilt inspire;

We will not of Thy course complain,

But hail the sacred fire.

 

Blow as He list, the Spirit’s choice

Of instruments we bless;

We will, if Christ be preached, rejoice.

And wish the Word success.

 

Crucified!

Matthew 27:34, 35

When Jesus arrived at Golgotha, the Bible says, “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall….” According to Jewish law, if a man was about to be executed, he could request a narcotic, mingled together with wine, which would help alleviate the pain of his execution. The word “gall” in this verse refers to this special painkiller that was mingled together with wine for this purpose.

There was a group of kind women in Jerusalem who made it their good deed to help anesthetize the pain of people who were dying horrific deaths. These women wanted to eliminate as much pain and misery as possible for the scores of people being crucified by the Romans. Therefore, they produced the homemade painkiller that Matthew tells us about in this verse.

Jesus was offered this anesthetic twice—once before His crucifixion and once while He was dying on the Cross (see Matthew 27:34, 48). In both instances, Jesus turned down the offer and refused to drink it, for He knew that He was to fully consume this cup the Father had given Him to drink.

Verse 35 begins, “And they crucified him….” The word “crucified” is the Greek word staurao, from the word stauros, which describes an upright, pointed stake that was used for the punishment of criminals. This word was used to describe those who were hung up, impaled, or beheaded and then publicly displayed. It was always used in connection with public execution. The point of hanging a criminal publicly was to bring further humiliation and additional punishment to the accused.

Crucifixion was indisputably one of the cruelest and most barbaric forms of punishment in the ancient world. Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, described crucifixion as “the most wretched of deaths.” It was viewed with such horror that in one of Seneca’s letters to Lucilius, Seneca wrote that suicide was preferable to crucifixion.

Different parts of the world had different kinds of crucifixion. For example, in the East the victim was beheaded and then hung in public display. Among the Jews, the victim was first stoned to death and then hung on a tree. Deuteronomy 21:22, 23 commanded, “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;)….”

But at the time Jesus was crucified, the grueling act of crucifixion was entirely in the hands of the Roman authorities. This punishment was reserved for the most serious offenders, usually for those who had committed some kind of treason or who had participated in or sponsored state terrorism.

Because Israel hated the occupying Roman troops, insurrections frequently arose among the populace. As a deterrent to stop people from participating in revolts, crucifixion was regularly practiced in Jerusalem. By publicly crucifying those who attempted to overthrow the government, the Romans sent a strong signal of fear to those who might be tempted to follow in their steps.

Once the offender reached the place where the crucifixion was to occur, he was laid on the crossbeam he carried (see April 23) with his arms outstretched. Then a soldier would drive a five-inch (12.5-centimeter) iron nail through each of his wrists into the crossbeam. After being nailed to the crossbeam, the victim was hoisted up by rope, and the crossbeam was dropped into a notch on top of the upright post.

When the crossbeam dropped into the groove, the victim suffered excruciating pain as his hands and wrists were wrenched by the sudden jerking motion. Then the weight of the victim’s body caused his arms to be pulled out of their arm sockets. Josephus writes that the Roman soldiers “out of rage and hatred amused themselves by nailing their prisoners in different postures.” Crucifixion was truly a vicious ordeal.

When the victim was nailed to his cross, the nails were not driven through the palms of his hands, but through his wrists. Once the wrists were secured in place, the feet came next. First, the victim’s legs would be positioned so that the feet were pointed downward with the soles pressed against the post on which the victim was suspended. A long nail would then be driven between the bones of the feet, lodged firmly enough between those bones to prevent it from tearing through the feet as the victim arched upward, gasping for breath.

In order for the victim to breathe, he had to push himself up by his feet, which were nailed to the vertical beam. However, because the pressure on his feet became unbearable, it wasn’t possible for him to remain long in this position, so eventually he would collapse back into the hanging position.

As the victim pushed up and collapsed back down again and again over a long period of time, his shoulders eventually dislocated and popped out of joint. Soon the out-of-joint shoulders were followed by the elbows and wrists. These various dislocations caused the arms to be extended up to nine inches longer than usual, resulting in terrible cramps in the victim’s arm muscles and making it impossible for him to push himself upward any longer to breathe. When he was finally too exhausted and could no longer push himself upward on the nail lodged in his feet, the process of asphyxiation began.

Jesus experienced all of this torture. When He dropped down with the full weight of His body on the nails that were driven through His wrists, it sent excruciating pain up His arms, registering horrific pain in His brain. Added to this torture was the agony caused by the constant grating of Jesus’ recently scourged back against the upright post every time He pushed up to breathe and then collapsed back to a hanging position.

Due to extreme loss of blood and hyperventilation, the victim would begin to experience severe dehydration. We can see this process in Jesus’ own crucifixion when He cried out, “… I thirst” (John 19:28). After several hours of this torment, the victim’s heart would begin to fail. Next his lungs would collapse, and excess fluids would begin filling the lining of his heart and lungs, adding to the slow process of asphyxiation.

When the Roman soldier came to determine whether or not Jesus was alive or dead, he thrust his spear into Jesus’ side. One expert pointed out that if Jesus had been alive when the soldier did this, the soldier would have heard a loud sucking sound caused by air being inhaled past the freshly made wound in the chest. But the Bible tells us that water and blood mixed together came pouring forth from the wound the spear had made—evidence that Jesus’ heart and lungs had shut down and were filled with fluid. This was enough to assure the soldier that Jesus was already dead.

It was customary for Roman soldiers to break the lower leg bones of a person being crucified, making it impossible for the victim to push himself upward to breathe and thus causing him to asphyxiate at a much quicker rate. However, because of the blood and water that gushed from Jesus’ side, He was already considered dead. Since there was no reason for the soldiers to hasten Jesus’ death, His legs were never broken.

This, my friend, is a brief taste of Roman crucifixion.

The above description of crucifixion was exactly what Jesus experienced on the Cross when He died for you and me. This is why Paul wrote, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). In Greek the emphasis is on the word “even,” from the Greek word de, which dramatizes the point that Jesus lowered Himself to such an extent that He died even the death of a Cross—the lowest, most humiliating, debasing, shameful, painful method of death in the ancient world!

Now you understand why the kind women of Jerusalem prepared homemade painkillers for those being crucified. The agony associated with crucifixion is the reason they offered Jesus this “gall” once before the crucifixion began and again as He hung on the Cross.

Meanwhile, the soldiers near the foot of the Cross “… parted his garments, casting lots…” (Matthew 27:35). They didn’t understand the great price of redemption that was being paid at that moment as Jesus hung asphyxiating to death, His lungs filling with fluids so He couldn’t breathe.

According to Roman custom, the soldiers who carried out the crucifixion had a right to the victim’s clothes. Jewish law required that the person being crucified would be stripped naked. So there Jesus hung, completely open and naked before the world, while His crucifiers literally distributed His clothes among themselves!

Making this distribution of clothes even cheaper was the fact that the soldiers “cast lots” for His garments. The Gospel of John records that “… when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it…” (John 19:23, 24).

This account informs us that four soldiers were present at Jesus’ crucifixion. The four parts of His clothing that were distributed among them were His head gear, sandals, girdle, and the tallith—the outer garment that had fringes on the bottom. His “coat,” which was “without seam,” was a handmade garment that was sewn together from top to bottom. Because it was specially handmade, this coat was a very expensive piece of clothing. This was the reason the soldiers chose to cast lots for it rather than tear it into four parts and spoil it.

When the Bible refers to “casting lots,” it indicates a game during which the soldiers wrote their names on pieces of parchment or wood or on stones and then dropped all four pieces with their names written on them into some kind of container. Because the Roman soldiers who helped crucify Jesus were remotely located, it is probable that one of them pulled off his helmet and held it out to the other soldiers. After the others dropped their names in the helmet, the soldier shook it to mix up the four written names and then randomly withdrew the name of the winner.

It is simply remarkable that all of this was taking place as Jesus was pushing down on that huge nail lodged in His feet so He could gasp for breath before sagging back down into a hanging position. As Jesus’ strength continued to drain away and the full consequence of man’s sin was being realized in Him, the soldiers at the foot of the Cross played a game to see who would get His finest piece of clothing!

Matthew 27:36 says, “And sitting down they watched him there.” The Greek word for “watch” is the word tereo, which means to guard. The Greek tense means to consistently guard or to consistently be on the watch. It was the responsibility of these soldiers to keep things in order, to keep watch over the crucifixion site, and to make sure no one came to rescue Jesus from the Cross. So as they cast lots and played games, the soldiers were also keeping watch out of the corners of their eyes to make certain no one touched Jesus as He hung dying on the Cross.

When I read about the crucifixion of Jesus, it makes me want to repent for the callousness with which the world looks upon the Cross today. In our society, the cross has become a fashion item, decorated with gems, rhinestones, gold, and silver. Beautiful crosses of jewelry adorn women’s ears and dangle at the bottom of gold chains and necklaces. The symbol of the cross is even tattooed on people’s flesh!

The reason this is so disturbing to me is that in beautifying the Cross to make it pleasing to look upon, people have forgotten that it wasn’t beautiful or lavishly decorated at all. In fact, the Cross of Jesus Christ was shocking and appalling.

Jesus’ totally naked body was flaunted in humiliation before a watching world. His flesh was ripped to shreds; His body was bruised from head to toe; He had to heave His body upward for every breath He breathed; and His nervous system sent constant signals of excruciating pain to His brain. Blood drenched Jesus’ face and streamed from His hands, His feet, and from the countless cuts and gaping wounds the scourging had left upon His body. In reality, the Cross of Jesus Christ was a disgusting, repulsive, nauseating, stomach-turning sight—so entirely different from the attractive crosses people wear today as a part of their jewelry or attire.

At this time of the year, it would be good for all of us as believers to take a little time to remember what the Cross of Jesus Christ was really like. If we don’t deliberately choose to meditate on what He went through, we will never fully appreciate the price He paid for us. How tragic it would be if we lost sight of the pain and the price of redemption!

When we fail to remember what it cost Jesus to save us, we tend to treat our salvation cheaply and with disregard. That’s why the apostle Peter wrote, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18, 19).

The kind women of Jerusalem wanted to anesthetize Jesus to remove His pain. He refused their painkiller and entered into the experience of the Cross with all His faculties. Let’s not allow the world to anesthetize us, causing us to overlook or forget the real price that was paid on the Cross.

Why not take time today to let the reality of the Cross sink deep into your heart and soul? As you do, you’ll find that it will cause you to love Jesus so much more than you love Him right now!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me never to forget the price You paid on the Cross for my salvation. Please forgive me for the times my life starts moving so fast that I fail to remember what You did for me. No one else could have taken my place. No one else could have paid the price for my sin. So You went to the Cross, bearing my sin, my sickness, my pain, and my lack of peace. That Cross was the place where the price was paid for my deliverance. Today I want to thank You from the very depths of my heart for doing this for me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I boldly and thankfully confess that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed for me! That precious blood covered my sin and washed me clean, and today it gives me a rightstanding before God. Because of the Cross, I am redeemed from sin, sickness, pain, and torment. Satan no longer has a right to lay any claim on me! From a grateful heart, I will faithfully serve Jesus the rest of my days!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. How long has it been since you’ve really looked at the Cross and considered what Jesus did for you on Calvary?
  2. Can you remember the day you turned to the Lord, repented of your sin, and gave your life to Jesus? When was that day in your life? Where were you when it happened?
  3. Do you have family members, friends, associates, or fellow workers who are unsaved? Have you ever told them the best news in the world—that Jesus died for them so they could be saved and their lives changed forever? If you haven’t told them yet, why not?

 

Salt Of The Earth

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.”

 

“SALT” is a noun describing a chemical substance that acts upon its environment to change it.

 

“INERT”, by contrast, is an adjective describing any sluggish substance devoid of active properties. In other words, an “inert” object just sits there.

 

If we are in fact “THE SALT OF THE EARTH“, how are we to be characterized:

 

1. Salt is small. Unimpressive. Unnoticed.

 

During a dining experience, food is the focus of the meal, rather than the salt. While salt enhances the food’s flavor, it goes quite unnoticed. Similarly, the true disciple of Christ usually receives little recognition in a world whose values lie in the opposite direction.

 

2. Salt can have a powerful influence on changing its environment.

 

Salt, when rightly applied to food can transform it from unappealing blandness into a delectable gourmet experience. Thus, Christians, by virtue of their presence, can and should permanently change their world.

 

3. Salt is associated with purity.

 

A product of the sun and sea, salt’s glistening whiteness suggests the quality of purity. Thus believers, if they are to be the “salt of the earth,” must exemplify a standard of absolute purity in thought, conduct, and speech.

 

4. Salt is a preservative.

 

In the days before refrigeration, salt was used as a preservative on meat to delay decay. So today, the process of putrefaction in society can at least be slowed by the presence of Christ’s followers.

 

5. Salt has the potential of losing its flavor or usefulness.

 

When diluted, Christians, like salt, are of little consequence, except “… to be thrown out and trampled by men.

 

SO THE BIG QUESTION IS: “How do your lost acquaintances view you: As the SALT of the earth, or as an INERT object?