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July 28, 2021 — To be described like Abraham

“As we’ve talked about many times,” Stan began, “I have deep respect for the apostle Paul and how he was able to write in a few words something that could take someone else many pages, if not volumes.”

“You’re right,” I replied, “Paul was gifted with the ability to write in an amazing manner.”

“It’s easy for me to miss the importance of what Paul wrote if I don’t give his writings adequate attention,” Stan said. “For example, just this morning I was again looking at Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia.  Thankfully, he made a copy of it available to me for instruction in my faith walk. Paul described Abraham in just two words that I pray can be said about me.”

“What two-word description is that” I asked.

“The believer,” Stan responded.

“The believer? What do you mean?”

“Well,” Stan replied, “in this particular part of his letter, Paul was focusing on how God dealt with Abraham, how Abraham obeyed what God had for him to obey, and the impact of that belief on Abraham, as well as on all who came after Abraham and benefited from his belief and obedience.”

“And it was all summed up by the two-word description?” I asked.

“That’s it,” Stan replied, “and I want the same thing to be said about me.”

“Who do you want to say that?”

“In the first instance,” Stan replied, “I want God to say that.  Following that, I would like other people to recognize that I am a believer.”

“And how do you think that’s going to happen?” I asked.

“By believing, and by acting on that belief,” he replied.  “Just remember,” he continued, “Jesus came into the world to provide the way to the Father for all who believed.”

“Without belief, there’s no salvation and no life eternally with God when our time here is done,” I observed.

“No belief, no salvation, no Holy Spirit, and no knowing God in a personal relationship,” Stan added.  “Do you see why it’s important to be described the same way Paul described Abraham?”

“I do,” I replied. “To be able to be described as a believer kind of holds the key to everything that’s important.”

“Kind of holds the kay,” Stan said with a smile. “You, my friend, are a master at the understatement!”

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Bible verses to consider:

So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. Galatians 3:9.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.

And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.

I do believe; help my unbelief. Mark 9:24.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for those people you brought into my life so I could believe and accept by faith your free and gracious gift of salvation, redemption, and life with you for eternity when it’s time.  Thank you, too, for your provision of the eternal life of being allowed to know you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship before then.  Please help me in following every step of your leading into the deepest possible belief in everything you have for me to believe. Help my unbelief. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you believe and, on the basis of that belief, have the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? What is holding you back from believing and accepting by faith God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him. If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with building an ever-deeper faith based on greater belief in God and all of His provision? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for deeper faith based on greater understanding of God, how is that going to happen? Is that something you would like to happen? Why or why not?

July 27, 2021 — Stop digging up the seeds

“One of my neighbors was over last night,” Stan commented one morning.  “We were talking about sharing our faith, patience with those we tell, and the need to balance our approach.”

“Balance your approach?” I replied. “In what way?”

“Well,” Stan said “he had an interesting story about one of his grandchildren that really drove home a point that is an essential thing for me to keep in mind with my faith walk.”

“Sharing your faith, grandchildren, and patience,” I said. “How did all of those things come together to relate to your faith walk?”

“It seems,” Stan replied, “that a few weeks back my neighbor was attempting to teach his granddaughter about how seeds can turn into plants with the proper soil, nutrients, water, and sunshine.”

“Sounds like a worthwhile project,” I commented.

“In the end it was,” Stan said, “but there were a few hiccups along the way.”

“How so?”

“It seems they had planted several mounds of pumpkin seeds. They had put some nutrients in the soil, planted the seeds, watered them, and planned to wait to see what happened.”

“So,” I said, “what happened? Did the seeds sprout?”

“Eventually, but several of them didn’t make it because the granddaughter kept digging up the seeds to see if they had sprouted.”

“Oh,” I replied, “I see the patience part. The little girl was impatient to see if there was any growth and her impatience destroyed the possibility of any growth.”

“Exactly,” Stan replied, “and that’s the part that is so essential for me, my faith walk, and sharing the truth of the Gospel.  Too often, I think I have destroyed or at least damaged the possibility of the seeds of the truth sprouting in another person by checking too soon and too often to see if there has been any growth.”

“That sounds like a fine balancing act,” I commented.  “Don’t want to plant seeds of the truth without checking to see how they are doing, but don’t want to check so often that the person runs the other way when you approach.”

“That’s right,” Stan replied. “My role is to plant the seeds of the truth as God directs, or, if it is the case, water the seeds that someone else has planted. Then I am to be be guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit as to how to keep in touch with the person without becoming a ‘bother’ that the person wants to avoid. I am to be alert as to how God may be moving in the person’s life to awaken the desire to know Him.  I am to watch for what God is doing and then join Him in what he has in mind for that person.”

“Be alert to role God has for you with the truth.” I commented.

“Be alert to never miss an opportunity,” Stan said, “but also allow myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit and His fruit of patience to stop digging up the seeds!”

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Bible verses to consider:  

But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . patience . . . . Galatians 5:22.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:6.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for those who planted the seeds of the truth in me so that I would eventually accept by faith your free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Thank you, too, for giving me the opportunity to plant the same seeds of truth in others. I confess that too often I do not plant or water in accordance with your will, that too often I am impatient for the seeds of truth to sprout, grow, and flourish. As a result, I may do more harm than good.  Please help me in following every step of your lead to help others come to faith and grow in their faith in exact accordance with your will. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Before you became a Christian, how were you approached by people wanting to share the truth with you? Was that a good approach for you? Why or why not? If you have the assurance of salvation, do you find yourself impatient with others with whom you share your faith — impatient that they don’t respond the way you want them to respond? If so, what is that all about? How would you describe the “proper balance” between sharing your faith and turning others off by how you do so?

July 26, 2021 — It’s no Laughing Matter

“I have a confession to make,” Stan said one morning.

“Confession?” I responded.  “What’s going on?”

“I was reading in the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia ,” Stan said, “where he was writing about that God won’t be mocked and that we all will reap what we sow.”

“What do you need to confess about that?” I asked. “You been mocking God? You reaping something you wished you didn’t sow?”

“No,” Stan replied, “it has to do with what the Holy Spirit showed me about wrong thinking concerning those who do mock God.”

“In what way?”

“Too often,” Stan replied, “my attitude about those who mock God, as well as those who mock Christians for their faith, is that God will have the last laugh when those people find out that they are going to spend eternity separated from Him, as well as being separated from all of us who call Jesus Lord. The Holy Spirit pointed out to me that it’s no laughing matter.”

“No laughing matter? What do you mean?”

“Too often,” Stan replied, “my natural tendency is to think that those people are going to get what’s due to them. That’s what they deserve for mocking God, mocking His people, and doing all they can to disrespect His church. However, I realize that following my natural tendency with this is not what I’m supposed to do.  I am to look to see God’s heart and I don’t think He sees this as any laughing matter.”

“In fact,” I said, “doesn’t it say somewhere that God doesn’t want any to perish, but that He wants all to come to repentance?”

“Sure does,” Stan replied, “And that ‘any to perish’ includes all of those who mock Him, His people, and His church. God does not see those people as a reason for Him to have the last laugh as they board the train going away from Him for eternity, and I’m not either. Mock or no mock, I am to do all I can to help those people come to the point of accepting by faith all that God has for them on both sides of eternity.”

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Bible verses to consider: 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8.

The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.

But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you do not want any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. Thank you for including me in that so I was able to accept by faith your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you when my time here is done. Thank you, too, for the gift of being allowed to know you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity. I confess that too often my attitude towards those who mock you, your people, and your church has been that they will get what they deserve. Please press on my heart the truth that you do not want any to perish, including those mockers.  Please help me in following every step of your lead in presenting the truth to those mockers so that they, too, will have the opportunity to accept all you have for them on both sides of eternity. Please lead me in not giving up on them. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this:  How do you feel about those who mock God, His people, and His church? Do you tend to think they will get what they deserve in the sense of being eternally separated from God? If so, is that the attitude God wants you to have? Why or why not? Are there people in your life that you have given up on in thinking they will never come to faith? If so, consider that God has not given up and that you shouldn’t either!

July 23, 2021 — What’s going on with my Disobedience?

“Some time back,” Stan commented, “we talked about Jesus and the disciples in a boat on a stormy sea.”

“That’s right,” I replied, “how the disciples became afraid of a storm and awakened Jesus, how He calmed the storm, and, in doing so, rebuked not only the storm but the disciples for their lack of faith.” [See Posting for April 23, 2021, “The Double Rebuke.”]

“Correct, my friend,” Stan said.  “After that, Mark’s gospel records something about the disciples that has a real application for my faith walk.  It’s something they said, and something they didn’t say, but probably should have said.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Mark records that when they saw what Jesus had done in calming the storm, they said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’”

“Okay,” I replied, “if that’s what they said, what didn’t they say, and how could anything that they didn’t say have any impact on you?”

“It seems to me,” Stan replied, “that what they didn’t say and probably should have said is something similar to what I don’t say to myself way too often. They didn’t and I don’t say, ‘Who am I?’”

“Who am I?” I said. “What’s that mean?”

“Who do I think I am that I can choose to disobey? After seeing that the wind and sea obeyed the One who created them, am I not also part of that creation who is to obey the Creator?  Who am I to think I can disobey?”

Continuing, he added, “The disciples saw something that Jesus did that should have caused them to obey whatever He said.  It’s the same with me.  I have seen the amazing things Jesus has done and continues to do on a regular basis.  In light of all of that I have seen and continue to see, what’s up with my disobedience?”

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Bible verses to consider: 

They became very much afraid, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”  Mark 4:41.

If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.  John 14:15.

Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? Romans 9:20.

Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker. Isaiah 45:9.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you so loved the world, including me, that you gave your only begotten Son that all who believe in Him will spend eternity in your presence.  I confess that too often I choose to disobey you even though you have shown me your provision that should engender my eternal thanksgiving and desire to obey whatever you have for me to obey.  Please help me to follow every step of your lead in truly showing I know who you are and what you have done by choosing to set myself aside and obey you, whatever you have for me to obey.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Have you acknowledged who Jesus is by accepting the free and gracious gift of salvation, redemption, and a new life through His life, death, and resurrection?  If no, why? What is it that is standing in the way of your accepting it by faith? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with the part about obeying out of your love and thankfulness for all God has done and continues to do?  As well as you would like?  As well as God would like?  If you sense there is a disconnect between what you say about loving God and your obedience, is that something you want to change?  Why or why not?  If you want a change, how is that going to happen?

July 22, 2021 — It’s easier to see when the eyes are open

“As a general matter,” Stan commented one morning, “it’s a whole lot easier for me to see if I choose to see.”

“Choose to see what?” I asked.

“Everything,” was his one-word reply.  “If I choose to not open my eyes, I will not see what God has for me to see.”

“Why would you or anyone choose to not see what God has for them to see?”

“Self,” Stan replied. “That’s certainly the answer for me.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that self-focus is what keeps my eyes shut to what God has for me to see.  And it’s not just physical sight.  There’s a whole world of things that God wants me to see from a spiritual perspective that I can’t or won’t see if I don’t choose to see.”

“Just as a simple example,” he continued, “this morning God had me focusing on two totally different Bible verses that, in essence, said the same thing.  One was the account of John the Baptist seeing and recognizing Jesus when he saw Him coming to be baptized.  It took me a long time to see Jesus in the way John the Baptist did.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Look at what John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus coming,” Stan replied. “He said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’.  It took me a long time to come to see Jesus in that way. My failure to recognize or see Jesus for who He is would have had eternal consequences had I not had my eyes opened to see and to accept by faith the free and gracious gift of life eternally with God when my time here is done.”

“Okay,” I said, “eternal consequences for not seeing. You mentioned you looked at another verse on this.  Did that one have the same point?”

“Not in the sense of direct eternal consequences,” Stan replied. “It was in the apostle John’s first letter and has to do with my life on this side of eternity where he wrote about the love of God not being in me if I see my brother in need but don’t do anything.”

“So if you see and don’t do anything, it’s kind of like not seeing at all,” I commented.

“Kind of like,” Stan replied, “but it seems to me that seeing and not doing is a whole lot worse than not seeing at all. It’s like my heart is closed to seeing what God has for my eyes to see.”

“I think I got it,” I said. “I think I see what you are saying. It’s a whole lot easier to see if I choose to see!”

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Bible verses to consider:

But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  1 John 3:17.

The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin or the world!”  John 1:29.

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for opening my eyes to see Jesus and to recognize and to accept by faith the salvation and redemption provided by His life, death, and resurrection. Thank you that through my acceptance of His free gift of salvation I can look forward to spending eternity with you when it is time.  Thank you, too, for your provision of the Holy Spirit who is in me to open me to see all you want me to see on this side of eternity.  I confess that too often I choose not to see because I want to focus on what I want apart from you.  Please forgive me.  And please, Father, help me in following your lead in being totally open to see all you have for me to see.  To see and to respond in accordance with your will.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this: Have you seen and accepted God’s free and gracious gift of salvation so you will spend eternity in His presence? If no, why? What is standing in the way between you and God? If you do have the assurance of salvation for when your time here is done, how are you doing in seeing what God has for you to see on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense some changes may be in order, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

July 21, 2021 — Going in Circles?

“One of my neighbors,” Stan began one morning, “just got back from a trip where they drove all over England.”

“How was that?” I asked.

“He said they had a great time, but there was some real adventure involved in driving on the left-hand side of the road.”

“I can imagine that took some real adjustment,” I commented.

“Yeah,” Stan replied, “all sorts of different things to watch for. But the thing that my neighbor said that really took some adjusting was driving in and through each round-about they encountered until they got used to them.”

“Oh,” I said, “those circle things.  I’ve heard they can be a real nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

“My neighbor,” Stan said with a laugh, “mentioned that when they got into the first round-about they just kept going round and round because they didn’t know how to get out.”

“I’ve experienced the same thing with my faith walk,” I commented.  “Just keep going round and round because I don’t know how to get out of where I am to go in the direction God’s wants me to go.”

“You are not alone, my friend,” Stan replied. “More times than I like to admit that is where I have been. In fact, the other day I saw in Luke’s gospel that John the Baptist was talking about the same thing.”

“Driving in a round-about?” I asked.

“Not exactly,” Stan replied, “but something similar when he told the people that they should be bringing forth fruit in keeping with their repentance.”

“Bringing forth fruit in keeping with their repentance,” I repeated. “Kind of like not just doing the same old thing over and over, going in circles.”

“That’s it,” Stan said. “Confession is to be followed by repentance, and repentance is supposed to result in a changed life that brings forth fruit in keeping with that repentance.”

“And if it doesn’t?” I asked.

“Need to check out why,” Stan replied. “Could be that the fruit of the Spirit is not being manifested.”

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Bible verses to consider:

Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with your repentance. Luke 3:8.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in confession and repentance, and that you provided all I need to bring forth fruit in keeping with my repentance. I confess that too often three is not that fruit manifested in my life because I choose to go my own way, rather than your way. Please help me in following every step of you lead so I choose to stop going in circles and I choose to to surrender and abandon all that is contrary to you so I do, in fact, bring forth fruit in keeping with my repentance.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you come to faith by confessing, repenting, and accepting by faith all of God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him when it’s time? If no, why? What is standing in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing in bringing forth fruit in keeping with your repentance? Do you find yourself going in circles, repeating the same things that require confession and further repentance? If you sense some changes may be needed in your life in that regard, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

July 20, 2021 — The Christmas Story all year long

“You ever have trouble praising and glorifying God,” I asked Stan one morning.

“Certainly did at one point,” he replied, “but not so much any more. I take my cue from the shepherds.”

“Cue from the shepherds?” I responded. “What cue and what shepherds?

“It’s in Luke’s gospel,” he said, “concerning the birth of Jesus. I just love reading about and focusing on the Christmas story, regardless of the time of the year. After the shepherds had gone to see Jesus in the manger, Luke’s gospel records that they went back to where they had been glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”

“So?”

“It’s all about what the shepherd saw and heard,” Stan replied, “and it’s to be the same with me.  If I don’t see and hear anything from or about God, there’s nothing for me to praise or glorify about Him.”

“So,” I said, “keep my spiritual eyes and ears open, is that the point?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied.  “But, with all there is to distract us from seeing and hearing God, it takes consistent focus in order to be able to praise and glorify God after we have seen and heard from Him.”

“No see, no hear, no praise, no glorify,” I commented.

“Truth in a nutshell!” Stan replied with a smile. “Be like the shepherds.”

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Bible verses to consider:

And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Luke 2:20.

But when the multitudes saw this, they were filled with awe, and glorified God. Matthew 9:8.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for all you show and tell me about all of the reasons I have to praise and glorify you.  I confess that too often I do not see and and I do not hear what you have for me and, as a result, I do not praise and glorify you.  Please forgive that foolishness. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I hear and see all you have for me that will lead to my praising and glorifying you.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this:  Before we can praise and glorify God we have to see and hear what there is to praise and glorify.  Do you agree with that? Why or why not? Do you have the assurance of salvation for which you praise and glorify God? If no, why? What is standing in the way of accepting by faith the free and gracious gift of life eternally with God when it’s time? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing in seeing and hearing God and, in turn, praising and glorifying Him on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense change is in order, how is that going to happen? Do you want it to happen? Why or why not?

July 19, 2021 — Who’s going to be Persecuted?

“It seems to me,” I began one morning with Stan, “that there are a lot of people who think reading the Bible is kind of boring.”

“That’s true,” Stan replied, “and I can relate to that perfectly because that is certainly what I thought before I reached the point of finding it really quite exciting.”

“Exciting? Really? Can you give me an example of that?”

“I could give you countless examples, all under the umbrella of what could be more exciting than learning more about God the Father and Jesus the Son, along with the Holy Spirit? But since you asked for one, I will pick the Apostle Paul’s conversion and how that has a daily impact on me and my faith walk.”

“How’s that?” I asked.

“As you will remember,” Stan replied, “Paul, then known as Saul, was on his way to Damascus to persecute some Christians when Jesus interrupted his journey, his life, and probably his eternal destination, by asking him why he was persecuting Him.”

Continuing, he added, “While my conversion certainly was not as dramatic as Paul’s, the question of persecution is always at the forefront of my thoughts when I focus on my relationship with God in Christ.”

“That Jesus asks you why you are persecuting Him?” I asked.

“Not so much that,” Stan replied, “as the whole idea of Christian persecution.”

“Christian persecution? In what way?”

“In my life on this side of eternity,” Stan responded, “either I will persecute Jesus by living a life that is opposed to Him, or I will be persecuted by the unbelieving world for living a life that reflects and manifests Him. It’s a question of who is going to be persecuted, and I choose not to persecute Jesus.”

“Do you really think you’re going to be persecuted for your faith as a Christian?” I asked.

“There is persecution against Christians all around us,” Stan replied rather forcefully.  “Some of it is quite subtle, while some is very blatant. If you don’t see it, you may not be looking closely enough.”

“Or, perhaps,” I said, “maybe there isn’t enough about my life to be persecuted for being a Christian.”

“I wasn’t going to say that,” Stan replied, “but I’m glad you did. It’s a valid point we all have to ask ourselves.” 

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Bible verses to consider:

And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And I answered, “Who art Thou, Lord?” And He said to me, “I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.” Acts of the Apostles 22:6-8.

And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father for your free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption that I was able to accept by faith. Thank you for showing me the truth of the ways in which I persecute you by not living the Christian life you intend. Please forgive that foolishness. And please help me to follow every step of your lead so that I do, indeed, live the Christian life you intend for me. You know and I know that your church is being and will be persecuted. Please help me in manifesting the Risen Christ so that there is adequate ground to be persecuted as a Christian! And when the persecution comes, I ask for your strength to endure it all in ways that  are pleasing to you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this:  If you have the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence because you have accepted by faith His free and gracious gift, is there enough evidence in your life to persecute you for being a Christian? If answering that question raises doubts in your mind, what is that all about? Have you ever witnessed Christians being persecuted for their faith? If yes, did you say or do anything about it? Why or why not? Are you prepared to be persecuted for your faith? How does a person prepare for that?

July 16, 2021 — Don’t Miss the Warning

“In my morning journaling time,” Stan commented, “I have been in Mark’s gospel looking again at Peter’s denial of Jesus after Jesus had been arrested and was on His way to the cross.”

“Peter denied even knowing Jesus,” I commented. “I sometimes wonder if I would have done the same thing. I like to think I wouldn’t have done that, but a person never knows who or what will be denied when the going gets tough.”

“That’s true,” Stan replied, “and what happened with Peter makes me think about whether he may have missed a warning.”

“What kind of warning?” I asked.

“Well,” Stan replied, “the whole story of Peter’s denial started when Jesus told Peter that Peter would deny Him three times before a chicken crowed twice. And that’s what happened.”

“So?” I asked.

“Makes me wonder if Peter heard the chicken crow the first time,” Stan replied.  “And it makes me wonder if I pay enough attention to the warnings I am given about denying Jesus.”

“Denying Jesus?”

“Yeah,” Stan said. “I have not denied knowing Jesus in the eternal sense. I have accepted by faith God’s free and gracious gift of being able to spend eternity in His presence, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t deny Him in my everyday life.”

“Deny Him in what way?”

“Plural,” Stan replied. “Ways.  Too often I deny Jesus by what I think, say, and do. And I know that I ignore the warnings that the Holy Spirit puts before me. I ignore the warnings and choose to go my own way. It’s like the Holy Spirit warns me by crowing the first time, but I wait until He crows a second time after I have denied Jesus by my lifestyle.”

“So,” I said, “what are people to do if they realize they have ignored the warning and have gone on to deny Jesus?” 

“How about confession and repentance?” Stan replied. “It seems to me that’s what Peter did when he heard the chicken the second time and remembered what Jesus had warned him about. I says that Peter began to weep.”

“I bet those were bitter tears,” I commented.

“Safe bet,” Stan replied.

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Bible verses to consider:

And Jesus said to him (Peter), “Truly I say to you, that you yourself this very night, before a cock crows twice, shall three times deny Me.” Mark 14:30.

But he (Peter) began to curse and swear, “I do not know this fellow you are talking about!” And immediately a cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep. Mark 14:71-72.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you allow me to know Jesus, not only for eternal purposes for when my time here is completed, but for the time I have here. I confess that too often I deny you and Jesus by what I think, say, and do. I do that denying because I ignore the warnings you place before me and I choose to go my own way.  Please forgive me, and please help me in following each of your steps as you lead me to where you want me to be in my relationship with you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.Amen.

Think on this: Do you have the assurance of salvation by having accepted by faith God’s free and gracious provision? If no, why? What is standing in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with not denying Jesus by your lifestyle — by what you think, say, and do? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense changes may be needed, how are those changes going to happen? Listening to warnings is a good start!

July 15, 2021 — The Road Less Traveled

As we finished our lunch at the Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant, the wait person brought the check along with a couple of fortune cookies.

“Ah,” Stan said, “one of my favorite things about eating here,” as he picked up one of the fortune cookies, opened it, pulled out the fortune.

“What’s it say?” I asked as Stan read it.”

“I’ve seen this one before,” he replied, “and it has a real truth for where I came from and where I’m gong with my faith walk.”

Stan handed it to me, and I read it aloud, “You will be rewarded handsomely for taking the road less traveled.”

“How does that apply to you and your faith walk?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “in the first place it applies to everyone who has come to faith; they will be rewarded handsomely with life eternally in God’s presence when it’s time. As well, if that’s what they pursue, they will be rewarded handsomely with an ever-deepening personal relationship with God before then.”

“And,” he continued, “for the part about the ‘road less traveled’, it’s an unfortunate truth that the road to God and a deeper personal relationship with Him is not traveled by a great many people, so it clearly is less traveled.  For me, I have been blessed to be able to travel that road. From that blessing I am often in prayer for revival so the road that is less traveled will become a superhighway filled bumper-to-bumper as far as the eye can see.”

“So there will be multitudes who will have the opportunity to be handsomely rewarded?” I asked.

“Multitude upon multitude,” Stan replied. 

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Bible verses to consider:

Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Romans 10:13-15.

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. John14:6.

Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. Matthew 7:13.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for providing the way to you through the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross. Thank you, too, for those who brought me to the truth so I could leave the road I was on that was headed away from you and choose the way to you for both sides of eternity. I confess that too often I do not bother to share with others the truth of your provision so they, too, can change directions and follow the way to you.  Please help me in following every step of your lead so I am a part of what you are doing to draw others to you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this:  Have you entered upon the road that leads to God and life eternally with Him when it’s time? If no, why? What is standing in the way of accepting by faith the free and gracious gift of redemption and salvation? If you do have the assurance of salvation for when your time here is finished, how are you doing with traveling the road to an ever-deepening relationship with God on this side of eternity? If not as well as you or God would like, what can be done about that? Is that what you want? Why or why not? Make it a well-traveled road!