Wednesday 10/3 ~ Preaching unbelievers into heaven

The scripture for today, October 3 (10/3), is John 10:3ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out….I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”

First of all, we use the term saved/salvation so loosely, we tend to think we are saved to heaven. But we are not saved to something; we are saved from something.  We even tend to forget what we are being saved from. We are being saved from hell! This is not a minuscule matter.

Second, how do we avoid hell? Through Jesus! This is the only way.

How many of us have been to funerals where the deceased was preached into heaven? So many people believe they are “good enough” or “not too bad” and so God would be horrible to not let them into heaven. Such people will climb in through windows so to speak into heaven as the “thieves and robbers” Jesus referred to.

But heaven is God’s home, not ours. He has a gate into it, just like we have doors on our house. Just like we are not obligated to open the gate or door into our home to just anyone, God is not obligated to open his gate to just anyone. Our door and God’s gate are there for a reason.  Let us enter heaven through the gate ~ Jesus. Then God will smile and say, “Welcome home.”

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Monday 9/24 ~ Read, study, mull, and be Amazed

The scripture for today, September 24 (9/24), is Luke 9:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Letters-of-Apostles1-Cover-Thumbnail“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Romans 6 explains this phenomenon best. We are to put our old self to death ~ to crucify that part of us that sins and doesn’t care, that part of us that puts ourselves first (verse 7) ~ in imitation of Jesus dying. Once we decide to put that part of ourselves to death, we are buried, just like Jesus was buried (verse 3 & 4a).

And then, “just as Christ was raised from the dead as the savior, we rise from the dead as the saved. Why? “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” (verse 5). Having been “brought from death to life” (verse 13) through baptism, we have been born again!

This is a spiritual death, of course. There is another spiritual death called the second death in Revelation 21:8. If we go through the first spiritual death at baptism, we will not have to go through the second spiritual death in hell. We will have lost our life of sin and in the process saved our souls.

It’s all there. Study it. Absorb it. Mull it. And be amazed.

 

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Sunday 9/23 ~ Are you a coward?

The scripture for today, September 23 (9/23), is Luke 9:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail” Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’ “

There is another verse similar to this: II Timothy 3:12 ~ “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Have you been playing it safe? Have you been associating only with other Christians and thereby sheltering yourself from persecution? Have you been withholding the gospel from people who might be persecuted if they believe, even if they will be saved by following it?

I know a Christian convert in Afghanistan who keeps telling his Muslim friends about Jesus and his life has been threatened three times now over a period of six years. He says, “I will not stop until they kill me.”  I know a Christian convert in Iraq whose wife’s relatives beat up because he became a Christian. I know a Christian convert in another part of Iraq whose mother-in-law locked her in a room and beat her every day, trying to get her to return to Islam.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). To do that, you must seek out the lost and try to save them, even when they do not think they are lost. It will end in persecution sometimes ~ you, them, or both. That’s a fact.

Dare to not play it safe all the time. Or are you a coward?

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Saturday 9/15 ~ Just how far would you go?

The scripture for today, September 15 (9/15), is 2nd Corinthians 9:15 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Thumbnail“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

Can you imagine dying in the place of someone else?  We occasionally hear stories from the battlefield of a man falling on a grenade so he is the only one killed, thus saving his buddies.

But closer to home, if you saw a child in the path of a car, would you run out and throw the child out of the way knowing there will be no time for you to escape death?

What if you were hiking or sailing with a friend and got lost? Would you split the food and water evenly, or would you give it all to your friend? What would you do if you were lost with someone who hated everyone? Would you give them all the food and water knowing you would die and the hateful person live on?

What if you were with a friend and were arrested for a crime the friend did? Would you take the blame and the punishment of twenty years in prison so your friend could go free?  What if that person was a habitual criminal, you happened to cross paths at the wrong time, and you were both arrested for his heinous crime? Would you take the blame and his punishment (execution) for him?

Now try to imagine making your child take the blame and die in the place of every sinner in the world ~ your sinless, innocent child.

     It is indescribable.

            It is unimaginable.

                It is unthinkable.

                        But God did exactly that.

How can we thank Him for his indescribable gift of Jesus redeeming us from Satan with his blood? We fall silently at His feet and worship.

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Saturday 9/8 ~ Governments and Martyrdoms

The scripture for today, September 8, is Daniel 9:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

00-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Thumbnail“O Lord, we and our kings, our princes, and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.”

Daniel was what some might call the prime minister of Babylon.  He was part of the government. Before that, he was of the royal house of the Jews in Jerusalem. He was part of the government there too.  Both governments needed prayer. Have you prayed for your government lately?  I Timothy 2:1 & 2 says “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone ~ for kings and all those in authority.”

At the time of this writing, Nero Caesar. The first-century historian Tacitus said this about Nero in his Annals 15:44: “But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called “Christians” by the populace.

“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.

“Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”

If the Apostle Paul could pray for such a government leader, can’t you follow his instructions? Why don’t you stop and pray for your own government right now?

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