Save Me a Place!

Stadium SeatsHave you ever planned to be somewhere (maybe a baseball game or school play) but knew you couldn’t be there on time?  Perhaps you called and told the rest of your family to go on without you; you would meet them there later.  Before you hung up the phone you reminded them, “Save me a place!”

Shortly prior to his death and later ascension to heaven, Jesus told his disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions

: if it were not so, I would have told you.   I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 (King James Version)

Jesus has ascended to heaven and is now sitting at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9-11; Mark 16:19).  Although Jesus has “gone on without us,” those who are Christians hope to be with him there later.  It’s comforting to know that he is “saving a place for us.”

Today, I can look forward to the place Jesus has prepared for me!

It is a Good Thing to Give Thanks

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed.  If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude” (Robert Brault).  Who would be so unreasonable to deny that our gratitude should bLet God Speake expressed to others?

The psalmist wrote, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,” (Psalms 92:1-2).

First, it is good to give thanks to God because God deserves it.  There is not one good thing you will enjoy today that did not come from God (James 1:16-17).

Second, it is good to give thanks because it benefits us.  When we consider our blessings, we concentrate on what we have, rather than what we do not have; we concentrate on our fortune in life rather than our misfortune.  Giving thanks motivates us to be happy and produces an attitude of contentment.

Today, I will give thanks to God!

The Best Thing About Today

for-god-so-loved-the-world-postcardDo you know what the best thing about today is?  It’s not what you’re going to have for lunch.  It’s not anything you’re going to do this afternoon.  It’s not some movie you may watch tonight.

The best thing about today is that God will shower you with his love from morning to night.  Little children sing about it, the elderly find comfort in it, those who suffer trust in it, skeptics doubt it, and atheists deny it; but God’s love for man continues to shine with the brightness of the noonday sun.

 

 The apostle Paul wrote: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” Ephesians 3:17-19 (King James Version).

Today, I’m thankful for God’s love.

I’m Thankful for Rear View Mirrors

I’m glad cars have rear view mirrors.  They are a real safety feature; you can use them when backing up or, before you pass someone, check to see if someone is passing you!  While rear view mirrors are great for seeing what is behind you, no sensible driver would remain constantly focused on his (or her) rear view mirror.  Can you imagine the disastrous results?  To get where you want to go you must give your attention to the windshield, constantly looking at what lies ahead.

rear-view-mirrorLife is a lot like that, isn’t it?  No sensible Christian will constantly look behind him (or her); remaining focused on the past.  Can you imagine the disastrous results?  A life of continual guilt, regret over bad decisions and poor judgment, and steady thoughts of “what might have been.”

 Life is a journey.  It’s ok to learn lessons from the past by looking in the rear view mirror from time to time.  However, to get to our destination, heaven, we must regular focus on the windshield, giving our thoughts to what lies ahead.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus ” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Today, rather than concentrating on my rear view mirror and dwelling on the past, I will focus my attention on the windshield and concentrate on what lies ahead.

Mindful of My Influence

holy-bibleInfluence can be defined as “spiritual or moral capacity by which we have an effect upon a person.”  Each of us influences other people in one way or another all throughout life.  Our influence on others begins at the time we are born.  From the first day of a baby’s life, his parents’ lives are never the same.  Nearly every aspect of a parent’s daily routine is influenced by his child (or children.)

We influence others when we are in our youth.  To Timothy, Paul wrote, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12.)

We continue to influence others when we are old.  It is not possible to ever quit having an influence on others.  We continue to influence others even after we have left this world.  John wrote,“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:3.)

It is possible for us to have a negative influence on others.  But it is also possible for us to have a positive influence on others.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pictured his followers as being the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13.)  Later, he spoke of his followers as the light of the world (Matthew 5:16.)

Today, I will be mindful of my influence on others!

What Is Your Greatest Need?

Stick Figure Cartoon - Stickman with a Question Mark Icon. Looking For Solutions.

What is your greatest need?  It’s a simple question.  But the answers you get will vary depending upon whom you ask.  The unemployed man will tell you his greatest need is a job.  The man living in poverty will tell you his greatest need is money.  The man dying from a terminal illness will tell you his greatest need is good health.

But none of these things, a job, money, or health, is man’s greatest need.  Man’s greatest need is God’s forgiveness!  That forgiveness comes when you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of your sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your savior (Romans 10:9-10), and are then baptized to receive your greatest need – God’s forgiveness (Acts 2:38).

Please don’t neglect your greatest need of all!

The Noahic Flood, a Type of the Judgment to Come

A type is something, or someone, in the Old Testament that foreshadowed something or someone, in the New Testament. Just as the ark of Noah’s day was a type of the church, the flood of Noah’s day was a type of the judgment to come.

for-as-were-the-days-of

FIRST, a lesson we learn both from the flood of Noah’s day and the judgment to come is that God hates sin.  Notice the following from Genesis chapter six and verse six: “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”  How did God repent?  Does not mean God was surprised when man sinned.  The phrase “and it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth” can be understood as expressing God’s displeasure with His creation.  Significant that God did not observe man’s sin as a disinterested bystander.

Now notice Paul’s words to the church at Colosse: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience” (Colossians 3:5-6).

Just as God did not observe the sin of Noah’s time as an uninterested bystander, He is not apathetic toward our sin today.  Our sin still grieves God at his heart.  Grieve – to suffer pain, to be distressed in mind.  Do you really want to be one who brings pain to God?

SECOND, we learn that God is patient.  The one hundred and twenty years mentioned in Genesis 6:3 is most likely a reference to the time between the announcement of the flood and the occurrence of the flood.

Today, God is patient with you and me.  Peter wrote, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up………………And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;” (II Peter 3:3-10, 15).

God’s longsuffering, or patience, is salvation in the sense that his longsuffering gives man opportunity to repent ant be saved.  Don’t abuse God’s patience by thinking “I’ll give my life to God, but not yet, I’ll repent of my sins, but not yet.”

THIRD, the coming judgment, just as the flood of Noah’s day, is universal in nature.  No one will be exempt.  “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth ………………… And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered” (Genesis 7:4, 19-20)

God commands all of us to repent, because all of us will one day be judged. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world………(Acts 17:30-31).

Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10).

There is one thing we all have in common – we willall, without any semblance of doubt, stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give account of ourselves to God (Romans 14:12).

FOURTH, just as those of Noah’s day, people often ignore the reality of the coming judgment. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:36-39).

Sadly, on the day Christ comes again, many will be going about their everyday routine, going to work, paying the bills, making plans for their future, signing a thirty-year mortgage for their dream home, yet never making plans for a future with God.

FIFTH, salvation is by grace, but God’s grace does not negate the necessity of obedience. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8).

But would anyone be so naïve to believe Noah could have been saved from the flood without building the ark?  “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

Today, we are saved by grace.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).  Why would anyone today be so naïve to believe we can be saved from our sins apart from obedience?  James wrote, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

I am thankful for God’s grace.  I realize that without God’s grace I would have no hope of salvation.  But I am not going to abuse God’s grace by fooling myself into thinking I can be saved in a state of disobedience

Friends, the lessons from the flood of Noah’s day are too clear to be misunderstood.  Please do not ignore them!