Full Salvation

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
~ Hebrews 2:10

Cristo_en_la_CruzJesus is the “author” of our salvation. He is the source of everlasting life with God. It was God’s plan from eternity to have people share the glory and blessing of life with him. But the way to life with God was choked off by sin. Instead of life, we had death. Instead of the glory of heaven, we had the damnation of hell.

But in his love and mercy, God gave us a complete Savior who has rescued us from our deep dilemma of sin. Though undeserving of punishment because he is the perfect Son of God, Jesus took our place to suffer what we deserved as sinners. When Jesus declared from the cross, “It is finished,” he announced the good news for us that the work of salvation was complete, fully accomplished by him.

Jesus freed us from the guilt of our sins. On the basis of all that Jesus accomplished by his suffering, death and resurrection, God has declared us holy and acceptable in his sight. He makes us his children by faith in Jesus and gives us the glory of life with him now and forever.

Life with God is the most precious gift. Look to Jesus who is its only, true source—the One who says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

WhatAboutJesus.com

 

Posted in All posts, Devotions & Meditations, Lent and Easter

The washing

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life.    ~ Revelation 22:14

canonIn his Civil War book, Glory Road, author Bruce Catton shows us how dirty a human being can get. He recounts an episode in which a soldier leaves a prisoner-of-war camp to rejoin his old unit. His time as a POW had left him filthy beyond description. He asks his comrades to help him get clean. They take him into a river, strip off his clothes and begin to wash and scrub. Only after this continues for a time do the man and his friends realize that he is still wearing an undershirt. The man’s body had become so encrusted that it had been impossible at first to tell the difference between a soiled piece of clothing and his own skin.

The soiling nature of sin does the same thing. From the dark thoughts we allow to fester in our minds to all the deeds of love conveniently left undone, sin does more than leave a dirty streak here and there on our souls. It makes us spiritually filthy beyond description. Left to ourselves, our hearts are so encrusted by sin that it’s impossible for us to see how lost we really are, how deep the pit really is.

That’s where Jesus comes in. We didn’t see how lost we were. But he did. We didn’t see how far we had fallen. But he did. He took us to the river of his grace. He washed us in the waters of baptism. He cleansed us in the blood he shed on Calvary’s cross. Now we stand before him in robes of white. Now, through faith in him, his forgiveness is our personal possession.

There are moments when the same old stench from the same old sinful habits can fill our nostrils with despair. When such a moment comes for you, remember who you are. Remember what Jesus has done. He has gone to the cross to wash you clean. He has risen from death to assure you that not one of your sins remains. Through his eyes your life is fresh and clean and new. Your days as a filthy prisoner are long gone.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in those moments when I stumble and the stench of my old sinful habits fills the air, remind me of the washing I have in you. Fill me with your peace. Empower me to get back up and to walk again with you. Amen.

WhatAboutJesus.com

Posted in All posts, Devotions & Meditations, Scripture

Lenten Services

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Just trust him–like a little child

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ~ Mark 10:15

jump2Little children seem to have no fear. Many years ago, I was helping our youth group check hats and coats at a local bowling event. During the middle of the event, not much was happening at our table. So a little girl from church whom I had befriended climbed onto the table. I held out my arms and she jumped in. Before long she was running from one end of the table and leaping into my arms as I stood further and further away. Why? Because she trusted me; she knew that I would catch her and not let her fall.

More recently I’ve watched my grandchildren jump into my arms, even while I’m standing in the deep end of the pool. Even better, ever watch little children sleep? Most of the time, they sleep so peacefully and so long. Why? They have no worries, cares or concerns. Their parents take care of all of the details and the children let them do it.

The kingdom of God belongs to those who trust God like a little child trusts a loving parent. We don’t need to have it all figured out; that’s God’s job. Our loving God has accomplished our salvation for us. He has opened the way to heaven for us through the gift of his Son, Jesus. We don’t need to wonder if God loves us sinners and if we’re forgiven.

Our caring Good Shepherd has promised to provide for all our daily needs, so we don’t need to sweat that either. Our wise and almighty Lord has even promised to make everything work for our good. So we don’t need to question him and wonder if he knows what he is doing in our lives.

We don’t need to worry about the “what ifs” of life and the bad things that could happen. God assures us that he will not let us down. He promises us that he is always with us and nothing can separate us from him and his loving blessings, not now, not ever. Jesus, and his life and death for us, is all the proof we need.

So trust him. Jump into those big, loving, mighty arms of God. He won’t let you fall. Some people call this type of faith childish and foolish. Jesus Christ calls it childlike and essential.

Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for loving me. Instill in me a childlike faith to simply believe that I am your child and that you will never stop loving me, not this day, or any day. Amen.

WhatAboutJesus.com

Posted in All posts, Devotions & Meditations, Lent and Easter

Praying for flood victims

Dear Heavenly Father,
During this time of flooding and destruction please comfort those who have experienced loss, and help them to turn to you in their time of need.  Provide aid and assistance for those who have lost so much and are struggling with daily necessities. Give us all a strong abiding faith in you so that we can endure every storm in this life knowing that you love us and will never leave us alone.
In the name of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go ~ Genesis 28:15a

Posted in All posts, Prayers

Lent, why does it matter?

Lent (Latin: Quadragesima – English: Fortieth) is a period of 40 weekdays (excluding Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to the day after Good Friday. This is a time of spiritual preparation for Easter as we remember the events in Jesus Christ’s life…leading up to and including his death on the cross.

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Why did Jesus have to die?

Isaiah 53:12b …he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors
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Big words, but what do they mean?

To transgress is to sin: commit a sin; violate a law of God.  Romans 3:23b says, …all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

Intercession is to go, or come between, two parties to plead before one of them on behalf of the other. Romans 3:24 continues: …and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

What did Jesus say about it?

During his teaching years before his death, Jesus said:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” ~ John 3:16-17

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After Jesus conquered death and was alive again, he said to his disciples:

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”This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” ~ Luke 24:44

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Lent matters because we are sinful beings who need to be reminded that God loves us and wants us to spend eternity with him.  His great mission to rescue us from our damning sins was to send his son, Jesus, to take our punishment on himself.

Please join us at Living Hope as this awesome story is told once more.

Lenten & Easter Services at Living Hope>>

Read in the Bible about Christ’s sacrifice for you! Click on the passages below to read online:

Psalm 22 …..Isaiah 53 ……John 19 ……John 20

Learn about Holy Week>

Lent, Holy Week, and Easter schedule at Living Hope

Posted in All posts, Devotions & Meditations, Lent and Easter

Be Holy

Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.’”  ~ Leviticus 19:2

old church

God in heaven is absolutely perfect. He wants heaven to be a perfect place for us as well, so he says that nothing imperfect, unclean, or sinful will ever enter there. Because God wanted the people of Israel to enter there, he told them to be holy. He says the same thing to us today. Be holy, and we will earn heaven.

How holy? God wants us to be as holy as he is. That means no bad thoughts, no sinful words, no wrong deeds, from the beginning of life all the way through every day. He knew that people would try to water down that standard, so he gave the Ten Commandments to the entire assembly of Israel, and told them to obey those rules. He said that they should practice such obedience for the right reasons—loving God with all their power and loving their neighbor as themselves.

When the holy God looked down from heaven to see how the people of Israel were doing, he saw that no one was righteous, not even one. He sees the same thing when he looks at us today. Although he searched the whole world, he could not find and still cannot find a single holy person—except for Jesus.

Jesus lived an absolutely holy life. He never thought anything wrong, he never said anything wrong, and he never did anything wrong. He always did the right thing, even under difficult circumstances, and he always refrained from doing the wrong thing.

Jesus never sinned. He earned his way to heaven! But instead of taking the heaven that he deserved, Jesus took the hell that we deserve. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God punished Jesus for our sin, and Jesus suffered hell, separation from God the Father, on the cross.

Through faith in Jesus, you have his perfect, holy life credited to your account, and you will receive heaven as a free gift when you die. There will be no more sin in heaven. Through Jesus, you will be holy, because the Lord your God is holy.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your amazing gift. Amen.

WhatAboutJesus.com

Posted in All posts, Devotions & Meditations