Monday, April 5, 2010
The gift of Salvation
What is the best gift that you have ever received? A George Foreman Grill? A flat-screen T.V.? A diamond ring?
What if I told you that the best gift that you have ever received, you had before you were even born? The gift of Salvation.
Oh yes, of course with Good Friday/Resurrection Sunday/Easter weekend coming to an end, I have to post on my thoughts of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
It makes me think about his thirty-three years on this earth. Thirty-three years of miracles, wisdom, Truth, care, understanding, compassion, purpose and above all, unconditional and sacrificial love. True love. AGAPE love.
He arrived as a miracle and left as a miracle.
He came to not only teach us but lead by example as how we should handle almost every situation every type of person we come in contact with. With love. He came to fulfill a law in a land that twisted the law into what they wanted it to be. He came for the sinners, the poor, the desolate and the sick to pave a path that there is hope and He has arrived. He told timeless parables that even as two millenniums have passed, the meaning still has the power as it had as if He spoke them today.
“Everyone who hears truth hears My voice." John 18:37
When He spoke, He spoke with pure truth and wisdom. Every time I read the gospels, each of His words jump out of the page and plant a seed in my spirit. Reading the words of Jesus makes me feel pure again, restored, sanctified, and builds me up to face anything. In a world full of lies, I download truth from His words. In a society full of hate, pride, greed and fear, by reading His words, I download love, humility, contentment, and courage. His words are powerful, meaningful and each time I read them, I am filled with His healing waters and His spirit. For that, I attempt to read them often.
Another significant part of Jesus and His words is when He did not speak. When He was brought and questioned among the Pharisees. They interrogated Him yet He remained silent. They hit him, but He said nothing. He knew that you cannot reason with the unreasonable. He also knew speaking could jeopardize the fulfillment of His purpose. To endure the suffering of the cross. So He let them beat him. And when they were tired and stopped, He stood up to endure more, so they beat Him again. Although it was agony, He wanted the brutality and His suffering to be witnessed and recorded so that all would know what true, unconditional and sacrificial love is.
There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. I know I still struggle in these areas, so for that reason I just keep reading the beautiful words of Jesus until I get it right. With so much harmful information that we download in this world every single day, reading the soothing, calming and peaceful words of Jesus creates within me contentment, peace and happiness.
While thinking of Jesus and His parables, every year I notice that on Easter/Resurrection Sunday, many people attend services that haven’t all year and I can’t help be reminded of Jesus parable of the sower.
"While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'
"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." Luke 8:4-15
Just like the farmer’s seed, some never make it to service for some reason or another. Then there are those that do. Some walk down the alter and give their life to Christ but then they walk out of the church doors and life distracts them from the Lord so they fall behind. Some are too afraid to walk down that alter because they either are too shy to have their vulnerabilities on display or they feel unworthy and then there are those who walk down that alter and are forever changed. God called to them and they heard the calling. Yes, they may stumble, but they get up, pick up that cross again and keep on walking with that cross on their back following Christ.
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26
Following Christ is a tough job and there are not many people who are willing to endure that walk with Jesus. Jesus already knew that. He said it takes a person with a "noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." but sadly, many will not follow.
So what kind of seed are you among the crop?
If you have a change of heart and you didn’t make it to service or if you did, you didn’t walk down to the alter, it’s not too late. Tonight when you go home, close the door and confess to Jesus that you are willing to pick up that cross and follow Him and please fill you with His spirit, please fill you with strength and perseverance to see it through. Jesus is waiting. If He gave His very life without you even having to ask, how much more will He give you if you do?
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