Tag Archives: how to be saved

Childish Thinking

I’ve had a lot of different types of jobs in my years. In each one, I got paid according to the amount of work I put into them. The harder or longer I worked, the more I got paid. Out of all my jobs, none of them paid me for doing nothing. For each one, I’ve had to submit a time sheet to prove I worked those hours. At the end of the pay period, I received a check that was equal to the agreed upon terms of my pay. Those pay checks weren’t gifts, they were an exchange for my hours of service.

All of our lives that’s how it’s been. We work and we get something for it. I think that’s why it’s hard for so many of us to accept that salvation is a free gift and nothing we could earn. We live with a “You get what you earn” mentality and we bring that into our faith. With that line of thinking comes thought that if I work hard enough, I can achieve a better or more full salvation. It’s hard to accept when we look at it like adults, but Jesus said unless you become like children, you cannot enter the Kingdom.

My child doesn’t have the ability to work to get what he wants. He simply asks and I give things to him because I love him. I think God approaches us the same way. There’s nothing we could ever do to afford salvation so He gives it to us freely if we ask for it. That’s how He chooses to bless us. He wants to give it away to us for free instead of making us earn it. Looking at it that way helps us to be in the proper father / child mindset for our relationship.

Romans 4:5 puts it this way, “But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. (NLT)” We could never earn enough in our life time to pay what Jesus did for our salvation. It’s a free gift to His children. Since He paid the price for us, the least we can do is live for Him. We just have to do it with the understanding that the works aren’t buying our salvation, they’re proving our faith and faith is what God counts as righteousness. 

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The Angel’s Announcement

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In my front yard I have one Christmas decoration aside from lights on my house. It’s an angel that is lit up. Every time I see it, I hear the words in my head, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger (Luke 2:10-14 KJV).”

To me, the Angels played an integral role in the birth of Jesus. They got to be the ones who announced His birth. I know there had to be excitement in Heaven that day. As soon as that angel finished the announcement, the Bible says that a multitude of the heavenly hosts joined him praising God. They said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” I wonder what it was like for those shepherds to experience such an announcement. We know that as soon as the Angels left, they went to Bethlehem.

God used Angels that night to announce the birth of His son. The Angels sent people to the manger where they could worship their Savior. Their task must have seemed simple. Go to the hillside where you will find shepherds and tell them to go to Bethlehem. They took what God gave them to do and did it with joy. We don’t know if Angels appeared to others to let them know about the birth of Jesus. We don’t know if others went. What we do know is that this group of Angels made such an impression, the shepherds went immediately to the manger.

Before jesus left this earth, He gave you and I the same task that was given to the Angels. “Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all (Mark 16:16 MSG).” Each of us have this call to announce His birth, death and resurrection wherever we go. Our job is to point people to the place where they can be saved. We celebrate Christmas in memory of the birth of Jesus. Without Him coming into this world, living a sinless life and dying on a cross to pay for our sins, there would be no salvation. Go out today and announce it.

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Eternal Life Through Eternal Love

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NLT)

The most famous of all scriptures is John 3:16. If there was one verse that summed up the whole Bible, that would have to be it. The whole story of the Bible is a one sided love story. One side gives and gives in order to show how much they love the other. That love is mostly not reciprocated. When it’s not, the gifts of love become greater and greater until the Father gives the best gift He can possibly give. He gives up the one thing that is everything to Him in order to show how much He loves us. He gave His son to us.

We are the ones being wooed by the Father. We are the ones who have rejected His gifts of love towards us. We know that He has out best interest at heart, but for some reason we run from it. We turn to temporary things looking to fill the need for an eternal love. Only the One who is eternal can give us that kind of love. Only the One who uses the earth as His footstool can fill the whole in our lives. That’s why He gave us His son.

The second half of that verse says that whoever believes in, trusts in, clings to and relies on His son, will not perish or be lost. We have to receive that gift that He sent us. We have to be the ones who no longer reject the love He is trying to show us. In turn, we need to embrace that gift. Jesus said that God loves each person so much that He doesn’t want any of us to be lost or perish. His goal is that we would all accept His gift.

When we do, we will have eternal life. That what God gives. Life. He breathed man’s first breath into his nostrils to give him life and has been trying to do the same thing spiritually since. Until we accept God son Jesus, we are like Adam was before God breathed in him. We need that breath in order to receive eternal life. The life we live is but a vapor in comparison to eternity. What we do in the short time determines how we spend eternity. Do we accept His gift which brings life or do we reject it and suffer the alternative?

Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (NLT)” That how each one of receives the gift that God gave us. That how we accept a love that is unconditional. This love story doesn’t have to end in tragedy. It doesn’t have to end with only one side giving unreturned love. We can love Him because He first loved us.

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The Push for Paradise

One of my favorite stories in the Bible that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention happened on mount Calvary. As Jesus was being executed on a cross, there were two other men who had committed crimes worthy of being crucified beside Him. As people came by to look at the crucifixion of Jesus, they yelled at Him and insulted Him. They called Him names. Even the two men who were being crucified with Him began to taunt Him.

As the day went on, one of them noticed that Jesus was different. After a while he went from scoffer to protector. He yelled back at the other criminal, “Don’t you fear God even when you’ve been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” He knew he had lived a life that was worthy of dying on a cross. He wasn’t denying that he deserved to be there.

Instead of using his pain to lash out at Jesus and take the spotlight off of himself, he took another road. Facing death, and in earshot of the people who were mocking Jesus, he decided to reach out for forgiveness for his sins. He looked over at Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus looked over at the man who had earlier mocked Him and said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

I’m sitting in front of a hospital right now. I have a friend inside who sent me a text last night. She has surgery this morning and told me last night she wasn’t sure she’d survive it. She told me she knows she hadn’t been a good person. That’s ok. God doesn’t let “good” people into Paradise. He lets those who call on His name and believe in their heart that He died for their sins in. If “good” was a requirement, we’d all fail the test.

Jesus isn’t looking for good people to save. He’s looking for anyone who will believe. He doesn’t care if you’re a child or if you’re about to die. What He cares about is if you believed in Him and asked for forgiveness of your sins. I knew someone once that said, “That’s not fair. Why should someone who lived a terrible life be allowed to convert before they die and go to heaven when I’ve lived right my whole life?” I replied, “How is it fair that Jesus had to pay for your sins?”

In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus told of a man who hired workers early in the morning to work all day. He told them what he’d pay them at the end of the day. All through the day he continued to hire workers offering them the same pay as the early ones. Even at an hour before quitting time, he hired more for the same price. The early ones were mad when they got paid. They felt they deserved more, but He reminded them that they agreed to the price and that it was his money to do with what he wanted.

Whether you accepted Christ early in life or late in life, the reward is the same. You get to go to Paradise. God doesn’t want anyone to die without accepting His son. He allows us to accept Him no matter how bad we’ve been or at how late in our lives it is. His offer to you is salvation even if you’ve mocked Him or other Christians. You may not feel like you can forgive yourself for things you’ve done, but you aren’t the one holding the keys to Paradise, He is. He’ll forgive you no matter what. I’m walking into the hospital this morning with Him to give a final push for Paradise for my friend.

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