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Am I Really Saved?


Daily Bible Reading – Romans 5-8

Today’s Key Passage – Romans 8:28-39

 

Have you ever worried about whether or not you are really saved?  Have you ever thought that the gift of salvation might not be available for you?  For all of us, it is easy to be deceived by our pasts.  It is easy to fall into the trap of believing we are not good enough.  It is easy to believe we have not done enough to be saved.  It is easy to believe that we are not worthy of this gift.  How foolish are these thoughts?  How foolish we can be when we start to believe the lies.  How foolish we can be when we allow doubt to creep into our minds.  You hear this so often that it has almost become a cliché, but God loves us.  Think about His sacrifice for us.  He gave up His only Son to die for us, and He did this when we were still sinners!

I often think about the love I have for my daughter.  I would not give her up for anything in the world, but that is exactly what God did for us.  That level of love for us is almost beyond human comprehension.  Since we know this to be true, do we not also know that because His love for us is so great, nothing can EVER separate us from that love.  We are eternally bonded to God though our Lord Jesus Christ.  If God gave up His only Son for us, how much more will He surely give us?  Everything we need WILL be provided for us by our Father in Heaven.  Our salvation is not a “maybe” thing or a “sometimes” thing.  It is a definite gift to each of us who live in Christ Jesus.  He is interceding for us.  He is our advocate against Satan.  He gives us the power to live a Christ-like life today, and gives us the gift of eternal life.

When I was a kid, all of the neighborhood kids would come together to play football.  We would always choose teams, and there was always one kid that everyone wanted on their team because he was the best player.  You knew that if he were on your team, you would win the game.  Through Christ Jesus, we are now on God’s team.  He is our best player, and He is always by our side.  Through Him, we know we will always win.  We can never fail.  We can never be separated from Him.  His love for us guarantees our salvation.  Rejoice today!  Do not fear.  Do not worry about “if” you are saved.  YOU ARE!  God is the faithful parent that never lies and always does exactly what He says.  He will not let us down.  He can be trusted absolutely.  Accept His gift, and share the truth of His gift with others.  Any time doubt starts to creep in, focus on His gift and His love for YOU.  You were predetermined by God to be one of His chosen children.  Praise Him today for His faithfulness.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Comparing Ourselves to God’s Standards


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Corinthians 7-10

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Corinthians 10:12-18

 

In Paul’s fourth letter to the Corinthians (captured in Scripture as 2 Corinthians), he spent some time in chapter 10 defending his authority and his ministry.  Other false teachers had come along and tried to lead the Corinthians away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These false teachers attacked Paul and spent a lot of time trying to get the Corinthians to follow their teachings instead of the true teachings of Christ.  The false teachers were boasting about their own accomplishments and comparing themselves to Paul and with other teachers to try to gain credibility.  In today’s key passage, Paul says that comparing ourselves to other people is dangerous and that we are better off comparing ourselves to God’s standards.  In addition, instead of boasting about our own accomplishments, we should boast about what God has done through us.

What happens when we try to compare ourselves to others?  The first problem we encounter is when we find that others have things we do not have.  When we compare ourselves to others and find that they have more (possessions, money, spiritual gifts, etc.), we usually find ourselves being jealous.  This jealousy leads to ungratefulness for all of the things that God has given us.  Obviously, this is dangerous.  The second problem we encounter is when we find we have more than others do.  When we compare ourselves to others and find that we have more (possessions, money, spiritual gifts, etc.) we could begin to feel prideful – obviously another dangerous place to be.  As you can see, either way you go, comparing ourselves to others can lead to sin.

What if instead of comparing ourselves to others, we compare ourselves to God’s standards?  Keep in mind that God’s standard is perfection, which is pretty difficult.  As a simple way to illustrate this, take a look at the Ten Commandments.  When was the last time you violated one of these?  By God’s standard, anyone who violated a single one of these commandments would be forever separated from him.  That is, until Jesus Christ came along.  Jesus Christ allowed us to bridge the gap between God and us.  God knew that none of us could be perfect, so He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins.  He had to make this sacrifice for us because He knew we could never live up to His perfect standards.  When you think of it like this, it makes it pretty hard to feel ungrateful about what He did for us, and it also makes it pretty hard to feel prideful for what we have done compared to what He did.  Instead of worrying about what others have or do not have, ask yourself how you compare to what God wants and how your life compares to Jesus Christ.  If we ask ourselves these questions daily, we will yearn to grow in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

What God Has Prepared For Us


Daily Bible Reading – Job 33; 1 Corinthians 1-3

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

 

A while back, I was driving my daughter to one of her after school activities, and we began talking about Heaven.  My daughter, being just 7 years old at the time, had many questions about what Heaven would be like.  She wanted to know if she would have stuffed animals there.  She wanted to know if she would be the age she was now, or would she be an adult.  She wanted to know about the food.  It was fun listening to the innocence of a child’s heart as she tried to understand things that are beyond our understanding.  For most of her questions, my answer was, “I don’t know”, much to her dismay.  She wanted to know the answers to her questions about what God had in store for her in Heaven.

I think we all want to know about what God has in store for us – both in Heaven and in our time here on Earth.  What are his plans for us?  What will he have us do?  Sometimes when I am trying to fall asleep, I try to imagine what my life will be like in 20 years or what Heaven will be like.  When thinking about Heaven, I usually get stuck when I try to think about what eternity looks like…for me, that is simply a concept that my human mind cannot seem to grasp.  I think one of the best answers to all of these questions comes in today’s key passage – “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived— the things God has prepared for those who love him”. (2:9)  God’s plan for each of us is greater than we can possibly imagine.  God knows each one of us personally and intimately.  He knows more about us than any person alive.  He had our entire lives mapped out and our entire beings planned before we were even born.  Try as we might, we will never be able to fully conceive in our minds the depth and beauty of His plans for us.  All we have to do is have faith in Him, and know that His plans for us will be greater than we can imagine, and then enjoy the ride.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Answering Prayers


Daily Bible Reading – Nehemiah 11, 12; Psalm 1; Acts 3

Today’s Key Passage – Acts 3:1-10

 

The crippled beggar positioned himself in the same place every day – right at the entrance to the temple.  He did this because he felt it was the best place for him to be to get what he thought he really needed.  In the beggar’s mind, he believed money would be the answer to his prayers, so he sat in the same place daily hoping for someone to come along and give him something.  When Peter saw him, he had a different idea.  Peter told the man “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you” (3:6) and then he promptly healed the man by the power of Jesus Christ.  Peter was unable to answer the prayer the beggar was asking for, but that he had something much better to give him.  The power of the Holy Spirit healed the man and allowed him to walk.  Undoubtedly, this was a much better gift than a couple of coins.

I think God answers many of our prayers in the same way.  Often we are like the crippled beggar, begging God to give us what we think we really need.  When we fail to receive what we were begging for, it is easy to think that our prayer went unanswered.  In reality, though, that is not the case.  Perhaps God, in his infinite wisdom, knows that what we were begging for is not really what we needed.  God is amazingly faithful.  He hears and answers all of our prayers in one way or another.  The love that He has for each of us is unending.  He wants the very best for us in everything we do on a daily basis.  His plan for all of us is perfect and He always knows what He is doing.  When we surrender everything to Him and let Him take over everything in our lives, we allow God to do more than just answer our prayers.  When we trust in Him completely, sometimes instead of giving us what we have asked for, He can give us something much better.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

At the Cross


Daily Bible Reading – Nehemiah 3, 4; Luke 23

Today’s Key Passage – Luke 23:32-43

 

In the events leading up to the death of Jesus, He suffered many things.  He was beaten, whipped, spit on, mocked, and nailed to a cross.  He knew that it was God’s will and God’s plan that all of this had to happen to Him, but he still must have been in complete agony.  I cannot even begin to imagine the pain Jesus must have felt on that fateful day.  Despite his misery, Jesus still asked God to forgive the people who had caused him the most pain.

We have all been hurt by other people at one time or another.  In some cases, that pain was physical, and in other cases, the pain was emotional.  As human beings, we tend to focus on that pain and on the people who caused it, and we sometimes have a difficult time forgiving the people who have hurt us the most.  Jesus’ actions show us that even when faced with the worst pain imaginable, we still have the capacity to forgive.  We may not have this ability on our own, but we can gain this ability to forgive through the power and help of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Another important thing to note from this passage is the faith of the criminal hanging on the cross next to Jesus.  By his own admission, he plainly states that he is “punished justly” and is “getting what [his] deeds deserve.” (23:41)  However, at the end of his life, when he knew he was going to die, he turned to Jesus.  Even though he saw Jesus nailed to the cross next to him, he was able to see past Jesus’ present situation to see His future glory.  The fact that Jesus forgave him of his past sins and accepted him, and even told him that he would be with Jesus in Heaven, shows that it is never too late to turn to Christ.  All we have to do is put our faith and trust in him, repent of our sins, and follow Him.  Then, like the robber, we can be with Him in paradise.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

No Coincidence


Daily Bible Reading – Esther 3-8; Luke 18

Today’s Key Passage – Esther 4:1-17

 

Have you ever noticed how sometimes the perfect song comes on the radio right when you need to hear it?  Have you ever gotten the phone call from a friend or loved one right when you needed to hear his or her voice the most?  Have you ever received a financial blessing right when you were feeling overwhelmed by bills?  The world would call these things coincidence.  If you look deeper, though, you can clearly see that examples like these are evidence of something much more.  They are, in fact, evidence of God’s sovereignty and providence.

In our readings yesterday and today from the book of Esther, we find many examples of God’s care in action.  It was no coincidence that Esther became queen of Persia (2:17), or that it happened shortly before Haman convinced King Xerxes to issue a decree to kill all of the Jews. (3:5-15)  It was no coincidence that when Esther went to speak with the king uninvited, he welcomed her instead of having her killed, which was his custom. (5:1-2)  It was no coincidence that King Xerxes had the history of his reign read to him, was reminded that Mordecai saved his life, and decided to honor him on the same night that Haman came to convince the king to have Mordecai killed. (6:1-11)  It was no coincidence that the evil Haman was hanged on the very same gallows he had built to hang Mordecai. (7:1-10)  While God’s name is never actually mentioned anywhere in the book of Esther, it is clear that Esther’s entire story is one great testimony to God’s love and power.

Never underestimate God’s ability to provide you with just what you need at exactly the right time, and to use you right when He needs you the most.  He can use any means to bring about His plans.  When you begin to wonder why He has you in a certain place or why you are facing certain circumstances, be open to His direction and His will, and realize that He may have you there “for such a time as this“. (4:14)

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Being Grateful


Daily Bible Reading – Ezra 5, 6; Psalm 138; Luke 16

Today’s Key Passage – Psalm 138

 

There are many recurring themes in the book of Psalms, and one of these themes is gratefulness.  King David was certainly grateful to God, and that spirit of thanksgiving shines through in our key passage today.  David praised God for His love and faithfulness (138:2), and for making him bold and stouthearted (138:3).  He was grateful for being saved during all of his times of trouble (138:7), and knew that God would never abandon him. (138:8)  David understood an important truth about God.  Our proper response to Him should always be one of gratefulness, because He will always fulfill His purposes for us (138:8) and will always answer when we call on Him. (138:3)

Most of us cry out to God in our times of need.  We go to Him with our requests and we ask Him to help us in our most dire situations.  There is obviously nothing wrong with this, as God wants us to take our most sincere needs to Him in prayer, but we can all have a tendency to be one-sided in our prayers.  Spending time with God and having a relationship with Him should be about more than just asking Him for a laundry-list of needs, wants, and desires.  It is important that we not forget to be grateful for all that He has provided.  When we forget about this important piece, we are more likely to get frustrated when we have to wait for God’s answer to our prayers, and we are more likely to question whether He is listening to us in our times of need.  When we focus first on being grateful to Him for the prayers He has already answered, it becomes much easier to wait for His timing and to trust that He will come through for us again.  Spend some time today thanking God for the prayers He has answered.  Thank Him for the big prayers and the small ones in which He has been faithful to you, and praise Him for all the prayers He will answer for you in the future.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Lost and Found


Daily Bible Reading – Zechariah 13-14; Psalm 147; Luke 15

Today’s Key Passage – Luke 15:1-32

 

In today’s key passage, we find three of Jesus’ most well known parables.  The parables of the lost sheep (15:1-7), lost coin (15:8-10), and lost son (15:11-32) all speak of God’s unwavering forgiveness, but each is unique in the way in which each item is lost and how it comes to be found.  In the parable of the lost sheep, the sheep foolishly wanders away from his shepherd.  In the parable of the lost coin, the woman’s coin is lost through no fault of its own.  In the parable of the lost son, the son blatantly defies his father’s will.  In the first two parables, the shepherd and the woman frantically search for their lost items, but in the third the father patiently waits for his son to return.  In all three cases, when what was lost is found there is a great celebration, just as there is a celebration in Heaven every time a lost soul comes back to the Father.

Every person in this world starts out as lost.  Some are lost through no fault of their own, perhaps growing up not knowing about Jesus.  Others are lost because they foolishly wandered away from God.  Still others are lost because they have blatantly defied God’s will and have rejected Him.  In any case, God spends a lifetime searching for these lost souls.  Sometimes, He finds them relatively easily, and other times He has to wait patiently for them to return to Him.  Has Heaven celebrated your return yet?  If so, rejoice in knowing that you are saved and help others find their way back to God.  If not, it is time to start heading home.  No matter what sins we have committed or how far we are from Him, we can always return to our Father’s house.  When we do, we will not be turned away, rejected, or ridiculed for our mistakes.  Instead, we will be welcomed by the loving arms of Jesus, and the celebration will finally begin.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Returning to God


Daily Bible Reading – Zechariah 1-3; Luke 11

Today’s Key Passage – Zechariah 1:1-6

 

The prophet Zechariah was another of the minor prophets who spoke to the Jews in Jerusalem who had returned from captivity in Babylon.  Like his contemporary Haggai, Zechariah preached a message to the people asking them to resume their work on the temple.  In today’s key passage, Zechariah received a word from God that he shared with his people.  As I read it today, I was struck by how appropriate God’s message was: not only for the returning exiles, but also for all of us today.  It is not a complex message, but it is one that is both meaningful and powerful.  Speaking through Zechariah, God told the people, “Return to me…and I will return to you.” (1:3)

There are many times when each of us may feel as though God is far away.  We may feel this way when we are dealing with persecution or grief.  We may wonder where God is when we are facing difficult financial times or when struggling with a major life change.  There is a funny truth, though, about this feeling that God is far from us.  See, God has not actually gone anywhere.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  When we feel like He is far from us, it is not because He has moved but because we have.  God is faithful and true, and He will never turn away from us.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of us.  Throughout history, man has continually turned away from God in one way or another, and each time we do, the distance between us and God grows.  If you are feeling like God is far away from you, remember His words to the people of Judah.  “Return to me…and I will return to you.”  If we want to feel closer to God, all we have to do is turn toward Him and move in His direction.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Questions about Jesus


Daily Bible Reading – Ezra 1; Psalms 84-85; Luke 7

Today’s Key Passage – Luke 7:18-35

 

John the Baptist knew what his role was in this life.  He knew that he was to prepare the way for God’s chosen one – the Messiah.  He had heard all of the stories about Jesus, and he knew that Jesus must have been sent by God.  The only problem was that he was not sure if Jesus was just another prophet or the Anointed One of God, so he sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask him. (7:18-20)  Jesus response to John’s disciples tells us a lot about Him.  He could have been upset about being questioned.  He could have been angry that John felt the need to ask questions about Him instead of simply believing blindly.  This, of course, was not Jesus’ response.  Jesus told John’s disciples to report back to John all the things He had done. (7:22)  Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead, among other miraculous deeds.  He wanted John the Baptist to decide for himself if Jesus was the Messiah based on the evidence at hand.  Then, as further evidence that Jesus was not upset about being questioned, He spoke to the crowd about John the Baptist’s greatness among men. (7:28)

Most of us, whether we are followers of Christ or not, have had questions about Jesus.  They might be questions we have already answered, or they might be lingering thoughts that appear from time to time.  Is Jesus really the Messiah?  Does He really know me?  Did He really die for my sins?  Does He really see me as perfect and beautiful?  Does He really love me?  If you have ever felt guilty for asking yourself these questions about Jesus, today’s key passage will be a real blessing for you.  See, Jesus does not get angry about being questioned.  Having questions about Him does not mean there is something wrong with your faith or that you are not a “good Christian”.  Just like John, Jesus invites us to examine the evidence about Him and decide for ourselves that He is who He says He is.  The more we learn about Him through reading God’s Word and spending time with Him in prayer, the fewer questions we will have about Him.  Then, as we answer our questions about Him, we will grow to trust Him and love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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