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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.

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Is Anyone Righteous?


Daily Bible Reading – Romans 1-4

Today’s Key Passage – Romans 3:9-24

 

There are many different excuses people use to try to justify their actions.  Some people say that there is no God and therefore they do not have to follow any rules other than their own conscience.  Others think they are not as bad as other people are, and that their sins have only been minor.  Still others think that since they belong to a church or give to the needy, they are automatically righteous in God’s eyes.  Paul spends the first three chapters in Romans debunking all of these myths.  He systematically explains away all of these excuses, and is left with the truth about our righteousness.  He quotes Psalm 14 in today’s key passage to explain that in God’s eyes, none of us is innocent.

We are all guilty of sin.  Based on our own merit, we all deserve to go to hell.  I know that sounds harsh, but Biblically speaking it is the truth.  God does not pull any punches in His Scripture.  He does not try to soften the blow.  If we have ever lied – even once – we are sinners, and as we see in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death“.  There is no getting around it.  There is no hiding from it.  So how do we answer the question of whether or not anyone is righteous based on his own merit?  According to the Bible, the answer is a definitive “no”.  Fortunately, through Jesus Christ we are justified.  While we will never be righteous on our own, we can become righteous in God’s sight, though faith in Jesus Christ.

Anyone who says he does not need Christ is fooling himself.  Anyone who says he “lives a good life” or that “God will understand” is fooling himself.  Anyone who says he practices “religion” but does not have an actual relationship with Jesus Christ is fooling himself.  Christ is the ONLY way.  We will never measure up without Him.  Some people call that exclusionary, but in fact, Christianity is perhaps the most inclusive religion in the world.  In most religions, there are a series of steps that you have to go through to be justified.  In those religions, you are justified by your actions.  In Biblical Christianity, there is only one thing you need to do – put your faith and your trust in Jesus.  That is it.  Of course, as followers of Christ we still follow rules.  We still try to live our lives by His standards, but we do not do this to try to gain salvation.  Our salvation is already guaranteed through our Savior.  We follow rules and try to become more Christ-like out of our gratitude for what He did for us.  His sacrifice for us was enormous.  If we truly thank Him and praise Him daily, we try our best to follow His lead, and we will share this good news!  Anyone and everyone can become righteous today.  All it takes is a little humility.  All it takes is a little faith.

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.

The Angel at the Tomb


Daily Bible Reading – Matthew 28; 1 Thessalonians 1-3

Today’s Key Passage – Matthew 28:1-10

 

When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (who was either Clopas’ wife or the mother of James and John) went to the tomb, they were expecting to find Jesus inside.  What they found instead was an angel of the Lord and an empty tomb.  The angel gave them four messages.  First, the angel said, “do not be afraid“. (28:5)  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a joyful event, not something to fear.  Secondly, the angel told them that, “He is not here; He has risen“. (28:6)  Jesus was not dead as was initially believed by the disciples.  He is not found among the dead, for He is alive and living with His believers.  Third, the angel told them to, “come and see the place where he lay“. (28:6)  The angel was telling them to look at the evidence of the empty tomb.  The angel wanted them to see for themselves that the resurrection was a fact and not something fake.  Finally, he told them to, “go quickly and tell” about the resurrection. (28:7)  The news of a risen Jesus was meant to be shared with others so that everyone could know the good news.

These four messages from the angel applied to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, and they apply to us today.  We should all hear these four messages and follow the two Mary’s examples.  The two Mary’s heard the words of the angel and did what they were told.  They were not afraid of the resurrection.  They understood that Jesus was risen.  They examined the evidence of the resurrection for themselves and found it to be true, and they went and spread the good news of Jesus resurrection.  We should all do the same.  Every time we follow these steps and spread the good news of Jesus resurrection, we are advancing the Kingdom of God.  When was the last time you shared the good news of Jesus with someone else?  We all have the power through the Holy Spirit to do it.  God wants us to do it.  The only thing stopping us from sharing the news is ourselves.  Ask God for boldness in sharing the Gospel and He will give it to you.  Use the gifts He has given you to reach other people for 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.

Accepting God’s Invitation


Daily Bible Reading – Matthew 20-22

Today’s Key Passage – Matthew 22:1-14

 

I remember the first time I read today’s key passage.  I understood the metaphor that the invited guests that refused to come to the banquet were representative of people who have heard God’s message for the world but have chosen to ignore Him and reject Him.  I understood that God sent the invitation to everyone just as God’s grace and salvation is open to everyone.  The one thing I did not understand was the one man who was found without wedding clothes who was kicked out of the banquet.  This seemed harsh to me.  In my young mind, my first thought was – what if the man could not afford wedding clothes?  It seemed so unfair to me, and it was a stumbling block for me, but then I started to learn more about God and about His Scriptures, and I came to understand this passage.  You see, in the days of Jesus when a wedding was announced, the guests were GIVEN wedding clothes to wear.  The person throwing the party freely gave every invited guest some fancy clothes to wear.  This changed everything for me.  The only reason this man would not be wearing the wedding clothes was because he did not think he needed them.  Perhaps he was too proud to wear the clothes or too arrogant.  For whatever reason, I could understand the king’s anger at this man for not putting on the clothes he had provided.

God is having a party and it is called eternal life.  It is going to be the best party you can imagine and everyone is invited.  You have received your invitation and it is in your hands whether you will attend.  God even provided us all with wedding clothes to wear in the form of His Son Jesus Christ.  Jesus provided the wedding clothes for us by what He did on the cross.  All you have to do to receive the gift of eternal life is put on the wedding clothes that Christ has provided for you, and you will be welcomed with open arms.  As we all walk through this life, let us all put on the wedding clothes provided by Jesus, and let us all help others change their clothes as well.

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.

The Parable of the Weeds


Daily Bible Reading – Matthew 11-13

Today’s Key Passage – Matthew 13:1-43

 

Jesus often spoke to the people in parables.  He knew that people who were truly seeking Him would understand the parables if they were receptive, while others would simply hear the parables as meaningless stories. (13:13)

In the parable of the weeds, He talks about the weeds that grew among the wheat.  When they first start growing, the young weeds and the young wheat look exactly the same.  It is impossible to distinguish between the two until they become mature.  The servants were told by the owner not to try to pull up the weeds because they might inadvertently also root up the wheat.  Instead, the owner would allow the weeds to grow among the wheat until it was time for the harvest, and at that time, he would separate the weeds, burn them, and place the wheat in the barn.  Jesus went on to explain to His disciples that the field is the world, the good seed is the people of the kingdom, and the weeks are the people of the evil one. (13:37-43)

How many times have we heard people argue that God should just do away with all evil and bad things in the world right now?  While this would seem like the easy way to us, that is not God’s plan and that is not God’s timing.  The weeds (unbelievers) and the wheat (believers) are allowed to live together in this world for now, but eventually, the harvest WILL come.  Eventually, based on God’s perfect timing, all of the evil in this world WILL be pulled out and thrown into the fire.  As we wait for that day, we must stand firm and remember that we are the wheat.

 

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.

We Are New Creations in Christ


Daily Bible Reading – 2 Corinthians 3-6

Today’s Key Passage – 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

 

When I was a kid, I was really into baseball cards.  I would collect them and put them into protective sleeves, and I can still remember the joy and excitement that came with opening a new package of cards to see what was inside.  The best part was trading the cards with my friends.  We would gather around with our cards and try to come up with trades, each giving up something in order to get what we really wanted.  While the details of every trade were different, there was one similarity – in each trade, both parties were giving up something of value.  No one would trade a priceless card for a worthless one.  This system of trade is common in most things in this world.

The trade that Jesus Christ made for us on the cross was entirely different.  He traded something priceless for something worthless.  He traded his righteousness for our sins.  He gave us eternal life, while bearing the weight of all of our baggage and sinfulness.  This was more than just an exchange or a trade – this was a gift.

When we become believers in Christ, we also make a trade.  We trade in our old lives for new ones.  At conversion, we are not fixed, repaired, or rehabilitated.  We are made entirely new creations.  Think about that for a second – WE ARE ENTIRELY NEW CREATIONS.  All of the old things that we used to be are dead – we are reborn in Christ.  What does this mean?  Does this mean we should continue to do the things we always did?  No.  Does it mean we will find pleasure and peace in the things that used to bring us pleasure and peace?  No.  We are entirely new.  When the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us, He changes things around.  He does a complete overhaul.  All of a sudden, the things we used to enjoy now cause us pain.  The shows and movies we used to watch now become unwatchable.  The activities we used to engage in now become unacceptable.  Some people see this as “rules” or as God limiting us, but that is not the case.  We are not changed to try to take anything away from us.  The Holy Spirit changes us to help us understand what real pleasure and peace are.  We die to our old selves daily not because we are forced to by a set of rules, but because we want to.  The Holy Spirit makes us want to.  Furthermore, not only does the Holy Spirit convict us into wanting to change our behaviors, He gives us the power to do it.

How have you changed since asking Jesus to come into your life?  Can you quantify it?  Is it tangible?  Do you see huge differences in how you were vs. how you are today?  More importantly, do others see differences in how you were vs. how you are today?  If the answer is no, then it might be time to reevaluate if you have truly accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life.  Are you still living for things outside of Him?  Are you a new creation or are you still your old self that has just been fixed a little bit here and there?  Die to your old self and your old ways, and be reborn in Christ Jesus.  The day of salvation is today.  The time is now.  Let tomorrow be the first day living as a new creation in 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.

Life is Short


Daily Bible Reading – Job 35, 36; 1 Corinthians 7, 8

Today’s Key Passage – 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

 

Life is short.  We have all heard that phrase a million times.  In fact, the phrase is used so often, that it is easy to hear it and not even think about what it means.  As I was reading God’s Word, today’s key passage seemed to jump off the page.  When I first read it, my initial thought was that this idea was so overused that I shouldn’t bother to write about it, but then I really started to think about the idea of life being short.  In terms of eternity, the 80 or so years most people spend on this earth are tiny in comparison.  The average human lifespan in the U.S. is 78.1 years or roughly 28,500 days.  That sounds like a lot, but compared to eternity it is nothing.  The Bible says that God has guaranteed us eternal life with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.  We will literally live forever with Him because of His gift to us.  Yet, we spend a ton of time on earth worrying about the brief 78.1 years we spend here.  The car we really want, the house we think we need, or the new gadget that just came out mean nothing in terms of eternity.  The paycheck we really want to make today will mean absolutely nothing tomorrow.  In today’s passage, Paul is urging believers not to make marriage, possessions, or financial security the ultimate goal in life.  He is urging them to keep Christ first, because everything of this world is passing away.  When we are able to surrender everything to Jesus Christ, all of the worries of this world seem insignificant.  When we are able to think in terms of eternity, a single bad day means nothing.

I once heard it said that we can live for the line or we can live for the dash.  The line refers to God’s line – his timetable.  God’s line is infinitely long.  There is a point on this line where we are born and a point where we die.  We affect the line during our lives, but the line does not begin or end with us.  The dash refers to the hyphen they place on tombstones between the date of birth and the date of death.  The dash on the tombstone represents all of our actions while on earth.  If we live for the dash, we will never be truly fulfilled because we will never be able to squeeze it all in.  If we live for the line, we can find true fulfillment and happiness knowing that we are serving God during our limited time here, and that we will be rewarded when we begin our eternity with Him.  Let us all choose today to live for the line.  Let us all choose today to think in terms of eternity, and to put God first in all that we do.

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

Minimizing the Cross of Jesus Christ


Daily Bible Reading – Job 30; Psalm 120; Galatians 3, 4

Today’s Key Passage – Galatians 3:1-14

 

Paul was very concerned about the Galatians.  The Galatians had started to believe the Judaizers who preached that Gentiles had to become Jews before they could become Christians.  They had started to impose Jewish legalism stating that works could earn God’s favor.  This false gospel minimized the importance of the death of Jesus Christ by implying that justification (salvation) could be gained through works.

The idea of justification by works goes against the message of the Gospel.  No man or woman can be saved by his or her own deeds.  We are all saved by the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is because of what He did that we can be reconciled with God, not because of anything we can do.  Believers today still run the risk of falling into the trap of justification by works.  It is easy to start feeling as if we can earn favor by doing good deeds.  It is easy for people who do many good things like serving the local church or giving to the needy to look down on other believers who do not do as much.  It is important, though, to remember that in the eyes of God, we are all the same.  In the eyes of God, a “baby Christian” is no less justified than a person who has followed Christ for decades.  Our works can be part of our sanctification over time, but our justification in the eyes of God is secure from day one.  When a person thinks that “living right” can secure salvation, that person is essentially saying that Jesus did not have to die, but we know that Jesus opened the door to salvation for us.  When it comes to eternal life, Christ is the only key that fits that lock.

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.

The Proof of Jesus Christ


Daily Bible Reading – Job 26, 27; Mark 15, 16

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 15:16-41

 

Today’s key passage shows some of the events that unfolded on the fateful day when Jesus Christ was crucified.  For those of us who follow Him, we know that this day was the day that saved us all.  We understand the importance of what Jesus did.  We know that when He was placed on that cross, all of our sins were placed on it with Him.

Other people do not see the importance of the story.  Many people deny the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, and deny the fact that He is God.  Some people are still waiting today for the Messiah that was spoken of in the Old Testament to come to Earth.  Sadly, these people have missed it.

Psalm 22 was written about 1000 years before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Look at the words in Psalm 22:16-18:

“Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”

Sound familiar?  Psalm 22 lists several Messianic prophecies, including the crucifixion and the soldiers casting lots for the Messiah’s clothing.  How fitting then that Jesus words on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(15:34), were a reference to the first verse in Psalm 22?  In all, Biblical scholars state there are over 300 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.  If Jesus were really the Messiah, he would have had to fulfill them all.  What some people fail to admit is that He did exactly that.

We will never be able to convince everyone that Jesus was the Messiah.  There will always be nonbelievers.  There will always be doubters.  As it is said in Ezekiel 12:2, “They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.”  Our duty as followers of Jesus is to try to show them the Way.  We are to tell them the story of Jesus, and offer up the proof that He was and is the Christ.  After that, all we can do is pray that the Holy Spirit will turn their hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.

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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