Christ Died To Save Our Souls

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The Easy Way Is Not Always the Right Way

“Then the men of David said to him, ‘This is the day of which the Lord said to you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’” 1 Samuel 24:4 NKJV

Sometimes everything seems to simply line up; doors open, opportunities arise, and the choice seems obvious. Simply receive the opportunity and proceed. Or is it so simple? Are there other factors to consider?

In 1 Samuel 24:1-22, the Bible tells about a time when King Saul took 3000 men to hunt David down to kill him. As circumstances would have it, and unbeknownst to King Saul, it was David who found Saul and his men first.

The Bible says David’s men rejoiced. They suggested it was the Lord who delivered Saul and his men into their hands. They encouraged David to do whatever he wanted to them. As David considered his options, he secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe while Saul slept.

Everything seemed perfect. All David had to do was kill his enemy. Instead, he hesitated. The Bible says David’s heart troubled him.

You see, David knew God’s law. He was familiar with God’s instruction about vengeance. It belonged to God alone. David understood if he killed King Saul, he would be killing one of God’s anointed, and he knew it was forbidden.

“And he said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.’” 1 Samuel 24:6 NKJV

Can you relate to David? Have you been offered an opportunity but don’t have peace? It may be the Holy Spirit reminding you the opportunity is not God’s best. There may be an undisclosed unethical component, and God wants you to turn it down.

A friend recently confided she and her husband were going through a difficult time in their marriage. Out of the blue, she meets another man. He appeared to offer traits and qualities her husband lacked. She convinced herself it was God who sent the new man. How easy it is for us to rationalize or justify our decisions when an opportunity presents itself at just the right time. It is our human condition and frailty at work when we charge ahead in life without allowing the Holy Spirit to be our guide.

It is no wonder the Bible warns us,

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

If we familiarize ourselves with the Bible and, like David, know what God desires, we will know how to choose right! It is much easier to obey God and avoid the heartache of bad decisions.

Like my friend, we are all tempted at times. She came to her senses when she remembered the Apostle Paul’s words,

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face … he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG

We have choices or opportunities that may be appealing in the moment or an easy way out of situations. It is wise to filter those opportunities through Deuteronomy 30:15 NLT,

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.”

Have you been confronted with an opportunity or decision first appearing to be sent from heaven? How did you respond? Did you jump on board or filter your opportunity through God’s Word? Sometimes the easy way is not the right way. The good news is Jesus will help us choose His way if we allow Him!

John 3:16 – The Love of God Through Jesus

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

If we ever memorize a verse of Scripture, it will most likely be John 3:16. It is the verse most often heard in the simplicity and beauty of a little child’s voice proudly reciting it from memory. John 3:16 is the one verse showing up on large placards at football games and other major sporting events. Those signs are located where television cameras cannot avoid its message. This is the one verse that has been spoken by many older saints as they breathed their final breath.

John 3:16 is the entire gospel in a nutshell.

Angel Martinez, the late evangelist who had memorized the entire New Testament, referred to John 3:16 as salvation’s formula and observed that it contained four very insightful truths. It is the gospel in one verse. John 3:16 reveals to us salvation’s cause, its cost, its condition, and its consequence.

John 3:16 – Salvation’s Cause

“For God so loved the world”

The motivating factor behind God’s redemptive plan for every man and woman is His love for us. He not only loves us, He so loves us! Later, the apostle Paul sought to describe this love by speaking of its “breadth, and length, and depth, and height” (Ephesians 3:18), “God is love” (1 John 4:16), and this deep emotion is what brings about the possibility of our redemption; knowing Him in the intimate relationship of Father and child. God’s love for you is the motivating cause of salvation. “For God so loved…”

John 3:16 – Salvation’s Cost

“that He gave His only begotten Son”

Our salvation, the free pardoning of our sin, and the promise of abundant and eternal life in Christ did not come without cost. Freedom is never free; it is always bought with blood. From the early chapters of Genesis, there is a scarlet thread woven throughout the pages of Scripture revealing the blood atonement. It climaxes in the final and complete sacrifice for sin on a Roman cross outside the city gates of Jerusalem. Jesus not only spoke of His love for us, “but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Our salvation in Christ came at a great cost: God “gave His only begotten Son.”

John 3:16 – Salvation’s Condition

“that whoever believes in Him”

Salvation is not spelled “d-o,” but “d-o-n-e.” Many people, however, think their own good works are the pathway to eternal life. Consequently, they do this or do that, or they don’t do this or don’t do that, all in order to earn salvation. But our salvation is done. It is already purchased for us with the blood of Christ on the cross. Our part is to believe, to transfer our trust from ourselves and our own efforts to His finished work on the cross of Calvary.

To believe does not mean to simply give intellectual assent to the claims of Christ. It means to transfer our trust to Him alone for our salvation.

The most pointed question in the entire Bible is asked of the apostle Paul by a Philippian jailer:

What must I do to be saved? – Acts 16:30

Paul’s immediate reply follows in the next verse:

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. – Acts 16:31

I believe in George Washington, but I don’t believe on him; I don’t trust my life to him. Salvation’s condition is through faith — and faith alone — in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Living with Suffering – Streams in the Desert – August 28

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

There he proved them (Exod. 15:25).

I stood once in the test room of a great steel mill. All around me were little partitions and compartments. Steel had been tested to the limit, and marked with figures that showed its breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and the strength of torsion was marked on them. Some had been stretched to the breaking point and their tensile strength indicated. Some had been compressed to the crushing point, and also marked. The master of the steel mill knew just what these pieces of steel would stand under strain. He knew just what they would bear if placed in the great ship, building, or bridge. He knew this because his testing room revealed it.

It is often so with God’s children. God does not want us to be like vases of glass or porcelain. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel, able to bear twisting and crushing to the uttermost without collapse.

He wants us to be, not hothouse plants, but storm-beaten oaks; not sand dunes driven with every gust of wind, but granite rocks withstanding the fiercest storms. To make us such He must needs bring us into His testing room of suffering. Many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God’s testing room of faith.
–J. H. McC

It is very easy for us to speak and theorize about faith, but God often casts us into crucibles to try our gold, and to separate it from the dross and alloy. Oh, happy are we if the hurricanes that ripple life’s unquiet sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious. Better the storm with Christ than smooth waters without Him.

What if God could not manage to ripen your life without suffering? 

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