Friday, September 18, 2009

God's Great Desire

Chuckle: "Why do drugstores make the sick walk to the back of the store for prescriptions, while healthy people buy cigarettes up front?"

Good Quote: “Love is not getting, but giving, not a wild dream of pleasure, and madness of desire— ... it is goodness, and honor, and peace and pure living.” --Henry van Dyke


"God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).

Some believe that God has elected and predestined certain people to be saved from their sins and inherit eternal life with Him, and that others not so chosen have no chance at salvation. However, here are some passages that prove, with certainty, that God's love and grace is universal and his salvation is available to every human being.

"For God so loved the world (every person) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever (anyone) believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16 NIV).
"For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone (anyone) who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'" (Romans 10:12-13 NIV).
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations (all people), baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV).

If God's gift of salvation were not available to all, why would Jesus send us out to make disciples of all people? Why would Jesus say that "God so loved the world?" Why would the Bible say that God's great desire is for all people to come to repentance?"

One other problem is that some view the depths of their sin as just too great for them to deserve God's love, grace, and forgiveness. If you have ever felt this way, or know someone who does, just remember: "All (everyone) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23 NIV). "For the wages (what we have earned) of sin is death (eternity in Hell separated from God), but the gift of God is eternal life in (through faith in) Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23 NIV). "God demonstrated his own love for us in this? While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8 NIV). "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9 NIV).

"For it is by (God's) grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not of yourselves, it is a gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV).

God's great desire is that all people come to him in repentance and receive his gift of salvation. It doesn't matter whether we see ourselves as "good" or "bad" people, we are all equally covered by God's grace and equally in need of His forgiveness. We as Christians can rejoice that the work of salvation was performed by an infinitely powerful, loving, and merciful God. There will never be a deficiency in his work. Our salvation is as sure as the architect of that salvation, Almighty God Himself. Another of God's desires is that every Christian live every day in a close, loving, joyful, and serving relationship with Him.

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Peace Beyond Description

Chuckle: In Early America, it was not unusual for politicians to take advantage of a public hanging to address the crowd of spectators. On one occasion, the condemned man was told that a politician was going to speak, and he said, "Could you please hang me first?"

Good Quote: “In the temple the Spirit of the Lord provides comfort and peace, especially during moments of despair.” --Carol B. Thomas


"I lay down and slept. I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten of thousand enemies who surround me on every side" (Psalm 3:5-6 NLT).

Real peace seems to be a rare commodity these days. The absence of peace is revealed by anxiety, fear, tenseness, and sleeplessness. Today, all sorts of medications are available just to help us get a good night's sleep. On the other hand, calmness, contentment, and joy are all indicators of an inward peace with God and those around you. Are you troubled, anxious, or fretful this morning? Is peace something you yearn for but are not experiencing? If you answered "yes" to these questions, there is a tried and proven source of peace that the psalmist, David, had discovered -- and you can discover as well.

Sleep does not come easily in a crisis and David was in a real crisis. His son, Absalom had rebelled and gathered an army to defeat him and kill him. Yet, David was able to sleep peacefully even when surrounded by his enemies because he trusted in the Lord to whom he had committed his life. If we truly commit our lives into God's hands and trust Him to see us through every circumstance, we too can have the peace that David had, even in the most troublesome times of our lives. Trust in God brings us God's peace. Also, the assurance of answered prayer brings peace.

If you are lying awake at night worrying and fretting about circumstances over which you have no control, pour out your heart to God, and thank him that He is in complete control. Then peace and restful sleep will come.

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (Isaiah 26:3 NLT). We can never avoid strife in our world, but if we fix our thoughts on God through Scripture and prayer, we can have perfect peace even in times of turmoil. He can make us steady and stable and bring us rest even during our most severe crises. Christ is the only source of complete, lasting, and perfect peace.

Love, Jerry & Dotse