I am blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ with all the Spiritual blessings in the heavenly places according to Ephesians 1:3.
THE MYSTERY OF HUMAN LIFE
Have you ever wondered why you are living in this world and what the purpose of your life is? There are six keys that unlock this mystery.
God desires to express Himself through man (Romans.8:29) For this purpose,He created man in His own image (Genesis.1:26). Just as a glove is made in the image of a hand to contain a hand, so also man is made in the image of God to contain God. By receiving God as his content,man can express God (2Corinthians.4:7).
To fulfill His plan, God made man as a vessel (Romans.9:21-24). This vessel has three parts; body,soul and spirit (1Thessalonians 5:23). The body contacts and receives the things of the physical realm. The soul, the mental faculty, contacts and receives the things of the psychological realm. And the human spirit, the innermost part of man, was made to contact and receive God Himself (John.4:24). Man was created not merely to contain food in his stomach, or to contain knowledge in his mind, but to contain God in his spirit (Ephesians.5:18).
But before man could receive God as life into his spirit, sin entered into him (Romans.5:12). Sin deadened his spirit (Ephesians.2:1). made him an enemy of God in his mind (Colossians.1:21)'; and transmuted his body into sinful flesh (Genesis.6:3;Romans.6:12). Thus,sin damaged all three parts of man, alienating him from God. In this condition, man could not receive God.
4.Christ"s Redemption for God"s Dispensing
Nevertheless,man"s fall did not deter God from fulfilling HIs original plan.In order to accomplish His plan, God first became man called Jesus Christ (John.1:1,14). Then Christ died on the cross to redeem man (Ephesians.1:7), thus taking away his sin (John.1:29) and bringing him back to God (Ephesians,2:13). Finally in resurrection, He became the life-giving Spirit ( Corinthians.15:45b) life into man"s spirit (John.20:22;3:6).
Since Christ has become the life-giving Spirit, man can now receive God"s life into his Spirit. The Bible calls this regeneration (1Peter.1:3;John3:3).To receive this life, man needs to repent to God and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts.20:21;16:31).
To be regenerated, simply come to the Lord with an open and honest heart and say to Him:
Lord Jesus,I am a sinner.
I need you.
Thank you for dying for me.
Lord Jesus,Forgive me.
Cleanse me from all my sins.
I believe you rose from the dead.
I receive you right now as
my saviour and life,
Come into me ! Fill me with your life !
Lord Jesus, I give myself to
you for your purpose.
6.God"s Full Salvation
After regeneration, a believer needs to be baptized (Mark.16:16). Then God begins the lifelong process of gradually spreading Himself as life from the believers Spirit into his soul (Ephesians.3:17). This process, called transformation (Romans.12:2), requires human cooperation (Philippians.2:12). The believer cooperates by allowing the Lord to spread into his soul until all his desires,thoughts, and decisions become one with those of Christ. Finally, at Christ"s return, God will fully saturate the believers body with His life. This is called glorification (Philippians.3:21).Thus, instead of being empty and damaged in each part,this man is filled and saturate with life of God.This is God"s full salvation ! Such a man now expresses God, fulfilling God"s plan !
WHO WILL DELIVER ME ?
One sunday I was preaching the wonderful Gospel in the village of a certain chief in Lesotho. A large crowd,together with the chief and his wife, had gathered to hear the Word of God. The living Word, which is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, pierced deep into the hearts of the people.
While i was still preaching,the wife of the great chief, the queen, began to weep bitterly. with tears streaming down her cheeks, she stood up and cried out, "Who will deliver me? please help me, my heart is very sore, I am a miserable and wretched person. Who can help me? Who will deliver me from this awful bondage of sin? What must i do? You all know me , I am the wife (Queen) of the chief amd i am also one of the prayer women.
For over twenty years I have attended church, but all these things have not helped me, they cannot set me free, sin has bound me. I am a drunkard and a murderess. My hands are defiled and wicked because they are engaged in making beer - that cursed drink ! Sin has bound my hands and feet, I am a prisoner of Hell !''
He who does what is sinful is of the devil. (1John.3:8).
She wept again most bitterly and sat down and cried aloud: "Help me ! Help me ! Who will deliver me ? from these chains of sin ? I love God, but sin rules me, sin is dragging me down to hell . I killed my first-born son, I was drunk while carrying him on my back, and in my drunken state I rolled on the ground and squashed the head of my sweet little son, so that he died. Please help me, deliver me from this death ! My tribal customs did not help me. Religion did not help me. Who can help me ? Who will deliver me ?''
I answered ans said: ''Don"t be afraid. Do not despair. Your trouble is everyone"s trouble. The Bible gives the answer to your hearts cry. It tells us that sin rules our lives but that there is One Who can deliver us.'''
''I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but i cannot carry it out. For what i do is not the good I want to do; no the evil i do not want to do - this I keep on doing ........ So I find this law at work: When i want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law'; but i see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making mw a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.'' (Romans.7:15-25). Sooner or later this cry will come to everyone's heart - ''What a wretched man I am ! Who will deliver me ?''
''If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'' (John.8:36).
Jesus is the answer to all our questions: the answer to your question. There is no salvation in any other name but in the Name of Jesus. (Acts.4:12). Only Jesus can save us from our sins. Only his shed blood on the cross can cleanse us from all sin. No doctor, no medicine, no witchdoctor, no man, no preacher or priest, no church can save you from sin. Only Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, can save you by His blood, and by the power of His Spirit.
Jesus the Son of God came into this world ''To open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.'' (Isaiah.42:7). Jesus said, Everyone who sins is a slave to sin ..... but if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'' (John.8:34-36). Jesus Who is the truth,sets you free.
Jesus the Son of God took all our sins in His own body to the cross. your sins are all nailed to the cross.''Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows .... But He was pierced for our transgessions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.'' (Isaiah.53:3-7).
If the Son (Jesus) sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36).
Barabbas who was a sinner and a murderer, was condemned to death. He was to be crucified, but Jesus took his place and carried the cross on which Barabbas should have died. Jesus the Son of God, was crucified in the place of Barabbas, in your place and in my place, the murderer was set free because another one had died his death. You and I are that Barabbas.
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. If you look in faith to the cross of Christ you will see yourself and your sin nailed to that cross. Jesus has taken your place on the cross that you may live forever. He shed His blood for the forgiveness of your sins. For God so loved you that He gave His only son, that you should not die, but have everlasting life.
After hearing these words the chief''s wife believed in Jesus and gave her heart to Him. She gave her sinful heart to God, and He gave her a new heart and filled her with His Holy Spirit. He not only forgave her all sins, but delivered her from the power of sin. For many years since that time, she has been living a beautiful, victorious life. She does not drink beer in any form, does not smoke or snuff tobacco, lives a clean life and is a bright witness to the truth that, ''If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come! (2Corinthians 5:17).
You too dear, reader, can be set free through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said. ''''Come to Me ALL you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.'' Come to Jesus just as you are or where you are. Tell Him all about your sins and your troubles. He will not send you away, If you come with a humble and believing heart. Perhaps you are a church member, but bound in sin. Come to Jesus. He will set you free immediately, in the same way as He healed the leper and healed the blind. Jesus is still the same and can heal the broken-hearted and set the prisoner free. He forgives ALL our sins and heals ALL our diseases. (Psalm 103:3).
When you have given your heart to Jesus, tell others of the One Who set you free. We too, would like to hear from you.
'' If you only knew today what is needed for peace!'' (Luke 19:42).
When we look around and see the things that are happening in the world today, it is quite clear to us all that there is no peace in the world. Everywhere you hear of fighting, murder, wars and rumors of wars. It does not matter which newspaper you open, you will find there the terrible things that people are doing to each other because of sin, hatred and jealously. The great men of the world have been trying for many years now to bring peace to the world, and none of them have ever yet succeeded. Not only is the world in this condition, but it is sad to say that many of our homes also do not have peace in them. Worst of all, though, is the fact that there is a very large number of people in the world today, who do not have peace in their own souls and this is where the root of all the trouble lies.
WHY IS THERE NO PEACE ?
In the beginning God created the world as well as the grass, flowers, trees and all the animals that live under the water as well as those that live on the ground. God also created Adam and Eve and in this entire creation there was peace. Adam and Eve were not afraid of any of the animals, and the animals lived peacefully and happily together. The sheep could walk next to the lion and the lion would no harm it. Above all, there was peace between God and man, and God used to come in the cool of the evening and walk and talk with Adam and Eve. They had no fear in their hearts towards God and looked forward to His coming to visit them.
Then satan, who is the enemy of peace, entered into the snake and tempted Adam and Eve to sin, because where sin is, there is no peace. Satan the father of lies, told them that they would not die even if they disobeyed God and took of the fruit which God had told them not to eat. Just as many people still, to this very day, listen to the voice of the devil, so Adam and Eve did what the devil tempted them to do and sinned against God. At that very moment, the peace they had enjoyed, left them - all the peace and beauty which God had created was now destroyed in one act of sinning , and fear entered the hearts of Adam and Eve.
That evening when God came as usual to talk to them, they hid themselves and were afraid of God's presence.'' Sin came into the world through one man and his sin brought death with it'' and even we who all live today have sinned and are far away from God's presence. (Romans 5:12; 3:23). One sin generally leads to another, and today the whole world is sick in sin, and this is why there is no peace on earth.
GOD WANTED TO RESTORE PEACE AGAIN TO THE WORLD
God looked down from heaven and saw all the hatred, fear, sin and sadness, and in His great love He sent His son to be born in a stable. Year after year at Christmas time, we are reminded of the words of the angel, '' Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David's town your Saviour was born - Christ the Lord! suddenly a great army of heaven's angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on the earth to those with whom He is pleased.'' (Luke 2:10-14). Jesus was sent to this earth '' to shine from heaven on all those who live in the dark shadow of death, to guide our steps into the path of peace.'' (Luke 1:79). Ephesians 2:14 also tells us that '' Christ Himself has brought us peace.'' God has sent the Prince of peace to this world, and if the people of those days had only accepted the Prince of peace they could have lived in harmony once again.
WHAT DID PEOPLE DO WITH THAT PEACE ?
Like Adam and Eve, the jews and the other people of that time, preferred to disobey God and to follow satan's advice. They rejected the prince, and when pilate put Jesus and Barabbas before them, they shouted,'' Away with Jesus! Give us Barabbas!'' In other words, they were saying, ''Take away the prince of Peace and give us hate, wars, murders and sin.'' These people had their own free will and they could have chosen for themselves without being forced, but even so they chose Barabbas. The days in which we are living are exactly the same. God has given us a choice. We can have Jesus our Saviour and as our king, and He will bring peace into our lives. He says,'' Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that i give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.'' (John 14:27). The sin within our lives have taken us far away from God, and in our sinful state we have no peace in ourselves, but Jesus is always standing with outstretched arms waiting to receive us back, to restore us, to make us sons of God and to give us PEACE again.
We are told in Romans 5:1 '' Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.'' There is nothing in this world that can give us peace. Money, riches and fame cannot give it; and putting our names on a church roll cannot give it. There is only one way to receive peace for our souls and that is to come to the Lord Jesus, confess our sins to Him and turn away from them, and ''If we confess our sins to God , He will keep His promise and do what is right: He will forgive us our sins and purify us from all wrong doing.'' (1John 1:9). The peace which Jesus gives is a peace far beyond human understanding (Philippians4:7). It cannot be explained by man, but we can experience it in our lives if we are willing to turn away from sin and sinful friends, and to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and to serve Him only. We may be able to live without peace but we cannot afford to die without peace, '' For God's Kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness and peace.'' (Romans 14:17). Therefore, if we do not have the peace of God in our hearts when we die, we certainly will not be welcomed into His heaven of peace.
If we have not accepted the Prince of Peace into our lives and we die in our sinful condition, then there is only one place for us, and that is the eternal fires of hell. You cannot afford to die in the condition in which you are now because you will be eternally lost, and the Word of God tells us that ''The smoke of the fire that torments them goes up for ever and ever.'' It is an everlasting hell to which the sinner is going, and we have all sinned. ''There is no one who is righteous.'' (Romans 3:10). If you want to go to heaven, there is only one thing to do and that is to make peace with God and have God's peace in your heart '' And let the peace that Christ gives you, guide you.'' (Colossians.3:15).
At Christmas time we remained of Jesus' coming to this world to bring peace. At Easter time we are reminded of how the people rejected Him and crucified Him. Dear friend, are you also going to be one of those who have rejected the Master, orare you going to open your life and let Him in ?
There is only one way of having God's peace in your heart, and that is by kneeling down before Him now, confessing to Him that you are a sinner, and asking Him to purify you and to make you His very own; no matter how good you think you are, you need to be saved; no matter how bad you may think yourself to be, He is willing to accept you and will not turn anyone away. If you have never yet experienced God's peace within your soul, then accept it now and you will have a great and glorious joy which words cannot express. (1Peter.1:8).
At a certain Gospel service an old man stood up and said,'' I have lived during the reign of four kings. In the first we were always at war, and a terrible time it was. During the reign of the second we suffered a great famine, and we ate rats and grass and wood. During the third, our enemies defeated us and we became their servants. But during the reign of this third king we were visited by another king, a great king, a good king, a peaceful king, a king of love - Jesus the Lord from heaven ! He has defeated the enemy, and He has conquered our hearts. That is why we are now live in peace and plenty, and hope soon to live with Him in heaven.''
Dear friends, surrender your life now to Jesus. At this moment, stop on your downward road to hell, turn arround and serve the king of kings and Lord of Lord's. You may find that many of your friends will leave you, but remember that Jesus has said, '' The peace that Christ gives must guide you in the decisions you make.'' (Colossians.3:15).
ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH ?
''You have to be very, very good to go to heaven,'' a young girl named Ruby once told an older friend.
''Are you that good ?'' her friend asked .
''No i guess not,'' she replied honestly.
Over 1900 years ago, the apostle paul (who wrote 13 books of the Bible) said that nothing good lived in him (Romans 7:18). Could he have been that bad ?
Are you good enough to get to heaven ? Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, disobyed your parents or said bad things about someone ? I f you have, then you are not very good either.
In fact, according to God's book, the Bible, none of us is good enough to get to heaven by himself; '' There is none who does good , no, not one ... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'' (Romans 3:12,23).
God is not saying that we cannot do some good things, But He is saying that we all do bad things called sins, and they will keep us out of heaven.
Some people think that when we do something good, it erases the bad things we did. But sin doesn't go away that easily. God describes sin as a dirty spot in a piece of cloth- like paint on your clothes- that just won't go away, no matter how many times you wash it.
When Ruby heard this, she asked a very important question: '' Then how can we ever get to heaven ?
The Bible has the answer :
The blood of Jesus Christ , God's Son, cleanses us from all sin'' (1John 1:7). Jesus shed His blood and died for our sins so that they could be washed away. That was the hardest job anyone ever did.
Would you be willing to suffer fot the bad things others did ? Like me, you would probably say, '' No way ! let them suffer for their own sins. They deserve what they get,''
Want some good news ? God never said that about us ! Instead,- the Bible tells us; '' 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).
When Ruby heard how simple it was to get ready for heaven - and she really wanted to go to heaven - she bowed her head and confessed her sins, asking Jesus Christ to be her savior.
How about you ? The Bible warns us that if we won't trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will die in our sins and end up in hell. What a terrible way to die ! What a terrible place to go ! But it dosen't have to be that way. Why not do what Ruby did ? Why not do it now ?
AFTER DEATH... WHAT ?
'' Professor, is there life after death ?'' asked a university student.
''That's something only God knows for sure. All we can do is lead a good life and hope for the best.''
Is the professor right ? Is it possible to know what comes after death ?
WHAT WILL HAPPEN ?
The Bible reveals that there is life after death when it says that '' it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment'' (Hebrews 9:27).
Death is not the end. It is not annihilation, extinction, or soul - sleep. The Bible also says that '' all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth'' either to ''the resurrection of life'' or to ''the resurrection of condemnation'' (John 5:28-29).
What is the resurrection of condemnation ?
In Revelation 20:11-15, we learn that the dead come forth from their graves, stand before the great white throne and are judged according to their works. A person whose name is not written in the Book of Life is cast into the lake of fire. This is called the second death - further proof that there is life after the first death.
The Bible also reveals that only those who believe in the Lord Jesus as their Savior can pass from death to life: '' Most assurdely, I say to you, He who hears My word and believes ... has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death unto life'' (John 5:24).
WHAT MUST YOU DO ?
Leading a good life and hoping for the best is not God's way of salvation - not His way of getting your name into the Book of Life . The Lord Jesus Christ said, ''Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish'' (Luke 13:3).
Your attitude towards Christ here and now decides what your future will be. If you repent and take Him by faith as your personal savior, you will have eternal life'. You can be sure of it.
But if you do not , you will be cast into the lake of fire after you die. Who said so ? God said so. It cannot come out any other way if you turn your back on Him. Merely hoping for the best will not make it happen.
WHEN MUST YOU DO IT ?
As smart as the professor may have been about this world, he was ignorant about what happens after death - about eternity. There is a future for you after death . What that future will be depends on what you do with the savior now, today, before it is too late !
The Bible tells you this most important truth about your future. '' 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 you believe this and repent of your sins, your future will be secure in Christ. If you do not, you are no better off than the professor. Which will it be ?
THE PURPOSE OF MAN
Man - the Unique Creation
The highest development, the maturity, of created life is man. Throughout all the centuries no life has surpassed the human life. Physically, man is weaker than some of the animals, but this weakness is far outweighed by man's superior consciousness, including his feelings and reasoning ability. Yet man is not just the highest life among creation; he is also the unique life. Regarding all the varieties of plant and animal life that God created, He said that each one was ''after its kind'' or ''after their kind'' (Genesis. 1:11,12,21,24,25). But when He came to man, ''God created man in His own image'' (Genesis.1:27). This is the unique and very important point concerning man.
Vessels for Expression
Why was man created in the image of God ? It was in order that man might have the ability to express God. No other part of creation has the capacity because it was not created according to God's image. God's intention was that one day He, in the Person of Christ, would enter into man and be expressed through man. Romans 9:21 and 23 reveal to us that man was made as a vessel, a container. In addition, 2Corinthians 4:7 says, ''We have this treasure in earthen vessels. '' Here we see a basic revelation of the Bible - man is an earthen vessel to contain Christ as the treasure.
Let us use the illustration of a glove. A glove is made in the image of the hand so that the hand might enter into the glove. Likewise, we human beings have an intellect, emotion, and will which were created according to Christ, who is the image of God (2Corinthians.4:4). But without Christ these faculties lack true meaning. Christ Himself has the highest intellect, the real emotion, and the perfect will. The faculty of our intellect may be compared to the empty thumb of a glove - Christ's intellect may be compared to the real thumb of the glove; then the two will become one. One is the appearance, the expression, while the other is the reality, the content. Likewise our capacity of love, goodness, and patience must become the container and expression of the love,goodness, and patience of Christ.
Now we can see why God created man. We are here to contain and express Christ and to be one with Him. Whatever we are, Whatever we have, and whatever we can do is like an empty glove, prepared to hold all that Christ is, all that Christ has, and all that Christ can do. Everything we are by nature is inadequate because we lack the divine element. Christ Himself must enter into every part of us. Exhortations for peace and love, though given with good intentions, are of no avail because in ourselves we lack the perfect love and the real peace. Our need today is to receive the Lord and to be filled with Him.
Being Filled with Christ
Practically, how can Christ enter into our being ? Romans 9 tells us that we are vessels, and Romans 10 shows us the way to fill the vessel. Every vessel has a mouth, an opening. Our mouth was made to call on the name of the Lord Jesus so that we could be filled with Him. The Bible says that He ''is rich unto all that call upon him'' (Romans. 10:12). Christ is inconceivably rich. And His reaches are not just what He can do for us or give us; the highest riches are all the aspects of His glorious being flowing into the corresponding parts of our being. Morever, because of His death and resurrection, Christ is now so available to be received by anyone who would desire Him. He only asks that you turn your heart to Him, open your mouth and call upon His name in a sincere and definite way. The living Christ will meet you and come into your being. Then you will be a complete person, filled with Christ as your content.
Furthermore, once we have received this rich Christ, we should continue daily to call upon His name, purposefully opening our whole being to Him. Each fresh opening results in a fresh filling of the Spirit. How glorious is the purpose of man ! As a vessels we receive and contain Christ that He might be expressed through our entire being.
HOW TO BE SAVED AND KNOW IT
If you should die today, where would you spend eternity ? No one likes to think about dying, but death comes to everyone. God tells us in His Word, ''... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:'' (Hebrews 9:27). Since death is so certain, you must prepare to meet God. According to God's Word, you will spend eternity in one of two places --either in heaven or in hell. ''And these shall go away into everlasting punishment (hell): but righteous into life eternal (heaven).'' (Matthew 25:46).
Every person born into this world inherited a sinful nature. ''Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:'' (Romans 5:12). ''...and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.'' (Ephesians 2:3b). "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.'' (Psalm 51:5). " The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it ?'' (Jeremiah 17:9).
This sinful nature produces all sorts of evil deeds. ''For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man. ''(Mark 7:21-23). You must admit you are a sinner. Admit it not only to yourself, but also admit it to God. There is absolutely no chance for you to be saved from hell unless you know that you are a sinner. God's Word declares it and you must believe it ! Because you are a sinner, you are destined for hell for all eternity. ''For the wages of sin is death...'' (Romans 6:23). ''...and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.'' (James 1:15).
There is nothing you can do to save yourself. You cannot be good enough. ''...there is none that doeth good, no, not one,'' (Romans 3:12). You cannot be saved by keeping the law. Joining the church and being baptized will not even help save you. ''...by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.'' (Galatians 2:16). You are helpless. You cannot save yourself !
Here is the good news of the Gospel. In spite of your sin, God loves you and has done everything necessary for your salvation. ''For when we were yet without strength (helpless), in due time Christ died for the ungodly.'' (Romans 5:6). '' For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit:'' (1Peter 3:18).
Just believing intellectually that you are a sinner, that God loves you, and that Christ died for you is not enough. You must apply this to yourself personally by repenting and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your own Saviour. Repentance is a charge of mind brought to your heart by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. It causes you to turn from your sins, dead religion, and works to trust Christ alone. ''...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.'' (Luke 13:3). "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:'' (John 1:12). ''...all men...'' are commanded to repent. (Acts 17:30). Therefore all men can repent.
Don't put this off--do it now ! ''...now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.'' (2Corinthians 6:2). ''Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:'' (Isaiah 56:6). ''For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Romans 10:13). ''...all men...'' can be saved. (1Timothy 2:4,6).
Wherever you are right now, tell God that you are a lost sinner, ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour. Claim salvation by faith. ''For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves : it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.'' (Ephesians 2:8-9). You may pray this simple prayer, meaning it with all your heart: Dear Lord I know that I am a sinner, but I am sorry for my sins. I believe that the Lord Jesus died for me and rose again, and with all my heart I turn from my sin and receive Him as my Saviour right now. Thank you, Lord, for saving me ! Amen.
That is God's way of salvation according to His Word. Many times men fail to keep their word, but God never fails to keep His Word ! Take God at His Word. Don't trust your feelings. ''But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.'' (1Peter 1:25).
"My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land." (Psalm 63:1. )
An interesting story is told concerning the northern reindeer. It seems that on those far-off plains, a hundred miles from the sea, at a certain season, in the midst of the Laplander's village a young reindeer will raise his broad muzzle to the north wind, and stare at the limitless distance for the space of a minute or more. He grows restless from that moment, but he is yet alone. The next day a dozen of the herd look up from cropping the moss, snuffing the breeze. Then the Laps nod to one another, and the camp grows daily more unquiet.
At times the whole herd of young deer stand and gaze, as it were, breathing hard through wide nostrils, then jostling each other and stamping the soft ground. They grow unruly and it is hard to harness them into the light sleds. As the days pass the Laps watch them more and more closely, well knowing what will happen sooner or later.
And then, at last, in the northern twilight, the great herd begins to move ! The impulse is simultaneous, irresistible; their heads are all turned in one direction. They move slowly at first, still biting here and there at the bunches of rich moss. Presently the slow step becomes a trot, they crowd more closely together, while the laps hasten to gather up their last unpacked possessions, their cooking utensils and their wooden gods.
The great herd together breaks from a trot to a gallop, from a gallop to a break-neck pace; the distant thunder of their united tread reaches the camp for a few minutes, and then they are gone out of sight and hearing, to drink of the polar sea.
The laps follow after them, dragging painfully their laden sledges in the broad track left by the thousands of galloping beasts; a day's journey, and they are yet far from the sea, and the track is yet broad.
On the second day the path grows narrower, and there are stains of blood to be seen; far on the distant plain before them their sharp eyes distinguish in the direct line a dark, mentionless object, another, and yet another. The race has grown more desperate and more wild as the stampede nears the sea. The weaker reindeer have been trampled by their stronger fellows. A thousand sharp hoofs have crushed and cut through hide and flesh and bone. Ever swifter and more terrible in their motion, the ruthless herd has raced onward, careless of the slain, careless of food, careless of any drink but the sharp, salt water ahead of them. And when the laplenders reach the shore, their deer are once more quietly grazing, once more tame and docile, once more ready to drag the sled.
Once in its life the reindeer must taste of the sea in one long, satisfying draught, and if he is hindered, he perishes ! Neither man nor beast dare stand between him and the ocean, in the hundred miles of his arrow- like path !
'' I heard the voice of Jesus say,
''Behold, I freely give
The living water ; thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink, and live !'
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul
And now I live in Him.''
''Come, O come YE to the Waters !''
''He shall receive the crown of life ... promised (James 1:12)
The greatest helpers of humanity have been its crossbearers. The leaders of men have suffered in lonliness ; the prophets have learned their lessons in the school of pain. The corals in the sheltered lagoon grow rank and useless ; those that are broken and crushed by the surf from the living rock and the foundation of continents. Ease has not produced greatness. Men who have had to struggle with an unfavourable environment, to fight cold ,to buffet the storm, to blast the rock or wring a livelihood from a niggardly soil, have won character by their pains.
The bird rises against a strong headwind, not only in spite of the wind, but because of it,
The opposing force becomes a lifting force if faced at the right angle.
The storm may buffet ships and rend the rigging, but it makes strongs hands and brave hearts. oh, fellow-voyager amid the storms and clams of life's wide sea,
Spread thy sails to catch the favouring breezes of adversity.'' If the greatest character of all time, even He Who was the very touchstone of destiny, could be made perfect only through suffering, is it not probable that you and I must be also ?
The best things all lie beyond some battle-plain : you must fight your way across the field to get them !
High natures must be thunder-scarred
With many a scarring wrong !
Naught unmarred with struggle hard
Can make the soul's sinews strong.
Take the hardest thing in your life - the place of difficulty, outward or inward, expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom.
Suffered the loss of all things ... that I may win Christ.'' (Philippians. 3:8)
Every great life has had in it some great renunciation.
Abraham began by letting go, and going out, and all the way it was just giving up; first his home, his father and his past; next his inheritance to Lot, his selfish nephew; and finally the very child of promise on the altar of Moriah; but he became the father of the faithful, whose inheritance was as the sands of the sea, and the stars of the heavens.
Hear David saying, ''Neither will I offer burnt-offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.'' (2Samuel 24:24.) David paid the full price. And we read ''The throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.'' (1Kings 2:45).
Hannah gave up her boy and he became the prophet of the restoration of ancient Israel.
Paul not only suffered the loss of all things, but counted them but refuse that he might win Christ. And paul stood before the common people, and in the palaces of kings.
So it is always : real sacrifice, unto complete surrender of self, brings to us the revelation of God in His fulness. As we have already seen, it was only on condition of Jacob's releasing and the brothers, bringing the best they had, Benjamin, that they could even see Joseph's face again. And when Judah went farther than this, and offered himself to be Joseph's slave forever, them it was that Joseph could keep back nothing, but found himself compelled to reveal everything to those for whom his heart yearned. It is God's own way with us. God in Jesus Christ does not, and apparently cannot, make Himself fully known in His personality and love, until we have surrendered to Him unconditionally and forever, not only all we have, but all we are. Then God can refrain no longer, but lavishes upon us, in Christ, such a revealing of Himself that it cannot be told in words.
But the supreme sacrifice !
God had to sacrifice Himself in Christ, in order thus to reveal Himself to us; but His sacrifice alone will not suffice; not until we in turn have sacrificed ourself to Him, is the revelation possible and complete. But what a revelation it is ! What glory does God give us in the life that is Christ as our life ! How it changes everything for us thereafter from famine to royal abundance !
I heard a voice so softly calling:
''Take up thy cross and follow me.''
A tempest o'er my heart was falling,
A living cross this was to me.
His cross I took, which, cross no longer,
A hundered-fold brings life to me;
My heart is filled with joy o'erflowing,
His love and life are light to me.