Following my wife’s suggestion, I have been making the deliberate attempt to taste my food before habitually adding salt to it. Salt has always been a valuable part of our diet and necessary for survival. I have always appreciated the value of both physical and spiritual salt.
In biblical times salt was a valuable commodity used mainly to cure and preserve food. Roads were built to provide access to the salt trade, and salt was valued enough to be accepted as payment for labor. The Church has a spiritual understanding of the value of salt. Jesus compared his faithful followers to the salt of the earth.
Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Jesus is calling us to be salt as a preserving agent to keep our society from moral decay.
If salt loses its savor it is no longer able to infiltrate and preserve. Losing this quality renders it flavorless lifeless and powerless. The meat and food we would like to preserve is easily infiltrated by bacteria and begins to decay. In the same way, we see a trend towards blandness and powerlessness in the moral influence of the Church. It seems no longer willing or able to infiltrate into the culture as a moral preserving agent.
In order to maintain saltiness, the true Church has had to shield itself from the influence of strange teachings and doctrine. However, it is now struggling with an insidious infiltration of anti-Christian teaching spearheaded by a cultural revolution wielding the weapon of political correctness. The Church is losing its salt.
Challenge of the Enlightened
The Age of Enlightenment brought the Church face to face with scientific and political theories which directly challenged its validity and authority. Gerald Hiestand and Todd A. Wilson authors of “ The Pastor Theologian” point out that
“The effect of the Enlightenment on Christian theology cannot be overstated. The Enlightenment reshaped the scholarly and cultural consensus regarding the ontology of the Bible and the place of theology within the wider culture…the Bible was no longer a sacred text and theology was no longer the queen of the sciences” ¹
The intellectual battle over the creation account and Darwin’s theory of evolution was lost. Great institutions of learning formally created to prepare individuals for service in the Church and ministry were now transformed into bastions of liberal scientific and political thought.
The Church reacted slowly and only now within the past 50 years or so has there been an advance in apologetic teaching that addresses concerns of reason and science and proposes a defense of the Christian worldview. Great teachers have emerged such as Francis Schaeffer and C.S.Lewis. The list of popular apologist is growing and so is their influence. This is a good thing for the Church and it would behove us all to become acquainted with their work and their reasoning.
The Church is now responding to arguments which the Enlightenment brought forth. However postmodern culture and the spirit of anti-Christ continues its infiltration of the Church with false teaching. The division which theistic evolutionary thinking brought about is one of many battlegrounds where truth has lost ground.
The Second Wave
The Church culture, intimidated by the advancing political correctness movement, has yielded ground to secularisms lies and deception. The Churches on the forefront of engaging the culture with their newly acquired confidence in apologetics are finding many intellectuals are no longer interested in proving the existence of God or Christ. They have moved beyond these foundational arguments advancing their secular cultural agenda, using PC as a weapon to fend off the call to repentance by labeling it as hateful.
The strength of the leftist culture is not in its reasoning because engaged in a reasonable debate its principles are soundly refuted. The strength of the left is the weakness of those with whom it engages. Sara Silverman the liberal comedienne has created a new series “I Love You America” in which she reaches out to discover America and to affirm her liberalism. In a recent episode, she meets and dines with a “Christian” family from down south. She attempts to solidify her leftist ideals by asking opinions on gay-marriage and allows a few weak-kneed responses from some of the family members and then declares “I have news for you, you’re really a liberal”. Granted the obvious bias of creator and producer of this series has made it essential to edit any effective rebuttal, I have seen the same weak response from church members regarding this issue and other morally damaging yet culturally acceptable trends.
No longer questioning the reality of God and the validity of the Church, the left has infiltrated the Church's domain of influence and hijacked the truth. Redefining the concept of love and grace they seek acceptance and affirmation of a sinful lifestyle. Having successfully reconstructed the immature Christian’s understanding of a calling to a pure life in submission to Gods truth, they are now pursuing and promoting a lifestyle of sin within the church.
Any call to repentance from members or the leadership of the Church is met with offense and a repeated misapplication of God’s word. How many have heard the verses “judge not lest you be judged” or “God is love” and other verses misapplied or misappropriated? Yet those who misapply scripture to their advantage reject clear teaching on the need for repentance.
Such as found in
1 Cor 6:9
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,”
Peter replied," Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
J. Warner Wallace says "We are called to live differently so that we can effectively identify and address unbiblical behavior in our culture." 2
No one is without sin, even those who are saved, so our struggle includes not only a daily repentance but a loving supportive outreach to those who are in need as we are. For a daily repentance is only possible in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Called to Disciple
Darrow Miller of Discipling the Nations has often said
“If the church is not discipling the nation, the nation will disciple the church.”
There are many reasons that churches are not effective in discipling. In a 2013 presentation to the Disciple Nations Alliance Forum in Brazil, Luis Sena gives one explanation.
“Most plans for churches have as their focus the “expansion” of their size (i.e. numbers as indicators of effectiveness). Driven by self-preservation, preachers and teachers don’t touch the hot issues of the culture, because they know they will be persecuted. The privileges they enjoy as organizations will be lost. They will be challenged by the surrounding culture. Church leaders (usually) won’t risk publicly applying truth because it might mean putting the ministry in danger. But, when a church adopts this paradigm, it has inadvertently forsaken the truth.” 3
Until recently the Church has had much influence in forming a strong freedom loving society built upon the foundation of family and morals guided by the authoritative word of God. Yet as always throughout history, the Church is being asked: “hath God really said?”
As the Church, our challenge today is and has always been to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that fills us.
1 Peter 3:15 This means being able to explain what and why we believe as well as live out what we believe. We should be able to speak to our culture in defense of the sanctity of life and the sanctity of God ordained marriage. We should be able to speak to our culture about how the pursuit and justification of sin bring destruction to the individual and to society. Many churches have fallen into apostasy resulting in a trend affirming gay-marriage and transgenderism. Unless we see repentance and revival other pathologies will soon follow.
2Timothy 3:1-7 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
The Healing Repentance
Discipling the lost does not begin by embracing sin it begins by embracing the sinner with a call to godly sorrow and repentance. It is in repentance that the grace of God is found. A doctor sharing bad news with a patient is not offensive, it is a word of compassion that wakens the patient to his need for medicine. Reaching individuals struggling to make sense of their lives and speaking truth to a deceived culture is a compassionate calling of the Church.
Laura Perry, a former transgender, shared her testimony with Life Site News explaining that because of the support and care of loving members of her study group “God opened my eyes to the truth….He made me realize that the transgender life was … a dead end.” Many like Laura have been rescued from the snare of transgenderism, homosexuality and adultery and are actively sharing their testimony. They turned to God and sought Him with all their heart soul and mind.
“that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” To repent means to change your mind and its proof is in a change of action.
“Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ….Turning from sin is not the definition of repentance, but it is one of the results of genuine, faith-based repentance towards the Lord Jesus Christ.”4
A sorrow for sin and a desire to be restored, to be made whole, is what is needed. This is the role of the church to preach salvation in the name of Jesus and to make disciples of all nations.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Jesus offers forgiveness.
John 8:11 “go and sin no more”
Jesus offers grace and power to live in peace with God.
2 Cor 12:9 “My grace is sufficient”
Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
We have no idea how much time we have left to save those who are lost to sin. So the call today is to engage with the knowledge we have in apologetics and to clearly stand with conviction and the power of the Holy Spirit upon the word of truth, which God has given us. The Bible speaks with clarity, there are no hidden meanings, mixed messages or private interpretations which allow for sin. Preached in love, God’s word brings conviction. Some will react to their conviction and deem it offensive. If it leads to repentance then it will redeem the once offended. We will hear them declare as Laura Perry has “I am living proof that God’s love is greater than the devil’s lies,”
We have no greater duty than to stand for truth in all areas of life and to live it and speak it clearly in love.
Pass the salt, please!
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal".- 1 Corinthians 13: 1
Men of JEANS are admired, men of POWER are feared, men of WEALTH are envied but men of CHARACTER are trustworthy. Judas ate with Jesus at the last supper, he was part of the evangelical crew, his feet was washed by Jesus, he was the Lord's chief treasure but his uncontrollable love for money eventually led him to betray Jesus. This proves RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES does not equal RIGHTEOUSNESS. The thing that really builds character in us is the faith we have in the character of God.
In Exodus 32:1-35, Moses left the Israelite for sometime to meet with God at the mountain but while he was away, the people became anxious and made themselves another god simply because Moses was taking too long to come from the mountain. And though Moses asked the Lord to have mercy on the people but God punished them for that act. God is after our heart, he needs our obedience not religious rites.
I attended a burial ceremony and immediately a man standing close to me saw one of the Church ushers in the Church, he was shocked and began to shout; 'how can this wicked man be a church usher'. The Usher was so embarrassed he moved fast to the next roll. So many people in the Body of Christ think their religious activities can cover up their offenses. The Lord knows and sees every hidden wickedness. We are suppose to be the express image of God, not only in our local Church but also in our work place and every where we go to.
Another typical instance can be found in 2 Samuel 6, when the Ark of God was brought to Jerusalem. But before it was returned, the Philistines had the Ark, they placed the Ark in Dagon's temple in Ashdod but removed it when the Lord destroyed the idol of Dagon (1 Sam. 5). And the people where smitten with a disease, they removed the Ark from Ashdod to several other cities but in each city the people fell ill, so the Ark was returned to the Israelite.
David and all Israelite celebrated its return but the bible records that during the celebration ceremony, they placed the Ark on a rock-in oxen and when Uzzah reached out and took hold of the Ark because the oxen stumbled the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah and he fell down dead.
David was afraid of what had happened and he said, “How can the Ark of the Lord ever come to me?” He did not take the Ark of the Lord with him to the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The Ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household (2 Samuel 6).
Let analyze reasons Uzzah died, Uzzah was the son of Abinadab, chosen by David, to guide the new cart but God does not choose base on personal sentiments. The fact your brother is a pastor does not make you automatically an assistant pastor, the affairs of God is base on divine selection. God had given Israel a pattern for transporting the Ark of the Covenant - the sons of Kohath, the son of Aaron, were given the responsibility of transporting the Ark. The high priest was assigned to cover the Ark with a veil and the sons of Kohath were to carry the Ark on their shoulders (Num. 4:1 -15). But this did not happen.
Isn't interesting that though David and the Israelite played musical instruments and danced with all their mind but it did not stop Uzzah from falling dead. Many times we see Church folks sing praises and dance to songs coming from the choir but immediately the Church service is over, just at the church car park, you see the same persons swearing and cursing the church security personnel' for asking them to park their cars properly. This means while they were dancing they were just having a Church experience, Jesus is far from their hearts. This is similar to what happened back in the day when the Ark was brought back to Jerusalem. They did not follow the standards laid by God so Uzzah died. We must understand that religious rites do not cover up for disobedience to God.
Likewise the Philistines suffered for placing the Ark in the Dagon temple, when the Israelite placed the Ark of God on their new cart they too ignored the divinely appointed order and substituted their own arrangements. It was until Uzziah fell dead that David had to ask God what was right. One of the problems we have in the Body of Christ is we do things our way and forget to seek God first. David acted without divine orders and it resulted to consequences.
Three months later, when David brought the Ark from the house of Obed-edom, he had learned the lesson of following the Lord's pattern. He order, "None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever" (1 Chron. 15:2).
The new cart or rock-in oxen is like a parrot who listens to the message of a Pastor and preaches the same message. We all know Parrots can repeat what they hear but a Parrot cannot display the true character of God. We have many people in the Body of Christ who clap their hands all day but their fruits are soar. They clean the Church but only for people to see them and praise them, right inside their homes they are a terror. A taxi man once told him, his wife is a dedicated church member and a member of the christian mothers but for one year she has not allowed him sleep with her.
The true identity of Christian life is love. In the new covenant, the Ark of God is in the tablet of our hearts. He lives in us. 1 Corinthians 13, clearly states that no religious action can take the place of love. Jesus used Himself as an typical example at the cross, when he did not curse those who persecuted Him. And maybe blind Bartimaeus who got healed by Him was among those who persecuted him but He prayed they all be forgiven. We are not entertainers we are the express image of Christ. To know Jesus is to live for Jesus. Invite the Holy Spirit and let God live the holiness in you. Many people are in Church but are not growing because they do the works of righteousness without the God of righteousness. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21)
I want to tell you a story about overcoming worry by using our home's pumpkin creations for 2017. By the way, pumpkin carving goes back many years to Ireland. According to the folk-tale, the carving was called Jack-O-Lantern and it was first done on vegetables rather than a pumpkin. The purpose of it was to ward off bad spirits. Of course here in America, long before it was associated with Halloween, it had to do with celebrating the harvest season. Today, pumpkin carving has become nothing more than a fun time at home between parents and kids.
Now to my story... many years ago, while I was in seminary at New Orleans, I had been studying for monster test (hence my daughter's carving of Frankenstein). I was so concerned about passing that it showed.
By the way, I was never an 'A' student in high school; studying and retaining was very hard work. Nothing changed in college. I also bounced from major to major to major until I finally graduated 7 years later with a 2.7 GPA. Earning a master's degree was no different. Maybe you can relate to my learning struggles.
One of my best friends in Seminary was Tim. Today he is a very successful pastor in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Tim and I took many classes together. Sometimes after a test, and on our walk back to our respective apartments, he would say, "I bombed that one", and I would say, "I think I aced it!" But strangely, when the test grades were revealed, it was usually Tim who aced the thing while I bombed out. People like Tim make me sick...
One particular day, after I had been studying really hard for a test I went to the student center for something. My concern about the test must have been evident because a student I barely knew asked me why I looked so worried (hence the carving of a concerned pumpkin below).
I answered the guy that I had been studying hard for a test but I was afraid to fail. Without hesitation, he quoted a verse to me and walked away. Those words made such a difference in my life at that moment that I later committed them to memory. They were a direct message from the Lord to me! Jesus' right hand man Peter, wrote them.
In other words, God is saying, "Hey, its going to be cool; I got you. I'm aware and interested in what's happening to you. Chill... and trust Me."
I can't tell you today whether I made an 'A' or a 'C' on that test. I may have made a 'D', I honestly don't remember but it doesn't matter. I passed the course went went on to earn the degree.
Now, isn't it true that the things we often worry about most never come to pass?
And, isn't it true that most of our blunders never create permanent damage?
Things happen, good and bad. Life throws us all kinds of curves that leave us on edge. But the greatest thing about knowing the Lord is that He knows us and loves in spite of all. Please allow me to share another verse with you from an old prophet by the name of Isaiah,
Because of God's love we can be like cool cats (hence the image below), even when under pressure.
Thanks for reading. Please leave me a comment.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”
There have been many occasions in my life when I was almost overcome with grief. The death of beloved family members caused overwhelming feelings of loss to surge to the surface. I am told that the rejection of a husband or wife sometimes is the cause of greater pangs of emotional pain and dismay.
For the Believer, we are comforted with the realization that we are never alone during these times. Jesus knew His disciples would struggle with troubled hearts when He returned to heaven. He gave them (and us) words of comfort and assurance.
His command is to stay clear of a troubled heart. How do we do that? The answer Jesus gives is to focus our attention on the unchangeable and all powerful God who is the creator of all things and the One who loves us supremely.
Are you experiencing a troubled heart right now? Are you trying to cope with the pressures of life by positive thinking in a nebulous concept of God? Jesus invites us to come to Him -- the One who knows us inside and out and is always there for us. He wants to be OUR COMFORT!
May God richly bless you as you bless others by your words and actions!
- - - Pastor Cecil
"Your heavenly Father." Matthew 6:26
“你们在天上的父”。 马太福音 6:26
God's people are doubly His children, they are His offspring by creation, and they are His sons by adoption in Christ. Hence they are privileged to call Him, "Our Father in heaven."
Father! Oh, what precious word is that!
Here is authority: "If I am a Father—where is my honor?" If you are sons, where is your obedience?
Here is affection mingled with authority; an authority which does not provoke rebellion; an obedience demanded which is most cheerfully rendered—which would not be withheld, even if it might. The obedience which God's children yield to Him, must be loving obedience. Do not go about the service of God as slaves to their taskmaster's toil—but run in the way of His commands, because it is your Father's way. Yield your bodies as instruments of righteousness, because righteousness is your Father's will, and His will should be the will of His child.
Father! Here is a kingly attribute so sweetly veiled in love, that the King's crown is forgotten in the King's face, and His scepter becomes, not a rod of iron—but a silver scepter of mercy—the scepter indeed seems to be forgotten in the tender hand of Him who wields it!
Father! Here is honor and love. How great is a Father's love to his children! That which friendship cannot do, and mere benevolence will not attempt—a father's heart and hand must do for his sons. They are his offspring—he must bless them; they are his children—he must show himself strong in their defense. If an earthly father watches over his children with unceasing love and care—how much more does our heavenly Father?
Abba, Father! He who can say this, has uttered better music than cherubim or seraphim can reach! There is heaven in the depth of that word—Father! There is all I can ask; all my necessities can demand; all my wishes can desire. I have all in all to all eternity when I can say, Father!
"Get To Pray"
"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Luke 11:1
In having a conversation with people about prayer, one of the things you hear most is-- I don't get to pray. What do you mean by- you don't get to pray? They mean they don't get time to pray because they are too busy, have too many other demands on their life and time, they just aren't able to pray. Newsflash: it isn't about "getting to pray", it is about "making time to pray". Another newsflash: the enemy of your soul will make sure you don't get to pray. He will send every distraction and every excuse as to why you can't pray.
When you say that you don't get to pray, it sounds like you are helpless to do anything about it. It sounds like you have no control over the situations that hinder your prayer life and prayer time. This isn't true. You have to make the time. You make time for everything else, why is prayer (your communion with God) any different? If you want to go somewhere, you schedule everything else around it. If you need to leave earlier than usual, you set your clock for an earlier time. If you want to stay up and watch a movie you force yourself to stay awake. If you want to go to an event out of town, you will make the hour or two drive.
We do the things we really want to do and we don't let anything stand in the way. You made time to read this. You made time to go to your job. You made time to go on a trip. You made time to go to the grocery store. You made time for a hobby. Why can't we make time for prayer? It is because it is not a priority in our lives!! If it were, we would do it. We would make sure we "get to pray". We wouldn't let anything stop us. We would reschedule whatever we had to do to include it. We would get up earlier if need be. We would do whatever it took to make sure we got the time.
Have a great day. If you aren't "getting to pray" it may be because it isn't a priority in your life.
The Wednesday Word: Redemption through His Blood
Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
以弗所书1:7 因为他满满的恩典，我们才能通过他的宝血而被救赎; 也因为他的恩典，我们的罪才 能得着赦免。
Redemption in the ancient world was not a religious idea, but rather a commercial one. Redemption was a term that specifically dealt with the act of buying a slave from the slave market in order to give him freedom. The term used for ‘redemption’ in our text is ‘apolytrōsis’, which carries with it a notion of liberation by the paying of a price. Christ’s amazing blood was the price paid, and it liberated us from the destruction of guilt and wrath.
在古代，救赎并不是一个宗教信仰的概念，而是一个商业性的概念。在当时，救赎这个名词是用在奴隶买卖市场， 代表奴隶已得到自由。 在我们的正文里， 用来代表救赎的字是'apolytrosis' (阿波立特罗思):它意味着通过支付赎金去换取自由。耶稣的宝血就是'救赎金'; 它让我们从罪和愤 怒中得到释放。
To further understand biblical redemption, we should look at three other words associated with it in the New Testament. These words show us 3 distinct aspects of this great truth. The three words are,
1) Agorazo 阿哥拉所
This is a word which describes a purchase made. The Lord Jesus Christ went into the slave market of this world and bought and paid for us. Someone asks, “What did He use for currency?” That’s an excellent question. It finds its answer in 1 Peter 1:18-19 which says, "Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"
这个字是购买的意思。主耶稣基督去到奴隶买卖市场买了我们，并付了款。有人问，"他用什么货币?" 那是一个非常好的问题。我们可以在彼得前书1:18-19中找到答案。这段经文说道,"你们并不是以易腐败的东西如金银救赎的;而是以耶稣的宝血， 因为他犹如无瑕疵、污点的羔羊般。 "
Furthermore, in Hebrews 9:12 we read, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Again in 1 Corinthians 7:23 we read, "You are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." What wonderful news this is for all of God’s children. We have been bought by saving blood. Christ’s blood is the currency of redemption. It has never suffered devaluation, and it never will.
此外，在希伯来书9:12, 我们读到，"不是通过山羊和牛的血，而是通过他自己的血， 他才能进入 圣殿; 他已为我们获得永久的救赎。" 还有在哥林多前书7:23, 我们读到，"你们被救赎是有代价 的，所以你们不再是人的仆人。" 对上帝的子女而言，这是一个非常好的消息。我们因耶稣的宝 血而被救赎了，而耶稣的宝血就是救赎的货币。它不曾贬值、永远都不会贬值。
2) Exagorazo 伊萨哥拉所
Our second word is Exagorazo. Notice how this is basically the same word as ‘Agorazo‘. It’s agorazo with an ‘ex’ in front of it. ‘Ex’ means ‘out of’ or ‘out from’. So when this term Exagorazo is used, it means that not only were we purchased by blood but that we have been taken out of circulation and are no longer for sale. This is excellent. Such is the power of the blood that it has purchased us and taken out of the marketplace. We are bought with a price and thus removed from the control of both Satan and Sin. "(Galatians 3:13, Galatians 4:5).
这是我们第二个字。基本上，这个字跟之前的字是一样的。它只是加多了'ex'在前面。'Ex'的意思是'出自' 或 '出于'。所以，这个字意味着我们不只是通过耶稣的宝血而被救赎，它也意味着我们已 经不再被售卖。这是极好的。耶稣的宝血有极大的能力救赎我们、把我们带出奴隶买卖市场。我们的救赎是有代价的; 因此，我们不再被撒旦和罪恶控制。" (加拉太书3:13; 加拉太书4:5)
3) Lutroo 路特乌
This third word means to ransom, loose or to set free by paying a price. We have been bought---that’s good news, we have been brought out of the slave market of sin and death … that’s better. But now we discover that the blood has ransomed and freed us to live unto Christ. That’s the best! We read in Titus 2:14 "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem (lutroo) us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (See also 1 Peter 1:18, Ephesians 1:7).
这第三个字是赎回的意思; 它也可以指通过给赎金而被释放。我们已被赎回了 - 那是好消息。我们 已从罪恶和死亡的奴隶买卖市场被带出 -这是更好消息。我们现在知道耶稣的宝血已将我们赎回、 释放，我们才能为他而活。这是最好的消息!我们在提多书2:14读到 "他将自己给了我们，才能从 邪恶中将我们救赎。也因为这样，他才能净化我们，好让我们能够热衷于行善。" (请阅读彼得前 书1: 18 以及以弗所书1:7)
What a wonderful Saviour! What a mighty redemption! The term ‘Saved’ has become outmoded in many Christian circles. We are told it is an old fashioned word that puts people off. Not in my book! When we consider the redemption in Christ Jesus and see that it was His own blood that bought and paid for us, and see that He has taken us out of the market place of death and then see that he has set us free, we begin to realise that there is no better word to describe all of this than ‘Saved’. Here’s a hymn that sums it all up:
何等了不起的救世主! 何等伟大的救赎! '救'这个词在很多基督教圈子里已成为过时了。有人告诉我 们这是一个古板的字，会让人反感。 但是，在我的书里并不会不提这个字! 当我们思想在耶稣基督里的救赎，是他自己的血为我们完成的，是他已将我们带出死亡的市场， 并将我们释放了。这一切让我们意识到其实没有一个字比'救'更为贴切地形容耶稣是如何拯救了我们。以下的赞美诗算是做了一个总结:
“Thank God I am free, free, free
From this world of sin,
I’ve been bought by the blood of Jesus,
And I’ve been born again
Hallelujah I’m saved, saved, saved
By His wonderful grace
The blood has been poured out,
He has brought me out
And shown me the way.”
And that’s the Gospel Truth
Do you ever struggle with the small everyday challenges? Try to solve problems alone without reaching out for help. Forget to remember Christ is available.
Often, willpower to overcome a shortcoming causes troubles.
The big life events are easy to accept but the little day-to-day matters life’s terms throw out is a challenge to respond in a spiritual reaction.
For example, when impatience emerges, frustration ensues. Here controlling the outcome becomes useless. And this makes finding peace unreachable.
Likewise, anger oozes out my inner-being, especially in bumper to bumper traffic. I don’t reach the point of rage, but anger’s effect is subtle and makes me lash out in unacceptable behavior.
This self-centered tendency spills over into my family, work and social outlets. I can’t escape it, and the more one relies on self, the deeper I fall into the hole of despair.
Forgetting other people don’t react to life as me is easy.
As a Christian, I must remember, Christ is my equilibrium when the scales of temptation tip me into sin. God is my spiritual balance in times of injustice. Nothing equalizes life’s terms than for me to anchor my life in Christ. And as the result of reliance on Jesus, my ability to live peaceful in times of distress increases.
God never fails me. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is always available to guide me in living a saved life. When I struggle, it’s a reminder for me to ask Christ for the solutions. Once I take action with Jesus and continue to rely on His perfect vision, then I’m able to see the path of rightful living.
The fruitlessness from living a unsaved life is familiar. Before God rescued me from the black hole of agnosticism, my existence comprised drugs, alcohol, and egoism. My problems with life never got better, in fact, they got worse. This led me to the road of suicide, but the Lord had other plans and spared me from self-destruction.
My past helps me to remember the outcome of living apart from God. It is a useless and lonely existence. But His grace and mercy coupled with Christ’s redemption show me a future with eternal consequences. I’m grateful for the Lord’s impact on my life.
I hope your experience with God is profound and life-changing awareness.