Tag Archives: Savior

A Thought On Being Religious and Self-Righteous

Sometimes what I think we as Christians need to do more of in this world we live in is to be honest and truthful, rather than be religious and self-righteous. I’m sorry, but I’ve read too many posts lately where the authors talk as if they’ve already arrived rather than that they’re on the journey.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll tell you I’m on the journey. I understand why “Christianity” is under attack, but the truth is that in some cases self-proclaimed Christians bring the attacks upon themselves.

I’d love to sit here at my computer keyboard and write the words, “I’m sin free,” but I’d be lying. I’d love to tell you that I don’t struggle daily with trying to die to my own selfish desires, my own wants and needs, and that I do and make the right decisions without fail, but once again I’d be lying.

I’ve read posts where people claim you can lose your salvation. I don’t know where they get that. If you can lose what God says He has given you through His Son Jesus Christ then He’s not much of a god, and I can understand why people would reject a god who can’t save you completely and totally.

Well, I’m here to tell you that my God can and does. The question isn’t whether my God can and does save me completely and totally? The question is whether I’m going to believe that He can and will, or do I think I can save myself?

Listen, friends, there’s a lot of people, and people who claim to be Christians, that wouldn’t and don’t know any more about God and loving God than an earthworm would know about lasagna.

The fact of the matter is that too many people think that they’re doing God a favor by loving Him. They work themselves to death trying to please Him, and stand up for Him, and try to do His job for Him. They walk around and make long posts about hating the “sin” yet so often it’s the sinner who ends up feeling the hatred.

Let me tell you, I need God. He doesn’t need me. I need Him daily, minute by minute, hour by hour. If I’m left to my own devices I’ll do the wrong thing almost every time, and even when I’m trying to do the right thing I can still mess it up.

I’ll tell you that there’s a lot about God I don’t know nor understand. You ask me how many verses I’ve got memorized, and I’d be having a good day if I could quote more than 3, and I couldn’t give you a theological or historical perspective on the Bible to save my life.

You ask me why the Bible is the Word of God? What proof do you have? Here’s my answer. I know it’s author. I know what I was, what I am, and what I’m becoming. I know that Jesus Christ died for my sins past, present and future, and that every time I look up and around I see His witness staring back at me. I know the Bible is true because I’ve seen it’s truth lived out in my life and in the lives of countless others.

I’ve sinned, and there’s not a day goes by in which I haven’t had to confess my sin. Sin doesn’t mean you don’t know God or that He doesn’t know you. It means you have deliberately, knowingly disobeyed God and His divine law. If anyone tells you that they aren’t guilty of that then you’re either looking at a liar or the Lord Jesus Christ, himself.

There are many “Christians” who will tell you that once you become a Christian you’ll be happy. They’ll tell you that God wants you to be rich. You just have faith and claim what you want in the name of Jesus and it will be yours. You name the lie and you’ll find a “Christian” somewhere who’s either deliberately said it or said it in ignorance of God’s Word. I’m sorry, and I’m sure I’ve offended someone somewhere, but truth is truth, and some people should be offended.

The reason I’m writing this is because I want you to know that God loves you, but you have to receive that love. The truth is that Jesus Christ died for yours sins, but you have to acknowledge and confess your sins, and ask Him to come into your heart and be your Savior. Friend, you cannot save yourself. Nothing you do past, present, or future based upon your own effort will make any difference.

There’s nothing you can do or have done that will separate you from the love of God except for one thing….the sin of unbelief.

Please don’t feel that you’re not good enough…know that you aren’t, and you don’t have to be….Please don’t feel that you don’t need Jesus… You do, and one day you’ll know it…. Please don’t be discouraged by failure…. We’ve all failed, but Jesus never has or will….

Come to Him where you are as you are…

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From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9

THERE is an external and an internal call of the Spirit. The external call is thus alluded to: “I have called, and you refused;” “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This outward call of the Spirit is made in various ways. In the word, in the glorious proclamation of the gospel, through the providences of God-those of mercy and those of judgment-the warnings of ministers, the admonitions of friends, and, not less powerful, the awakening of the natural conscience. By these means does the Holy Spirit “call sinners to repentance.” In this sense, every man who hears the gospel, who is encircled with the means of grace, and who bears about with him a secret but ever-faithful monitor, is called by the Spirit. The existence of this call places the sinner in an attitude of fearful responsibility; and the rejection of this call exposes him to a still more fearful doom. God has never poured out His wrath upon man, without first extending the olive-branch of peace. Mercy has invariably preceded judgment. “I have called, and you have refused.” “All day long I have stretched forth my hands.” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” He reasons, He argues, He expostulates with the sinner. “Come, let us reason together,” is His invitation. He instructs, and warns, and invites; He places before the mind the most solemn considerations, urged by duty and interest; He presses His own claims, and appeals to the individual interests of the soul; but all seems ineffectual. Oh, what a view does this give us of the patience of God toward the rebellious! That He should stretch out his hand to a sinner-that instead of wrath, there should be mercy-instead of cursing, there should be blessing-that, instead of instant punishment, there should be the patience and forbearance that invites, and allures, and reasons!”-Oh, who is a God like unto our God? “I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.”

But there is the special, direct, and effectual call of the Spirit, in the elect of God, without which all other calling is in vain. God says, “I will put my Spirit within them.” Christ says, “The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.” And in the following passages reference is made to the effectual operation of God the Spirit. “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.” “The word of God which effectually works in you that believe.” Thus, through the instrumentality of the truth, the Spirit is represented as effectually working in the soul. When He called before, there was no inward, supernatural, secret power accompanying the call to the conscience. Now there is an energy put forth with the call, which awakens the conscience, breaks the heart, convinces the judgment, opens the eye of the soul, and pours a new and an alarming sound upon the hitherto deaf ear. Mark the blessed effects. The scales fell from the eyes, the veil is torn from the mind, the deep fountains of evil in the heart are broken up, the sinner sees himself lost and undone-without pardon, without a righteousness, without acceptance, without a God, without a Savior, without a hope! Awful condition! “What shall I do to be saved?” is his cry: “I am a wretch undone! I look within me, all is dark and vile; I look around me, everything seems but the image of my woe; I look above me, I see only an angry God: whichever way I look, is hell!-and were God now to send me there, just and right would He be.” But, blessed be God, no poor soul that ever uttered such language, prompted by such feelings, ever died in despair. That faithful Spirit who begins the good work, effectually carries it on, and completes it. Presently He leads him to the cross of Jesus-unveils to his eye of glimmering faith a suffering, wounded, bleeding, dying Savior-and yet a Savior with outstretched arms! That Savior speaks-oh, did ever music sound so melodious?-“All this I do for you-this cross for you-these sufferings for you-this blood for you-these stretched-out arms for you. Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest-Him that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out-Look unto me, and be you saved-only believe. Are you lost? I can save you. Are you guilty? I can cleanse you. Are you poor? I can enrich you. Are you low sunk? I can raise you. Are you naked? I can clothe you. Have you nothing to bring with you-no price, no money, no goodness, no merit? I can and will take you to me, just as you are, poor, naked, penniless, worthless; for such I came to seek, such I came to call, for such I came to die.” “Lord, I believe,” exclaims the poor convinced soul, “Help You mine unbelief.” You are just the Savior that I want. I wanted one that could and would save me with all my vileness, with all my rags, with all my poverty-I wanted one that would save me fully, save me freely, save me as an act of mere unmerited, undeserved grace-I have found Him whom my soul loves-and will be His through time, and His through eternity.” Thus effectually does the blessed Spirit call a sinner, by His especial, direct, and supernatural power, out of darkness into marvelous light. “I will work,” says God, “and who shall let it?” (marg. turn it back.)

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48

THERE can be nothing in the Bible adverse to the salvation of a sinner. The doctrine of predestination is a revealed doctrine of the Bible; therefore predestination cannot be opposed to the salvation of the sinner. So far from this being true, we hesitate not most strongly and emphatically to affirm, that we know of no doctrine of God’s word more replete with encouragement to the awakened, sin-burdened, Christ-seeking soul than this. What stronger evidence can we have of our election of God than the Spirit’s work in the heart? Are you really in earnest for the salvation of your soul? Do you feel the plague of sin? Are you sensible of the condemnation of the law? Do you come under the denomination of the “weary and heavy laden”? If so, then the fact that you are a subject of the Divine drawings-that you have a felt conviction of your sinfulness-and that you are looking wistfully for a place of refuge, affords the strongest ground for believing that you are one of those whom God has predestinated to eternal life. The very work thus begun is the Spirit’s first outline of the Divine image upon your soul-that very image to which the saints are predestinated to be conformed.

But while we thus vindicate this doctrine from being inimical to the salvation of the anxious soul, we must with all distinctness and earnestness declare, that in this stage of your Christian course you have primarily and mainly to do with another and a different doctrine. We refer to the doctrine of the Atonement. Could you look into the book of the Divine decrees, and read your name inscribed upon its pages, it would not impart the joy and peace which one believing view of Christ crucified will convey. It is not essential to your salvation that you believe in election; but it is essential to your salvation that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In your case, as an individual debating the momentous question how a sinner may be justified before God, your first business is with Christ, and Christ exclusively. You are to feel that you are a lost sinner, not that you are an elect saint. The doctrine which meets the present phase of your spiritual condition is, not the doctrine of predestination, but the doctrine of an atoning Savior. The truth to which you are to give the first consideration and the most simple and unquestioning credence is, that “Christ died for the ungodly”-that He came into the world to save sinners-that He came to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance-that in all respects, in the great business of our salvation, He stands to us in the relation of a Savior, while we stand before Him in the character of a sinner. Oh, let one object fix your eye, and one theme fill your mind-Christ and His salvation. Absorbed in the contemplation and study of these two points, you may safely defer all further inquiry to another and a more advanced stage of your Christian course. Remember that the fact of your predestination, the certainty of your election, can only be inferred from your conversion. We must hold you firmly to this truth. It is the subtle and fatal reasoning of Satan, a species of atheistical fatalism, to argue, “If I am elected I shall be saved, whether I am regenerated or not.” The path to eternal woe is paved with arguments like this. Men have cajoled their souls with such vain excuses until they have found themselves beyond the region of hope! But we must rise to the fountain, by pursuing the stream. Conversion, and not predestination, is the end of the chain we are to grasp. We must ascend from ourselves to God, and not descend from God to ourselves, in settling this great question. We must judge of God’s objective purpose of love concerning us, by His subjective work of grace within us. In conclusion, we earnestly entreat you to lay aside all fruitless speculations, and to give yourself to prayer. Let reason bow to faith, and faith shut you up to Christ, and Christ be all in all to you. Beware that you come not short of true conversion-a changed heart, and a renewed mind, so that you become a “new creature in Christ Jesus.” And if as a poor lost sinner you repair to the Savior, all vile and guilty, unworthy and weak as you are, He will receive you and shelter you within the bosom that bled on the cross to provide an atonement and an asylum for the very chief of sinners.

 

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:29

THE circumstances of the Savior’s resurrection were in harmony with its lonely and solemn grandeur. No human witness was privileged to behold it. The mysterious reunion of the human soul with the body of Christ was an illustrious event, upon which no mortal eye was permitted to gaze. There is a moral grandeur of surpassing character in the resurrection of Christ unseen. The fact is not an object with which sense has so much to do, as faith. And that no human eye was permitted to witness the stupendous event, doubtless, was designed to teach man that it was with the spiritual, and not with the fleshly, apprehension of this truth that He had especially to do. What eye but that of faith could see the illustrious Conqueror come forth, binding with adamantine chains hell, death, and the grave? What principle but the spiritual and mighty principle of faith could enter into the revealed mind of God, sympathize with the design of the Savior, and interpret the sublime mystery of this stupendous event? It was proper, therefore, no it was worthy of God, and in harmony with the character and the design of the resurrection of our Lord, that a veil should conceal its actual accomplishment from the eye of His Church; and that the great evidence they should have of the truth of the fact should be the power of His resurrection felt and experienced in their souls. Oh yes! the only power of the Savior’s resurrection which we desire to know is that which comes to us through the energy of an all-seeing, all-conquering, all-believing faith. Oh, give me this, rather than to have witnessed with these eyes the celestial attendants clustering around the tomb-the rolling away of the stone that was upon the sepulcher-the breaking of the seal-and the emerging form of the Son of God, bearing in His hands the emblems and the tokens of His victory. The spiritual so infinitely transcends the carnal-the eye of faith is so much more glorious than the eye of sense, that our Lord Himself has sanctified and sealed it with His own precious blessing-“Jesus says unto him, Thomas, because you have seen me you have believed: blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” Blessed Jesus! in faith would I then follow You each step of Your journey through this valley of tears; in faith would I visit the manger, the cross, and the tomb; for You have pronounced him blessed above all, who, though he sees not, yet believes in You. “Lord, I believe: help You mine unbelief.”

 

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luk_9:23-24

The life of our adorable Lord was a life of continuous trial. From the moment He entered our world He became leagued with suffering; He identified Himself with it in its almost endless forms. He seemed to have been born with a tear in His eye, with a shade of sadness on His brow. He was prophesied as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” And, from the moment He touched the horizon of our earth, from that moment His sufferings commenced. Not a smile lighted up His benign countenance from the time of His advent to His departure. He came not to indulge in a life of tranquility and repose; He came not to quaff the cup of earthly or of Divine sweets-for even this last was denied Him in the hour of His lingering agony on the cross. He came to suffer-He came to bear the curse-He came to drain the deep cup of wrath, to weep, to bleed, to die. Our Savior was a cross-bearing Savior: our Lord was a suffering Lord. And was it to be expected that they who had linked their destinies with His, who had avowed themselves His disciples and followers, should walk in a path diverse from their Lord’s? He Himself speaks of the incongruity of such a division of interests: “The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord.” There can be no true following of Christ as our example, if we lose sight of Him as a suffering Christ-a cross-bearing Savior. There must be fellowship with Him in His sufferings. In order to enter fully and sympathetically into the afflictions of His people, He stooped to a body of suffering: in like manner, in order to have sympathy with Christ in His sorrows, we must, in some degree tread the path He trod. Here is one reason why He ordained, that along this rugged path His saints should all journey. They must be like their Lord; they are one with Him: and this oneness can only exist where there is mutual sympathy. The church must be a cross- bearing church; it must be an afflicted church. Its great and glorious Head sought not, and found not, repose here: this was not His rest. He turned His back upon the pleasures, the riches, the luxuries, and even the common comforts of this world, preferring a life of obscurity, penury, and suffering. His very submission seemed to impart dignity to suffering, elevation to poverty, and to invest with an air of holy sanctity a life of obscurity, need, and trial.

We have seen, then, that our blessed Lord sanctified, by His own submission, a life of suffering; and that all His followers, if they would resemble Him, must have fellowship with Him in His sufferings. The apostle Paul seems to regard this in the light of a privilege. “For unto you,” he says, “it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” It seems, too, to be regarded as a part of their calling. “For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” Happy will be that afflicted child of God, who is led to view his Father’s discipline in the light of a privilege. To drink of the cup that Christ drank of-to bear any part of the cross that He bore-to tread in any measure the path that He trod, is a privilege indeed. This is a distinction which angels have never attained. They know not the honor of suffering with Christ, of being made conformable to His death. It is peculiar to the believer in Jesus-it is his privilege, his calling.

“True Christian Love” by A. W. Pink

Love is the Queen of the Christian graces. It is a holy disposition given to us when we are born again by God. It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. True spiritual love is characterized by meekness and gentleness, yet it is vastly superior to the courtesies and kindnesses of the flesh.

We must be careful not to confuse human sentimentality, carnal pleasantries, human amiability and affability with true spiritual love. The love God commands, first to Himself and then to others, is not human love. It is not the indulgent, self-seeking love which is in us by nature. If we indulgently allow our children to grow up with little or, no Scriptural discipline, Proverbs plainly says we do not love them, regardless of the human sentimentality and affection we may feel for them. Love is not a sentimental pampering of one another with a loose indifference as to our walk and obedience before the Lord. Glossing over one another’s faults to ingratiate ourselves in their esteem is not spiritual love.

The true nature of Christian love is a righteous principle which seeks the highest good of others. It is a powerful desire to promote their welfare. The exercise of love is to be in strict conformity to the revealed will of God. We must love in the truth. Love among the brethren is far more than an agreeable society where views are the same. It is loving them for what we see of Christ in them, loving them for Christ’s sake.

The Lord Jesus Himself is our example. He was not only thoughtful, gentle, self-sacrificing and patient, but He also corrected His mother, used a whip in the Temple, Severely scolded His doubting disciples, and denounced hypocrites. True spiritual love is above all faithful to God and uncompromising towards all that is evil. We cannot declare, ‘Peace and Safety’ when in reality there is spiritual decay and ruin!

True spiritual love is very difficult to exercise because it is not our natural love. By nature we would rather love sentimentally and engender good feelings. Also many times true spiritual love is not received in love, but is hated as the Pharisees hated it. We must pray that God will fill us with His love and enable us to exercise it without dissimulation toward all.

 

A Thought on Old Age and Decisions

There are times when you have to make a decision. Times when you must decide what it is you will do with your life, and how will you spend it. For some of us that decision comes early. For others of us that decision comes way too late, or at least we think, and believe, that we have wasted too much time, and therefore it is too late to do what we now realize we would like to do. We live in a society now that worships the young, and the energetic, and the athletic. The go-getters, and the power brokers, and we celebrate the celebrities of our time. We with a few years on us, such as myself, have quietly stepped into the background, and though I still firmly believe and am committed to the things I know, I no longer try to stand amongst the young lions who roam the streets of our towns and cities. I, like so many others, have grown older, and with age, have come other things, such as lack of desire, a body worn and wrinkled, and that now experiences pain beyond what I ever imagined. Yes, in some ways, I’m old. Of course, I’m not so old to those who are of my age group. It seems that the older we get the less likely we are to think of old age as being the age we are. Sadly, of course, the young are under no such compunction, and look at those of us who are over the age of 50 as being dinosaurs. Sadly, too, many of our young people think that we have the minds of one, too! I don’t know about you, but it irritates me no end when a young person talks down to me as if my inability to walk well means that I can no longer think so well either… Of course, I understand well their thinking that. After all I was young once, too, and I’ve been where they are at. We all have been where our young people are at…

I believe there’s a difference though between the people of my generation, and of those who came before. There was a time when one generation passed down the values and traditions of the one before. I remember well, all the time I spent with my grandmother, and the many things she talked to me about. Oh, the conversations we had. When she was young she came across the prairies in a covered wagon. Hard to believe, but it was true. She talked to me of her 3 sisters and 4 brothers, and their lives. I was stunned with amazement the first time she told me that they had no TV and only a radio to listen to for a half an hour or so sometimes in the evening. What in the world did they do with their time back then? It was utterly fascinating the world she talked of then, and now it’s seems that was only a figment of my imagination so far away does it seem from the reality in which I now live.

It’s become common place to dismiss our history, and our living history – in the form of our senior citizens – in this country. We dismiss them, discard them, tolerate them, warehouse them, rant at them, and forget many of them. Though I’m not that old, at least to my mind, I’m beginning to see the subtle shift in how people younger than I am view me. I remember the first time a young lady behind a counter gave me my senior citizen’s discount. I liked to have gone into shock, and I’m not so sure had I a cane then that I wouldn’t have smacked her upside the head with it; especially, when you consider the fact that at the time I wasn’t even 50 yet! Thankfully, I took her well-intentioned offer gracefully, and made no reply. Not so much because I’m cheap, but rather because had I confessed, it would have been an admission that I look really old. I realize now of course it wasn’t that I look old, but rather that she just had very young eyes…

In case, you’re wondering where this is leading, it’s to this. I may be older than you, but that does not mean that I’m a dinosaur, and it doesn’t mean that my time is up, or that I can’t still accomplish great and wonderful things. It will probably come as a shock to the young people reading this, but every truly worthwhile invention, book, painting, scientific breakthrough, and anything of any real merit has been accomplished by people well advanced in years. It also means for you older folk reading this that your time has not passed until you’re dead and in the grave, and depending on a decision you’ve made at some point in either your young or old life, it may very well go right on into eternity.

It has always been and will always be the responsibility of the generation that came before to lead the way for those who come after. We, are the ones, who sit in the seat of experience, and who have garnered the wisdom of years spent in living and in the pursuit of truth. We have the benefit of seeing life in hindsight which as anyone will tell you is 20/20. Now, for another truth, If you’re a child of God; if you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; if you’ve ever read the Bible – God’s Holy Word – then you know that old age is not a viable excuse to sit on your butt and not do anything.

I’ve made my decision. I’m going to live all out from here on in. I’ve lived the biggest part of my life pretty much the way I wanted, and if you’ve read my blog from the very beginning you know how that worked out. The time has come to decide if I’m just going to live life waiting for my Savior, or if I’m going to live the rest of my life in the middle of the greatest adventure I’ll ever know…serving my Lord. Serving, as in laying down, and laying aside myself, and emptying myself, and allowing My Lord to take me from the inside out and use and spend me howsoever He desires…

In this world there’s a good chance that I may not ever amount to much, but in the Kingdom of God I have nothing but endless opportunity in front of me. Maybe the world says I’m fit for a shelf, but with my Lord and Savior living within me there’s no end to what can be accomplished through me. I know this to be true…and you do, too.