Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Thief on the Cross

The thief dying on the cross next to Jesus said, "Jesus, remember me in your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). Do you know what is amazing about that statement? He was trusting a dying man to save him! Jesus was covered with blood, with nails in His hands and feet, and looked totally helpless. The religious leaders and soldiers had asked Him to come down from the cross, but apparently Jesus didn't even have the power to do that. Can you imagine trusting a bloody, helpless man to save you?

The thief could have said, "Jesus, you're dying on a cross, and I'm dying on a cross." Why don't you pay for 80% of my sins on your cross, and I'll pay for the other 20% on my cross." That's what some people say. "Lord, you do your part, and I'll do my part. I'll pay for my part by going to church, by feeling guilty, and by trying my best." But it doesn't work that way. There can't be 2 Saviors--both you and Jesus. You must trust Jesus to pay for all of your sins. That's 100%. God can't save us until we stop trying to save ourselves.

A boy was drowning in a lake. His mother couldn't swim, but stood on the shore and cried out for someone to help. A man stood nearby but made no effort to save him. As the boy was going down for the last time, the man dove into the water, rescued him, and brought him to shore. The mother asked, "Why did you wait to save him?" The man replied, "As long as he was trying to save himself, he would have dragged me down with him. But when he stopped trying to save himself, then I could save him."

God wants to use the thief on the cross as a role model for us:
1) He knew he didn't deserve salvation
2) He knew he couldn't save himself
3) He placed his faith in a dying Savior
4) He called out to Jesus to be saved.
If you'll follow the example of the thief on the cross, Jesus will remember you in His kingdom as well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Full of Yourself or God?

A Bible student went to a wise man and said, "Will you teach me what you've learned about God?" The man invited him into his house and replied, "I'll be glad to, but first let me pour you a cup of coffee." The young man held out his cup as the man poured it until it was full, but kept pouring until it was overflowing.

The student said, "Stop! The coffee is spilling out. The cup can't hold any more." The wise man said, "This is your first lesson. When you are full of yourself, there is no room for God. If you want God to fill you up, you must first empty yourself."

How do you know if you're full of yourself? Here are a few signs: You frequently argue with others. You get offended when you don't get your way. You disrespect your boss. You're unwilling to do the things God has asked you to do. You pray about everything you want but forget to pray for others.

We empty ourselves by becoming humble and submissive. First Peter 2:13 says, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake" to earthly authorities. No one can make you submit. The only one who can make you submit is "yourself." First Peter 5:6 says, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time." The only one who can make you humble is "yourself." We make a decision to empty ourselves. We get out of the way so God can fill us up. We trust God to take care of our situations rather than trying to control and manipulate them ourselves. When we humble ourselves, we will find favor with God and He will exalt us at the proper time.
Kent

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Movies in Your Mind

When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, the devil showed Him all the kingdoms of the world "in a moment of time" (Luke 4:5). It's not possible to see every kingdom in the world all at once, so how did Satan do this? The devil got out his movie projector and showed it on the screen of His mind. If Satan could show "movies" to Jesus, he can do it to us as well.

When you go to a movie and watch the actor in the film get an incurable disease, it doesn't bother you. If he loses his job and goes bankrupt, it's no big deal to you. You're too busy eating popcorn and slurping on a Coke to feel his pain! But when you watch the imaginary "movies in your mind" you are the one in the movie. You watch yourself get the incurable disease. You see yourself losing your job and going bankrupt. Have you ever noticed how the "movies in your mind" never have a happy ending?

God has told us in 2 Cor. 10:5 how to stop the movies from playing in our minds. "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." We REMOVE the fearful thoughts of the future by casting them down in Jesus' name, and then we REPLACE them with encouraging thoughts that God wants us to dwell upon.

It's a simple two-step process, but you must carry out both actions--remove and replace. And if you'll do that, you'll start seeing happy endings when you think of the future.
Kent

Sunday, March 7, 2010

We Will Reap IN DUE TIME

Galatians 6:9 says, "And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." What does "in due time" mean? It means that God has the day circled on His calendar as to when He will bring your harvest.

When you make your house payment, the billing statement will specify a "due date." Your mortgage company doesn't say, "Oh, just pay it whenever you want." No, they tell you the exact date so that there's no question in your mind about it. When UPS delivers a Next Day Air package, they promise to deliver it "in due time." It is scheduled to arrive by 10:30 the next morning or the shipper doesn't have the pay the shipping costs.

In the same way, your harvest has a specific arrival time on God's schedule. Even though we might not know when it's coming, we can place our confidence in God's promise to bring the harvest in His perfect timing. God has never been late on His deliveries! If we will keep that fact in mind, we will not get discouraged in doing good knowing that the Lord has promised to reward us for our labor. The harvest IS coming!
Keep sowing good seeds,
Kent