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Devotions for Life

Greenhouses And Salvation

Ponder: Grace, Faith, an Obedience – how are they related?

Today’s Bible Verse:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith . . .” (Ephesians 2:8, NKJV).

Why is a greenhouse full of light? One answers, “Because it is made of glass.” Another replies, “Because the sun is shining.” The two answers are not contradictory; they simply approach the question from different angles. Cover the glass, and the greenhouse will be dark even at high noon; but at midnight the greenhouse will be dark no matter how much glass it has.

What saves sinners? One answers, “God’s grace.” Another replies, “We’re saved by faith.” A third says, “We must obey the gospel to be saved.” All three are correct. The ultimate source of salvation is God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8). But the sunshine of God’s grace radiates through the glass of trusting obedience (Mark 16:16; Hebrews 5:9). Sadly, multitudes of sincere people utterly reject the third answer (obedience), mistakenly thinking that it contradicts the first two (grace and faith).

In particular, most religious people reject the necessity of baptism for salvation. Erroneously viewing baptism as a work of merit, they think it detracts from God’s grace. Baptism, however, is like the glass in a greenhouse. It does not, of itself, provide salvation. Without God’s grace and your trust in Jesus, you could be immersed until you wrinkled up like a prune, but you would remain utterly lost. On the other hand, God ordained believer’s baptism as one of the conditions for receiving His grace. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter said baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), and that it saves us (1 Peter 3:21).

Is baptism a “sacrament” that produces salvation? Absolutely not! Nor does glass originate light. ‘But glass is still necessary for the greenhouse to be illuminated. And baptism is still necessary for sinners to receive God’s gracious gift of eternal life.

Let’s teach and practice the truth about the most important question of all: “What must I do to be saved?”

Song: “Trust and Obey”

Prayer: Father in heaven, we praise and thank You for Your rich grace poured out upon us through Jesus Christ. We pray for those who have not yet accessed Your grace through faith and obedience. Help us to reach them before it is eternally too late. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Joe Slater (Justin, TX)

slater194@yahoo.com



At Jesus’ Feet

Martha “had a sister called Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus listening to what he said” (Lk. 10:39).
Twice in Luke’s Gospel we read this expression, “sitting at the feet of Jesus” (Lk. 8:35; 10:39). This expression illustrates the place of nearness, the place of instruction and the place of safety.
 
It is at the feet of Jesus that all of us should be found.  He said in Matt. 11:29, “learn of me.”  What better place to learn of this perfect man?
 
Someone might reply, “How can I sit at Jesus’ feet when He had been removed corporally?”  It is true, heaven received Him out of the sight of man (Acts 1:9), but He is with us in the Spirit.  Before His ascension, He promised, “Lo, I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).
On earth, we have His house (1 Tim. 3:15), His word (Jn 17:17; 14:16-17), and His Spirit (Acts 2:38).  He said that where two or three are gathered in His name (Matt. 18:20), He would be there.  Therefore, we can sit at His feet.
 
Jesus wants us there to learn of Him, but He will not send a truant officer to compel us to be in attendance.
 
Paul simply put it this way, “I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” *Phil. 3:8).
Song:  “Jesus Is Lord”
 
Mighty Father, thank You for sending Your Son whose wisdom is greater than Solomon, and yea greater than any that has ever lived for He is equal to You!  May we understand that true wisdom is found in Jesus, and we pray that we will thirst for His guidance.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.  (rr)
 

Hugh Shira (Deceased)

Used by permission.

 



Serious Business

“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23 NKJV).

Luke 9 represents somewhat of a turning point in God’s word. In this chapter, Jesus’ apostles to be are given a taste of the ministry which awaits them as he sends them out to “preach the kingdom of God” (vs. 2) throughout the towns in the area. Not long after their return, the twelve gather with Jesus as He prays (vs. 18). From this point forward, Jesus equips them with vital information.

First, Jesus establishes His conditions of ministry: the fact that He is God’s Son (18 – 20). The people of Judea have no idea of Jesus’ identity, believing Him to be Elijah, John the Baptist, or one of the prophets. Peter correctly identifies Jesus as “the Christ of God.” As God’s son, Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18).

Second, Jesus gives the charge to his disciples to “deny themselves” by taking up their crosses daily and following Him (vs. 23). Certainly, His disciples had never heard such a message. Jesus also made it known that to follow Him begins with a desire to do so.

Third, this new lifestyle of denial will require a change. From this point forward, every facet of their lives will be under Jesus’ control. Another version renders Luke 9:23 in this fashion: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead” (Message).

Finally, this change will have consequences. It may require a complete denial of all the world has to offer. However, Jesus assures them that anyone “who loses his life for My sake will find it” (vs. 24). In other words, what Jesus offers far transcends anything the world offers. In fact, focusing only on the world’s wealth – rather than eternal – is not profitable (vs. 25).

Today, we as God’s children reap the benefits of this lifestyle. Are you taking up the cross?

Song: “I Surrender All”

“Father, I pray that I’ll never be afraid – or ashamed – to take up the cross daily. May my life bring glory to You and Lord Jesus, always and forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Kenny Westmoreland, Celina, TN (lesterk@excite.com)