In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus said that the gate to heaven is narrow (Matt. 7:13-14). The easier route through life is the path of happiness, which has side roads to decadence and self-indulgence. But the way to eternal life is marked by self-sacrifice and humility.
The Lord warned His followers not to be deceived about their salvation. Those who find heaven’s road have trusted Him as Savior and acknowledged that His sacrificial death paid their sin debt in full. This is important because we meet many people who appear to be walking the narrow path but have never made a decision for Christ. They may be busy with church work, but they have placed performance before commitment. At the judgment, Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23).
You don’t want to be among those who think their deeds will earn them admission to heaven. Receiving Christ as Savior is the only way (John 14:6). Then you can be sure that at the end of your life, you’ll step off the narrow road and into God’s presence forever (1 John 5:13).
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“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”—Isaiah 1:18
Our sins and imperfections, sinful thoughts, shameful motivations, and being unfaithful are covered by the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are made white as snow. Pure, clean and freshly renewed. In Christ we can be made to “measure up”. Not by our own work but instead by His sacrifice on the cross.
We might stumble and fall over and over again but what matters is that our Lord has taken care of our sins and shortcomings. So it is in God’s eyes, by His great love and mercy which endures forever, we are made whole again through Jesus Christ.
For most Americans this weekend is the last days before Christmas. Everyone will be focused on shopping, cooking, and driving to a relative’s house for the holiday.
For those of you traveling this weekend be especially careful. As you know the weather has created problems but unsafe drivers can create headaches for you and in some cases tragedy.
Remember, Christmas is not about presents. We are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. Jesus came into the world to save us from our sins. That was His gift to us. Now, let’s do our part by worshiping Jesus and thanking Him and giving praise as our gift to Him.
Blessings to all, this holiday season. And as they say here in the south, “Ya’ll be careful out there, ya hear.”
Have you noticed? We say you’re valuable if you’re pretty. We say you’re valuable if you produce or if you have a lot of money or a big home. If you can slam-dunk a basketball or snag a pop fly. Appearance and performance are the measuring stick. Pretty tough system, isn’t it? Where does that leave the ugly or uneducated? The aged or the disabled? The unborn child? Please understand, this is man’s system. It’s not God’s.
If there was anything Jesus wanted everyone to understand it was this– a person is worth something simply because he is a person. That’s why Jesus treated people like He did. Jesus’ love doesn’t depend on what we do for him. Your value is inborn. Period.
I know I don’t deserve a love like that. None of us do. When you get right down to it, any contribution we make is pretty puny. Therefore any calculation you do make about your worth is flawed because it is not of God. See yourself through God’s eyes. You are loved and valued like no one ever will be. No wonder they call Him the Savior!
Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” It doesn’t get more practical than that! When you see sin coming—duck! When you sense temptation, go the other way. Pay attention! You know your weaknesses. You also know the situations where your weaknesses are most vulnerable. Stay out of those situations. Late hours. Movies. Internet. Social media. Whatever gives Satan a foothold in your life, stay away from it. Watch out!
And pray! Prayer invites God to walk the shadowy pathways with us. To watch ahead for falling trees and tumbling boulders; to bring up the rear, guarding our backside from the poison darts of the devil.
Watch and pray! Good advice. Let’s take it! It could be the difference between a peaceful day on the lake and a stick of dynamite blowing up in our faces!
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.— Hebrews 13:20-21
This verse includes two significant results of Christ’s death and resurrection. God works in us to make us the kind of people that would please him, and he equips us to do the kind of work that would please him.
Let God change you from within and then use you to help others.