Am I ready to be a Christian?

Having a person ask you if they’re ready to be a Christian is like having someone ask you if they’re really in love.  Because, if you were really in love, would you have to ask?  It’s hard to hear that, though, and of course, the Bible must be our authority in asking if one is ready. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Complete Forgiveness

Reading: Isaiah 1:16-20

Have you ever played in the snow? I used to live in the Northern part of the United States, and every winter the snow would come to fill our streets and yards. Overnight, the world was transformed into a crystal-white play-land. Trees, bushes, and houses looked unfamiliar underneath their blankets. Everything seemed clearer and sharper, as if I were wearing new eyeglasses. Even the air smelled different.

Our mother dressed us in bright pink snowsuits to play outside. The plows would leave tall piles of snow in the school parking lot, which made perfect “mountains” for us to climb and build tunnels and warrens for playing. The snow brought new amusements that couldn’t be done the rest of the year: sledding, skating, and snowball fights.

I no longer live where it snows every winter. The closest impression I receive is when the cotton fields are harvested and left in the fields in large, snow-white blocks to be transported to the cotton gin. Those large white “mountains” of cotton remind me of the snow. But it’s not the same as in my childhood, when every year the snow came and changed my world.

Snow can transform a landscape, can change the way we see things, and can also change the things we do. So, too, does the healing power of God’s forgiveness. After confessing our wrongs to Him and resolving to change our ways, the weight of guilt and shame is dissolved, and we can see the goodness of God around us, urging us on in our service to Him. When God says He will make us white as snow, it is because He knows what snow means to the earth it touches.

For Further Study:

  • Repentance is more than just saying you are sorry ~ it means resolving to change your life so that you will not commit the same sin again. Many people feel sorry for their sin but don’t change their circumstances and habits so that they can do better in the future. Read Luke 3:7-14. When John the Baptist told men to repent, he expected them to prove it through their new works for God. Read also Matthew 12:43-45. What happens when we don’t replace wrong behavior with right ones?

 

  • How was true repentance demonstrated in the lives of these people: Paul (Acts 9:1-31); the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:25-34); the Ephesians (Acts 19:11-20).

  • Is there a habit or problem that you feel sorry for and would like to change? Write it down. Write down when it is most likely to happen. Write down the things or people that influence you in this habit. What can you change about your life so that this behavior can cease? Also, what good thing can you do in place of it?
Posted in Baptism, Holiness/purity, Repentance & Forgiveness, Savior, Skies, Weather. Comments Off on Complete Forgiveness

Remember Your Creator

Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:1-3

The following essay was written by Bruce S. Wright and published in The Children’s Six Minutes in 1922. The book is now in the public domain and available for reading free on the internet.

COME

There is not a girl or boy … who does not feel within the desire to do good. The drawing power of good–in other words, the drawing power of God. He it is who says to you, “Come.”

I want to illustrate this by a few things which I have here. The first is this magnet. And here are some small nails. These tiny nails represent girls and boys of about eleven or twelve years of age. I apply the magnet to these nails and I lift up–can you see me–twenty-five or thirty nails. You see it is a great deal easier to respond to the drawing power of good, to answer the great “Come,” in girlhood and boyhood.

Now here are some nails that are a little larger. I can lift up only five or six of these larger nails. They represent young people of eighteen or nineteen. As one gets older he does not hear as readily, at least he does not answer, Christ’s blessed “Come.”

Next we have some nails still larger. The magnet will lift up only one or two of these. They stand for men and women in mature life. Oh, if one has not responded to Christ’s call in childhood or youth, it becomes increasingly difficult as the years pass. How seldom, how very seldom, does an aged one answer the divine call and give his heart to the Lord!

Here is a very large nail, and it is rusty. Indeed it is literally coated with rust. This represents the life that is deep in sin. For long years this life has been persisting in his evil ways. As the magnet must be very strong to penetrate the rust and grip the nail, so Christ’s call must be strong and loving to reach the sinful soul. Christ can save “from the uttermost,” but how much better it is to say in early youth, “I hear thy voice, my Lord. Gladly I come.”

For Further Study:

  • There are many verses from the Bible that tell us not to wait to remember our Creator. Read Psalm 90:12; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:5.

 

  • Read Luke 9:57-62 and 14:15-24. What kind of excuses did people give in these stories? What was Christ’s reactions to these excuses? Can you think of similar excuses that people give today for not obeying God?

  • Why do you think a young person can find it easier to remember his Creator than an older person? What advantages do the young have over older people? How are you making use of these advantages in your service to God?
Posted in Baptism, Family, Loves children, Youth. Comments Off on Remember Your Creator

An Important Promise

Reading: Nehemiah 10:28-33

Taylor itched. Taylor sweated. Taylor felt pinched by his clothes. Taylor was wearing a tuxedo, but he would have rather been in play clothes. Taylor was going to a wedding with his Mimi and Pop-Pop, when he would have rather been going to the zoo. Nevertheless, he smiled when his Mimi looked proudly at him. He was going to be the ring-bearer for the wedding of his aunt, Mimi’s daughter. He knew this was a special day for all of them.

“You look very nice, Taylor,” Mimi said.

“Thank you, Mimi,” said Taylor. He looked at a closed door nearby. “Is that where Aunt Shirley is waiting?”

“Yes, she’ll stay there until Pop-Pop comes to walk her down the aisle.” Mimi looked at her watch. “We’ll be starting very soon. I think they’re both in there praying, so I’ll wait a little while before I knock.”

“What are they praying for?” asked Taylor.

“Well, your Aunt Shirley is about to make one of the most important promises of her life. She’s going to stand in front of all of us and say that she promises to love and honor Mr. Bradley.”

“Then they’ll be husband and wife,” said Taylor. With a grimace, he added, “After they kiss.”

Mimi smiled and said, “Yes, that’s right. Taylor, we make promises all through our lives, but there are two promises we make that are more important than any other. One of these is when we marry. That’s a promise between a man and a woman to love, honor, and take care of each other until they die. They will no longer be alone, and they’ll be a happy family.”

“What’s the other big promise we make?” Taylor asked.

“The other one is even more important. It’s a promise we make when we become baptized. We are forgiven then, and added to Christ’s church. At that time also, we start a new life with God. We promise to honor God and obey Him, and God promises to take care of us and forgive us. We’re supposed to keep this promise until we die also.”

Taylor frowned. “It’s hard to keep a promise for a long, long, time.”

“Yes, that’s why we have to think about it and prepare for it. But God doesn’t want to make it hard for us. He gave us His Word and a church family to help us.”

They both turned as the door opened quietly and Pop-Pop came out, with Aunt Shirley on his arm. Taylor thought his aunt looked so pretty in her long dress.

Mimi leaned over and whispered to Taylor, “Do you see that big smile on Shirley’s face? She’s happy to make her promises to Mr. Bradley, because she knows how much joy it will bring both of them. We can have joy and blessings by being part of God’s family also.”

For Further Study:

  • Do you make promises quickly? Or do you think about them first? God expects His people to have knowledge and understanding (verse 28). In the book of Acts, nobody is baptized without first learning about Christ (Acts 2:37-41 and 8:25-36, for example). John 6:45 and Romans 10:17 tell us the importance of being taught the Word of God. Becoming a Christian is a serious decision and God wants us to be ready for it!

  • Do you remember the story of Daniel? He made a promise to obey God in Daniel 1:8. Can you “purpose in your heart” to be a faithful young person for God? What are some of the things you’d like to learn to do in order to serve God better?
Posted in Baptism, Church, Inspiration of the Word. Comments Off on An Important Promise

Truly Benefitting from Bible Study

As with anything you study, you don’t retain it unless you really use it.  This explains why I don’t remember the Periodic Table of Elements.  By the same token, if Bible study doesn’t really change your life, you’ll get little fruit from your efforts.

Our children rely so much on our example.  They need to see God’s Word living in us.  If they get it from the printed page but see inconsistencies in our lives, we’ll be showing them how easy it is to be like the men Paul spoke of in 1 Timothy 3:7 ~ “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth.”

Therefore, I just wanted to encourage you to try to “practice what you preach.”  It certainly won’t be easy, and you’ll definitely make mistakes.  But when you fall, you can also teach your children about sincerity of heart, desire for forgiveness, and thankfulness in God’s mercy.

Some other considerations…

1. Be a Christian.  Read God’s Word, repent of your sins, confess your belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God to others, and be immersed completely in water for the forgiveness of your sins.  You can see how others did this in the book of Acts, specifically Acts 2 & 8 if you’re in a hurry.  This is a Bible study with more details about God’s plan for our salvation.  Feel free to email me if you have any questions at mirrorjranch@gmail.com.

2. Pray for wisdom.  God wants us to pray for this (James 1:5-8).  Do we ever really have enough wisdom?  Ask God for wisdom to see the Truth plainly and wisdom to raise your children properly.  I pray for this so often.

3. Serve others.  Our children need to see that God’s Word changes relationships.  For example, they can read Scripture about humility, but they won’t believe it if you don’t submit to your husband.  Your life is the best “application lesson” they’ll ever receive.

4. “Disinfect” your home.  You can feed a tablespoon of Scripture to the kids every day but it’s not enough if their eyes and ears are feasting on the world through books, magazines, music, television, and computers.  Make your home a haven from the world.

5. Speak about God often.  Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us when it’s appropriate to talk to our children about God ~ when we sit, walk, lie down and get up.  When you see something in nature, when a loved one calls, when you’re anxious – let your children see you pray, sing, and talk about the Bible.  Let them feel like Jesus is an honored friend in your home, not an inconsistent visitor.

6. Be an active part of the Lord’s church.  Find and attend a church that follows the New Testament pattern in their stand for the Truth, organization, worship, and work.  You don’t have to feel alone in raising your family and leading your children to heaven.  If you don’t have a church family to help you in this all-important task, email me and I’ll help you find one in your area.