“Take the Test” October 12


Take the test: look into the mirror of God's Word and ask yourself, "Which of these characteristics describe me and which don't?" What do your answers tell you about your walk with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?Take the test: look into the mirror of God’s Word and ask yourself, “Which of these characteristics describe me and which don’t?” What do your answers tell you about your walk with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?


Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 9 & 10
Psalm 118.5-9
Proverbs 27.7
Colossians 3.1-25


Take the Test


Colossians 3.1-25:

The Mirror of God’s Word


In chapter 1 of James’ epistle, he compares the Word of God to a mirror (Jas. 1.23) and goes on to say that “if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (Jas. 1.25).

Here in Colossians, Paul commands us to “set our mind on things above, not on the things on the earth” (v. 2).

This chapter gives us a great summary of what a mature Christian life should look like—kind of a composite mirror image of Christlike character. Read back through Colossians 3 and take the test. Ask yourself what you are reflecting to the world.


The Test


□  Are you putting sinful desires to death? Do you repent when you recognize them (v. 5)?

□  Do you covet what others have, either relationships, material things, or prestige (v. 5)?

□ Are you worshiping anything besides God alone (v. 5)?

□  Do you allow yourself to get angry or malicious (v. 8)?

□ Do you use unwholesome or filthy language (v. 8)?

□  Do you use the Lord’s name in vain, even those OMGs (v. 8)?

□  Do you lie to avoid conflict or problems, cover sin, or mislead (v. 9)?

□  Are you seeking to become more like Christ (v. 10)?

□  Are you merciful and compassionate (v. 12)?

□  Are you kind to friends, family, co-workers and strangers (v. 12)?

□  Are you proud (defensive, self-righteous, demanding, selfish …) (v. 12)?

□  Are you patient (longsuffering) (v. 12)?

□  Are you willing to bear with (put up with, be inconvenienced by) others (v. 13)?

□  Are you forgiving (v. 13)?

□  Do you demonstrate the love of Christ (v. 14, 1 Cor. 13.4-7)?

□  Do you have God’s peace (v.15)?

□  Are you thankful (v. 15)?

□  Are you growing in your knowledge of God’s Word (v. 16)?

□  Are you growing in the wisdom of God (v. 16)?

□  Are you sharing God’s Word with others (v. 16)?

□  Are you willing to speak the truth in love to others (admonish) (v. 16)?

□  Do you have a worshipful heart (v. 16)?

□  Do you do all things in the name of the Lord (is what characterizes your life pleasing to Him) (v. 17)?

□ Wives, are you submissive to your husband (v. 18)?

□  Husbands, do you love your wife biblically or are you bitter toward her (v. 19)?

□  Children, do you obey your parents in all things (v. 20)?

□  Parents, do you provoke your children to anger through your ungodly attitudes and behavior (v. 21)?

□  Employees, do you obey and submit to your boss or supervisor (v. 22)?

□ Are you a man-pleaser, instead of a God-pleaser (v. 22)?

□  Do you fear God (worship, respect Him and His Word) (v. 22)?

□  Do you do all things heartily (v. 23)?

None of us will do all these things perfectly. In fact, that’s why Christ died, because we can’t … and certainly not in our own strength. But as we learn to rely on the Holy Spirit working through us, we should see growth in these areas.  When we read prayerfully through passages like Colossians 3, we allow the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts and show us areas where we may need to repent and seek God’s help to change.

What do your answers reveal to you? What do they say about your relationship with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?

“But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (Jas. 1.25 NLT).


Take the test: look into the mirror of God's Word and ask yourself, "Which of these characteristics describe me and which don't?" What do your answers tell you about your walk with God, your trust in Him, and your level of spiritual maturity?

Today’s Other Readings:


Jeremiah 9 & 10:

Tongues like Arrows


I love the imagery in the Bible. As you read, think about what some of these images portray.  Continue reading

“True Worship = Obedience” August 14


True Worship = Obedience -

True worship is more than a time of music and singing. True worship involves how we live our lives, whether we obey God or respond by hardening our hearts to His commands.

Also, God is a God of order and He has ordained authority as part of that order. No matter what we think, we are not living obediently if we aren’t fully submitted to the authority He has placed in our lives.


Today’s Readings:
Job 19 & 20
Psalm 95.6-11
Proverbs 23.4-5
Romans 13.1-14


True Worship = Obedience


Psalm 95.6-11:

For He Is Our God


Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.

listening ear

True worship is more than merely showing up at church to sing and raise our hands. It is submitting our hearts and lives to God in obedience and realizing that “He is God.” It’s then that we “will hear His voice.”

No matter how often we attend church or what kind of outward religious activity we perform, if we’re not submitted to God in our hearts, which is demonstrated by our obedience, we are no different from those who hardened their hearts, rebelled, and tested God.


Today’s Other Readings:


Job 19 & 20:

My Redeemer Lives


In spite of all his miseries, Job could still say, “For I know that my Redeemer lives …” That should put most of us to shame! He went on to say, “… I shall see God.” So no matter what, he was sure of his eternal destiny.  Continue reading

“Biblical Hope & Eternal Security” August 7


eternal security

What is biblical hope? Is it the “wishing and hoping” kind of hope? And what about eternal security? Can a believer lose his salvation?


Today’s Readings:
Job 5 & 6
Psalm 92.1-7
Proverbs 22.16
Romans 8.22-39


Biblical Hope & Eternal Security


Romans 8.22-39:

Biblical Hope


Verses 24-25, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

fingers crossedBiblical hope is not the “wishing and hoping” kind of hope, as if something might happen.

Although it has not yet happened, biblical hope is a sure thing, because it is based on God’s promises.

Paul gives us some of the greatest examples of biblical hope in the remainder of this chapter! Verses 28-30:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

In verse 28 He promises to work all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Notice it said all things! Is that thing you are going through part of the all things? Yes! (Notice, Paul didn’t say all things are good, but that God would use them for good.)

In verse 29 He says that God has predestined us to be like Christ. If we are truly saved, God is working in our lives to make us more like His Son, and sometimes, He uses tests and trials and difficult people to do that. Instead, of murmuring and complaining we need to see it as God’s hand molding and shaping us.

But God’s promises in this chapter don’t end there.


Eternal Security


eternal securityThen he says, “whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (vs. 30). We won’t be glorified until we get to heaven. That means if He called us and justified us (made us right with Him), He will glorify us. We will not lose our salvation somewhere along the line! What a great promise of our eternal security!

If that’s not enough and to be sure we get it, Paul asks the question:  Continue reading

“Do you know your spiritual gifts?” July 9


Do You Know Your Spiritual Gifts?


All believers receive spiritual gifts at the time of salvation. Do you know your spiritual gifts and are you using them for God’s glory?


Do you know your spiritual gifts?


Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 13 & 14
Psalm 81.1-5
Proverbs 20.22-23
Acts 15.22-41


Acts 15.22-41:

Different Gifts & Strengths


In Acts 15.37-41 Paul and Barnabas disagreed over whether or not to take John Mark with them on their second missionary journey—so much so that they split up and go two separate ways.

God gifts us all differently and sometimes we will disagree on things even in areas of ministry. I imagine Paul as being very practical. John Mark had deserted them on the previous journey and he wanted someone he knew would be dependable.

thumbs up

Barnabas, however, was an encourager. In fact, Barnabas was not his real name. His name was Joses, but he was such an encourager that the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas which means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4.36). God used their differences to further spread the gospel as two missionary teams went out with their different styles and callings.

All believers receive a spiritual gift or, perhaps, we might call it a gifting as it is often a blend of spiritual gifts in varying amounts (1 Pet. 4.10, 1 Cor. 12). We receive it at the time of our conversion. This spiritual gifting is unique to us and different from our natural talents, although they sometimes work together. Spiritual gifts are not given to make us look good or to use for our own spiritual gain, but for the benefit of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12.7).  Continue reading

“Worship, Arguing & Fools” June 30


Worship, Arguing & Fools - What is your attitude toward Sunday morning worship? Is it something you see as nice "if you make it on time"? Do you purposely come in late to avoid it? Or do you see it as an offering to the Lord?What is your attitude toward Sunday morning worship? Is it something you see as nice “if you make it on time”? Do you purposely come in late to avoid it? Or do you see it as an offering to the Lord?

And speaking of attitudes, how do you handle conflict? Do you always have to have the last word in an argument? What does that have to do with foolishness?


Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 23-25
Psalm 78.40-55
Proverbs 20.3
Acts 9.22-43


Worship, Arguing & Fools


1 Chronicles 23, 24 & 25:

How is your worship attitude?


Verse 25.1, “Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals.”

The passage goes on to tell us there were 288 singers, plus musicians and support staff, 4,000 in all! What a music ministry that must have been! There were people singing and praising the Lord all the time!

And when I read the Psalms and other passages of Scripture, it appears to me there is lots of praise and lots of music in heaven. I believe God loves to receive our heartfelt praises often expressed through music and singing.

How do you view that time in the service where the truths of God are being proclaimed through music and song? Do you see it as just the prelude to the service, something to be enjoyed “if you make it on time”? Do you purposely arrive late to avoid it? Or do you see it as a time when you really focus on God and worship Him? Do you allow the words of the songs to penetrate your heart? Do you “think about” and “meditate on” the words you’re singing? Or have you allowed it to become “vain repetition“?

Let’s ask God to give us a “right spirit” where praise and worship are concerned.


Today’s Other Readings:


Psalm 78.40-55:

Remember and Have a Thankful Heart


heart hands

Like the ancient Israelites, we are forgetful people, forgetful hearers of His Word, and forgetful of the wonderful things He has done. If all He ever did for us, was die for our sins so we don’t have to spend eternity separated from Him, it should be enough. But He does so much more.

Take time to thank Him today. Keep a list of answers to prayer, so you can “encourage yourself in the Lord” and have a thankful heart!


Proverbs 20.3:

Quarreling Fools


“It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.”

We often think it proves something when we win an argument, and there certainly are truths worth standing up for, but even then, a believer is not to be argumentative (2 Tim. 2.23). It’s not about “winning.” This verse reminds us that it is often more honorable to lay it down, to let the other person have the last word, to be the better person!

And Proverbs 26.4 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him.” 

So when two people are determined to win an argument at all costs, what you end up with is two fools talking to each other.  Continue reading

“What Do Wax, Cracks & Happy Hearts Have to Do with Worship?” June 26


What Do Wax, Cracks & Happy Hearts Have to Do with Worship? -

If you did a heart check, how would you describe your heart attitude this past week? In your relationships with others? How about before Sunday worship? How have you approached God privately? Do you know what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth? How’s your obedience? Do you “obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart?”

I have to admit that I, sometimes (dare I say, often), fall short in these areas!


Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 15 & 16
Psalm 78.12-16
Proverbs 19.22-24
Acts 7.44-60


What Do Wax, Cracks & Happy Hearts Have to Do with Worship?


By the Way … Bless Me

1 Chronicles 15 & 16:


If you remember, David’s first attempt to bring the stolen Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem hadn’t gone well (2 Sam. 6.6-8; 1 Chron. 13.1-10). But here in 1 Chronicles 15 we find David once again preparing to bring the Ark back. This time he does it in a way that is honoring to God (1 Chron. 15.1-15). Whether he spent time reading the scrolls or talking to the priests, he had learned the importance of following God’s specific instructions for moving it.

Then David said, “No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the Lord has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever.”

11 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites: for Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it. 13 For because you did not do it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.”

14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.

Sometimes we, too, have a heart to do something for God, but we jump out there and do it without really seeking to understand if it’s the way He wants it done or if it’s His will. Instead of prayerfully seeking Him, we go do our own thing and then ask God to bless our plan.


In Spirit and Truth


Everything the Israelites did in regard to the ark was part of their worship. It represented the presence of God with them.

When it comes to worship, we can be thankful that we have a new and better covenant as the book of Hebrews tells us (Heb. 8.6). We are no longer under the ceremonial law with all of its restrictions and prohibitions (like “don’t touch the ark, unless you’re a Levite”). But the Old Testament laws were given so that we might better understand who God is.

In this case, that He is a holy God and should be honored as such. In the New Testament Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4.24).

Worship is to come from the heart, in sincerity. The word “sincere” means “without wax.” In ancient times if pottery was of poor quality, it would get small cracks. To cover them up, merchants would fill the cracks with wax. When we worship Him in sincerity—”without wax”—we do it without hypocrisy, openly, with pure hearts, honestly confessing our sins to Him, because, while we may be able to fool others by putting some wax in the cracks, we cannot fool God.


The Sweet Psalmist of Israel

Psalm 78.12-16 & 1 Chronicles 16.8-36:


In Psalm 78 the psalmist continued to extol the works of God which we have talked about before, so instead of commenting on those verses I’d like to talk about David’s psalm in our Chronicles reading (1 Chron. 16.8-36).

David is called “the sweet psalmist of Israel.” What a beautiful example we see here. Especially note the verbs and what they show us about how to praise and worship God, such as: give thanks, call, sing, talk, glory, seek, remember, proclaim, declare, give, bring, tremble, and say.

As you worship God in the days to come, it might be good to look back at this psalm and incorporate some of those ideas into your worship, if you don’t already.


All the Way, Right Away, with a Happy Heart

Proverbs 19.22-24:


Verse 23a, “The fear of the Lord leads to life.”

The fear of the Lord is not the cowering fear of an abusive God who is just waiting to clobber us because we fall short. It’s worshipful respect.

But it’s, also, knowing that God is God and that He loves us enough to discipline us if we’re determined to go our own way instead of His. He does so because He knows that His way is the way that leads to life no matter how it looks to us.

Living in the fear of the Lord doesn’t just involve our one on one relationship with Him. It is how we live our lives every minute of every day. It’s obeying His commands and precepts in all areas of our lives. It’s how we treat others, our attitude toward authority, our motives for all that we do and much more.

Sometimes when I counsel younger children I teach them a phrase I learned many years ago from Ginger Hubbard, “Obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart!”

That’s good advice for all of us, but does that mean?  Continue reading

“Are You Hungry for Him or Settling for Yum-Yums?” May 21


Are You Hungry for Him or Settling for Yum-Yums? -

What did Jesus mean when He said we must “eat His flesh and drink His blood?” Why is it the path to true happiness, peace, satisfaction, and joy? Have you been settling, instead, for something that ends up like the yum-yums the White Witch offered Edmund in Narnia? Has it left you with nothing but a craving for more of the same?

Also, as David’s story continues to unfold in 2 Samuel, we see the foolishness of thinking we can sin in secret and that our sins won’t affect anyone but us. David had set in motion laws of sowing and reaping and the sad results were happening before his eyes in the lives of his own children. How can this drive us to our knees to pray for God’s wisdom in our own parenting?


Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 13 & 14
Psalm 66.1-7
Proverbs 16.25-26
John 6.52-71


Are You Hungry for Him or Settling for Yum-Yums?


John 6.52-71:

The Bread of Life


48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

Verse 56:

56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

What does it mean to “eat His flesh and drink His blood?” In verse 56 Jesus said the one who does so “abides” in Him.

John 15, also, talks about “abiding in Him.”

John 15.9-11 says, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

open bible mineWe “eat His flesh and drink His blood” when we allow the “Word of God,” to become as much a part of our being as the food we eat. Food is digested and broken down in our bodies and literally becomes a part of us. So should the Word of God.

Is it truly a part of who you are or just some nice ideas that you consider if you feel like it or if it “seems right to you” as our Proverbs passage today says? The Word of God is not a buffet where we can pick and choose what seems palatable to us or makes us happy.

Our “happiness” is not God’s first concern, rather it’s our holiness! In fact, the “happiness” the world offers is like the yum-yums the White Witch offered Edmund in Narnia, only an illusion crafted by the deceiver himself.

As today’s Proverbs reading says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Prov. 16.25).

When we seek happiness in disobedience, the end is death, beginning with our intimacy with God. The next thing we know the yum-yums we desired have vanished only to be replaced by a craving for something that brings no satisfaction.

True happiness, peace and satisfaction is found by “abiding in Him,” in “keeping the commandments,” in “eating His flesh and drinking His blood,” so that His “joy may remain in [us], and that [our] joy may be full.”


Today’s Other Readings:


2 Samuel 13 & 14:

Sad Consequences


God had told David in 2 Samuel 2.11, “‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house …”

David’s sins were adultery and murder. Now his son Ammon has raped his own half-sister and her brother, Absalom, has murdered Ammon and fled for fear.

38 So Absalom had fled and gone to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 The heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, since he was dead (2 Sam. 13.38-39).

But even though David longed to see his son, he refused to go to him. Only when one of his men interceded did he allow Absalom to return to Jerusalem and, even then, refused to see him for two more years.

I have to wonder what was going through David’s mind. How he must have reflected back on the consequences of his sin and its effect on his family. Perhaps the idea of seeing Absalom was too much to bear.  Continue reading

“How to Respond to Imperfect Authority” May 15


How to Respond to Imperfect Authority - How should we respond to imperfect authority? Are we to obey no matter what? Are we to refuse? And, if so, is there a right way and a wrong way?How should we respond to imperfect authority? Are we to obey no matter what? Are we to refuse? And, if so, is there a right way and a wrong way?

Also, what’s wrong with living together? Many people today argue that a marriage license is “just a piece of paper”! What does the Bible really say?


Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 1 & 2
Psalm 62.1-4
Proverbs 16.10-12
John 4.1-30


How to Respond to Imperfect Authority


2 Samuel 1 & 2:

Well, we have passed another milestone, another Old Testament book under our belts. Now we are on to 2 Samuel.


Proper Respect for Authority


In chapter 1 David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, especially Jonathan with whom David had a special covenant relationship. I believe it was Jonathan’s faith in God and sensitivity to what God was doing that led him to make a covenant with David.

We also see Jonathan’s loyalty to his father, although he didn’t allow that loyalty to cause him to sin. Instead, he kept his covenant to protect David. He warned David of the threat against him and spoke the truth to his father, telling him what he was doing was wrong. But in the end he refused to desert his father, even though it cost him his life.

What a beautiful picture of how we should respond to those God has placed in authority over us.

salute authorityAll of us are under authority. Wives are under their husbands’ authority. Children under their parents. Students are under the authority of teachers and administrators. Employees under their bosses and supervisors. We are all under the civil authorities: police men and women, judges, governors, all three branches of our federal government and others. Christians are under the authority of their pastors and elders. And we are all under God’s authority.

The only perfect authority is God’s.

All other authority is imperfect.

That doesn’t let us off the hook.

Ephesians 5 instructs wives: Continue reading

“The Danger of Cultural Christianity” April 17



The Danger of Cultural Christianity - Yesterday was Easter. If you attended church, you probably sang about the blood of Christ that was shed for your sins, but the singing didn't stop there. You, probably, sang about the Resurrection, too. You rejoiced that the tomb is empty and Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, having overcome death, hell, and the grave.  But as church goers in America there is a certain danger in the familiarity of all that. We aren't faced with the choice of committing to Christ and facing persecution, even death, or remaining what our culture says we are, at least in name, whether Muslim or Hindu or some other religion. So instead, we run the risk of being cultural Christians, what our family or our tradition says we are ... Christians in name only.Yesterday was Easter. If you attended church, you probably sang about the blood of Christ that was shed for your sins, but the singing didn’t stop there. You, probably, sang about the Resurrection, too. You rejoiced that the tomb is empty and Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, having overcome death, hell, and the grave.

But as church goers in America there is a certain danger in the familiarity of all that. We aren’t faced with the choice of committing to Christ and facing persecution, even death, or remaining what our culture says we are, at least in name, whether Muslim or Hindu or some other religion. So instead, we run the risk of being cultural Christians, what our family or our tradition says we are … Christians in name only.

When an observer in Jesus’ time asked, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” He warned that the gate is narrow. And when the people of Joshua’s day claimed that they would serve the Lord, he told them not to take that commitment lightly. Are there many today who have failed to heed those warnings? Are there many who are basing their relationship with God on something besides the true Gospel?

That should be heart-breaking for those of us who truly understand the Gospel, because it is the most incredible GOOD NEWS ever! Today’s post includes a link to a video that could shake your understanding of what the good news of the Gospel really is!


Today’s Readings:
Joshua 23 & 24
Psalm 47.1-9
Proverbs 14.14
Luke 13.23-35


The Danger of Cultural Christianity


Joshua 23 & 24:

You Choose … Whether to Serve the Lord or Something Else


What a rich portion of Scripture! Joshua is coming to the end of his life and he wants to leave everything in order. He takes time to remind the people about all God has done for them and encourages them to remember how He has been faithful to His Word.

In 23.12-13 he warns them about intermarrying with unbelievers. This is still true today. If you are single and considering marriage or if you do in the future, remember, we are free to marry only in the Lord! (1 Cor. 7.39) – that is to another believer.

Then Joshua calls them to make a choice as to whom they will serve:

“…. choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (v. 24.15).

And when they are quick to say, “We also will serve the Lord,” he challenges them that this is no flippant profession, this is serious business and they should count the cost and mean what they say.


Is He Lord?


Today many talk about “cheap grace.” If you want to go to heaven, just ask Jesus to come into your heart and He’ll forgive you for your sins and you’ll have your ticket to heaven.

It is true that we can do nothing to deserve salvation and nothing to save ourselves. It is by grace alone through faith alone. But Jesus didn’t imply that it was “cheap.” First of all, it wasn’t cheap for Him. He paid the ultimate price.

Part of coming to Him in faith means we recognize our desperate need for Him and that we are sinners with no ability to fix ourselves. There is to be repentance (a change of heart and mind leading to change in the direction of our lives) and a willingness to acknowledge Him as Lord (Rom. 10.9-10; Acts 2.36). Lord … Master, God, the One who has the right to tell us what is right and wrong and how to live our lives!

Have you truly put your faith and trust in Him for your salvation?

Jesus gave an even stronger warning in today’s New Testament reading.


Luke 13.23-35:

The Narrow Gate


Jesus warned that the gate is narrow (v. 24) and that many who think they have entered, have not. Verses 23-27:

23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’”

What a terrifying thing, to think you’re assured a place in heaven, yet hear those words, “I do not know you.”

The striving Jesus talked about is not our good works or self-efforts. In fact, we can’t get to heaven based on our own righteousness, because we don’t have any of our own (Rom. 3.10-12).

Today the gate is open (Heb. 3.15). God desires that all men be saved (1 Tim. 2.4), but we must believe and receive the Gospel.

11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (1 Jn. 1.11-13).


In What Have You Placed Your Hope of Heaven?


Is it your church membership or the fact you were born into a Christian family? Is it your good works? Is it simply that you believe in God? Is it that you once prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, or got baptized?

Those are all good things and may take place as part of our salvation experience. But none of them, in and of themselves, can save you! We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone (Eph. 2.8-9). His grace, received through our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Jesus said, ““The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk. 1.15).


So What is the Gospel?


If you have any doubts about whether or not you have believed the Gospel, I would encourage you to watch this video by Dr. Michael Horton of Westminster Seminary. It’s a little long, but you can’t listen to Dr. Horton’s explanation and not realize what incredibly GOOD NEWS the Gospel really is!  Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “Here I am. Send me!” + LINKUP


The Jesus Code

Chapter 21 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

This week’s question: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? (Isaiah 6.8).

To answer this question we must begin with worship, the kind of worship Jesus talked about in John 4, worship that is in spirit and in truth.

The author points out that America has traditionally been known for three things, “our freedom of worship as well as our work ethic in the marketplace and our enjoyment of sports and entertainment.” But, he says, these three things have gotten out of balance. We too often, “play at our worship . . . worship our work . . . and work at our play.”

Like the times we live in, Isaiah 6 was written at a time of instability and uncertainty. King Uzziah had died. He had been a good king who had sought the Lord, brought prosperity to the people, and kept the nation strong. He had been the only king most of the them had ever known.

Life had been good. Perhaps they, like us, failed to have the kind of personal relationship with God they should have. Perhaps the same three things were out of balance in their lives. But now … the king was dead!

But instead of focusing on the circumstances around him, Isaiah was in the temple. Hawkins says:

(M)aybe you’ve realized this: rich worship experiences often come during times of chaos and crisis. Perhaps your Uzziah has died, and you find yourself without that one person or thing in whom you had placed your trust. Such was the context of Isaiah’s worship experience.

As a result, Isaiah saw the Lord “sitting on a throne, high and lifted up” (v. 1). Their earthly king was dead, but God was still on His throne!

The author goes on:

Isaiah’s worship experience is left for all posterity in order that we might truly know if we have worshipped God in spirit and in truth. We see from his experience that genuine worship will always result in upward evidence, inward evidence, and outward evidence of our encounter with the Lord.

The upward evidence was that he saw God in His holiness, high and lifted up. He said, “The whole earth is full of His glory!” (v. 3).

But when we have truly seen God in His holiness, we see ourselves in our sinfulness, the inward evidence. Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am undone! For I am a man of unclean lips … for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (v. 5).

That leads us to the outward evidence. Once we have seen ourselves as we really are, our gratefulness for His mercy leads us to see others and their great need for Christ. Now Isaiah was ready for God’s question, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Isaiah’s answer should be ours, as well, “Here I am. Send me!” (v. 8).


Next week’s question: “Who among you fears the Lord?” (Isaiah 50.10).

Last week’s question: “Who can find a virtuous wife?” (Proverbs 31.10). Read it here.



You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.





Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they bring glory to God.

If you are new to the linkup let me know in the comments so I can say hello and follow you back.

Don’t forget to sign up to receive the blogs everyday by clicking the links below:


Sing up for the “Bible in a Year” daily posts.

Sign up for special “Christian Living” posts on various subjects. Also sign up here to receive notices of the LINKUP and our study through The Jesus Code by O.S. Hawkins.


I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
Making Your Home Sing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings Darling Downs Diaries The Art of Homemaking Mom2Mom Linkup The Modest Mom Embracing His Will
Tuesdays Rich Faith Rising Unite Linky Cornerstone Confessions Titus 2 Tuesday Teaching What is Good Time Warp Wife Solo Deo Gloria Sisterhood More of Him Testimony Tuesday Tell it to Me Tuesdays
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Juana Mikels Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays A Little R & R Whole Hearted Home Mom’s Morning Coffee Women with Intention Coffee for Your Heart A Simplified Life
Thursdays 3-D Lessons for Life/Thought Provoking Thursdays The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop I Choose Joy
Fridays A Look at the Book Christian Mommy Blogger Fellowship Fridays Blessing Counters Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays Faith & Fellowship Bloghop Grace & Truth Linkup Snippets of Inspiration
Saturdays Still Saturday The Weekend Brew TGI Saturdays
Sundays Spiritual Sundays Sunday Stillness

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!