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Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Suffering Christian - and Others


The suffering Christian!

(Francis Bourdillon, "Affliction, Light and Short!")

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment--is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we do not look at the things which are seen--but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary--but the things which are not seen are eternal!" 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 

Few people will call their present affliction light--and few are disposed to call it short. For while it lasts, it seems hard to bear--and a time of suffering generally appears long. Yet the apostle Paul writes thus about his affliction: "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment." 

Paul's afflictions were not, in themselves, light--few men have gone through more hardships and trials than he did. Nor were they, in themselves, short--for wherever he went he found them; they continued, more or less, to the end of his life. 

It was only when he compared his present affliction with the glory that was so soon to follow--that it seemed to him light and short. Then he could say, "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment."

We must always try to look at our afflictions in this way. If we look at them alone--they will be enough to overwhelm us! But if we think also, and even more, of the eternal rest and happiness and glory which lie ahead of us--then our view of our present afflictions will be greatly changed. 

"True," we shall feel, "true, my sorrows are many; my sickness is sore; my pain is great; long have I lain upon a bed of suffering. Yet before me lies a home of perfect rest, where pain and sickness and sorrow cannot come. My Savior has promised it to me and has gone before to prepare it for me. In a little while, I shall be there!" 

With thoughts such as these, the suffering Christian should comfort himself--and thus weigh present affliction against future glory. For what are all things here below, but short? Joys and sorrows, health and sickness, affliction and prosperity--all the things that pain and that please, "the things which are seen"--all these things are but for a time. 

Whereas "the things which are not seen are eternal." What we hope for, what Christ has purchased for us and gone before to prepare for us--that is forever! Our pains and sorrows will soon end--but our pleasures will never end! Our affliction is but for a little while--but our comforts, our Savior's presence, our Heavenly home, will be ours always! 

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away--yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day!" 2 Corinthians 4:16
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It will be a great benefit to us in every way, to learn this lesson


(J.R. Miller, "Morning Thoughts")

"Do not worry about anything--but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 

Learning not to worry, is one of the lessons that every Christian should master.

Worry is a terribly wasteful experience: 
   it uses up the strength we need for our duty,
   it unfits us for doing our work well, 
   it is dishonoring to God, for He has promised to care for us, if only we do His will faithfully, 
   it is utterly fruitless, for it does not take away the things that it frets over.

The Bible gives many lessons on the subject--but none that makes plainer just how we are to eliminate worrying from our life, than what Paul here tells us to do.

First of all, we are simply not to worry: "Do not worry about anything." 
There is no room for exceptions, special circumstances, and all that. 
We are not to worry about anything.

What then shall we do with the matters that we are disposed to worry over? Put them into the hands of God in prayer--and leave them there! If we do this--then the peace of God will guard our hearts and thoughts from all anxiety. 

It will be a great benefit to us in every way, to learn this lesson.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Following God's Schedule and others

Following God's Schedule


Most of us enjoy feeling in control of our own schedule and grow frustrated when things don't go according to plan. Yet if we truly desire to walk in the center of God's perfect will, we must become willing to cooperate with His time frame.
Consider how you pray about situations in your life. Without realizing it, you may be demanding that God follow the schedule you've constructed according to your very limited human wisdom. Yet if we believe He is who He says He is, how can surrendering to His way not be to our benefit? Think about His unique, praiseworthy qualities:
  • His all-encompassing knowledge. Unlike us, the Lord has complete awareness about our world and the details of every individual life--past, present, and future.
  • His complete wisdom. God understands man's every motive, whereas none of us are able to accurately discern people's intentions. We make choices based on partial information, whereas He has the wisdom to take action based on truth.
  • His unconditional love. Our Creator is always motivated by love and constantly has our best in mind. Unless we trust His heart, our view of reality will be distorted.
  • His perfect sufficiency. At just the right time, God will provide us with everything we need to carry out His plan.
Submitting to God's timetable requires faith and courage. Believe in the goodness of His heart and His plans--and determine to wait until He gives the signal to move forward. Then, as you follow His schedule, you'll experience the joy of watching Him make all things beautiful in His timing.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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Trained to Discern


In today's world, impatience is all too common a trait. We want food, help, and information fast. Just waiting for the computer to boot up or the "next avail-able agent" to answer our call can cause frustration. But the Lord specializes in slow, steady work. He's more interested in a quality outcome than a speedy process.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of spiritual discernment. When we become Christians, we aren't instantly wise and knowledgeable. It takes a lifetime to grow to maturity. Some believers, however, don't seem to grow up at all. They get older, but their understanding of God's Word never goes very deep.
This lack of godly wisdom is caused by ignorance of the Scriptures, apathy and complacency about spiritual things, and a failure to apply biblical truths. Discernment requires time and effort. You can't simply move through life, thoughtlessly reacting to situations yet never learning from them. Take time to reflect on your responses and observe the consequences of your actions and choices. If you feel convicted by what you notice, let that motivate you to begin a lifelong pursuit of the Lord and His ways. Start reading the Bible regularly. And as you do, ask the Lord to open your heart and mind to understand what He's saying.
But just reading God's Word isn't enough. Without applying what you've read, all you'll have is head knowledge. Obedience trains us to discern good and evil. Through practice, we learn wisdom and develop spiritual maturity. If you'll begin today and patiently persevere, in time discernment will come.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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Learning from Failure


The disciple Peter was a man of great faith and bold action. But as readers of the New Testament know, his brash style sometimes led him to make humiliating mistakes. More than once, this disciple had to wear the label of "miserable failure" rather than that of "obedient servant."
We can all relate when it comes to falling short of expectations. Obedience to God is a learning process, and failure is a part of our development as humble servants. When we yield to temptation or rebel against God's authority, we realize that sin has few rewards, and even those are fleeting.
Failure is an excellent learning tool, as Peter could certainly attest. Through trial and error, he discovered that humility is required of believers (John 13:5-14); that God's ways are higher than the world's ways (Mark 8:33); and that one should never take his eyes off Jesus (Matt. 14:30). He took each of those lessons to heart and thereby grew stronger in his faith. Isn't that Romans 8:28in action? God caused Peter's failures to be put to good use as training material because the disciple was eager to mature and serve.
God doesn't reward rebellion or wrongdoing. However, by His grace, He blesses those who choose repentance and embrace chastisement as a tool for growth.
We would probably all prefer to grow in our faith without ever making a mistake before God's eyes, but we cannot deny that missteps are instructive. Failure teaches believers that it is much wiser and more profitable to be obedient to the Lord. That's a lesson we all should take to heart.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Sunday, August 20, 2017

When Believers Die! - And Others

When believers die!

(John Newton's Letters)

"Father, I want those whom You have given Me--to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory!" John17:24

Health and sickness, life and death--will always be in the hands of the Lord.

When believers die
--whatever the accident or the illness may be--they are only the means, but not properly the cause of their death. They die because the time has come when He who loves them best, will have them with Him to behold His glory!

Until then, they are immortal. They recover from sickness, however threatening, and are preserved unhurt--in defiance of the greatest dangers! But when His appointed hour arrives--then they must depart. When He will have them with Him--we cannot detain them; nor ought we to wish it, though the flesh will feel the parting stroke.

None of us can be perfectly happy in this poor fleeting world. It is a state in which sin and sorrow will hunt us and pain us to the last step of life! Therefore, though we wish to keep those whom we love with us as long as we can--it is well both for us and them, that we cannot live here always. We are in the Lord's hands--and He does all things wisely and well, at the right time and in the right manner.

Death is but a temporary separation. Those who are gone before us, are waiting for us. Oh! It will be a happy meeting before the throne of the Lamb--out of the reach of sin and sorrow, to meet and part no more!

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Father knows best!

(John Newton's Letters)

"My times are in Your hands!" 
Psalm 31:15 

This world seems all uncertainty--yet all is under the unspeakably gracious and infallibly wise direction of our Heavenly Father.

Oh! This is the great thing to be desired--to be savingly interested in the promise which engages that all things shall work together for our good--to give us a fitness for the inheritance of the saints in light, so that at last we may attain to His eternal joy. That will make rich amends for all the trials we can meet with along the way.

Our heavenly Father knows best, what is good for us. Oh, for grace to yield ourselves simply and cheerfully to His wise management. Hitherto He has helped us, and all His paths have been mercy and truth. What reasons have we to praise Him for the past--and to trust Him for the rest!

The Lord knows, and He permits me to tell Him what I feel or fear or wish. But when I have done so, it befits me to submit all to Him and to say, "Not my will--but may Your will be done." I aim to say this from my heart, and to account it not only my duty--but my privilege to prefer His choice to my own.

The Lord graciously adjusts all our concerns--and it is our privilege to peaceably and thankfully submit to His judicious management. Our times are in His hands. Vastly more than we are aware of, depends upon the Lord's wise controlling of all our affairs. Is it not a comfort to a blind man, to have an unfailing guide whom he may fully and safely trust?

May we be willing to leave all our concerns in His skillful and faithful hands--to live to Him and for Him today, and to trust Him for the events of tomorrow. 

Oh how happy we are--when we can leave all in His nail-pierced hands!
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Thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark, and there I will meet with thee.

The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest. -- Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

Having ... brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; ... let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. -- Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [mercy seat] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. -- Through him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

EXO. 25:21,22.  Heb. 9:8. ‑Matt. 27:50,51. Heb10:19,20,22. ‑Heb4:16Rom.3:24,25. -Eph2:18.

EVENING

Faith as a grain of mustard seed.

Barak said unto [Deborah], if thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan. -- Gideon ... feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, ... did it by night. And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand as thou hast said, ... let me prove, I pray thee. And God did so.

Thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. -- Who hath despised the day of small things?

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly. -- Lord, increase our faith. -- I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.

MATT17:20.  Judg. 4:8,23. ‑Judg6:27,36,39,40. Rev. 3:8. ‑Zech4:10II Thes. 1:3. ‑Luke 17:5. ‑Hos. 14:5,6. 

~Samuel Bagster~

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Consequences of Drifting and Others

The Consequences of Drifting


Spiritual drifting--the gradual wandering away from God and His will--takes place when a believer ceases to steer toward the Lord. Like an empty boat set loose upon the waters, he or she makes a slow and lazy glide away from good practices like disciplined obedience, regular Bible study, prayer, and assembling with fellow Christians. And there are consequences for casting yourself on uncharted and dangerous waters.
A life adrift is outside of God's will and therefore in sin. The Holy Spirit pricks a believer's conscience to send a message when he is off course, but the drifter is prone to ignore such warnings. If a Christian continually excuses his wandering ways and denies sin, then his conscience gradually numbs. A person who becomes desensitized to wrongdoing has paved the way for more sinful behavior with less guilt. Can you imagine a more dangerous situation?
As the drifting believer's conscience becomes anesthetized, his spiritual ears are also deadened--truth cannot gain entrance because he has invited wrong attitudes and philosophies into his thinking process. What's more, his heart hardens to the things of God. Shrinking away from testimonies about divine power, grace, and mercy, he avoids situations that might reawaken the conscience and stir his spirit to repentance.
People drift from God in search of more--more freedom, choices, and pleasure. But since the consequences are a hard heart, a numb conscience, and dead ears, what they end up with is less. The drifting believer sacrifices the victorious life in Christ for an existence devoid of permanent satisfaction.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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Developing Faith through Adversity


It doesn't seem fair, does it? Paul spent his life serving Christ, and yet he experienced continual suffering. Why would God let one of His most faithful servants go through so much pain? This isn't just a question about Paul; it's an issue we face today. In our minds, the Lord should protect His loyal followers from hardships, but He doesn't necessarily do so.
Maybe our reasoning is backwards. We think faithful Christians don't deserve to suffer, but from God's perspective, suffering is what produces faithful Christians. If we all had lives of ease without opposition, trials, or pain, we'd never really know God, because we'd never need Him. Like it or not, adversity teaches us more about the Lord than simply reading the Bible ever will.
I'm not saying we don't need to know Scripture; that's our foundation for faith. But if what we believe is never tested by adversity, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know the Lord can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we've never been challenged by hardship? God gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful. For example, how would Paul ever have known the strength of Christ if he had never been weakened by pain, persecution, and adversity?
Depending on your response, trials can be God's greatest means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity. If you'll believe what Scripture says and apply its principles to your situation, your trust in God will grow, and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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Peace, Joy, and Contentment 


Discouragement can rob peace, joy, and contentment. But I have great news if you feel disheartened: You’re not stuck!
I’ve known people who appeared to be in an impossible situation. A few years later, however, they were in a terrific place, either in terms of their circumstances or their emotions. The reason? They never gave up. Instead of sulking in self-pity, they chose to believe God, step out in faith, and climb out of the emotional pit.
Nehemiah is a good example. He had every reason to feel defeated, because his people were in trouble. After receiving news that the city wall had been destroyed, this man of God acknowledged profound disappointment and grieved. Though pain flooded his soul, he didn’t allow himself to stay in that low place. Instead, Nehemiah cried out to God, seeking direction.
Sadness in the presence of royalty was punishable by death. But the Lord answered Nehemiah’s prayer with amazing power, prompting the king to notice his servant’s sad countenance and then toask what he could do to help. This miracle led to the rebuilding of the wall and the redemption of God’s people.
The Lord can take an impossible situation--no matter what it is--and move in ways mightier than you can imagine.
Do you live in eager expectation of what the Lord will do? Or have you chosen to linger in the depths of despair? Like Nehemiah, turn your disappointment into a petition for God’s help. He can restore your hope and prevent negative emotions from gaining a stranglehold on your life.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Friday, August 4, 2017

If That Man Had the Soul of a Swine!


If that man had the soul of a swine!

(Thomas Brooks)

No object is so suitable and adequate to the heart as Christ is. He is a portion that exactly and directly suits . . .
  the condition of the soul,
  the desires of the soul,
  the necessities of the soul,
  the wants of the soul,
  the longings of the soul,
  and the prayers of the soul.

The soul can crave nothing, nor wish for nothing--but what is to be found in Christ. He is . . .
  light to enlighten the soul,
  wisdom to counsel the soul,
  power to support the soul,
  goodness to supply the soul,
  mercy to pardon the soul,
  beauty to delight the soul,
  glory to ravish the soul,
  and fullness to fill the soul.

Health is not more suitable to the sick man,
  nor wealth to the poor man,
  nor bread to the hungry man,
  nor drink to the thirsty man,
  nor clothes to the naked man,
  nor balm to the wounded man,
  nor ease to the tormented man,
  nor health to the diseased man,
  nor pardon to the condemned man,
  nor a guide to the blind man--
than Christ is suitable to all the necessities of man.
This speaks out the excellency of Christ above all others!

There is no 'earthly' portion that can suit an immortal soul. He is a fool upon record who said, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years--take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry!" If that man had the soul of a swine--what more could he have said? For those things were more suitable to swine, than they were to an immortal soul.

Man's soul is a spiritual and immortal substance. It is capable . . .
  of union and communion with God;
  of a choice enjoyment of God here,
  and an eternal fruition of God hereafter!
"Yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved--and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16



Saturday, July 29, 2017

Words of Wisdom and Revelation # 21

Words of Wisdom and Revelation # 21



The sufferings of this present time!

(James Smith, "
No Comparison!")

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time--are not worthy to be compared with the glorywhich shall be revealed in us!" Romans 8:18

Paul compares present sufferings--with future glory

Believers are exposed to all kinds of suffering, and instead of obtaining an exemption from afflictions--they are assured that it is through much tribulation that they must enter into the kingdom of God.

Some endure inward suffering, with which no one is fully acquainted but God Himself. They have such darkness, gloom, distress, agitation, trouble, and sorrow--as would not be easy to describe. 

Some suffer much in body, from the stressed and disordered state of the nervous system, from chronic diseases, or deformities in the physical frame. They seldom move without suffering, and for years together have but little freedom from weakness and pain. They live a life of suffering, a kind of dying life--and think much of Heaven as of a place where there is no more pain.

Some suffer much financially. Scarcely anything seems to prosper with them--losses, crosses, and opposition meet them at every turn. And though they live honestly, and conduct their business honorably--they are thwarted, hindered, and filled with perplexity. No one can tell what they suffer from financial trials and difficulties.

Others suffer from reproach, misrepresentation, strife, and persecution in the world, or in the Church--or both! No one seems to understand them, or is prepared to sympathize with them; they are like "a sparrow alone upon the house-top." False friends and open enemies unite to trouble and distress them, so that they often sigh, and say, "O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest!"

Others in the domestic circle, or from some of the relationships of life--are called to suffer long and seriously.

But whether from trouble of mind, sickness of body, trials in business, family difficulties, or persecution for Christ's sake--all suffer, and most believers suffer much!

But compare their present sufferings--with their future glory:
Glory which will exclude all pain and suffering, all sin and sorrow! 
Glory beyond the reach of all foes and the cause of all trouble! 
Glory which includes happiness--perfect, perpetual, never-ending happiness! 
Glory which includes honor--the highest, holiest, and most satisfying honor! 
Glory, or splendor--which will fill the soul, clothe the body, and dignify the entire person forever!

Filled with light, peace, and joy; clothed with beauty, brightness, and magnificence--they will appear with Christ in glory--filling them with wonder and unutterable delight!

This glory will be possessed by us--as part of our marriage portion and inalienable inheritance. But we can form no adequate idea of that glory, for "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined--what God has prepared for those who love Him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9

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I am somewhat like that bird!

(James Smith, "
Sighing for Jesus!")
"As the deer pants for streams of water--so my soul pants for you, O God! My soul thirsts for God, for the living God! When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1-2
I have just been reading of the last days of a true believer, and his whole dying experience was comprehended in one sentence, "I am sighing for Jesus!" He did not sigh for life, nor for ease--but he was sighing for Jesus.
I cannot help observing, how much of my experience now, is expressed in those words, "I am sighing for Jesus." Yes, yes, I can do without riches, or fame, or the honor which man confers. I am pretty well content with what providence sends me--and yet I often sigh, and sigh deeply too. Some would think me unhappy--but I am not. Some may conclude I am discontented with my situation in life--but I am not. Yet I sigh--I often sigh.
I have read of a bird, which if caught and caged--never ceases to sigh, until it obtains its liberty, or dies. I am somewhat like that bird, and I expect I shall continue to sigh--until I obtain my desire.
I have had a glimpse of Jesus--and I sigh for a full view of Him.
I have tasted the sweetness of communion with Him--and I sigh for uninterrupted fellowship.
I have felt a little of the cleansing influence of His precious blood, and Holy Spirit--and I sigh for a thorough cleansing, that I may be perfectly and forever holy.
I sigh for Jesus--that I may . . .
  know Him more perfectly,
  love Him more entirely, and
  enjoy Him uninterruptedly!
I sigh to be exactly like Jesus!
I sigh to be forever with Jesus!
I believe that if I were just like Him, and always with Him--that I would sigh no more; and I think that nothing else will put a complete stop to my sighing. 
Yes, the day is coming, and it may be very near--when the days of my mourning will be ended, and when I shall heave the last sigh, and begin the never-ending song! My sorrows will soon end, and my sighing will forever cease! I shall soon be with Jesus, like Jesus, and everlastingly employed in praisingJesus! And then, I shall sigh no more!

"The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away!" Isaiah 51:11


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Words of Wisdom and Revelation # 20

Words of Wisdom and Revelation # 20


Where the Wrath and Love of God Meet 


In our culture, sin is no longer considered an issue. Although some people might admit to making mistakes or being wrong, few will actually say, "I have sinned." The Lord, however, takes sin very seriously. Until we learn to see transgression as He does, we will never understand what happened at Christ's crucifixion.
The cross was God's perfect answer to a terrible dilemma. Because the Lord is holy and just, He hates sin and must respond to it with punishment and wrath. Yet He also loves sinners and wants to be reconciled with them. The cross of Christ was the place where God's wrath and love collided.
The only way to rescue fallen mankind from eternal punishment was to devise a plan whereby the Lord could forgive sins without compromising His holiness. There was no way to overlook transgressions; His wrath had to be poured out--either on us or a substitute. But there was only one possible substitute: the perfect Son of God.
So Jesus came to earth as a man and suffered the Lord's wrath for us as He hung on the cross. Sin was punished, divine justice was satisfied, and now God could forgive mankind without compromising His character. His wrath was poured out on His Son so that His love and forgiveness could be lavished upon us.
Because of human limitations, we'll never grasp all that happened while Jesus hung on the cross. We can begin to comprehend only the physical suffering He endured, but in the spiritual realm, Christ bore so much more--the very wrath of God. This costly redemption plan proves God's great love.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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The Believer's Journey to the Cross


We all know that Jesus walked the road to Calvary, but did you know that believers also journey to the cross? We've all been positionally crucified with Christ, but those who hunger for Him participate in a deeper experience of this reality. Jesus lovingly takes their hand and leads them to the cross. Even though this is the last place anyone wants to go, it's the only way to partake of God's best for our lives.
The trip to the cross is not one you take with family and friends. It's a lonely journey with just you and Jesus. He strips away everyone and everything you've depended on so that you'll learn to rely only on Him. While we're at the cross, He uncovers layer after layer of self-deception until we begin to see ourselves as He does. Soon our self-centeredness, inadequacy, and failures are laid bare.
The cross is a place of brokenness, but it's necessary because there's no other way we'll ever bear fruit. If we hang onto our lives and refuse to take this journey, we'll be like a grain of wheat that is never planted and never grows. But those who willingly die to themselves will produce an abundance of spiritual fruit. The only way Christ can live His life through us is if we've allowed ourselves to be crucified.
God doesn't want you to be content with just your salvation. There's so much more He desires to give you and accomplish through you. Are you willing to take the road to the cross with Him? Yes, it's painful, but the rewards in this life and in eternity far outweigh any suffering you will experience.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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What Does It Mean to Be Saved


What makes a person acceptable to God? The path to redemption begins not with the decision to live a better life or to stop doing something wrong, but with the realization that we cannot correct our sinful nature. To find favor with the Lord, we must grasp that it's impossible to make ourselves righteous; instead, we need to depend on the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. When we trust in Christ as our Savior, God the Father applies the benefit of Jesus' atoning sacrifice to our sin debt, thereby making us "saved," or acceptable in His eyes.
Your good works and righteous acts are of absolutely no value in the mind of God. Compared to others' actions, your generosity and good works might seem like enough to bring favor with the Lord, but Jesus said, "Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph. 2:9). When you stand before God, the only way you can be forgiven of your sins is through Jesus Christ and His sacrificial, substitutionary atoning death at Calvary. Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
Jesus' public crucifixion was a demonstration of God's hatred for sin and immense love for mankind. He who was blameless bore the penalty for all in order that wicked, corrupt people could be made righteous.
No matter what you've done, you can be cleansed of the stain left by sin. Confess any known transgressions and turn from them; then Jesus will forgive you and write your name in the Lamb's Book of Life (1 John 1:9; Rev. 21:27). By trusting in Him, you are assured of eternity in His presence.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~