I love the fact that the Bible frequently uses the word save. That is what God wants to do. He wants to save us from our sins. He wants to forgive us of all the awful things we’ve done, wipe our slates clean, and give us fresh lives—new lives.
But what does that mean? Someone might say, “I think I’m a Christian. I come from a Christian family.”
That doesn’t make you a Christian.
There has to be a moment in your life when you realize that you’re a sinner in need of a Savior. Jesus is ready to rescue you. He’s ready to save you. But you must come to Him, admit your sin, and be sorry for it. Then put your faith in Jesus and throw all your burdens on Him.
I came to Christ at age seventeen. I prayed with Christians at a meeting and asked Jesus into my life. I really didn’t know what I was doing that day. But I do remember this very distinctly: I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from me.
Now, what kind of weight could a seventeen-year-old be carrying? A pretty heavy one. I carried the weight of guilt and sin around every day—a weight I grew accustomed to.
But when I prayed, I felt relief. God lifted the pressure. He removed the sin. And He can do the same for you today.
Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. He stands at the door of your life and knocks. If you will hear His voice and open the door, He will come in.
Do you need Jesus in your life? Do you want a fresh start? If you want your sin forgiven and the burdens of your life lifted, it can happen for you right now.
Are you taking hold of God’s promises today?
A knowledge of the Bible is essential to a rich and meaningful life. For the words of this Book have a way of filling in the missing pieces, of bridging the gaps, of turning the tarnished colors of our life to jewel-like brilliance. Learn to take your every problem to the Bible. Within its pages you will find the correct answer. But most of all, the Bible is a revelation of the nature of God. The philosophers of the centuries have struggled with the problem of a Supreme Being. Who is He? What is He? Where is He? If there is such a Person, is He interested in me? If so, how can I know Him? These and a thousand other questions about God are answered in this Holy Book, we call the Bible.
Some people like to work out, citing the endorphins that are released. But I dread working out. And I complain while I’m working out. But after I’m done, I’m glad that I did it.
That’s sometimes what it’s like to study the Bible. There are times we really want to read it and look forward to it. Then there are times when we get up in the morning and think, “I’ll just skip it today.” But then we do it anyway. That isn’t legalism; that’s discipline. And there’s a difference.
Discipline says, “I’m going to read the Bible because I need to do it. I know God wants me to do it. And when I’m done, I’ll be glad I did it.”
It’s an absolute that we determine to do before anything else, even if it means that we don’t have time to check our social media or e-mails or texts. It’s something we must discipline ourselves to do.
The Center for Bible Engagement recently did a study and came up with something I find very interesting: “The ‘power of 4’ is evident when we consider that for some of these behaviors (getting drunk and sex outside marriage) examined there is no statistical difference between Christians who read or listen to the Bible two to three days a week and those who do not engage scripture at all or only once a week.”
In other words, if you’re not reading your Bible four or more times a week, then you won’t make significant choices or changes any differently than someone who doesn’t read the Bible.
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31 NKJV). We need to see the value of God’s Word. We need to long for God’s Word.
I don’t know about you, but I get a few gift cards at this time of year. And I have to say that I have quite a few In-N-Out gift cards. While I’m appreciative of these, I’ve shared a few of them with others, because I would weigh 400 pounds if I used them all myself.
According to business researchers, an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion in gift cards will go unused this year. God’s promises are a lot like of gift cards that are left unused. He has made a lot of promises to us, and we need to take hold of those promises.
In fact, Christmas has a lot to do with promises.
Going back to the very beginning, God promised Adam and Eve that a Deliverer would come one day. God promised Isaiah that a virgin would conceive and give birth to the Savior. And God promised Mary she would give birth to that Savior. The angel Gabriel even affirmed this, saying, “For the word of God will never fail” (Luke 1:37 NLT).
Evidently, God wants us to know that He keeps His promises. He certainly kept His promise with Mary, and she was surprised and humbled that God chose her.
Sometimes I’ll come across a gift card that I forgot about, for a place I really like. I’m excited to discover that I have that gift card. I’m also amazed that I haven’t used it yet.
That is what the promises of God are like. They’re just sitting there in the Bible, waiting for us to take hold of. But if we don’t read the Bible, we won’t know God’s promises. We need to read them, believe them, and start living these promises out.
Are you taking hold of God’s promises today?