7-104 — Salvation: Our Future Guaranteed
As believers we can have confidence in Christ's delivering power. Furthermore, we can know that we have eternal life, all because of Christ's wonderful work on the cross. Raymond Ferreira explains:
Queen Victoria once attended a service in St. Paul's Cathedral and listened to a sermon that interested her greatly. Afterwards she asked her chaplain, "Can one be absolutely sure in this life of eternal safety?" His answer was that he knew no way that one could be absolutely sure.
This incident was published in the Court News and came to the notice of a minister named John Townsend. After reading of Queen Victoria's question and the answer she received, he prayed and then sent the following note to the queen:
To Her Gracious Majesty, our beloved Queen Victoria, from one of her most humble subjects: With trembling hands, but heart-filled love, and because I know that we can be absolutely sure now for our eternal life in the home that Jesus went to prepare, may I ask YourMost Gracious Majesty to read the following passages of Scripture: John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10. I sign myself, your servant for Jesus' sake, John Townsend.
John Townsend was not alone in praying about his letter to the queen. He took others into his confidence, and they offered up prayer to God in Her Majesty's behalf.
About two weeks later he received the following letter:
To John Townsend: I have carefully and prayerfully read the portions of Scripture referred to. I believe in the finished work of Christ for me, and trust by God's grace to meet you in that home of which he said, "I go to prepare a place for you." (Signed) Victoria Guelph
After Queen Victoria's discovery of Christian assurance, she used to carry a small booklet to give away. It's title was Safety, Certainty, and Enjoyment. This is what she found in Christ.
You too can have the confidence of royalty. You can know that your name is written in the Book of Life. God's Word is sure: salvation in Jesus Christ is yours for the taking!
7-112 — Giving Christ Your All
Why are our bodies so important to God? Because our bodies belong to Him.
Bob McAlister, who used to be on the staff of the governor of South Carolina, served as a volunteer with Prison Fellowship. Once when visiting Death Row, he saw a stomach-churning sight in a cell occupied by Ronald "Rusty" Woomer.
"Rusty, his face the color of chalk, was sitting on the floor—motionless," Bob wrote. v"Crawling aimlessly like so many drunks, dozens of roaches covered the wall and floor. But what froze my soul were the roaches crawling on the man—his lap, his shoulders— and such was his despair that he did not flick them off."
This 35-year-old murderer of four innocent people, who was facing the inevitability of the electric chair, had sunk to the depths of hopelessness. Bob wasn't sure how to react to this depressing scene. Finally, he pleaded: "Rusty, just say the name Jesus." Slowly and painfully, with all the effort he could muster, the nearly comatose inmate whispered the name of the Savior of the world.
And then Bob began to explain to him howJesus is the God of hope. It was clear that Rusty was paying attention. At the end, when Bob asked if he wanted to accept Christ's offer of forgiveness, Rusty nodded. Through his tears, he prayed: "Jesus, I've hurt a lot of people. Ain't no way that I deserve You to hear me, but I'm tired and I'm sick and I'm lonely. My mama's died and she's in heaven with You, and I never got to tell her bye. Please forgive me, Jesus, for everything I've done. I don't know much about You, but I'm willing to learn, and I thank You for listening to me."
Bob returned the following week: "I walked up to his cell; it was spotless," he recalled. "Gone were the dirt and roaches and porno magazines. The walls were scrubbed, the bed was made, the scent of disinfectant hung in the air." Rusty himself was smiling and enthusiastic. "Bob, I spent all weekend cleaning out my cell because I figured that's what Jesus wanted me to do."
Just as Christ's love is unconditional, so must your surrender and commitment be. Your filth may not be as extreme as this prisoner's was, but God expects you to clean up every area of your life as this man did!
7-143 — God's Boundless and Everlasting Assurance
It is the grace of God that saves a person. It is not a person's own works, religious traditions, or family heritage that save him.
A Quaker had a bundle of hides stolen from his warehouse. He wondered what steps he should take to prevent a repetition of such an act. Instead of putting the machinery of the law in motion, he placed the following ad in the newspapers: "Whoever stole a quantity of hides on the 5th of this month is hereby informed that the owner has a sincere wish to be his friend. If poverty tempted him to take this step, the owner will keep the whole transaction secret and will gladly help him to obtain money by means more likely to bring him peace of mind."
A few nights later, when the family was about to retire to rest, a man knocked at the door of the Quaker's house, carrying with him a bundle of skins. "I have brought them back," he said. "It is the first time I ever stole anything, and I have felt very bad about it." "Let it be the last, friend." said the Quaker. "The secret still lies between ourselves."
He spoke to the man faithfully and affectionately about the folly of dishonesty and of the claims of the gospel. He also took him into his employment, and the man became a changed character, living an exemplary life from then on.
Just as this kindly Quaker sought out, forgave, and helped his offender, so our heavenly Father does with us. The Bible assures us that God will forgive those who come to Him humbly and with repentance. Man does not deserve to be forgiven or saved, but God is gracious and gives man what he does not deserve!
7-152 — It's All About Perspective
The act of hospitality is one of the most tangible, visible ways we can help those in need.
Mother Teresa was an icon of servant hood [a woman given to great acts of hospitality]. On one occasion she was brought face to face with a man who had a rare and horrendous case of terminal cancer. One of the workers had vomited from the stench and could no longer continue. Mother Teresa then stepped in and kindly took over. The patient was mystified. "How can you stand the smell?" asked the patient. Mother Teresa replied, "It's nothing compared to the pain you must feel." Servanthood begins when we move beyond our own comfort to relief [relieve] the discomfort of another.
When you are reluctant to be hospitable, when you find it difficult to serve others, remember the words of Jesus Christ, "...the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister..." (Mt.20:28). If our Lord and Savior so humbly served others, how much more should we?
7-180 — A By-Product of Obedience
Obedience to God has many benefits, including the deep peace that comes from serving God and knowing that we are doing His will.
A visual reminder for the source of true peace is on regular display along New York City's Fifth Avenue. At the entrance of the RCA building is a large statue of Atlas struggling to keep the world on his shoulders. On the other side of Fifth Avenue is Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Behind the high altar of this church is a small statue of Jesus effortlessly holding the whole world in one hand. Peace is hard to come by when we strive to balance the world on our own back, but when we heed God's invitation to give him our concerns (1 Peter 5:7), the weight of our world becomes an effortless lift for the Prince of Peace.
Yielding to the Lord does not mean we will have no problems. It does mean, however, that He will carry the greater weight while we follow His direction. No matter how difficult the trial or circumstances, the obedient believer can have perfect assurance of God's sustaining grace and peace.
7-220 — Believers' Tools for Service
Every believer has been given one or more spiritual gifts for a very specific purpose: to glorify God by ministering to people. God invites each one of us to reach out in His name. Larry Gilbert writes:
In the courtyard of a quaint little church in a French village stood a beautiful marble statue of Jesus with His hands outstretched. One day during the war, a bomb struck near the statue and mutilated it. After the battle was over and the enemy had passed through, the citizens of the village decided to find the pieces of their beloved statue and reconstruct it.
Though the statue was not a work of art by Michelangelo or Bernini, it was part of their lives, and they loved it. Patiently they gathered the broken pieces and reassembled it. Even the scars on the body added to its beauty, but there was one problem. They were notable to find the hands of the statue.
"A Christ without hands is no Christ at all," someone said sadly. "What's a Lord without hands. We need a new statue." Then someone else came along with another idea, and it prevailed. A brass plaque was attached to the base of the statue, saying, "I have no hands but your hands."
Years later someone saw that inscription and wrote the following lines:
"I have no hands but your hands to do my work today.
I have no feet but your feet to lead men on the way.
I have no tongue but your tongue to tell men how I died.
I have no help but your help to bring men to God's side."
Spiritual gifts are God's provision for the Holy Spirit to minister to people, through people.
7-231 — Boldly Proclaiming the Gospel
Many believers find it awkward to share their faith in public places—to truly share what is in their hearts. Careful not to offend, they choose to say nothing about the gospel. Every day people miss opportunities ...
How can this be? How can people who profess to love the Lord not even make an effort when it comes to leading the lost to Christ? Donald McGavran, one of the greatest experts on world missions, says this:
The world has more winnable people than ever before ... but it is possible to come out of a ripe field empty-handed.
What is the key to leading people to Christ? The key is being able to share the gospel without any shame or embarrassment. Believers need to worry less about what people think of them and more about what people think of Jesus Christ. There is good news; share it!
7-236 — Rejecting the Maker
Wrath of God
The purpose and order in all of creation are enough to tell us there is a Supreme Being, a wise God behind it all. Sadly, however, many refuse to acknowledge the Creator as the One with all the answers, theSavior of mankind.
Some years ago a South American company purchased a fine printing press from a firm in the United States.
After it had been shipped and completely assembled, the workmen could not get it to operate properly. The most knowledgeable personnel tried to remedy the difficulty and bring it into proper adjustment, but to no avail. Finally the company wired a message to the manufacture, asking that they send a representative immediately to fix it.
...When [the technician] arrived on the scene, the South American officials were skeptical because he was a young man. After some discussion, they sent this cable to the manufacturer: "Your man is too young: send more experience person." The reply came back, "He made the machine. Let him fix it!"
The workers rejected the maker. How much worse to reject our Creator, the Sovereign Lord and Majesty of the universe! He made the world and all that is in it. The evidence is clear. Therefore, God's wrath is justified against all who reject Him.