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Open the Door to Eternal Life with the Lord

Posted on December 3, 2017 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

John 6:35

In the first year of our marriage, Janet and I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our income was like that of most newlyweds, barely enough to get by. On one occasion we had only $5 remaining after the bills were paid. Payday was a week away, and there was no food in the house. So we went grocery shopping and came home with cornmeal, dried beans, eggs, and powdered milk.

My wife called me at work the next day and wanted to know if I knew how to cook dried beans. All I knew was my grandmother put them in a big pot and cooked them all day. Satisfied with the answer, she confidently went to work.

Without breakfast or lunch, I had grown very hungry and couldn’t wait to dig into a plate of beans and cornbread. Finally, my workday was over and I rushed home in anticipation of the great bean feast. Upon opening the front door I was greeted by the smell of food cooking which prompted me to make a beeline to the kitchen.

“Taste the beans,” she said. “See if they’re ok.” Like most guys I decided that the beans needed more seasoning. Quickly I grabbed the salt shaker and poured on more than just a little salt. Then I turned up the heat and declared that the beans needed to cook a little longer for a thicker broth, just like Grandmother used to make. While we waited for the masterpiece meal to reach perfection, we headed to the backyard to play with the dog.

As we reentered the house we were hit with a very unpleasant and alarming smell. “Oh, no. The beans are burning,” she shouted. Within seconds we stood over what once had been a very promising solution to our hunger. Before us was a big glob of burned, scorched, waterless, ruined beans unfit for man nor beast.

For the remainder of the week, we ate cornbread and drank powdered milk. By week’s end our pantry was completely bare. There wasn’t a morsel of food in the house.

Saturday arrived, and we spent the morning trying to figure out what we could do to make it until Monday when I would get paid again. With each passing hour we grew more desperate, more hungry, and more concerned about our plight. Then there was a knock at the door.

A neighbor had stopped by for a visit. As he stood on the front porch, he was holding a large container. “My Lions Club was selling barbecue today, and we had a bunch left over and I wondered if you wanted some?”

“Oh, no. We’re a little short on cash right now,” I sadly responded.

Then he placed the container in my hand and said, “This is free. We just don’t want to waste it.”

I thanked him, trying to maintain my composure, and once the door was closed, we made a mad dash to the kitchen. Never in the history of mankind has there been better tasting barbecue. And it was more than enough to get us through until payday.

In today’s selected scripture passage Jesus talks about hunger and thirst. Food and drink are essential to physical life. Without it you will perish.

He came to bring you eternal life, and He promises that if you will come to him you, your spiritual hunger and thirst will be eternally satisfied. Believe in Him and “you will never go thirsty.” He is “the bread of life.”

A relationship with Jesus fulfills as nothing else this world has to offer. You will always have what you need for eternal life.

I’ll never forget that man standing at my front door with a big box of barbecue. But what would have happened if I had refused to open the door or accept his offer?

Sadly, many people refuse Christ’s offer of eternal life. If you haven’t trusted Him as your personal Savior, do it today.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20

For more information on eternal life in God’s heaven, check out these articles: Heaven is Worth the Wait and Will We Know Our Loved Ones in Heaven.

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

Lessons Learned from Christ's Nativity

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Don’t Let Anything Keep You from Eternal Life with Jesus

Posted on October 6, 2017 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

John 12:25

Are you set in your ways? Do you have a specific and repetitive way of doing things?

When I was younger, I vowed never to be so predictable as my grandparents. We didn’t need a clock. I always knew what time it was by their daily routine.

If I smelled bacon or sausage cooking, it was 5 o’clock in the morning. Lunch was served promptly at 11 and served on TV trays in the living room. From there my grandmother could watch her soap operas. Supper was at 4, intentionally early so granddaddy could slop the hogs and feed his cattle before settling down for the Huntley-Brinkley Report. Then at 10, my grandmother said the words that caused my skin to crawl. “Climb the golden stairs.” The following day, rinse and repeat.

No way I would let that happen to me. Oh, but I was wrong.  Pity the poor soul who attempts to sit in my recliner. In fact, I’m in it now, doing what I do at this time every day — writing. At supper time, I’ll return to my chair with my dinner plate in one hand and the TV remote in the other. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I’ll repeat the process.

If you’ve been around the block more than a few times, then chances are you’re locked into a routine and have no intention of making changes.

One of the first lessons I learned as a pastor is that most people don’t like change, especially the older saints. We’re like a dog settling into his pet bed circling and pawing until everything is just the way he likes it.

Actually, there’s nothing wrong with being set in your ways UNLESS it keeps you from salvation in Christ.

Jesus declared, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it.” No matter how much you like the way things are, they will not stay that way. In time, your life will change, so it’s better to turn loose of your favored sinful ways now than lose your opportunity for eternal life with the Lord.

People often put the wrong emphasis on what is involved in embracing Christianity. They’re concerned about what they’ll have to give up. But they miss the point that following Christ is not about what you give up but what you get.

One correct observation made by many lost people is that there is no way they could follow all of God’s rules. But neither can Christians, at least not by our own effort. God doesn’t just save you, He equips you and empowers you to live the life that was previously impossible.

Also in our focus text, Jesus makes a curious statement. “… anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Earlier, I was talking about how we fashion our lives to our liking. We grow into the routine that makes us comfortable and happy. But Jesus said we should “hate” our lives in this world. Did He mean we aren’t supposed to be happy in this earthly existence?

Jesus’ use of hate covers the beliefs, biases, and sinful thoughts and deeds to which we have sworn allegiance. There’s plentiful instruction in the Bible to indicate that God wants us to be happy. But don’t be so happy in your way of living you reject Christ and His good news.

In reality, we should hate anything that keeps us from surrendering to Christ. Paul said, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9) Don’t let the temporary evil pleasures of this life keep you from the incomparable rewards of eternal life.

Jesus also said, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37) He wasn’t being cruel or unreasonable. People of that time had strong religious allegiances. If a child followed Christ they could be ostracized from the family.

The Lord further amplified this instruction when He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) Self-denial and death to the old sinful self is imperative to following Christ.

Believing in Christ is not just intellectual assent. It’s much more than that. Saving faith requires a deep heartfelt commitment to the Lord, and all He represents. Put simply, don’t let anything keep you from eternal life with Jesus.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Do You Feel Like You Are Wasting Your Life

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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