Author: Ron Graham
Simply Bible Magazine
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The optical illusion above should convince you that looking at everything through your own eyes is not a good practice. Your eyes (and brain) can deceive you. In the above picture, all the up-and-down lines are vertical and plumb, square with the horizontal. None is crooked. That's the truth.
If the gospel of Jesus seems wrong to you, it's because you are seeing it through your own eyes instead of his. Forget about how you see it. The truth is how Jesus tells it.
Just as you need an external device to measure and check the picture above, so you need an external wisdom to know the truth about your life and destiny.
Read the question, decide the answer you think is most correct, then press the answer button. The best correct answer will appear.
1. Peter said we are looking for something new. What is it? (A) New heavens and earth, (B) New covenant, (C) New promises.
2. A valley is mentioned in Psalm 23. The valley of what? (A) olive groves and vineyards, (B) the great river, (C) the shadow of death.
3. An altar in Athens (Acts 17) caught Paul’s eye. It was dedicated to whom? (A) The one true God, (B) An unknown god, (C) A Roman god.
4. What should we not be anxious about (Matt 5)? (A) Food, (B) Clothing, (C) Tomorrow, (D) All three of those.
THE LAST SUNSET
“And the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for it is lit with the glory of God, and its lamp is the lamb.”
Somewhere the sun has set
To never rise again
Somewhere in last duet
Songbirds declare Amen.
Somewhere in ancient tree
Sit kookaburrahs four.
And laughing full and free
They mark the earth’s last hour.
Now stillness over all,
Creation holds its breath
Till mighty angels call
And wake the dead from death.
The Christ appears in light,
His glory all aflame.
All knees bow to his might.
All tongues confess his name.
Somewhere the sun has set
To never rise again.
All saints their Lord have met;
With him in glory reign.
Creation breathes once more,
And kookaburrahs four
Laugh in eternal tree.
WHEN YOU NEED HELP
We all suffer trials and temptations, but we don't have to deal with them alone. Jesus is ready to help us, and all we have to do is ask and believe.
We often hear of how Jesus died on the cross for us. But there is much more to the story than that. Jesus rose from the dead, and ascended to God’s right hand to “intercede” for us as our advocate, our Great High Priest.
"We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all the same ways that we are, but he did not sin. So let us draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need"
A LITTLE BIRD
When I was a small boy, I was often amazed at things my mother knew. I would ask her, “How did you know?” and she would say, “A little bird told me.” I realised that she didn't mean it literally. It was her way of saying that it was not for me to know how she knew that certain thing.
Sometimes, when somebody makes an assertion about religion, you might care to ask that person, “How do you know?” Very likely you won't hear, “A little bird told me,” but rather, “God told me.”
People used to believe that God speaks to us through "the sacred scriptures which are able to make one wise unto salvation... completely equipped for every good work" (2Timothy 3:14-17).
But now people believe that God speaks to them like my mother’s little bird spoke to her.
THE STORY OF THE CROSS
TWO groups of bystanders: friends and enemies.
THREE crosses: Christ crucified between two thieves.
FOUR soldiers: who divided his garments among them.
FIVE wounds: (1) headwounds from rod and crown of thorns; (2) stripes on his back from Pilate's scourging; (3) nails in his hands; (4) nails in his feet; (5) the spear in his side.
SIX things spoken of Christ or to him: (1) the Sanhedrin’s interrogation; (2) Pilate’s judgment; (3) mockery by soldiers, passers by, chief priests, and the crucified thieves; (4) one thief’s change of heart; (5) the talk among those who thought Jesus called for Elijah; (6) the centurion’s confession.
SEVEN utterances: by Christ himself.
One of the marvelous promises given to everyone is that “You may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God”
“For of his fullness we have all received, and grace for grace”
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you” (2Cor 9:8).
There are two parts to this. First there is the fullness of Christ's plan of salvation and his sacrifice for redemption. Everyone has received this grace. Nobody is excluded from it.
The second part is to actually be saved. It's one thing to be granted a way of full salvation; it's another thing to actually follow that way and enter that full salvation.
God grants to all “grace for grace” —the first grace is the opportunity to be saved. The second grace is turning that opportunity into a reality.
“How do I do that?” you may ask. That's a very good question and the most important question you'll ever ask. Six things are required of you to enter into salvation by grace:
1. Hearing Christ's word (Romans 10:8-17, Matthew 7:24).
2. Believing —having faith (Romans 1:16-17, John 3:16)
3. Repentance from sin (Romans 2:4-5, 6:1-2, Luke 5:31-32)
4. Confessing Christ (Romans 10:8-10, Matthew 10:32)
5. Being baptized (Romans 6:3-4, Mark 16:15-16)
6. Ongoing commitment
(Romans 12:1-2, 12:11-12, Luke 9:62)
None of those steps is a work by which you earn or merit your salvation. Salvation is by grace. You'll never deserve it. These steps are all possible only by God’s grace. Faith and obedience are privileges.