A man planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At grape-picking time he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. The owner then sent another servant, but they beat him over the head and treated him shamefully. The next servant he sent was killed. Others who were sent were either beaten or killed, until there was only one left--his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, `Surely they will respect my son.' "But the farmers said to one another, `Here comes the heir to this estate. Let's kill him and get the estate for ourselves!' So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. (NLT Mark 12:1-8)
For only I, the Son of Man, have come to earth and will return to heaven again. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God. Their judgment is based on this fact: The light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants. (NLT John 3:13-21)
What foundation are you going to lay and build on? One that is based on The Solid Rock of Jesus Christ, or one that is of the world?
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The Greatest Gift from the Greatest Giver
Jesus’ death on the cross was done out of God’s grace and love for us as a sacrifice in our place to take away our sins (1 John 4:10); but it also provides an example. The perfect standard for generous giving is the cross on which Jesus died. Not only to give us life, but also to show us how to live it.
The Bible repeatedly describes Jesus’ death as an act of self emptying love which Christians are plainly called to imitate, not only with their lives in general, but with the use of their money and possessions in particular.
Spiritual Hurricane - Are You Prepared?
The severe physical tragedy of a hurricane is immense. Many, if not most, who die in hurricanes could have been saved - if they prepared and followed the instructions and directions given to them. Many are now much more aware of physical preparations because of some of the media coverage of extreme storms of the last few years. Not just more prepared, but many may actually heed the warnings given to them and follow the steps that will save their lives and their families lives.
In a similar fashion, God has established a worldwide alert system to prepare people of the approaching hurricane of death and judgment (Hebrews 9:27). His warning system is His people that have trusted Him for eternal life and the instructions are found in the Bible. We are surrounded by people who are living in the path of a spiritual storm, only a single heartbeat away from eternity. Are we who know how people can have their judgment cancelled and live forever telling what we know? Especially to those we see all the time? The physical storms the last few years produced a tremendous amount of compassion and many forms of physical support. Do we have the same compassion and commitment for the eternal storm on the horizon?
The Eternal Storm
The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We have all come short of God’s standard of perfection. In thoughts, words, and deeds, we have not been perfect. Unfortunately, the bad news gets worse, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The Bible says that by sinning we have earned death. That means we deserve to die and be separated from God forever. But since there was no way we could come to God, God came to us.
The Eternal Preparation
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The Bible says Christ took the penalty that we deserved for sin, placed it upon Himself, and died in our place. Three days later Christ came back to life to prove that sin and death had been conquered and that His claims to be God were true. Just as the bad news got worse, the good news gets better. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9). You must depend on Him alone to forgive you and to give you eternal life. Good living, going to church, helping the poor or any other good thing you might do cannot get you to heaven. You must trust in Jesus Christ alone, and God will give you eternal life as a gift.
Is there anything keeping you from trusting Christ right now? There is nothing more important than your need to trust Christ. It is not prayer that saves you. It is trusting Jesus Christ that saves you. Prayer is simply how you express to God what you are doing, such as: “Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from the grave. I trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
John 5:24 explains, “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” Eternal life is based on fact, not feeling.
Unfortunately, it seems that there will always be some that will ignore warnings as well as go unprepared, weather for physical storms or the spiritual storm on the horizon - but this does not need to be, especially if you are reading this right now and are not sure if you are ready for the great spiritual storm that will some day come to your life.
For those that are Christians, there is no better time than right now to prepare to share your faith and God’s love. We should be ready to explain our Christian hope (1 Peter 3:15). Are we truly considering the interests of others rather than just our own personal interests (Philippians 2:4)? God has demonstrated His love (John 3:16), should we not at least explain that love to others?