Monday, June 28, 2010

What are You Losing While Trying to Find Yourself?

By Jim Faughn

A lot of trends seem to have begun with my generation. Sadly, not all of them are positive. Many in my generation made fun of our parents and grandparents who basically accepted life as it was; had a job that might not have been “fulfilling,” but which put food on the table; took seriously their marriage vows; and raised their children to be productive members of society. We were taught by many in the fields of entertainment and education that life had to be more than that. While all of us did not “tune in; turn on; and drop out,” we were definitely encouraged to ”find ourselves.”

That quest that gained momentum during the sixties has produced a philosophy about life that increasingly looks inward instead of outward (and definitely not upward). It seems to me that each succeeding generation has become more and more narcissistic. Now we have people all the way from retirement age down to the earliest age at which toddlers begin to reason with a similar view of life. They believe that life is all about them. Their major concerns are how they can please themselves; how they can be happy; how they can feel fulfilled; etc. In short, more and more people are on a lifelong quest to “find themselves.”

It is my observation that many of my friends, some of my family members, and even some brothers and sisters in Christ have lost something of great value in this quest to “find themselves.” Sometimes, that which has been lost can never be regained.

That last paragraph could also be written in the present tense. I fear that many whom I know and whom I love are presently losing something of great value as they pursue a career, pleasure, education, sports, and a host of other things in an attempt to “find themselves.”

If you are, or even think you could be, one who is trying to find yourself, may I please ask you to consider what you are in danger of losing in that pursuit? While the list below may not be complete, it is my prayer that it will serve as a “wake-up call.”
  • Your spouse. He/she still loves you and really doesn’t know what to do to keep you from destroying a relationship that could be a lot more fulfilling for both of you than it presently is. Do you remember when all you wanted to do was spend time together? Have you “sold” that so that you can find yourself? Is it really worth it?
  • Your children. They did not ask to be brought into this world. They do not need the things that you can buy them, nor do they need all the places you can take them or activities you encourage them to participate in. These can either be attempts to “buy them off” as you find yourself or they may be attempts to help them find themselves. Regardless of which they are, your children do not need them as much as they need you.
  • Your friends. I mean your real friends: those who used to be (and many still are) with you through the bad times as well as the good; those who would be there for you all through life if you would let them; those who may love you enough to try to tell you some things that you may not want to hear if you would slow down long enough to listen. If you could hear their prayers, you might realize what you are in danger of sacrificing.
  • Your reputation. There are those who remember the “old” you and liked him or her a lot better. He or she had time for others, was fun to be around, and cared about the really important things. Some who are trying to find themselves have ruined their reputation by getting involved in an illegal and/or immoral lifestyle. Others have not gone that far, but their reputation is surely not what it used to be.
  • Your health. Whether it is from overwork, ingesting dangerous substances, sexually transmitted diseases, or any number of other things, far too many have “found themselves” trying in vain to recover the good health they once enjoyed. In many cases, their life is much shorter than it could have been.
  • Your soul. Regardless of what philosophy of life may be adopted by a particular generation, the Bible will always teach that God, not self, must come first. There is not enough room on the throne of one’s heart for two people. The occupant of that throne cannot be God and anybody or anything else. It must be only God. Our lives will have been a total and complete failure if they are spent in any other pursuit than the pursuit of a personal and obedient relationship with Him.
In the tenth chapter of Luke, we read about a man whose stated concern was about eternal life (v. 25). It may be due to the fact that the man’s real concern was to test Jesus (v. 25) that Jesus turned the tables on him and asked him how he read what was in the law (v. 26). It is of interest to observe that, according to Jesus (v. 28), the man had the answer exactly right: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (v. 27).” As the rest of that passage informs us, the difficulty and the challenge was not in knowing, but in doing.

How many of us know what really is important concerning our relationship with God and our hope of heaven, but are doing things that indicate that our real interests are elsewhere? What are you losing while trying to find yourself?

- Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the Central church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Benefits of the Resurrection of Christ

By Kevin Williams

One way in which to realize the importance of something under consideration is to note the benefits that are received by it. For example, the air we breathe is important because of the benefit that we receive from it; it contributes to life. Pain is important because of the benefit that we receive from it; it tells us when something harmful is near us. Legs are important because of the benefit that we receive from them; they take us places we want to go. If any of these simple illustrations were ever questioned as to their importance all we would have to do is think of someone who cannot breathe, feel pain, or walk. The same is true of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. It is of tremendous importance to us because of the benefits we receive because of it. Note the following that we receive because Christ was resurrected…

♦ “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1.3).

♦ “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13.36-38).

♦ “There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3.21).

♦ “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10.9).

♦ “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4.25).

♦ “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4.14).

♦ “And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power” (1 Corinthians 6.14).

Do you ever doubt the importance of the resurrection of Jesus? Have you considered the personal benefits that each of us has because He was raised from the dead? If you ever doubt its importance simply think of those who have not taken advantage of the benefits that are connected to it! Think about it!

- Kevin Williams preaches for the Walnut Grove church of Christ in Benton, KY. He may be contacted through the church's website:

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Living Word

By Raleigh Batty

God’s word may be called the “living word” because it is able both to bring to life, and to sustain the life of, those who receive it.

This life-producing influence of the word may be exerted through several channels. The written word itself, housed in the book we call the Bible, has the power both to convict and to convert those who read and respond in obedience to its instruction. It contains information which can make us “wise unto salvation.”

“Salvation,” however, must not be thought of as merely a state of forgiveness. Salvation is a maturing relationship with God, something we’re instructed to “work out” (Philippians 2:12). It is a transformation that is evidence of the word of God living in us. It is a living condition in which the word has been translated into the language of changed hearts and lives of those who have received it.

Indeed, some may merely read the Bible and discover the solution to their problems. Others may be persuaded by the preaching of the word. But the lost world needs to see the power of the gospel displayed clearly in the love, joy, peace, and sureness of purpose that characterizes those who have been recipients of this Good News, and whose quality of life is a reflection of its transforming power!

Jesus didn’t just come to SPEAK the word. He came AS THE living word OF God! All the blessings of the term “gospel{“ are perfectly embodied in Him.

So it should be with those who claim to be His disciples. The changed lives of saved sinners is the translation of the Bible that the watching world is most likely to read, and believe.

May God help us to become His “living epistles!” That’s what it means to “adorn the doctrine” (Titus 2:10) and to live a life worthy of your calling.

- Raleigh Batty; via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Expectations of Jesus

By Alan Smith

After being with his blind date all evening, the man couldn't take another minute with her. Earlier, he had secretly arranged to have a friend call him to the phone so he would have an excuse to leave if something like this happened.
When he returned to the table, he lowered his eyes, put on a grim expression and said, "I have some bad news. My grandfather just died."

"Thank goodness," his date replied. "If yours hadn't, mine would have had to!"

I am so glad that I don't have to deal with the "dating scene" -- worrying about making a good first impression so that I can meet her expectations and trying to deal with the awkwardness of the situation if she's doesn't meet my expectations. That's especially the problem with "blind dates", something I managed to avoid altogether in my dating years. You get an image in your mind of what your date is going to be like (or what you hope she's going to be like), and it often doesn't take much to shatter that misconception. Granted, your date could possibly turn out to be better than you expected, but it seldom seems to work out that way.

That was a problem that Jesus faced when he came to this earth. He should have been greeted with open arms -- after all, he was the long-awaited Messiah. The problem is that the Jews had expectations of what the Messiah would be like. For most of the Jews, that preconception involved an earthly king who would boot the Romans out of the land and assume control. In fact, they were quite prepared to make Jesus that king (John 6:15).

Even without that misconception, though, none of the Jews could imagine a Messiah hanging on a cross. So the cross became a "stumbling block" to the Jews and "foolishness" to the Greeks (I Cor. 1:23). Jesus didn't meet their expectations and they hurried to find a way to end the relationship.

Philip Yancey deals with this topic in his book "The Jesus I Never Knew". He speaks of his own misconceptions of Jesus at an early age: "I recalled the Sunday school image of Jesus that I grew up with:someone kind and reassuring, with no sharp edges at all -- a Mister Rogers before the age of children's television."
Certainly Jesus was kind and reassuring, but he was so much more than that -- he was a man who was strong (physically and emotionally) and passionate.

What's important is that we allow the Gospels to define who Jesus was, and not expect him to measure up to our preconceived ideas. I challenge you to read the Gospels in a fresh light. Remove all expectations and allow the Word of God to define and shape who Jesus was. I guarantee the Messiah will turn out to be better than you expected!

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
Have a great day!

- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the White House church of Christ in White House, TN, may be contacted at

Monday, June 14, 2010


By Mike Benson

I HAVE TO confess that initially this passage made me scratch my head...

Based upon what is recorded earlier in Matthew 3, John's question to the Lord in Matthew 11 really didn't make sense. It appeared, at least on the surface, as something of a biblical contradiction.

Chapter 3 says Jesus came to John for baptism (3:13). John objected at first, but Jesus convinced him otherwise and the immersion took place (3:16a). Scripture then records that the heavens opened up and the Spirit descended in the likeness of a dove. At that same moment, the Father declared, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (3:16b-17; cf. Mark 1:10-11).

Whatever doubts John might have had about Jesus prior to this occasion, they must have been erased, for he was in the presence of the Godhead (Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9) and had incontrovertible evidence as to the identity of Jesus. And yet, when you get to chapter 11, John (now in prison) sends a rather puzzling question to the Lord. He asks (via a messenger), "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" (11:3).

What?! Wait a minute! "Are You the Coming One...?!" How can Jesus not be the One?! John, have you somehow forgotten about what you saw and heard back at the baptism? Are you suffering from some type of self-induced amnesia? Has imprisonment clouded your mental faculties? Of course Jesus is the Coming One!

Evidently John, like many of his Jewish peers (Acts 1:6), held certain preconceptions about the Messiah. He was looking for a king like David of old. He was looking for a military figure who would overthrow the yoke of Roman tyranny and oppression. He was looking for a political entity who would restore the kingdom to its former glory.

From John's skewed vantage point, Jesus didn't exactly fit with his Messianic expectations. Instead of initiating zealous political rallies and instigating a coup against Caesar, the Lord humbly moved among the common people of His day, teaching them and healing their sick. Instead of courting the Jewish hierarchy, Jesus bumped elbows with the unsavory elements of society (9:10; 11:19; 21:32). Instead of delivering his cousin and forerunner (John 1:23, 30, 33-34) from incarceration, He--for some unknown reason--allowed him to languish in a first-century jail cell! John embraced the tradition view of the Messiah and couldn't reconcile the Lord with his longstanding bias.

"Are You the Coming One...?" I hear doubt and confusion in John's question, despite what he had seen and heard back in chapter 3 at Jesus' baptism.

It occurs to me that John is not the only person who has ever looked at the Lord through the lens of prejudice and predisposition. Often times I hear statements to this effect, "Jesus NEVER called names. (He didn't? John 8:42-47). "Jesus was NEVER blunt with folks." (He wasn't? Matthew 8:22; 15:16; 21-28; Mark 2:1-5; 9:14-32; Luke 17:11-19). "Jesus NEVER got angry." (He didn't? John 2:13-16; Luke 19:45-46; Mark 3:6). "Jesus NEVER taught baptism was necessary for salvation." (He didn't? Hebrews 1:1-2; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:21). Folks view the Lord in light of how they've been raised or what their "pastor" or parents have taught them, and not in harmony with what the Word actually says about Him. He's a product of long-standing oral tradition and not the actual Coming One revealed in the Bible.

Dear reader, I urge you to carefully study what Scripture says about Jesus. Cast off the shackles of preconception and get to know (1 John 2:3, 4; 5:20; John 1:10; 14:7; Acts 13:27;Philippians 3:10) the real Messiah. What you want Him to be, what you expect Him to be, and what He IS may not be the same thing. (Mike Benson at:

- Mike Benson edits an on-line devotional entitled KneEmail. To subscribe, send ANY message to: Mike may be contacted

Names of Christ

By Gerald Cowan (Sermon Notes)

We have seen that two of the names of God are plural (ELOHIM and ADONAI), indicating that the One God is a plural personality. In the present lesson we will discuss some of the names and designations of the second aspect of the Godhead, who is identified with Jesus Christ.
Some names often applied to him do not actually pertain to him (those in the Song of Solomon, for example: Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the valleys, Fairest of ten thousand). We will mention some that show the relationship of Jesus Christ to both God and man.

1. Old Testament names.

SHILOH. Gen. 49:10
PROPHET. Dt. 18:15, Acts 3:22

2. Names shared by the first and second aspect of the Godhead.

EL, ELOHIM. Ps. 45:6, Heb. 1:8
ADONAI. Ps. 110:1, Mt.22:43
JEHOVAH. Is. 6:5, Jn. 12:37-41
I AM. John 6:5, 8:12, 8:58, 10:36, and 14:6.

3. Personal names.

JESUS. Mt. 1:21
CHRIST OF GOD. 1 Cor. 3:23

4. Names that emphasize deity. IMMANUEL. Is. 7:14, Mt. 1:23

SON OF GOD. Luke 22:70, John 10:36
ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD. John 1:14, 18, 3:18, 36, and 10:36.
THE WORD. John 1:1-4
THE GLORY. James 2:1, John 1:14

5. Names that have to do with his relationship to mankind and his service to mankind.

SON OF MAN. Heb. 2:8, Jn. 12:34
LORD (KURIOS). Luke 6:46, Rom. 10:9-10, Phil. 2:11
RABBI. John 3:2
SAVIOR. Acts 4:12
REDEEMER. Job 19:25, Rev. 5:9
ROCK. 1 Cor. 10:4, Mt. 16:18

6. Jesus has a name that is above every name, a name that only he himself comprehends. Phil. 2:11, cf Rev. 2:17.
Our desire is that every person come to know Jesus Christ, not just by name in a personal relationship.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL. He may be contacted at

My King

The Bible says my King is not just a king, but the King! He's the King of Righteousness. He's the King of the Ages. He's the King of Heaven. He's the King of Glory. He's the King of kings, and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King. I wonder, do you know Him?

David said, "The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork." My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply. No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings. He's enduringly strong. He's entirely sincere. He's eternally steadfast. He's immortally graceful. He's imperially powerful. He's impartially merciful. Do you know Him?

He's the greatest phenomenon that ever crossed the horizon of this world. He's God's Son. He's a sinner's Savior. He's the centerpiece of civilization. He stands in the solitude of Himself. He's august. He's unique. He's unparalleled. He's unprecedented. He's the loftiest idea in literature. He's the highest personality in philosophy. He's the supreme problem in higher criticism. He's the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He's the cardinal necessity for spiritual religion. He's the miracle of the age. He's the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He's the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Savior. I wonder if you know Him today?

He supplies strength for the weak. He's available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals and cleanses. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. He beautifies the meek. I wonder, do you really know Him?
Well, my King is the King. He's the key to knowledge. He's the wellspring to wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the pathway of peace. He's the roadway of righteousness. He's the highway of holiness. He's the gateway of glory. Do you know Him? Do you?

His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you, but He's indescribable. He's incomprehensible. He's invincible. He's irresistible. Do you know Him?

You can't get Him out of your mind. You can't out live Him, and you can't live without Him. The Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him. Yea!!!, that's my King, that's the King. And you can know Him!

- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL. You may visit their website at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Behold the Lamb of God (Read John 1:29-36)

By Jimmy Cox

1. Speak of the subject in John 1:29-36

2. Passover lamb (Ex. 12:1-30) "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. And you shall keep it up until the 14th day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."

(A) Christ is our passover.
1 Cor. 5:7 - Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our passover, was sacrificed for you.

3. Isaiah spoke of Christ. READ Isa. 53: 3-7. B Christ in prophecy is spoken of as a Lamb

4. Rev. 13:8, speaks of Christ as "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

I. Like A Lamb, Jesus was Innocent

1. His life was not touched with sin.
Heb. 4:15 - "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."
1 Pet. 2:22B Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth.

2. His life is our example C 1 Pet. 2:21B For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.
(A) Notice the limitation Paul refers to in 1 Cor. 11:1 - Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

3. The life of Jesus was completely pureC John 8:46 - "Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?"

4. No reasonable, honest person has ever found fault in the life of our dear Lord.

- Judas: Matt. 27:4 "Saying, I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." And they said, What is that to us? You see to it!"
- Pilate: Luke 23:4 - "So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, I find no fault in this Man."
- Pilate's wife: Matt. 27:19 - "Have nothing to do with this just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him."
- Peter: 1 Pet. 1:18-19 - "You were redeemed... With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

II. Like a Lamb, Jesus was Gentle

1. He never spurned a true penitent. (Woman taken in adultery).
John 8:3-11: "He who is without sin among you. Let him throw a stone at her first." "Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing with him." "Then Jesus asked the woman: "Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?"
She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."

2. Only when gentleness would not reclaim the wayward, did he manifest anger. Matt. 21:12-13--"Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, "It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves."

III. Like A Lamb, Jesus Was A Sin Offering

1. In Old Testament time lambs and other animals were offered for sin.
Heb. 10:4 - "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins."
Heb. 10:9-10 - "Then He said, Behold, I have come to do Your will O God. He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

2. Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice for sin.
Heb. 9:26 - "He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."
Heb. 10:10 - "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Matt. 26:28 - "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

IV. Like a Lamb, Jesus Was Meek

1. Matt. 11:28-30 - "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden light."

2. Acts 8:32B (Philip and the eunuch from Ethiopia). "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth."

3. Jesus submitted to God and His will.
Luke 22:41-42 - "And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

- Jimmy W. Cox lives in Sandy Hook, MS and attends the Columbia church of Christ in Columbia, MS. He may be contacted at

I’ll Put Jesus FIRST in My Life!

By Larry Miles

The title of the song above is my favorite song in our hymnal. It was written by James DeForrest Murch back in the 1930’s. I want to use the verses and the chorus to write some short devotionals.

All of us have priorities in life. We all have “anchors” in our lives. Every priority and anchor that is not grounded in the Lord Jesus will only last through this life. We all need something or someone in our lives that will lead to eternal life.

The chorus reads as follows: “In all that I say, in all that I do, throughout the world of toil and strife, by day and by night, through trust in His might, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.”

Notice that the intent of this chorus is not half hearted commitment. It is giving one’s all to a life of dedicated, faithful service. We are reminded that life is not always a “bed of roses,” but life is many times up and down, and full of all kinds of emotions and feelings. But we can rest assured that we have One who loves us, One who keeps His Word and wants us to have an abundant life in Him. Paul, in writing to the Ephesians said, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us…” (Eph. 1:8-9a ESV)

We have the promise that no matter what time of the day, He is always there for us. We can count on the promise of the Great Commission “Lo, I am with you always…” If we always seek to put Jesus first in our lives, He will equip us for service.

I have been taking the verses and chorus of the song “The World All About Me.” In this devotion I want to discuss the question “Why Give Up Sin?” All Christians should be in “an attitude of gratitude” for what the Lord Jesus has done, is doing, and will do for us.

The second verse of the song starts off with the phrase “The Lord Jesus died my salvation to win:” This should remind us of the great cost of salvation; not to us, but to the Godhead. Our Heavenly Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to die in my place. The song further says “He went in my stead to Calvary and bled.” He took our place; we do not deserve to be saved. We are reminded of the need for the blood of Christ to be shed for the remission of our sins.

The last phrase of the second verse says “Redemption impels us to give up all sin.” This refers to the title of this devotion. Now that we are in Christ, we are to live a new life. We should be motivated by what Jesus did in redemption. If He loved us so much that He died for us, then we ought to try our best to avoid sin. Butpraise God if we do sin and “all have sinned…,” we have Jesus to intercede for us (Heb. 4:14-16).

So, fellow believer, let’s always be reminded of the love of Jesus and live our lives and be reminded that we are now in the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1:12-14) and are living in the marvelous light of the Gospel. (I Peter 2:9)

Christians are promised in the Word of God that their eternal destiny is to be with the Lord Jesus Christforever (I Thes. 4:17). Wherever He is or goes, we will be with Him. We can know, in this life, that we are saved and have assurance of our salvation. Many, even some Christians do not have this assurance.

The song “I’ll Put Jesus First,” in verse 3 uses the words “I Know.” We can look forward to a time “when death is no more, when struggle is o’er.” Christians are “the ransomed and blest.” When we sing this song we are forever reminded of the redemption we have in Christ.

The last phrase of the verse says “For those who love Jesus and give Him their best.” Do you love Jesus? If so, you will want to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” (I Peter 3:18). We prepare for the “home for the ransomed and blest,” in this life. Remember, we are saved by grace, thought faith, in baptism, for good works. We are not saved because we worked our way into Heaven; rather, we are working for the Lord Jesus because we are saved. Let’s live our Christian lives preparing for eternal life. If we want to grow in Jesus, He will equip us for service.

In verse 4 of the song “I’ll Put Jesus First in My Life” we are reminded of the protecting grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament teaches us that we are saved by grace through faith, in baptism unto good works. As long as we abide in Jesus we will never fall, we will never lose our salvation.

Christians are never promised a “bed of roses.” We are not under a “name it and claim it” philosophy as many radio and TV preachers would have us believe.

We are not immune from the “cares of this world.” The “rain” falls on the “just and unjust,” the Bible tells us. “Tho’ earth’s tribulations continue each day,” reminds us that bad times do befall the believer, “His grace will protect me for ever and aye..” We can “take that to the bank.” We can be assured that although we live “in this world,” we are “not of this world.” (I John 2:15-17)

Remember the chorus, “In all that I say, in all that I do, throughout the world of toil and strife, by day and by night, through trust in His might, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.” We must give our all to the Lord. We must be consistent in our walk for Him. We must “let our light shine” for Jesus! Keep looking up! Jesus may come today

We hope you have been blessed by the devotional article. tell others about this site. Visit the following web sites. Cherry Street Church of Christ (We are in the process of overhaulling our web site--coming real soon.

- Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and publishes "
Larry's Lines" several times a week. Copyright 2009

Pushing the Lord Aside?

In the late 1700s the manager of Baltimore’s largest hotel refused lodging to a man dressed like a farmer because he thought this fellow’s appearance would discredit his inn. So the man left. Later that evening, the innkeeper discovered that he had turned away none other than Thomas Jefferson! Immediately he sent a note to the famed patriot, asking him to come back and be his guest. Jefferson replied by instructing his messenger as follows: "Tell him I have already engaged a room. I value his good intentions highly, but if he has no place for a dirty American farmer, he has none for the Vice President of the United States."

Likewise, the Lord is often pushed aside in our lives because we disregard needy believers of humble circumstances. We forget that Christ may be in the small child who needs attention, the exhausted wife who needs encouragement, or the frustrated laborer who needs recognition. He might be in the grieving grandmother, the lonely shut-in, or the struggling neighbor. They may seem to have little to offer, but if we show kindness to the "least of these," it’s as if we are doing it to Christ.

– Our Daily Bread; via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: