Source: A VERY SHORT CONTEMPLATION!
FROM MY HEART TO YOURS-BLUEGILL BILL
“I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA,” SAYS THE LORD GOD, “WHO IS AND WHO WAS AND WHO IS TO COME, THE ALMIGHTY (REVELATION 1:8).”
People who are concerned about calories and food content are careful to read the ingredients information on labels. The most notable and important ingredient, so I’ve heard, is always listed first. In the light of that knowledge, I want to consider Jesus Christ, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty. Certainly, in our desire to come to God, to know God, to love God, and to please God; Jesus is Alpha and Omega, the First, and the Last.
Oftentimes, people put something or someone else first, such as works, ecclesiastical, or physical; such as sacraments, ordinances, or penance, or even another person as a substitute, as if by tending to these things, or listening to the extra-scriptural advice of substitutes can make us fit to approach God. Not so! I submit, that if you start with Jesus Christ, you’ll end with Jesus Christ; since He is the First and the Last. If you start with something or someone else first, hard telling where you’ll end up, hence the confusion of myriad ideas and doctrines within Christendom.
The solution to misplaced “faith” is this: Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ! “He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Him (John 14:6).”
From the heart of a sinner saved by grace.
FROM MY HEART TO YOURS
Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men – extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 18:10-14).”
What is it with people who think they are righteous? Is it that they are bad people as the world defines badness? No, rather it’s that they are good as the world defines goodness, and they think that their good works will carry them through – all the way to heaven. It’s that they don’t recognize their sin, that is, the inherent evil that Bible believing theologians define as “total depravity.” They, and we (because we must admit that at times we are guilty of a notion of self-righteousness) compare ourselves to others, as the Pharisee in the temple did, and just plain think we are better. This kind of comparison is extremely odious in the sight of God.
In contrast to the Pharisee, the tax collector was cognizant of the fact of his sin. He knew that he fell far short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). He would not stand before God, and pray “thus with himself,” lying to God about how good he was. Rather, he prayed for mercy, and cast himself upon the grace of God.
What lesson can we learn for ourselves from this account of the Pharisee and tax collector? We can learn, first of all, that it’s not what we do, but what we are in the sight of God that counts. If the heart isn’t right with God, works don’t mean a thing. Secondly, we can learn that God’s mercy overcomes our sin. No matter what we’ve done, God is waiting to hear our prayer, “God be merciful to me, a sinner,” and to lift us out of the refuse pit (Psalm 40:1,2).
Was the Pharisee in our lesson a good man? Of course he was! How could he not be a good man? He went to the temple (church) every Lord’s day. He paid tithes; he fasted; he prayed. What then was wrong that he was not justified? I believe it was this: he thought, having been taught so by the Pharisees before him, that he could earn his way to heaven. But “It’s not by works of righteous that we have done, but according to His mercy that He saves us. But the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).” Like wise, if we follow the teaching of those who espouse salvation by works, no matter how good their intention, neither will we be saved and justified. Think of that! Salvation is by grace alone! Through faith alone! In Jesus Christ alone, as He is revealed in Holy Scripture alone! Believe in Him and give the glory to Almighty God alone. If you do; I may never meet you down here; but I’ll see you on the other side!
From a sinner saved by grace,
FROM MY HEART TO YOURS – BLUEGILL BILL
“My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things that I have made touching the King.: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).”
The psalmists (In the case of Psalm 45, the Sons of Korah), are willing writers who endeavor to write to the glory and praise of their King, in this case, the pre-incarnate Christ, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So it is with me and all other believers who are inspired by God to make their tongue “the pen of a ready writer.”
Since I’m an old geezer who wasted the best years of his life in regard to witnessing for King Jesus, I can only try to witness now in the best way possible for me to do so. Therefore I am making my best effort to present devotionals that will honor the King, and possibly persuade people to trust in Him. As you can readily tell, I’m not a Charles Spurgeon, or a John Bunyan, or a John MacArthur. I am in fact, limited in education, in intellect, and in ability. Even so, I hope to carry on in this manner as long as I possibly can, and when it becomes impossible, humanly speaking, carry on with the help on the One with whom “all things are possible.” So, please be aware of this: “King Jesus is a-listening, all day long, to hear some sinner pray.” If you or I are moved to “call upon the Lord,” we may be assured of one thing: That we have been “chosen from the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blame before Him.” (So it is declared in an inerrant way in Ephesians 1:4). Furthermore, it goes on that, “In love he predestined us for adoption, through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 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, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Jesus Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all thing according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance, until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:5-14).”
Now the Word of God, in all places, declare that salvation is God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. Why some people desire to pretend that they must have a part in “saving themselves,” I have no idea. It just isn’t possible! Believe the Scripture, and trust in Him today!
With love and prayers for you and all of yours,
Bill Biza aka Bluegill Bill
P. S. This comes “warts and all,” since I’ve no time this morning to proof read!