I cannot forget, however, the unusual choice my father gave me. I do not recall he ever did it before or after. He said, "Do you want your whipping now, or in the morning?"
What was I to do? What a choice! Like most youngsters would have done, I hedged for time. That was a mistake. He decided for me.
Looking back, I wonder if my father would actually have let me spend that whole night anticipating a morning whipping. I'm glad he didn't.
That experience has spiritual parallels. There is a verse in Hebrews that talks about "a certain fearful looking for of judgment."
God has said the punishment for sin is death. That is severe, but just. Because we "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," we are automatically guilty and liable for judgment.
Concerning judgment, God says to us, "Shall we take care of it now, or later?" It is not a question of shall we take care of it, but when shall we. He is asking you.
Some men take care of their sins now: "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after" (1 Timothy 5:24).
Unlike my father, God will not decide for you. If you wish, you may put it off until later. Many people do.
But all through life they have that fearful looking for of judgment sobering every joy, robbing every rest, spoiling every hope. They carry the misery of anticipation all through life and then must face the reality at the end! "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).
If you choose to settle things now, the Lord Jesus has provided a way to take care of your sins so that you do not need to suffer eternal death. He has become the sacrifice for sin--your sin. "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). Through his shed blood, our sins can be forgiven.
Are there any requirements for such forgiveness?
Yes, God asks us to repent of our sins, forsake them, and receive Jesus Christ as both Saviour and Lord. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
The choice is yours. Do it now, and receive forgiveness and peace concerning the future. Or, put it off, and live with the sure anticipation of eternal punishment.
Which will you choose? Will it be now, or later?
The Gospels record only a fraction of Christ's life. But it is sufficient to reveal His values, because what they record is from everyday life--things like conversations, friends, misunderstandings, family events, and meals.
One day when Jesus was talking to His closest friends, He spoke directly about His values. We have come to recognize this list of values as the "Beatitudes."
Reading them, one of the first things that strikes us is that Christ's values are not the popular norm. His very first statement is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).
We tend to value the high, the mighty men who are determined to succeed. We look at those on top of the pile with respect. Those underneath were not worthy of making it anyway. They were weak.
Did Christ encourage weakness?
No, the poor in spirit are not weak. But their strength is not the kind that shoves, or tramples, or pushes. It is not a strength of muscle but of character.
While the mighty in this world are building their empires and plotting their campaigns and strewing their enemies, the poor in spirit are busy too.
But they do not seek support, they give it. They do not shout in the streets, they listen. Theirs is an empire of men, the " kingdom of heaven."
The poor in spirit are the humble--those with a strength that is too strong to fight. Theirs is the strength of love.
To God, they have given their energies, their names, their ambitions, their lives. And God, with all His power, lives in them.
"from the wrath to come" (Matt. 3:7).FLY
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).
"Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously" (Hosea 14:2).
to Jesus and find forgiveness and safety under His wings.
Say, "I flee unto thee to hide me" (Psalm 143:9). "I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord" (Psalm 32:5).
Furthermore, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).FLOURISH
in faith and grow in obedience to Jesus Christ, your Lord and Master.
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3).
"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:8).
"Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Romans 6:13).
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