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Christ's Unlimited Patience for Sinners

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:12-17). Notice that Paul was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man. We are quite sure that he was not an adulterer, or thief, or liar. He would have said so. He did
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Read Like a Berean

"Of making many books there is no end" (Ecclesiastes 12:12). A serious temptation accompanies the widespread availability of Christian books, blogs, and podcasts. Because so many Christian books have been written about a multitude of subjects, it is far too easy to turn to a Christian book before opening the Bible. Books written by Christians are profitable only when they are approached as a supplementary , not primary, source of guidance. True godliness is cultivated in those who labor in the Scriptures, for there we find the Lord's counsel (2 Tim. 2:15, 3:15-17). Luke commends the saints in Berea who measured the teaching of Paul and Silas against the Word of God: "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily do find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). The Bereans are a good example to all of us who desire to pattern our lives according to God's

The Lord Is Near

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7). At different times in my life, this paragraph has had both immediate and long-term results. As I look at it again today,* every word seems to be charged. Here are a few words from the paragraph to focus on to aid your study and your meditation: gentleness; anxious; thanksgiving; transcends; guard. I think you will find this method of study and meditation—concentrating on certain word—to be a major help in your Christian life.   *Written October 1988. This post coordinates with tomorrow's reading in the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge . If you are not in a daily reading plan, please join us at . We would love to have you reading with us.

Restitution: The Missing Ingredient in Repentance, Part 3 of 3

Restitution is for people under grace. Here’s why. Suppose I am not a Christian and am short of money. So I go into the First National Bank and hold it up. I put $100,000 in my bag and walk down the street. I come to a park where there is open-air preaching going on. There is singing, testifying, and preaching, and a crowd of people listening. I join the crowd. I am convicted of sin and call on the Lord.  After the meeting, I go up to the preacher and say, “I did what you said. I prayed to God. I feel wonderful! What does that mean?” The preacher says, “That means you have been born again.” “What does that mean?” “It means your sins have been forgiven.” “Oh,” I say. “How many?” “All of them!” “All of them?” “Yes, all of them.” “Oh boy,” I reply. “Now I can enjoy this $100,000.” “What $100,000?” “In my bag. I just relieved the bank of some extra money.” The preacher looks at me. “Let’s take it back.” “What do you mean, ‘Take it back’? You just told me I’ve been

Ask the Lord of the Harvest

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us" (Romans 5:1-5). This is a paragraph of causes and effects. There is another list of causes and effects in Romans 10, where the list is given in rhetorical questions. "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who

The Connection Between Kindness & Repentance

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" (Rom. 2:4). That is an understatement; men do not realize the connection between kindness and repentance. In this culture, we think of repentance responding to a harsh message, not a kind one. Notice the correlation in 2 Timothy 2:24-25: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone , able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth.”   Written September 1985. This post coordinates with tomorrow's reading in the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge . If you are not in a daily reading plan, please join us at . We would love to have you reading with us.

A Fool's Opinions

"He who is estranged seeks pretexts to break out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:1-2). When I am estranged or separated from the Lord in fellowship, the last thing I want to hear is sound judgment. I will barricade myself against it. But since I cannot barricade against sound judgment with sound judgment, I must do it with pretexts—shallow, surface, weak things which deceive only me. It is my attempt to stay estranged. If the searchlight of sound judgment breaks into my hideout, I find myself confessing, forsaking, and no longer estranged but restored to the Lord. During my estrangement, I take no pleasure in understanding, but I am very eager to express my opinion. After I am back in fellowship, I am amazed how stupid I was with my opinions. How I regret my big mouth. Truly it is foolish.   Written January 1986. This post coordinates with today's reading in the To the Word! Bible R