Friday, November 11, 2016

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                   I heard a song that described life as a train trip which begins when you’re born and ends when you die.  In other words, the whole trip was rather depressing, for life never really had any purpose, was without design, had no lasting effect, and ended abruptly at some desolate dumping off ground of none existence.  Like a blip in time, the life that once was, was ended as quickly as it began, like a blade of grass that springs up, withers and dies.  According to that song, each traveler on this train dies, and his whole life’s journey was in vain.  What a sad and awful thought!  It brings to my mind the title of another song, “Is that all there is?”  Life can be typified as such a journey, but it doesn’t have to be, nor was it ever meant to be.
          Life was never meant to be lived so aimlessly, without purpose, design, or direction.  Every man is given a choice as to how he will live his life, both his temporary life on earth, and his eternal life, which will be lived either in the revelation of new life, or in the death of hell.  There is but One who has known each of us even before we were conceived in our mother’s womb; that One of course is the Almighty Lord our God, Creator of all things both seen and unseen.  Being made in His image, it was always His plan that we should live life in a personal and loving relationship with Him, knowing only good, and not evil.  He knows the beginning from the end, and everything in between.  He has designed us uniquely, with a purpose for each of our lives that no one else can fulfill.  He has a plan meant for our well being, and not for our harm.
          Since the fall of man, this relationship has depended upon our own, given by God, freewill choice, either to make Him Lord of our life, or to live apart from Him, denying His Lordship in order to follow the selfish desires of our own heart.  It has to be one way or the other, for there can not be two masters in one’s life.  Either we will serve Him, or we will serve our own self centered desires.  Like the word says, a house divided can not stand. (Mark 3:25)
          If we are to continue this story of life, as if it were a journey on a train, we must first decide if we are going to receive the required ticket that was bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus, or if we want to attempt to pay for the ticket ourselves, trusting in our own works, deeds, and efforts.  Many choose the “good deeds” ticket, not understanding that it is both faulty and completely insufficient. No matter how many good deeds one does, it is never enough to take you from one station to the next, much less to your final destination in the world to come. You see your “good deeds” are of no eternal effect unless they are validated by the blood stained ticket, the only one that is stamped “paid in full” by Jesus, the Lamb of God.  It also lacks the seal of the King’s righteousness which guarantees safe passage over and through every border, foreign land, or area of danger and disaster.  Without the seal of the King of King’s righteousness, no one can gain acceptance into the Kingdom of God.  The “good deeds” ticket is a counterfeit.  Like everything else offered by Satan, it is part of his deception which will always leave you subject to the evil powers and principalities of the darkness of this world.  Satan and his demons never cease in their efforts to enslave you in the chains of sin which lead to death, chains that can never be broken through your own efforts or will power.
          There is only one ticket per person which has been purchased by the grace of God, imprinted with your name, stamped “paid in full,” bearing the precious blood of Jesus, and embossed with the seal of the righteousness of the King of Kings.  Only it can grant you the gift of the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  It is He who will lead and guide you into all truth throughout your life’s journey, guaranteeing your safe arrival and acceptance into your eternal home in the new earth with God.  No, this ticket can not be earned by you or me.  It is a free gift, granted by the grace of our loving and merciful Heavenly Father, who so loved us that He sent His only Son to live and die, to take upon Himself all our sins, paying in full the sin debt of whomever would believe on Him, and who repents and confesses Him as Savior and Lord.  This ticket is not received as a reward for any works that you or I have done, but strictly upon faith in the works that Christ alone has done.    
          This prepaid ticket offers many benefits, one being the forgiveness of all sins: past, present, and future.  Who could refuse to accept such a gift?  Unfortunately, many have received the delusion and lie that they are basically good, and that they can change for the better, by their own efforts, both themselves and the world.  This is exactly the lie that Satan wants us to believe that he may have dominion over us.  How quickly man forgets that only God is good.  “.. Jesus answered, ‘no one is good -- except God alone.’” (Luke 18: 19 NIV)  Does this mean that, once we have been born again, we are then entitled to live life continuing in the practice of sin?  Far be it!  “Knowing this, that our old man [our old sin nature] was crucified with Him [Jesus], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans 6: 6 NKJV)  If we should find ourselves willfully and purposely practicing sin, it is a sign that we must reevaluate our faith, and reevaluate if we have ever truly accepted Christ as our personal Savior and Lord.  If you are caught in such a dilemma, I strongly encourage you to read and reconsider the truth of Romans chapter 6 to reassess your present relationship with the Lord.
          God offers each of us this free and unique ticket, giving us the privilege to be born again as a child of God.  He has promised us that He will be our God, and that we may be His people, consecrated unto Him, and bound together by cords of love that can not be broken.  He promises to sanctify and justify us.  He is the one who qualifies us, not we ourselves.  It’s a two way covenant in which He promises to protect, direct and care for us; we promise to trust in Him and obey Him, knowing that He alone knows and wants that which is for our best.           
          On the Cross, He gained the victory for us over Satan and his minions.  He broke the chains of sin and death.  He knows of our frailties, our tendencies to sin, and that we are involved in spiritual warfare as long as we are here on earth.  The privilege of going before His thrown of grace to repent and ask forgiveness for our sins is never a closed door to us.  Even our obedience unto Him is a gift of God, for it is He who, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of His word, provides us both the will and the ability to do that which is pleasing in His sight. (Phlp. 2: 13)  It is written: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4: 6)   
          God does not leave us naked, unclothed, or unprepared for this journey, but provides for us the full armor of God, against which nothing can prevail.  “Put on the full armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Eph. 6: 11- 18) 
          As children of God, His banner over us is love.  His love incorporates within it mercy, grace, forgiveness, and so much more.  Since He is a loving and just God, His compassion for us is also balanced and made complete through His judgment, or chastisement and discipline.  One without the other can not have its eternal saving influence and effect of transforming us into His image.     
          The analogy of the journey of the train of life, for which the ticket is purchased by the blood of Christ, and received by the Believer, who has trusted in and is obedient unto Him, can not possibly explain or completely express how this blood stained ticket keeps on giving and giving throughout one’s life.  This journey through life, with the security that only faith in Jesus can provide, is an unfolding mystery, for our finite minds can never totally understand the infinite mind of Christ, our Savior and Lord.  But this I know, it is the greatest privilege on earth afforded unto man to receive by faith the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord; to praise, glorify, and magnify His name forever and ever, and to be indwelt by His Holy Spirit, for He is the appointed Conductor of our faith journey.   
          Am I saying that good works have no place in this journey?  Far be it!  Those good deeds that I do are an outpouring of the heart towards the Christ who has saved and made me whole in Him.  I can’t even take the credit or boast about them, for even they are a sign of the work that He has begun in me, and continues to do until He takes me home. (Philp. 1: 6)   Any good deeds that I do are to be laid at the feet of Jesus, for only He deserves all the praise, glory, and honor, and NOT myself.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2: 8 – 10)  These are the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given unto the believers for the building up and growing up of the individual, and the whole church as the body of Christ on earth. (I Cor. 12)
           I assure you that what He’s done for me, He will also do for you.  The journey through life on this train is neither depressing nor hopeless, for our HOPE is in the Lord Jesus Christ who was dead, buried, but arose from the dead.  His ascension into heaven was witnessed by multitudes.  He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.  He has promised that as He is, so shall we be glorified, on that destined day of resurrection.
          I urge and encourage all of you, who may be stuck on the train that leads only to Hell and eternal separation from God, to turn your heart unto the Lord Jesus Christ.  Through faith, receive the free gift of the blood stained ticket which is set apart just for you.  Jesus is the way the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father except through faith in Him. (John 14:6)  Having no righteousness of your own, let the Lord Jesus Christ wrap you in His righteousness, that you may be acceptable before God.  The ticket does not guarantee you a ride that is without bumps or danger, for we live in a fallen world where there will be trials and tribulations.  But we are encouraged to count even that as God’s opportunity to grow us up in Him, while He refines us and knocks off the barnacles of life which will try to become attached to us. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1: 1-6)  Be obedient unto the Lord and His word, and you will be blessed by His love and protection.  “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.” (Philp: 4: 4)    
          Go before the Lord, repent, confess your sins, and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord.  Reach out in faith with all your heart, mind and soul; receive by grace the blood stained ticket that He has purchased just for you.  Get on board! Ride the Glory Train all the way through this earthly life, and into our eternal life in the Glory Land of the new earth, to live with Him forever and ever.  Let us sing unto the Lord, “Oh the joy that floods my soul!”  
          Lastly, I reflect upon the lyrics of one other song; one which expresses so wonderfully the joy of accepting the gift of the ticket which never stops giving and giving into the life of all who will choose to believe in and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let Him touch you and make you whole.  Won’t you choose this day to receive the blood stained ticket that keeps on giving and giving because of the precious blood of the Lamb?

William J. Gaither

Shackled by a heavy burden,
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame.
Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.

He touched me, Oh He touched me.
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.

Since I met this blessed Savior,
Since He cleansed and made me whole,
I will never cease to praise Him,
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls.

He touched me, Oh He touched me.
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.

In today’s world, which is filled with the spirit of the antichrist, I urge all to trust only in the word of the Holy Bible, that you may be taught of the Lord.  Put not your trust in your own opinions, or the opinions of others.  God’s word stresses that we are to study the word for ourselves that we may not be deceived by any false gospel, but trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone.


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