We had a beautiful four days of revival services this week at my church. It was exhausting, and I lost track of what day it is, but four teenagers got saved and that made it all worth it. Perhaps you're wondering that it means to be saved. The verse above tells us about God's love for us even when we were or are sinners. I hope today's blog will give you some insight into just what that means.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5: 6-8 (NASB)
As an animal lover, I've gone to some extremes to take care of my pets. I've bottle fed kittens. I cared for my ailing llama for a month until I was finally able to admit that he wasn't going to make it. And I've jumped into the creek twice to rescue my ducks.
I know what you're thinking – don't ducks like the water? Yes, but in both cases there was a very good reason. And fortunately, unless there's been massive rain storms, the creek is usually less than 18 inches deep.
The first occasion was when a dog or some other nasty critter dragged my duck out of the pen. I looked for her a long time and finally found her in the creek, bloody, but alive. What else was there to do? I went in after her. Performed some ducky first aid, and she survived.
Years later a different duck got caught in a muskrat trap. Again, the search, and when I found her I went straight in and pulled her and the trap out of the water. It was an effort to get the trap off of her leg, but once we did it was again time for ducky first aid. That was followed by a call to the Game Commission. Did you know there's an identifying number on traps? There is, and since the guy had #1 - no permission to put the trap on our property and #2 - it was within 500 feet of the house, he was blessed with a $200 fine. The Game Commission officer told me the fellow was thunderstruck: “All this over a stupid duck!?”
But she was my stupid duck. By the way, ducky first aid isn't easy. In the photos you see that same duck on a later occasion when she damaged her wing. The only thing we could think of was to cut the leg off a pair of long underwear and use it as a splint. Somehow the duck always managed to get out of it. We have no idea how. Just call her Houdini.
There have been a number of illustrations given of why Jesus came to earth as a man. This is mine. I went into the creek, shoes and all, because I loved my duck. Jesus came to earth as a man to suffer and die, to bear the sins of the world on His holy shoulders because He loves us.
God is holy, and we fall short of His glory. So then how can we be saved? On our own we can't. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There's our choice. Eternal death or the free gift of eternal life. It seems like a no-brainer. Who would choose eternity in hell? Any thinking person would opt for eternal life. Here's the thing: you can't work for a free gift, and the Bible says there is only one way to heaven. Jesus is the “way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” John 14:6.
Good news! It's Christmas, and a gift is lying there under “the tree.” All you have to do is accept it. I invite you to pray and ask Jesus to give you this free gift. There's no “magic prayer”, but you can use this as a guide.
Heavenly Father, I know that I'm a sinner. I know there's no way for me to save myself. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I accept the free gift of eternal life you have offered me, and I ask you to come into my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life and make me the person you want me to be. In Jesus' name, Amen.
If you've prayed this or a similar prayer, please email me. I can direct you to further information so that you can live your life in the future for the God who loved you enough to jump into the creek for you.