Read this several years ago, and never forgot it.
Little Chad was a shy, quiet young man. One day he came home and told his mother that he’d like to make a valentine for everyone in his class. Her heart sank. She thought, “I wish he wouldn’t do that!” because she had watched the children when they walked home from school. Her Chad was always behind them. They laughed and hung on to each other and talked to each other. But Chad was never included. Nevertheless, she decided she would go along with her son. So she purchased the paper and glue and crayons. For three weeks, night after night, Chad painstakingly made 35 valentines.
Valentine’s Day dawned, and Chad was beside himself with excitement. He carefully stacked them up, put them in a bag, and bolted out the door. His mother decided to bake him his favorite cookies and serve them nice and warm with a cool glass of milk when he came home from school. She just knew he would be disappointed and maybe that would ease the pain a little. It hurt her to think that he wouldn’t get many valentines – maybe none at all.
That afternoon she had the cookies and milk on the table. When she heard the children outside, she looked out the window. Sure enough, there they came, laughing and having the best time. And, as always, there was Chad in the rear. He walked a little faster than usual. She fully expected him to burst into tears as soon as he got inside. His arms were empty, she noticed, and when the door opened she choked back the tears.
“Mommy has some cookies and milk for you,” she said. But he hardly heard her words. He just marched right on by, his face aglow, and all he could say was: “Not a one. Not a one.” Her heart sank. And then he added, “I didn’t forget a one, not a single one!” (by: Dale Galloway, Source Unknown).
We have a Savior like that. Despised and rejected by men, but he forgot not one.
“It [salvation] does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Roman 9:16, NIV 1986).
My Musings – A widely held belief is that salvation does depend upon our desires and efforts. If we live what is on balance a “good” life, things will work out in the end. But none of the following were saved that way.
- Adam & Eve – God’s original creation made in His image, but they could not be saved by their own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. Genesis 1:26.
- Noah – The last righteous man, but he could not be saved by his own desire or effort. It took God’s Mercy. Genesis 6:9.
- Job – A man that God boasted about, but he could not be saved by his own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. Job 1:8.
- Abraham – A man of great faith, but he could not be saved by his own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. Galatians 3:9.
- Moses – He spoke to God face-to-face, but he could not be saved by his own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. Deuteronomy 34:10.
- David – God called him “a man after My own heart,” but he could not be saved by his own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. Acts 13:22.
- Mary – The mother of Jesus, highly favored by God, but she could not be saved by her own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. Luke 1:28.
- John The Baptist – None greater born of woman, but he could not be saved by his own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. Matthew 11:11.
- Peter – The man on whom Jesus built His Church and who was given the keys of heaven, but he could not be saved by his own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. Matthew 16:18, 19.
- Paul – He fought the good fight and he kept the faith, but he could not be saved by his own desire or effort. It took God’s mercy. 2 Timothy 4:7.
My Advice – Even at our best, are we any better than these? No, we cannot be saved by our own desire or effort. It takes God’s mercy. Psalm 14:3. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. God’s mercy comes only through Him. John 14:6.
Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7–8, NIV 1984).
My Musings – “The riches of God.” Riches. Plentiful amount. Abundantly supplied. How plentiful and abundant do you suppose it could be coming from the Creator of all there is? How about His only begotten Son? “God’s grace.” Grace. The free and unmerited favor of God. “The riches of God’s grace” are free to all who would receive them, even though it is not merited. Could never possibly be merited. “He lavished on us.” Lavished. Bestowed in generous or extravagant quantities. Exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate. It is neither reasonable or appropriate that we should receive God’s favor, apart from His mercy and grace. “With all wisdom and understanding.” God understood what the cost of His grace would be. It doesn’t seem all that wise to give so great a cost to those so unworthy. But He was wise enough to understand it was the only possible way to lovingly satisfy His own Holy and Righteous character.
My Advice – Be thankful that you either have it or that it is within your grasp.
“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.” (1 Timothy 1:15–16, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Paul had good reason to believe he was “the worst” of sinners, for in a previous verse (v.13) he listed some of his offenses (“blasphemer and a persecutor [of Christians] and a violent man“). If you need any evidence that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, you need look no further than Paul. And this should be an encouragement to anyone that believes they are beyond saving. For is God can save the “worst of sinners” He can certainly save you and me, or anyone “who would believe on him and receive eternal life.“
My Advice – Typically, it is not a good thing to be made an example. In Paul’s case it was good, not only for him, but for all who might think that they are the worst. And that includes you. If you are among those who believe they are beyond the grace of God, think again. If Paul could be saved, so can you. This “is a trustworthy [able to be relied on] saying that deserves full [complete] acceptance.” Why not accept Christ now?
Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”
My Musings – “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” (Harry S. Truman). Do it out of the kindness of your heart. Do it simply because there is a need and you can help. Do it for the Master. But do not do it for the praise of men.
My Advice – The picture above could be you or me. Care like you would want others to care if it were you. For “what good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. (James 2:14–18, NIV 1984).
My Advice – Our commission is clear, we are to go into the world a preach the Gospel. This is our “prime directive.” But all to often, people will not care who we know, until they know how we care. Not just about their all important eternal destiny, but about their temporal concerns as well. Jesus is being very clear in His instructions here. Instructions that He takes very personally. What we do or do not do for others, we do or do not do for Him. How credible can our concern for a person’s eternal well-being be, if we have no concerns for their current well-being?
My Advice – We must not be so “heavenly” minded that we are of no earthly good. The “law of Christ” is to love our neighbors and we love ourselves, and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
My Musings – “The future ain’t what it used to be.” (Yogi Berra). It certainly isn’t. Hopelessly lost and separated from our Creator, with no hope for reconciliation by our own efforts. Facing an eternity apart from God in Hell. No Exit. His righteousness demanded it. That was our future.
Where there was no hope, God provided hope. Where there was no way, God provided a way. The possibility of being reunited with our Creator because He made it possible for us to be a new creation through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. His grace satisfied His righteousness. The opportunity to spend eternity reunited with God in Heaven. This can be our future.
My Advice – Which future do we want? This should be an obvious choice. Yet so many stumble over it. Yes, Jesus is the only way, because His sacrifice was the only possible way to satisfy God’s righteousness. But whoever calls on His name will be saved. He’s calling us out of darkness. Will we respond?