God’s grace is free. Not much is truly free these days, and many things advertising such have hidden cost attached. Grace is totally free to us, but it does have a cost for Someone. Jesus Christ paid a hefty price of our sin. He laid down His life as payment, making it possible for us to receive the grace of God.
There is only one explanation for such a sacrifice—love. John 3:16 tells us, “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.”
Years ago, Billy Graham was traveling through a small town in the south, and a police officer pulled him over for excessive speeds. Graham immediately admitted his guilt, but the lawman insisted that he had to appear in court the that day. At the court hearing, the judge asked the famous question, “Guilty, or not guilty?” Graham pleaded guilty, and the judge gave the verdict, “That will be ten dollars—one dollar for every mile you were going over the speed limit.” About this time, the judge recognized the famous preacher. “You have violated the law,” he said. “The fine must be paid, but I am going to pay it for you.” The judge took ten dollars out of his own pocket and paid the fine, and then took Graham out and bought him a steak dinner.
That act of grace pictures how God treats us when we are willing to repent. Christ died so that we could go free. He became a willing sacrifice so we could receive His grace. John 3:17 says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Have you accepted this gift of grace?
Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.”
We live in a day of no commitment. People are no longer committed to marriage, church, and the company they work for. Folks make purchases of homes and cars without a sense of moral obligation to make the payments. Athletes sign contracts one day and break the same contract the next. Even the phone and internet companies are offering no commitment plans to cater to a society that prefers that very thing.
In 1519, the Spanish explorer, Cortez, landed in Vera Cruz, Mexico. His purpose in coming was to conquer the area with a small force of 700 men. When all the men and supplies were ashore, Cortez ordered the ships burned. The small army watched from the shore as their only means of retreat burned and sank in the Gulf of Mexico. Forward into the Mexican interior was the only direction left to go. Retreat was no longer an option.
Commitment requires courage. The Bible story of Daniel is a great example. In Daniel 1:8 it tells us, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…” Daniel decided early on that He was going to commit to the cause, and years later he was able to face the lion’s den with courage because of that decision.
The apostle Paul stayed committed to the end, and he wrote in his last recorded book, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” If you want to finish like Paul than you need to commit your life as he did.
Why not make a new commitment to the Lord today? The year 2020 requires courage. Like Cortez, you may need to “burn some bridges” and keep pressing forward.
The prophet asked God this question in Jeremiah 15:18: “Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?” Perpetual has the idea of a strong, everlasting pain. This is both a mental and physical agony that cannot be wiped away with a quick trip to the doctor or a pharmaceutical prescription.
Job suffered from this overwhelming pain, and his friends noticed. Job 2:13 says, “So they (His friends) sat down with him (Job) upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.”
Why is there so much hurting in this world? I do not think that this question is answered completely in this short piece, but there are answers found in the Scriptures. Jeremiah received an immediate answer. In Jeremiah 15:20 God says, “I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD.”
“Brasen” is hardened and tempered, like steel. God will make you strong enough to handle what comes your way. God knows the end from the beginning, and He can make us strong enough to withstand anything this world sends our direction.
God continued in verse 21 by saying, “I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.” The Lord does not promise we will not have troubles but promises to deliver the righteous in time of trouble. Pain is going to come our way, but deliverance is available to those who trust in Him.
Jesus understands great pain, even perpetual pain. He suffered as no one ever has on the cross for our sins. 1 Peter 2:21 says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” If you are suffering mental or physical distress, turn to the Great Physician. He understands your pain more than you do yourself.
The Rural Texas Pastor sharing some encouraging thoughts from a small East Texas town.