Wednesday, June 15, 2011

That They May Have Life

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

"Pastor David, may I speak to you for a moment?"

I was in the city of Chicago, meeting with a group of Christians who listened to a daily radio program I had been broadcasting in their beautiful city. As I turned to face the young lady who had asked to speak to me, she began to share about her husband, and how he had just given his life to the Lord.

"I'm sorry, but I get too emotional when I share this" she said to me, "May I have him share his story himself?" I said that would be great, and a shy young man approached me. As he spoke to me, he shared how he was about to commit suicide one night, and was preparing to end his life. As he planned out his own death, for some unexplained reason he decided to bathe, and began to fill the bathtub.

He told me that, as he was about to take his final bath, he remembered that his brother had given to him a tape of a Christian program he had recorded and had asked him to listen to the message. Not wanting to enter into eternity without doing this one last thing for his brother, he brought out a portable cassette player, plugged it in, and began listening to the message as he bathed.

"I was intending to kill myself as soon as the tape finished," he told me.

It so happened that the tape he was listening to was a message I had given out of the book of Revelation. As he listened to the message, the Lord convicted him of his need for salvation, and right there in the bathtub he gave his heart to Jesus.

"Pastor, I am literally alive today because of the gospel of Jesus Christ," he told me.

It is so true.

Satan comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. But Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it to the full.

Undoubtedly, Satan has done terrible things to you in your life.

You may be ready to give up.

But even as this young man came to Jesus, today you can give yourself more fully to Him and experience a deeper peace than you have ever had.

Don't give up, Jesus is there with you right now, and He will give you life, and that to the full.

Just ask.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Buried Alive

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

My father and I were standing on the platform at the front of the funeral chapel, together gazing into the casket at the body of my dad's beloved mother.

Sadly, my Grandmother died on her 90th birthday and was buried on my father's birthday.

As we stood together by her casket, my father quietly said to me, "Do you see her hands?" I looked down, and could see her hands gently folded. They were gnarled, wounded by an arthritic condition she had suffered with for many years. As I looked at her hands, my father said, "Those hands made a lot of tortillas! She used them on me a few times, too"!

I smiled with my father as he, lost in his quiet memories of his mother, silently gazed at her for few more moments and then turned and moved away.

A few minutes later my father and I were standing at her graveside as the Minister spoke a few closing words and my grandmother's shell was finally planted in the earth. As the casket was lowered into the ground my dad remained quiet, but when the dirt was poured over the casket, he let out a muffled sob and quickly turned and walked away.

With the pouring of the dirt on the casket, my father realized with finality that his mother truly was dead.

It took the burial of his mother, the pouring of dirt into her grave, to awaken him to the reality of her death.

There is just something about the pouring of dirt into a grave and covering the casket that cries out, "It is done, it is all over. They are dead".

The one thing that comforted my father at the death of his mother was his belief that she had come to know Jesus as her savior before she died. Yet even with this knowledge, when the dirt covered her coffin, he knew he would not see her again this side of heaven, and that knowledge struck something deep in his soul.

She had died.

Christian baptism speaks of this in a powerful way.

We are dead in sins and trespasses, and yet are made alive when we trust Jesus. As a dramatic picture, with incredible spiritual ramifications, we journey to the watery grave and are silently and forever buried in the water. When the believer slips under the water, it is a beautiful picture of being dead and buried in Christ. The old life is forever gone; we are finally and forever dead to the old man.

When we break the surface and come out of the water, we are identified as being resurrected in Him and are declared to be more fully alive then we have ever been.

We are raised in Him.

The water is the picture of our grave.

When we go down, and are covered by the water, it is a picture of the finality of death, like the dirt poured on my grandmother's coffin. Yet, it also becomes the symbol of our life, our new life in Jesus.

When we break the surface and come out of the water, we are now shown to be alive. More alive than we have ever been.

We are alive in Jesus, and now possess a brand new life, a life of faith in Him.

Today, may I encourage you to live a new life, granted to you gracefully through the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are, in Him, truly alive!