Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011 … Reaching Out to Others

Passage of the Day: Luke 23: 43 … 43 And Jesus said to him [the repentant thief on the cross], “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

My Journal for Today: This incident, captured by Luke in today’s passage, is very personal for me, which I will explain below.

First, let me say that what happened as the life of Jesus, the Christ, moved inexorably toward His death on that cross, hanging between two thieves who were also convicted to die; and Christ’s word here to one of those convicted criminals is a remarkable example of God’s prevenient and saving grace. I know, in faith and from God’s word, Christ would have equally wanted both of these thieves to be in heaven with Him as they all would die mortally that day. Certainly, both of the convicted and crucified thieves saw the same pitiful, weakened figure hanging between them with a sign over His head that proclaimed, “King of the Jews!” However, only one of the two responded to God’s prevenient calling of grace, which was available to both of them that day. Only one of the men repented and acknowledged his sin and proclaimed the truth that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Only one of the thieves was converted by God’s saving grace that day; and only one of those men are with Jesus today, awaiting His second coming and their total glorification in the New Jerusalem.

However, in that remarkable, telling moment, Jesus told the repentant thief that he would be with Him in heaven THAT VERY DAY! This encounter, probably as much as any of God’s word from the New Testament, assures me that the spirits of both of my parents, who believed/received Christ very late in their lives, are now with Jesus in heaven. And it tells me that it’s never too late, no matter the past/personal circumstances of one’s life, to heed and respond to God’s calling for salvation. It was that calling to me when I was 39 years old that led me, most certainly “a repentant thief,” to receive God’s saving grace. And it was God’s prevenient grace, being received by my father at age 76 and then my Mom, just six hours before she died, that will allow me to see them in heaven in God’s timing.

What about you? Have you surrendered, as did the thief on the cross, to the calling on your heart by Christ? If you haven’t, NOW is the time to declare that you are a sinner … that you need a Savior … and that Christ is Your Savior and Lord. God’s word promises (see Rom. 10: 9 – 13 - linked) that if you – or ANYONE - declares this before God, as did the one thief, you will be saved for eternity to be with Christ. But if you don’t/can’t before you die, you will languish forever separated from God in hell. No more need be said.

My Prayer Today: Lord, may all who read this heed your call. Amen

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