A Lucky Second Chance
A Lucky Second Chance
By Krystal Dunlap
A few weeks ago, I saw a stuffed dog in the grocery store. Being a five year old trapped in an adult body, I immediately fell in love. My husband offered to buy the toy for me, but I turned down his offer, rationalizing that I did not need it and would not regret the lost opportunity. On a return trip to the store, I saw it again and reacted with the same childlike affection. Trying to avoid admitting to a desire for a fluffy toy, I again told my husband that I did not want to purchase it.
For any that know me, it should be no surprise that I carried the image of that dog with me. Slowly, I began regretting that I did not take him home. After the holidays, I told myself I would buy it. Unfortunately, my desired stuffed animal had disappeared. Two more shopping trips searching for the puppy yielded nothing. I sadly gave up.
Luckily, I found him by sheer coincidence in another grocery store visit. I was elated that I had been given another chance. With no hesitation, I grabbed that stuffed toy up and carried it to the checkout line. I could not help but name him Lucky based on the serendipitous situation that brought him back to me. Now, I am filled with happiness every time I see him because he is reminder of what I almost lost but now have.
This set of events reminds me of a spiritual gift that is available, namely salvation. We all have lost our souls to sin. However, Christ died to redeem mankind, thus offering us the opportunity to regain our saved state (Rom.6:22-23). This forgiveness is available to everyone. The best part is that we do not need luck to obtain it. All that is asked of us is to repent and be baptized to access this blessing (Acts 2:38).
However, some do not take hold of the Lord’s gift. As I did with Lucky, they make excuses in the moment to postpone their obedience or perhaps even argue that it is unnecessary. The parable of the banquet illustrates this, describing those who refused their invitations based on nonsensical reasoning or even ignored them altogether (Luke 14:16-20; Matt.22:1-6).
Unfortunately, as almost happened to me with Lucky, a time will come when the offer of salvation will not be available to the lost anymore. At judgment after death, one can no longer take this gift but must face its loss for eternity (Heb.9:27; Rom.2:3-8). Thus, we should not risk the disappearance of our redemption. Unlike my initial reactions to that toy, we must not rationalize, postpone, or make excuses. Instead, we should grasp Christ’s gift immediately through obedience (Acts 22:16). If we do so, we can live every day in happiness because of what we found through Jesus.
By Paul R. Blake
Randall Peterson, a retired autoworker, thinks there could be an interest for a new kind of Bible. He sardonically stated that a publisher ought to create an electronic Bible that would allow for editing from the pew. Then individuals and churches could make the Bible say what they want it to say. He said it could be called the “L.A.M.E.” Bible: “Locally Adaptive Multi-faith Edition,” and “could be sold to any church regardless of what it believes and teaches.”
He’s making a good point, of course; but how many might be tempted by such a product. Jesus gave some hard commands and challenging instructions. As believers, our desire is to be obedient to Him in our choices and attitudes, but at times we resist the Word of God and may wish we could soften and adapt His commands to suit our standards and desires.
Some of Jesus’ hard teachings are found in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5, He says: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (v.44). That’s what He tells us to do, so we know we can’t just delete it. We must apply it. God’s Word is to be obeyed by His people. We’re the ones who need to be “revised,” not the Scriptures.
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). There is a body of truth on any Bible matter. That body of truth is called THE (singular definitive article) faith. There is a means by which I apprehend the faith. It is called MY (personal possessive pronoun) faith. THE faith is objective, and cannot be less; MY faith is subjective, and cannot be more. THE faith is not modified by the strength or weakness of MY faith. Therefore, MY faith must increase in and conform to THE faith.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:15, 21).
How We Love God
By Steve Melton
God’s love for us is without measure.
Our love in return is pitiful if we compare.
You just want us to obey.
It’s our loving obedience that we share.
You tell us how to love You,
With our hearts, mind, strength, and soul.
We need to empty ourselves,
And give You full control.
May we obey You with a great love,
And a faith that will ever grow.
For we have seen Your promises,
And every one we know.
Another way we show our love
Is loving those around us.
Even if they are unlovable.
Your love still abounds us.
Love is more than just a feeling,
Although it’s nice when it is there.
It’s worshiping in spirit and truth.
And taking the gospel to those we can share.
There is a progression to loving obedience.
First through teaching we see the need.
Next we obey God’s word.
For His will to heed.
The next level of faith, is we want to obey.
But, there is still more room.
It is when we must obey and just can’t help it.
That is when love is in full bloom.
So let your love blossom,
In all it’s splendid ways.
That we can love together in
God’s garden of unnumbered days.