Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God Posts

by Max Lucado

“. . . whoever believes in him shall not perish . . .� (John 3:16)

The phrase “believes in him� doesn’t digest well in our day of self-sufficient spiritual food. “Believe in yourself � is the common menu selection of our day. Try harder. Work longer. Dig deeper. Self-reliance is our goal.

And tolerance is our virtue. “In him� smacks of exclusion. Don’t all paths lead to heaven? Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and humanism? Salvation comes in many forms, right? Christ walks upriver on this topic. Salvation is found, not in self or in them, but in him.

Some historians clump Christ with Moses, Muhammad, Confucius, and other spiritual leaders. But Jesus refuses to share the page. He declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me� (John 14:6 RSV). He could have scored more points in political correctness had he said, “I know the way,� or “I show the way.� Yet he speaks not of what he does but of who he is: I am the way.

Many recoil at such definitiveness. John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 sound primitive in this era of broadbands and broad minds. The world is shrinking, cultures are blending, borders are bending; this is the day of inclusion. All roads lead to heaven, right? But can they?

The sentence makes good talk-show fodder, but is it accurate? Can all approaches to God be correct? Every path does not lead to God.

Jesus blazed a stand-alone trail void of self-salvation. He cleared a one-of-a-kind passageway uncluttered by human effort. Christ came, not for the strong, but for the weak; not for the righteous, but for the sinner. We enter his way upon confession of our need, not completion of our deeds. He offers a unique-to-him invitation in which he works and we trust, he dies and we live, he invites and we believe.

We believe in him. “The work God wants you to do is this: Believe the One he sent� (John 6:29 NCV). This union is publicly dramatized in baptism, for to be baptized, as Paul wrote, is to be baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

Believe in yourself? No. Believe in him.

Believe in them? No. Believe in him.

And those who do, those who believe “in him shall not perish but have eternal life� (John 3:16).

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From: 3:16, The Numbers of Hope
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2007)
Max Lucado
Used by permission

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by John Grant

It was a little before six on Wednesday evening when Beverley turned to me and said it was time to challenge the northbound Dale Mabry traffic in order to get to mid-week church services on time. We gathered our Bibles, sermon notepads and were off to the worship center in Lutz.

With traffic a little more heavy than usual, we were a little behind, but I observed all the rules… stayed under the speed limit, ran no yellow lights and otherwise drove cautiously. So, when we turned onto Exciting Idlewild Boulevard, we were about five minutes late. I thought how I hoped we could get a close up parking space to make a mad dash inside and besides, the temperature was in the forties.

As we turned unto the parking lot, there were a total of eight cars. The place was so dark that it looked like they hadn’t paid the electric bill, save from light coming from the windows of a few pastor’s offices. I guess a few were working late or simply forgot to turn out the lights. There appeared to be less life around there than at the local cemetery.

Then a shiver went up and down my spine. Had it really happened? Had the rapture come and we were left behind? Why, that couldn’t be! We paid our tithe, had reasonably good attendance and most important of all, gave our heart to Jesus a long time ago.

But, no one was there but us. Oh, I thought, they must have cancelled services because of the holidays. So Beverley, who has a variety of bulletins stuffed into her Bible, pulled out the most recent bulletin and sure enough, it showed there was Wednesday evening church, here and now. Now, I was really worried.

That’s it, Beverley said, I am calling Pastor Ken. I said to not bother him. After all, if they really did cancel church, something we normally do only when faced with probable atomic attack, he would be enjoying an evening at home and shouldn’t be bothered. And, if the rapture actually had come, he was out of cell range already. So Beverley starts calling everyone else she can think of and all she got from each was a voice mail that they were not available. Now, I was really, really worried.

So we headed back South towards home, an exercise that was easier than our previous trip North. I thought that if the rapture had come, there sure were a lot of heathers on Dale Mabry Highway.

Finally, Beverley could wait no longer and called Pastor Ken. We were both relieved to know that he was enjoying a quiet evening at home, the service indeed had been cancelled and the rapture indeed had not come. I felt better, but it was worth the trip just to know what it would be like to be left behind and to experience the feeling of eternal security knowing that when the time comes our ticket has been punched and we will be on the road to glory. 

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(a thought on life from John Gant)


John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney.
He is an active writer and frequent speaker.  He can be reached by e-mail at: John.Grant@johngrant.net

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Grant Thoughts by Men