August 2010

It is wonderful when you visit our site for a word of encouragement. It is important for us to remember that in these troublesome times, "The Lord is our strength and song, and has become our salvation...This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it...Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."1

Rejoice in the Lord...

It could be that you find very little to rejoice about these days. Maybe you have not experienced your deliverance the way the above verses depict; but rejoice anyway, because the provision for your salvation was given 2000 years ago through the finished work of Jesus Christ. He died and rose again for your salvation, freedom, and rejoicing.

Listen to apostle Paul's words to the Church -- the Body of Christ:

"Always be full of joy in the Lord! I say it again--rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your heart and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."2

You may wonder how in the world is this possible? The apostle Paul never tells you to do something unless he tells you how. He says:

"Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you."3

Jailhouse Rejoicing

The above words were specifically written to the Church at Philippi, where the apostle Paul and Silas were put in jail for casting an evil spirit from a slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination.4 "They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailor was ordered to make sure they did not escape. So he took no chances but put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks."5 Would you praise God in this situation?

"Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailor woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted, 'Don't do it! We are all here!'

Trembling with fear, the jailor called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas. He brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'"6

This jailor had just experienced an earthquake caused by men clamped in stocks, praying and singing hymns to God. The doors of the prison flew open, and the chains of the prisoners fell off! The jailor drew his sword to kill himself, but Paul stopped him, assuring him that no one escaped, which would mean the jailor's death. He fell down before Paul and Silas, desiring to be saved. Is your life in turmoil and despair in need of salvation?

God Opens The Heart

Paul and Silas had experienced the knowledge of salvation, which caused them to pray and sing hymns in times of trouble. The jailor wanted what they had in their lives -- salvation.

The Greek word for salvation is sozo. Sozo means to be saved, healed, made whole, delivered, rescued, liberated, soundness, and a lot more. It has to do with a salvation in this life. Not so much a change in circumstances, as a change in us. Our hearts and emotions change. We receive the power to win over the circumstances, whether they change or not.

It is no accident that you are hearing this word of salvation. There is something that God desires to do in your life, like He did with a woman named Lydia in Philippi, who heard the message of salvation. The Lord opened her heart and she accepted what Paul was saying about Jesus.7 Is God opening your heart to receive salvation today?

What Must I Do?

You may be having a bad day like the jailor at Philippi. He didn't start off his day thinking he would be saved, but circumstances led him to ask, "What must I do to be saved?" And God opened his heart as Paul and Silas shared the word. They answered his question and possibly yours as follows:

"They replied, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved along with your entire household.' Then they shared the word of the Lord with him and all who lived in his household. That same hour the jailor washed their wounds, and he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. Then he brought them into his house and set a meal before them. He and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God."8

Rejoicing comes when one believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. One must believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be. The Gospel of John was written "so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him, you will have life."9 You must believe in what Jesus did, "...that He died for our sins...He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day."10 The Scriptures say:

"...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with our mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, 'Anyone who believes in Jesus will not be disappointed.' Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives His riches to all who ask for them. For 'anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"11

If you are not rejoicing today, it is because of unbelief. If so, pray "...Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."12 Listen to the apostle Paul's prayer for you and the church at Philippi, saying, "I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. May you be filled with the fruit of your salvation--those good things that are produced in our life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God."13

A Prayer For You ...

Heavenly Father, I want to surrender my life to Your plan, so that I can rejoice in my salvation. I believe that You sent Your Son Jesus to take my sin, guilt, and pain upon Himself, so that I could be made right with You. I believe my sins are completely forgiven because of the precious blood of Jesus. I believe that You raised Jesus from the dead, and I confess Jesus as Lord with my mouth. Forgive me for trying to save myself by my own works. I turn to You with all my heart, and trust only in the finished work of Calvary. Thank You for this awesome gift of eternal life. Thank You for taking up residence in my heart and for inviting me into Your glorious kingdom. I commit my life to serving before Your throne forever. Amen.

Scripture References:

1 Psa. 118:14, 24, 29
2 Phil. 4:4-7
3 Phil. 4:8, 9
4 Acts 16:16-19
5 Acts 16:23, 24
6 Acts 16:25-30
7 Acts 16:14
8 Acts 16:31-34
9 John 20:31
10 1 Cor. 15:3,4
11 Rom 10:9-13
12 Mark 9:24
13 Phil. 1:9-11

Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Sherry for transcribing this months view!

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