Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
I had a log truck in Elk City. It was state of the art. A 1966 buffalo cab International DF 400 with a head snapping 318 Detroit which a friend of mine passionately referred to as "the converter" cause (he said) it converted diesel to noise.  The guy  who gave me my first load of logs told me: "If you want to drive that Jimmy, you have to slam your finger in the door first thing each morning to get into the mood". I still wonder to what degree he was joking. 
It had a 5 and a 4, and never warmed up in the winter.  One of my sons loved to go with me and let the air out of the seat whenever I stepped out.  Anyway, in what seemed like "Camelot", I would haul logs (which I loved to do), eating a lunch prepared for me by my young wife, the contents of which was always a surprise, and return home to my two kids who when they heard my truck coming, were all over it.  
I always seemed to forget to eat all my little candy bars and as they rifled through my lunch box, I would act as though they were getting one over on me. This was repeated countless times, and was one of the best parts of my life.  
Then one day something terrible happened. It was more than a trend, and marked a sad chapter in my story. I was coming home up the same driveway, in the same truck, but when I got within sight of my house, I could see my boys (nearly teenagers now) running behind the house, or scurrying to cover, or desiring to be anywhere but in my presence. I can't tell you the hurt I felt.  What had changed? Well, they had been involved in a plethora of unsavory activities ranging from major to minor, and had no desire to see how I felt about any of it.  They strategized that the best course of action was to avoid me all together until things cooled down; Till they could do some good to counter act the effects of their bad behavior. 
Let's turn the Spiritual Switch. Many of us are living the same way. We are fully aware we have let God down, and almost without thinking, our plan is to avoid God until that magical (nonexistent) day when we can prove ourselves worthy, or at least till we do enough good stuff to outweigh the bad, and so restore (by my good efforts) the broken relationship. 
God has some things to say about that which most of the world takes as bad news, but to the Christian, it is liberating.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" - Rom. 3:23.    "Knowing that a men is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Gal. 2:16.   
It's a straw man. You can't be good enough to earn salvation, and you can't be good enough to maintain it.  If you insist on trying to, you will hit the wall we call "THE CRISIS OF BELIEF" and likely give up. Who gets the victory in that?  Satan does, and he has had enough victories in my life.  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  Eph. 2:8-9   
Most of us are familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) who took his inheritance early, and rebelled against his father by running to the bright lights of the big city to fall into a sinful life of drugs, sex and rock n roll.  Noteworthy is the fact that the father let him go, as does our Heavenly Father. Also noteworthy is the fact that after the lad hit rock bottom, and came to his senses, he returned home to submit himself to the father's rules.  Here's the thing. We don't know if that took six days, six months or six years, but when he returned,  the father recognized him from afar. Do you get what happened here?  For however long it took, The Father kept His gaze on the mountain anxiously awaiting the return of the son. So he could rail on him? No. To restore him. To love on him, and forgive him. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  1st John 1:9   
Your Heavenly Father is anxiously waiting for you to return to Him. Hi is "faithful" (He will) and "Just" (He Can) to forgive you completely. Why?  "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, And will not remember thy sins."  Isaiah 43 25.  Why would you spend your life hiding? Waiting to earn something that can't be earned?  What a great God we have. Happy Easter. 

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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