My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

December 25, 2022

“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.’ And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.” (Luke 2:25–33 NAS95)

Can you imagine taking God in the flesh, the Savior of the world, into your arms? What joy! What hope would fill your heart! Simeon had been waiting and watching for the Messiah to enter the world, and as he held Jesus in his arms, his longing was finally fulfilled. He knew that he could now die in peace because the Lord had let him see with his own eyes the salvation of God, the light of the gentiles, and the glory of Israel.

At this time of year, as many are reflecting on the birth of Jesus, may the Lord present us with opportunities to help people move from appreciation of the beautiful baby, Jesus, to an understanding of why He was born. May we help people to see the glory and hope that Simeon saw in Jesus as he held Him in his arms. Jesus was born to show us the Father. He was born to die on the cross, and to be raised again for the salvation of mankind. Jesus Christ is the salvation of God! May we never lose our awe and wonder as we contemplate His life. Let us fall on our knees today and worship Him!

—Scott Colvin

Holding the Line on Baptism

December 20, 2022

There are certain topics and passages in the Bible that are difficult for us as the people of God to fully understand.  There are subjects that even sincere lovers of truth and followers of Christ might disagree on, and sometimes we have to agree to disagree while we continue to study and ask God for His insight.  But there are other topics and passages that the people of God must believe and agree upon.  These are topics that are so foundational to our faith that to hold a different opinion than the one clearly taught in scripture will put a person outside of the faith.  Yes, we should show the grace and kindness of Christ to those who hold other opinions, but on these foundational topics, we must be ready to hold the line.

I believe that baptism is one of these foundational topics.  It is crucial that we understand what the Lord has said about baptism and then hold firmly to the truth.  Why does baptism qualify as a foundational topic?  Because the scriptures teach that baptism is the point in time at which, by faith in Christ, our sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16).  Baptism is the point in time at which, by faith, we die with Christ, are buried with Him, and are raised up to newness of life (Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:11-12).  Baptism is the point in time at which, by faith, we are freed from the power of sin (Romans 6:6-7).  It is the point in time at which, by faith, we die to the law so that we can live to Christ (Romans 6:2-3, 7:6).  Baptism is the time at which, in reaching out to Christ in faith, we are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).  We could go on, but in short, it is the moment in time at which, by faith in Jesus, we are saved! (Mark 16:15-16).

Looking at the above list, it is clear that baptism is a moment of utmost importance.  It is the moment that one begins their walk with Christ.  Therefore, how important is it that we hold the line on this topic?  How important is it that we stand on this truth and share it with others who are seeking the Lord?  We would do our Lord and the lost world around us a grave disservice by failing to show them this great truth.  If we fail to hold to this truth, we could lead people to believe they are in a right relationship with God when in truth, they have never been united with Christ and have never received the free gift of salvation in the way that Christ has commanded.

May God help us hold to His truth in all humility and gentleness.   

—Scott Colvin

It’s Time to Decide

December 13, 2022

At the end of Joshua’s life, when the people of Israel were receiving their inheritance in the promised land, Joshua assembled all the people together to urge them to be true to the Lord.  He said to them, “Now therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15 NAS95)

Joshua is urging the people of God to a full commitment to God.  This powerful message is one that we ourselves need to consider carefully.  Sometimes we waiver in our dedication.  Sometimes we live our lives straddling the fence—with one foot in the Lord and one foot out.  But God is calling us to full commitment.  Choose this day whom you will serve!  If you are halfway committed, it is time today to make a choice!  Is the Lord God, or not?  Is His way right, or not?  Will He bless those who seek Him, or not?  Is it disagreeable to you to serve Him?  Then choose whom you will serve.  Will you choose God, or the false gods of this world?  Will you choose God, or your own way?  Make the choice today: who you will serve, who you will lead your family to serve, and commit yourself fully to your choice.

What does full commitment to God look like?  It is not just words spoken or good intentions, but right actions.  It is being dedicated to studying His word and striving to walk by the Spirit.  It is being dedicated to prayer.  It is being dedicated to assembling with the church on the Lord’s Day and bringing your children along with you.  It is being dedicated to living a life unspotted by the world.  Are we striving for these things?  If not, why not?

And remember, that when we choose the Lord, when we dedicate ourselves to His way, He will take notice.  He will bless us and our families.  He will strengthen us.  He will be near to us if we will seek Him with a committed heart.

What about you?  Have you made your choice, or are you sitting on the fence missing out on the blessings of full commitment?  Choose this day whom you will serve!

Small Changes, Meaningful Results

December 3, 2022

It is said that to modify our own behavior, three things are necessary: motivation, ability, and a prompt. Clearly motivation is important for changing behavior. No one will ever change if there is no desire to change. The second ingredient—ability—has to do with how easy a behavior is. The easier something is, the more likely we are to do it. The third ingredient—a prompt—is very helpful because we often need a nudge to do something even if we are highly motivated and capable. A prompt is a cue that reminds us to carry out a desired behavior. When these three ingredients are present, changing our habits for the better is much more likely.

I must admit that I do not like thinking of Bible reading merely as a “habit.”
It is much more than typical habits we think of, like making the bed or exercising, etc. When we read the word of God in faith, we are truly having an encounter with God. It is a transformational experience for the soul. With that said, I do wonder if we could use the above principles of behavior modification to create a healthy habit of regular Bible reading.

Let’s start with the third component — a prompt. What if you decided that every morning when your feet hit the floor you will read just a few verses before starting the day? Or maybe the prompt could be when you turn on your computer at the office, or perhaps when you pour your first cup of coffee. Take some time to think of a prompt that will work for you.

Let’s think about the second component—ability. The easier something is, the more likely you are to do it. So, make your Bible easy to access. Place your bible on your nightstand to be easily reached. Place it on your desk at work; visible and ready to go. Also, make things easy by deciding that you will read for only, say, 5 minutes. You could always read more if you choose, but if you can read for just 5 minutes, consider it a win. If you keep just a few verses in your heart throughout the day, it will be a tremendous blessing to you.

Finally, let’s think about motivation. This should be an easy one. Think about the words of Jesus, “…the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63b NAS95) Or the words of the psalmist, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NAS95)

God’s word brings life, light, transformation, and renewal. If we will be diligent to spend time in His word on a regular basis, we will be richly blessed!

If you’re struggling to read the word regularly, perhaps these ideas will help you start down a lifelong path of blessings.

—Scott Colvin