February 13, 2004
Encouragement for Today
The Greatest Love of All
Micca Campbell, Assistant Director of certified speakers and certified speaker
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him would not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
In the beginning, God created a perfect world. Everything He made was good. Yet, we don't live in that perfect world. We live in a fallen, broken world corrupted by sin. Sin, however, is not what we do wrong. Sin is the condition in which we are born. The reason we are born with sin is because our enemy, Satan, deceived Adam and Eve, God's first children, into disobeying God and sinning against Him. It happened something like this.
After creating Heaven and Earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing God said was, “Don’t!” “Don’t what,” asked Adam. “Don’t eat from the forbidden fruit,” God said. “Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve, we have forbidden fruit.” cried Adam. “No Way!” said Eve. “Yes, way!” insisted Adam.
“DO NOT EAT the fruit!” God told them. “Why, they asked?” “Because I am your Father and I said so!” God replied, wondering why He hadn’t stopped creation after making the elephants. A few minutes later, God sees His children having an apple break and man, was He ticked. “Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit?” asked God, our first parent. “Uh huh,” Adam replied. “Then why did you?” asked the father. “I don’t know.” said Eve. “She started it!” shouted Adam. “Did not!” cried Eve. “Did too!” mocked Adam.
Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own, and we know how they turned out!
Being descendants of Adam and Eve, we are born with a sin nature. The Bible states, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, NKJ) This nature is against God and keeps us from a relationship with Him. Since God is holy, sin cannot dwell in His presence. Sin is selfish. It wants its own way. Sin looks out for self first. Sin causes us to do as we please. Yet, instead of being satisfied by putting ourselves first, we feel empty, angry, and alone inside. That's because we were made to fellowship with God. So how can a sinner have fellowship with God who allows no sin into His presence? It’s by turning from your sin and accepting God’s provision.
Because of God's great love and desire to have a relationship with us, He sent His perfect, sinless Son, Jesus, to die on the cross as payment for our sins. “God demonstrated His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us all.” (Romans 5:8) We have to realize that we can't make ourselves good, which is what we long to be. We can't fix ourselves no matter how hard we try. Neither science nor doing good things can fix us. So we have to stop trying. We have to stop telling God that we are going to do better and realize that without Him—we can’t. We have to come to believe, accepting that Jesus’ death on a cross was enough. He is the answer. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, NKJ)
It is hard for many of us to realize we are not sufficient to help ourselves, but it's true. It's God's work in us. We come, asking God to forgive us for our sins and believing that Jesus paid for them by his death on the cross. It's a free gift. If you will receive it, Jesus will come to live on the inside of you. He changes you from the inside out. You no longer have to try to be good. Christ exchanges His life for yours. You receive His life, His faith, His wisdom, and His nature!
Why would God do this? Because He loves you and knows there's no other way. It's called Grace. We don't deserve it, but God provides it because he wants YOU! He wants you to be part of His forever family. He wants to make you clean and holy. Not only will you get to live in Heaven when you die, but your Lord will be with you in this life, helping you, caring for you, comforting you and growing you into His likeness until your heavenly Father calls you home to be with Him. Then, the best is yet to be.
If you would like to become a child of God by receiving forgiveness for your sins or recommit your life to Christ, then pray “my prayer for today” below. Also, we would love to know about your decision for Christ by replying to this devotion.
My Prayer for today:
Dear Jesus, I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and that you arose from the grave. Please, forgive my sins and save me from myself. Come into my life and be my Savior and my Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
To become a child of God, first acknowledge you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
Second, turn from your sins to God by accepting Christ’s death on the cross as payment for your sins.
Third, forsaking all, trust Christ alone for your salvation and growth in Him.
Finally, find a Bible believing church and share your commitment with them.
Begin reading your Bible and praying. Talk to God about everything—He cares!
Have you been living life your way? What have you gained from this lifestyle?
Do you understand that God loves you and has a purpose and plan for your life?
Do you have trouble believing Christ is enough? Ask God for faith to believe in Him.
Are you constantly returning to your old way of life? Confess your sins and recommit to God’s new way?
Are you growing in your relationship with God? How?
Romans 10:13, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (NKJ)
I Corinthians 15; 3-4, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (NKJ)
John 10:10, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (NKJ)
Ephesians 1:7, In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (NKJ)
John 14:3, If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (NKJ)
When God Pursues a Woman’s Heart by Cindi McMenamin
How to Live a Life of Victory by Mary Southerland