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Remember. Repent. Return.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your candlestick from its place, unless you repent.

— Revelation 2:5

Remember the threefold prescription of our Savior: remember, repent, and return. May God grant that we might remember our first love and from whence we are fallen. What a tragic term “fallen” is. You are a fallen woman … a fallen man. You have fallen from your first love. Repent from your spiritual apathy. Return to your first love for Jesus. Remember … Repent … Return.

It took the precious blood of Christ to forgive our sins, and nothing less than that will suffice. We cannot be redeemed by contrition or repentance alone, but we cannot be redeemed without them. This is the plain teaching of the Scriptures.

If we can catch ourselves and repent from the “small sins”—such as an unkind word or a covetous thought or a missed opportunity to witness or serve, then the return is not so hard. If we do not heed the Holy Spirit and instead we let things slide, we become backslidden, and the return is much harder. If we live in daily repentance, we will continue in His light.

Question to ponder:
Have you lost love for Christ and zeal for His work? What can you do to remember, repent, and return?

Forbidden Fruit

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasing to the eyes and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

— Genesis 3:6

Many young people today have been enticed to taste the forbidden fruit of sexual immorality. They have been told that it is good, fun, and freeing. As they have followed the siren song of the age right into the marshy swamplands of impurity, they have suffered the consequences, such as seeing their bodies eaten up with sores and sickness, and their souls reduced and shriveled up. “Then, when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and when sin is finished, it brings forth death” (James 1:15).

AIDS has devastated much of the homosexual community. Homosexuality reduces the life span of men by almost half. Whereas the average married man in America lives to be seventy-four years of age, the average homosexual dies at forty-three. This is the tragic, natural consequence of their unnatural acts, which God clearly tells us to avoid. So maybe God truly wants the best for us and isn’t such an ogre after all. Maybe every good gift and every perfect gift does come down from above, and not up from beneath with a hook in it and Satan at the other end of the line.

As Leslie Unruh, founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, points out, there is no condom available to prevent a broken heart. God created sex, and when we play by His rules, things go better for everyone.

Question to ponder:
How can we help the people who have suffered so greatly from believing the lies of the sexual revolution?

The Christian and Stewardship

The earth belongs to the Lord, and its fullness, the world, and those who dwell in it.

— Psalm 24:1

A key principle of Christian stewardship that is taught throughout the Bible is the principle of the “first fruits.” God has said that the first fruits belong to Him. This means that we demonstrate our acknowledgement that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof by returning unto Him what He requires, namely the first fruits of all that He gives to us. Not the middle fruits or the last fruits, and not after “I see if I am going to have something left over” to give. No, we start by, in faith, giving to Him the first fruits.

Here are the five principles of stewardship:

  • The earth is the Lord’s.
  • God wants us before our wealth.
  • We are to bring the first fruits of all that we receive.
  • They are defined in the test of the tithe.
  • If we pass the test, there are great blessings in store for us.

Question to ponder:
Have you tried to give to the Lord generously of your time, your talents, and your material blessings?


And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

— Matthew 6:12

Jay Adams, a Christian psychologist, tells about a couple, Sue and Wilbur, who came for counseling. She was quite angry and was there because her doctor told her to come. (She had an ulcer).

Reaching down into a shopping bag-sized purse, she pulled out an 8 ½” x 11″ manuscript, about an inch thick, with single-spaced, type-written text on both sides of the page. She slapped it down on the desk and said, “That’s why I am here.”

Wilbur said, “Oh.” He picked it up to see what it was. When he opened it, he saw a careful documentation of every slight, every hurt, every word, every deed he had committed against her for thirteen years—which, by the way, proved in subsequent visits to be an exceedingly accurate report.

She said, “That is what is giving me ulcers.”

The counselor said, “I want you to know, young lady, that it has been many a year since I have met anyone—she began to smile and Wilbur slid down even farther in his seat—as hostile and as resentful as you are!” With that, Wilbur sort of sat up a little bit straighter. The counselor said, “This is a record not only of the faults your husband has committed against you, but also of the sin you have committed against him and against God and against your own body, for which you are now paying a price.”

It is God’s job to avenge, and it is because we serve a just God that we can leave it to Him. Forgiveness is never easy, but it is right.

Question to ponder:
Is there anybody toward whom you are harboring resentment? What can you do today to make it right?

Religious But Lost

Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

— Mark 10:17

The story of the rich young ruler (in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18) is addressed specifically not to the bum, not to the criminal, not to the person in the jailhouse, but to those who regularly frequent the church sanctuary. It is directed toward the religious-but-lost category, of which there are millions in our country today.

It is directed toward those who are respectable, reverent, and worshipful. They are not out on the beach on Sunday mornings, but they are frequently at the house of God, offering prayer and praise—at least most do. These religious-but-lost individuals are not in jail, not stretched out with a hangover or some kind of drug addiction. They are respectable, well-dressed, well-traveled, well-accoutered, and rich.

It is a tragedy to be religious but lost. Many in our churches today are. They need to see that they are sinners, and their sins will be punished. Either they let Jesus take the punishment due to their sins, or they will be punished for them. One or the other.

Question to ponder:
Do you know anyone who may be ‘religious but lost.’ What can you do to try to help them to see Christ and Him crucified?

Only Two Religions in the World

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.

— 1 Timothy 1:15

There are only two religions in the world, and it is not the religion of Christ and the religion of Buddha, the religion of Christ and the religion of Muhammad, the religion of anyone and the religion of somebody else. It is either Christ Himself, or it is YOU, because every pagan religion teaches you to save yourself by your own goodness. However, if there is anything that the Bible teaches from one end to the other, it is that you cannot do it!

No man can save himself. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “[T]ogether they [we] have become unprofitable” (v.12). “He who does not believe is condemned already …” (John 3:18).

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ was, in effect, saying, “Buddha, come, take a drink. Mohammed, won’t you take some of this cup? Confucius, it’s yours.” But there was no answer. It was not possible that anyone else could drink the cup. They would have been instantly extinguished when the infinite wrath of God fell upon them on the Cross.

Question to ponder:
Have you ever tried to save yourself by being “good enough”?

The Only Way

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going. How can we know the way?”

— John 14:5

All pagan religions have a “way.” Whether it is the eightfold path of Buddha, the teachings of the Qur’an, the Analects of Confucius, or whatever it is, all pagan religions say, “Here is the way. Walk in that way, and you’ll make it to …” wherever it is you are supposed to make it to.

If you get to Nirvana or Paradise, and you get there by walking in that way, I have a question: Who got you there? I hope you know. You did. You followed the way. You walked in the path. You kept these teachings. You did it. You … You … YOU saved yourself. You are your savior, because, you see, pagan religions have no savior, except you.

But Jesus says, “I am the way.” It is not the teachings of Jesus, it is not the preaching of Jesus, it is not the example of Jesus, it is not the Sermon on the Mount, it is not the Beatitudes, or anything else that He taught or said that is the way. The way is Christ Himself, the divine second Person of the Trinity, the Creator of the galaxies that came into this world. He is the way, He is the Truth, and He is the Life. We have life only ultimately through Him.

Question to ponder:
What does it mean in your life that Jesus is the only way?

I Rejoice, You Rejoice

Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi …

— Philippians 1:1

Rejoicing is the theme of Paul’s epistle to the Philippians. It could be summed up in four words: I rejoice; you rejoice. This theme of rejoicing is like an underground stream that bubbles its way along and then, ever and anon, it breaks forth into the sunshine, sparkling with joy. It is a continual, reiterated refrain in this harmony of joy that Paul gives to us.

It is in the Lord Jesus that we can rejoice. We rejoice in Him … in His goodness … in His grace … in His mercy … in His long-suffering … in His faithfulness. We rejoice in what He has done for us upon the Cross and through the empty tomb.

It is precious to the Lord if we can rejoice when we are going through hard times. If we rejoice only when all is well, that is not such a great accomplishment. We should make thanks and praise a part of our daily life. Even now He is turning the bad things to our good. And He has promised that He will lead us forth to ultimate triumph and bring us forth into that gladsome city where tears shall be no more and singing shall be ever heard. Therefore we can rejoice in Christ Jesus!

Question to ponder:
We are to let the joy of God fill our heart—when is it easiest for you to be joyful?

Under the Circumstances

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair …

— 2 Corinthians 4:8

I am sure you have heard the story about the minister who visited a parishioner who wasn’t doing well. The minister asked the man how he was doing, and the man replied, “Pretty well—under the circumstances.” And the pastor replied, “What are you doing under the circumstances?”

The Apostle Paul was an excellent example of a man who never seemed to be under the circumstances. Paul would have us to clearly under­stand that our rejoicing is not in our circumstances. Paul wrote his admonition to rejoice always from the depths of a Roman prison where he was a prisoner in chains. (We know that when the Roman eagle fixes its claws, it seldom lets go without drawing blood.) Paul had to say that it was quite uncertain as to “how it shall be with me.” He was facing a capital trial that could cost him his life. He was obliged to contemplate the fact that he might be offered up—that he might be poured out as a libation. Yet, in spite of the fact that all was uncertain, all was dark, and all was drear, out of the midst of this darkness there chimed the clear notes of his jubilation: “Rejoice in the Lord—always.”

Question to ponder:
How can we rise above the circumstances of our lives and learn to rejoice?


… Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

— Ephesians 5:19

Paul tells us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). When one stops to think about it, that is exactly the opposite of the way we react. For example, if we were teaching a person the secret of success, we would say to them, “This is what you do first … secondly, you do this … thirdly you do thus, and so on…” Then success will come, and finally, you rejoice. However, Paul says first you rejoice.

The world says that seeing is believing; the Bible says that believing is seeing. So we begin by rejoicing. The reason we can rejoice is because we are rejoicing in the Lord. In Christ we already have success; in Christ we are already the possessors of all things and, therefore, we can and will rejoice. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. He is near to those who praise Him. Praise and rejoicing is a safe place to dwell because our enemy, the devil, flees before sincere praise.

Question to ponder:
In what do you rejoice today?