Food for Thought
With Jesus were crucified two robbers, one on the right hand and one on the left, and Jesus in the middle (Mark 15:27 & John 19:18). Yes, Jesus was in the middle! He was equally available to them both as a Saviour, but the Bible tells us of only one who obtained the blessing. Death was before them both, but one of them changed. Both were hard men who began by cursing Jesus, but one came to trust Him.
I think what moved one of the robbers was that he heard Jesus pray, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). By those words he came to see that if there could be forgiveness for those very persons who were crucifying Jesus, then there was hope for him. In those moments when he had nothing but death before him, the dying robber saw things as they really were. He saw himself as having had a life of sin which deserved condemnation, and he saw Jesus as the One who had done nothing amiss. In simple faith he asked the Lord to remember him when He came in His kingdom, and Jesus gave him a wonderful reply – that very day he would be in paradise with the Lord.
The other robber also heard Jesus pray for forgiveness for those who crucified Him. Jesus was available to save him too, but we are not told that the other robber ever came to see what he was as a sinner, or who Jesus was – and is – as the perfect Saviour. Without Him, he missed the blessing, and he missed it for ever.
We can each come into forgiveness in the way that the repentant thief came. We realise our lives are full of sin and should rightly be condemned, we see Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sin, and we appeal to Him to meet our need as sinners.
Jesus was in the middle. He was available to both robbers. One prayed to Jesus and received the blessing, but without Him the other faced a Christless eternity. What about you?
Food for Thought
This true Bible story tells of an opportunity, taken or missed – “He was equally available to them both as a Saviour, but …”. Two men in dire conditions – “but one of them changed” and “but one came to trust Him”.
And then there is that question at the end. Have you received the blessing of forgiveness of sins? We’re all sinners – the Bible tells us so – “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Delay and indifference are not options. Take the author’s message seriously – repent of your sins, and trust in Jesus today. He’s the only Saviour.
extracted from the Mar 2020 issue of Youthful Days
Our Mobile Phones
Most of us nowadays cannot seem to manage without our mobile phones. They are “essential” to daily life, keeping us in touch with friends, sharing pictures and experiences, and sending and receiving messages. But they can become a distraction too, for instead of communicating with those around us, they claim our concentration and interest to the exclusion of everyone else!
Wouldn’t it be great though if we treated the Bible as we do the mobile phone? If …
- … we used it in cases of emergency
- … we carried it around in our pocket all the time
- … we turned back to retrieve it when we forgot it
- … we flipped through it several times a day
- … we acted as though we could not live without it
- … we spent time to look at it, to the exclusion of everything else!
Well, we could. But would we? Perhaps these illustrations will remind us to value God’s word a lot more than we do our mobile phones!
Just as a mobile phone needs to be charged up, we need to “plug into” God’s word each day by reading the Bible.
Is your mobile in your pocket? Put your Bible in there too!
Add the bible to your Mobile Phone
Try the one below which many of us use:
Food for Thought
Most believers on the Lord Jesus know how valuable the Bible is. They accept that it is the true and living word of God, and that it is indispensable. They are thankful for the guidance and lessons that it provides, as well as the comfort and encouragement that can be derived from its pages. But even so, daily reading and devotions can still sometimes be crowded out by the activities of the day, as many of us know!Watching people, both young and older, using their mobile phones, I often notice how focused is their attention, and how unaware they suddenly become of everything and everyone around. When last, I ask myself, did my Bible do the same for me – the living and abiding word of God!
The Bible deserves to be treasured and used to draw us away from the passing affairs of this life, to occupy our hearts with what is really worthwhile and lasting. Here are two verses from the Bible that you might like to try to remember, because if you can remind yourself of them throughout each day, I’m sure they will do you good.
“If therefore ye have been raised with the Christ, seek the things which are above, where the Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God: have your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
“Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of
it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
extracted from the Jan 2020 issue of Youthful Days
A Lesson from Nature
I was visiting Florida some time ago and, every morning when I
awoke, the mockingbird was already singing its heart out. It
trilled up and down, up and down, sometimes singing its own song,
sometimes copying the other birds it heard. What a beautiful
start to the day! It made me smile as I listened to it pouring
out song after song.
However, after a week or so, I gradually stopped listening to the lovely song which used to thrill me at sunrise. The tireless little bird still faithfully sang, but I didn't hear it because I had become too accustomed to it and too occupied with other things to enjoy it. I was sad when I realised what had happened.
This incident made me think of something far sadder and far more serious. Sometimes after we've heard the voice of Jesus, maybe at a gospel preaching, by reading the Bible, or even through the things that happen to us in our lives, the message thrills us and we want to keep listening to what He would say to us. We want to learn more about Him and His love. But then life becomes busier or we spend more time pleasing ourselves and are "too occupied with other things to enjoy it". For example, we know we should read the Bible every day, so we might read it quickly then decide "That will do." We might say to ourselves, "I'll read it later," or "I'll read twice as much tomorrow," and we skim over the precious words without necessarily taking them in. We're "too occupied with other things to enjoy it".
Food for Thought
Dear young reader, never be "too occupied with other things to enjoy" Jesus speaking to you in whatever way He may use. You may be very busy studying or have duties which take up a lot of your time, but by remembering that His eye is always upon you and by reading your Bible, you will be making way for Him to speak to you. He wants to be a part of your everyday life and, if you let Him, you will know the joy of having a Saviour, Shepherd and Friend.
"Occupy thyself with these things; be wholly in
them, that thy progress may be manifest to all"
(1 Timothy 4:15)
extracted from the Mar 2019 issue of Youthful Days
Lassie and her Shepherd
Jim was a shepherd who loved and cared for his loyal sheepdog Lassie, so they worked well together with his flock. Lassie trusted Jim for everything she was told to do. One day, Jim sold some of his sheep to a farmer called Tom who lived over the hills many miles away. He reluctantly allowed Lassie to help drive the sheep to their new farm and gave Tom strict instructions to give Lassie a good meal and command her to "go home".
However, Tom found Lassie very useful, so instead of sending her back he locked her up in a shed, planning to keep her. Poor Lassie sadly pined for Jim her shepherd, but after a few days she managed to escape. Up the hillside she went, found the sheep that Jim had sold to Tom, rounded them up, and drove them back home to her good friend and master, Jim the shepherd!
Jim was so surprised to see Lassie coming home down the hill with the sheep to his farm. He had been anxious about her, wondering how he could retrieve her without causing offence. Lassie was overjoyed to be with her shepherd.
We have a Saviour and Shepherd who loves us so much that He died on the cross to save us from our sins. His name is Jesus. When we realise our need of a Saviour and believe what He did for us, we only have to ask Him into our hearts, to forgive us, and to be our Saviour and Shepherd. May you put your trust in Jesus to receive peace and joy, and the assurance of His promise to be with you every step of your life. You will also have the sure and certain hope of being with Him in His heavenly home.
Food for Thought
There was no-one like Jim to Lassie. No doubt there was no sheepdog like Lassie to Jim either, but Lassie's loyalty was the result of Jim's care and love for her. Tom's farm was probably quite similar to Jim's, but she wasn't loved there and she wasn't at home. So, when the opportunity arose, she returned to serve the master whom she loved.
And so it should be with us. Commitment to Christian work is commendable, but to serve the Lord out of true affection for Him is what is needed. Is Jesus at the centre of your Christianity? Or has it become just a weekly routine, established through long-held traditions, a response to the expectations of parents or friends?
Serve the Lord because you love Him! Think of the work He's done for you! It's time now to respond to His love and willingly commit yourself, not to a religion, but to Jesus Himself. Serve the Lord because you know Him personally as your Saviour, Shepherd and Friend!
"Mighty to save"
Preparations were being made for a village fair the following day, and quite a crowd had gathered to watch all that was going on. Two Christian men took the opportunity to give out gospel booklets to the people. When their supply of booklets was finished, one of them decided to say a few words about God's way of salvation through the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross. When he stopped speaking, a woman came over from a caravan and asked if they would come and talk with her husband. She told them "My husband is a prize boxer and is happy when he is fighting, but when he is not fighting he is miserable".
Walking over to the caravan, wondering what awaited them, they silently asked God to help them. Ascending the steps of the caravan, it took a few moments for their eyes to become accustomed to the gloom, but there sitting inside was the woman's husband, a large, imposing man who was obviously in despair. But taking courage, they discovered a door of opportunity had been opened to them as they told him of the Saviour's love. Their prayers were being answered.
For the first time in his wandering life, the boxer heard the story of the God who "so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). God had prepared his heart to receive the Word, and the message was like water to a thirsty soul. As they spoke with him of the love of God, his face became earnest, and he longed to know the joy that he had long sought in his pleasures at the fair, but had never found. Not until he and his wife asked God for His forgiveness did they know true peace, and both came into the joy of trusting in the atoning work of Jesus on Calvary's cross.
A week or two later there was a fair in another village and one of the Christians decided to take some more gospel booklets to it. On reaching the fairground he was surprised and delighted to hear a loud voice sounding out the gospel message. Imagine his feelings as he followed the voice to its source, and found himself in a great crowd of people gathered around the boxing ring, and the boxer himself appealing in power to his listeners to trust the Saviour as he was doing.
The same Saviour is available today, in whom you can trust for time and eternity. Ask God for His forgiveness today and He can grant it because He has a righteous basis on which to do it - "repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). The punishment we deserve for our sins has been borne in full by Jesus at Calvary.
Food for Thought
God opens doors today. Doors to persons in need of the gospel. Even caravan doors! Doors to situations where sincere love for souls and complete dependence on God go hand in hand. Dear young believer, remember this - opportunities missed may well be opportunities lost. So, when God opens a door for you to proclaim the gospel, tell the message from your heart! Tell what Jesus has done for you!
extracted from the May 2017 issue of Youthful Days