Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Forgiven Forever - Hebrews 8:12

Hebrews 8:12  “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

            Most of us have regrets – some of them are shameful, while others are still painful. Being human means we are not perfect and make mistakes – and some of those mistakes are bad enough to weigh heavily on our minds for years.

            Today’s verse reminds us that we believe in the God of Forgiveness. No matter how bad we have been or how wickedly we have sinned, God is still willing to be merciful and allow us the opportunity to put the past behind us and begin once more. He also promises to never bring up ever again those sins and mistakes that we regret and have confessed to Him.

            God does this for us because His Son Jesus paid the price for our sins. This is what it means to be redeemed; this is what happens when we are saved. So today, receive and embrace this blessing: God knows all our regrets; He forgives all our mistakes, and He promises to let go of every one of them forever.

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, thank You for taking upon Yourself the punishment due for our sins. Your sacrifice allows us to be saved. Your Resurrection permits us to be redeemed. Thank You for such a wonderful gift and everlasting blessing. In your Holy Name, we gratefully and humbly pray. Amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Truth Has Perished - Jeremiah 7:28

Jeremiah 7:28 Therefore say to them, “This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.”

            Sometimes when I read the prophecies from the Old Testament, I feel as though those ancient words could have been written yesterday. It seems to be that we are experiencing the same kind of things that were going on in ancient Israel. I guess this also means that as a species, we never seem to learn much from the past.

            Honestly, when I read today’s chosen verse, I couldn’t help but think, “That’s us. That’s exactly where we are right now.” It didn’t comfort me at all and has only led me into thinking, “What’s my part in all of this? What can I do to make things change?” I certainly don’t want to become a Jeremiah, weeping and wailing about the mistakes and misfortunes of our nation; but at the same time, I don’t want be deluded or hide somewhere safe and comfortable until God sorts things out for Himself. If I did that, I would be serving myself and not God.

            As Christians, we are called to obey God and display the truth. It’s not an easy task because most of the world wants to do neither of those things. However, if we truly seek to serve Christ then unpopular things like truth and obedience have to play a central role in how we live our lives. There are supposedly more Christians in our nation than any other religions or faiths. Perhaps if we all honored truth and obedience, things would be much better for everyone, in our homes, schools, workplaces, churches, and country.

Questions for reflection

What truths are evident in our nation today? How can we serve God by faithfully dealing with those truths?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, life is never simple and living up to God’s truth is never easy. Open our hearts and minds to what is happening in our community, our country, and our world. Grant us the gift of discernment, as well as the hearts to follow through with service and obedience. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is an abstract drawing of John’s called ‘Way, Truth, and Life.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Truth.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shiloh Battlefield - Hebrews 5:8-9

Jeremiah 6:4   “Prepare for battle against her! Arise, let us attack at noon! But, alas, the daylight is fading, and the shadows of evening grow long.”

Hebrews 5:8-9   Son though he was, Christ learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. 

            This morning, I’m going to visit the Shiloh Military National Park in Tennessee. It was the scene of one of the fiercest 2-day battles of the Civil War and had a major impact on the Western front of the conflict. I’ve never been to a Civil War battlefield, so I don’t know what to expect. I have, however, done my homework, and know a lot of what took place.

            My views on the American Civil War are much the same as the opinions I have about the Scottish War of independence in the 14th century. Both wars were about freeing a people from slavery and oppression; both conflicts changed each nation, Scotland and the United States, forever.

            Sometimes we are called to battle bravely and fight fiercely for the things and people we hold dear to our hearts. I’m also reminded of the fact that Jesus fought a battle to free us from the slavery of sin and its consequence of death. In this regard, Jesus became both our Commander-in-Chief and Sacred Soldier on the Field. He not only followed the commands of His Father in Heaven, He also confronted and defeated evil on the Cross at Calvary. We are given the freedom to place our faith in Him, and are also offered the spoils of war: the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with God.

            I’ll probably be profoundly affected by what I read, see, and experience at Shiloh today, but it will also help me to reflect on how my life has been forever affected and eternally influenced by what I’ve read, seen, and experienced with Jesus Christ as My Savior and Lord.

            May we all be blessed with the goodness of God and the love of Jesus this day.

Today’s image is an abstract drawing of John’s called, “The Blue and the Gray.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Blue Gray.