Friday, August 26, 2016

Once and For All - Hebrews 9:14

Hebrews 9:14  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

            Sometimes when we disappoint people, they find it hard to trust us. We may try to make things better or show some remorse about what has occurred, but that cannot guarantee things will ever be the same again. People have feelings, so when they are hurt, injured, or disappointed, they feel vulnerable and unprotected, perhaps even gullible or stupid. We may regret causing some injury, but we cannot make others forgive us or forget what happened. The sad consequences of our actions may ruin relationships or fracture friendships. We cannot change the past, nor can we insist on mending the matter.

            With God, things are different. His Son has died for us in order to heal the breaches we have caused between ourselves and our Creator. When we disappoint God, He could punish us severely; instead, He chooses to forgive us completely. The death of Jesus, as bloody and as brutal as it was, paid the price for our sins, so our contaminated spirits can be cleansed once and for all. This is what it means to be washed in the blood of Jesus – His sacrifice makes us whole once more; His death deletes the disappointments; His crucifixion wipes out every sin we have ever committed.

            So today, let’s all rejoice in the wonderful fact that Jesus is our Savior and we are eternally restored to God’s grace and love.

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, thank You for deleting our sins and eliminating our faults forever. We are grateful that You cleanse us of our past mistakes, so we can joyfully serve God from this moment on. Be with us and bless our spirits this day. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

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.