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Today You Shall Be With Me in Paradise

April 3, 2015

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Post 2012 04 7 thieves on cross

Today  You Shall Be  With Me  in Paradise

Luke 23:43  —  And He  [Jesus]  said  to him,  “Truly I say  to you,  today  you shall be  with Me  in Paradise.”

God can  and,  indeed, does eternally save people  in the last moments  of their lives,  just as He eternally saved  the thief  on the cross.     But,  for those  of us  who are not thieves  on a cross  with,  in fact,  only a matter  of hours  to live,  it behooves us  to turn  from our sinful habits  and start living lives  that prove  we are trusting  and believing  in our Lord,  just like  that saved thief.

That is  a much tougher job.     We must put  our money  where our mouth is.     It requires  moment by moment,  day by day,  year after year,  perseverance  in disciplining ourselves  to live  as Christ lived.     But why?

Are we toughing it out  and leading  “really good lives”  because we trust  in our own strength  and goodness  to do  just that?     We will never  be able  to attain righteousness  through  our own  “really good lives”  because  as Isaiah said  in Isaiah 64:6,

For all  of us  have become  like one  who is unclean,  and all our righteous deeds  are like  a filthy garment.

So much  for our self-righteousness  and  “power”  to do good.     Nothing  we ever do  will ever  be good enough  for the holiness  of our LORD.     Nothing.

But,  the thief  on the cross  did not trust  in his own strength  or goodness.     That would have been  pure foolishness  for him.     Any goodness  he had  was far worse  than being unclean  or having filthy garments.     So,  what was it  about him  that miraculously  obtained  the instant,  eternal  approval  of God?

Trust…….  and……. the sincere acknowledgment  of who Jesus  truly was  —  the KING  of kings,  LORD  of lords,  and GOD  of gods  —  dying a horrific death  to actually save us  from our sins.     That was  an acknowledgment  of the truth.     It was a truthful realization  as this thief’s  own life blood  was fast dripping down  to the ground.

He awesomely realized  a whole different kingdom  from the kingdoms  we’re accustomed to.     We tend  to think  in terms  of earthly powers  over the lives  of wretched people,  who are forced  to do the bidding  of some monstrous authority.     This thief  realized  a true kingdom  of love,  forgiveness,  and utter righteousness.

God’s kingdom  is so different  from human imagination.     It bestows  a gentle,  sacrificial love  and eternal forgiveness  upon us.     It guides us  as a loving Father yearns  for the decency  and devotion  of His children  to do everything  that is right  and good  in the name  of truth  —  the truth  of God’s forgiving love  for us.

That’s like,  “Oh…  wow!     My heavenly Father  loves even me…….  ME……  even me!     After all  I’ve done,  I’m still loved  —  really loved  —  me…  even me…  really loved.     Oh,  wow!     What should I do now?”

Love.     When we realize  the truth  of God’s love  for us  on the cross,  we see  the reason  and have an urge  for a spontaneous  returning love.     So,  we trustingly love.

The thief  on the cross  would not have done  good works  because he trusted  in his own strength  to do those works,  but because  he wondrously realized  our LORD’s love  for him  and the full forgiveness  for his every single sin,  as he trusted  in that love.     That’s forgiveness  in spite  of a wasted life.

So,  dear fellow thieves  on your cross  in this life,  do you know  about God’s  intimate love  for you?     Your life blood  is draining more each day  of your given life.     Who knows  how much time  he has left?     In your wretched pains  and troubles  without end,  open your eyes.     Really look  at the love  God has for you  —  just you.

Realize  how faithful  and merciful  God has always been  since the beginning  of time.     You can learn  about that love  by reading the Bible,  God’s word.

In appreciation,  let us live  the rest  of our lives  in worship,  praise,  and righteousness.     Even as we’re  agonizingly dying  on this earth,  we can revel  in the love  and forgiveness  God has  for us.     Hence,  we live  in righteousness  for Christ’s sake.     To Him  is thankful glory  forever  as we say,  “Hallelujah!     Thank You,  Lord Jesus!”

 

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

 

Pray for our country.

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect, but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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