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The Real People of God (Illustration)

I walked into a hospital room several years ago and the patient was dying with cancer. He knew it and I knew it. It was obvious when I stepped into the room that he had been crying. He brushed the tears off of his cheek and said, “Come on in, preacher. Let me explain why I am crying. I want you to know that my relationship with God is in good order. Everything is fine. Let me tell you about my experience with God. I’m just depressed today, but everything is all right with God. For years and years, I was a member of a church. I found no joy in it. In fact I looked for every opportunity I could to miss church.” 

(Do you ever find yourself doing that? Looking for a chance, an excuse to get out of going to church?)

He continued, “That’s the way I was. When I came, I would sit as far back to the back as possible and I was absolutely miserable all the time. Secretly I believed that I was saved by what I did. I say secretly because I never would have acknowledged that to the preacher. I never would have said that out loud. But down deep inside, I really believed that I was saved or was going to be saved by what I did myself. 

“But then, one week we had a revival meeting, and I went to that revival meeting one night at the insistence of my wife. There I heard the preacher preach about the thief on the cross. The thief was a man who in his dying moments realized that he was lost, and he believed that Jesus was the Savior. He knew that eternity was out there and he was going to face God, and in that moment, he cried out to Jesus saying, ‘Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ And Jesus replied, ‘Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.’ 

“I got to thinking about that. That thief on the cross. He was so helpless he couldn’t do anything for himself. He couldn’t go back and erase the past. He was nailed to the cross. He couldn’t make any promises for the future. He didn’t have any future. His only hope was Jesus Christ, and in that moment he trusted Jesus completely, and Jesus said, ‘Today you are going to be with me in Paradise.’ 

“That lodged in my mind, and that night I went to work. I was out walking around the oil tanks in the refinery, and I got to thinking about that thief—how helpless and how hopeless he was in himself. He could do nothing for himself. His only hope was to trust Jesus, and that’s what he did. I came to realize that night that I needed to do the same. There on my knees, I stopped trusting myself and started trusting Jesus.”

Those are the real people of God—the ones who worship God in the Spirit. Not the ones who go through mechanics and rituals and ceremony, but those who meet God in a real spiritual experience. The real people of God are those who find their joy not in their success, not in their achievements, not in their family, and not in their work. They find it in Jesus and Jesus alone.

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Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

Today's Devotional

On Faith and Works

One of the common denominators of all world religions except Christianity is that they do not correlate faith and works. In Christianity there is the closest correlation between them. In fact the Bible says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).

The Bible is clear: a workless faith is worthless faith. 

Faith and works must be balanced in true religion. Faith in God and commitment to Jesus Christ are foundational. No man becomes a Christian merely by being good. Faith is the soil from which good works must grow. Real Christian faith always brings forth the fruit of good works. The true follower of Christ first believes, then he serves. As Dr. Perry Webb, former pastor of the First Baptist Church of San Antonio, once said, “A religion that does not look out and reach out and help out is washed out.”

Let us then put our faith into action and thus prove to all the world that it is not dead. 

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