"The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has dawned." Matthew 4:16

 

I remember being greatly moved by a scene described by a missionary to a central American country he served in. He said one of the common sights of the city he was in was to see, sometimes daily, a bus go by carrying prisoners convicted of crimes on their way to their individual fates, some to be executed, others to serve long sentences with no hope of release. He said his heart was impacted by the blank looks of hopelessness on their faces. These men were on a bus carrying them to a destination that they would not return from. He saw in them a great spiritual correlation as concerns our souls. How many among us travel such a "bus" as concerns eternity? Could it be that one of us rides that bus even now? 

As I think on the "bus," I really see two distinct kinds of "passengers" on it. The first are much easier to identify. These are the ones who have, for whatever reason, never believed upon Jesus Christ. I am not speaking of some general mental agreement concerning the reality of who He is. I speak of a believing that involves three very real elements. First, there is the confession of one's need of Christ as Savior, and a rejection of any thought that we can find favor with God through our own efforts. It is the confession that we are lost in sin apart from Him. Second, there must be repentance, and this involves a complete turning away from the way we have been living and decision of the will to follow Him, and grow in Him from hereon. Last, there is the receiving of His Life into ours, which results in spiritual transformation. All things become new as we become new. The old has passed away. We are not the same. We will never be the same. Sin has placed all of us on the bus. Jesus Christ is the only One who can get us off of it. Whether you believe it or not, feel like it or not, if you don't have Christ as your Savior, you are riding on that bus. His heart, and mine, cry for you to step off of it.....right now.

Yet, I think there are others who ride that bus who should not be on it at all. Riders who may have taken on the three elements mentioned above, but, through the lies and attacks of the enemy of our souls, the devil, have been convinced they must continue to ride. Though they have received a "living hope" in Christ, they continue to live as ones without hope. Despair, discouragement, worry, anxiety, fear, anger, unforgiveness, and a host of destructive habits and characteristics continue to hold them in their power. Though faith in Christ has given them freedom, they have never received its fullness into their lives. They go on riding the bus. Why? Most often its because its all they've ever known. There can be a comfort in that. The prison cell we know can seem to offer more security than a future we can't control. So they stay in the cell....they keep riding the bus.

So the question comes down to each of us. To what degree might any of us be riding that bus? Are we going through life with the blank look of hopelessness and despair that marked those central American prisoners? Whether you are one who has never known or received Christ, or one convinced by satan that the only place for you is to continue riding, there is a "bus stop" right before you. Jesus Christ. In both and all cases, He offers Life. His Life. The "stop" has come to you, and He is there. Get off the bus.

Blessings,
Pastor O

  December 2017  
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