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God shows no favortism to anyone. Instead, He has given His grace to all men. This universal offering is enough to amaze us toward His goodness. While people live on different economic levels in this life, all have the same opportunity to lock up their own eternal salvation.
At the same time we can be assured that our eternity has present benefits. When a person has been regenerated by faith in Jesus Christ, they are reborn. This automatically causes some changes to occur.
For one there is a new sense of what is right and wrong. Our conscience is given a new sense of sensitivity. We hunger to do what is right. Our guilt is not just psychological but spiritual. Now, we want to please God with a life that matches His standards of purity. We feel the guilt that comes from living for ourselves.
Paul tells Titus that the temptations to live an ungodly and worldly life may seem attractive at first, but it will be frustrating and more and more unstatisfying. Yet, when we yield to it we are all too aware of our guilt. Instead, we long for the new passions of self-control, upright living and lives that enjoy God’s values and standards.
There is a motivation that fuels this desire. Once a person has been redeemed by Christ, that believer longs to be with Christ. He wants to see the Savior face to face. Jesus said that he would come back and maybe in the life time of the believer that return could happen. This eventual reunion could have a surprise early fulfillment if this “blessed hope” happens.
We have all experienced a glorious sight in our lives. For some of us it is an amazing sunset. For others it is the unique phenomenon of an erupting volcano. Of course for many it is the runion of reconnecting with a longtime friend or family member. A Christian longs to see the Savior face to face. Aferall, He redeemed us, cleaned us up and gave us a new appetite for what is good.
When a pastor teaches his people these truths he is advancing the will of Almighty God. A ministry like this gives him an authority that both encourages and rebukes for the purpose of helping others. Opposition has little impact on a person like this. Truth prevails and efforts to despise such a servant of God is impotent.
The first two weeks of October have been a time of year that I have been looking forward to for the last eleven years. During the last decade I lived in the Midwest. This time of year when the unfolding of Autumn’s stunning display of colors attracts the attention of the nation.
I’m a long way from God’s Fall show. Here on the West Coast, the trees are evergreen. They have another kind of beauty. However, I did discover another kind of Autumn color.
Last week I was down in Pacific Grove, California. I stayed at the Asilomar Retreat Center. It is right on the Pacific Coast.
As dinner finished up, many in the cafeteria abruptly got up from their seats. You could tell that they were are eager to beat the clock. I looked outside and saw that dusk was upon us. It would be the only night that I could enjoy a sunset and guessed that everyone else was aiming at the same goal.
My step was quick. A smile decorated my countenance. Automatically, I removed the lens cap off of my Nikon D50.
It was natural to switch the camera on. I pulled up my photo machine, gazed through the SLR lens and framed my first shot. Rats!
I had the camera on automatic. The flash popped up. When I snapped a photo the momentary imitation light lit up the foreground like it was daytime and washed out the colors of the fading sunset.
A quick adjustment took care of the problem. Only four frames were wasted. But, after that, silhouette foregrounds and sidebars gave me a chance to have fun with natural borders of the sunset colors.
Clouds, both cirrocumulus and stratocumulus gave the variations in texture. When the final rays of the sun disappeared over the horizon, it splashed the bright oranges, deep reds and highlighted yellows on the canvas in the sky.
Then, I gazed upward. My breathing stopped. I raised my lens and captured the clouds radiating the sun rays. The sky looked like it was on fire. Shot after shot, the colors were resplendent. The mixtures lit up the sky.
It was only a matter of minutes that the panoramic scene made itself visible. The fading light and the splash of stunning color was on a timer. It was only a temporary display. I was glad that I caught it with my camera. It is different but still an amazing show of Autumn color.
photo credit: brucefong photography