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Friday, December 28, 2018

John and Janice Shavers

I'd Rather Have You

John and Janice Shavers were visiting with their son, Mike, and his family in Mobile several years ago.  At the time, John was working with Norfolk Southern Railroad in Atlanta, Georgia.  Despite the miles between them, the family would get together every two weeks.

This visit found the father and son back on the golf course.  As they walked up on to a tee box, John told Mike that Norfolk Southern had offered early retirement to upper management employees over 55 years of age.  At age 56 and in his position, John qualified.  John went on to tell his son how much he loved his job.  He was a National Account Manager and his job was to maintain a good relationship with Norfolk Southern's largest customer: Georgia Pacific.  Some of the benefits of his position included a membership to a Country Club and box seats to Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons ball games.  As a part of his work, John would take VIPs of Georgia Pacific to play golf, see professional ball games, and eat at nice restaurants.  He was also responsible for resolving any problems that would arise to keep a great relationship with Georgia Pacific.  John was good at his job and his company had awarded him with company stocks and large bonuses ever year.  If he passed on the early retirement offer and continued to work for another nine years (until the age of 65), John told his son that this could mean a large sum of money for him and his sister when he and their mother passed away.

"What do you think I should do?" John asked his son.

Mike responded, "Dad, I'd rather have you in Mobile for the next nine years than any amount of money in the future."

John replied, "Son, you've helped me make up my mind."  From that tee box, John called his boss, the Vice President of Norfolk Southern, and told him that he would take early retirement.

Why?  Because spending time with family is more important that being able to spend a lot of money.

John and Janice moved to Mobile, spent lots of wonderful time with their children and grandchildren, and never regretted taking early retirement.  Twenty-six years after taking that early retirement and spending it with his loved ones, John Shavers passed from this life, leaving behind a legacy of love, faithfulness to God, and a lifetime of memories.

Relationships.  That's what matters most in life – more than all the money in the world.  The Shavers family will affirm that truth to you.  They will also tell you that there is one relationship that is the most important of all: your relationship with God.

A relationship with God provides salvation, hope, and eternal life to come (1 Peter 1:3-4; Romans 6:23).  If there is no relationship with God, then there is sorrow with no hope and eternal destruction (1 Thessalonians 4:13; Matthew 7:13-14).

The good news is that God wants to save us and have a relationship with us!  In fact, He has made it possible for us – even though we have sinned – to be reconciled to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ His Son.  Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), but God gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).  We can be reconciled to God through Jesus when we accept His offer of salvation and eternal life on His terms.

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  When one is baptized into Christ, he/she is born again into the family of God, the church.  God will continue to cleanse His children from sin as they continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

"I'd rather have you."  May that statement remind us of the preciousness of our relationships with family and friends.  May it also remind us that God would "rather have us" in heaven with Him after this life, and He proved it and made it possible by giving His Son to die for us.

Won't YOU accept His offer of relationship and eternal life?

-- David A. Sargent

Friday, December 14, 2018

Joel's prophecy

Joel’s Lament

    Last week, we began examining Joel’s prophecy and we read through 1:11. Continuing the imagine of a total devastation, in 1:11, Joel calls on the farmers and vinedressers to “be ashamed” and “wail.” The harvest is destroyed. The vine is dried up. The fig tree, pomegranate, palm, and apple trees are all dried up. Returning to the human predicament, “rejoicing dries up from the sons of men” (vs 12). This portrait “brings home the disaster in a striking, personal sort of way” (Douglas Stuart). Of course, “rejoicing drying up” is another figure of speech and is not an act that happens literally. Destruction of fruit trees was a part of the curses in the Law of Moses: Lev 26:20; Deut 28:40. It was worth mourning.

    In verse 13, Joel calls on Judah to mourn, putting on sackcloth. The priests and ministers of the altar ought to lament, throughout the night. Why? Because the “grain offering and the drink offering” have ceased (cf. 1:9). In addition to the external appearance of mourning, in verse 14, Joel calls on Judah to “fast” and to “proclaim a solemn assembly.” This assembly was to include both the elders and “all the inhabitants of the land” and they were to assemble “to the house of the Lord your God.”

Joel’s Lament (1:15-20)

     Judah was to see in the locust plague the “day of the Lord” (1:15; cf. 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14). Joel says the “day of the Lord” is near and it will “come as destruction from the Almighty.” Commenting on the phrase the day “is near,” Watts writes the concept suggests the event “at that moment [was] breaking upon the people. The message is typically prophetic, in the proper sense, for it speaks of what is present or in the immediate future, which demands a decision from the people now” (22).

    Elaborating on the idea that this locust plague / day of the Lord is destructive, in 1:16, Joel says food has been “cut off.” “Gladness and joy” have been cut off, eradicated from the temple worship and the harvest, times of traditional celebration. Not only has the vine itself been laid waste (1:7) but even the “seeds shrivel under their clods; the storehouses are desolate, the barns are torn down for the grain is dried up” (1:17). So complete is this destruction that there is nothing in the barns for storage, for future use. Subsequently, the animals are suffering (1:18).

    Joel turns his heart to Jehovah God and cries to Him in 1:19. Joel is explicit and exclusionary in his appeal to Jehovah God (“To you, Jehovah, I cry”). In this verse, Joel speaks of the locust plague metaphorically as a fire that has “devoured the pastures of the wilderness and the flame has burned up all the trees of the field.” Fire is a metaphor for God’s righteous wrath: Deut 28:22; 32:22. Again, the animals are suffering (1:20) because the water brooks are dried up and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

    Joel is portraying the destruction of the locust plague / army invasion in as complete terms as possible, even using fire to suggest the utter destruction on the land. Fire, if its intensity is enough, could evaporate the water brooks. Stuart suggests a drought might have followed the invasion which would have exacerbated the destruction, or the diverting of water supplies commonly practiced by ancient armies.

Monday, December 10, 2018

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them--Hebrews 11:16


We are living in a remarkable period of time. Read these words from A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." Now, read them again and substitute the words, "this is" for "it was" and you will have a most accurate description of the time in which we live.


 We live in a time in which sin, evil, wickedness and error abound. Our days are surrounded with so much unrest politically and spiritually making then troublesome and perilous. But still, isn't it great to be alive in this remarkable age? As children of God we should rejoice and thank God for each day (Phil. 3:1; Phil.4:4; 1 Thess.5:16). We should be rejoicing that we have a Saviour who has prepared for us a beautiful city (John 14:1-3); rejoice that we have been rescued from kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of God's dear Son in whom we have redemption even the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14); rejoice that we can go before the throne of grace and there receive mercy and find help in time of need and by so doing have a peace that passes understanding sweep down over our souls (Heb. 4:16; Phil. 4:6-7).


I want to live as long as possible without becoming a burden on my loved ones. Yet, like those heroes of faith, I long for that beautiful city promised to all who have been pardoned by the Lord. If I seek the things above, if I set my mind on things above, not on things that are on earth, if I lay up for myself treasure in heaven, if I seek first the kingdom of God, I know my Saviour will pilot me safely through this sea of life. What is true for me is also true for you (Phil. 3:13-14; Col. 3:1-4; Matt. 6:19-21; Matt. 6:33). I just want to come to the end of this journey, to the end of the race, to the close of the day and be able to say, "the time of my departure is at hand, I am ready" (2 Tim. 4:6-8). How about you?


I pray that all of us are living our lives in a manner that we can say, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" Phil. 1:21). To God be the glory forever and ever.


Charles Hicks

Friday, December 7, 2018

Mercy and Grace to Help in Time of Need: Sin, Suffering, Sanctification


Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:17-18


Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16


Let us dig a bit deeper into these verses.


Jesus suffered, being tempted, Hebrews 2:18, and Jesus, in every respect, has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15.


It seems pretty clear, when you put Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15 together, that Jesus suffered being tempted means that in the many temptations He endured, without sinning, the suffering came in his resisting those temptations to sin – never giving in to sin.


And isn’t endurance in resisting sin the point of the following in Hebrews 12:1-16?


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.

6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.


My question, though is: how is Jesus thus  “able to help those who are being tempted”?


Well, if the totally innocent Jesus was prepared to accept all that unjust scourging, reviling and crucifixion without any reviling in return or any other sinful reaction, surely we can also cop a lot from the world and still resist the temptations to sin? John 15:18-20; 1 Peter 2:19-25. Surely we can do our own bit of enduring, resisting and suffering for Christ. Matthew 5:10-12; Acts 5:41; Romans 5:3; 12:12; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Colossians 1:24; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 3:14;  4:12-13.

                                            The 17th century Puritan, John Owen, said:

"There are three things, of which tempted believers do stand in need:

·       Strength to withstand their temptations;

·       Consolations to support their spirits under them;

·       Seasonable deliverance from them.

Unto these is the succor afforded by our High Priest suited; and it is variously administered to them:

·       By his word or promises;

·       By his Spirit; (and, that by communicating to them supplies of grace or spiritual strength; strong consolation; by rebuking their tempters and temptations); and

·       By his providence disposing of all things to their good and advantage in the issue." [ “succor” means “help.” Emphasis mine]

Another then added: “Those who are peculiarly tempted and severely tried, have an especial interest in, and claim upon Christ. They, particularly, may go with boldness to the throne of grace, where they shall assuredly obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Were the rest of the Scripture silent on this subject, this verse might be an ample support for every tempted soul.”

And when Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” my question again is: how and why do we draw near to the throne of grace? Well, why we need to draw need to the throne of grace is explained as the verse goes on to add, “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

How do we draw near to the throne of grace?

If we confess our sins, He is gracious to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

And, as Hebrews 9:14 says: how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

The Holy Spirit, through the blood of Christ, supplies the grace we need to forgive us of our sins. Just at this point, read 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (quoted in full on next page), noting vss 7 and 8 as they connect with vss 3-6!!

As Zechariah 12:10 had predicted: And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a Spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

And as Hebrews 9:14 implies in saying:

how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit of God, Matthew 12:28, and the Spirit plays a part as the sprinkling of Christ’s blood  cleanses us of sin. The Holy Spirit, working in Jesus’ life, enabled Him to offer a sacrifice without blemish, and the same Spirit can work through the blood of Christ to purify our conscience from dead works, when we come to the throne of grace - acknowledging our sins to God, and asking for forgiveness, because God said, as part of the New Covenant arrangement, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”


Now study the following verses from Hebrews 10:9-18,


“Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.


The point here is that, in contrast to the repeated sacrifices of the Old Covenant, Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for all the sins of all time, and it was a single offering: “when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins.” Hebrews 10:12. This is the reason forgiveness is part and parcel of the New Covenant.


Verse 10 says we have been sanctified (made holy) through that single offering, while verse 14 says he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Why does one verse put our sanctification  as a completed, past reality, but the other verse says that Christ has perfected (perfect tense) for all time those who continue to be sanctified - a reality in progress??!! Why the difference?


"We have been sanctified" in Hebrews 10:10 is perfect tense, meaning a present state resulting from the past

action of Christ. We stand today as sanctified, because of Christ's once for all sacrifice, while Hebrews 10:14 uses

a present passive participle that must be saying that by that one sacrifice He has perfected for all time those who

are now continuing to be sanctified - at this present moment sanctified, which is what the perfect tense of Hebrews 10:10 says!! Or as a brother I shared this with essentially said, we were saved, are now saved and will continue

to remain saved until you “obtain as the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:9.


Southern Baptist, Tom Schreiner, wrote, in his Commentary on Hebrews, pp34-35:

So again in Hebrews, the author says in 10.10, “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” and it is through “the blood of the covenant” (10.29). Sanctification is a completed reality. It’s a done deal. And yet the readers (including us) are to “strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (12.14). We also must recognize that we are not yet completely sanctified, as we have the command to “strive… for the holiness” if we want to see the Lord. We are perfected once and for all (10.14), and yet we are to strive for perfection (6.1)


It could appear to be a bit confusing, but it seems to be saying something like this: because Christ would die on the cross, and rise from the grave three days later, God had prepared a little book and wrote on the cover: The Book of Life in which he would write the names of the saved. Cf. Matthew 25:34; Revelation 13:8; 17:8. In the introduction, God says: “I will write the names of all future believers in this book as they come to saving faith. The single sacrifice my Son has made has already been sufficient to perfect and sanctify those who come to saving faith – that is, they will be set apart from the world at the moment of their conversion – but the new life in Christ of those converts will be one of continuing sanctification as they keep on drawing near to My throne of grace when they sin, as they surely will, until one day they see My face - perfect and sanctified completely.”


I participated in a blog discussion on this 10:10 vs 10:14 thing, and Spencer replied:

David. Cockerill says, “The first may put emphasis on the privilege of access to God; the latter, on consecration to God through the removal of sin” (Hebrews, 451–452). DeSilva says something similar when he says that we are neither profane nor polluted, but cleansed and can come before God. “The sins that one has committed against God have defiled the conscience, which cannot now come into the presence of the holy God, before whom nothing unclean (i.e., defiled or ‘unwhole’) survives” (201).

Jesus’ sacrifice made us whole (or “perfect”) so that we can come into God’s presence, but we are not yet in the final consummated state (the new creation).

Something similar can be seen in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Paul refers to the Corinthians as sanctified (1 Cor 1.2) and as saints (2 Cor 1.1), yet he has a lot of trouble with them! They are definitively sanctified, that is, just as Christ is holy, God sees them and declares them as holy. But they are certainly not completely virtuous people. There is a both-and. A now and not yet.


Hebrews 12:14, Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.


And 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says:

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.


Also 1 Peter 1:1-2: To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.


And 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honour, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.


Wow! There can be no doubt that we need God the Holy Spirit to help keep us sanctified through the blood of Christ, and what is also required is our ongoing obedience to the Spirit’s word (Scripture), and our confession of sin when we do not obey as we should.


But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his

Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:7-10.


So we need regularly to draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace, as we strive to walk in the light by obeying Christ’s teachings as set forth in the New Testament Scriptures. No help from Christ and the Holy Spirit can change the fact that we always need to obey the teachings of the New Testament.


We were sanctified at conversion, God keeps us sanctified as we live by an obedient faith, and He will perfect us and sanctify us completely so that we will one day see Him.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6


We can’t reach heaven without our own effort, and we can’t get there without God’s help!! And if Jesus had not

offered that single sacrifice, no effort by anybody – human or divine – could get us access to God in heaven.


This may all  seem too complicated to some, but I believe it is always helpful to ask “why” God says something and “how” it actually works! This is one way to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour  Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” 2 Peter 3:18.  Amen indeed. Compare

Ephesians 1:15-20.


How privileged that we can begin to fathom the mind and the workings of God. Romans 11:33-36. It takes effort.


David Hunter


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What does the Bible say about marriage and divorce?

Are We (As Some Claim) Making Divorce an Unforgivable Sin?

Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another woman, commits adultery” (Mt. 19:9).

What if a man does what Jesus prohibited? He divorces his wife simply because he no longer loves her, then later he marries another woman. Clearly, he is guilty of adultery. Now, what if this man wants to be forgiven? Let’s assume he is not a Christian. He learns about Jesus’ atonement, believes, and wants to be baptized into Christ. Can he continue in his marriage to his second wife? Many say yes, since baptism is for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). If someone objects that this unauthorized remarriage is still adultery, the objector may be accused of making divorce/adultery an unforgivable sin.

What if a man is married to multiple women? (It is illegal in this country, but not in all.) He ignores God’s law of one man, one woman (Mt. 19:5-6). He is guilty of polygamy. Now, what if this man wants to be forgiven? He, too, wants to be baptized into Christ. Can he continue to live with all these woman? If not, why not? Why does forgiveness not cleanse his wrong relationships? Is polygamy an unforgivable sin?

What if a man is living with a woman?  They don’t bother with marriage, they just live together. Their cohabitation makes them guilty of fornication (Heb. 13:4).  Now, what if this man wants to be forgiven? He, too, wants to be baptized into Christ. Can he continue to live with the woman? If not, why not? Why does forgiveness not cleanse his wrong relationship? Is fornication an unforgivable sin?

What if a man is living with another man? They are not merely roommates, they are lovers: “men with men committing indecent acts” (Rom. 1:27).  They are guilty of homosexuality. Now, what if this man wants to be forgiven? He, too, wants to be baptized into Christ. Can he continue to live with the man? If not, why not? Why does forgiveness not cleanse his wrong relationship? Is homosexuality an unforgivable sin?

Four relationships. Each one is wrong.  Why, then, do so many say that the last three must end if one wants to be right with God, but the first may continue?  What’s the difference? The only difference I see is that the first is more socially acceptable. (It will be interesting to see how the fourth is viewed as homosexuality becomes increasingly acceptable.)

The question is not, What sin(s) can be forgiven? The question is, What does God require in order to be forgiven? God requires repentance, as well as belief and baptism (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30). Repentance is a change of heart and a corresponding change of life (Lk. 3:8-14; Acts 26:20). One has not repented when he determines to continue right on in his sin, whatever it is. And one who will not repent cannot expect to be forgiven.

- by Frank Himmel


More information on marriage, divorce and remarriage is here.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Walmart in Derby, Vermont

Layaway No More


Julie Ann Gates was standing in line earlier this month preparing to pay for her items at a Walmart in Derby, Vermont.  She overheard a man ask another customer who was in line in front of her about paying for his items.  She recalled the man saying, “Listen, I can either have you put it on a layaway, and I’m going to pay for it when you leave.  You’ll just have to come right back and pick it up.  Or, you could follow me over to the cash register, and I pay for it now.”


Gates was curious about the interchange she was witnessing and then the man, who would become known as a benevolent stranger, approached her.  "The guy turned to me and said 'are you going to put anything on layaway,'" Gates said.


When she answered affirmatively, the man said, “Well, why don’t you run and get what you were going to get and come back, and I pay for it.  I have a few minutes before I go to the doctor.”


Gates didn’t know what to think of the offer but decided to follow through with the man’s suggestion.


When she came back to the same register with her desired items in her buggy, the man was still there waiting for her.  He said, “Just go over to the cash register and I'll come over and I'll pay for it.”  And he did.


Gates had trouble believing what she had just witnessed.  “I said, ‘Oh my goodness!  Thank you!” Gates recalled.  “How could anyone afford to do this?” she asked the man.  “He said, ‘Santa Claus can.’”


The benevolent stranger refused to identify himself.  All that is known of him was that he must have been a fan of the New England Patriots because of the jacket that he wore as seen in a photo taken by a customer as he walked away.


Walmart wouldn't disclose how much the man paid or how many people went home with free gifts that day.  Several happy recipients went home that day with some wonderful gifts and no indebtedness. *


Each of us owes a debt.  We are in debt because of some foolish choices that we’ve made.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and we are in debt.  The debt that each of us owes is so enormous, that none of us has the resources to “pay it off.”  Even if we could put our debt on layaway and try to pay it off by trying to be good people and doing good works, we still couldn’t repay what we owe.


But Someone came to our rescue.  He paid our debt so that we could enjoy wonderful, eternal gifts.  This benevolent Stranger is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  He paid the debt for the sins of the world by giving His life as payment on a cross.  Only the sinless Son of God could pay for the debts of sinful humanity.  “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).


And, if you will allow Him, He’ll cover your debt, too.  You must accept His offer on His terms.


God will wipe away the debts and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn away from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).


“He paid a debt He did not owe

I owed a debt I could not pay

I needed someone to wash my sins away

And now I sing a brand new song

Amazing Grace

Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay”

-- Ellis J. Crum


Won’t YOU accept His offer of salvation and eternal life by trusting and obeying Him today?


-- David A. Sargent


* Details gleaned from “Anonymous man pays off all layaway items at a Vermont Walmart” by Bopha Phorn,, November 19, 2018.


How to be saved

Are you wondering how to be saved? Are you searching for information on how to be saved? Do you want to know what God requires you to do to be saved from your sins? Learn how to be saved from sin and have heaven you home by visiting today! There is also a good discussion on how to be saved at

Bible commentary search engine

On line Bible commentary

My Bible commentary books are now listed on, a VERY useful web site! Check out this neat web site and my profile there at this link:

Commentary on the Bible listing has helped me promote the "Bible commentary" products from - my "yelp listing" is here: Bible commentary profile

I added my "Bible commentary" profile to flickr and it was EASY! Check it out at

Blogs from

Are you interested in blogging? If you are looking for a "free blog" that is EASY to use, check out You can be up in running in just minutes - here is my first "Bible commentary" blog post:

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