J.C. Ryle J.C. Ryle (1816 - 1900)
Prayer
To be prayerless is to be without God, without Christ, without grace, without hope, and without heaven. A man's state before God may always be measured by his prayers. No time is so well spent in every day as that which we spend upon our knees.
 
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Working Out Salvation Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12, niv) “Therefore, my dear friends … continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” Paul writes to the Christians at Philippi. And the sentence has since become the perfect life-verse for every legalistic Christian on the planet. Any time a believer who struggles with the grace of God gets hold of a convert, this is the passage he turns to. Every follower who can’t quite accept the fact that salvation comes as a free gift from God proves his point by quoting this line from Paul. It’s the proof-text of every works-based religious movement around.  The trouble is, that’s not what Paul means. You and I know it, because the rest of his letters easily bring that truth to light. And like all Scripture, if you take this verse in context, it explains exactly what he’s saying.  “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13, niv, italics mine). The “works” Paul talks about have little to do with us and everything to do with God. It is God who worked out our salvation, and it is God who is working out his purposes within us. Paul’s admonishment is to continue obeying so that God can work. Salvation is free, but discipleship is costly. When a potter puts his hand to the clay, the clay had better be ready for a little pain. A little “fear and trembling” is in order. “This is going to hurt a bit,” the Potter says, “so you might want to bite down on something.” Paul wasn’t changing his view on grace; he was preparing believers for the inevitable cost of following Jesus. Any other interpretation of the text is a perversion of Scripture. But that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. What we become once God saves us depends on our level of obedience and tenacity. God has great plans for our future, but in order for him to carry them out, he needs our cooperation. He needs our faithfulness. He needs us to continue trusting and allowing him to work.

Today’s Reading  Philippians 2:12-13 Reflection  In what ways have you felt God working out his purposes through you? How can you increase your level of obedience in order for him to work?
 
The best-selling Left Behind series has captured the attention of millions of readers, and it has changed lives. It has brought millions of believers the motivation to examine their hearts. Are you ready to embrace eternity? Live each moment as if it could be your last? Your future is more important than your past. Where you are going matters more than where you have been. What you do from this day forward means much more than what you have already done. You may be affected by your past, but you are not defined by it. Not in the eyes of God. What does it mean to embrace eternity? It means grasping each breath as if it could be your last, living life moment by precious moment with your feet planted firmly on earth but your heart aimed squarely at heaven. It means learning to embrace the role of dual citizenship—living in one world while belonging to another. It is a lifestyle of living like there’s no tomorrow and then dying so that your real life can finally begin! This 365-day devotional explores the themes introduced in the Left Behind series—themes of salvation, grace, obedience, and faith. New believers as well as mature believers will find a message of faith that will inspire and motivate daily.