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Friday, July 9, 2010

Lancaster County Covered Bridge
Lancaster County Covered Bridge
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"Spiritual Opt-in"

"Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

Apparently some new law has passed dealing with overdraft protection. I received a letter from my bank informing me that if I choose to do so I can "opt-in" to have this protection placed on my bank account.

Opt-inFor many years the term opt-in has been used in email publishing. "Opt-in" describes a process where you choose whether you want to receive email and then initiate the subscription by "opting-in".  That is the way this daily email perspective works.  (The highest standard is actually double or confirmed opt-in, which requires that after opting in you confirm that you really want to, which we use on our email list.)

By contrast "opt-out" describes a method of where you receive email (often completely unsolicited) unless you "opt-out".  This is the method preferred by spammers and in some cases by sincere people who want to rapidly build up an email list.*  In regard to spam I understand in many cases by opting out you are merely verifying that you have an active address and to expect more of the same!  The term "opt-out" is also applied to privacy statements in which banks and other institutions will sell personal information about you they have gleaned unless you tell them otherwise.

"OK", you may be thinking, "what does all this have to do with spiritual things?"  Actually there is a vitally important principle here.  God's Kingdom is opt-in (although the word trivializes the seriousness of this decision). 

But many live as if the Kingdom is opt-out.  In their minds everyone is a part of God's family and goes to heaven and only the most wicked and those who purposefully reject God will not make it.

The daily verse is one of many that teach the truth of spiritual opt-in. The great apostle John is writing late in his life and reflecting on the ministry of Christ in the prologue to his gospel.  He writes of Christ as the "true light" that came into the world He had made.  Yet He was not recognized and His very own did not receive Him. "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

The word "all" indicates the marvelous extent of this offer.  Regardless of one's religious, ethnic or racial background the offer stands.  Our part is to receive, to believe in His name.  We subscribe to His Lordship.  Most certainly this itself is an act of grace.  As a great line in an old hymn states, "I know not how God's wondrous grace to me He hath made known, nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for His own."

But I do know my call is to receive Him, to believe in His name and today I again do so, reaffirming a decision I made nearly forty years ago as a teenager in 1971 in the old Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. Most of you reading this today have also received Christ and I welcome you to join me in reaffirmation.

However some of you haven't. Perhaps you've been under the mistaken notion that you're automatically in. You may be relying on your religious heritage or good works.  I urge you to trust in Christ today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus! I do now receive You, more than all in You I find. You have granted me forgiveness, I am Yours, and You are mine.
(Adapted from hymn "Jesus What A friend Of Sinners")

Spiritually opting-in: Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?  

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"I Know Whom I Have Believed"  Video  

In regard to email use let me share an article I wrote many years ago and updated this morning.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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Chaplaincy MinistriesNew feature: I am not much for publishing website statistics but sure enjoy geography. When I saw this widget that counts visitors by nation and state I thought it would be interesting to some of our readers. I installed the international widget 4/16/10 and the state widget 4/19/10 (thus the disparity in US state totals).  This widget only counts visits to the main page and daily archive.
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