Imagine for a moment that you've just stepped into the most amazing store ever. It could be electronics, clothing, shoes, home furnishing, or whatever peaks your interest. Then picture yourself finding the most incredible piece of retail bliss you could fathom. I'll start this off by placing a stunning new car in front of my eyes; let's say a bright yellow fully loaded Corvette! Then out of wistful curiosity you ask the sales person how much? They straighten their shoulders, smile proudly and announce in a loud voice for all to hear, "It's totally free, no strings attached!"

You promptly laugh at what is most assuredly a cruel joke and then walk away disgustedly. Suddenly the manager strolls over, "Please wait a moment, it's no joke. It's yours right now for the taking! No gimmicks, no tricks, no expense to you!" He slaps you gleefully on the back and says, "Congratulations!"

For me and I'm sure you, there would be a moment of absolute disbelief followed by waves of cautious euphoria at your good fortune. But until the car keys were securely in my hands, I'd remain skeptical. We all would. But whatever your stupendously imaginary freebie might be, I'm guessing you'd be tempted to use the retail shoppers 'best deal ever' expression, "Start the car!"

Is this scenario too good to be true? Perhaps in earthly terms yes. But the coolest gift we can ever receive is just that...FREE!!! There isn't a thing you can do to earn it, not a penny you'll spend towards it or the even the slightest bit of price haggling on your part to secure it. You simply have to open your heart and receive it...

"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." (Ephesians 2: 8-9 NLT)

There is no better gift you can receive than that of God's salvation! You won't get there by leading a good life or by being kind to others or by going to church. While those things are important as believers, we are saved by God's grace through our faith in Jesus and nothing more. And did I mention your ticket to eternity is FREE?!!!

My dear friend, we live in a world where everything has a price attached to it. But Jesus paid the ultimate price for our transgressions by dying on the cross so we could claim the best deal of all time! He took our sin upon himself so that we might have eternal life and be cleared of all the messy things we get ourselves into. Need proof? Check this out! "He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:2 NLT)

If you've never taken that step of faith, I implore you to do so. Admit that you're a sinner and that you need God's help to change. Believe that Jesus died for you and arose from the dead, and then ask Him into your heart and into your life to become your personal Lord and Saviour. I can guarantee you that this side of heaven you'll never negotiate a better transaction! Please don't wait!

God loves you and wants you for his own! He comes to you and makes His gift easy to receive, "For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13 NLT) Then as you pray, read your bible and seek God's will for your life, you might just find yourself shouting from the loftiest rooftop...

"START THE CAR!"

Paul Smyth