Cindy and I bought our first home computer in September 1993. It was a Macintosh Performa 200 with a 9” monochrome display. By today’s standards, its 16 MHz 68030 processor, 2 MB of RAM, and 80 MB hard drive weren’t great. I didn’t realize it, but it wasn’t great even then. The model was discontinued and obsolete within a month, but it was a giant leap forward for us.

The salesman recognized a computer novice, and proceeded to impress me. “Watch this,” he said. “Hi Mac. What time is it?”

The computer answered, “It is 2:05 PM.”

“Hi Mac,” said the salesman. “Tell me a joke.”

“Knock, Knock.”

“Who’s there?”

The computer gave the punch line, and I was hooked. When we left the store a few minutes later, I knew my new computer could talk and I planned to learn how to write my seminary papers on it. Though it was obsolete within days, I used it for several years. When I replaced it, I was still discovering that my obsolete computer could do far more than I realized.


At Christmas, believers celebrate the greatest gift ever given—Jesus! God became flesh, lived a perfect life, then died on the cross receiving the punishment for our sins. Three days later He arose and walked out of His tomb. Today, He offers the free gift of salvation to all who will turn from sin and trust Him.


The moment I turned to Jesus in faith, my sins were forgiven and my home in heaven was assured. In addition, I received many more gifts than I realized. In fact, forty-plus years later, I’m still learning new things I received in Jesus. And by the way, He isn’t obsolete.

Each week during the month of December, my blog posts will focus on some of the gifts believers receive in Jesus. The first few chapters of Ephesians describe several of God’s free gifts of salvation. Let’s focus on just one of the things Jesus brought with Him when He came into our lives.


For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Eph 2:18)

When you trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you received direct access to the Father. You have the privilege to bring your needs and others’ needs directly to Him through the Son by the Holy Spirit. Your direct access to the Sovereign of the universe is not based on your righteousness; it is based on Jesus Christ’s righteousness! The Father hears and answers your requests because of His Son – Jesus. That’s why we pray in Jesus’ name.

When I was a boy, I had three close friends: Ernie, Michael, and Shawn. We were great buddies and did everything together. Often, when I went places with my dad, my three friends went along. Sooner or later, one friend would say, “Ask your dad if we can get a soft drink or a snack.” I would protest, “If you want it, you ask him.” The friend always answered, “He’ll do it if you ask.” Why? My relationship with Dad gave me access they didn’t have.

If you are “in Christ,” Jesus’ righteousness grants you direct access to the Father. It is one of the gifts Jesus freely gives at salvation. Through Jesus, you can bring your requests directly to Him. “Therefore, come boldly to the Throne of Grace.” You will find “grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16) You can pray for your needs, those of your family, your friends, your church, and NEBC. As you pray, you can know the Father hears you, not because of your righteousness, but because of Jesus. What a privilege! What a joy! What a blessing! Enjoy your access today.

Thank you for joining us in prayer for the Lord’s work in and through NEBC. Thank you for asking the Father to provide for our needs. Thank you for being a part of what the Lord is doing in the Northeast.

With Great Anticipation,

Dr. Mark H. Ballard