“By Grace Through Faith”- Nothing Added

8 God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.  — Acts 15:8, 9 NLT

Acts 15:3-11 NLT
 
The  believers of the sect of the Pharisees wanted to require that all of the new believers who had not been circumcised must do so.  Peter stated that that was a requirement under the law and the law had been too heavy a burden for the Jews to bear.  So, he asked, knowing this, why would you lay this same unbearable burden on the new believers?   Throughout the history of the church, there have always been those who wanted to add requirements to God’s simple plan of salvation.  God says that “we are saved by grace through faith”  There is nothing else that is acceptable in His sight.  Nothing less and nothing more. That’s it.  When the thief on the cross asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus assured him that they would be together in paradise.  Nothing less, nothing more.  That is the key that unlocks the gates to heaven.  Once that step is taken, there are things that need to be done to enjoy the abundant life that Jesus said He brought to us. Those things do not add to the salvation plan, they just make for a more purposeful, abundant lifestyle here on earth and more rewards when you get to heaven.

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-03-2019


The Secret of Shared Suffering

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27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. — Colossians 1:27 (emphasis mine)

Colossians 1:24-29 NLT

Just as Jesus suffered, we, His followers must also suffer. All the disciples and early followers of Jesus were persecuted. Christ is still suffering through His body, the church. Just as Paul was given a special work to do in revealing the message of God to the Gentiles, God has given each of us a work to do in revealing His plan to those that are placed in our paths each day. The secret is not that Jesus would come as the Messiah; it wasn’t that Jesus would die on the cross, be buried and be resurrected after 3 days. Then He would ascend into heaven to remain in God’s presence interceding for us. All these things were prophesied and well-known. The secret was that He would abide in those who believed on Him. His Holy Spirit would dwell in us all the time. He ascended, yet He is here living in each of us, giving all believers that hope of eternal glory. This is what we are to teach in order to bring each Christian into maturity in Christ Jesus. Just as the Creator suffered, so will we suffer as we are faithful to spread the Good News. We will struggle, but we have access to the strength and power that resurrected Jesus from the dead. We are never alone.
 
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 03-04-2017

I Can’t Help Myself!

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5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart;    do not depend on your own understanding.
— Proverbs 3:5 NLT
 
 

This may well be one of the best known and most repeated verses in the Bible.  What exactly does God want each of us to take away from this verse? Does it mean that we should realize that God is much more intelligent than we are?  He is, of course, but is there more here in this verse?  Could it be a rebuke to all of those self-help programs that people spend so much time, effort and money on only to find that when they have finished those programs nothing has really changed?  Is this verse a directive that says, you can’t help yourself, you need Jesus?  Could it be the first step in our coming to salvation?  After all, if we could help ourselves, if we could clean ourselves up, then it would have been totally unnecessary for Jesus to die. Jesus died on the cross to accomplish for us what we can never do for ourselves.  The natural, carnal mind will never understand this.  We must be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us to have faith in God and to trust Him with all of our hearts.  Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance we will never understand the depth nor the width of what God wants to do for us and through us.  Our understanding is a broken reed that will support little or no weight.  God’s wisdom is a staff of strength that will bear up under any burden.  Learn to lean on Him, His wisdom and His understanding in the good times as well as the rough patches.

Post 10-01-2016

 

A2J

even-smaller-bug-light111  You will make known to me the path of life;In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. — Psalm 16:11 NASB

In our busy, busy world, we often think about just getting away from it all.  Just go somewhere and relax, where we don’t even have to think about anything. Perhaps, at some time in the past, that was possible (I doubt it), but, not now. Why?  Because we take everything with us.  It fits easily in our pockets, it is lightweight and it is our umbilical cord to the world.  We think we can’t live without it. I posit that we can’t truly live with it.  It is time to cut the cord and relax in the arms of Jesus.  Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  So, to experience life, we must experience Jesus.  To experience Jesus, we must spend time with Him, both in quality and in quantity.  Time with Him and Him alone.  While we do need time away from our jobs with just the family, we need time away from everything and everybody with just Him;  Our God is a great God and a good God. Yes, we need to fear (as in respect) Him for who He is, but we also need to understand that He loves us and longs for our companionship.  He longs for us to be focused and fully dependent on Him.  So, if you are looking for real life, real peace and real joy, run to Him, curl up in HIs lap, marinate yourself in His presence and just experience His love.  You will never want to leave that spot.  It is totally impossible to live a life of joy and peace without being completely addicted to Jesus.
 
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NLT
Post 03-08-2016

We Are All In or We Are Not In At All!

even-smaller-bug-light16 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”   7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  — James 4:6-9 NIV

​The Old Testament law was given to show man that he could not live up to the perfection required for redemption.  Man could not and cannot do anything to save himself.  Those living in that time who thought they were doing a good enough job to satisfy God’s requirements for redemption were caught up in prideful thinking. They became so full of pride that they actually added laws to the ones God had already given.  We can only assume that they thought they were improving the situation, when, in fact, they were putting burdens on the people.  So, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who was full of grace and mercy.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14 NIV

We are saved by grace through faith​ and Jesus wants to continue to give us grace upon grace.

16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. — John 1:16 NASB

​It is this continued gift of grace that allows us to overcome the flesh and submit oursleves to God. Without it, we would be like the religious leaders of ancient times and become so full of pride that we would be useless in spreading the word of God. There is nothing in this world that is worthy of praise when it is compared to the joy and the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. 

30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” — 1 Cor. 1:30, 31 NIV

If anything or anyone in this world brings us greater joy, pleasure and happiness than knowing Jesus, then we are double-minded.  We should mourn and wail while asking God to forgive us and bring our focus back on Him and Him alone.

Post 12-02-2015

From Gory to Glory

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands.When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. –1 Cor. 4:11-1​3​ NIV
​Paul​ expands on the difference in attitude and lifestyle that he, Apollo, and Peter have as compared to the Christians in Corinth. They have given up all their earthly possessions and now they do not have an extra set of clothes nor a home of their own here on earth. They work hard physically so that they will not be a financial burden on the new converts. They respond to cursing, persecution and slandering with blessings, kindness and patient endurance. They are willing to be treated as the lowest form of life here on earth so that God might be glorified. Is it necessary for all of us to go through this kind of treatment? No, but we must have the attitude and the willingness to do it, if that is what Jesus calls us to do.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.—Romans 5:3-5 NIV

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.—Romans 8:18 NIV

Post 05-12-2015

We Are Overcomers Through Faith

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.—1 John 5:1-5 (NLT)
Because of His great love for sinners, such as us, God made His salvation plan very simple and free. Just believe! Once we are saved, we start on a journey that will require everything and every part of us. It is not easy to love all of God’s children. Even so, it is not a choice we can make, it is a command given to us by our Father. Then we must learn to obey His commandments. This obedience and faith in the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we can become overcomers. The flesh alone can not defeat satan in the smallest battle, we have to depend on Jesus to fight our battles. Our job is to “trust and obey”. Instead of worrying and being filled with fear, we just need to lean on Jesus. The world says “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Jesus says something totally different.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”–Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
​Jesus​ will neve
r leave us nor forsake us, just rest in His arms and praise Him!
Post 10-07-14