“They Encouraged Us”

9 In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews. – Galatians 2:9 NLT

Galatians 2:6-10 NLT

Paul did not back down from his stand on circumcision. When Peter, James and John, the pillars of the church in Jerusalem, recognized that Paul was right they gave him the right hand of fellowship. (To those who don’t speak Churchese, that means that Paul now had their support and was welcomed into the congregation of Christians,) They all agreed that the new converts, both Jewish and Gentile should not eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and that they should support the poor. It is still a good idea to help the poor and refrain from acts that might cause our brothers to be offended.. Paul and Barnabas leave to go back to Antioch to give the news to the new converts. We, like the first century church, must be careful not to add requirements to God’s plan of salvation. We do not want to become like the legalistic leaders who weighed men down with their traditions. When the Spirit sets us free, we are indeed free from the bondage of sin that was of no benefit to us. The law could not free us, but God could and did by sending His Son, Jesus, as an offering for our sin.

Free Indeed!

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

“This Is What God Has Testified”

11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. ​ – 1 John 5:11 NLT

God’s Testimony – NLT

God has given us the gift of eternal life. But like every gift that is offered to us, we have to accept it. To accept this gift, we must believe that what God has told us is true. What we must believe is that the Father, sent His only Son to redeem us from sin. If we accept the Son, then we have the truth of God abiding in us. Not only do we have the truth, we also have eternal life.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.—John 14:6 (NLT)

The only way to receive the gift from the Father is to accept His Son, Jesus Christ. This is more than just turning away from our sins, We must turn to Jesus and accept all that He is. Then we must live a lifestyle that allows others to see Jesus in us. We can do this by holding steadfast to Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us into all truth. That truth will draw others to Jesus and expand His Kingdom.

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

Post 02-13-2020

“Stay Warm and Eat Well”

16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?– James 2:16 NLT

James 2:14-17 NLT

We know that we are saved “by grace through faith, not by works, lest any man should boast”. We also know that everything we receive while we are here on earth is a free gift from God. So, what is the purpose of “good works” and why are they important? Well, there are at least two good reasons and probably more it you want to break them down. The first is this; now, that we are Christians, Jesus is our example and He went about doing good works.

38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.–Acts 10:38 (NLT)

The second reason is this; doing good works here on earth is how we store our rewards or treasures in heaven.

.20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.–Matt 6:20,21 (NLT)

If we do good works for these two reasons, it will keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus and our final reward of living an eternity with Him. If we focus on that, it will make the burdens lighter and we can walk the path with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips!

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

Post 12-24-2019

“Guilty” But Forgiven by Grace

10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. — James 2:10

James 2:10-13 NLT

The law(s) were given to the children of Israel to show them that sin was in the world. Without the law there would have been no disobedience of the law and therefore they would not have understood sin. With the law, they understood sin and also understood that no human being could live up to the perfect standard required by the law. The law was their/our teacher to show them/us that we all need a Savior. This was no surprise to God. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, He had prepared a perfect Lamb to be our Savior. Because God is merciful, He sent His only Son into the world as the only perfect human. Jesus came to us knowing that He would be sacrificed for our sins, although He was sinless. Now we live under grace, the unmerited favor of God. We did nothing and can do nothing to earn grace and salvation. It is a free gift from God.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 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)

We should sing praises to God daily. He is a marvelous, amazing God. “What a wonderful Savior is Jesus our Lord”!!!!!!!

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

Post 12-23-2019

“Whatever Is Good and Perfect”

17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.— James 1:17 NLT

James 1;16-18 NLT

Every good and precious thing that we receive while we are on this earth is a gift from God. He never changes or even gives any indication the He is thinking about or considering change. God is good all the time because God is God all the time. He is the same yesterday, today, and will be the same tomorrow. He is the Solid Rock on which we can plant our feet and know we are protected. He is the Father who never changes, but is always there when we fail him and come humbly back to Him. He gave us a new birth by giving us His Word, both written and in the flesh. We are His possession because He bought us at the highest price anyone could pay. The death of His only Son. We must be faithful in following the example of His Son because of the price He paid for us.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. ​ — John 3:16 ​

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

Post 12-18-2019

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.– Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV 

Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV

Our salvation is a gift from God, we didn’t earn it by works and we didn’t purchase it with favor or money.  It was God’s plan before the foundations of the earth were laid.  As Paul said, if we boast, we must boast in Christ Jesus alone.  Does this negate works?  Not at all, we are saved to work, not by our works.  Just as it was God’s plan to send Jesus to purchase our redemption with His blood, it was always God’s plan that we would have a part in His kingdom work here on earth.  God has gifted each of us with a spiritual gift to be used in His work.  Some of us are preachers, others are teachers, others encourage, others have gifts of helps.  The list of gifts is lengthy, because we all have a part in God’s plan and purpose.  Make a commitment today to ask God about your gift and how to use it in His plan.

1 Peter 4:7-11 NKJV

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

Post 07-09-2016

“It Is God’s Gift”

8-9 For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing.— Eph. 2:8-9 The Voice

Eph 2:4-10 VOICE

We, as Christians should always remain humble realizing that we did not do anything to earn our salvation. It is impossible to earn or pay for a free gift. God loved us so much that He became as a man and died for us paying our sin debt in full. And that is just the beginning of the story. If we follow His teachings and become a disciple, there is much more that we can enjoy here on earth. God is all about the present and eternity.  We are told in John 10:10, that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly.  And we can do nothing to earn those gifts, either.  He gives them to us of His own free will.  We receive peace, security, and joy from the same benevolence that brought us salvation. This was mentioned as far back as Isaiah in Chapter 12, Verse 2: Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yahweh, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’” And He freely gives us all things that pertain to life and Godliness.

2 Peter 1:3.4 NLT

So, salvation is not just for the future, it has benefits right now and right here.

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

Post 05-19-2019

Living Above the Natural

10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. — 1 Cor. 10:10 NLT

1 Cor. 10:6-11 NLT

As Christians, we don’t live lifestyles of continual sinning but since none of us are perfect, we still sin.  We commit sins of omission when we fail to move or speak when the Holy Spirit tells us to go or to speak to someone about Jesus.  We commit sins of omission when we don’t help those around us when we have the resources available to help them.  We also commit sins of commission when we fear, worry or grumble.  If God had written more than ten commandments, the next three might well have been “thou shalt not fear”, “thou shalt not worry” and “thou shalt not grumble”.   While they are not official commandments, when we read verses that contain words such as “have I not told you”or “God said” or “Jesus said” that should make them official enough for us to obey them.  The grumbling that the Israelis did that caused God to destroy them was their continual complaining about God’s provisions for them and the leaders He had chosen for them.  Well, yeah, we say, but worrying, fearing and grumbling are just natural things.  While that is true, therein lies the issue that God has with us when we do it.  He has given us access to the resurrection power that enables us to live above the natural.  When we refuse to access that power and live the abundant life, are we not refusing the gift God gave us at the cross?

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

Post 04-24-2019

The Lover and the Loved

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27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live! — Luke 10:27, 28 NLT

In any love relationship, there is the lover and the loved.  For the relationship to work, each participant must be both at all times.  You can’t choose to just be the lover today and the loved tomorrow.  That would never work, because the flesh would want to be only the loved everyday. Being the loved is easy, being the lover can be hard work. This is true in human relationships and it is true in our relationship with God.  He loved us first and He loves us more than we can love Him, but He still wants and desires all the love we can give Him.  He desires to spend time with us alone, just the two of us.  God, as our lover, sent us His Son as a gift, the greatest gift ever given by any lover to His beloved.  He also gave us a book containing many love letters, statements of His love for us and reminding us of the many things He has done to show His love for us.  In that book, He assures us that He will always be with us and never forsake us.  In a true, legitimate love relationship, when one party says to the other “I love you”, that requires a positive response from the other party, namely, “I love you, too.”
Have you ever just said “I love you, Lord”  for no other reason than the fact that you love Him and not because of something special He did for you?  Is he the last person on your mind before you go to sleep and is He the first person you speak to when you wake up?   Just try it in the morning.  Before your feet hit the floor, just say “I love You, Lord, I love You, Father, I love You, Holy Spirit, I love you, God.”   He will always respond with a gift of peace and joy.  He can’t help Himself, He will do it just because He is God and God is love.

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

Post 10-10-2018

His Faith – Not Mine

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6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. — Eph. 2:6-9 NIV

This is a familiar passage to most Christians, yet I wonder if we really grasp everything it says to us.  It explains to us why God saved us and raised us up. It was not just for our benefit, though that would have been more than enough.  He did it so He could show to us and the world the “incomparable riches of His grace”.  The greatest expression of that grace was God allowing Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to die on a cruel cross for our sins. It is that grace that has saved us, through faith.  Not our faith, His faith, His gift to us. That is why we can be sure that our salvation is eternal.  Thanks be to God that my salvation is not based on my faith, which is not always steadfast. It is based on His faith, which is steadfast and eternal.  If it were based on my faith, I could be saved today and lost tomorrow.  His faith is everlasting!

89 Your word, Lord, is eternal;  it stands firm in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;  you established the earth, and it endures. — Psalm 119:89, 90

15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! — 2 Cor. 9:15

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

Post 09-23-2018