“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

Accessing the Peace That God Has Given To Us!

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27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27 NIV

In our daily lives, why do we not experience the peace that God has made available to us? Is there a secret to finding and holding onto that peace?  Is it necessary to do something special or quote a particular verse to access the peace that God has so freely given to us?  Is that peace for now or for some time in the future?  Is that peace even real?  If we could discover how to find and hold onto that peace, wouldn’t it be a great blessing to us and a great message to a world in chaos? Maybe, it starts with our definition of peace.  God’s peace isn’t the absence of troubles or violence or loss or storms.  It is learning to have peace while we live in and go through those times.  Jesus, as a man suffered rejection, ridicule, betrayal, and tremendous persecution, yet He did not sin by worrying or being afraid, but held onto the peace that the Father gave Him.  We say,”Yes, but Jesus was _______”  and you can fill in the blank.  The truth is that while He was on earth, Jesus was fully human.  He walked, talked, grew tired, rested, became hungry and ate common food. He was, in fact, just like us, except that He didn’t sin. He is our example that peace is not a lack of certain issues but a gift that we must learn to experience everyday.  When He was in the boat with the disciples in the midst of the storm, He slept.  The disciples became anxious and feared for their lives. Jesus spoke, the storm dissipated and peace was restored to the sea. Jesus is with us in the boat as we sail through life.  When the storms come, ask Him to speak to your storm and experience His peace. So, it is not some secret formula, it is complete faith in believing what Jesus said.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-12-2018

Freely Received, Freely Give

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15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  ​- 2 Cor. 9:15 NLT​
God doesn’t need our tithes, giving back to God and helping others is how we express our love for Him for all the wonderful things He has done and continues to do for us.  Jesus went about doing good and He expects us to do the same. We should give cheerfully expecting nothing in return.  Our acts of kindness in a world where lifestyles are based on greed will attract others to Jesus .  God doesn’t need any proof of who we are or where we are in our relationship with Him, we do these things to prove to ourselves and those around us that we are true, obedient followers of Jesus. This will show those around us that Jesus makes a difference in how we live and respond to others. We can only do this through the generosity of the grace God has shown to us  Acts of kindness will cause others to praise God and bring us joy. We should continually show forth the praises of God because of the indescribable gift He has given us. The gift of giving. Having received this gift of grace and mercy, we should pass it on to others for the glory of God.9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. — 1 Peter 2:9, 10 NI​V

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

Post 06-19-2018

“Always Yes”

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20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. – 2 Cor. 1:19-22 NLT
 
There are testimonies upon testimonies of God’s faithfulness, not just in the Bible, but in the lives of Christians since the first century until today.  I am constantly amazed when reading the personal testimonies of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted, imprisoned and questioned by the authorities on a daily basis.  They tell story after story of how God strengthens them and comes to their rescue.  We have all of these testimonies plus the stories of modern day miracles with which God still so richly blesses us.  Then, of course, each of us have our own stories of how God saved us from eternal punishment and condemnation, the miracle of resurrection power. We can look back over our own lives and see how the hand of God has delivered us from bad situations and even saved us from physical death. If we don’t see any, perhaps, we are looking for what we consider to be “big” things.  Every good thing that happens to us is a fulfillment of the promises of God. The fact that we are alive today is a gift from God.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. — James 1:16-17 NIV

He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and He has kept that promise. Because He put His Spirit in our hearts, we can never go anywhere without Him. We are constantly surrounded by angels who watch over us and protect us.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. — 2 Kings 6:16, 17 NIV

We thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness and your mercies which are new every morning!

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

Post 05-30-2018