Fill Us With Your Love

39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:39 NLT 

Romans 8:35-39 NLT
The love of God is perfect and is far too great for the human mind to grasp in its entirety.   How could the Creator of the universe and everything in it stoop to loving us?  Why does He bother Himself to listen to and answer every prayer that we pray?  At our worst, we are wretched sinners and even at our best, we fall so short of being what you created us to be. We can only bow our heads and say with the Psalmist, “what are human beings that you should care for them”?  Yet, you gave up all of your glory in heaven, put on a human body and lived among us.  You revealed your love to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Such matchless mercy, such generous grace and such limitless love is more than we can even imagine.  With our sins, we crucify you afresh every day, yet, you continue to forgive us and love us back to you.  Help us, Lord, to love you enough to be channels of your love to those around us.  Even though it may be painful at times, Lord, stretch us and fill us with your love until we overflow, until your love breaks forth from us and washes over those around us bringing them into “the healing stream that flows from Calvary’s mountain”. Amen.

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

Post 04-07-2019

“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


“Do Unto Others”

10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman,“Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” — John 8:10 NLT

John 8:1-11 NLT

In this short passage of Scripture, we get to look at sin from all four sides.  There is sin as the devil sees it, a tool for death and destruction.  There is sin from the human viewpoint as seen by the accusers.  There is sin from the viewpoint of the one who committed the sin.  Then there is sin from the viewpoint of Jesus, a wrong that demands forgiveness.  The accusers had caught this woman in the very act of adultery, how this happened we are not told and we don’t need to know.  Under the law, the woman was guilty and deserving of death.  Jesus had come to change all of that.  He was bringing a new way of looking at and treating the guilty party.   From the reaction of the accusers when Jesus questioned them, we know that, at some point, all of them had transgressed the law.  In Jesus’s way of thinking, regardless of what they had done, they were as worthy of death as the woman was.  Under the law, there was big sin and little sin.  Under grace, there is just sin, liars are lumped right in there with murderers.  We may often find ourselves in the position of the accusers or in position of the woman who committed the sin.  Jesus was using this situation to teach a two-fold lesson. First, He was teaching them the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  If we were caught in this situation, would we want others to show us mercy?   Then we must show mercy.  The second and most important lesson is that sin is forgivable and that is the road we should choose.
To receive God’s forgiveness, we are required to forgive others of their sins.

MATTHEW 6:7-14 NLT

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

Post 01-12-2019

“Your Grace Has Brought Me Safe Thus Far”

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So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. — Joshua 4:8 NLT

Often when a major event had occurred in the lives of the children of Israel, God would instruct them to set up stones or build an altar.  These stones or altars were built or erected as a token of remembrance for God’s help in bringing them safely this far. It was also a reminder to tell future generations about the goodness and the mercies of God. They were unique in that they were always built with natural, uncut stones.  Crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land for the first time was a once-in-a-lifetime major event. The Israelis put twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan to mark the spot of the crossing and carried twelve stones to Gilgal and erected them there to mark the spot of their first encampment in their new homeland.  We need to be aware of the major events in our lives and construct mental and/or physical landmarks as a way to remember these events.  We need to point out these times to our future generations as a remembrance of what God has done for us.  When Samuel erected the stone between Mizpah and Jeshanah (1 Samuel 7:12) to mark the spot where God had defeated the Philistines for the Israelis, he named it “Ebenezer” which means a stone of help.  It is by the help of God that we have come this far safely.  Let us stop, set up an Ebenezer, pray, worship and celebrate God’s goodness and mercies in our lives.

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

Post 11-12-2018

Press Onward and Upward

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49 “The Lord will bring a distant nation against you from the end of the earth, and it will swoop down on you like a vulture. It is a nation whose language you do not understand, 50 a fierce and heartless nation that shows no respect for the old and no pity for the young. — Deut 28:49, 50 NLT​

Deuteronomy 28 is probably best known for all the blessings that God promises if His people are obedient.  If the Israelis obeyed God by keeping His laws and commandments, they would be the most blessed nation on earth.  In this chapter, God also explains to them what will happen if they are disobedient.  If they fail to keep His commandments and laws, they will be the most cursed nation on earth and will eventually not be a nation at all, but a scattered people.  While the law was fulfilled when Jesus gave His life for us on the Cross and was resurrected, He still expects His people to be obedient.  God’s commandments in the Old Testaments were not just suggestions and His commands to us to be holy even as He is holy and to love Him above everyone and everything and our neighbors as ourselves are not suggestions.  He is the same God, yesterday, today and tomorrow, so we can be sure that if we are not obedient under the new covenant, the same curses will befall us.  We may or may not be a “Christian” nation, but we are a nation with millions of Christians living here.  We can make a difference if we spend time on our knees before a holy God and petition Him continuously for mercy and grace for our nation.  Jesus gave us the example of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8).  Let us follow that example in keeping on keeping on with our requests for our nation.  God told Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, if He could find five righteous people there, let us pray that He will show us the same mercy.

 
17 Never stop praying. — 1 Thess. 5:17 NLT

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

Post 11-05-2018

Show Mercy

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12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” — Matt. 9:12, 13 NLT

This statement by Jesus is in answer to the Pharisees who were complaining about Jesus and His disciples eating with sinners. Jesus had just called Matthew to come and follow Him.  Matthew had  invited Jesus and His disciples to his home to have dinner with him and some other tax collectors and disreputable sinners.  The Pharisees had referred to the group as scum (verse 11).
Jesus knew that the Pharisees would not accept Him and His teachings because they thought they were righteous already.  With whom do we spend our time outside the church building?  Do we, as the disciples of Jesus, spend all of our time with other Christians or do we seek the lost and minister to them?  Do we have a missionary mentality or is it “We four and no more”? Jesus was sent to seek and to save the lost.  Because He did that, He was rejected, offended, persecuted and eventually hung on a cross.  He commanded us to do the same and gave us the authority to do just that.  When we do that, we stand the chance of being rejected, offended and criticized for “eating with scum”?  Suffering these things puts us in the same group with Jesus and God is pleased with us.  Which is better, to live a lifestyle that pleases God and lay up eternal rewards or to live a lifestyle that pleases men gaining worldly rewards but losing our own souls?

20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 
— 1 Peter 2:20,21 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-25-2018

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