“The Lord Pours His Unfailing Love Upon Me”

8  But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. — Psalm 42:8 NLT
Psalm 42 NLT

This Psalm was written  by the descendants of Korah.  Korah, a cousin of Moses, was the one who led the rebellion against Moses during the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.  He was the leader of the group that was killed when the earth opened up and swallowed all of the rebels.  Not all of the sons of Korah rebelled.  There was a remnant left to carry on the family name.  This family had experienced both the wrath of God and His loving kindness.  From these experiences, we can deduce that they understood that it is okay to complain to God as long as it is done in a respectful way. Just as this Psalm begins with how much they long for the goodness of God, then it proceeds to alternately complain and remember the blessings of God.  When we are complaining to God, it is good to mix in a little worship with the whining.  It is good to recount the times He has blessed us and thank Him for those times.  The writers of this Psalm question themselves.  What reason do they have to be sad and discouraged ?  We need to ask the same question and arrive at the same conclusion they did.  If we put our faith and our hope in God, we won’t be sad and discouraged, but we will be filled with joy and praise for God and His goodness.   We will long for His presence just as a thirsty deer longs for a drink of cool water.  God’s presence is like an oasis in a desert of depression.  Spend time in that oasis, drink deeply from the healing springs and thank Him for His goodness.

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

Post 03-21-2019

His Faith – Not Mine

even-smaller-bug-light1

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

Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness

even-smaller-bug-light1

13 For the one who has shown no mercy will be judged without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:13 ISV
 
God gave the Old Testament law to the children of Israel to show them that it was impossible for a mere human to live a life free of sin. No one was able to live a life without sin, so God, in His mercy established rituals and procedures for them to keep.  As long as they stayed obedient to these rituals, they were not punished for their sins. Mercy is the lack of or a lesser punishment than our sins deserve(d).  Just as the people back then received mercy, we can and do receive mercy without receiving salvation. It is God’s mercy that allows us to go on living, even when we choose a lifestyle of sin.  We live under the law or covenant of grace. This does not mean that we don’t sin, it just means that we have a way of being forgiven without the rituals. Grace is God choosing to bless us even though we don’t deserve it. It is our faith in His grace that saves us.  When we feel that someone has wronged us in any way, we must show them mercy because of the mercy that God has shown us. We must temper our judgment with mercy, realizing that we have received so much more than mercy from Jesus Christ. We should also show them grace, in the sense that it means showing them affection and kindness even though they are not worthy of it. Neither were/are we worthy of God’s mercy and grace, yet He went so far as to die for us.
 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6-8 NIV

This is why we must show mercy, grace and forgiveness to those around us. We can and must forgive them of their sinful acts toward us. But only God can forgive us for all of our sins. Our mercy and grace is limited to what is done to us. God’s mercy and grace is unlimited.  Only His grace can restore our relationship with God the Father. We must ask for His forgiveness believing that by grace through faith we have been saved, are being saved and will be completely saved.
24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.25 Therefore he is able to save completely[ those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.– Hebrews 7:24, 25 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-03-2018

Freely Received, Freely Give

even-smaller-bug-light1

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

Does My Love Reach the Mark?

even-smaller-bug-light1

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – 1 Cor. 13:7 NLT
 
What if our every thought had to pass a test before it could be converted to spoken words or to actions?
Does this thought show others that I have patience?
Does it show kindness?
Is it truthful?
Does it show concern?
Does it reflect my trust in God?
Does it show the hope I have in Jesus?
Will it help me or those around me to endure trials and persevere?

All the above should be answered with a “Yes”
All the below should be answered with a “No” 

Is it boastful? 
Does it make me appear to be envious?
Does it disrespect or harm others?
Is it just for my benefit?
Is it a knee jerk response to something that has angered me?
Is it a resentment caused by past actions?
If it fails in any area, we need to reconsider before we speak or act.

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ​ –​- Matt. 19:26 NIV

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

Post 04-05-2018

The Fruit Grows on the Branches

even-smaller-bug-light1

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5 NLT

Jesus is the true vine. He has fulfilled the law and now we are branches grown from a new and different vine. We are in Christ Jesus once we accept the words Jesus has spoken. Jesus has removed all the old fruit from us and has made us clean. But we still need something more if we are going to produce good fruit. The flesh cannot of itself produce love, joy, kindness, long-suffering, or any of the other fruits listed in Galatians. There is no goodness in our flesh. For us to produce Holy Spirit fruit, we must have that Holy Spirit flowing through us just as a branch must have the sap from the tree flowing through it to be productive. When Jesus was here in the flesh, He could not physically be inside us, but the Holy Spirit can and does abide in us. That is why Jesus said that He must go to the Father so God could send His Spirit. As we we meditate on the word, the more fruit we produce and the fruit that we produce will be more like the vine.


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

Post 11-07-2017

Caring for Jesus

even-smaller-bug-light1

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ — Matt. 25:40 NLT
 

If we all followed these instructions, our world would be a much better and happier place. We need to treat everyone with respect and love, particularly those that are less fortunate than we are. If each of us practiced this and handed down a tradition of helping to our children, God would be much more pleased with our lifestyles. Jesus said that not feeding the hungry, not clothing the naked, not giving drink to the thirsty, not visiting the sick and in prison, was the same as not doing it for Him.  The only way that we can show love and kindness to Jesus is to show love and kindness to those around us.

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

Post 03-30-2017