"Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
"Hate the sin, love the sinner" has been a popular phrase for quite some time. And how true, especially when you consider we are ALL sinners!
It is only through the repentance of our sins, and asking Jesus into our hearts, does that change once and for all. Have you taken that crucial step yet? If not, don't wait! (Romans 10:9-10)
Basically, what that popular saying means is that we can disagree with what that person is doing, but we can still love them. Amen. Even though we still love that person, there are also times, "loving them", means speaking the truth about what they are doing (whether they want to hear it or not).
"Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)
Never shy away, nor feel bad about, speaking a truth that can save another person's life for all eternity! In the end, what they are doing is between them and our Lord and Savior. But just think, God may have put YOU in that person's life to tell them "exactly" what they need to hear!
Don't shy away from the truth, as it is that very truth you speak that may "finally" set that person free. (John 8:32)
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
Don't be a prisoner...
"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
Satan is father of lies (John 8:44). He enjoys nothing more than messing with our minds by telling us we don't deserve God's love and reminding us of our past mistakes. Don't believe it for one second! "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
Tell the enemy to hit the road and guard your heart:
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Proverbs 4:23)
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong." (Ephesians 3:17)
With Jesus in your heart, they'll be no room for satan's lies in your mind.
The Holy Spirit will help...
When you accept Jesus into your life everything changes. Why? Because Jesus, via the Holy Spirit, now resides in your heart. Your old "heart" is gone and you are born again.
Not only is there a new found peace and salvation through accepting Christ, but you actually now "want" to do what is always right versus thinking you "have" to.
God's own Spirit will now help lead your life, counsel you as you make decisions, and even discipline you when you make a poor choice (often known as "grieving the Spirit").
Check it out:
“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the Law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:6)
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (See John 16:13)
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
From the moment the Holy Spirit enters your heart, He begins to change you from the inside out. This is a process called "sanctification" and will last your entire life here in earth. He'll not only remind you right from wrong, but will also help you overcome obstacles that are standing between you and a "closer" relationship with God.
When you can't seem to "kick" a particular habit or practice that you feel (or know) is sinful, "pray" to God and ask that the Spirit work on it for you.
Believe it or not, God does "not" want you to conquer this vice on your own. He actually "wants" you to acknowledge you can't do it on your own, and that you need His help. And if He wants to help, why wouldn't you take it?
You make, not only the decision of a lifetime, but of ALL ETERNITY when you surrender your life to Jesus! Rejoice in it, enjoy the process of becoming "more" like Christ each and every day, and rest in the peace that can only come from a life of living for your Heavenly Father.
Keep it simple...
BY JOSHUA PAUL
What if we’re simply over complicating life?
In all honesty, if you’re anything like me, I’m guilty of over complicating things occasionally. Unconsciously, I think it’s up to me to figure out every detail of my life’s direction and that God plays a smaller role in that process. Thankfully, the exact opposite is true. Throughout scripture we read about a God who leads His people in the way they are to go. He is faithful and His guidance is perfect.
What if life boiled down to these 5 simple scriptural references?
Matthew 22:36-40 – “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Love God. Love people. With every ounce of energy we’ve got – simply love.
Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Seek out His kingdom and righteousness. He’ll take care of the provision – food, clothes, shelter, etc.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Trust that He is a good Father. Rest in the fact that He created the universe. When things looks to be at there worst, pause and trust in His sovereignty. He is well able to lead us in the path custom designed for each of His children. He won’t let us down. He is always faithful and will never forsake us.
Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Look at this promise. If we enjoy Him, He will make our dreams, hopes and desires come true. That sounds like an amazing deal!
Mark 16:15 – “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’”
We get to approach life in whatever way He’s called each of us and tell people the good news of Jesus Christ. This idea of “preaching” might intimidate some of us. Maybe start by preaching the gospel to houseplants, dogs or cats? Jesus did say “every creature,” so start small if need be. Simply go and tell about the hope within!
Hopefully this has relieved some of the anxiety that goes along with the pressing need to immediately figure out God’s will for your entire life. Remember to keep it simple.
Love. Seek. Trust. Delight. Go.
JANUARY 26, 2017
"From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!" (Psalm 61:2-4)
From Stacy Hord-Hulm:
Some of you are bearing a lot of guilt from past mistakes. Some of you parents feel you could have done better, Some of you feel that your marriage failure is your fault. Some of you spent years in an addiction and now you see the fallout on your family. So now you carry a heavy load, feeling that you could have changed the present if you just would have been better in the past.
Maybe - and maybe not. I've counseled many women who "did it right," waiting for marriage to have sex, and their husbands still left them for other women. I seen great parents who did everything right, only to watch their kids make life-altering mistakes. I've seen perfect drivers hit by drunk drivers. I've seen innocent people hurt by malicious people.
But no matter what happens in our lives, whether it was our own fault or the fault of someone else, THERE IS GRACE! And there is redemption.
Do you think if you would have done it "Perfectly" you and your family wouldn't have any troubles now? Don't you know that affliction comes to everyone and it's even a useful part of God's work in our lives? Don't you realize that God can work our mistakes into a beautiful, redemptive story?
It's time to stop carrying that load!!! Okay, you messed up! But God knew that way before we were even born and provided forgiveness and redemption for us through Jesus. So cast your burdens on Him, and move on! Stop predicting what could have been and dwell in the beautiful present where God is with you right now! If you're in a financial pit, he's in it with you! If you're going through a divorce, he's going through it with you! If you're in a well of depression, he's not leaving you! and His plan is to BRING YOU OUT!
You cannot change the past, but God can SURE change your future and your family's future! Receive the grace of Jesus and cast your cares on him today!
Ears = Heart?
And if you know how to love, then listen to God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)
"Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don't ignore it. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD." (Proverbs 8:34/36)
Fill your heart with scripture, devotion and song. "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Proverbs 4:23)
And be VERY careful of what else you listen to...
"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
If you want to guard your heart, start by guarding your ears!
Only one true grace...
2 Kinds of Cheap Grace You Need to Avoid
“Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Cheap grace is worthless. It tries to rob you of your peace and rest in Christ. Christians always need to be on the lookout for cheap grace and stay far away from it. Here are two kinds of cheap grace that pretend to be the costly grace God gives us in Christ:
1. Grace without Christ
Some people think that God saves us by his grace in Christ, but we must be obedient to get and keep God’s grace fully. There have been various words used over the years to describe this kind of cheap grace, including legalism, prevenient grace, works-righteousness, and covenant faithfulness. You can always recognize this kind of cheap grace by this one test: If someone is telling you that there is something you need to do to add to Jesus’ completed work on your behalf—that Jesus’ finished work is not enough to save you—then you need to run away from this false teaching.
Many Christians are told that this kind of grace is true grace; the people who teach cheap grace may be ignorant, thinking that conditional grace is God’s grace—but it isn’t. There are many verses in the Bible that affirm the truth that salvation comes from outside of us through the work of Christ, not from anything we do (for some examples, see Rom. 5:1; 6–8; 15–17; Rom. 8:1–11; 2 Cor. 3:4–5; 5:17; Eph. 2:8–9; Titus 3:4–7). The works James is talking about in his letter are the fruits of the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of believers (James 2:14–26). These works do nothing to save a person; rather, they are evidence of a person’s adoption into God’s family in Christ.
2. Grace without the Spirit
Some people think that, because believers are saved by God’s grace in Christ, they can sin whenever they feel like it because God will forgive them anyway. A fancy word for this is antinomianism. This kind of cheap grace does not take into account the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification in the lives of all Christians (John 16:7–15). All believers bear the fruit of the Spirit because they are branches attached to the vine of Christ (John 15:4–5; Gal. 5:22–23; Col. 1:10).
Followers of Christ must continually fight against sin, but that doesn’t mean they will do a perfect job of it in this present world. In fact, they can’t do a perfect job, no matter how hard they try. It has been said, “If you’re still livin’, you’re still sinnin’.” Christians will fail to keep all of God’s commands in this life because, although they are declared righteous in Christ, they are still sinners. The Spirit convicts believers of their sin and leads them to repentance (John 16:8; Rom. 8:14). Believers will experience true sorrow over their sin because they have been bought with a price and have the Spirit living in them (Rom. 7:14–25).
One of the signs that a believer is growing in holiness is the increasing awareness of one’s sin and corresponding desire to stay away from all ungodliness. Christians show gratitude to and love for God by keeping his commandments (John 14:15; Heb. 13:15; 1 John 2:3; 5:3). This obedience is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving the believer offers up to God; it is never a means to keep—or earn—God’s grace. Just as sometimes children disobey their parents and are disciplined accordingly, God disciplines us because we are his beloved children in Christ, and he will use our failures to teach us through the work of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
So, what is costly grace? Costly grace is God’s unmerited favor because of Christ’s unfathomable sacrifice for all who trust in him (John 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:20). Because we are sinners, there is nothing we can do to earn the favor of a holy God (Rom. 3:23). God sent his Son to be born in the flesh because there was no other way we could be saved. Jesus did all the work to earn God’s favor on our behalf, so that we could have peace with God and eternal life (Rom. 5:1).
By God’s grace, Christ’s righteousness is counted to us and our sin is counted to Christ, who gave his precious blood as the perfect sacrifice once for all (Rom. 5:12–21; Heb. 7:27; 10:14; 1 Pet. 1:18–19). This grace comes through faith in Christ alone, which is also God’s gift (Eph. 2:8–9). God’s costly grace is amazing, because even though we are guilty before him based on our own insufficient works, God declares us righteous in Christ.
Don’t let the devil rob you of your joy in Christ, for Jesus has already won the victory. The devil’s attempts to make you doubt your salvation will never change the fact that you are declared righteous in Christ alone through faith alone by God’s grace alone—regardless of what the future holds. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ (Rom. 8:35–39). Cling to your Savior and be at peace.
This article was originally published under the title "Say No to Cheap Grace" at corechristianity.com.
Incredible! As is our God!!!
Are you grateful?
Amen to this. ♥🕆♥
Thank you Lord for blessing me and my family. Thank you for the possessions you allow us to borrow, our home, our health and our relationships. Forgive us for not always being grateful for our circumstances as it is Your will. We would be, and would have, nothing if it were not for Your generosity and mercies. Thank You heavenly Father. We love you.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
A transcending peace...
This was awesome. God bless her for using that platform to share His glory!
"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I believe the above to be true in all of our relationships. We can be selfish, concerned only about our own desires, or we can be humble, and fulfill the desires of others over our own.
Which camp do you fall into (with your spouse, kids or friends)?
How about with God?
In this life you have a choice to be selfish, and live for the "things" of this world, or you can surrender your life to Christ, and live a life as He would have you live it.
Now is your time for choosing.
For too long, I had made the wrong choice, but now I've chosen my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and will continue, "to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God." (Micah 6:8)
I pray you do the same.
A Christian says...
"Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins." (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
Therein lies the need for God's grace. Grace is nothing that we can earn, but instead, is given freely to those who repent and believe.
Being a Christian isn't about having an easy life, a sinless life, or a life full of prideful accomplishments, but rather a life of recognizing we "still" sin (but are forgiven), that we can call on Him in times of hardship (as He'll never leave us), and a life of spreading the good news of the hope and salvation found only in Jesus Christ (as we are commanded).
Now go, and make disciples of all nations, remembering always, "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
When you are going through one of life's troubles, and the enemy is at the gate trying to get you to lose faith, don't!
Regardless of the circumstance, you don't know what God may have in store for you. Don't quit as this may very well be a test.
Be like Abraham (the father of "faith") and rest in God's promises. You can't have faith if your actions are contrary to it:
"You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did." (James 2:22)
Keep doing what is right. Keep seeking God's strength and He'll get you through it. Stand fast and wait on His perfect timing:
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)
Pray that the Lord intercede on your behalf and protect you from the enemy's attacks (as you can't do this on your own, nor does God want you to try to):
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (Romans 8:26)
"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." (Psalm 91:11)
Faith can't be strengthened, if not tested from time to time. Persevere and wait on the Lord's plan, rather than relent to the enemy's schemes. Remember what this battle is REALLY about:
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground." (Ephesians 6:12-13)
Our ultimate goal should be as the apostle Paul said in the end:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)
When life gets rough...
I came across this meme on my Facebook stream today.
On the one hand, I understand it's intent, "trust God" when things go wrong in life. On the other hand, I feel it's a little too "prosperity gospelish", meaning yes, God will pull us through difficult situations, but does it have to be BETTER than before as it says here?
I'm not saying that the resolution won't be better, but that's up to God and God alone. His will be done. We need to trust in our Lord and Savior during these times, look to Him for strength, and not have any preconceived notions about the outcome.
If God decides to give us something better than what we had before, then great. If not, then He wanted us to learn something from it, and strengthen our faith through it.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
Just not worth it...
I know folks. I used to be one of the worse when it came to talking politics, but when Jesus changed my heart, He helped me see the error of my ways.
Whatever side of the aisle you're on, recognize politics aren't eternal, so why not concentrate what "is"!
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18)
Turn your cares over to the Lord. He will work on a solution for which troubles you, but understand, He may have a plan all together different than you had thought.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)
Be humble and selfless...
Selfishness is the antithesis of love. Love says "how can I help and serve you" while selfishness says, "how can you help and serve me". But most real-life selfishness isn't that blatant. It's much more subtle.
I've been reading and thinking quite a bit lately about classical ethics and the philosophies of morality. What makes an action, attitude, or thought truly "good" or moral? (Bear with me.) This has led me to think much more critically about my motivations for how I love Selena. Am I showing her "love" most when I want something from her? Am I "thinking of her" only when I'm actually thinking of myself and seeking to gain something from the transaction. Do I "serve" her when it's really a subtle form of serving myself?
In all my studies of the great moral philosophers (Kant, Aristotle, and the like), it seems that they circle around and touch on a truth that is clear in Scripture: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." (Phil 2:3) In a sentence, Paul settled the morality debate. But how can we possibly have pure motives all the time?
There's only one answer: Jesus.
Later in the same passage, Paul talks about Jesus, who had every right to be served by us (you know, as the Son of God, a perfect man, and the King of Kings, etc), but instead, in love, he did the opposite: "he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Phil 2:8) That's love.
The only way we can possibly love our spouses with unselfish motives is by being transformed by the unselfish love of God in Christ. When we see him for who he truly is and we see ourselves for who we truly are, there is only one response: worship!! From that point on, every pure action, deed, and motive now has a source from which to flow.
May your love for your wife or husband flow from the love you've experienced in Christ. May your marriage road be one of selflessness instead of selfishness. And may you find all you need in Christ himself!
#fiercemarriagebook #31daypursuit #marriage #love #fiercemarriage
Proverbs 31 Ministries:
When life is hard, heartbreaking or even just disappointing, it’s easy to start disliking life altogether.
In these moments, it’s easy to lose sight of all of the good things about our lives. Through faith alone, I’ve finally come to realize that even if it seems justified, I don’t have to let discontentment poison my heart and mind. I don’t have to let the things that are not perfect cause me to take life itself for granted. And I certainly don’t have to let unhappiness with some things blind me to all the wonderful things in my life God has given me that bring me true joy.
Life is not always exciting. It’s not always easy. It’s not always fair. It’s not always overflowing with opportunity and adventure. Consequently, we’re all going to feel a sense of unhappiness or discontentment from time to time. But we don’t have to stay stuck there.
The life we are living today, with all it includes (or doesn’t include), is the life God has given us. We can choose to be content and joyful in it, or choose to be the opposite.
- Tracie Miles, Author
There is a difference...
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." (Ephesians 5:25)
I believe it's safe to say that most husbands love their wives and do their best to be a good role model for their family. I know I did. But, it wasn't until I accepted Christ into my life that I understood being "good", wasn't good enough. It wasn't just about loving my wife and kids, but leading them in this life as Jesus would have (and to the salvation only possible through Him).
Life's a journey, and mine with Christ is just beginning. I pray that God continue to work on me from the inside out. To mold me into the man and spouse He always intended me to be. To be humble and selfless at all times. To help lead my family to the peace and unfailing love that is so much greater than anything I could provide. The peace and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which will transcend this world and never end. That's love.
You love your family, but have you done the most selfless act a husband can do for his family, given your life to Jesus?
It's not too late.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)
Your salvation isn't about going to church or being religious. Your salvation isn't about being a good person or about doing good works.
Your salvation IS about repenting for your sins and surrendering your life to Christ.
Jesus has been pursuing you all along, so stop running!
"If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)