Fallen From Grace?

I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless.  For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.  Galatians 2:21 NLT   
 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.  Galatians 5:4

If I’m still depending on my own good works to make me right with God then I am treating the grace of God as meaningless.  I’m saying that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t good enough to save me that I still have to do something to earn my relationship with God and to make God happy.

 Christ died once for ALL sin for ALL time.  God sent Him to this earth to take our punishment and do the work for us to bring us back into fellowship with God.  We fall away from God’s grace when we start depending on our own goodness and good works to make us right with God.  We are made right with God only when we believe in Jesus. 

 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”   Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28-29 NLT
The people that followed Jesus had the longing to do something to and Jesus told them what to do.  Believe in Him.  We are saved by GRACE when we believe in Jesus.  Its all about what He has done for us and our part is to receive Him as the one that God sent.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  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

Citizen of Heaven or Lover of the World


Citizen of Heaven or Lover of the World

The Lord weaved me through these scriptures last week. I say ‘weaved’ because as the Holy Spirit would show me one thing, He would point out another scripture and then another and then another. There is nothing better than being taught by the Lord. Suddenly, what was not understood becomes understood. HE shines the light on the word and it becomes alive in us. I pray that I will be able to present these to you the way He presented them to me and that we can all grow together to become more like our Savior, Jesus.

1 John 2:15-16 NLT

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

He said not to love the world and what it offers? How do we know if we’re loving the world? What does the world offer us?

1 John 2 verse 16 tells us three things:

1. Craving for physical pleasure (lust of the flesh)

2. Craving for everything we see (lust of the eyes)

3. Pride in our achievements and possessions.

 

I wanted to make sure I understood these three things correctly so I looked this verse up in many translations. I will put a couple here so you can see them as well.

16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. NKJV

16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. AMP

16 These are the ways of the world: wanting to please our sinful selves, wanting the sinful things we see, and being too proud of what we have. None of these come from the Father, but all of them come from the world. NCV

Are we consumed with thoughts and actions motivated by wanting to please ourselves? Are we consistently thinking about what we are going to do to have fun or how we can get everything we see? Are we consumed with thoughts of how to gain recognition for things we’ve done or thinking of new ways to improve our resume and influence in this world. Are we thinking of everything we’ve done taking pride in our own accomplishments and our plans for the future. Have we begun to think only of things of this natural world while forgetting about the things of heaven and things that please God? Has the ground of our heart become thorny ground?

Do you remember the parable of the farmer sowing seed in Matthew 13. He sowed seed in four different types of soil. I’m reminded now of the thorny ground.

22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. Matt 13:22 NKJV

Here is what the Lord showed me. The Word is choked and produces no fruit because we become consumed by the world and what it offers. Yes, we hear the Word of God but we get distracted and overrun by the cares of the world and it chokes the Word that we hear. The cares of this world go back to the 3 things defined in 1 John 2. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life become forefront in our minds and hearts and we give no attention to the Word of God ; therefore the seed of the Word that was sown in our hearts gets overrun with the weeds of this world and we produce nothing. How many times have we heard the Word of God and make a commitment to change only to forget about it the next day when we get to work? Thorny ground.

Colossians 3:1-4

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

We are to think about the things of heaven and not the things of this earth. The Bible from cover to cover tells us about His love for people and fellowship. His concern is not with things that are here today and gone tomorrow. His concern is about us. His living masterpieces. (Ephesians 2:10) He desires for us to love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. We are to be seeking Him and His righteousness above all else.

 

 

 

Philippians 3:18-20 NLT

18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

The Bible says there are those who call themselves Christians but their behavior shows them to be Gods enemy. He says their god is their appetite. Sounds a lot like the three things mentioned in 1 John 2. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are the offerings on the worlds menu. Are we ordering?

As I read this, I thought ok Lord how do I live in the world without being of the world. How can I not be consumed about things of the world? I have family, obligations, responsibilities…Can we really put this in practice everyday of our lives? The answer is in the rest of the scripture.

WE ARE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN. Yes, we do live on planet earth BUT we are here temporarily. We are foreigners here. Our real home is in heaven. How often do we remember that? How many days, months or years pass without us even thinking about our future home? Have we got so caught up in this world that we have forgotten where our real home is? Are we remembering and waiting for the day when Christ will return?

1 Peter 2:11

11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.

Worldly desires will wage war against us and try to distract us from our true destination. We need to remember who we are and where our home really is. We need to put on all of God’s armor.

Ephesians 6: 10-18

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Seeking God in prayer and in His word need to be a priority above everything else. We are citizens of heaven NOW and we look forward to a city God has prepared for us. In the meantime, we live as foreigners on earth but conduct ourselves as citizens of heaven.

Phil 1:27 27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.

Does the world feel too comfortable? Are we more comfortable in the world than thinking and being prepared for our home in Heaven. Do we remember we are just foreigners here on earth or have we established our citizenship?

 

 

What are you waiting for?


“A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 24:45-51 NLT

I really like this parable and believe its soooo relevant to today’s generation. I’ve heard so many people say “well I’m going to have fun now. I will serve God later or when I get older. The implication is that when you decide to live for God you will stop enjoying life. What a deception. Living God’s way saves us not only from eternal fire but from the pains of sin today. A parent tells their child not to touch a hot flame because it will burn them not because they are withholding fun from them or punishing them. God tells us not to lie, cheat, steal ,etc.. because it will hurt us not because He is withholding good from us or punishing us. Today is the day to serve the Lord. It’s not ok to put it off or think I’ll serve him later. Jesus will be back and when He comes it will be unannounced. Will he find us faithful or will He find us in self-indulgence thinking that we had more time?

Can God help? Will God help?


CAN GOD HELP ME?

I wonder how many times I’ve heard this question. Do you think God can help me? Let’s look at a passage of scripture.

Mark 9:20-23 (NLT)20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. 21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

Of course Jesus could help him BUT did the father believe that Jesus could. Too many times we are asking the wrong question. God CAN help us but do we BELIEVE that He can.

WILL GOD HELP ME?

Another questions asked is “Ok, you say He can help me BUT will HE?” Again, let’s look to the scripture. Let’s look to see what Jesus did knowing that Jesus did nothing but what the Father told him to do.

Matthew 8:1-3 (NLT)8 Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. If He was willing with one, then He’s willing for you too. Jesus is able and willing to help. Ask Him and believe.


As WE Understand Him

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.   Alcoholics Anonymous pg 83-84

 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT

 Thank you, Father, for this day you have made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  I thank you Father for giving me peace of mind and heart.  No matter what comes my way today help me remember that real peace of mind and heart comes from you.  Help me to be still in moments of agitation or uncertainty and rest in your peace.  I pray Father that you will be with me today guiding my thoughts and actions and that I will walk pleasing to you.        In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Faithfulness


 

I watched the Passion of the Christ last night and each time I see it there is something more I learn about God. Last night I was touched by how faithful Jesus was to do what God called him to do. If Jesus had stopped anywhere along the way then we wouldn’t be right with God or have an eternal home in heaven. Jesus had to go all the way. He had to endure all the pain and suffering. He had to do it to bring us home to God. He was faithful for you and He was faithful for me.

Hebrews 12: 1-2 NLT Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Jesus ALWAYS had his eyes on God. He knew that through his pain and suffering that he would bring glory to God and bring us back into right relationship with Him. The scripture said Jesus endured the cross disregarding the shame of it because of the joy that was before him. We were the joy set before him. The joy of restoring man to right relationship with God kept Jesus focused and faithful to complete his mission no matter how hard and painful it became. Once again, He was faithful for us. He endured for us and He did it voluntarily.

No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” John 10:18 NLT

God loved us so much that He sent His son. (John 3:16) Jesus also loved us by voluntarily laying his life down for us, his friends.

13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NLT

I wonder how faithful we are when it comes to following Him. How quick are we to give up and quit when persecution comes or the road becomes hard and painful? Jesus endured it all to give us abundant life now and eternal life with Him forever. So how hard is it really? How faithful are we to continue to keep our eyes on Him? Do we strip off every weight that slows us down so that we can run our race with endurance? Are we being faithful to him?

No more fighting!


And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone- even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though, we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition. BB pg 84-85

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!             Galatians 5:19-23 NLT

Father God, I thank you for removing the compulsion and obsession to drink alcohol and do drugs. I thank you Lord that I don’t have to fight against it anymore but I’m firmly planted in your care and safety and the want to do it has been removed. I pray Lord that I will follow the Spirits leading in all areas of my life today and that I won’t fall prey to the tempations of my flesh. I thank you that I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control working in me. In Jesus Name, Amen!