Eat The Whole Thing

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 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. — Mark 11:23, 24 NLT

These are two well-known and often quoted verses from the Bible.  Of course, we know the basic principle of God answering prayer is true.  But, can we just randomly pick a mountain, ask God to cast it into the sea and watch it immediately happen?  Of course not.  We might not like the mountain where it is but there might be a million other people who love it and perhaps even God Himself might like the mountain where it is.  If God has told us to pray that prayer about a specific problem, then that mountain will be moved.  But the important thing for us to notice and remember with these two verses is the fact that they are the meat between two slices of bread.  We can’t just have the meat, we have to eat the whole sandwich.  Look at the principle in verse 22:

22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.”

There is a requirement that God has laid out for us before we ask Him to move the mountain.  And then verse 25 gives us another requirement that we must fulfill before we ask God for anything:
25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.

And there are some veggies that need to be eaten as well,  Have we determined that what we are asking for aligns with all the Scriptures, not just our favorite ones?  If we have met the requirements for God to answer our prayer — believing (being completely convinced that it will happen), forgiveness and alignment with His will, then the mountain will move.
 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-11-2018

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

Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness

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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

Spreading the Word Produces Joy

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You became imitators of us and of the Lord. In spite of a great deal of suffering, you welcomed the word with the joy that the Holy Spirit produces.
​- 1 Thess. 1:6 ISV​

God has chosen each of us and has a plan for each of us.  We are sanctified, set apart, for a particular purpose.  Our faith produces works that are a part of that process. We show our love for Christ by laboring and helping others. We are able to endure because of the hope we have in us, the hope that we have because God has poured His love into us. When the Gospel is preached, it goes forth with power to accomplish whatever purpose God has intended for it.  The power is the Holy Spirit which can cut us to the bone and convict us of our need for redemption.  This is the message Paul and his companions preached among the Thessalonians and in all the other places they traveled.  They were successful, not because of their powers of persuasion, but because they were completely obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is the same message that each of us should be preaching every day with our lifestyle and as St Francis of Assisi encouraged us to do: “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”  We should follow the example of Paul and live lifestyles that are worthy of imitation, just as we have become imitators of Christ.  Then those who are suffering will receive the message with great joy.  Their joy will be observed by others who will want to know the source of such great joy.  The kind of joy that endures in the midst of suffering and persecution, the kind of joy that is caught, not taught.

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

Post 07-09-2018

Strong Ties of Love

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 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. – Col. 2:2a NLT
 
Paul continually intercedes with God for the churches that he has planted and for those churches that his coworkers have planted. He realizes that when there are only a few believers present, it is easy for them to become discouraged and start to drop out.  He wants them to be encouraged and united in love. All Christians, particularly new Christians need to be encouraged and taught the riches of the Gospel.  We do new converts a disservice when we fail to mentor them in their walk with Christ. The world, satan and his gang are going to immediately start a concentrated effort to make the new converts doubt that there has been a change in their lives.  We must strive to get them rooted and established in the depth of the riches of the word of God. If we or they are not consistent in our study and our walk with God, it is easy for satan to separate us and make our lives to be miserable and ineffective for God. We must understand and teach others that regardless of our own feelings and the exterior circumstances, there is great wisdom and greater joy in serving Jesus and living a lifestyle that follows His example. Just a glimpse of the vast expanse and depth of His love and power should be sufficient reason for us to carry on.
 

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-27-2018

Compassion Never Fails

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1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some  people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.— Hebrews 13:1-3 NIV

Keep on loving each other! Some of us have a real problem expressing our affections in words and actions.  We may have to overcome some hurts from the past before we are willing to open up to other people.  It helps if we realize that all of us need love.  If God had not loved us enough to send His Son to die for us, we would never have been able to experience the joy of loving others. So, let us show others the love and kindness of our God by showing our concern for them.  We can do this by praying for others, starting at home and praying for our families  Then for our brothers and sisters in Christ,especially those who are being persecuted daily and imprisoned. Then we need to pray for those that are persecuting and killing our brothers and sisters.  Though we sometimes forget it, Jesus died for them as well. Being able to pray for our enemies is hard to do, but we must, if we are going to be obedient to Jesus. Above all, we must continue to love one another.
 

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.—- ​Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Cor.13:13
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 05-23-2018

We Have Come to Mount Zion

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22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. – Hebrews:12:22 NLT
When God gave the law to Moses at Mt. Sinai, the children of Israel were warned not to touch the mountain or they would die.  Mt. Sinai represents the law and the law brings death.  

 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. — 2 Cor. 3:22-24 NIV​
Mt Zion is the heavenly Jerusalem and represents grace and salvation. We not only get to touch it but we are invited to join in the joyful assembly of those whose names are written in heaven.  When we come to Mt. Zion, it should remind us of coming to Jesus who shed His blood on the cross for us.  With His blood, He has cleansed us and clothed us in His righteousness.  He has mediated a new covenant that brings life, not death.  The Holy Spirit calls each of us to repent of our sins.  If we continually refuse to heed the warning, we run the risk that our consciences will become “seared over”.  At that point, the Holy Spirit will have no way to communicate with us and we can no longer hear the call to repentance.

2 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.​– 1 Timothy 4:2 NIV​

So, while we can still hear the call to repentance, let us run to the mountain of grace, fall on our knees and join in with the church of the firstborn worshiping our Savior and Lord.

1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. — Psalm 48:1-2​ KJV


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

Post 05-22-2018