“Like Autumn Leaves”

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6  We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
    and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7  Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to  our sins.
 — Isaiah 64:6, 7 NLT

We were born in sin into a sinful world and as long as we live in this flesh, we will be affected by sin.  In the flesh, we can do good deeds, but those good deeds will not get us into heaven.  We can wash and clean the exterior but only the righteousness of Jesus Christ can cleanse the inside.  Doing good deeds without Godly direction can be compared to painting a wooden house without repairing the rotten areas.  It looks good to the world but soon the house will fall.  When we look at our nation, there are still a lot of good things that we can observe but there are fewer and fewer God things.  We have been blessed abundantly for so long that we have become comfortable and complacent in who we are.  To worship means to honor and to honor requires obedience.  When we aren’t obedient to God, we are putting ourselves in His place and trying to do His job.  When we put other things above God and his commands, He cannot be Lord of our lives.  Our God is a jealous God, He will be Lord of all or He will not be Lord at all.  He has not and will not change.  He does not negotiate nor bargain with us.  But when we come to the end of the rope, if we reach out for His hand, He is always there to take our hand and carry us to safety.  Let us examine our positions and agree with God.  When we do, we will fall on our faces and plead for His forgiveness and mercy.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-07-2018

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

Me Too

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7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” — Mark 16:7 N​KJV

Peter had boasted to Jesus that he would never deny Him. He was adamant that he would stand by Jesus no matter the situation or the cost.

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”  And all the other disciples said the same. — Matt. 26:35 NIV  (Emphasis mine)
 
We sometimes overlook the fact that they all ran away that night in the garden. Where the others went, we aren’t told, but John was with Jesus and Peter followed at a distance.  We. like Peter, often think that we are stronger in our faith than we really are. If we tell Jesus we will do this or that, He will most often give us the opportunity to do exactly that.  And, if we try to accomplish whatever “that” is in our own power, we, too, will fail.  Peter denied Christ with his actions and his words. Most of the time, we deny Chirst with our inaction and lack of words.  Whether we deny Him passively or actively, it is still denial.  When I fail to speak to someone about their eternal destiny when the Holy Spirit urges me to do so, I have denied Jesus.  And when the Spirit brings conviction, my heart is broken and I repent with remorse and bitter tears.  But the conviction is not punishment or isolation from God, it is discipline and an invitation to come back to God.  When those times come that I fail to speak out and I feel like Peter must have felt that night, I read this verse and put my name there instead of Peter’s.  I make it personal and read it ; “go tell His people –and Wally– that He is still going before us and we will see Him”.   Then I know that I am forgiven and Jesus wants to hold me and comfort me.  My tears of remorse become tears of joy!  My sadness becomes praise to the One who will never exclude me.  Such wonderful, glorious, amazing grace and love encourages me to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”.  I am still on the team,  Jesus has chosen me and I want to shout “Me, too!”  He has chosen “Me, too”!
 

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

Post -09-04-2018

Overflowing With Thankfulness!

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6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. — Colossians 2:6 7 NIV

The most important thing to be thankful for is salvation.  So, from the very moment we are saved, our hearts should begin to be filled with gratitude.  From that point on, all the blessings that we receive daily should continue to fill our hearts with thanksgiving and praise for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  To the extent that we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, our evil thoughts and desires are changing to good thoughts and desires.  There has/will come a day when we should be overflowing with joy and gratitude because of the goodness and greatness of the God that we serve.   Each day should bring less complaining and more reason to give God praise and thanksgiving. The praise and gratitude that fills our hearts will be reflected in the words that we speak.


 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. — Luke 6:45 NKJV

Every time we bring our petitions before the Lord, we need to remember to bring with them an offering of thanksgiving and praise!  

 

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.  
— Psalm 100:4, 5 NKJV

This is for now and  all generations, not just the future when we enter into the gates of heaven and the courts of God. Every time, we speak His Name, we are entering into His gates and His courts. Let our hearts and our mouths overflow with praise for His goodness and mercy!

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-09-2018

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

Sin is Sin is Sin!

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16 There are six things the Lord hates—
    no, seven things he detests: – Proverbs 6:16 NLT

Somewhere at sometime, satan deceived someone into thinking and/or believing that God has a prioritized list of sins ranging from “little” to “big”.  That lie has been propagated throughout the generations, much to satan’s delight. A short study of Scripture will quickly prove that untrue.The above verses in Proverbs and this one from The Revelation are good examples.
 

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” — Rev. 21:8

God doesn’t see lies as black and white, to Him, lies are lies, period.  While the external effects of some sins are greater than others, the internal effect to each of us committing those sins is the same.  Sin, any sin, separates us from the love of God.

2 ​But your iniquities have separated

you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.
 — Isaiah 59:2
 

As long as there is unconfessed sin in our lives, we limit what God can do for us and through us.  Just as the rebellion of the children of Israel limited God in the wilderness, we do the same thing. If we continue to live a lifestyle of rebellion and unconfessed sin, God has no choice but to withdraw His blessings and protective covering over our lives. The children of Israel were defeated in battles when they were disobedient to God.  We live defeated lives, when we refuse to obey and confess our sins.

 
40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,
And grieved Him in the desert!
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel. — Psalm 78:40, 41
God knows every minute part of us and every thought that we have, we cannot hide it from Him. When we have sinned, instead of running from Him, we need to run to Him, He is waiting with outstretched arms.
 
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:16

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

Post 06-26-2018