Living in God’s Grace

the-crossA young woman in a desperate financial situation yielded to temptation and stole from her employer. She was caught and arrested. However, when she came before the judge and told her story, he had compassion for her. He offered to pardon her if she would return the money, which she gladly did. Even though her employer forgave her, and the judge pardoned her, she still had an arrest record that would follow her for life. If the judge had erased the crime from her record, that would have been grace.

When we come to Christ, we are not only forgiven, but because of His grace, our slate is wiped clean. Our record is pure, it’s as if we never sinned. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

We view sin on different levels. For instance, a little lie is not nearly as bad as murder, which it isn’t. This is a worldview of sin, not God’s view. To God sin is sin. It is black and white. There are no gray areas.

Let me illustrate, If you had a gallon of totally pure water, you would have no qualms about drinking it. In fact, you would probably relish the idea of drinking water that was completely pure.

If you took that gallon of pure water and added one tiny drop of raw sewage, would you still drink it?  Probably not, because that tiny drop of sewage would have spread throughout the entire gallon of water. No longer is it a little isolated drop that you can push to one side out of the way.

It is the same with sin. One small sin, no matter how insufficient it may seem, will permeate our entire being. And God being pure and righteous cannot tolerate even the smallest sin.

As humans, it is impossible for us not to sin.If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Unkind thoughts, envy, pride, prejudices, resentment, and jealousy are just a few of the things that we battle. Our minds are a battleground in the spiritual war that takes place between God’s goodness and the evil ways of Satan.

The devil has had thousands of years to perfect his tactics. We are no match for him. It is only because of God’s grace that we will be able to spend eternity in heaven. We cannot be good enough on our own to deserve heaven.

The disciples asked Jesus “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18: 26-27).

Thankfully Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. He redeemed us with his blood. Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace..” (Ephesians 1:7). Because of his blood, our sins are covered. the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.(1 John 1:7)  “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

We are washed as white as snow (Psalms 51:7)  (Isaiah 1:18).

Our sins are forgiven, never to remembered again. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) (Hebrews 8:12)

It doesn’t matter how good we are or how much good we do. It is only by God’s forgiving grace that we can be saved. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God’s grace is not a one-time whitewash of our sins. It is never ending. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to fail. However, grace is an on-going cleansing process, as we daily surrender ourselves to Christ.  It is only by the atoning blood of Christ and the gift of grace that we can come to God. The grace of God is so complete and encompassing that Paul, when speaking to the Roman Christians warned them to not go on sinning, simply to experience more of God’s grace.What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2)

We must not tempt the Lord by continuingly sinning, knowing that we are justified by God’s abundant grace. Such action would give Satan a toehold in our life and distance us from God.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

As Christians, our lives should be joy filled with a sense of freedom in Christ. If our lives are not joy filled, if our Christian walk feels burdensome, then we are probably not living as a free person. Rather, we are living as slaves under the law.

We have been made free of the law. The law no longer has jurisdiction over us. We are dead to the law (Romans 7:4) and free from the law (Romans 8:2). The law could not save; it can only condemn. God sent his son to save us and do what the law could not do.

The law demands perfection. Grace provides perfection.

Thanks to Christ we can live a joy filled life free from the burden of sin and free from the condemnation of the law. Our sins have been washed away, never to be remembered again. Our record is clean.

Thank you God for your amazing grace.

 

Are You Going to Heaven? You Can Know for Sure!

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Do you believe and put your trust in Jesus Christ?  If you said yes then you can know without a doubt that YOU are going to heaven!  You have God’s guarantee!

First, We are all sinners, none of us deserve heaven. Yet, Jesus made it possible. The Bible tells us that because one man sinned, sin and death entered the world. Because of that man’s sin, we are all born in sin. (Romans 5:12)

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).

We are all sinners and undeserving of heaven. Just being a good person, isn’t good enough. We cannot be good enough to be deserving of Heaven. God cannot abide sin of any kind. Big sin or a little sin, it doesn’t matter. It is still sinning. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8)

 Suppose you had a barrel of water and it had been filtered and distilled until no impurities remained. If someone asked you to drink it, you wouldn’t hesitate. But suppose someone put a single drop of raw sewage in it. Would you drink it? Of course not. The same is true with sin.

 Just like the barrel of water, a single sin, a unloving thought or a moment of anger will make us unfit for heaven. It is impossible for us to live without sin except for the grace of God. Only Christ walked upon this earth as a human and was without sin.

 Thankfully, God has made it easy for us to go to heaven. He sent His Son to die on the cross and redeem our sin with His blood (John 3:16). Jesus paid the price for our sins and redeemed us from the death that we deserve. Jesus paid for our sins with his blood, he is our redeemer, and therefore he is our only way to heaven. He made it possible for us to someday stand before God. Continue reading

The Power of Song

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Before coming to Christ, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, traveled from England to Georgia as a missionary, but the experience was a failure. As he returned home in frustration, his ship ran headlong into a terrible storm. Wesley was terrified, but he couldn’t help noticing a group of German Christians aboard the ship. They trusted God so completely they held a worship service in the storm. In the middle of their singing, a wave rose over the vessel and bore down like Niagara. But the Christians didn’t miss a note. Wesley realized the German believers had something he didn’t have; and through their influence, he shortly afterward trusted Christ completely and felt his heart “strangely warmed.”

 Trusting Christ enables us to sing in the storm. Our Lord gives songs in the night, and He teaches us to sing songs of deliverance as we wait on Him.

  An old hymn says “Singing I go along life’s road, praising the Lord, praising the Lord.” Others, noticing the melody of our lives, will be drawn to Christ.(David Jeremiah)

Damaging Thoughts

    Today I had damaging thoughts. Thoughts that damage the body and soul. I was praying as I was driving. I do a lot of driving and I have found it an excellent time to talk to God. Today, as I was praying my mind, began to wander. This is a problem that I battle with at times. I even wrote a blog back in July about how God is omnipresence. He is everywhere. We are not praying to a God that is far away. God is with us as we are praying. We should be talking to God as if He is right next to us, which He is.

    I have found that when I am driving and praying, if I visualize that Christ is sitting in the passenger seat, listening to me. My prayer seems more real and meaningful. I know He is with me at all times.

    Today I wasn’t doing that. I was tired and just going through the motions. My mind began to wander.

    I found myself thinking about a couple, whose home I had worked on. They had taken advantage of me. I found out too late, that they are the kind of people that go through life getting everything they can, for nothing. I was thinking of what I should have done and said differently. I had gone from talking to God, to have unkind thoughts about someone, without even realizing it. When I realized what I was doing, I immediately asked God’s forgiveness.

    We all have been wronged by others. It is just part of life. The problem comes when we dwell on those wrongs. Nothing good can come from it. Such thoughts lead to resentment, anger, bitterness and more. Many times these thoughts are directed at ourselves as well for letting it happen. Thoughts such as these are damaging to ourselves. They are not good for our physical or mental well-being.

   More important such thoughts push us away from God. The ONLY healthy option for our physical, emotional and spiritual health, is to forgive those who have wronged us and move on. God said, “ Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Romans 12:19). Jesus said we are to forgive others, (Matthew 6:15).  God wants us to forgive those who harm us, not get revenge. God did not tell us these things because He is concerned about those who do evil. Rather, He knows the damage such thinking does to ourselves. He loves us and wants what is best for us.

    I have found the best way for me to forgive someone, is to pray for them. Today I prayed for that couple. God forgive me for having those self-damaging thoughts.  

Does God Hear Your Prayers?

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How can God hear your prayers, especially those uttered only in silence?

The answer is in both God’s omniscience and His omnipresence. Although God is indeed on His heavenly throne, He is also right here! We are not praying to a God that is a long way off somewhere in heaven. God is everywhere. He is right beside you. The next time you pray, imagine that you are praying (talking), to your father (God), who is sitting across from you, listening to your every word. Make your prayer a personal conversation with God.