Archive for the ‘God’s grace’ Category

Relentless Pursuit

June 3, 2012

Upon rebelling against the Lord, one is carried away into captivity. As they walk around the mountain of captivity, chained and shackled, there is One who is continually pursuing, continually hovering over them in love, grace and mercy. He speaks out, “Just give up! Just stop your running! I am here! I am waiting for you to give up!”

Hurt, Pain and the Healer

April 7, 2012

“The Hurt & The Healer” Song by Mercy Me

Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me throughSo here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide [x2]

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

When the hurt and the healer collide [x2]
Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXq-6UloF9g&feature=related

The demonstration of God’s Righteousness

September 2, 2011

….being made right (righteous) with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe. Why? Because all have sinned and fallen short… Justified without any cost, by His grace. How? Through the redemptive work of the Christ, whom God set forth as The Atoning Sacrifice, by His blood, and only through faith. And why was all this so? For God to demonstrate His Righteousness, so that He might be Just. And also, that He would be the Justifier of all who have faith in Jesus, The Christ. (taken from Rom.3:22-26)

Noon time Gospel

April 15, 2011

I was passing by on my usual prayer walk downtown going through the crowd of people ordering their food at the local food trailers, I heard, “would you be willing to stand there and share the Gospel?” Well, of course I would. That’s one of the things that I do. But, because of the weakness of my flesh, and because it was a new spot, and of a different type, I heard, “you are going to have to die to self, before you can”. I thought, “why would that have to be?”. Then as I was finishing my prayer walk, I thought, because I would be standing right in the middle of people who had nothing to do except to wait for their food and listen to someone “preaching”. Also, because it was a new place for me, and kinda small and up close and personal.

So, I came back around from my walk and landed right in the middle, between the block. It took no time at all to sence that this was not going to be the typical, raise the voice so that many could hear approach. No, this was close to a normal voice, yet strong enough to be found clear and convincing. We started with reading from the scriptures, then went with what the Spirit gave us. And as usual, God placed those who He had pre-determined to hear once again.

The nice thing about this spot was that besides its close proximity, there were several who stayed around and actually ate there. I believe that the Spirit had me speak in a tone that did not run them off. There was no need to share with those who were down on the corner. He had me in the middle of the two corners, sharing with those who were close by. There were maybe 10 to 15 at any given time.

After having noticed a couple of men who were obviously listening as they ate, I picked up on two ladies that were right in front of me, about 10 feet away. They were eating off of the lip of a trailer that had been closed because of the owner having gone to Cuba for the last three weeks. It was convenient for them to use as a table, as they stood there. And yes, all the time, they got to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ once again in their lives. How awesome is that!

A lot of what I do, is just giving people another opportunity to hear. Most don’t go to “church”. And, if they did, would they hear the Gospel? They should be able to hear it if they went, right? Most, are not going to hear the Gospel in a given week, outside of a “street preacher” sharing it with them. All I see in it all, God’s love, letting them hear of His Son one more time in their life time. Believe it or not, that’s love. Why? Because God is always pursuing mankind with His Love. He loves mankind so much that He let’s them hear about His Son, who He gave for them, that whoever would believe in Him, they would not perish because of their sins, but would receive forgiveness of their sins and receive everlasting life.

So, towards finishing sharing the message of Christ, I particularly noticed the two ladies in front of me. They had been there the longest, and they were the closest to me. I was getting close to finishing, when I noticed them saying good-bye to each other with a hug and a kiss.

When it was all over, I sensed God had filled his bucket with love and poured it out on those who He had there that day and time. He had them there because of his love for them. Bless the Lord!

Reconciliation

December 10, 2010

“To be restored to the divine favor of God”

HOW AWESOME IS THIS!

When sin entered the world through one man, Adam, the judgment of “Guilty” came to all mankind (all of us). His sin brought forth death, both physical and spiritual (separation).

BUT, then comes God’s free gift of His Son, Jesus. Now, the undeserved gift of “Not Guilty” is available to all who put their trust in Him. All who receive (by choice) God’s abundant grace are freely put right with God. They will rule and reign in this life through Christ, and Christ alone.

How do we “present ourselves?”

May 12, 2010

Because we are not under law, but under grace, “What shall we say then?”

The Apostle Paul was addressing the Roman church regarding this question. It takes place in Romans the sixth chapter.

To all believers everywhere this is a very good question. This is not only for the “Roman church” back then, but this is for us in the 21st century as well.

The Question?

“Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

I hear believers say all the time, things like, “we are all just sinners”. “I sin all the time”. “I am just a sinner saved by grace”

Paul continues on…….. “God forbid!” Does this sound like sin is the rule, or could it be the exception? How is it taught where you attend church? Sad to say, but if it is taught as the rule, then there is no power operating.

He states, “we who died to sin”, “how shall we live any longer in it?” (vs 2). In verse 3, he reminds us that, weren’t we “baptized into Christ Jesus?” and doesn’t that mean that we “were baptized into His death?” (vs 3).

In verse 4, it states, that if this is indeed the case, shouldn’t “we also walk in newness of life?” What is this “newness of life?” A life continuing to live in sin?

We continue on and he explains what it is.

Now we must stop here and notice that there are once again many “If’s”. So, just like in many places found in God’s word, it puts forth the conditional “if”. This is a very little word, but it must not be overlooked.

“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His (Christ’s) death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,”. Now for those who think that he might be possibly talking about the final resurrection here, you must continue on through the chapter to understand this “resurrection”.

Now in verse 6, he begins to get into the “meat” of this understanding, or teaching. “knowing this,” (Do we?) “that our old man was crucified with Him,”. This is the very foundation that we must get, we must understand, before we go any further.

I must jump over to the book of Galatians for a minute. Because Paul, in addressing the Galatian church with all it’s problems, has a very important issue that he is addressing here that goes along with the Roman church. Just out of pure curiosity, how much of this type of teaching should be addressed in today’s churches?

The Galatian church was wanting to return to the law. I won’t get into that subject here, but it is note worthy.

In chapter 2 of Galatians, Paul states, “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God”. Now here is what I was wanting to get into from our study in Romans. Here is the Key. “I have been (past tense) crucified with Christ;” He goes on to explain what that means. “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;”. This here is crucifixion. Dieing to self. Being dead. Having died with Christ on that cross. That old man of sin was supposed to have died there. Did it? Good question isn’t it?

Continuing on….. “and the life which I now live (currently) in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” This is Key. Living by faith in Christ. Taking by faith that He took that old man of sin upon his shoulders and there it died with Him. That old man died, point blank.

And to quickly finish here in Galatians, he said, “I do not set aside the grace of God;” All this is only made possible by God’s unmeasurable “Grace”, period. Righteousness comes only through faith in Christ, and thus only possible through God’s grace. Period.

Returning to Roman’s the 6th chapter, verse 6, he finishes that verse by saying what was supposed to have died on that cross with Christ? The “body of sin”. “that the body of sin might be done away with,” or “rendered inoperative”. Wow did we get that? The body of sin rendered inoperative? Wait a minute! How is that possible!

By the finished work of Christ on the cross! The only problem is, do we believe it? Do we by faith take hold of it for ourselves? If not, it is no wonder that we continue in sin and live accordingly to the flesh. Period.

Paul finishes this verse to explain what it is that this “crucifixion” is for. “that we should no longer be slaves of sin”. See, we believers should not be slaves of sin. Period.

In verse 7  he says basically, if you have been truly crucified with Christ (died), then you are freed from sin. Does this mean that we are free to live presumptuously upon the grace of God? We shall see……. “God forbid!”

“Now if (there is that “if” again) we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him”(vs. 8). If we died with Christ on that cross, then because of His resurrection power we can live a life not having to be a slave to sin.

So, if I believe by faith in my dieing on that cross with Him, I have the power to resist sin. Why? Because of Christ conquering “death, sin” on that cross. We shall see more here in Romans. 

Check this out for reassurance. Verse 9, “knowing”. This is faith! I know! Why or how? Because He has revealed it by His Holy Spirit! Point blank!

“knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.” No need for Christ to keep dieing for us. He died once for all! “Death no longer has dominion over Him”.

Now in verse 10, he explains this death and this resurrection. “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but (now lets not forget this) the life that He lives, He lives to God.”

Now we must get these next verses. They are key to understanding and being able to live as we ought.

Paul now says, “Likewise you also”. Now he is talking to us. Not only the Roman church, but the church of today. Do we sometimes wonder why we don’t see the power of God individually and collectively? Here is the answer.

Verse 11, “Likewise you also, reckon (sounds like he might have been back east) (it means, “consider or render”) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin,” Do we? Do I wake up each morning, and by faith, take hold of this? Do I consider myself dead to sin today? Do I want to?

Here is the power again. “but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. By His power of His resurrection, it is possible!

Now Paul states in verse 12, “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it’s lusts”. Oh, did we forget that this “body of sin” was supposed to have “died” on the cross?

Now to the question, “HOW DO WE PRESENT OURSELVES?”. The Apostle Paul has the answer.

Verse 13, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” Did we get that? Present ourselves as “being alive from the dead”. I am alive from the dead man of sin! I am alive because of Christ! I am not dead in sin! What is the very essence of sin? We shall see……

This is the rule, not the exception. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace”(vs.14). There is no power in law! It is only through grace!

So Paul says, “What then? (here comes the question) Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? God forbid! (Certainly not!)” (vs.15)

Come on, don’t you know this? “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (vs.16) We have two choices as to which we are going to present ourselves. Slaves to sin, or slaves to righteousness. That is it.

He goes on to say, “you were slaves to sin” (past tense) (vs.17). But what has happened? You have obeyed this teaching that I (Paul) am giving to you again. And thus, “having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (vs.18). I can hear the Apostle John saying, “He who sins is of the devil,” (Read 1John 3:4-9)

Now Paul, knowing our weakness of the flesh, gives us more sound teaching. “For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness (you once walked or lived in this), and of lawlessness,” So now here is what to do……. “so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” (for the ongoing process of sanctification)(vs.19). We are to be made unto sanctification. Ongoing progression of being set apart from sin, for God.

Here he goes again, “For when you were” (past tense) “slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” (vs.20) What fruit did you have in all these formal ways of living in sin? “For the end of those things is death.” (vs.21) Even with us believers, if there is known sin in our lives, there is a measure of death in us. And then we wonder, as to why we are powerless to overcome? There is no power in death!

Here comes another key. “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness (sanctification), and the end, everlasting life.” (vs.22)

Now this is the bottom line. “For the wages of sin is death,” This being so, if I have unconfessed and unforsaken sin in my life, I am abiding in death, not life. How can there be life in sin if it is death?

We must receive and live in the “free gift of God” which is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (vs.23) We must abide in Him. It’s not a one time deal, this abiding in Him, is moment by moment.

“Likewise you also, consider yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (6:11)

The body of sin should be rendered inoperative. Sin renders us powerless.

More on the “Heart”

March 12, 2010

“As we think, so we are” (Prov. 23:7)

It is easy to take “heart” inventory. What were your thoughts today? Our thoughts reveal what is in our heart (Matt.12:34, 15:19, Mk.7:21). We can know enough about our own heart through our thoughts that we entertain throughout the day. It can be shocking sometimes. But, by God’s grace we can turn our hearts towards him and get refocused.

I have been taking “heart inventory” lately. I want to be more “single-hearted” to Christ. In other words, I want my heart, my whole being to be consumed with Him every moment of everyday. There can be so many wasted thoughts in a given day. How much better to have our heart feed our mind with thoughts of value.

Crying out to God and praying, “change my heart oh God!” is a good place to start.

For when I am “single-hearted”, then I am “single-minded”. If the heart be single, than the mind will follow with singleness.

If I have confusion of mind, than the heart is full of stuff that needs to be cleaned out. Heart cleaning needs to take place.

An overwhelmed heart produces an overwhelmed mind.

If any of this hits home, then take some time alone with God and do some heart business. He wants to change our hearts more than we can fathom. This is the business that He is in. When our hearts are changed by Him, the evidence will be a changed mind, changed speech and changed actions.

Try it, if you haven’t recently.

Bitter over circumstances of life

December 7, 2009

He said several times as the bus approached, “don’t pray for me”.

This morning as myself and another lady where taking about Christ as we waited for the bus, I looked across the street and noticed a man walking. I yelled out to him, “God bless you today!”. He replied, “God doesn’t exist!”. I watched him walk over to the next bus stop across the street.

His bus came and I noticed that it parked there for a bit. I couldn’t see him because the bus blocked my view. Then the bus left, and there he stood. I heard him cussing to himself and the bus drove off.

I had been relating to this lady how a lot if times if we will listen to someones story we will begin to understand why they don’t want nothing to do with God.
Then I noticed the guy starting to come our direction towards the stop where we were waiting.(he was a ways down the road and unable to hear me). He immediately began to complain about how his bus wasn’t going to come for a while and that he would now have to take a longer route to get to where he was going.

I said that I was sorry that he couldn’t catch the bus that he wanted. He went into talking about how that God is mean and that he is the cause of all his problems. I assured him that that was not the case. He said that God is like a person who has a magnifying glass and goes around burning up ants. Such was his feelings towards God because of things that have happen in his life.

Then he said something that really let open the flood gates. He said, “where was God when my wife of 26yrs. cheated on me?”. He said that he had been a member of the “seventh day Adventist” church all that time. I assured him that it certainly isn’t about religion. He went on and complained some more about his problems.

Again I said that I was really sorry about his situation and tried to let him know that God loved him and is wanting him to turn back to him for his help. About that time, his bus showed up and I said that I would be praying for him. He yelled out to me, “don’t pray for me!” and got on the bus. I told the lady who was next to me, “well, he can’t stop me from praying, thank God for that”.

This is just one case of many people that have become bitter over circumstances of life. They have blamed God and have become angry and bitter toward him and anyone or anything that reminds them of Him.

These are tough situations to come across. It is all to common. People who have had experiences in life where people have hurt them or have let them down, basically have two choices in life.

1. They can turn to God and receive His forgiveness and thus be free from bitterness towards people that have did them wrong. Forgiveness can only be found in Jesus.
2. They can choose to not turn to God and hold on to that bitterness and thus become a person who is eaten up with all the cancer of bitterness.

All of us have had circumstances in our life that we could have chosen to become bitter over. By God’s grace that he gives us we can stay free from bitterness. Praise God!

Please remember this man in prayer. Thank you.

I don’t wanna go through the motions

March 24, 2009

Many songs have blessed me over the years, but in the last six month’s I have faced the most difficult trial and test in my whole walk with God. Songs and music have taken on a whole new meaning to me. I have been blessed as I go through the fire.

This song was written by Matthew West as he was going through his own toughest trial. He was having surgery on his vocal cords, not knowing if he would ever be able to sing again. And if so, what would it sound like? Now to someone who uses his voice to bless God and others it must be huge. Just like all trials, we can’t relate unless we have personally been through what the other person is going or has gone through.

I am just thankful to God that we have songs to listen to, that speak to our own need in the time of need.

Here it is:

“This might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care if I break, at least I’ll be feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day without your all-consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking, “what if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?”

No regrets, not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let your love make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something
‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life………..

Take me all the way (take me all the way)
Take me all the way (’cause I don’t wanna go through the motions)
Take me all the way (I know I’m finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way…………”

There you have it.

I spent a few years in the middle of my born again life with God, going through the motions. I know what it is like. I have no desire to ever go back to that dead way of living.
I know one thing for sure. I’ve come too far to turn back now. Only by his grace and strength shall I continue on, by faith, so help me God.

God bless you all,
Richard

Treating the Blood as a “cheap thing”

March 7, 2009

“For there is no longer any sacrifice that will take away sins if we purposely go on sinning after the truth has been made known to us.”

“Instead, all that is left is to wait in fear for the coming Judgment and the fierce fire which will destroy those who oppose God! Anyone who disobeys the Law of Moses is put to death without any mercy when judged guilty from the evidence of two or more witnesses.”

“What then, of those who despise the Son of God? Who treat as a cheap thing the blood of God’s covenant which purified them from sin? Who insult the Spirit of grace? Just think how much worse is the punishment they will deserve!”

“For we know who said, “I will take revenge, I will repay;” and who also said, “The Lord will judge his people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!”
(Hebrews 10:26-31, Good news translation)

Pretty strong scriptures aren’t they? But truth, never the less.