Jesus, The One and Only

Posts tagged ‘grace’

“For Love’s Sake”

Love ? I love love love you.

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“What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Mic. 6:8 NIV)

“More than sacrifice or offerings, God desires these three things from us.  The solution Paul sought in the conflict between Philemon and his fugitive slave, Onesimus, met all these requirements:

  1. Paul acted justly!  Onesimus had run away from his legal owner and possibly had stolen from him.  In Paul’s estimation the restoration of two Christian men was priority.  Paul insisted that Onesimus take responsibility for wrong-doing, yet Paul took on the debt (vs. 18)
  2. Paul loved mercy!  He lived the concepts he taught!  Paul didn’t just preach to him about the mercy of God, he showed it to him.  He took Onesimum’s debt not only out of justice but also out of mercy, because a sinner needed grace!  Both Christ and Paul concentrated on getting people into a right relationship with God!  Paul told Philemon he was returning Onesimus to him “no longer as a slave, but more than a slave – as a dear loved brother.” (vs. 16)  Paul’s proposal was to let mercy reign!
  3. Paul walked humbly with God!  The closer we draw near to God and the more we behold His majesty, the more we relate to the psalmist who said, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” (Ps. 8:4)  Like the psalmist, Paul recognized the pit from which God had pulled him.”

“The hollowness of works without love becomes evident to all who seek to serve God.  We cannot serve God wholeheartedly without the whole heart.

Hollowness can follow us anywhere until we bridge the gulf with grace!

Vicky

 Paul, 90 Days on His Journey of Faith / Beth Moore / B & H Publishing

“Legalist Action”

Strongman event: Yoke Walk (Heavy Yoke)

Image via Wikipedia

 Read Acts 15:1-21

“Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?” (vs 10 NIV)

Legalism has been one of the root causes for divisions and people to quit going to church.  “Like a leech, legalism saps the lifeblood out of its victim.  In enters the door in the name of righteousness to vacuum out all the dirt and ends us vacuuming out all the spirit.  Don’t confuse legalism with recognition and pursuit of godly standards.” (1)

Beth mentions 2 sets of legalists emerge from this scripture:

  • “Those that told the gentile Christians that they must be circumcised to be saved.
  • They must also obey the Law of Moses.  The statement of the Pharisees became the basis of the Jerusalem Council.” (2)

This would create 3 mistakes made in behalf of Gentile converts:

  1. “They drew universal standard from their personal experience.
  2. They tried to make salvation harder than it is.
  3. They expected of others what they could not deliver themselves.” (3) 

“When we paint the picture of our salvation for others to see, we may use different colors, textures, and shapes on the edges of the parchment.  But in the center can only be a cross.  Anything else cheapens grace and cheats the believer.” (4) 

There are many who do not understand “grace”.  Grace is the free gift that God offers to restore man back to Himself through faith in Jesus Christ.  This gift can sometimes come looking for you in your adversity to offer you an exchange of eternal life.  Instead of looking through the eyes of past sin/failures or through the eyes of others, look through the eyes of our Savior! 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Math. 11:28-29 NIV)

“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.” (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)

Vicky

(1-4) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B&H Publishing

“Speaking of Grace”

Grace-for-all

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Read Acts 13:13-41

“Let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, and everyone who believes in Him is justified.” (vs. 38-39 HCSB)

Barnabas and Paul have traveled to Pisidian Antioch and on the Sabbath were asked to preach in the synagogue.  “As Paul stood in the synagogue, he addressed Jews and those who believed in the God of Israel.  He presented the gospel by rehearsing for them their history.’  ‘Beth states “I am convinced that Paul had a very specific purpose as he introduced Christ to the Jews through their own history.”(1)

Remember on the road to Damascus and the encounter Paul had with the Lord.  He spent some time by himself to reflect and then returned to the Jews who were “baffled… proving that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 9:22)  “In Arabia, Paul had been knitting together the old and the new and found the two strands of yarn to be a perfect match.  Paul’s intention was to give the Jews in Pisidian Antioch a knitting lesson!  He urged them to see how perfectly Christ knit the past with the present.  They did not have to forsake their history.  They just needed to accept the rest of the story!”(2)

“But Paul was such a prodigy of grace!’ ‘He charged the Jews with having executed their own Messiah with “no grounds” for what they did (vs. 28) yet he extended the invitation to any “brothers” (vs. 38) – fellow Jews – to receive forgiveness through Christ.”(3) He let them know that no matter what they could be forgiven.  It is through Christ that they could find their forgiveness.

What about you!  What about your history?  Can you relate to a definite time in your life where God breathed “His-story” in you?

Vicky

If you don’t believe in your future, look at your past… not to determine your future, but to know God who has brought you through the wilderness!

(1-3)Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B&H Publishing

“On Mission”

Read Acts 13:1-3  While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (vs. 2 NIV)

Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul were the prophets and teachers in the first church in Antioch.  Each one of them had a personal passion for God. While they were worshiping and fasting, the Holy Spirit told them to send Barnabas and Saul on missions to spread the good news into other parts of the country.  “The leaders of the church in Antioch were constantly ready to hear from God; therefore, when He spoke, they were listening!” (1)

Now that is the best place to be… listening and hearing from the Holy Spirit as he directs you and guides you.  When you have a “passion” for the heart of God, when you worship Him, and fasting is incorporated in this verse… GOD SPEAKS to our heart to direct us and lead us in the path He calls us.  It’s the best place to be!

“Again and again in Scripture we see God’s perfect timing.’ ‘Galatians l:15, the apostle explains that he was set apart from birth (about AD 10).  He did not receive salvation until around AD 36.  He was not set apart for his signature ministry until around AD 46. (Ten years had gone by before he ever began him ministry) Not one minute was wasted.  God was training Saul during those formative years.  Meanwhile, Barnabas the encourager was proving his effectiveness among both Jews and Gentiles.  When God’s time came, both men were ready for the Holy Spirit to send them out.”(2)

There have been thousands of individuals “who forsake the securities of home and family to follow Christ anywhere.”  It’s all about having a personal relationship with God the Father, of knowing/understanding the redemptive work of what Christ did at the cross, and the in filling of the Holy Spirit to empower us to live beyond ourselves for a greater destiny.

How can we know God’s heart until we study, learn and grow from the truth of God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to bring revelation to us?  Sometimes people and circumstances get in the way and if we allow them to hinder us, we will miss out on the greatest adventure.  Worship Him today because He loves you and wants the best for you!! 

David Crowder-“He Loves Us”

Vicky

“Pay attention to Me, My people, and listen to Me, My nation; for instruction will come from Me, and My justice for a light to the nations.  I will bring it about quickly.  My righteousness is near, My salvation appears, and My arms will bring justice to the nations.  The coastlands will put their hope in Me, and they will look to My strength.” Isa. 51:4-5 (HCSB)

(1-2) Paul, 90 Days in His Journey of Faith/Beth Moore/B & H Publishing

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