Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Once You're Saved...

And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. But if it is by works, then is it no longer by grace; otherwise work would no longer be work. Romans 11:6 MEV

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. 


 Have you responded to the Good News Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you heard of His Goodness and eternal, never failing Love for you? Have you've seen His hand of Goodness and Mercy poured out upon your life in some form or fashion? Since you've seen this Jesus in all His fullness have you received Him, that is putting your trust in Him alone for your eternal salvation?

 It's great news when we hear someone has responded to the Good News Gospel. It's a wonderfully glorious moment when one comes to Christ and receives a new life in Him. Jesus says all of Heaven rejoices. We rejoice along with all of Heaven.

 Now that you're saved, what's next? This next phase of Christian growth and development is a crucial time for the new believer. How you see God and yourself and the relationship you will have with Him depends on receiving the truth of the Gospel not just for initial salvation but for your entire Christian life.

 When new converts emerge, something else also is quick to converge. The checklist/rule book led leader/believer.














Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 Once you're saved it's time for you to get busy proving your worth. You need to get busy knowing all the rules and straightening up your act. You'll be needing to get it together before next Sunday or there will be repercussions.

Remember the truth is it's about Grace from start to finish. However, the checklist believer has forgotten this truth. They are much focused on other's behavior and conduct, never mind their own love walk. They need to ensure these new converts are really saved.

 Once you're saved...be perfectly holy by next week! That is, you need to quit smoking. Stop cussing. Put away those bad habits right now. Don't go to the movies anymore. Get your behavior in line.

 Though it is true that Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and immorality, this process doesn't happen overnight. In my past, I've seen believers go to a church meeting on Sunday but on Monday they were smoking a cigarette. Being this was before Grace renewal, I condemned that person. 

 "Why are they even going to church? They're a sinner. Look at them smoking!" I am certain Jesus did a facepalm. Didn't I ever read where He said the sick need a physician not the well? Truth is none of us have it all together and that's why we always need Grace and our Savior Jesus.

Once you're saved...never miss a meeting or gathering!

 True, it's good to gather together with other believers. It's beneficial to bring our supply of the Spirit and encourage each other. However, it's also true that attendance isn't some legal obligation we need to fulfill to prove our salvation.

 Once you're saved...you better be praying and reading your Bible!

 Of course, we should read and study God's Word. The Scriptures are where we see Jesus. They bring us comfort. However, daily devotion and study times, aren't some kind of chore we need to drudge through. 

Once you're saved...learn the rules from our denomination and remember all others are false and wrong and we're the only ones right!

 The rule/checklist believer wants to ensure the new convert lives up to the denominational traditions as soon as possible. They must also be quick to condemn other churches and ministries that are outside their church. Grace, on the other hand, reveals God's Love for all the Body of Christ. 

 God wants us to grow in His Love, not in the rules and traditions of the various denominations. Receiving His Love and sharing it with others is what God desires. God sees one Body, not divisions.

Where's the Grace?

 Years ago there was a fast-food campaign that used a similar slogan about hamburger meat. They were comparing the size of their company's burgers with other rival companies. This is a good question to ask churches and ministries. Where's the Grace? 

 Instead of focusing on getting believers to follow the rules, why not get them focused on Jesus? Focusing on Jesus and His Grace is what brings true transformation. He changes us from the inside out.

 The true purpose of ministry and devotion is to get the focus off ourselves and onto Jesus. On who He is, and what He has accomplished on our behalf. Rule book/checklist minded Christianity takes the focus off Grace and Jesus and makes it about us. It shifts the focus off the Finished Work and focuses on our personal obligation, obedience, commitment, and perseverance.

 What we need to be continually reminded of is that it's about Grace from start to finish. We were unworthy in and of ourselves. We were undeserving of mercy and goodness yet He poured His Love out upon us in abundance. When we focus on Jesus we find true transformation and real sincere growth in Him, and in His Love and Goodness.

 In summation, always keep Grace in the forefront. Rejoice when New Life in Christ has been received by those trusting in Him. Remember to keep giving these new converts Grace. Get their focus on Him and never on themselves. Remind them of how loved and valued they are in Him. True growth will always be the result.
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

You are Loved!


10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10 NLT
We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 MEV


  Much of this year we've been studying who God really is, despite the maligning of His character by the religious traditions of men. We've been learning how to receive all He provided for us. And learning how to walk in the freedom Christ procured for us. This is the life of Grace. That is, walking in all God has for us, not by our own achievements, but by what Christ perfectly accomplished on our behalf in the Finished Work. 

 Today, I sensed the leading to bring to remembrance a vital truth we need in order to walk in the fullness of the freedom Christ provided. This truth is something we need to continually be reminded of. That is the vital truth that we are loved by God. We are loved!

 This love from God is not based on our emotions, our response, or even our behavior or conduct. This perfect love from God our Father is rooted in who He is and not what we do. Through wrong thinking, some get the idea that God loves us, even more, the better we behave, the more we accomplish, and how much we achieve. 

 Nothing could be more erroneous. God's love is based on His perfect goodness and perfect mercy and who He is. God is love. He doesn't just have love, He is love. He is agape love, that is unearned, undeserved, unconditional love. 

 God's love has no limits, no barriers, and nothing will restrain it. There are no hinderances or blockages to this amazing love. So there is nothing you aren't doing enough of, or anything you could do or continue to do that will cause God to decrease His love for you, or stop loving you altogether. 

 God's love is eternal and never-ending. Doing more things for God isn't going to make Him love you more. Committing sins or living in immorality isn't going to cause Him to stop loving you. Certainly, doing good works, spending time in devotion and worship, going to church, reading and studying the Word, sharing your Faith is good and profitable. However, these good things won't make God love you more. 

 In order to walk in freedom, we must also know that no matter how many times we fail, falter, foul-up, or more frankly sin, God still loves us. His love doesn't wane each time we fail. His love is unmoved by our behavior. Why is this so important to know and remember?

 Look at Peter. He denied Christ three times. Surely, he felt like a failure. That he didn't measure up. He made grandiose claims that he'd never leave or forsake Jesus. Real trouble showed up and Peter was quick to say I don't know the man. 

 The way traditional religion represents God, you'd think God's response would be to reject Peter. He would say "You forsook me so I forsake you!" Yet that's not the message God had for Peter. 

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 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 16:6-7 NKJV

 God had angels herald the Good News that Jesus is alive, He is risen from the dead. There message? They said go tell the disciples and Peter. God specifically mentions Peter. No matter how Peter felt, God declared Him a disciple still. That is the Love of God! That's the restorative Love of God!

 So you see, even if you take the next toke on your joint, or the next drag off the tobacco cigarette, watch another X rated film from the video rental store, or get on the internet and view pornographic material, if you commit the same sin again and again, know God STILL loves you! God may not be pleased with the action and it doesn't honor the Finished Work, but His love for you is ever-present and unchanging. 

 His love is everlasting and eternal. Knowing how much we are loved propels us to freedom. Saturating ourselves in this love is key in changing our desires inwardly. God's Love changes us from the inside out. It's His timetable, not any man's. Embrace this Love and walk in freedom.

 In summation, God's love is everlasting and eternal. It is unearned and unconditional. We can't make Him love us more or less. Again, embrace this perfect love. This love within compels us to see life differently. We begin to look at people the way Jesus does. Instead of cursing your enemies, pray for them. Pray God's goodness overtake them. Remember His Goodness causes men to change not hardships. Receive a fresh revelation of His great love for you and bask in this love. Boast of His love for you not your love for Him. mage by DreamPixer from Pixabay

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Finding Freedom from pornography by Grace through Faith.

 36 Therefore if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36 MEV

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 
Galatians 5:1 NKJV




 God's Grace is greater. God's love is stronger, deeper and never failing. God is faithful even when we are unfaithful. These are Gospel truths rooted in the Grace of God and the Finished Work of Christ.

 These truths need to be firmly established in our hearts. Especially when dealing with sinful, destructive habits. We are beginning a series on finding freedom from pornography. And if you are free from this terrible habit, then apply these truths to any area of life the enemy is trying to convince you that you're not an overcomer. 

 This habit is wreaking havoc in the Church, the Body of Christ, today. Stats show that 47% of families in America say it's a problem in their home. Another shows 56% of divorces involve one party's obsession with pornography. Still, another says 68% of church-going men and 50% of Pastors view pornography on a regular basis. The most staggering statistic from this source reveals only 7% of pastors say their church has a program to help those struggling with pornography. 

 So we can see people are not walking in freedom. Too often, ministers don't want to talk about this issue in the Church. Unless of course, they want to preach at people and put condemnation on others. 
"Christians look at porn! Pastors the night before they preach look at porn! Oh, look at all these sinners in Church. We need a revival!"

 Wonder how many men and even women deal with the same habit in these churches but are too ashamed to admit it? Wonder how many are too fearful to seek help, lest they are called worthless sinners who don't really love Jesus enough? Instead of condemning these believers why not pray for them? Why not take a step back and see how they see themselves? Feelings of unworthiness, feelings of hopelessness, feeling like God is fed up with them? 

 Let's establish some truths to find lasting freedom. Is pornography sin? I know with some counterfeit-grace groups they redefine sin based on what secular lost society deems right or wrong. Reject all forms of counterfeit-grace. Jesus when He walked on Earth, detailed the commandments. He didn't give a higher standard under Grace. He revealed that this was always the standard, but religion diluted it.

 Paul, under Grace, showed us that the Love of God within wouldn't lead us to walk in immorality. He lists the moral aspects of the Ten Commandments and reveals when we love others we won't steal, won't lie, and won't cheat them. He also speaks of the adultery command. As we mentioned, Jesus detailed what adultery is, it's not just a physical act, it's a lustful thought. Pornography is a lustful activity. Thus, it is in fact sin, it violates God's Love and demeans human sexuality and the marriage covenant. 

 We've established it's sin. Now we must also establish another truth. Even when we sin, we are still the Righteousness of God in Christ. If we don't walk in this revelation condemnation and guilt and shame will flood your thoughts. 

 Jesus made us Righteous. Not by our efforts or by our obedience, or our performance. This is His Righteousness, not our own. Therefore we are just as Righteous as Jesus. This Righteousness is irrevocable. Our Righteousness in Christ doesn't fluctuate based on our performance or our behavior. 

 Another truth we must establish within is the truth that we are forever forgiven. Jesus' Blood washed away all our sins. Not just the ones we committed before we received Jesus, but all of our sins. Paul and John affirm our complete and total forgiveness, past present and future. 

 Finally, one major truth we must also establish is the truth that those in Christ are in fact eternally secure. Eternal security is not light on sin, just big on Jesus and His Finished Work. To find freedom from sinful habits, you must know you're still Righteous, forever forgiven and eternally secure. If you know God is never going to disregard or disown you, you have confident hope that He is with you no matter what. He is there with you in the muck and mire leading you out to full freedom. God isn't finished with you, what He began in you, He will complete it. 

Jesus affirms our eternal security;
24 “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 MEV

 In summation, I want to reaffirm who you are in Christ to begin your journey of freedom. Knowing who you are in Him, now, right this moment, no matter your behavior, will compel you to see there's hope. Addiction and habits try to eliminate hope. Sin likes to keep us hopeless. God says He isn't fed up or finished with you. His plans and purposes are irrevocable, unchanging! He's not done with you, He's just getting started! It's not over! There is hope! Jesus is the waymaker! Our freedom! 
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Putting a Demand on God's Provision of Blessings and Abundance

10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. John 10:10 AMP

19 And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 AMP 

 We've been in an extended study concerning God's provisions. We are seeing more and more how to receive them in our lives. We see the need to put a demand on what belongs to us. Again this is not demanding of God as some unruly petulant child selfishly throwing a tantrum until they get their way. This is putting a demand on a supply that is already yours. God graciously provided it for us.

 Today, it seemed good to address another provision we have in Christ. The provision of the blessing of God. If you've followed this blog I have already addressed the excess and error of the prosperity gospel. That is the, give and you'll be rich and if it didn't work then you're a sinner and God can't provide until you measure up, idea of prosperity and provision.

 One truth I have been shown in my Christian life is the reality of how finite humans always take things into two extremes. One side I just addressed, declares prosperity and provision is about luxury planes and mansions and everyone a millionaire. That is excess. That's not what God promised.

 Then, on the other hand, you have the other extreme. This extreme is just as, if not more, wrong as the other is. It's the idea that God can't bless you today. That all His provision is merely spiritual. This is the "can't help you, Jesus." This is the Jesus who can forgive you, make you righteous, eternally secure your salvation, but can't help you in this life, only in the life to come. His arm is not strong enough to provide, to heal, or to help you financially today. 

 Both of these extremes are wrong and deny the character of our Father. So apart from excess let's examine this provision of blessing. Let's see what God has done for us in the Finished Work. What Christ has purchased and procured for us in His perfect redemption.

Look at God's heart from the beginning. He had provisions in the Garden of Eden. He didn't put Adam into a place of poverty to keep him humble. He lavishly blessed Adam. He didn't make Adam starve, struggle, or scrimp to get by. 

 In the Old, we see God's heart for His servants, the people of Israel. He said He took pleasure in the Prosperity of His servants. Did you get that? He actually takes pleasure in, it brings Him joy, it pleases Him to bless. God is not a tyrant wanting His people to struggle.

 This same principle, this same truth, is found in the New. John declared above all else God wants us to prosper and be in health. This passage in 3 John, can be used to excess as I have mentioned, but look at what He is actually saying here. 

 God desires above all things our well being. Besides you receiving Jesus and being filled with the Spirit God wants you walking in wholeness, spirit, soul, and body. Are we not complete in Christ? Inwardly, He has made us Righteous, forgiven, cleansed, accepted, approved and eternally secure. God's perfect will is we be complete outwardly just as we are inwardly. 

 Well, if it's God's will why am I always broke or can't seem to afford much? Why am I in lack? What about those starving kids throughout the World? Great question. Why are there so many who are walking around not Righteous? That is a bona fide free Gift that has been made available to whosoever would just receive it. Why have so many not? 

 I don't mean to make light of lack and insufficiency. I just don't want to put it all off on God. As if it's God's fault we are not a success in life. Let's truly define what success is. Having a healthy marriage. A loving family. A caring family. Being the best you can be where you are employed. Being a light in this world. 

 Not everyone is going to be wealthy rich. We can though have enough provision for our family and enough left over to be a blessing to God's kingdom. What we must remember is operating in God's wisdom is key here. We need to be wise in our financial dealings. 

 Education or skills training. Advancing in your job. Being a wise spender. These are things we need to hear more about. God and the natural are not opposed to each other. What does this look like?

 It's depositing God's Word on provision in your heart. It's feeding continually on His Word. Faith comes this way. It's taking the time to acknowledge God in every area of your life. It's paying attention to God's hand moving in your life. Take a second glance. God is moving even if it's the little things. 

 An unexpected discount. An item goes on sale you need. Finding money in the pocket of old clothes. Seeing a coupon for something you need. Gifts from loved ones that came at just the right time. It's even getting an extension on a bill. 

 That's one thing, some people get into trouble because they don't communicate with their creditors. Being wise in financial dealings is success. Living within your means is successful living. God's hand is in this because He can lead us and guide us with His wisdom. This is also part of the provision of blessing.

 As far as the supernatural, yes God does provide financial miracles and such. I recall years ago I had some financial needs, and I just deposited God's Word within my heart about blessing, prosperity, and wholeness. I kept reading and meditating on these passages. I can't explain it but God met that need supernaturally. 

 What am I saying? You can pray to God about money. You can ask Him to help. You can also take authority over the wicked one. He attacks sometimes with infirmities and sickness, so he also attacks financially. Take authority over the enemy. Tell that defeated devil to cease and desist, "devil, take your hands off my finances! I bind you from attacking my money! I loose all God's provisions for me!"

 That's not crazy. It may sound it, but it's not. We as believers need to enforce satan's defeat. We need to lay claim to what is ours. 

 Another thing that is crucial in this area is our attitudes and our words. Constantly grumbling, expressing frustration is counterproductive. If we are in frustration we aren't in Faith. Why? Because Faith is resting in what Jesus did. If we are in frustration this is a sure sign we were trying to make things happen by our effort and strength. It proves we were trusting in the arm of the flesh, not God.

 Resist fear. Fear says God won't help you or can't help you. This need is bigger than God. You must cast those thoughts down. Trust His great love for you. 

 Now, what about those in lands that are in a famine and lack? What about those in third world nations? Sadly, we are in a fallen, fractured world. Evil men can rule over people. As a result, insufficiency and famine abound. We can pray for them. We who are blessed can help, by bringing relief to those in these lands. Supporting missions that feed and medical missions that bring healing, is vital. We don't receive a blessing just to keep for ourselves. We want to channel His blessings to others. We are blessed in Christ, and therefore should be a blessing to others. 

 In summation, put a demand on what's yours in Christ. Don't allow bad attitudes, grumbling, complaining be your words. Instead, focus on the provision. Don't look at what you don't currently have but look at what you do have. Be thankful and rejoice. Put a demand on His supply. Receive His favor in the financial realm. Don't limit what He can do. Jesus said He came to give us abundant life, not lack and insufficient life. So by Grace through Faith receive all He has provided for! 
Image by Александр Мартинкевич from Pixabay