Stay vertical!

 Grace, Surrender to God  Comments Off on Stay vertical!
Nov 112017
 

“When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Have you ever been wrongfully accused?
Oh, the need to defend and justify becomes so great.

“What will people think if they believe these things are true?” we reason.

Imagine what Jesus thought as they hurled insults and threats upon Him.
The God of the universe had visited planet earth only to be slandered and accused of blasphemy.

Jesus could have done two things in response:

He could have used His power to put the people in their place.
He could have fixed the problem right then.

However-
He chose to respond in a different way.

He chose to “entrust Himself to Him who judges justly.”
It requires great faith to entrust ourselves to God in the midst of personal assault.

However-
If we can do this, we will discover a level of grace and wisdom that will be birthed from this experience that we never thought possible.

We will discover a freedom in God we never knew before.
Whenever we suffer for righteousness without seeking to protect our reputation and rights, we are placing our total faith in the one who can redeem us.

This activates God’s grace in our lives and enables us to experience God’s presence like never before.

Ask God to give you the grace to stay vertical with Him.
Avoid the temptation of responding horizontally each time some event comes into your life that you want to “fix.”
Allow the One who judges justly.

It may be a divine appointment for your growth to another level in grace.

(PA)

God’s grace has not been grasped!

 God's love, Thanksgiving  Comments Off on God’s grace has not been grasped!
Nov 092017
 

“Straightening up, Jesus said to her, `Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, `No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, `Well, I do not condemn you either. Now go and from now on, sin no more'” (John 8:11).

The religious leaders caught a woman in the very act of adultery.
And brought her before Jesus to see what He would say.

She was just a pawn in their desire to discredit Jesus.
His response stunned them.

Notice the order of Christ’s words.
“I do not condemn you. Now go and sin no more.”

Even though she deserved to die, according to the law-
Jesus Christ said, “I do not condemn you” and then He told her to “sin no more.”

Sometimes the church gets this backwards.

We say, “Look, if you’re willing to change your life, then you can experience the love of Christ. Change your life first, and then you can be welcomed here.”

But Jesus is saying, “I’ve forgiven you, now change your life.”
When someone realizes that their life has literally been saved from the penalty of their sin, their life will never be the same.

And so our responsibility as the church is to reach out to those who are broken and in need of a Saviour.
Our responsibility is to look at those who are outside the church as individuals created by God in need of a relationship with Him.

When someone trusts their life to Christ, their life is made new.
A new life means a changed life.

The labels are gone.
The shame is gone.
The guilt is gone.

They are a new creation!
And, in gratitude at this incredible gift, there is an inner desire to change and live in a way that pleases God.

If there is no change-
– there is no gratitude.

If there is no gratitude-
God’s grace has not been grasped!

(PA)

Oct 302017
 

Jesus_on_cross

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering” (Romans 8:1–3).

Today is Good Friday-

– the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ who died on an excruciatingly painful Roman cross two thousand years ago.

Because God is a God of infinite justice-

– he cannot forgive sin without justice being served.

Otherwise he wouldn’t be God.

This means that all sin must be judged according to the moral law of God and the universe.

We can no more defy this law and live than we can defy the law of gravity by jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.

The end result will be death unless—unless we apply another law, the law of aerodynamics.

This law makes it possible for an airplane to fly and a parachute to lower us to the earth gradually and thereby save us.

There is another universal law that we cannot defy and live.

It is “the law of sin and death,” which means that the judgment and penalty of all sin is death and eternal separation from God.

That is, unless we apply a higher law which is “the law of the Spirit of Life,” which is a God-given “spiritual parachute” to save us from eternal death.

God provided this law through the death of Jesus who died in our place to pay the penalty for our sin.

Furthermore, because God is also a God of absolute holiness, no sin or unforgiven sinners can survive in his presence.

As some bacteria are not able to survive in the light and die if they are exposed to it, so it is with us.

In our sinful state if we were exposed to God and his incredible light, we would be destroyed instantaneously.

And herein lies our dilemma.

However, God’s answer to our dilemma lies in the fact that God is not only a God of infinite justice and absolute holiness, but also a God of eternal love.

Because of his love, God gave his very own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins to meet the automatic demands of his (God’s) justice and holiness.

Christ’s death made possible God’s “law of the Spirit of Life”—our God-given “spiritual parachute”—to save us from eternal death.

Not to accept and use God’s “parachute” means certain death from which there is no other escape.

In other words, anyone who doesn’t accept God’s pardon will automatically die for him/herself—which means eternal separation from God, the author of all love and life, in the place or condition the Bible calls hell.

All we need to do is-

– confess our sinfulness,

– believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died in our place for our sins, and

– ask God for, and accept, his forgiveness and pardon.

If you have never done this, you can do so right now by praying the following prayer.

“Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the wrongs that I have done. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me. I invite you, Jesus, to come into my heart and life as Lord and Saviour. I commit and trust my life to you. Please give me the desire to be what you want me to be and to do what you want me to do. Thank you for dying for my sins, for your free pardon, for your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

(PA)

Oct 222017
 

cross7

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

You would think that, after observing the behaviour of some people, they have a verse in their Bible that says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, go and tell as many people as possible. And then ultimately go and try to drive that person away.”

But this is not what Scripture tells us to do.

In Matthew 18, Jesus gave us the steps we should take when it appears someone has fallen into sin.
And I emphasize the word appears.

First, we must know all the facts.

When you hear something about someone,
– instead of talking about it,
– determine to go to that person and say,
-“I heard this about you. Is it true?”

Hopefully-
– you can get the issue resolved immediately.

But to fail to go to someone when you know a sin is being committed is-
– to actually cause that individual, and the church as a whole, the greatest harm.

Scripture says, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal 5:9).

In most cases, you will find that believers rarely approach a sinning believer or allegedly sinning believer.

Instead of seeking to help a person who possibly may have never sinned at all, they end up slandering that individual.

This is wrong!
This is sin!

If you have ever had this happen to you-
– then you know how painful it can be.

Remember, the devil wants to turn believers against each other.

He will attack us from the outside, but many times, when that does not work, he seeks to infiltrate our ranks and divide us.

Be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

(PA)

The Lord reigns!

 Forgiveness, Hurting  Comments Off on The Lord reigns!
Oct 082017
 

“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns’” (1 Chronicles 16:31).

Five times the Bible declares:
The Lord reigns!

When we really believe that-
– our thinking changes about every situation in life.

Take the way people treat us, for example.
It’s easy to fly off the handle, harbour bitterness, and let resentment eat away at our souls.
Humanly speaking, such reactions may seem justified, for people can do terrible things to us.

But-
When we recognize the absolute rule of God over even the smallest matters-
– we can trust Him to use even those injuries for glorious good.

Think of Joseph, who forgave His brothers for their horrible mistreatment.
He understood they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.

Think of the hymnist, Fanny Crosby.

Once when asked about the doctor who had blinded her in infancy-
– she said, “If I could meet him, I would tell him that he unwittingly did me the greatest favor in the world…How in the world could I have lived such a helpful life as I have lived had I not been blind?”

Because He reigns-
– we can forgive others and trust God with it hurts.

The sin of unforgiveness is a cancer-
– that destroys relationships,
– eats away at one’s own psyche,
– and…worst of all..shuts us off from God’s grace.

(PA)