Tag: grace of God

Living in God’s Grace!

Scripture reading for March 3rd:  Numbers 3-5, Hebrews 12

Key Scriptures:  Hebrews 12:15-17  “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.  For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”  

The writer of Hebrews admonished the believers about roots of bitterness that may be lingering in their hearts and souls towards others.  Sometimes they come from family strife and worldliness, as in the case of Esau.  Other times they can come from sexual sins exhibited by Esau’s escapades with foreign women.   Sin can take us further than we want to go and exact a price higher than we want to pay!  God’s grace can be obtained through true repentance and faith in Christ’s blood sacrifice.

Numbers 5:23-24  “Then the priest shall write these curses in a book and wash them off into the water of bitterness.  And he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain.”  

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, I rest completely in Your grace to cover my sins confessed before You.  Deliver me from bitter roots  and pain caused by strife, worldliness, and sexual sin by empowering me through Your grace to live free and holy before you.

 

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Christ lives in me!

Scripture reading for August 17th:  Galatians 2

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Galatians 2: 19-21 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

The false teachers in Galatia were well-meaning and sincere Jews who had some knowledge of Christ but tried to add keeping of the law to simple grace by faith.  Sincerity is not a test of truth!  The ‘law’ could only reveal sin, not correct the problem or eliminate it from the human soul.  Through the ‘law’, we are convicted of sin and found guilty bringing about a sentence of death.  Then the gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that Jesus died on the cross to take the death penalty for us and now gives us His life and righteousness through the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who believe. There is nothing we can do but say “Thank You, Jesus!”.

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers recognize their Lord living in them and lovingly allow His life to flow in them by the Holy Spirit.  “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”  (Psalm 143:10)

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God is just!

Scripture reading for September 21st:  2nd Thessalonians 1

Sometime after Paul had written his first letter to the church he had founded, reports came of confusion among members of the church concerning the coming of Jesus Christ.

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.  Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.  All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which you are suffering.”  (2nd Thessalonians 1:3-5)    Paul spoke encouragingly to his brothers about their faith and love in the midst of trial.  He reminded them that their perseverance in the trials was a sign of God’s favor upon them.

“God is just:  He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.  This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”  (2nd Thessalonians 1:6-8)  God is just!  God knows how to pay back those who do evil and reward the righteous.  Jesus would return from heaven and right the injustice and they would receive their reward, if they continued to persevere!

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count  you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.”  (2nd Thessalonians 1:11) Paul prayed for fulfillment of God’s will, not deliverance from trials!

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Preparing for Christ’s return!

Scripture reading for October 27th: Titus 2:1-15

We remember that Paul told Titus that the Gospel was built on a hope of eternal life.  (Titus 1:2-3)  Paul knew that Jesus Christ would return at an appointed time in the future.  No one knew the day or the hour of His coming, not even Jesus when He was on earth!  (Matthew 24:38)  For this reason, it was important for each person to prepare for that coming and be personally ready!

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14)

Paul told Titus what to teach the various groups in the church and why they needed to learn the message.  Older men must be examples of sound faith and godly living with love and patience.  Older women must set a good example when teaching the younger women to love their husbands and children.  Failure in godly living would harm the next generation.  Young men should set an example of good works and self-control.

Paul told Titus that the grace of God coming through faith should result in a heart change.  Each person must now say “No” to their flesh and ask God for help in obedience.  The motivation was to be ready for Christ’s return.    If  we have died and our bodies are in a grave, we will be raised up in a glorified body.  If we are alive and waiting, we will be instantly transformed to be like Jesus!  We will see Him in His glory with the holy angels.  This hope should motivate us to do good works and live in readiness for His return!

As you examine your own life today, are you able to say “No” to ungodliness?  Are you doing good works that God has prepared for you and waiting for Christ’s return?  Our blessed Hope could come today!  We will be blessed if we know Him,  are working for Him and living a godly life.

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The foolish Galatians!

Scripture reading for September 16th: Galatians 2:17-3:7

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:19-21)  Paul understood the law.  He had lived as a strict Pharisee for most of his life and knew the frustration of trying to live by that law.  The law could only reveal his sin and guilt, not produce righteousness.  When Paul met Christ on the Damascus road, he finally understood the grace of God.  He understood how Christ called men to a life of faith, giving them righteousness as a gift through identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.  If men could become righteous by keeping the law, then Christ’s death was in vain.

Some of the Galatians were being seduced by false teachers into leaving the grace of God and turning to the works of the law. Paul called them ‘foolish’ and ‘bewitched’!  (Galatians 3:1)  “I would like to learn just one thing from you:  Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish?  After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?  Have you suffered so much for nothing–if it really was for nothing?  Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”  (Galatians 3:2-5) Paul’s series of questions had an obvious answer!  It was by faith through believing what they heard that God’s gift of the Spirit was poured out on them.  Human effort can never earn God’s grace.

“Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:6-7)  Paul pointed these Galatians to Abraham as a second witness of the need to believe.  Without faith it is impossible to please God!  (Hebrews 11:6) Are you living by faith today?  Believing in Christ is the only path to righteousness!  Lord, keep us from foolishness!

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The Blessed Hope

Scripture reading for December 9th: Titus 1-3

What the world needs is hope!  Hope keeps us moving forward and expecting something good to happen in the near future.  Hope works with faith and love and keeps us in balance spiritually.  Without hope, we often despair and give up or give in to the temptations of this life.  People who have no hope become depressed.   Our God is known as the God of hope!  (Romans 15:13)

Paul’s letter to Titus is a letter of hope and encouragement to a pastor who is his son in the faith.  He entrusted the churches in Crete to his oversight and wrote to instruct him in church order and pastoral ministry.  Some of the basic instruction concerned the qualifications necessary for church leadership in the elders and deacons that he would appoint.  Character was of the highest concern and it was to be discerned by observation of relationships in the family and community.  A person’s reputation comes from his daily deeds and attitude.  We become quickly known for how we treat others, especially those close to us. (Titus 1:6-8)

One of the main qualifications was a firm grasp on the Gospel message and word of God.  (Titus 1:9)  A pastor’s job is to teach each age group in the church body how to respect others and serve them with godly character.  If a person just claims to know God but behaves as if He does not exist, that person is unfit for service to God.  In fact, they may be leading others astray and must be soundly rebuked!  (Titus 1:13-15)

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

It is by grace that we are saved and empowered to live a godly life.  That grace came to us in Jesus Christ, the Son of God!  He redeemed us from sin and wickedness and cleansed us by His own blood.  God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to live in us helps us have self-control.  We can say “No” to sin and temptation.  Through the Holy Spirit we can know we belong to God and are a part of His family. (Romans 8:15-16)   What a God of hope  and encouragement!  He has given us a blessed hope–His soon appearing to finish the work that He began in us!  This hope keeps us moving forward, eagerly working while we await His appearing!

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