God is good. We are so very blessed to live in a nation where we can freely proclaim and praise the name of Jesus. God bless America. Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations today, and share your Liberty with others.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." - 2 Corinthians 3:17
"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”" - John 8:31-32
Our Independence - our Freedom - is found in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. We become free when we surrender ourselves to our God who created us and knows the plans He has for us. We were each created in His image, yet in our own uniqueness (our soul) and give a work which he desires to see to completion. Our spirit man is set free when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives as Lord and Savior, repent of our sins, and confess that He is Lord. Then we are joined with God's Holy Spirit, who takes up residence within us and unites with our spirit man convicting us of His free gifts of Righteousness and Faith through his AMAZING GRACE!
I pray you will discover and/or increase your independence today by allowing Christ to dwell in your heart through faith in the only begotten son of God.
Happy 4th of July!
Here's an exercise for you all. Please complete the following phrase: I am / want to be a Christian because...
Why are you a Christian or seeking to become one? Do we need to spend more time considering our answer(s) to this question? If we don't know why we are or want to be a Christian, how do we explain to others why they should accept Christ Jesus into their lives?
This popped up to me the other day, and is gnawing at me, so I'd love to have your help and input to contemplate and discuss this statement/question in more detail. Please share with me your thoughts on it, either electronically, social media, or in person.
"Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." -Colossians 4:5-6
In order to be saved, to be born again, we must have faith. We have to believe that God is real and that Jesus not only existed but died and rose again and lives today, seated at the right hand of the Father, and that He comes into our lives when we invite Him in.
So, what is faith? In Hebrews we're told that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen" (11.1). When we invite Jesus into our lives, we are hoping that He can fix those hurting parts in our lives. He is the substance of our hope. Unfortunately, too often, because people don't readily see the results they desired, they lose faith. See, the second part of that definition is huge - the evidence of things not seen - means that we believe it rather we see it or not. We don't have to have visible evidence to believe that Christ is real. We stand on the Word of God and on His truths and we put our hope in Him, knowing that He is real and does what He says He will, regardless of the outcome.
BUT, here's the cool part. God knows that we will weaken in our faith if we don't get to "see" or realize some results, and He loves us so much that He answers 'yes and amen" to our prayers. So, often we get indications of His answers in visible and touchable forms (a healing, a breaking of a bad habit, some unexpected money, a hug when we really need one, etc.). As we grow in our faith, we actually begin to see more and more that God is constantly awarding our faith through answered prayers.
Truly believing and placing all of our hope in the Christ, takes action on our part - it takes FAITH. However, the greater our faith and the greater our understanding and realization of who our God is, the more we can begin to live fully rooted and grounded in the deep, deep, love of Christ.
Don't weaken, stay strong and keep on trusting in the Great I AM. Like Sadie Robertson says, "Because of I AM, I can."
We are saved by grace through faith, Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8 (see Tuesday's message). Okay, but what is "GRACE"?
Well, in the Ephesians verse above, Paul tells us that grace "is a gift of God." It is the unmerited (undeserved) favor of God.
You see, even while we were still sinners and separated from God, He poured His love upon us (Ephesians 2:4-5). When we accepted Christ into our lives - when we were saved - His Holy Spirit actively takes up residence inside of us. The Bible tells us that God "has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph 1:3). God has given us access to everything He has (once we accept Christ into our lives), even though we don't really deserve it.
BUT, here's the amazing part: our acceptance of Christ is not by our own doing, but by the grace - the unmerited favor - of God, when by faith we believe in Him and accept Him into our lives. AND, as Paul states, even our faith - our choice to accept Him and to believe in Him - is not of our own, but a gift from God.
Here's the point - God gives us everything, even though we don't deserve it, and there's nothing we can do to earn it. We should not feel obligated to pay it back, but instead so thankful that we won't want to miss even a speck of the glory of God's gifts to us.
Go out today and know that His "grace is sufficient" for you in all that you do and are.
Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
What does it mean to be saved?
Saved for what? Saved from what?
Are we: Barely saved - like I made it through but am pretty messed up. Really saved - like, no, I mean I'm fine and good. Completely saved - whole, complete, every part of me is saved.
Usually we think of being saved as either being rescued from something or being set aside ("I saved my ice cream for later.") for something more special or another time or ...
Biblically speaking, we are being rescued (from our sin) and being set apart (sanctified) by God, being saved for a later (eternal) and better time.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:8-10
We are saved by God because we are His (workmanship), created in Him (Christ Jesus), to do good works, which He has prepared for us before we were born. We're set aside to complete the purpose that God has intended for us since the beginning of time, and after which we gain eternal life with Him.
So, are you partly, somewhat, completely, totally, or just kind of saved? Where do you see yourself in God's saving grace?