Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Now as summer comes to an end, that is summer marked by going back to school..., let's make more of an effort to go to Church. This summer we have been taking a look at noticing the battle. For the most part we view the battle as over there, if you will... But what we have been looking at is when the battle is upon us. That would be when we are not doing "Christian" things... That when we neglect such activities we give the enemy an opening. Or sometimes we get caught up in/with the worldly things. Giving the enemy an opening. So this last devotional on noticing the battle will be on grace. What is grace? Unmerited favor, undeserved favor, act of kindness... or one is graceful(the way one moves). So how does grace work for us as believers? What we do is look at some of the workings of grace. The first would be it is extended. Eph.2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing, it is the gift of God." Grace is a gift! That when one extends grace, it is a gift that is being given. It is not earned... or something we can purchase. So then as with all gifts... there is a cost that is paid by the one giving the gift. So when grace is given there is a cost. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16. Now here we have God extending grace. That grace being the giving of His son Jesus so that we can have eternal life. Here is the deal grace is given to ones who have not been deserving... or to ones who have been acting badly... God extends His grace to the world. One big thing is that grace involves love. For if there is no love then grace would not be "pure" if you will. It would be tainted. Maybe not real. One more thing is that grace has to be received/accepted. That one must accept the gift! One must open the gift to receive the blessing that is inside. For us with God we need to believe in His Son Jesus; that is how we open/accept the gift, and is the beginning of the blessings that are found in Jesus. So many take the gift and never open it... not receiving what is inside. So just as God has given us bestowed on us grace, undeserved favor, we also are to give grace to others. Now the gift will be different but the act of giving it, grace, is something we need to be doing. And guess what, it may not be accepted/received every time. But just like God, we need to keep on giving grace. This is another thing that we as Christians should be doing to help them stay strong.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Are you working on forgiveness? If you are not the battle is upon you! When one becomes "saved" things start to happen in one's life. One of those things is that one starts to go to "Church"; which is a good thing. One also find that they are going to more "church" activities... But as time goes on something happens. It seems that it starts to get easier not to go to "Church". That something... be it about us or about the Church we attend... That the joy of going to "church" has ended. Sleeping in, doing yard work... almost anything seems to get in the way of going to church. Now there can be many things that can take us away from going to church. Yes many things. Now in this devotional we cannot address the many problems one has about going to Church, nor can we address the many problems that maybe in the individual churches. What we will address is that one needs to go to church. Heb. 10: 23-25 "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and to good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." Now I know it doesn't say/imply going to Church but going to church is very important and yes it is where we should be getting encouraged... and loved... and yes it is much more to church than that. So going to church is a good thing and assembling with Christians in other ways... is also a good thing. We all need to be loved upon and we all need encouragement. We all need to learn how to love more and more; we all need to learn how to encourage more and more. You see we can be blessed by other believers... and we can also be a blessing to other believers. Now if one does not go to "church" , who knows what one might be missing? Think about it!
Monday, August 12, 2013
We have come a long way in our summer study. Noticing the battle. We did not say that when this happens... that that is where the battle is. But we took the approach of when these things are not being done, that there is where the battle is for us. Alright we started about seeing the battle around us, then we moved to telling the Gospel, praying when the Gospel is shared, sharing of the works of God, rejoicing when Jesus is proclaimed, to are you hiding from God... for Husband and wives doing more together... So now let's talk about the next thing that Christians do. That would be forgiveness. Forgiveness is right at the center of who we are in Christ Jesus. Just like sharing about Jesus; forgiveness is what we do. Let me say that again forgiveness is what we do! Matt. 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." Also see Col. 3:13. Now forgiveness has 2 basic components (not to say that there are only two... because forgiveness has many components and does many wonderful things...). The first of these components would be that of one asking forgiveness. One has done a deed/action... that was wrong. So what I would like to do is to go back to the basics of knowing what is wrong; that would be the ten commandments. Now the first half, if you will, deals with our relationship with God while the second half deals with our relationship with each other. When one sins, one needs forgiveness. When one sins one needs forgiveness, period. There is no way around it. So when one breaks one of the first half of the commandments one goes to God and asks for forgiveness...(the right way, true sorrow and repentance). Now to the second component of forgiveness; the one that is asked to forgive grants forgiveness. Now back to the example of one breaks one of the 10 Commandments that deals with God. The best way to put is to go to 1John 1:9"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We confess to God and He is faithful to forgive and cleanse. Now if one breaks one of the 10 Commandments dealing with people one needs to confess to God (remember He is faithful...) and confess to the one whom you have committed the offense. Now here is the tricky part people are not always faithful; they may not choose to forgive...or maybe it may take some time. What happens is that there is a wedge if you will between the two... You see without forgiveness it opens the door for all sorts of bad things... You see without forgiveness we cannot get cleansed/washed. Some versions use healed. That we cannot be cleaned/washed/healed... that the relationship cannot be cleansed/washed/healed. Restoration would be a good word also to use. Forgiveness is a powerful thing when done right but being ignored... destructive forces if you will can come into play... Let us all choose to forgive. One last note choosing to forgive cost. When God choose to forgive us it cost Him His Beloved Son! But the cost of not forgiving for us can be more than one can imagine.