From The Heart

Why is life a burden to us?

Why do we feel we need to seek laughter through anything this world could offer?

The problem is we do not understand our relationship with Christ or we are outside of Christ!

Please read on if you dare!!

In James 1:2-4 we read: “2Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. I know what you are saying. Okay, okay, I’ve read that passage before. So what?!!! Firstly, I wanted to make it clear that being in Christ does not mean that everything will just be all peaches in our life! We will not have roses and chocolate everyday to partake in when we take Jesus as our Lord and Savior, so get over yourselves!! I know this sounds harsh and unfeeling, no “lovey” stuff here today. Why? Because I’m sorry, but it’s time for us to pull our pants up and jump out of our depression. No matter what you do in life, you’re never going to be good enough for God! We think thoughts in life of how can I become a better Christian? We think that our Sunday attendance and our good deeds are what God is looking for. When it come to Salvation, we could never be good enough to deserve heaven. Our Salvation is not based upon us being good, but God’s loving grace offered to us as a free gift.

Here’s a tissue for you. Wipe your nose! I love you! Okay, so here comes a little love! Yes, I said, I love you. Why? Because my God is a God of love and he first showed us how to love. Now I want to give you some loving food for thought today from my heart. I LOVE EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU! God created you, knew you before you were born and you are special! God has a purpose and plan for you, but you have to seek Him. Remember He is always looking for you. Now I’m going to give you the goods to feast on for your lives.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 1:16-17 “16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” The Apostle Paul received the message of the gospel directly from Jesus himself. The gospel is the good news. What good news are we talking about? Firstly, we must understand that because we serve a righteous and just God, he cannot look at sin. His very nature responds to us in love when we are outside of sin, but once we sin and violate his law, he cannot look upon us. God’s response to sin is his wrath. We have a need to be made right with the law since we have violated it. The Apostle Paul rightly informs us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory in Romans 3:23. So how can we be made right to His Law? The answer lies in accepting His free gift of grace.

God also is a God of love as we have stated and as a result of His love he responds to our sin with an umbrella of grace. This grace was shown throughout the Old Testament to those who had faith in God and placed their trust in Him. In Isaiah 61:10 we see the prophet’s description of God’s umbrella of grace. The concept of being saved by grace through our faith is nothing new.

Now I want to make it clear that this does mean that we are saved by our faith alone apart from good works. Our salvation is nothing we could ever be worthy enough to attain, God saved us by giving of Himself. He poured Himself out to us as an offering through His son Jesus. All of God’s wrath towards sin was placed upon Jesus at the cross. Jesus paid the penalty we deserve. So if we are saved by grace through faith at our baptism where does the good works come in. James informed us in his letter that faith without works is dead. Here is where the works come in. The works are our natural response to God’s grace through faith. In other words we have a faith that works.

If you are not doing good works for God, you have no faith and are not bearing good fruit. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 2:8-10 “8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” What I have been saying is all right here in Paul’s words. We are saved by grace apart from any works we could do, however, we were created by God for good works which he prepared for us before hand.
I have to get a little strict here again to examine some of Paul’s words. Many times we use Paul’s words to justify our actions and behaviors. It is amazing how many times I’ve heard the words: “well nothing in itself is unclean”. God does not say in the scripture we cannot have a drink of alcohol. Well that is true, but then God doesn’t say that a six hundred pound man given orders by the doctor to diet cannot eat a whole gallon ice cream either does he? Sound ridiculous? That’s my point. So does putting alcohol or any other substance into the body that actually destroys the body sound ridiculous. I know, I have done it and know the long term damaging effects of the alcohol to your body. This is same thing that a dirty joke does to the mind, it corrupts the body. The Apostle Paul informs the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “31Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”. Can you really say that the actions taken at a comedy club or bar while having a drink will win people over for Jesus? Read the rest of what Paul says here in the next two verses: 32Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.” I guarantee that those actions described earlier would offend many. Beside we are to not become drunk. The problem here is the mindset. When we partake in things just because we need a good laugh or we need to be entertained because we are depressed, I suggest to you that you think that we can achieve any kind of true happiness from this world. The Apostle Paul abstained from all things in order to not give offense for the sake of the Gospel. Read ALL of Paul’s words, do not take them out of context.

Our daily lives should be constructed in such a manner that we glorify God in everything we do; we live a life with personal Christian integrity and we follow the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. As Christians we should be desiring to Every Day live our lives as a sacrifice for Him. We are to offer OUR BODIES to Him for good works. This is pleasing to God. We should desire each day to be made Righteous before God. We need to be made right before His law. That is what denying ourselves truly means. We are to deny ourselves take up our cross and follow Him. If we are living each day seeking to fulfill our emptiness and unhappiness through anything this world has to offer, then WE ARE LIVING AS THE CONDEMNED. Nothing we desire should matter compared to pleasing God and giving and serving Him. I get it!! It makes me happy and joyous inside!!! That is what our God can do for us and only He can do this for us!! I want you to get it too. God

Bless
<><
John

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