Tag Archives: Acceptance

A Time To Lose…


A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭6‬ KJV)
When God designed our lives, He did not make us unbeatable…He set up a time to win, but also a time to lose! In this way, we learn that we do not always get our own way. We have a time to get and a time to lose. Life would not work well if there was no time to lose, and we went on winning (or getting) all the time. It is important in those times of loss to remember that your plight is ordained by God. We should be patient with loss, for He allows it, I.e. It is part of His plan! We please our Father not by just winning, but by our acceptance of all of His plan. I accept loss (a time to lose) as much as winning, and I have plans to embrace His plan, no matter where it takes me. Thanks be to our Heavenly Father for His perfect plan!
Prayer: Lord, help me to be thankful for all the elements of your plan! May I be willing to embrace your will at all times!

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Who Do You Love ?


I John 4:7-8 (KJV)

7     Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

8     He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In the First General Epistle of John, we are told of the nature of love and challenged to love some who might seem to you to be “unlovable.”  If we don’t have love, John asserts, we do not have God in us!  This is why I have a hard time accepting the so-called Christian-based hate groups.  I am confident that John would agree, if you “hate” or persecute those who worship differently than you, you do not know God!  If you go out of your way to make it difficult for others, you do not know God!  Love is not like that, hatred is.

We need to reexamine our motives in all areas of our life, to see if it is love-based or some other agenda.  Compare the scriptures to see if your brand of “love” shows God shining out from the center.

I am writing this blog after suffering several medical setbacks, and I feel like I am approaching my former condition.  I intend to resume regular blogging soon.  Therefore, all comments, pro or con will be appreciated.  Please feel free to open up…

Thank you and special thanks to our Father.

Billy Graham speaks on Free Salvation


Romans 3:24 NKJV – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

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Salvation is Free

Salvation is free! God puts no price tag on the Gift of gifts—it’s free! Preachers are not salesmen, for they have nothing to sell. They are bearers of Good News—the good tidings that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Money can’t buy it. Man’s righteousness can’t earn it. Social prestige can’t help you acquire it. Morality can’t purchase it. It is, as Isaiah said, “without money and without price.”

God is not a bargaining God. You cannot barter with Him. You must do business with Him on His own terms. He holds in His omnipotent hand the priceless, precious, eternal gift of salvation, and He bids you to take it without money and without price. The best things in life are free, are they not? The air we breathe is not sold by the cubic foot. The water which flows crystal clear from the mountain stream is free for the taking. Love is free, faith is free, hope is free.

Daily Prayer

Even though my salvation was obtained only through the costliest sacrifice ever made, You freely gave it to me. Lord, I praise You for this gift so lovingly given.

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Compassion: A fourteen-day Journey #5


The Stewardship Implications of Bodily Resurrection

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Though He Slay Me, Yet I Will Trust Him!

The story of Job is ancient–most likely one of Scripture’s oldest. Old Testament believers had no clear-cut concept of a bodily resurrection. However, Job appears convinced that a day is coming when he will be defended and restored, not just spiritually but also physically. Most scholars agree that the Redeemer he spoke of refers to God himself and that Job believed that God would offer vindication for Job in the face of his trials.

This appreciation for the physical dimension of salvation is crucial for understanding the Biblical message of generosity. As affirmed in a statement by The Gospel Coalition,

God created both soul and body, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both the spiritual and the material. Therefore God is concerned not only for the salvation of souls but also for the relief of poverty, hunger, and injustice. The gospel opens our eyes to the fact that all our wealth (even wealth for which we worked hard) is ultimately an unmerited gift from God. Therefore the person who does not generously give away his or her wealth to others is not merely lacking in compassion, but is unjust. Christ wins our salvation through losing, achieves power through weakness and service and comes to wealth through giving all away. Those who receive his salvation are not the strong and accomplished but those who admit they are weak and lost. We cannot look at the poor and the oppressed and callously call them to pull themselves out of their own difficulty. Jesus did not treat us that away. The gospel replaces superiority toward the poor with mercy and compassion.  I ndifference to the poor and disadvantaged means there has not been a true grasp of our salvation by sheer grace.

As expressed in the following quotation by Pope John Paul II (1920-2005),

In the resurrection the body will return to prefect unity and harmony with the spirit. Man will no longer experience the opposition between what is spiritual and what is physical in him. Spiritualization means not only that the spirit will dominate the body, but, I would say, that it will fully permeate the body, and that the forces of the spirit will permeate the energies of the body.

What does the believer’s ultimate participation in the divine nature say to us about the worth of each person? In Matthew 25:40 Jesus identifies bodily with “the least of these brothers.” True, when he spoke these words he was living in a human body, but we as Christians believe that this passage still carries direct implications for us.

JOB 19:25-26 NKJV

For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I  know, That in my flesh I shall see God,

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Major Themes II – Grace


1TIMOTHY 1:1-20 NIV

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,   To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.   As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.   We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.   I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.   Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.   Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

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The Treasure Trove Known as I John 5


I am especially fond of I John 5, noting a clarity in the presentation that is especially apparent in the modern language translations/paraphrases.  Here, I have chosen “The Message” Bible.  To me, there is no place in the Bible where there is better clarity regarding salvation and God’s intended relationship with us.

How do I know God accepts me?

1 John 5:1-3 MSG

Every person who believes that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, is God-begotten. If we love the One who conceives the child, we’ll surely love the child who was conceived. The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome.

How can I overcome the draw of the world and be more like Jesus?

1 John 5:4-5 MSG

Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.

How do we know Jesus is real?

1 John 5:6-8 MSG

Jesus—the Divine Christ! He experienced a life-giving birth and a death-killing death. Not only birth from the womb, but baptismal birth of his ministry and sacrificial death. And all the while the Spirit is confirming the truth, the reality of God’s presence at Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion, bringing those occasions alive for us. A triple testimony: the Spirit, the Baptism, the Crucifixion. And the three in perfect agreement.

Is there any good reason that we cannot believe God’s testimony concerning His son?

1 John 5:9-10 MSG

If we take human testimony at face value, how much more should we be reassured when God gives testimony as he does here, testifying concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God inwardly confirms God’s testimony. Whoever refuses to believe in effect calls God a liar, refusing to believe God’s own testimony regarding his Son.

What is the bottom line with regard to salvation?

1 John 5:11-12 MSG

This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life.

What is the reality and what is the illusion?

1 John 5:13-15 MSG

My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.

Does God kick me out of the kingdom for one small imperfection?

1 John 5:16-17 MSG

For instance, if we see a Christian believer sinning (clearly I’m not talking about those who make a practice of sin in a way that is “fatal,” leading to eternal death), we ask for God’s help and he gladly gives it, gives life to the sinner whose sin is not fatal. There is such a thing as a fatal sin, and I’m not urging you to pray about that. Everything we do wrong is sin, but not all sin is fatal.

How do I know if I am making the mark or fooling myself?

1 John 5:18-21 MSG

We know that none of the God-begotten makes a practice of sin—fatal sin. The God-begotten are also the God-protected. The Evil One can’t lay a hand on them. We know that we are held firm by God; it’s only the people of the world who continue in the grip of the Evil One. And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God—what a gift!—and we are living in the Truth itself, in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. This Jesus is both True God and Real Life. Dear children, be on guard against all clever facsimiles.

My prayer for all of us is that we will be clear and confident in our salvation and that we will enjoy uninterupted fellowship with God, the Father and God, the son through the power of God, the Holy Spirit!

Before the Cross II


John 3:16 KJVA – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVA – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 5:8 KJVA – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Colossians 1:13-14 KJVA – who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.    In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

1 John 1:9 KJVA – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 103:12 KJVA – As far as the east is from the west,  so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Before The Cross: We Are Forgiven

If the story ended in the fact that we are sinful, that would be the worst news possible. It would honestly be depressing and what hope would we have? Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t teach us that there is no hope. It actually teaches quite the opposite.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

Our hope is Jesus. God loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son for us. Jesus Christ came to this earth being fully man and fully God, lived a perfect life, died on the Cross (paying the penalty for all our past, present, and future sins), and then rose again from the dead defeating death and sin in Victory!

This is the good news. This is the Gospel.

As we come before the cross, we realize that we are forgiven through what Jesus has done for us. The Bible teaches that this forgiveness is available for all people, and that we need to believe in Jesus, choose to repent from our sinful ways, and decide to follow Him.

As soon as we do that, we are forgiven…forever. All past, present, and future sins are now forgiven and when God sees us, He doesn’t see our sin, instead He sees Jesus and what He did for us.

So now, for those who choose to confess their sins, repent, and follow Jesus, what’s next? What are we supposed to do while we are here on earth? We are to make disciples…

Who Can Complain Effectively About the Weather?


I would like to submit this famous poem about fog by Carl Sandburg. I thought of it when my brother moved up to Florence, Oregon. It doesn’t rain all the time in Oregon…most of the time it is overcast and dripping with moisture reflective of an impending cloudburst. I grew up in Port Hueneme, CA. Every day was about the same. In the morning we would have fog (or overcast clouds) to the point that those of us in the marching band had to change socks and sometimes shoes between our practice before school and First Period. Then, usually by mid-morning, or at least by noon, the sun would come out, burn off the fog and it would be a bright sunny day. But then, by mid afternoon, the west wind would start blowing off the Pacific Ocean and make everything cool, sometimes uncomfortably so. If you were out for the day, you had to dress inlayers, because all day was spent putting on or taking off clothes. I’m certain Cargo Pants (the kind with the zippered detachable legs) were invented by someone who lived in a similar place.

I am amazed that my brother would move to a place with weather like this, bearing in mind the past experiences. But that brings us back to Sandburg’s Poem. “It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches….and then moves on.” Every day, it was like the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day“, at least weather-wise. The fog moved on, as if blown away by the west wind, leaving many a clear night, but the next day- it started all over again!

I thought that this was like “grace” with God. Every day, we let Him down, but He is faithful to stick with us, and gives us a clean slate, every day. He doesn’t obsess with our shortcomings, He moves on. When I mess up with God, I want to confess and get past it, starting over with a clean slate. He is so good to give that to us.

Psalm 103:11-12 (NKJV)
11  For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12  As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

God, let us be mindful of your grace and never forget how much you are eager to forgive us!


A Brief, Gentle Defense of “Jesus Calling”


I have recently read multiple posts or articles questioning the integrity/appropriateness of the popular devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  Most of the controversy seems to stem from the author’s device of using first person to describe “conversations” with Jesus.  The author freely states that these words are not “infallible” or “canonical”, but simply descriptive of conversations with Jesus during devotional periods.

I do not see anything wrong with that, given the disclaimers in the Forward/Introduction.  Use of first person is a powerful device to describe how the messages came to her.  This device has been used in many sermons/homilies, especially around Easter.  I do not want to add to the controversy or continue it as a doubtful disputation.  But, I would be remiss if I let this criticism pass without telling my side.

Many people have quiet times with Jesus.  Many experience Jesus talking to them during this time.  Every Sunday (or Saturday for Sabbath keepers) we would be without the weekly sermon if no one ever repeated what Jesus had spoken to them during these quiet times of fellowship with Christ.  So what is the problem?  Certainly, it could not be the fact that Sarah Young dares to speak out as a woman, with a separate and distinct relationship with Jesus! What part of Galatians 3:28 do you not understand?

Galatians 3:28 (NKJV)
28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

I am suspicious of those who say, Mark 9:38-40 (ASV)
38  … we saw one casting out demons in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followed not us.

The reply is poignant:

39  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man who shall do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.
40  For he that is not against us is for us.

It seems to me that we might take our lead from the Bible itself in this matter:

Acts 5:34-39 (NKJV)
34  Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.
35  And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.
36  For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.
37  After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.
38  And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;
39  but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.” 

That’s the best advice I can give, and that’s all I have to say about that!

 

He hears us, when we cry.


I have often marvelled when, in a room full of kids, one will cry out and the corresponding mother will materialize out of nowhere to attend to them.  They do not respond to every child’s cry, only their own.  They know the distinct cry of their own and respond accordingly.  That is how God is with His children!  In a world full of cries for help, He knows our distinctive cry.  You may say, “Are we not all God’s children?”  Of course, but He more readily recognizes the voices of those who talk to him regularly. For anyone out there who feels alone…God hears your cry.  Talk to Him.  Love, acceptance and  forgiveness is available right now.  My prayer for everyone today is that you may make your voice known to God.  He hears us, so we know that we have whatever we need from Him–I John 5:14-15.