"Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me."

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Let us be encouraged to live in Christ

So a few months back I wrote a post on "Grace." I like to write posts on what I am trying to learn in my walk with Christ. I am a child in Christ at this point and feel like I am just learning what it is to be a Christian beyond the salvation aspect. But I enjoy sharing what I am learning or thinking about. Anyhow, I am thinking back to my post on Grace and I know that I left a lot out. I want to add more here. I just am reminded how easy it is for myself and other Christians to be led away by false teachings or the love of the world (sin, materialism, etc.) 

If we are saved by grace (through faith), and God's favor is free, then where does holiness come into play??? That is what I left out in my previous post. If someone is teaching that "we are saved by grace, so by all means go and enjoy every sinful pleasure that this world has to offer," than I do believe that they are either a false teacher or they themselves have been led astray by false teaching. 

A couple of Scripture passages that come to mind:

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

This is so beautiful. Praise God. Jesus loved me and gave himself for me. The old Julia is dead but Christ lives through me now.

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. . . In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.  For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6: 1-4; 11-14. 

Sin is no longer my master, but Christ is. Dead to sin, alive to God. This is the new life.

"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:20

Verses that warn against false teachers:

"These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.  For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.  They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”  If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.  Of them the proverbs are true: 'A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.' " 2 Peter 2: 17-22.

Yes. This. Those that preach we are free by grace (which we are) so we can indulge in our sinful desires. It appeals to our flesh. But this teaching, instead of giving freedom, only makes us slaves to sin again. We are not "free to sin" but "freed from sin."

"Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers."
James 1: 13-16

How fun sin seems. The life this world offers really does glitter like gold. But in the end it will destroy us. It isn't worth it; it will not fulfill us. Jesus is the living water that can quench our thirst. He is the bread of life, the lover of our soul. Sin will never satisfy but bring death. 

 "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."
2 Peter 3 10-14.
He has given us everything we need. Grace to be saved by, His Word to live by, prayer to strengthen us in temptation or trials, the presence of the Holy Spirit to comfort. How He loves us with great love! And we can look forward to spending eternity in His presence. God, Three in One. Praise His name.

Friday, February 12, 2016

So a big piece of news for me is that I am back in school, again. I actually started in January. It is kind of crazy because part of me is screaming that I want to be done with school, and the classes get to be so stressful! But I think I would like to be involved in nursing education at some point in my career, and there is a degree to go with that. And here I am!

But I am soooo happy today because I just met my educational goal for the week, which was to write section A of my paper. The overall topic was a lot about Medicare and Medicaid and how they regulate facilities and this protects patients. To be honest, this is not my area of knowledge or expertise as a floor nurse. It was challenging. But I just wrote something! We shall see if it passes inspection later during grading, but hey, I am happy to at least have something written in that section to be turned in for grading. Now I just need to write the rest of the paper . . .

I feel like I need to post a picture of me studying. But I think this will have to suffice instead:

We did a Valentine project together, and Jonathan put all the stickers on. He faithfully put a sticker on each heart systematically in a row!

Jonathan likes to play dress up. First he was wearing a kettle on his head for a hat, then he was trying on all of our shoes, and then found a hat and his own shoes to put on. 

Playing peek a boo??

Such a fun little Valentine!

We can be made new

Hope that these verses will encourage you today!

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

He has the power to change any heart; He can change my heart and your heart today, make our hearts soft to accept Christ and his truth and love. Even if you are already a Christian but have fallen away from loving him first and begun to love the world (as so often it seems we do) he can change our hearts! He has not lost his power since he rose up from the grave.

"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

No matter what our situation is, if we give it to God, I truly believe he will make our lives beautiful. He is faithful. I remember a time in my life when I knew that I had "ruined" my life. I cried out to God and gave my life back to him and asked him to do what only he could do--to fix it! He has done that and more, giving me a heart to love him again.

"'And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.' And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And He said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.' Then He said to me, 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.'"
Revelations 21: 4-6

This is the hope we have in Christ! 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:7

He makes us to be a new creation! This is why we can have hope in Christ.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Word of Encouragement

"I thank my God every time I remember you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
because of your partnership in the gospel
from the first day until now,

Being confident of this, 
that he who began a good work in you 
Will carry it on to completion
Until the day of Christ Jesus."

I am so encouraged by the testimony of Christians living in countries where there is hostility towards the gospel of Christ. The faith of these people reminds me of my own need for Jesus; the reality that they risk their possessions, families and very lives to worship him . . . it is so very beautiful, and humbling when I look at my own life. 

May we not forget one another in suffering, but lift up through prayer our brothers and sisters in Christ, for strength and encouragement, for the presence of God during their trials, until the day of Christ Jesus! 

We can come boldly before God's throne of grace, for mercy and help in trouble.

He is so good and so beautiful, and the body of Christ is beautiful. Days when I do not desire Him and His word . . . is it because I am too full? Of material things? I forget my need of him and then I am reminded that He is the Bread of Life, the Living Water. My soul will never be satisfied without Him, and this must be why Christians say, "Take this whole world, but give me Jesus." This world is not our home, we do not truly belong here. We do not need to love the world, God has something better. Christ is our all.

Let us lift each other up in prayer, to stay strong and remember our first love until He comes again.