“The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ” 12/18/2016 written by bruce r. mills

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by bruce r. mills @  www.Godsmanforever.com

 

                       

      “The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ” 

                              (Revised from 7/11/2013)

Here is the truth about sin, and how God’s grace through saving faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ is given by God, to those who understand and obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Romans 5:12… Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (NKJV)

 

Most people believe sin began in the Garden of Eden, but it didn’t.  Sin began when God’s top angel Lucifer, decided to flex his power, and wanted to become equal to God…Isaiah 14:12-14

Sin, by its very nature, is born into every human being, since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, to the serpent’s (Satan’s) temptations.  This natural sin nature is part of everyone’s natural make-up, from the time they are young children, until the time that they pass on from this life.

That 3 year old, who is told NO by their parents, goes right ahead and disobeys their parents at the first chance they get.  This rebellion against their parents turns into rebellion against God, as a child grows older.  God hates sin, because it is independent rebellion against God; and will devastate the lives of everyone that remains living in sin…in bondage to Satan and the ways of the world…1 John 2:15-16

The sad truth about sin, is that it blinds the unbeliever…

2 Corinthians 4:4… whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)   (More about “the light of the gospel” of our Lord Jesus Christ, later)

Satan is the father of sin (John 8:44), and a master of disguise.  The Apostle Paul warns us about false prophets, and Satan himself, in...

2 Corinthians 11:12-14… For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. (NKJV)

Thank goodness God sent His Son Jesus Christ, born to the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18)…who’s shed blood on the cross at Calvary, will cleanse the sins of those who are first drawn in by God…

John 6:44… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (NKJV)

Upon understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the sins of the unbeliever will be replaced with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9…&…2 Corinthians 5:21)…as God’s free gift of grace, through saving faith alone in Jesus Christ, fills the heart, mind, and soul of the new redeemed child of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9… 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. (NKJV)

There is nothing an unbeliever can do on their own merit.  No amount of good works done in the name of the Lord, can cleanse away sins.  All of our own righteousness is absolutely worthless…Isaiah 64:6…  Jesus warns those who falsely believe that their good works done in the name of the Lord (like going to church every week), will forgive sins…when Jesus warns those around Him (and us) about this, in.

Matthew 7:21-23… Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (NKJV)

Having one’s lifetime of sins forgiven, is pure grace given to the unredeemed sinner by God.  God’s grace is given by God to those who seek Jesus Christ to become their personal Lord and Savior, through a personal one on One relationship, that is established between the unredeemed sinner and Jesus Christ.

This is accomplished through saving faith alone in Jesus Christ, through obedience to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the sinner realizes they can in no way save themselves, and turns to the Lord to receive God’s grace… (More about obeying the Gospel of Christ later)

So why should you desire to become a redeemed child of God ??  Very simply, to be in-dwelt with the Holy Spirit by God, to be supernaturally empowered to defeat Satan’s temptations, and our own carnal fleshly desires constantly urging us to sin… 1 John 2:15-16

The Holy Spirit living with-in the “born again” Christian, has been given to them by God to guide and direct EVERY facet of the redeemed child of God’s life…  It is the Holy Spirit that helps the Christian grow and mature the fruit of the Spirit, which the Apostle Paul pens, in…

 

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (ESV)

Look at this list of attributes the Holy Spirit will empower you with !!

Love, Joy, and Peace, are the most important of these 9 fruit of the Spirit…

How would you like to have a supernatural love that surpasses your mortal knowledge (Ephesians 3:19)…  A love empowered by the Holy Spirit that will enable you to love even someone screaming in your face, as Jesus tells us to do, in…Matthew 5:43-44

And how about having a supernatural  joy that enables you to go through life’s most difficult trial, and still be able to find joy…  The Apostle James tells us about this joy, in…James 1:2-4

 

 And wouldn’t you like to have a supernatural peace that will allow you to look upon your own death…knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you will be face to face with Jesus in heaven, the instant you breath your last breath here on earth !!  (2 Corinthians 5:8)

This supernatural peace surpasses our mortal understanding, as the Apostle Paul pens, in…

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

 

All of these God given blessings will be given to you by God, if you understand and obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…  How is this done ??  You must pray to God, with what some call “the sinners prayer”, that should go something like this…

 

“Father I am sorry for my lifetime of sins…  I believe with ALL my heart, that Your Son Jesus suffered and died on the cross, shedding His blood to cleanse away all of my sins…  I believe that Jesus was buried, and rose again in 3 days…  I repent and turn from my sins with godly sorrow and a repentant heart…seeking Jesus Christ to come into my heart to direct my life…  Father, hear my plea to receive Your grace…  Grant me eternal life with You…  Fill me with the Holy Spirit…and I thank You and praise You in Jesus’ most precious name…Amen”

 

I can only tell you from my own personal experience…that I made this prayer seeking salvation several times, before God graced me with salvation.  It’s not the prayer that saves us; it is a changed heart that is regenerated by God Himself…  God knows our heart, and He will only grant saving grace to those who seek Jesus with ALL of their heart, mind soul, and strength…

God finally graced me with salvation when I prayed with true godly sorrow and a repentant heart…and I absolutely knew beyond any doubt, that I was just then a redeemed child of God…(Romans 8-16) It is   God’s decision, and God’s perfect timing, to grace someone with eternal life with Him in heaven.

Failure to obey the Gospel of Christ before you die will result in eternal separation from God, and you will forever forfeit your place in heaven…

 

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9  in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,  (NKJV)

All Christians who are Walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), should absolutely, positively know for sure, that they are indeed a redeemed child of God.  The Apostle Paul tells us this, in…

 

Romans 8:15-16…  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  16 The Spirit Himself  bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (NKJV)

There should be no doubts for the Spirit filled Christian about where they will be headed upon their death.  No wondering if they are good enough to get into heaven.  Because none of us are good enough…

Romans 3:23…  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NKJV)    

The power of the Holy Spirit can and will conquer sin, by those who without question, have placed their lives in the hands of the Lord.  The Apostle James says this best, when he penned this, in…

James 4:7-8… Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (NKJV)

 

My friends, these blessings of spiritual fruit are totally indescribable, and have to be experienced to be believed !!

For those who have been graced with salvation…we must do our best to remain walking in the Spirit…  We see this penned by the Apostle Paul, in…

Galatians 5:16…   I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  (NKJV)

We as Christians can only remain filled with the Holy Spirit (as the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:18-20), if we live in obedience to God’s will and God’s ways…  Any unconfessed sin will leave us in a state of broken (or at least hindered) fellowship with God…

 

To become righteous again in God’s eyes (from a practical standpoint, because we are always positionally righteous before God), we must confess our sins before the Lord…repent of them…and turn from them… We see this very clearly, as penned by the Apostle John, in…

1 John1:9… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness(NKJV)

Living for the Lord, with the Holy Spirit in total charge of your life, is a blessing that I pray everyone will come to experience…

Heavenly Father, Your Word is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…Hebrews 4:12-13… I pray Lord, that You would draw to Yourself those that don’t yet know You as their personal Lord and Savior…John 6:44…  And that the truth from Your Word through obedience to the Gospel of Your Son Jesus Christ, would set them free from Satan’s chains of bondage to sin and shame…John 8:32…  I pray for this fullness of Christ in all of our lives, in Jesus’ most precious name and for His sake…Amen…

 

Blessings in Christ, bruce r. mills

 

(Message me here, or send me an e-mail @ brucermillslast@comcast.net with any questions)

P.S.  For those who still believe they can earn their own way into heaven, listen to John Piper’s audio on… “Can My Good Works Outweigh My Bad?

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/can-my-good-works-outweigh-my-bad

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Seek the Lord while He may still be found !!” 1/23/2020 Written by Louis Mize, a Facebook friend

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

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 Written by Louis Mize, a Facebook friend  @  https://www.facebook.com/louis.mize

“Seek the Lord while He may still be found !!”

Now we are sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest from God.
John 16:30

Have you ever sit under a really good teacher or preacher? You can feel the presence of the Person of the Holy Spirit. You see the mind of Christ and feel the heart of God in their behavior and in their speech. A good teacher explains his subject in such a way that he or she does not need to be questioned.

The disciples had come to a time in their lives when they understood that the time to question Jesus was far past. He had demonstrated with power and authority that He is indeed the Son of God. He would completely demonstrate it once again and finally, when He would sacrifice His sinless life for us on the cross, and then rise up from the grave.

Are you still questioning Christ? If you are, you need to realize and understand completely that the time for questions is over. Jesus is the Son of God, and He was God in the flesh of man here on earth. Only He, and Him alone, can save us from our sins.

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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“Discernment 101” 1/22/2020 Written by Gabrielle Guthrie for “See, there’s this thing called biology.~ insanitybytes”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

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Written by Gabrielle Guthrie for  See, there’s this thing called biology…~ insanitybytes”  @  https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/

Original post found @  https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2020/01/20/discernment-101/

 

Discernment 101

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silhouette of girl during evening

It occurs to me that much of the world is caught up in worldly things and so the way we begin to define “discernment” is right out of a dictionary and it means, “to judge well.” The problem being, many dictionaries will then elaborate, give you the second intended meaning. And so next in the dictionary we also have, 2. “(in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding.”

Read that again, not judgement, but the absence of judgement. Hallelujah! Now that’s what I’m talking about. In a Christian context “discernment” means, perception in the absence of judgement…

I’ll spare you the links, but I can think of five “discernment ministries” that will probably be blogging in outrage about me and my crazy ideas shortly. However that is the truth, that is right out of the dictionary, and the fact that the dictionary can say “in a Christian context,” discernment means “perception in the absence of judgement,” indicates that Christian views, theology, creeds, have explored the word discernment enough to actually give it a Christian context.

Another way to say that is, IB’s words are not simply coming out of left field, the result of having falling asleep after eating too much pizza. There is genuine precedence here, wisdom, established truth discussed long before I was even born.

Another version of the dictionary gives us a simple definition of “discernment” I like even better, “possessing wisdom not of myself.” 

Bingo. Now that one is a double edged sword and as such, absolutely delicious. “Not of myself,”  is vital, critical here. Over and over and over again, for a lifetime really, I have practiced fine tuning my discernment. I can tell you with complete certainty that when it involves judgement, condemnation, or fear, it is flat out “of myself,” and therefore not discernment.

How do I know when I am practicing discernment for real? It is, “not of myself.” It is completely devoid of judgement, condemnation, or fear. It is wisdom, insight,  awareness above and beyond what I myself could know. Supernatural. Most of the time it is vaguely unsettling, uncomfortable, and not quite what I would have chosen or assumed myself.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have thought I knew what I was doing and the Lord has said, Now hold up. I know what this looks like, feels like, seems like, however….

That is discernment, that is, “wisdom not of myself.” That is a willingness to realize I see through the glass darkly and to trust in the One who holds the whole picture in His hands. It takes a whole lot of humility and a willingness to listen. You have to know yourself. You have to be able to discern the difference between, “of myself” and, “not of myself. “

One more time, in a Christian context, discernment is, “perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding.”

Discernment is not, holding others in judgement, hunting down heretics, or running about condemning false teachers. In fact, those activities show a decided lack of discernment.

Well now. That settles that. You’re welcome.

art backlit dawn dusk

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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“A Place Called Home” 1/21/2020 Written by Beth Andrews for “Deeper Roots”

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The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

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Written by Beth Andrews for “Deeper Roots”  @  https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com

Original post @   https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com/2020/01/18/a-place-called-home/

A Place Called Home

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“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing”  (John 15:5).

Two summers ago when everything in our lives fell apart, we had to find a place to live back in our hometown. We drove around for days looking at apartments, houses, mobile homes – any place we could land. But when we found this house, I knew I was “home.” When I drive around town and see houses for sale or rent, I don’t give them a second thought because I am happily settled where I am.

In John 15:1-11, Jesus told His disciples that He is the Vine, and they (and we) are the branches. Branches must stay connected to the vine to live and to produce good fruit – the word he used is meno meaning to “remain” or “abide. He used it three times in this passage: “remain in me, [let] my words remain in you,” and “remain in my love” v. 9). The word gives the idea of being settled – like we are here in this house.

I think Jesus wants us to “settle down” with Him. I think He wants us to dismiss all other options and opinions because we are happily abiding in Him, curled up on the couch drinking in His Words, wrapped in the warm quilt of His love. Maybe even a cat purring at our feet. Storms may rage outside the walls, but we are not anxious. We are at home.

Beloved, do you long for this kind of peace and contentment? Are you weary of the storm and the confusion of the world? The Master of this house will never turn you away. Come home to God through Jesus Christ. The door is open for you

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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“Search Me” 1/20/20 Posted by David Kitz for “I Love the Psalms”

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Posted by David Kitz for “I Love the Psalms” @  https://davidkitz.wordpress.com/

Original post found @  https://davidkitz.blog/2020/01/16/search-me/

Search Me

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Reading: Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
(Verses 1-6)

You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, L
ORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain
 
(NIV).

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The lost and found wedding anniversary necklace — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Some time ago I got a phone call from my son. The long search was finally over. The gift had been found. This morning, I met him at church, and he gave me this semiprecious gift. 

What is it you ask? It’s a necklace I purchased for my wife in a grand, continent-wide conspiracy of love. Last June my wife made a solo trip to Edmonton to visit her Dad. While there, she went shopping with one of her friends, and fell in love with a cut rock necklace. This friend secretly sent me a message inquiring if I would pay her to purchase this rare find. Without hesitation I agreed. I always find it difficult to buy jewelry for my wife. I never know what she might like. Furthermore, our 40th anniversary was coming in December. What a delightful surprise this gift would be!

A few weeks later my son and his wife went on a business trip to Edmonton and they brought the necklace back with them, and I secretly mailed the payment to our friend. All of this was working out so well—too well! Only a father and son team of bumbling males could mess this up. And they did.

June to December is a long time—enough time for me to completely forget about this necklace. We had a great anniversary celebration, but all the while I had this niggling feeling that I had forgotten something. Two weeks later I got a text message from our mutual friend in Edmonton inquiring about how Karen liked her necklace. Oops! This sent me into a frantic search for my precious gift. I must have hidden it in a safe place. In desperation I called my son. He also searched—all to no avail. We concluded that God knew exactly where the necklace was and it would be found at the right moment. Well, yesterday that moment arrived. In God’s perfect time, Karen got her necklace.

Today’s psalm reading speaks of God searching our hearts. Does God really need to do that? I doubted it. Jesus knows exactly what is in there. See John 2:23-25. We are the ones who need to search our hearts. We don’t know what is hidden inside us. Is it rotting garbage or something precious?

Response: LORD God, turn on Your light inside of me. You know my deep hurts and inner struggles. You are familiar with all my ways. Cleanse me from within. By grace and faith, I am your child. Amen.

Your TurnHave you been hiding things from God? How foolish is that?

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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“Why Sunday School ??” 1/19/2020 Written by Warren Spence, a fellow church member.

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Written by Warren Spence, a fellow church member…

“Why Sunday School ??”

 

As a Christian always striving to grow closer to the Lord, attending Sunday School has always been a very significant and important part of my continuing spiritual growth.  It is part of my Christian walk which I take very seriously.  I appreciate and depend on those who have prepared themselves in the role of leadership and teaching, that I may learn from their discoveries…and then attempt to apply these biblical truths to my life.  By studying and sharing God’s Word together, an atmosphere is created where the Holy Spirit can reveal new revelations to me.  These divine revelations can increase my insight and knowledge; motivating me to become more and more a part of God’s will and purpose for my life.

In a way, this spiritual wisdom can be summed up in a verse penned by the apostle Paul, in…2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.   (KJV)

As a husband, it is very important for me to share that time together with my wife.  This has not been possible, however, for quite a few years, as Lucy and I have held teaching positions in Sunday School.

However, when in the past we attended class together, it was very beneficial, in that we were able to learn and grow together in our spiritual pilgrimage.

As a father to my children, it has been extremely important that I emphasize to them the necessity of participating in Sunday School attendance.  Most of the fundamentals of our Christian faith are deeply embedded in our children during their early years.  It is at this time that many experience a depth of faith in God, which is seldom surpassed at any other time in their lives.

If my children see that the instruction given in Sunday School appears to be important to me, they will hopefully see it as a necessary part of their lives.  I believe this is revealed to them much later in their lives as they become parents (although many admittedly drift away for a time), when they realize they want their children exposed to the Sunday School environment.

Showing a child the importance of a Christian education in Sunday School goes much farther than merely dropping them off at the church’s front door, and returning later to pick them up.

Proverbs 22:6…    Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  (KJV)

As a Sunday School teacher, being an active part of the Christian education program is an extreme privilege for me.  Along with this privilege however, is a tremendous responsibility.

Probably no other time in the history of this world, has there been more of a challenge to communicate God’s Word, moral expectations, and God’s will to the students provided us.  Yet the message to be conveyed is the same dependable, powerful, regenerating “good news” that has always been there.

It is exciting to observe the sometimes slow, but positive spiritual awakenings within the lives of those precious young people, that God is molding to be the future church.  It is more than rewarding to see them motivated in aligning their lives to God’s will…and then to see one commit themselves totally to Jesus Christ and full time Christian service.

So then again the question of “Why Sunday School ??”

Because, I believe that to be a well-rounded, well-informed Christian…Sunday School is an essential ingredient in one’s spiritual diet.  [See  Matthew 4:4…&…Luke 4:4]

Again, the Christian education and spiritual growth obtained through participating in Sunday School attendance, is very important whether experienced as a student, husband, father, or teacher…

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

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“Religion: Back to the Basics” 1/18/2020 Posted by Don Merritt for “The Life Project”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

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Posted by Don Merritt  for “The Life Project” @  https://lifereference.wordpress.com

Original post @  https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/religion-back-to-the-basics/

 

Religion: Back to the Basics

If a comparison is to be made between following Jesus Christ and Religion, the first logical step is to define the terms, and thus we go back to the basics.

To follow Jesus Christ is to have a relationship with Him, a deep and intimate personal relationship, and then to go where He leads. We have as our example His relationship with the disciples in the Gospels, and the funny thing is that they continually found themselves at odds with the religious authorities of their day because Jesus did not lead them into religious orthodoxy. Quite the contrary in fact, their conflict was so great that the religious authorities set about to kill first Jesus, and later His followers.

Let’s be fair about this, however, for we live in a different time and place, and our contact with religious leaders is not the same as the contact experienced by Jesus and the disciples.

Yet there are similarities.

So then, what is exactly is “religion”?

According to Merriam-Webster “religion” is

“the service or worship of God or the supernatural”, “commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance”, “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices”, “scrupulous conformity”, “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith”. (See complete entry)

The word is commonly used to mean the service or worship of God or the supernatural; that is clear enough, but consider the rest of the definition; there is where our problems lie. You can see that “religion” can apply to a great deal more than the worship of God if it requires conformity in our attitudes to an institutionalized system, and if you really think about it, things like atheism or Socialism or Communism or Fascism even can be said to fall into the definition of a “religion”.

But that’s a conversation for another time…

For our purposes today, I’ll simply leave you with a fairly simple question:

What part of following Jesus Christ, or if you prefer, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, can be confined to a man-made religion?

Naturally, I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and I’ll be sharing mine in the next few days- see you tomorrow!

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&q=image+religion+vs+relationship+with+God&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjIg6bFm43nAhXnguAKHbC2Do4QsAR6BAgKEAE&biw=1356&bih=849#imgrc=o-6H077Em-oAEM:

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“Using Your Gifts for the Common Good” 1/17/2020 Written by Keith Haney for “THE LIGHT BREAKS THROUGH”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Image result for Image using your spiritual gift

Written by  Keith Haney for “THE LIGHT BREAKS THROUGH” @ https://alightbreaksthrough.org

Original post @  https://alightbreaksthrough.org/using-your-gifts-for-the-common-good/

Using Your Gifts for the Common Good

16 Jan 2020  Keith Haney

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As a new decade begins, it is time to assess what my goals are for this New Year. Last year if you remember I picked a word to define my year, influence.

I also challenged my readers to do the same. Out of that sharing, I wrote some devotions on those words. It was a fun and challenging faith forming exercise. This year I have picked a verse to guide me this year, Romans 12:6-8. If that verse does not immediately pop up in your head don’t worry.

Here is the verse, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

In my working with so many people and churches  I have discovered is that we have many people who don’t use their spiritual gifts and many others who have no idea the gifts God has blessed them to develop and implement. It is my goal this year to help as many people as possible to understand they have gifts that God’s kingdom needs. God has blessed me with gifts and I want to use the gifts He gave me to bless others.

This illustration was a powerful reminder that our gifts must always be viewed through the lens of Christ.

A friend told me of an extraordinary manufacturer who gave each of his employees a hanging mirror and a handsome reproduction of the head of Christ for Christmas one year. The Christian businessman presented the gifts personally with these instructions: “Hang the mirror on one side of the room and the picture of Christ directly across the room so that when you look in the mirror, you will see the face of Christ along with yours.” Then this pensive admonition: “It’s going to take both to get you through.”

We All Have Gifts

left human hand photoPhoto by Jonas Ferlin on Pexels.com

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”  

In verse 3 where Paul mentioned “the grace given to me.” Please hear me when I say this “every member is gifted in some way to serve and build up the body of Christ.” The key is that we are gifted for a reason, to serve God and others and in doing so we are building up the body of Christ. Notice I didn’t say we are growing our church, nor that we are increasing worship attendance or the money in the offering plate. We are gifted and serve to build up the body of Christ. Gifts we receive are originated in grace (charis), which means they are freely imparted at the generous will of the giver, the Holy Spirit. As Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

I love this quote. “Grace-gifts are manifestations of the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit—he not only gives the gifts “just as he determines” (1 Cor. 12:11) but he also empowers their use “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7).”

It is my prayer for the church this year for us to use the gifts imparted on us by the Holy Spirit. Imagine what our churches would look like if every member was busy using their gifts for the common good? What a powerful Acts 2 community would be on display for a world living in fear, discouragement, and darkness?

This is my verse for 2020. What’s yours?

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P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !!  If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…   https://godsmanforever.com/

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&q=Image+using+your+spiritual+gift&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjM4NmVq4nnAhWict8KHb5zB4UQsAR6BAgHEAE&biw=1356&bih=849#imgrc=hgFBeYOYAnZHlM:

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