Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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The Old is New Again!

February 17, 2014

     I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1975. That was a long time ago.  One thing I knew, then, was that I was forgiven, my sins were removed, my slate was clean.  He loved me and died for me to set me free.  I KNEW that!  I didn’t know the Bible, I didn’t belong to a church, I only knew that I was forgiven and new. 

I was so excited I couldn’t wait to tell others.  I was so excited that others hid when they saw me coming, and then…they too accepted the Lord and they became “born again”.

This was during the Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church and, following my mother, I began to attend prayer meetings.  I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, Wait! Don’t stop reading because you don’t believe that is for today, or that is only for the Apostles.  Who told you that anyway?  No one told Stephen, Philip, Barnabas and many others, so they just did what Jesus said. Look for yourselves.

Anyway, I couldn’t wait to start reading the Bible and finding out what is said.  It came alive.

That excitement lasted about three years.  I saw miracles. I saw addicts set free and arthritis and migraine headaches healed by the laying on of hands (by just plain, ordinary believers, just like Jesus said).

Over the years, the excitement wore off and the world crept in.  I was leaving my first love and becoming self-consumed again.  Little by little, like Chinese water torture, self became more important.

When I attempted to get back what I had, I joined a bible teaching church, I diligently listened to the Pastor.  I learned about faith and the power of it.  I learned and learned.  I liked my church and loved my Pastors.  I became involved in service and small groups and training, and the like.

We eventually changed pastors and our new Pastor began really teaching the Bible.  He took more than a year and a half to go through the Old Testament historical books giving us a clear understanding.  He had us do daily readings and we read the Proverbs and Psalms.  His teaching was clear and concise.  I began to take BibleCollege courses to learn more.  He took us through the Gospels, tying the Old and the New Testaments, showing threads and shadows and how it all led to God’s Plan to set us free.

I was filled with knowledge, filled with faith, yet something was missing.

On New Year’s Day, 2014, in a little book, I found what it was.  It was just plain Jesus!

That day in 1975, I met Him. I knew He loved me unconditionally.  But, over the years, I forgot.  I started adding have to and if  to the Gospel…“conditions”.  Then, I tried to meet all the “conditions” I had imposed upon myself, or had imposed upon me by various teachers, books, etc.

Jesus spoke to two types of people: religious and believers.  To the religious, He said, in essence: “You’ll never be good enough. You have to be perfect to enter into My Kingdom.”  To the Believers, He said, “I have covered it all, you only have to believe in Me and tell others about the good news!”

I now know when I read the Bible or listen to teaching, I must rightly divide the word of truth…there are no if’s or have to’s in the Good News, just Jesus, who did it all for us and finished it.

It’s called “Grace”, unmerited, empowering, freeing, loving Grace!  Grace to just love God and others.  Grace to set others free!  He just plain loves us!  We can’t escape His love and we can’t make Him love us more!  All I had to do is believe…and it’s still all I have to do. He did all the rest.

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Romans 14:13-23

September 14, 2011

  Paul teaches in Romans 14:13 something that I think most of us today forget.  We know that Bible says we shall not judge one another, that judgment is for God, not for us.  Paul goes further here.  He says we shall not put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.  He further states in verse 15 that “if your brother is being injured by what you eat (do), you are no longer walking in love.”

  In this society, most of our conversation revolves around judging.  News commentators, radio talk shows, TV talk shows are all based on it.  Everyone has an opinion on everything and about everyone.  We are surrounded and inundated with judging.  It has become the acceptable mode of everyday interaction.  Once again, the enemy has secured his beachhead and we didn’t even see him.

  The point Paul is making; however, is about those who know who they are in Christ.  Those who know the freedom from the law, who are mature and understand that the Law no longer binds us, but that “the kingdom of God is not food and drink (laws), but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  What we forget it that each person is being conformed to Christ’s image on an individual basis.  Everyone is at a different level of faith and understanding.  God moves us from glory to glory. 

   We must be careful not to place a stumbling block in the way of another believer by our actions.  We must teach the truth with grace and watch our behavior.  Even when we know that certain acts are acceptable in our freedom from the law, our freedom must not lead another to sin. 

  Paul explains very clearly in verse 22, “The faith that you have, keep between you and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.”  He then ends this discourse with “But he who has doubts is condemned…if he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” 

  Be careful of how you live and how you are perceived by those who are younger in the faith than you are.  Remember how long it took you to get where you are today and how much farther you must go.

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Rejoice in Your Hope (Ro. 12:12a)

July 6, 2011

I often wonder how those without faith can navigate this world.  I also can see the anger and combativeness of those who have chosen not to believe.  Without faith, there is no hope.   There are “wishes”, but no hope.

I often wanted to be able to place into an unbeliever, just for a minute, the experience of faith, hope and love in Christ.  Unfortunately, I cannot.

I listen to those who hate Christianity and am so grateful that I have the Lord, that the Father called me.  I don’t know why, but I am sure because scripture tells me, that He calls all men to Him.

We are being watched (even when vilified).  No matter what happens, we must rejoice in our hope.  God has planned everything out for us (Jer. 29:11) and nothing in His Kingdom happens by chance.  We are placed here to show others the Hope that overcomes all obstacles and by our example to draw others to Christ.   Our hope springs eternal…and is a beacon here in the surrounding darkness.  Let your light shine!