A la carte Grace?

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Romans 11:6 "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" 

When it comes to restaurants, a la carte is the way to go.  You can pick and choose, and mix and match from a variety of items on the menu.  A little of this and a little of that.  It makes the dining experience fun and exciting.  But when it comes to grace, a la carte is NOT the way to go.  Here's why… 

Grace and law don't mix.  It's either one or the other.  Yet some people try to live in both.  They know they are saved by grace, but they believe they are sanctified by works.  But according to the Word, you are saved by grace and sanctified by grace.  In other words, all the blessings of God come to us as free gifts.  Forgiveness, salvation, righteousness, healing, holiness…all free gifts.  

Mixing grace and the law (works and performance based righteousness) is like "carrots and sticks".  Carrots are the blessings you get for obedience and sticks are the penalties you pay for disobedience.  If you do good, you get good , if you do bad, you get bad,  If you confess, you'll be forgiven; if you do right, you'll be accepted; if you act holy, you'll be holy, and so on. 

An a la carte grace puts the emphasis on you and what you have done.  Your identity will be defined by your productivity, you will start to think of yourself as God's servant instead of His beloved son or daughter.  Worst of all, you'll end up totally distracted from Jesus and focused on your works instead of His finished work on the cross.  

So remember you were saved by grace and you now live by His grace.  All of life is now a gift, so simply receive and be empowered unto total salvation.  No more picking and choosing, mixing and matching grace and law.  Stay focused on Jesus.  Enjoy pure grace!

 

Raiders of the Lost AARP

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Deuteronomy 30:19-20 ….."For He is your life and length of your days…" 

The American Association of Retired People (AARP), founded in 1958, was established with the goal of helping Americans, age 50 and older, remain physically and intellectually active by serving others.  Why?  People are simply living longer.  In 2015, the world was home to nearly half a million centenarians (people ages 100 and older), more than four times as many as in 1990, according to United Nations estimates. 

So many studies have been done on centenarians and longevity, concluding that long life is something you can "achieve" if you do all the right things.  Two scientists in Okinawa, Japan studied centenarians for over three decades.  They attribute long life to genetics, diet, an active lifestyle, a relaxed life, and a "don't worry, it will work out" mindset.  

Would you like to hear God's supernatural prescription for long life?  The Bible says the Lord is your life and the length of your days. In other words, the length of your days is a person, and His name is Jesus!  Psalm 91:14-15 says, "With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation".  The secret for long life is found in the last word of the last line…salvation.  

The Hebrew word for salvation in this verse is Yeshua, meaning Jesus.  Glory to God!  In other words, you could say, "With long life I will satisfy him by showing him My Jesus".  Wherever you see Jesus in the Word, you see long life and length of days.  See Jesus and see longevity.  And not just surviving or existing either, God promises us a long, strong and satisfying life.  So, today I am here to announce to you, you're later days shall be greater than your former days, in Jesus' name.  Can I get an amen?!!

 

There's a Ram in the Thicket

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Genesis 22:13-14 "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Jireh [the Lord will provide]…" 

Once in a while, our dog Benny will find himself stuck halfway inside the rung of our kitchen counter stool.  We have to go and get him unstuck.  Then we find him stuck halfway under the laundry room bench.  Then the kitchen chair.  And we have to go and get him unstuck.  He's something else! 

In Genesis 22:13, it says, the ram was "caught in a thicket by his horns".  Most rams get caught in a thicket by their fur and are cut by the thorns.  But this ram had to be a without blemish or cuts of any kind to qualify as a perfect sacrifice.  It was a type of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Hallelujah.  As Abraham went up the mountain in obedience to God's instruction, a "ram" was going up the other side of the mountain.  Glory to God!  

Here's a word from the Lord for you today.  There's a "ram in the thicket" for you in your situation.  Whatever your need is today, be encouraged, there is a "ram" going up the other side of the mountain for you.  Jesus is called "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world".  That means, before you had a problem, God had the answer.  Before you had a question, God had the answer.  Before you had a diagnosis, God already provided the healing!  So get up and dance and shout!  Lift up your eyes. God provided His Son, His only Son, for you.

 

Son-Burn

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Luke 24:32 - "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?"

Summer is on its way, which means it's time to stock up on the sunscreen.  Nothing worse can happen on vacation than a bad sunburn.  Everything is sensitive when you even touch it, sometimes you can actually feel the heat coming off of your skin. 

After Jesus rose from the dead He gave us the secret to a different kind of sunburn…a "Son-Burn"!  Something happens to you when the scriptures are opened up to you.  Revelation, understanding, insight, joy…something supernatural.  It causes your heart to burn within you. It's the light of God's Word exposing every area of darkness and bringing deliverance, healing, freedom, excitement and fulfillment like nothing else. 

On this Resurrection Sunday weekend, my prayer for you is that your heart would burn on the inside of you, as you open up the scriptures.  That you would receive a "Son-Burn"!  But I must warn you - excessive exposure to the Word of God can cause side effects such as raising the dead, healing the sick, extreme favor, restoring the lost, miracles, and so much more!

 

Elisha...the Water Boy?

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2 Kings 3:11 "But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah" 

Elijah and Elisha are two of the most recognized and powerful prophets of the Old Testament. When it came time for Elijah to leave earth, he was taken to heaven in a whirlwind. He was instructed by God to anoint the man that would be his successor. His name was Elisha. 

Just before Elijah went to heaven, Elisha requested that he might have a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. In the new covenant, in John 3:34, it says, "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." Therefore, there is no such thing as a "double portion" in the new covenant.  We have no measure of the Holy Spirit in us on this side of the cross.  If you're saved and filled with the Holy Spirit you are "wall to wall Holy Spirit". 

Nevertheless, there is a powerful principle here.  King Jehoshaphat was looking for a man of God to advise him about a certain military campaign.  When Jehoshaphat inquired about a prophet of the Lord, Elisha was recommended.  Elisha was referred to as being the one "which poured water on the hands of Elisha".  These were his credentials. He had been a faithful servant to Elijah. 

Imagine that.  Before Elisha was promoted, he was a servant, he helped in menial tasks, including washing the hands of his mentor.  Elisha became a mighty man of God, but he received his training as a servant!  This is the way spiritual leaders are formed. It involves serving others and learning from those we serve. Servants learn by serving.  We prepare to lead by following.  It is next to impossible to be a great leader if you haven't been a servant. Would you like to be promoted?  Then get you water pitcher ready and get in line, you could be next!  

 

Don't Let Fear Shut You Up

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John 20:19-20  "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." 

Why were the doors shut?  "For fear of the Jews".  Fear will always try and shut you up, close you in, and restrict you in every way.  It will try to stop you, keep you from moving forward, and from breaking free of all limitations. But be encouraged, fear did not stop Jesus when He found His disciples gathered together, behind closed doors, and it can't stop you. He came and stood in the midst of their fear.    

And what was the very first word the resurrected Jesus said to His frightened disciples?  In our English bibles, it says "peace be with you", but our Lord would have spoken in Hebrew.  He would have used the word shalom.  Shalom is taken from the root word shalam, which means, “to be safe in mind, body, or estate.” It speaks of completeness, fullness, or a type of wholeness that encourages you to give back. 

"Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side."  These were the receipts of His payment for their shalom, and of His guaranteed peace.  Jesus paid the price for your shalom. You don't have to be full of worries and cares.  For every fearful and threatening situation in your life, you can declare the same thing that Jesus said to His disciples, "shalom".  Fear can't shut you up, unless you let it.  So don't let it.  Shalom.  

 

Let Go, Live Long

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Psalm 91:16 - "With long life will He satisfy you and show you His salvation" 

It's okay when the Bible says to "number our days" (Psalm 90:12), but it's not okay when the doctor says, "Your days are numbered!"  That's not good news. Maybe your parents died young, and you're fearful that you will die young too.  Thank God for doctors who are doing all they can to fight sickness, but the things that are impossible for man are possible with God.  

God's Word is health to all your flesh (Proverbs 4:20-22).  God's Word is health to your kidneys. Healing to your bones. It's healing to your skin. It's healing to your lungs. Not a single part of your body will be left untouched by the healing power of God's Word!   

Like many people, I used to say, "Well, life is short" to express how we shouldn't take anything for granted.  I stopped confessing that over my life many years ago, because my Bible says "with long life will He satisfy me…" 

Proverbs 14:30 says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones".  A heart at peace is sound.  The Hebrew word for sound in this verse is "marpe" which means "a healing" or "a cure".  So what does that tell you?  When your heart is at peace it becomes a healing heart that gives life to your body!  If you want to live long you need to have a relaxed attitude. Don't let your heart be troubled.  Be at peace.  Be at rest.  Declare today, "I let go and live long".  

 

No Condemnation

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Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" 

One of my favorite chapters in the book of Romans is chapter 8.  Something I found very interesting, that really opened my eyes to winning over condemnation, was that the word Spirit appears 21 times.  Wow!  I don't believe the Holy Spirit puts anything in the Word by accident.  

In Romans 7, Paul talks about overcoming the flesh, and the word Spirit doesn't even appear once.  It only mentions the word spirit as in a good attitude, but not Spirit as in the Holy Spirit.  The word flesh simply means, what you see or perceive with your senses, your negative emotions. 

We win over condemnation when we walk after the Spirit.  When we walk after what the Word says about us.  When we walk not after our flesh, our senses and negative emotions.    When we know who we are in Christ.  

For God sent NOT his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17).  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (John 8:10-11). 

So when condemnation comes, remember, it's not from God.  There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.  If you're in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation.  Period.  

 

Cloud Nine

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1 John 4:17 - "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is so are we in this world" 

According to the International Cloud Atlas, which defined ten types of clouds, the ninth type of cloud is a cumulonimbus, which rises over six miles, the highest a cloud can be.  Hence the phrase, "floating on cloud nine"…or a state of bliss, happiness, elation, and euphoria.  

Cloud nine seems pretty awesome, huh.  Well here's nine words that are even more amazing - "As He is so are we in this world".  Those are the nine words I wake up saying every morning.  Notice the verse doesn't say "as He was" or "as we will be".  It says, "as He is", right now, present tense, "so are we". 

Let me ask you a question, is Jesus healthy?  Of course He is.  As He is so are you.  Is Jesus worried today?  No.  As He is so are you.  Is Jesus poor?  No.  As He is so are you.  Is Jesus righteous?  Yes.  As He is so are you.  In your born again spirit, you are wall to wall Holy Spirit.  When the Father looks at you, He sees Jesus.    

These are the most powerful nine words in all the universe.  As you say them out  loud, you are declaring that everything that Jesus IS right at this moment, is released into your life.  Into your marriage.  Into your business.  Into your body.  Cloud nine?  It's no match to the "1 John 4:17 nine"!  

 

God's Grace Graph

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Romans 5:9 "Much more then, being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" 

If you followed the news recently, you may have heard about the sudden shift in the stock market.  How it skyrocketed for twelve months, and then a few weeks ago declined at a rapid rate.  When it was going up people were up.  When it went down, some commentators were reporting that the "sky was falling"!  Well guess what, it started back up again. 

I want to ask you a very important question…is your view of God's love for you up some days and down the next?  If it were charted on a graph, how would it look?  Perhaps after a great church service, you feel God's love for you is "up".  Then you do something you shouldn't have, and you feel God's love for you is "down".  Then you read your Bible, and you feel like God really loves you!  Then you don't read your Bible one day, and your graph shows a decline.  Here's some good news.  God's love for you is constant.  It never changes.  Your behavior does not change God's love for you.  

Romans 5:8 says "But God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us".  Then in verse nine it says, "Much more then, being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him".  In other words, before you were saved, as a sinner, God's grace abounded toward you.  How "much more then", after you were saved, did His grace super abound toward you. That's really big.  

Fix your eyes on His love for you, not on your performance or behavior.  His love for you is unshakable and immovable.  When you do, you remain stable, settled and strong no matter how you "feel".  No more up one day, and down the next.  God's grace graph is always the same…love, love, love.   

 

No Sweat!

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Ezekiel 44:17-18 " When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen garments. They shall have nothing of wool on them, while they minister at the gates of the inner court, and within.  They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments around their waists. They shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat." ESV

According to this scripture, the Old Testament priests were forbidden from entering the inner court wearing anything that might cause them to sweat.  Jesus is saying the same thing to us today, when we yoke ourselves together with Him, no sweat! (Matthew 11:28-30)

If there is an area in your life where you don't see the manifestation of God's promises, perhaps it's because you have not cast your care on the Lord.  Instead, you're on your own, sweating it out, and worrying about it.  He wants us to wear "linen turbans" on our heads, or in other words, keep our "minds" free of worry and care (sweat!).

Every time the enemy comes to you and demands, "What are you going to do about that?", what's your response?  Or when the accuser comes to shake you up about a situation on the job, or about your child, or your marriage, our your mortgage payment?

Here's what you need to say, "I'm not going to worry about this!  Jesus already made a way for this to work out".  Remember, before Jesus redeemed us from sin at the cross, before He was scourged for our diseases, He first shed His blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.  In Luke 22:44, it says that Jesus sweat great drops of blood from His brow.  He redeemed us from stress and anxiety in our minds!  Hallelujah!  He redeemed us from every oppressive thought and lie that tries to torture us.  So start today, let your response to every anxious thought be, "No sweat!"

 

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

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Isaiah 41:13 "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee" 

It seems like yesterday that my whole family would gather around our TV in our basement every Sunday night to watch the Ed Sullivan show.  Anyone with a TV set was doing the exact same thing, all across America.  On one particular Sunday night in February of that year, a band from England rocked the nation with their new hit called I Wanna Hold Your Hand.  The band…the Beatles.  

In Isaiah 41:13, the prophet Isaiah says "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy hand".  How many of you know that a child holding on to a mother's hand is never as secure as when the mother holds the child's hand. I would always grab hold of my daughter's hand when she was young, when we were in a store or at some kind of event.  I held her hand tighter and more secure than she held mine. 

I want you to encourage you, you're not holding on to God's hand, God is holding on to your hand, and He'll never let go. The verse says "I will hold your hand, fear not".   When God holds your hand, there's nothing to be afraid of.  Even when we are weak, His hand is strong. Hallelujah!  Do you feel weak today?  He's holding on to you. 

You might ask, "What about Psalm 51 where it says, "Take not your Holy Spirit from me"?  David prayed that because he was under a dispensation where the Holy Spirit would come upon you, and the Holy Spirit would go.  As a born again believer, the Holy Spirit lives and abides in you, and will never leave you, ever, no matter what. That's good news for us today.  Let that sink in.  Rest and be secure in His love for you. He will never let go.

 

God Works the Night Shift

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Psalm 127:1-2 "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it, unless the Lord guards the city the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early or retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors ; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep" 

We have a family friend that works from 12 midnight to 8 in the morning.  How different it must be for them to go to work while everyone else is going to sleep.  There are multitudes of people in hospitals, the airlines, the military, and factories that are working while we're sleeping.  God made our bodies with an inner clock that prompts us to sleep at night while it's dark.  It must be quite an effort for them to adjust their normal sleep patterns.  

Psalm 127 may be my favorite Psalm, because the writer, Solomon, received wisdom from God when he was sleeping.  After all, what can be more restful than sleeping.  Here's an encouraging word for people who work all day and night…unless God builds your business, you labor in vain.  Do you believe that?  If you're going to bed late, waking up early, can't sleep, and are full of worry and anxiety, it is in vain!  "Painful labors" is a Hebrew idiom for worry.  

"He gives to His beloved even in his sleep".  While you sleep, God goes out ahead of you and prepares things for the coming day.  God works the night shift!  While you're sleeping, He's working.  Then as dawn breaks, everything's ready for you. So, how should you wake up every morning?  Thanking God, and saying "I can't wait to see the day You have prepared for me!"  God is saying to all of us, "Don't believe everything depends on you!"  Let's let God work behind the scenes on our behalf, day and night.  

 

Fix or Facts by Natalie Fortunato

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James 1:14 - "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed" 

Some of you might remember a song from the early 70's called If Loving You is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right).  It's a song about a man that's in love with a woman, but he's married, and the woman he's in love with is not his wife!  For some reason, that title has always stuck with me.  I guess it's because I've seen it play out over and over again in people's lives.  They know that something's totally wrong for them, but they want it anyway.   

Are you holding on to or involved in something that you know is not good for you, but you want it anyway?  Are you holding on to something that's hurting you, but you think that letting go will hurt even more?  If yes, then you have a choice to make, do you want a fix or the facts?  

A fix: when you take matters into your own hands, and try to satisfy your desires your way.  When you do things, and won't allow God to do them for you, in His way and in His time. When you decide what's best.  When you answer your own prayers.     

The facts: When you surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth from God's Word, and you make yourself accountable to them.  When you know who you are in Christ and find your value and identity in Him. When you stick to what God has told you to do, no matter what.  

A fix or facts.  You choose.  (Choose facts!)

 

 

Trust Now, Understand Later

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John 13 :7 " What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand" 

Much of the Christian life is spent trusting Jesus now and understanding later. Jesus typically doesn't always explain on the front end why He is doing something the way He is doing it. Like Peter, when something looks wrong to us, we are tempted to go against the Lord's will.  God wants us to trust Him.  During those times when we don't understand, we need to remember Jesus' words to Peter, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand". 

Peter had grown used to Jesus doing and saying unpredictable things, but in the context of John 13:7, the way Peter saw it, Jesus washing the disciples feet was just plain wrong.  He believed Jesus was the last person in the room who should be washing feet, that was a house servant's job, a non-Jew.  People traveled in sandals, their feet were smelly, dirty and came in contact with things the law declared unclean.    

Here's the twist.  Under the law the unclean makes the clean, unclean.  But under grace, the clean makes the unclean, clean.  Jesus washed the disciples feet, when it should have been Peter down washing the feet of Jesus.  It looked like it was all backwards.  Peter didn't understand in the now, but he would later.

Today you may not understand what God is doing in your life, but trust Him, you'll understand later.  Follow the example in His Word, listen to that still small voice that says "This is the way, walk ye in it" (Isaiah 30:21). Remember this simple truth, God is good, all the time. When your down to nothing, God is up to something!  Something good.  

 

Step Into Peace

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Mark 5:34 "and He said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague" 

Imagine being healed of a blood disorder after 12 years of going to every doctor you could find, spending every penny had, and things just getting worse.  Just like that, one encounter with Jesus and she was instantly healed.  What happened next?  He said to her "Go in peace", or in the original Greek, "Go into peace".  This is really important.  Jesus wasn't bidding her farewell.  He was telling her to step into the realm of peace, the way you would step into a house. 

You might be going through a prolonged season of challenges where nothing you have done seems to work. Perhaps you are dealing with a chronic condition.  Or maybe you’re a single parent struggling to make ends meet. Or possibly you have done all that you can to mend a broken relationship, but all your efforts have come up short.  

Jesus is inviting you to receive grace for your situation, step out of your place of fear, worry, and anxiety, and step into the realm of peace.  Peace is a key component to keeping what grace has given through the finished work of the cross.  Grace and peace always go together, as seen in so many of Paul's epistles.  So, go ahead, receive your victory, and step into peace, it will change the course of your life.  

 

God Has Seen Your Future, and He Says It's GOOD!

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Isaiah 54:2  "Enlarge the place of your tent, and stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes" 

Picture your favorite, amazing vacation spot.  Remember when you saw it for the first time?  You got all wide-eyed, and filled with awe.  Then how about when you brought your friends there.  You couldn't wait to see their faces.  You almost enjoyed  the anticipation of their reaction more than actually being there.  

That's the way God feels about your future, specifically, this coming year.  He has seen it, and He wants you to know that it's GOOD!  That's good news.  When God declares your future is bright, it will be awesome.  

Now what?  Start preparing.  Before the increase comes, before the expansion comes, He wants you to enlarge the place that you are in and stretch yourself in every way.  Expand your vision.  Expand your expectations.  Expand your imagination.  Expand your thinking. 

If you're seeking a new job, get your resume together.  If you want to have a child, make some room.  If you want to go back to school, apply.  If you want to write a cookbook, gather your recipes and create new ones.  If you want to save 10% of your income, open a designated bank account.  Take action steps toward your desires and see God work on your behalf. 

Family, God wants you to get ready and expect such favor and increase in the days ahead.  Expect to see good things happen to you.  Expect to see the commanded blessing on you and your family.  Expect many good days.  Yes, have a HAPPY new year!

 

Immanuel - GOD with us

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Matthew 1:23 - "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." 

The prophecy in this verse, when fulfilled, would change the course of history.  Never before had God walked "with" His creation.  He came "upon" them in the old covenant, but never "with" them.  "A virgin shall be with child", that's impossible!  Not when that child has been conceived by the Holy Ghost.  "She shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Immanuel, God with us".  That's why this prophecy brought  such great joy.  The Messiah had come to deliver His people.  God had not forgotten them. This is awesome!  

For the first time ever, God took the form of a man, and walked among His people, healing the sick, raising the dead, delivering the oppressed.  The Word became flesh.  But when Jesus died on the cross, did God "leave us"?  Did His works come to an end?  No!  

Through His death, Jesus destroyed the separation between God and man, once and for all.  Then, on the day of Pentecost God sent the Holy Spirit to live and abide in every believer, and He has never left!  Imagine that, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, communes with you, works in you to will and to do of His pleasure.  GOD lives in you.  Wow!    

 

Which Side of the Fence Are You On?

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1 Timothy 1:8-10 "But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for……." 

When I was a kid, the house I grew up in had a back yard with a fence around it.  It was really cool to climb over that fence to get around the neighborhood.  I'd save a few minutes just by running and putting both hands on top of the fence and catapulting over to the other side.  Key words…"when I was a kid"! 

I want you to get this today from 1 Timothy 1:8-10.  THE LAW IS NOT FOR YOU, THE BELIEVER!  You've been made righteous in Christ.  The law is not applicable to someone who is under grace. The law is for unrighteous people, unbelievers who have not yet received Jesus. Its purpose is to bring them to the end of themselves and to help them realize that they need a Savior. 

Paul makes this clear in Galatians 3:24-25, "therefore the law is our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."  The law shows unbelievers that, in and of themselves, they will never be able to reach God's perfect standards.  The law leads people to depend on Jesus, who justifies and makes us righteous through the finished work of the cross!  

I am all for the law, but only for the reason God gave the law, to point us to Jesus.  The law was never designed for man to keep, but to bring us where we belong…on the side of the fence that is safe, blessed, prosperous, and effortless…the side of grace.

 

Never, Never Land

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Hebrews 13:5-6 - "…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." 

In the popular children's story Peter Pan, there is an imaginary place that is so ideal and perfect called Neverland.  As believers, we too have an ideal "Never" land of our own.  In fact, it's a "Never, Never" land.  The only difference, it's not imaginary, it's real.  

As described in Hebrews 3:5, it's a place in Christ that God promises to never leave us.  Never.  When things are going great, He's with us.  When things are falling apart, He's with us.  When we are doing everything "right", He's with us.  When we're doing everything "wrong", He's with us.  

He said it twice, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you", meaning never, never.  God is saying to us in the strongest possible way, that He will never ever leave us or forsake us.  

Still not convinced, look at this verse in the Amplified Bible:  "…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]" 

No matter what is happening in your life today, God is with you.  Living and abiding in you.  Even if you have turned your back on Him, He will never, never leave you.  He doesn't come and go based on your performance or behavior.  He is committed to you.  He loves you.