The Grace Invitation

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Revelation 3:5 “I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."

Before the foundation of the world, every person’s name was written in the Book of Life. On the cross, Jesus carefully counted the sin of all mankind to Himself, once and for all. Therefore, God is not counting sin against us. Instead, God is extending an invitation to all mankind to receive the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross on their behalf. To receive Him as their Savior and forgiveness for their sin.

What is your name? Did Jesus die on the cross for your sin? Yes. Then your name is written in the Book of Life. What about the names of your relatives? Did Jesus die on the cross for their sin? Yes. Even though they may not be born again yet? Absolutely. Then their names are also written in the Book of Life. If unsaved people got their name written in the Book of Life when they got born again, then Jesus would need to die on the cross all over again for them.

However, Revelation 3:5 speaks of names being blotted out from the Book of Life. What does that mean? Let me explain it this way. God has extended an invitation to all mankind to receive Jesus as their Savior the same as a couple would extend an invitation to someone for their wedding. They prepare a guest list then send out the invitations. With the invitation comes a request for a response, an RSVP. For those that accept the invitation their names remain on the list. For those who decline, their name is removed (blotted out).

God has written the name of every person in the Book of Life. He extends an invitation for salvation. For those that accept, even up to the very second before their death, their names remain written in the Book of Life. Sadly, for those who decline and leave this earth without having accepted Jesus, their names are blotted out. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says that it would please God if “all would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”.

How does a person receive God’s invitation? Through us! We have the privilege of sharing with every person we meet that God has already accepted them, that God sent His only Son to die on the cross for them because of His intense love for them. We get to tell them that God has their name is written in the Book of Life, and an open invitation is waiting for them to accept Jesus as their Savior and spend eternity with Him. We get to extend the “Grace Invitation”.

 

Happy Tails, Happy Hearts

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Numbers 6:25 “The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you”.

As I was driving recently from New Jersey to Colorado I saw a sign that said “Humane Society…Happy Tails, Happy Hearts”. Did you know that a dog wagging his tail serves the exact same function as a human smile, a greeting, or excited recognition? And what’s really cool is that for a dog to wag his tail, a person has to be in their presence. They don’t wag their tail when no one is around. This wagging of the tail means “a happy heart”. God created dogs this way!

God always looks at you with an approving look. He makes His face shine upon you, giving kindness, mercy, and favor! He is gracious to you. When He sees you or thinks about you, He overflows with intense love and joy. His greatest desires are to see you happy, joyful, and successful. God’s face is not frowning on you but shining with joy and elation over you, His beloved child. You, or nothing you do will ever change that about Him toward you. Simply smile back and receive it, soak it in!

 

May the Fourth Be With You

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Genesis 1:19 "And the evening and the morning were the fourth day" 

With Independence Day just behind us, I trust you enjoyed a day of rest and celebration of our nation’s birth, and the blessing that we have in being…the United States of America.    

However, there is another “fourth” that is very, very meaningful to all of us, no matter where we live. On the fourth day of what is called "creation week", God spoke into existence our sun, the moon, all the stars and the seasons. (Genesis 1:14) Interestingly, the Hebrew word for "seasons" is MOED, which is literally translated as "appointed times" (divine appointments).  Get ready for divine appointments in the coming days and some appointed times that are waiting specifically for you. 

“In the evening and the morning were the fourth day".  The Hebrew day started in the evening.  This means that while you are sleeping and resting, God's day has already begun.  Before you open your eyes in the morning, God is already causing favorable opportunities to be presented to you in your life, career, relationships, and pursuits.  

I really believe this means that God wants us to rest.  In the days, weeks and months ahead, as you rest in what He has already finished, divine appointments, key relationships, and Holy Ghost led associations are coming your way.  It's your appointed time.  A time where you will be at the right place with the right person.  

May the 4th be with you!...divine rest, divine activity, totally directed by the Spirit of God, that brings you to your appointed time.  So get ready and get excited because the 4th is with you, and His name is Jesus!

 

I'll Be There

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Judges 6:15-16 -  "So he said to Him, 'O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house'.  And the Lord said to him, 'Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man'.” 

Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 recorded a song in August, 1970 called I'll Be There.  In his autobiography Moon Walk, Michael Jackson said I'll Be There was one of the most important songs that they had ever recorded. All Music said about the song "Rarely, if ever, had one so young, sung with so much authority and grace, with wisdom and understanding far beyond his years". It was the most successful single ever released by the Jackson 5. 

Well, 5 is the number of unmerited favor and grace in the Bible. In Judges 6:15-16, it's speaking about a young man named Gideon who God had chosen to deliver all of Israel. His response when he was called?  "My family is poor in Manasseh", and did you notice, Lord? "I'm the least in my father's house". 

You see, grace flows best when we feel the weakest, the smallest, the poorest, the least qualified.  But in God's economy, He doesn’t "call the qualified", He "qualifies the called".  God loves choosing the foolish things to confound the wisdom of the world.  Him?  Her?  Are you serious? 

Great confidence rises up on the inside of you when you hear God say to you, "Surely, I will be with you".  Whatever the task is, no matter how big the situation looks, if He called you, He has promised to "be there".  He will never leave you or forsake you.  Verse 17 goes on to say, "Lord, if I have found grace…"  Grace is a person, and His name is Jesus, and He is in you.  Grace is with you in the impossible situation you are facing, rely on Him. Hear Him saying to you this week, "I'll be there". 

 

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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James 1:17 NIV "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" 

The grace of God can be described in two words "free gift". Everything about the grace of God is simply "the gift that keeps on giving".   Grace is always giving in every circumstance, it's a gift that never stops! 

To understand the grace of God you have to understand that life is all a gift. Health is a gift, a promotion is a gift, a love one finding his way home is a gift, life is a gift. In James 1:17, I'm so glad it says "every GOOD GIFT" and every "PERFECT GIFT".  Sickness isn’t included as a gift from God, a car accident isn’t a gift, although walking away without a scratch is a gift.  Losing your job isn’t a gift, unless very soon after you get a better job with better pay and better opportunities, that’s a gift.   

What's really great is that the Father doesn’t change, He's always "good" and His gifts are always "perfect", that’s good news. The scripture says that God is not like a "shifting shadow".  I love that because a shadow is constantly changing second by second minute by minute day by day.  His love for us is a gift that never shifts like a shadow.  His provision for us is a gift that never shifts like a shadow.  

Since Jesus is full of grace and truth, then Jesus is a gift.  Our relationship with Him is a gift.  His friendship with us is a gift.  He is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. That's great, great news to me.  It's the nearly too good to be true news.  So enjoy a life of gifts, God's grace that just keeps giving and giving and giving every day!

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.

 

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.  

 

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.   

 

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.

 

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.  

 

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!    

 

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.  

 

The Lord Saves. The Lord Saves.

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1 Samuel 14:6 "Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 

Yahweh, the Lord saves!  He saves us from our addictions.  From our bad habits.  He saved us from sin.  He saves us from getting in further trouble.  One of the greatest things about salvation is, the Lord saves us from ourselves  From our bad decisions, our mess ups, our mistakes. Grace is giving you victory in your time of trouble!  

Every day you need to know the Lord saves.  The Lord is the name of JESUS, Yeshua!   What area of your life needs saving right now?  You might say "I don't  need saving, I've got things under control".  Fine, you're on your own.  But if you say, "I need help", the Lord will save.  He loves to save, saving is what He does best. 

In 1 Samuel 14:4 it says, "there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side".  Jonathon and his armor bearer were "caught between a rock and a hard place".  There were 30,000 Philistines that came and surrounded the whole area.  

It says in verse 16 that their enemy was "uncircumcised".  That's covenant language, meaning God was not with them.  But like Jonathan, God is with us.  On your job, in your family, in your marriage, in every area of life, why should you be like the people of the world?  You must have this attitude, we are God's people!  

Maybe you feel like you're between a rock and a hard place.  Or perhaps surrounded by an impossible situation today.  The Lord saves by few or by many.  He's not moved by the odds against you.  He's not looking at your bills or your bank account.  He's not reading over the doctor's report and saying "What shall I do now?"   Our verse today says, "He will work for us".  While you're resting He's working!  The Lord not only saved you, He saves you in every situation.  

 

I'm Perfect

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Colossians 3:3 "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" 

When you begin to see yourself the way God sees you, your life will never be the same again.  When you became a believer, God no longer saw you as you with your old sin nature.  When He looks at you, He sees Jesus. You are now in Christ. 

Let me give you an example: if I take a ballpoint pen, and I place it in the middle of my Bible, and close the Bible, can you see the pen now?  No.  All you can see is the Bible. The pen is now completely hidden within the pages of the Bible.  In the same way, the moment you accept Jesus as Lord of your life, you are hidden IN Christ.  When God looks at you, He doesn't see all your flaws and imperfections and failures.  What does He see?  He sees His darling Son, Jesus! 

Colossians 3:3 says, in your new life you are "hid with Christ In God".  Because your life is "hid with Christ", having a blessed future is not based on how much you strive to be perfect, or how hard you work at changing yourself.  It's based on the person of Jesus. It's not about whether you deserve to be blessed, favored, and victorious. The real question is, does Jesus deserve to be blessed, favored, and victorious?  Yes!  And since I am hid with Christ, I am too!  How?  1 John 4:17 declares "As He is, so are we in this world".  He's perfect, therefore, in our born again spirit, so are we.  Say it out loud, "In Christ, I am perfect!" 

 

Truth = Grace

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John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" 

The breakthroughs you have been fighting to have for years can happen in a supernatural instant. I want to ask you a very important question, "Have you often felt anxious, worried, or fearful that the worst would happen to you and your family?  These negative, exhausting emotions are merely flags that indicate what we truly believe about ourselves, our lives, and God. 

If worrying or being fearful seems to be your natural mode, what you need to do is keep hearing and learning about how much God loves you and how precious you are to Him.  

John 8:32 is a verse that has been widely used, even in secular circles.  But what does it really mean?  What is the truth that sets you free?  We need to recognize that Jesus said this to the Jews of His day. These were people who at an early age grew up studying and learning the law. Yet these people, much like today, still battled with fears, anxieties, sicknesses, and all kinds of oppression, bondage and addictions.  So what is the truth that Jesus was talking about, this truth that would set them free from a destructive lifestyle? 

It clearly couldn’t be the law because they were already well versed in the law. The truth Jesus was talking about, the real truth was the grace and unmerited favor of God.  Freedom can only be found in grace.  Jesus came by "grace and truth" (John 1 :17).  The word "came" in this context is used as a singular verb, meaning grace and truth are one in the same thing.  Truth = Grace.  It's the truth of God's grace that sets you free.

 

Wounded Time, Is Wasted Time

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by Natalie Fortunato

Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." 

"If you're going through hell, don't stop!".  Heard this line in a country song while I was waiting at the car dealership for my oil change.  Loved it!  Totally got my attention.  Such great advice, right?  

When we really mess up, totally miss God, sometimes the guilt and shame is paralyzing.  It's almost unbearable.  But the worse thing we can do is stay there. All wounded and condemned, kicking ourselves.  What a waste of time.  

The enemy loves to rehearse the incident over and over again in our minds.  How we failed.  But the Holy Spirit is the exact opposite.  When we miss it, He loves to remind us of who we are in Christ.  He reminds us that we are loved, accepted, forgiven and righteous.  He reminds us of our calling and our assignment.  

If you've messed up big time, change your mind and change your direction.  Admit where you got off track, take responsibility for your actions, take dominion and authority over the enemy, and allow the Holy Spirit to get you back on track…and move on!  

 

"Deerly" Beloved

Philippians 4:1  “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." 

I recently read an article Deerly Beloved: Deer crash wedding, leaving newlyweds with fairytale photos about a couple in Stockton, NJ who had a herd of deer show up at their wedding.  I quote, "Outdoor weddings can be risky, but when weather and insects cooperate they can be great. And when a curious group of deer turn the photos into a scene out of Snow White they can be downright magical."  

On another note, the phrase dearly beloved shows up nine times in the New Testament.  It's from the Hebrew words meaning to breathe or long for, to prefer .The word dearly or dear in front of beloved is significant.  It means that HIS love for you is breathing life into you every day.  He is longing to be with you in fellowship.  He is preferring you in every situation you encounter throughout your day! 

Just like that herd of deer showing up in the wedding photo, God is showing up when you least expect it and most of all when you least deserve it.  You, beloved, are so dear to your Heavenly Daddy!  

 

I Know God Loves Me, But...

Romans 5:8 "God commended His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" 

A few years ago, our puppy Benny (who just turned 16 by the way), went outside for a little while.  Then there he was at the back door asking to back come in.  I opened the door, and the smell was so strong it almost knocked me over. Benny had a close encounter with a skunk.  Well, he started running around the whole house and the smell of the skunk got on everything.  Our couch, the carpet, everything, yuck!  I searched every possible remedy to get rid of the smell. I used vinegar, baking soda, Lysol, you name it, I did it, in an effort to "neutralize" the smell, I did it all! 

If we really understood how much God loves us it would change everything.  If we understood that God loved us, worry, stress, and panic would no longer be an everyday occurrence.  When we say "I know God loves me, but…", we basically neutralize everything about His love for us. Neutralize means to render something ineffective by applying an opposite force or effect. That’s what "but" does, it renders God's love ineffective in our life!  

Think about this, when you were born again, how much had you been fasting, praying, going to church, paying your tithes, living holy, and doing everything just right?  Romans 5:8 means that Christ did the ultimate when you deserved it the least.  You may have been in adultery, doing drugs, at your very worst, whatever, and yet Christ died for you!  It was completely independent of what you could do. It was a gift, and it was presented to you. So, don’t neutralize God's love for you…no more buts.  

 

Say Goodbye to Guilt

Gal 4:17 (The Message Bible)  "Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God's grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making themselves important." 

The biggest curse in the body of Christ today is the enormous amount of guilt, condemnation, shame, and fear.  These destructive behaviors are totally disarming and paralyzing the people of God. Sadly, statistics have shown that Pentecostals, Charismatic's and full gospel people suffer with guilt and guilt related disorders more than any other religious group in the world. 

The dictionary defines guilt as, the feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, or crime, whether real or imagined.  The reason why is we get hooked on what I call a toxic mixture of old testament law and new testament grace.  Once you mix the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, it will poison every area of your Christian life. 

For the majority of believers in the church today, guilt is their drug of choice.  For many, if they don't feel guilty, they wonder how they be motivated to serve God!  Some actually think guilt is a Christian emotion. IT"S NOT! Paul calls this mixture "another gospel".  Any time a person tries to earn the love, acceptance, forgiveness and favor of God, it is going to result in guilt, condemnation, shame and fear. God's unmerited favor is the answer that will deliver God's people from this addiction.  God loves, accepts, and forgives every one of us unconditionally.  It's time to kick the habit!

 

The Accepting Church

Romans 15 :7 NIV "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" 

For too long the church has been known as a place of rejection, judgment, and condemnation.  This is the consequence of mixing grace with law, which makes people fearful of their heavenly Father.  Under the law, they prayed for the day when the LORD would "make his face shine on you and be gracious to you" (Numbers 6:25). The good news is, you and I are living in that day.  He is looking at us and smiling from ear to ear.  We are the accepted and a member of "the accepting church".

 I recently read this and thought it would be a perfect way to open a Sunday morning church service… 

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, rich, poor, yo no hablo ingles.  We love crying newborns, people who are skinny as a rail, or those who could afford to lose a few pounds. You're welcome here if you are just browsing, just woke up, or just got out of jail.  If you can sing like a rock star or can’t carry a note in a bucket.  We don’t care if you’re in church every Sunday, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s baptism. 

If you blew all your offering money at the casino, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell or came because Grandma is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome soccer moms, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, and junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion.” We’ve been there too. 

We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We’re glad you’re here if you could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid, or got lost and wound up here by mistake. We welcome visitors, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!  Welcome home!  We accept you just as Christ accepted us!