Category Archives: Christianity

Salvation! Salvation Has Come!

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I will give you thanks, for You answered me;
You have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless You.
The LORD is God, and He has made His light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks;
You are my God, and I will exalt You.
~Psalm 118: 21-28

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!”
~John 12:13

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People of the Day

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Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
~Romans 13:11-14

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.  While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.  For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of dayWe are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.  For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.  But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  
~1 Thessalonians 5:1-8

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.  Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.
~2 Peter 3:8-15a

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will
~the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:42-44)

Open the Eyes of My Heart 

Good Enough for God?

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Are we good enough for God?

No.
We are not.

No one is good, but God. ~Jesus

A man is not justified by the works of the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ, alone.

We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping
but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ.
How do we know?
We tried it–and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen!
Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement,
we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God 
by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.  ~Galatians 2:16 (MSG)

No one will ever get it right.

No one will ever be “good enough” for God.

It’s impossible to please God without faith, and trying to “be good” is not faith.
It is trusting in self.

Believe me, please.  For, you see, I tried it.
For years and years and years which turned into decades upon decades.

I was even given the name “Goody-goody” throughout my school years. Yes, I thought I could keep myself saved through good works. It doesn’t matter if you believe your good works will save you before, or after, you come to know Christ. Either way, you’re still only trusting in self.

It wasn’t until my late forties that I realized I can do nothing to save me.
I either have faith in Christ, alone, or it’s all a sham.

And guess what?

On the other side of self-abuse, wretched sinfulness, and family-shattering betrayal…

Finally, I understood the GRACE of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

He looked upon my sinfulness
And bestowed upon me His forgiveness.

I saw my sin,
And I knew He saw it.

Yet, I felt His grace.

His love.
His mercy.
His redemption.

I found it is only through Christ, my Lord, that I am able to stand before God, the Father.
Jesus took the punishment I well-deserved.  He endured the suffering for my sins — all of them — before I was even born. Yes, and even before the foundation of the earth, the Lamb of God was crucified for us all.

As a child I learned Jesus loved me.  But I was also taught I must keep myself “good” for Him. And if I didn’t, He would not accept me.  My standing before Him was based upon my good works, not His sacrifice, alone.

So…
Why all of the clarification now???

Because, I spent so many years teaching it wrong. And so many people heard me. Eventually, I did learn the right teaching, but without the experiential knowledge, it wasn’t completely understood within my soul. I kept being “good” for I knew it was wisdom to live well.

But, God…
He turned up the fire of trials in my life.
He tested my knowledge and let me go down a path that would solidify my faith.

It wasn’t pretty.
Seeing our own sinfulness is never pretty.
But, necessary.

And now I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW

I am the LORD’s and He is mine.
And nothing can separate me from His love.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dear LORD.

Please, hear me, it is still wise to live well, BUT, never ever believe your good works will save you, or keep you saved…

In Christ, alone, is our salvation.

For by GRACE you are saved
through FAITH,
and this is not from yourselves,
It is the gift of God.
~Ephesians 2:8

What Christ Has Done

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I was raised to be good and right.
I followed the rules.
I was sure Jesus saved me, but also believed my works kept me saved.

“We come from good stock.”
(No one is good but God.)
“But, we go to the right church.  Those other churches don’t understand what it takes to truly be a Christian.”
(God saved you by His special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.)
“I can’t dance.  It’s against my religion.”
(Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.)

I once thought all these things were so very important,
but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

Yes, everything else is worthless
when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

I have discarded everything else,
counting it all as garbage,
so that I may have Christ and become one with Him.

I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law,
but I trust Christ to save me.

For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.

As a result, I can really know Christ
and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead.
I can learn what it means to suffer with Him, sharing in His death,
so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things
or that I have already reached perfection!
But I keep working toward that day when…

I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be,
but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing:

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize
for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

~from Philippians 3

Is It Warfare?

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We must learn to live in the tension between the real and the ideal.
It is in the tension that the beauty of salvation is seen.

~a paraphrase from Andy Stanley

When he said that yesterday, I felt more grace flood my soul than I have felt in a very long while. For someone to recognize the tension between the real and ideal, and then allow for a “less than perfect” reality … Well, I haven’t heard that kind of grace spoken much recently.

Another gracious word from a discussion over the weekend:

Satan calls you by your sin.
God calls you by your name.

And that’s when I remembered, this is warfare.

The names I’ve been called reveal the disappointment others feel toward me.
And the names I’ve called myself reveal my own disgust.

It feels like a flesh and blood battle when flesh and blood people are speaking the words.  But, I must remember that we do not war against flesh and blood.  Satan can speak through people, without them even realizing they are being used.  Remember Peter?  One moment he’s declaring Jesus is the Christ and the next, Jesus tells him to “get behind me, Satan!”

It wasn’t that Peter turned into Jesus’ enemy, it’s that he didn’t understand the Father’s plan for Jesus’ life. And in his misunderstanding he spoke.

We do this all the time when we assume we know what God is doing in someone’s life.  We imagine we can see where they need to be headed, and yet, only God knows the plans He has for each of us.  He is the One working out our salvation for His good will.  He is the One empowering us to do the “good works” He has planned for us to accomplish from the foundation of the earth.  He is the One who sees all the intricate details of each of our lives and is directing our paths as He sees fit.

Remember, Beloved, when others speak untruths concerning you, when you are “labelled” as they see fit, know that is not My name for you.  I call you Beloved.  I call you Redeemed.  I call you My Child.  Stand firm in the armor I’ve given you.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil,

so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News,
so that you will be fully prepared.
In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.
Put on salvation as your helmet,
and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
~Ephesians 6:12-18

The Name of the LORD

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Does a name matter?  When I’m called something other than Michelle, I do not respond.  It is not my identity.  Names are given for the unique individual created…for the personality of the one being named.

Sometimes we do a lousy job of naming our children.  We don’t even give a thought to whom they may be, but to what sounds good to our ears.  Biblical names were not chosen by what would tickle the ear.  Biblical names were given to express the characteristics of the one named.

God revealed Himself through His Name.

The God of the Bible is…

Elohim  —  Our Creator Who said, “Let US make man in OUR image”

El Elyon  —  God Most High

El Shaddai  —  God All-Sufficient

El Roi  —  The God Who Sees

Adonai  —  Lord and Master

Jehovah  —   LORD

Jehovah-Jireh  — The LORD our Provider

Jehovah-Shalom  —  The LORD our Peace

Jehovah-Tsidkenu  —  The LORD our Righteousness

Jehovah-Mekkodishkem  —  The LORD our Sanctification

Jehovah-Rapha  — The LORD our Healer

Oh, so many names — more than I’ve listed — reveal the character and  attributes of our eternal, infinite, transcendent, and HOLY God.

Our God, the God of the Jewish people and the God of the Christian, IS the same God.

That truth offends so many people of both faiths.  But, when we see what scripture teaches, the OLD and NEW Testaments of God, we see Jesus is the Son of the Father, who is in Heaven.  The Great Shepherd who leads His flock to still waters is the Good Shepherd who searches for His lost sheep.  The Rock upon which we stand is the Stone of Stumbling which causes offense.  Our righteousness and our sanctification is found in the Name of the LORD.

The scripture teaches us:

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.
~Proverbs 18:10

For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
~Psalms 31:3

My God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior,
You save me from violence.
~2 Samuel 22:3

For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
~Psalms 61:3

When the LORD called Moses to return to Egypt and bring His people out of slavery, Moses questioned God.  He wanted to know by whose name — by whose authority — was he to speak.  We read:

Then Moses said to God,  “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”

God said to Moses,  “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

God, furthermore, said to Moses,
“Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel,
‘The LORD,
the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.’
This is My name forever,
and this is My memorial-name to all generations.
~Exodus 3:13-15

God declared the name LORD as His memorial name to all generations.  He is known to ALL GENERATIONS by the name Yahweh.  Such a sacred name that the Jewish people will not speak it.  In English we have given the Hebrew tetragrammaton of YHWH the transliteration of Jehovah.

This is the name Jesus spoke when questioned by the Pharisees.  They became so enraged that they took up stones to kill Him!

Jesus said to them,
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
before Abraham was born,
I am.”
~John 8:58

God is known by His Forever Name — I AM  — to all generations!

Jesus is the Great I AM!  Emmanuel — God With Us!!!

In the Book to the Hebrews we are given this explanation:

Because God’s children are human beings––made of flesh and blood––Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.  We all know that Jesus came to help the descendants of Abraham, not to help the angels. Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since He Himself has gone through suffering and temptation, He is able to help us when we are being tempted.  Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.  ~Hebrews 2 & 3

 

What is the name of your God?

If you want to serve the God of the Bible,

His name is I AM.

I am the LORD! That is My name!
I will not share My glory with anyone else, or the praise due Me with idols.
~Isaiah 42:8