Alive in Christ

Christ paid the penalty

Romans 4 to 7 As I read this, all I could think about was what Martin Luther must have thought when he read this letter. What freedom he now had, as I do as well, freedom in Christ, freedom from sin, freedom to serve Him, not to gain heaven but because this is our gift back for our salvation. No wonder he took the church to task! They were like the Pharisees of old, and they needed correcting. No wonder he, like Paul, was willing to step forth to proclaim the good news: you are saved by faith, not by works!

God grants righteousness on our faith and not of works, which is precisely what Martin Luther, proclaimed and for which the church rebelled. Yet, like Martin Luther, we can declare righteousness because of this truth.

Now, as to death, we shall be like Christ in His resurrection, We die physically, but we shall never die spiritually; God so loved us that even while a sinner, Christ died for us. [Rom 5:8]Therefore, we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness, and we prove that through our works which takes us back to James. Prove your faith by your works. [James 2:17 -19] Rom 6:14 we are no longer under the constraints of the Law, but we are under grace. Rom 6:19, we are now slaves of righteousness for holiness.

Life Lesson: If we say we are righteous, live as righteous because of what Christ did.

 

Death and Eternal Life

Is heaven on your bucket list

2Cor 5 What if you knew that today or tomorrow you would be meeting God face to face? A precious friend whose elderly father is nearing his step into eternity waits for that last breath. As the friend waits, she recalls his life as a pastor and his work amongst the lost. She recalls his life as he taught her the scriptures she holds in her heart and shares with others. In this, we have this promise God has given to us. Ps 116:15 KJV tells us that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

Paul also shared that we might be comforted. We now live in an earthly house, but one day that house will close, and it will be by God’s timing. Until then, know this truth: we have a heavenly home already prepared for us. “Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God” [2 Cor 5:5] We who are left here groan in our earthly house, but we too one day will see the glorious Christ waiting for us on the shore of the celestial city.

Victory is but a word, but victory in Jesus is a lifestyle.

Death and Eternal Life

Is heaven on your bucket list

2Cor 5 What if you knew that today or tomorrow you would be meeting God face to face? A precious friend whose elderly father is nearing his step into eternity waits for that last breath. As the friend waits, she recalls his life as a pastor and his work amongst the lost. She recalls his life as he taught her the scriptures she holds in her heart and shares with others. In this, we have this promise God has given to us. Ps 116:15 KJV tells us that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

Paul also shared that we might be comforted. We now live in an earthly house, but one day that house will close, and it will be by God’s timing. Until then, know this truth: we have a heavenly home already prepared for us. “Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God” [2 Cor 5:5] We who are left here groan in our earthly house, but we too one day will see the glorious Christ waiting for us on the shore of the celestial city.

Victory is but a word, but victory in Jesus is a lifestyle.

The Holy Spirit and Christmas

The Holy Spirit is our gift

1Cor 12 It is December, and that means Christmas is coming! God gave us the best Christmas gift ever when He sent His Son Jesus. But, God also plans ahead and He had your name on a special gift; the Spirit to reside with you FOREVER AND EVER!

Jesus said: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;” [Jn 14:16] He is our permanent teacher, not just on Christmas morning but FOREVER! and EVER! In addition, Jesus prayed that; ” But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.”  [Jn 14:26] And then in 1Cor 12, we read that the Spirit gives; better than Santa! He also distributes; not to just good boys and girls but to every saved believer as He wills. He works all these things for His glory and that we might edify others and especially the church. There may be a diversity of gifts, but the same Spirit who does all of this and more, and we are to receive each one gratefully. 

Since eternity the Spirit has been actively distributing gifts, and you are blessed to have received His gift, whether it be knowledge or wisdom or the gift of x, y, z as he gave to Daniel. 

Do you know your gift? Do others recognize that you have been anointed with the Holy Spirit? Are you grateful for the gifts He has given to you?

You are the Body of Christ…

you are called to be found worthy

1 Cor 5 to 8 Life Lessons for the Church and Believers who make up the Body

Even though the Corinthian church had many sins that needed correcting, Paul could stop and say, you are unleavened–meaning they were believers. He said you are washed, you are sanctified, and you are justified. If we just stopped and pondered that when the enemy comes calling, we might see ourselves differently. Yes, we sin, but 1 John 1:9 says if we confess them, God will cleanse us from all this unrighteousness that beleaguers us.

However, then with all that, Paul takes this church to the woodshed! Why are you dragging your dirty laundry into the marketplace? Why are you not remaining pure both in and out of marriage? Beloveds, this should not be! Instead, you should see yourselves as the Body of Christ purchased with his blood, and you now are the temple of the Lord. Be ye pure! Be ye holy! Beware of being a stumbling block to outsiders.

Do we ache when sin abounds?

Do we want purity and righteousness as Paul wanted for the Corinthians?

Wisdom is found in Christ!

Truth!

1Cor 1 to 4 Paul challenged them to remember that as Spirit-filled believers, they like him, have the mind of Christ. He lovingly reminded them not to get caught up with the factions of the world who fall into one of two camps. Remember this; there will always be some, like the Jews, who won’t believe unless they have supernatural evidence. Then there will always be some, like the Greeks, who want to debate with human wisdom but refuse to read the scriptures to let the Spirit teach them the truth! Remember what James taught: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.” [James 3:17]

Let the Spirit guide you in all things and let your life be the evidence of who you are in Christ.

Remember this truth: “no one knows the things of God except by the Spirit of God.” [1Cor 2:11] Without the Holy Spirit, no one can know this truth: “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” [2Tim 3:16]

God has a sense of humor~

God has a sense of humor

Acts 19 God’s sense of humor

I always love this chapter because of what took place with Sceva’s seven sons. Principle: Don’t mess with God and His message or his messengers. 

The seven sons of Sceva thought they could ride on Paul’s coattails: “some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were possessed by evil spirits, saying, “I sternly warn you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. God sends  a man with an evil spirit who said to these seven sons; ” “I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?” [Acts 19:13-16] Hilarious!  🙂 This is a reminder of Psalm 2: “The one enthroned in heaven laughs in disgust; the Lord taunts them.” [Ps 2:4]

God has a sense of humor and He uses an evil spirit to ferret out the false exorcists. When the evil spirit descended on these sons they left in a hurry leaving naked and wounded. [Acts 19:13-16]

Let’s remember who God is or you might find yourself in that same position.

What is your life verse?

Crucified with Christ

Gal 1 to 3 Paul and the Galatians

Paul arrives in Galatia and is horrified to learn that they had deserted the faith. He asks them bluntly, did you receive Christ by doing the works of the Law or by believing? Remember that Abraham didn’t have the Law! He was, and we are justified by faith, not by the works of the Law.

Paul reminded them that like him, they should be able to say: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. [Gal 2:20 KJV] That is the testimony of a transformed believer. It is the life verse of a believer because it is the gospel in a nutshell.

What is your life verse?

The Simplicity of the Gospel

The Gospel Message is simple

Acts 15 and 16 Is Circumcision required for salvation?

The Jews, specifically the believing Pharisees, contended that for the Gentiles to be saved, they needed to be circumcised. Not so said Peter with his testimony about the salvation of Cornelius and his household. Paul agreed with him and expounded on it and will later write the book of Romans to justify why salvation is as Peter said: Circumcision is an outward ritual, and Paul explained that it must be Circumcision of the heart!

Further, Peter asked why do we want to add a burden that even the Jews have never been successful in keeping! So the dialog raged on until James stood up and proclaimed the truth from the OT. God said He would call the Gentiles to Himself for salvation, and it consisted of nothing more than repenting and believing in the name of Jesus.

James wrote a letter to the Gentile believers in Antioch, and the truth remains today: there is no outward ritual that one must keep. Just repent and believe, and you will be saved. That same message is still true today. Later, as Paul and Silas proclaimed that message to the residents of Philippi, the jailer came to believe it as well.

Today stop and praise God for the simplicity of the gospel message.

God’s Plans

Be an encourger

Acts 13 and 14 God uses Paul and Barnabas

Paul is the preacher and Barnabas is the encourager. We should be so blessed to have this combination in our walk with the Lord. Who is your encourager?

In Acts 7 we read that the Jews were angry hearing Stephen’s words and they stoned him and he died. Now in Acts 14, we read that both the Gentiles and Jews were angry and they stoned Paul. Whereas Stephen looked up to heaven as he died and prayed that God not hold this against them, for they did it in ignorance. In Acts 14 both Jews and Gentiles stone Paul and leave him for dead yet while others stood around, Paul got up and went into the city.

Principle: Stephen was raised to eternal life, yet Paul was raised to preach again. Until God so decides our death date, He will raise us up to do His work.

Two questions to close this chapter: 1. Do you have a Barnabas in your life? and 2. Until God so determines your death date, you are to be busy about the Lord’s business.