Lots of folks who want to improve their lives (e.g. to be accepted by God, to get closer to God, to be loved more by God, to gain God’s favor and blessing) try real hard to be a good Christian. The operative word here is “try“.
But “good” Christians don’t exist.In addition, if someone is declared a ” Good” Christian that means somewhere there has to be a bad Christian and a superior Christian and a poor Christian. Do you see the judgmental comparison trap we’d get ourselves into?
The moment we “try” to improve our lot as a “Christian” we take the focus off God and place it squarely on our self effort.
In God’s Kingdom what we do on our own doesn’t count for anything. The only thing that counts in God’s Kingdom is surrender to Christ’s life allowing him to live His life through us. Christ wants to live His life (not ours) in us, through us, and as us to bring Glory to God. Period.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remains in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
For years I toiled under the weight of a “works” oriented salvation. I believed that to please God I had to work to earn His favor and His grace. When I did good things I believed my deeds were pleasing to God and, for the moment, I had gained His favor. But, when I sinned (and I did. A lot) I believed, even when I repented, God would make me pay with some consequence or retribution. I considered it, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
It was a miserable way to live. I went about my day trying to figure out what the
shoe would be. Would it hurt? Would it drop when I least expected it? Would it drop when I was enjoying pleasant times? Would it drop on my friends? When it dropped would my friends abandon me? Would it grieve me or cause me emotional pain? Would I suffer?
Then in August, 2000, I learned my true identity in Christ. God showed me His grace and taught me I didn’t have to pay for any or all the sins I committed. He told me, “They’re all already paid for. Stop waiting for that shoe and let me show you how much I love you.”
I’ve never worried about that shoe again.
Murphy’s law on steroids.
Whatever could go wrong today went wrong. From the moment I left the house this morning until I crashed on the couch at days’s end. My soft couch was welcome respite.
I regret to say I was not a nice person today. in the throws of multiple setbacks I lashed out at two ladies. Both, in their respective roles were trying to help me. Both were cheerful and pleasant. I was not.
I chose to complain and become one of those antagonistic clients they practice on in HR customer service training classes.
I sought them both out at the end of our meetings and apologized profusely and earnestly. I resent my negative responses to people who only wanted to serve me. All I wanted to do was argue and register my dissatisfaction and disappointment. All they wanted to do was help me.
By days end I was exhausted and regreted that I responded contrary to my usually pleasant Type A, never-meet-a-stranger self. I needed relief. I needed rest.
I came home and opened my bible and read Mathew 11:28-30 several times. About the third or fourth time I felt His peace wash over me. I was quiet, refreshed and at rest in Jesus.
I’m so grateful that on Murphy’s law days I can always come to Jesus and let Him take away my burdens and my anxiety and give me His peace and I can rest in Him.
Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and
learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke
is easy and my burden is light.”
It’s that time of year again.
The day we love to hate.
The chickens have come home to roost. The fat lady sang. It’s time to pay your uncle. The taxman cometh. Continue reading →
Lots of people who don’t know their true identity in Christ believe and live out of a contrived philosophy of works and performance. They think God plus their good works is what brings God glory. If the truth be told, in my opinion and from my experience, usually the motivation for their good works is probably more about getting approval from God.
I had a friend who used to tell me, and everyone else, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” I had to bite my tongue every time I heard that platitude. First, it’s not the least bit scriptural or true. And second, it creates the impression that one has to do stuff to get help, approval or acceptance from God.
I was teaching about grace and the freedom we have in Christ one Sunday in my adult Bible study class. One of our members grew up in another faith, a legalistic, works oriented religion. She made this statement, “Okay, I hear what you’re saying, but surely there must be something we need to do to receive God’s grace.”
Obviously she did NOT hear what I was saying. Her resistance to surrendering her life to Christ and abiding in Christ (John 15:1-5) caused her to struggle with God’s grace and receive it. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing!”
Abiding is the toughest “nothing” we will ever do. But as the verses in John say, unless we do nothing in and of ourselves and just abide, we won’t produce anything worthwhile for the Kingdom of God.
No. That’s not a misprint. I wish all of you were dead. WAIT! Before you unsubscribe to my blog in disgust, please keep reading.
Continue reading →
Once we claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior Satan can’t do anything to reclaim us. The victory’s won. We belong to Jesus. God is our father. That will never change. Continue reading →
Second In A Series
Love God More Than The World
By Amanda Beth
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series by my good blogging friend, Amanda Beth.
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. —2 Timothy 2:20
This is the second message in my series on preparing for your calling. This week we will focus on the first step in discipleship, learning to love God more than the world. Continue reading →
The slogan “Let Go And Let God” is a milestone for anyone recovering from addiction. It is probably the most difficult thing about the journey.
The problem is our money-grubbing, “anything for a buck” culture has hijacked the slogan. It’s now fashionable to “wear” let go and let God. You can find Continue reading →
So, you think God can’t use you.
You think God can’t use you because ________________?
What’s your excuse? You think God doesn’t want you to be Continue reading →
I think my hippie generation coined the phrase “getting it all together”. Reason being, for lots of those long-haired, drug-loving friends of mine their lives were falling apart. Oh, I had shoulder-length hair and a scraggly beard. My world fell apart
Continue reading →