Works or Faith? RC church or Bible?

What is truth? This was a question Pilate asked of Jesus. It is asked a lot these days. Truth is important. What you believe is important.  That is why I am posting this.  I know I may get some backlash and some rebuttals.  I pray that a conversation is started and the Truth will be known.

Having a Roman Catholic background I was taught certain things.  There were also certain truths that Rome teaches that I was not taught or that I missed.  I hope that this brings to light some of the teachings and doctrine of the Roman Catholic church and what the bible truly teaches.  I do not go into much detail in this video but just wanted to start the conversation

In the end what we believe is important. What we believe about heaven, hell, this world, and God has eternal consequences.  Believing the correct Gospel of Jesus Christ is essential. Your eternity is at stake. Truth is critical!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

What A “Good” Lie!

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I have had more than a few conversations with people about destiny.  No, not what you think the future holds for you in a way of career and family, but what eternity holds.  What happens to you when you die?  Most people have told me they believe in heaven.  Then I ask the million dollar question…. How do you know that is where you are going?  Most common answer. “I am a good person”.

Is this how we get to heaven? Do we need to be “good people”?  How do we know what “good” is?  Do I use our own standard of “good”?  Do I use someone else’s standard of “good”?  Or do I use God’s standard of “good”?

Some will use their own standard of “good”.  I recently heard a Tim Keller sermon in which he made the point that if someone uses their own standard of good and took a tape recorder and put it around their neck, then at the end of the day played back everything they said, they could not even live up to their own standard of “good”.  I agree.  I know me and know I couldn’t do it.

So let’s look briefly at someone else’s standard.  If I can’t live up to mine how can I live up to theirs?  Unless theirs is so low that they allow me to live how I want.  This may be so they can live without the guilt of not living up to their own standard.

Now let’s look at God’s standard.  How do we know God’s standard for good?  We have His Word.  We have the bible.  We have in the bible the commandments given to Moses.  I will not list them but I will test myself against a few to see if I live up to the standards God’s wants me to live by.

Have I ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Have I used it as a curse? Yes! One commandment broken.

Have I ever dishonored my parents?  Yes!  Strike two!

Have I ever taken something that wasn’t mine?  Maybe even something small like a pencil?  Yes!  Strike three!

Have I ever been angry with someone and not forgiven them?  Yes!  Jesus says this is like committing murder in your heart. Strike four!

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  Matthew 5:21-22

Have I ever looked at a women with lust?  Yes!  Jesus says if you look at a women with lust you have committed adultery in your heart.  Strike five!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

Let’s stop at five.  I can keep going because I have broken them all.  There is no one who hasn’t.

as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; Romans 3:10

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23

So what does this mean?  We can’t live up to our own standards.  We sure can’t live to God’s standards.  He will judge us.  If God is just, He will give us what we deserve.  He will not weigh the good we have done against the bad.  That would not be just.  That would be like if a person commits murder and goes to the judge and says “judge, look at all the good I did.  It must outweigh the bad.”  Would he be a just judge to let the murderer go? 

 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Here is the GOOD NEWS!!  Here is the GOSPEL!!!  We have someone who took our punishment for us.  God sees our sins and says “guilty”.  My punishment is death.  But, God came down and became a man in the form of Jesus.  He was fully man and fully God.  He lived that perfect life that God commands.  He was tempted as we are tempted.  He did not sin.  Then He took a sinners punishment being whipped with a cat of nine tales being lashed to the bone.  He was spit on and mocked made to wear a crown of thorns.  He took my cross up Cavalry and had nails driven into His wrists and His feet and before He died said “It is finished.”  He atoned for our sins.  Now we can repent and put our faith in Him for our forgiveness.  We no longer have to be slaves to sin.  We can be free as slaves to Jesus Christ.

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I do not write this to make you feel bad.  I do not write this to lift myself up in self righteousness. I struggle with sin everyday!  I am not perfect but I am being made perfect through Jesus Christ.  I am a wretched sinner in need of the Savior.  My hope is that you think about these things: “Am I good?  By what standard? Can I live up to God’s standard on my own?  Why did Jesus die?  Can I put my faith in Him for taking my punishment and repent?  Can I pick up my cross and follow Jesus? 

I know this is a popular Scripture but it is truth.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

My prayer is always that you are “whoever”.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Saved by grace alone, through faith alone, through Christ alone, by God alone.

In Whom

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When I say I believe in Jesus Christ it is not a belief like when you’re a kid and you believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. When I say I believe it is like when someone says they believe in themselves to accomplish a goal. Or like when you tell someone you believe in them accomplishing their goals.  Better yet, when you believe in someone to provide for your well-being.  My belief in Jesus Christ isn’t about His existence.  I already know Jesus is real from Holy Scripture and personal experience. My belief is in what He has done and the promise of what it means.

I believe in Jesus Christ in His life.  He lived a perfect life that I can never live.  In this perfect life He was tempted in every way that I am.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

He lived as a human and did not fall as I do.  He was the perfect lamb.

I believe in Jesus Christ in His death and work on the cross.  He was beaten and humiliated.  He was nailed to a cross through His wrists and feet.  He was piecered through His side and was a bloody mess.  This is the death that I deserve.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

I believe in Jesus Christ in His resurrection.  He was dead for three days then came back. Not just spirit, but His entire being, body and all was raised.  In this I have eternal life.  In this I have the promise of resurrection.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”  Luke 24:1-7

Jesus Christ is not a fictional character in whose existence I believe.  I already know He exists.  I believe in His life, death, and resurrection for my salvation.  C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  This is how I also believe. I see everything by Jesus Christ.  He has given me faith.  This faith is also not a blind faith.  It is faith in what is real.  It is faith in Who is real.  It is faith in what Holy Scripture says.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

I put all my trust in Jesus Christ. He changed my heart. He opened my eyes. No more walking in darkness. His promise is true. Believe in Him and walk in the light of salvation.  Jesus Christ is all.  He is enough.

And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.  John 12:44-46

I encourage you to get a Bible.  Read these passages I have shared.  If you don’t have one I will send one to you.

My prayer is for Jesus Christ to work in your heart.  I pray for Him to open your eyes.

I am nobody special.  I am just a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God through the perfect life, bloody death, and amazing resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Ephesians 2:8

I pray He saves you.

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For You

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Life is short. You don’t know what tomorrow holds.  You don’t know if tomorrow holds anything at all.  You may wake up.  You may not wake up. If you are blessed to wake, what will you do with the time you are given?  What will you live for?  Will you take advantage of the time or will you let it take advantage of you?  If you knew today was your last what will you do with it?  Will you spend it having fun?  Will you spend it living out the stupid acronym that was popular a few years ago YOLO?  Or would you use your last day sacrificially?  Would you give all you are?  Would you do what you think will help people the most?  This life is short.  I pray you come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  He offers everlasting life.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

I live today to tell you about Jesus Christ because I love you too much not to. I believe the most important thing I can do is tell you about Jesus Christ.  I need to tell you what He did for us on the cross.  I need to tell you that I am a sinner and so are you.  I need to tell you God loves you and became a man and died the worst death because we are sinners.  I need to tell you this because your sin, my sin, deserves to be punished.  I need to tell you that God, who loves, is also just and will carry out the judgment, wrath, and the punishment we desever if we don’t come to the saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ who took that wrath for us.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

These are tough words.  DEATH and WRATH!  But it is justice.  Think of the most horrible crime imaginable.  Think of this crime being commited against you.  Maybe it is theft, murder, rape, torture, or worse.  Should that person be punished for their crime?  Should that person receive justice?  Should that person be judged and sentenced to the full extent of the law? What if you are the theif or the murderer?  I know you might be saying “I may have only taken something small, or told a little lie, but I never murdered.”  Jesus said:

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus is saying holding ill will, hate, and anger for another in your heart is as bad as murder.  I am guilty of that.  This is a crime commited against God.  The justice we want for a crime against us is the justice God has to carry for our sins against Him.  We deserve to die for our sins.  Not just the big ones, but all of them.  This is because God is just.  God is holy.  Any sin we commit deserves to be punished by a holy and just God.  The fact is all sins are against God.

We are all doomed!

No!  While God is just He also shows amazing grace.  God provided a way for all who believe.  He provided the Way, Truth, and Life.  He provided the wages for sins of all who believe.  He provided Jesus.  Those who believe need to repent and put their trust in Him.

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:17

Repenting is turning away from our sins.  When you know Jesus is your savior you see your sin for what it is.  He will give you the power to turn.  You my have tried to do it on your own.  Let Him lead you.  Let Him sanctify you.

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

The Truth is Jesus, who was from the beginning. May you know the Truth.  May He work in your heart.  May you come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  May you be freed from your slavery to sin.  May you meet and follow Jesus.

This world is temporary, but then comes eternity.

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

I pray you repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ. 

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Be More

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Have you ever loved someone so much you would do anything for them?  Have you loved someone so much you would risk getting hurt for them?  Have you loved someone so much that you would give it all for them?  Have you ever loved someone so much that you would go to battle and die just to win that battle for them?  Have you been willing to give everything you have because you believe the one you love is worth more than you are?

Many warriors fight for these reasons.  They go to war for their country, friends, family, and other loved ones.  They are willing to go into battle and risk their lives for loved ones.  Losing limbs or life is worth it to them.  Conquering the enemy to free loved ones says the loved ones more important than their own life.

When warriors come back home from war their entire family is victorious.  Even those who did not fight on the front lines share in the victory.  The mighty warriors defeated the enemy and now the family has them home.  While the warrior was fighting, the family may have been fighting battles at home.  Living while that loved one is away at war is tough.  Many challenges arise, but through the warriors bravery, the family battles on because they know how important they are to the warrior.  Sadly, sometimes that warrior doesn’t return.  He dies in battle while conquering.  He conquerors for them and the family is still victorious through the mighty warrior.

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What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can beagainst us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,  “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  Romans 8:31-36

The warrior loves for the people he fights for.  He gives all of himself.  This is what God did for us.  He gave himself.  He took our place because He loves us. We conquer because He conquered.  Because Jesus overcame we overcome.  Because Jesus defeated death, we have eternal life.  But there is more to it than just a victory.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  Romans 8:37

We don’t just conquer because of Him.  We are more than conquerors.  We are seen by Him as more.  We are so loved by God that He became a man and was tempted as we are tempted. We are so loved by God that we are worth dying for.  We are so loved by God that we are worth suffering the worst torture and death in the history of the world.  We are so loved by God that He suffered all of this and still is the victor and our Savior.  We are so loved by God that, once we believe on Jesus Christ, nothing can take Him away.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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When you are a warrior you fight not just for yourself, you fight for who you love. When you are a warrior you fight with passion for someone more than you.  You conquer for those who are more than conquerors.  Jesus conquered the grave for us because we are more than conquerors through Him.

Do you believe you are more than a conqueror?  Do you know Jesus?  Is He your Savior?

If He isn’t, He can be.  If you think there is more to this world than what we see, pray for Him to show you.  If you are asking, the Holy Spirit is already be at work in your heart.  He will show you.

If you feel you don’t deserve the love of someone who died for you, you don’t.   It is by grace Jesus forgives.  It is why He died.  He said “It is finished”.  He conquered not for the perfect, but for the broken.  He conquered for me, the biggest of all sinners.  And if he conquered for me, He definitely conquered for you.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

If you feel like you have done too much wrong to deserve forgiveness, you haven’t.  It is not about doing or deserving.  But we can turn to Him.  He died knowing what I have done.  He felt what I have done.   It was nailed with Him to the cross.  Now I am no longer a slave to sin, but I am free as a slave to Christ.  You can be too.  You can be “whoever”.  I pray you are.

For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

You can be more than a conqueror.

How We Get Stronger

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I am a personal fitness trainer and strength coach.  Clients come to my gym to lose weight and get stronger.  Some may think it will happen just by coming in.  Some may think they will get results by doing just enough.  Some may think there is some magic trick that only the trainers know.  These people often don’t last long.  They don’t understand that in order to get stronger you have to lift things that you haven’t lifted before.  In order to get results you have to be challenged.  Many trainers have used this great saying “if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”  So in order to get stronger you need to lift heavier weights. I look at faith in a similar way.  If there are not challenges in your life how can your faith grow? How can your faith increase?  If things continue on in a nice status quo manner is anything making you stronger spiritually?

So we pray for our faith to be increased.  This is one of the best things to pray for.  Just be ready and understand what that may mean.  Understand that in order to increase your faith, it may be challenged.  This should not discourage you from praying that prayer. In fact, let it encourage you knowing that Jesus will be with you every step of the way.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I wrote a post a few months ago about faith being a gift from God.  For Him to increase our faith is a huge gift. It comes with many blessings.  But like I stated, it may come with trials.  Persevering through those trials is what we need to do .

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

The enemy will try to attack. He will come at you and tell you to give up.  He will come and tell you to run away from your faith and not to trust anyone.  He will show you the dangers that having faith will bring.  But much like lifting a heavy weight and being under the barbell when you are on the bench, you know when you lift that weight you will become stronger. You know that you have a spotter, a coach, a Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ, who will be with you as you press that bar of trial off of your chest and high to the sky.  Then you pray for more faith and put some more weight on that bar.

Remember this too, Jesus won’t give you what you can already handle.  No! He is looking to get you stronger. Prepare for more than you think you will get.  Why? Because He is there with you.

Let’s take a look at Peter. Here is a man who was out fishing.  Jesus said to him “follow me” and He did.  Throughout each Gospel story Peter is asking many questions.  Even after just following Him without asking why at that moment.  Even after walking on water.  When Jesus asked the Apostles who they thought He was, Peter gave an answer.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  Matthew 16:15-18 peter

This answer that Peter gave was of faith.  Jesus even told Him this faith was given to him by God and not man.  He then called him a rock and said on this confession of Him as the Christ the church will be built.

Something I find interesting about Peter was even after these miraculous things, his faith was tested even more.  Tested to the point of him denying to know Jesus even after he told Jesus he would not.  Even after this Jesus still loved him.   He was not done with him.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Mark 16:7

Peter went on to do many great things in the face of persecution.  He preached, healed, raised to life, all by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Everyday his faith must have been challenged and everyday his faith must have grown.  In fact he wrote:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter  1:3-9

I can pick several people in scripture who faced trials and tribulation, all the while their faith increased.  God could have just left them alone.  He could have turned His face from them.  He can turn His face from us.  But He loved them and loves us.  He blessed them and he blesses us.  He sent His Son to die on the cross just so we can be with Him.  We are sinners who deserve death but we get life, freedom, grace, mercy, love, and faith.

There are many promises in the bible.  One way I know it is true is because we are promised tribulation.  We see that everyday.  But we also see hope.  We believe in hope because after three days in the grave our Savior rose from the dead. He is alive and in every believer.  He can raise our broken spirits back from the dead.  He can raise our broken relationships back from the dead.  He will leave the 99 sheep to get the one. He will welcome you home meeting you on the road as He sees you in the distance.

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Your faith may be under the bar right now.  The weight may be more than you can handle.  Stop trying to lift that bar alone.  Those hand that are helping you lift it have wrists that have been pierced so you can know you are not alone under that bar.  I might have a day where I miss the spot and the bar crushes you.  Man will fail.  God will not.  Sometimes He will just spot you with 2 fingers instead of pulling the bar off quick.

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I pray that if you are reading this and don’t know the Savior I speak of, that you desire to know Him.  I pray He is at work in your heart right now.  I pray that you get on your knees and talk to God.  Ask Him to show Himself to you.  Tell Him what you are feeling.  Tell Him what you want.  Ask Him to give you faith, and if you have it, ask Him to increase it.  If you are under the heavy barbell press hard.  Jesus is with you. A funny thing about faith, it really doesn’t take much for miracles to happen.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.  Luke 17:5-6

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Let’s GO!

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Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

There it is.  The great commission.  This is what I am wrestling with right now.  What does this look like?  How, in this American culture, does making disciples of Jesus Christ happen?  Am I doing it now?

Lately I feel restless.  I read Scripture and think about how Jesus walked around and went to people.  He made himself accessible.  He didn’t just have a Sunday morning meeting.  He didn’t just go to the temple.  He walked around town.  He got in a boat and went across the river.  He went to places where even his apostles didn’t want to go.  He talked to people who were not looked at as people who a Holy person should talk to.  He ate with tax collectors. He ate with prostitutes.  He healed people who were considered “dogs” by many.  He asked questions.

Is that what I am doing?  Am I being salt and light to the world by more than Facebook posts and writing a blog?  Am I really showing I love the Lord by really loving my neighbor?  Is my faith being shown by my works?

But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  James 2:18

The more I read Scripture the more I feel convicted on all fronts.  This is not in a bad way.  It is not a guilty feeling.  It is a feeling of longing.  It is a feeling of longing to be more like Christ.  To live a sacrificial life.

As I write this I realize it may be the sin of pride I am fighting with.  I sit and sometimes think of the church in countries where it is illegal to be a Christian.  I think of how there are places where, if you have a Bible, you can be killed.  I think of Paul and other Apostles and disciples who were beaten, put in prison, and killed for going out and proclaiming the Good News.

The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. Act 16:22-24

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In a contrasting situation, I sit here writing a blog free from that persecution.  I live in a country where yes, sometimes Christian views are not popular, but we get to express them in many ways.  While that freedom may be threatened one day, I still have that gift.  Instead of feeling like I am not sacrificing enough because I am not persecuted, I should take advantage of the Grace and Blessing God has given me by being in this country.

If you are restless out there, let’s get bold.  Let’s be the body of Christ.  Let’s be the Church and not just go to church.  Let’s take care of our brothers and sisters in Christ everyday.  Let’s make a difference where we live so the light of Christ can be seen so that people want to be a part of the body.  Let’s be salt so people seek the living water of Christ.  Let’s build each other up so we are prepared to accept the great commission.  Let’s speak the Truth in Love to each other so we can grow up in Christ.

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.  Ephesians 4:14-16

I need to be held accountable.  The commission needs to be taken seriously.

We need to GO!

If you are not a believer and are reading this blog for the first time I pray the Holy Spirit works in your heart and you know Jesus.  I pray He saves you and you are born again.  I pray you know He died on the cross for you.  I pray you can trust Him and that, because He died on the cross, if you repent and confess He is Lord, you are forgiven and you don’t have to be a slave to your sins.  You are free in Jesus Christ.  I pray that you believe.  I pray in the Awesome name of Jesus Christ.

Holes in the Roof

And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:4-5

This past Sunday the pastor at my church preached on this Scripture.  He described what it could have been like digging through the roof.  I have read this passage before but this was the first time I noticed something.  Not the usual thing I see when I read this before.  I used to always notice the obvious.  Jesus saying “Son your sins are forgiven”  is an obvious thing to point out.

What I noticed this time was the faith.  Not the faith of the paralytic, but the faith of his friends.  They believed so much that Jesus could heal their friend that no matter what was keeping them from seeing Jesus, they would find a way.  Even when the crowd was too huge to get in the door, they were willing to climb up to the roof, carrying their friend.  I am sure climbing the roof without carrying someone was hard enough.  Now they carry their friend.

They didn’t just stop on the roof and yell for Jesus.  They were determined to take him to meet the Lord.  They dug a hole in the roof.  In Luke 5, it is written “But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.” Luke 5:19  They were not letting anything stop them from taking their friend to be healed by Jesus.

How many of us have friends who need healing?  How many of us know people who need some kind of miracle?  How many of us know someone who needs to meet Jesus?

Now how many of us are willing to carry them up on a roof?  How many of us would dig a hole in the roof to get our friends to Jesus?

Sometimes I feel I’m not digging enough holes in the roof.  I’m not carrying enough friends to Jesus.  I know in the end He heals and I can’t change people, but I can do more to bring them to Him.

I want my friends to have the chance for Jesus to say to them “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Mark 5:20 

  “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” Mark 2:11

Perfect

There was once a man who really hated Christians. He would do anything to shut them up. He would do anything to keep them from meeting. He would do anything to stop the spread of the Gospel.

This man went on to be one of the most influential evangelists of all time. He started many churches. He wrote almost half of the New Testament. Hard to imagine the same man who was responsible for the death of many believers became the biggest believer.

This man at one point was known as Saul of Tarsus. Jesus chose him to spread His Word. Jesus chose a man who wanted to stop people from believing in Him to bring the Gospel to the world.

Was Paul the perfect choice? Probably not in our minds. Why would Jesus pick a person who had sinned against Him so much?

Some of us feel we are not worthy of God’s grace. Why would he choose us when we sinned against Him? Even if we are already believers we can ask why would He continue to love us when we can’t completely get rid of our sins?

I asked a friend of mine her thoughts on this. She reminded me of the following.

“The Bible says Paul suffered a “thorn in his side” for all of his ministry. I guess this means we may each have one? It doesn’t make our ministry any less important, just means we all have something we may struggle with even throughout our lives that The Lord doesn’t completely take away for whatever reason. We should not think our ministry is not acceptable unless we are perfect, for only He is perfect. Right? So maybe what you feel is beating you down is something you need to continually pray about the same as for me? Paul’s ministry was amazing, God worked so much into the lives of others through him even though he had a battle within himself that the Bible never reveals to us. I think God leaves us wondering, maybe we can put our own battle in there, kind of like fill in the blanks, but still live a life that proclaims the Gospel in a great way. Whether it’s thoughts, perfectionism, or someone else’s something, we need to be like Paul, pray through it, give it to The Lord each morning, and move on to serve in a mighty way.” Rose Jones

Rose really put it perfectly. Saul was not perfect. He had to be blinded to finally see. Even after being born again as Paul he still struggled with sin but persevered in his faith in the Lord Christ Jesus and proclaimed the Gospel to so many.

So I ask you who feel you are not worthy of salvation. I ask you who feel you cannot be forgiven by Christ Jesus. I ask you are you any worse than Paul? This man killed Christians and Jesus knocked him off his horse, blinded him to let him see, forgave him, and he became a great Christian.

To the believer I ask are you struggling with a sin? Are you feeling you don’t deserve the salvation you already have through the grace of Christ Jesus?

Paul struggled. He prayed. Here is how he explained his thorn and how God answered.

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV

If we don’t struggle. If we have all of the answers. If we are perfect then why would we need God? We need God. We need Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  In our struggles appears the greatest glory of God.

Believers and non-believers remember this: God’s grace is sufficient for us all.