Time to Upgrade

If you don’t know God, or if you only know Him as “God”, then you are due for an upgrade!

God wants you to know Him as Father…your merciful, loving, heavenly Father.

You can take the next step. Invite Christ into your heart and learn what it means to be a child of God.

“And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. ~ John 14:6

Blessings & have a beautiful weekend ❤

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Affirm Others as God Affirms You

I joke with my husband that the reason I like word games so much is because they are so affirming. When I figure out words from the revealed letters, the app pops up with, “Fantastic!”, “Amazing!” “Brilliant!”…sometimes even with just a 3 letter word, lol.

Read today’s entry from the current bible study I’m doing with some friends. It addresses this very topic ❤

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An excerpt from the Better Together Devotional by Rick Warren

Affirm Others By Accepting Them

Here’s a little secret: Everybody is looking for affirmation. Have you noticed that? People will do almost anything to get it. If you don’t believe that, just watch some of the reality shows. Look at what people do to get on TV, just so people will applaud them.

God is an incredibly affirming and loving Father. When you affirm other people, you are showing love and representing Christ. Jesus affirmed people as he ministered, so you are ministering like Jesus did. You’re showing the world a little bit more about what God is like.

One of the best ways to affirm people in everyday life is to show them acceptance. Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (NIV).

The easy choice sometimes is to snub and belittle and demean people, especially when they don’t measure up to our standards. We all have a tendency to take our strengths and project them on other people, and then put them down when they don’t meet our expectations. For instance, you may be someone who is always punctual, and when other people are late, you tend to look down your nose at them. At the same time, it makes you feel good about yourself because you’re better at being on time. Or maybe you’re a very tidy person who can’t help but notice when you go to other people’s houses how messy everything is, and it makes you feel better about yourself. We tend to project our strengths on other people, forgetting that we have weaknesses in other areas.

Let me tell you a better way to feel better about yourself. Instead of doing it by putting other people down, why not try lifting other people up? It gives you a thrill like nothing else.

The Bible says in Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another” (AMP).

In order to do the work of God, you and I have to value the God given differences among us and the way we are uniquely shaped. Here’s how you know when you’ve accepted someone: You stop insisting that they be just like you. You realize and rejoice in the fact that they’re different. The truth of the matter is, the world would be a boring place if everyone were just like you. So God has made us in all different kinds of ways to do all different kinds of things so everything can get done in this world.

The goal of a family, a small group, a church family, or any community group is not to mold people into your image but to accept and affirm each other and help each other discover who God made you to be.

Better Together • Devotional https://bible.com/reading-plans/1650/day/12?segment=0

The Dangers of avoiding correction from God

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. ~ Psalm 32:5

The words above are lyrics to a song or possibly a poem, a psalm, written by David, the King of Israel. Like many songwriters & poets, David communicated his emotions through words and music, pouring out his heartfelt expressions of love, anger, fear & contrition. Psalm 32 falls into the last category.

David committed several egregious sins during his lifetime, yet God forgave him when he confessed those sins…each and every time.

Around the time Psalm 32 was composed, David had been confronted about his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, another man’s wife. Not only did he have sex with her, she became pregnant with his child. In a desperate attempt to hide his sin, he first tried to get the man, named Uriah, to leave the battlefield and spend time with his wife, and by spend time I mean intimate time, which the man refused to do. David then instructed a military leader to ensure that Uriah be placed into battle where he was sure to be killed, which is what happened.

That was a cold blooded and devious way to deal with a problem. You can read the account in 2 Samuel 11:1 2 Samuel 12:25.

Most people would never consider bringing something this ugly, this heinous to God. But David knew God. He had spent years upon years in intimate fellowship with Him, learning to hear God’s voice and becoming acquainted with God’s character. He knew that God was merciful. He has experienced God’s mercy and grace in His life multiple times.

The beginning of Psalm 32 starts out like this:

Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat
.

We suffer physically, emotionally & spiritually when we refuse to acknowledge sin. It’s a heavy burden that produces guilt, shame, fear and condemnation. The more we harden our heart to the loving conviction of God, the farther away we drift from His grace, to the point where we cease to sense conviction and end up deceived and spiritually blind. This is a frightening place to be.

The next verse is the one at the top of the post, verse 5, when David finds sweet release & forgiveness:

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

David was grateful and overjoyed once he came clean before the only One whose opinion mattered – God. And he didn’t leave it there. David wanted others to experience the freedom and joy that comes from owning up to one’s own sin, and the consequences that come if you don’t:

Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
    that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.
    You surround me with songs of victory. 

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

Many sorrows come to the wicked,
    but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
    Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

I’m going to leave you with a scripture that I never tire of sharing. The truth is powerful, so don’t allow anyone or anything keep you from God’s loving arms of mercy –

Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! ~ Isaiah 1:18 The Living Bible

The Beauty of Salvation

I receive weekly posts from Church Growth, a Christian organization that provides resources to encourage believers in their walk with Christ, and to discover the gifts God has given to them.

I want to share the following email that was sent out this week, just in case someone is wondering about salvation. Blessings

What We Believe about Salvation
Dr. Elmer Towns

The single most significant experience in life is receiving the salvation provided by Christ on the Cross.

The salvation experience is difficult to describe fully if a person has not personally experienced salvation.

The Bible uses the word salvation in three different ways…

First, salvation is described in a past tense. In this sense we have been saved from the guilt and penalty of sin.
Second, salvation is described in a present tense. This means we are being saved from the habit and dominion of sin.
Third, salvation is described in a future tense. Someday, we will be saved from all the physical infirmities which are the consequence of sin and the curse of God upon sin.
The Bible uses many different expressions to describe the change that takes place in a person’s life in salvation. Each expression describes the same thing from a slightly different perspective, emphasizing a particular aspect of this experience.

As we examine what we believe about salvation, we will focus our study on four of these words: conversion, regeneration, justification, and sanctification.

Conversion: Bible teachers often use the word conversion when describing the salvation experience from a human perspective. Conversion refers to the personality change that takes place when a person becomes a Christian. This change embraces the total person, intellect, emotions, and will. The apostle Paul described the conversion experience when he wrote, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.” (Romans 6:17).

Regeneration: This is the work of God through the Holy Spirit within a person who has “saving faith,” in which a new nature is given that makes the person capable of doing the will of God. Whereas conversion looks at the salvation experience from a human perspective, regeneration describes the same experience from a divine perspective. The term regeneration occurs in only one verse to describe this experience, “…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3:5). Regeneration is also described by Jesus as being “born again” in John 3:3…“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Justification: While there are many things which happen in the experience of the Christian at the moment of salvation, there are also a number of things which happen outside the realm of our experience which are nevertheless just as real. The conversion and regeneration experience coincides with a legal declaration of our righteous standing before God. This aspect of salvation is called “justification.” This exciting aspect of the doctrine of salvation gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. Justification is the act whereby God declares a person righteous when he or she trusts Christ. It is the means by which God establishes a legal relationship between God and people. It doesn’t make people perfect but rather declares them perfect in God’s sight. Someone has put it this way: “Justification means God sees me ‘just-as-if’ I’d never sinned!” Justification is non-experiential. It gives us a new standing before God and is the means by which we enter into a new position in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6). It is a judicial act on the part of God that results in our having peace with God (Romans 5:1).

Sanctification: While we are justified at our conversion, it often takes time to experience the change which has taken place in our life. The process by which we apply our salvation to a lifestyle which becomes more Christlike is called “sanctification.” The key to sanctification is letting Christ live His life fully through our life (Galatians 2:20). The apostle Paul describes this process throughout his epistles, but perhaps never so clearly as in Romans 6, where he describes the practical steps in working out our personal salvation into a consistent Christian lifestyle.
This salvation experience is so significant that the Bible uses over a hundred different expressions to describe it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 New International Version (NIV)

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Never Too Far Gone

Thank God we are never too far gone to receive mercy and forgiveness…a fresh start. The only ones who don’t receive are the ones who don’t ask. Whatever God says He will do, trust Him to do it. He is faithful ❤

Isaiah 1:18 Living Bible (TLB)

18 Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!