Day 4-The Glorious Grace of God (Guest Post)

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In Greek, the word ‘believe’ used as a verb is translated as, ‘believe’, but as a noun, ‘believe’ is translated as ‘faith’.

Grace School of Theology

The Need to Believe, Devotional, day 4, The Glorious Grace of God. YouVersion. Bible.com

Salvation is a free gift received by placing our faith in Jesus Christ alone. John wrote that Jesus declared to Nicodemus, “whoever believes in [God’s one and only Son] shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Today, some people have trouble accepting that belief is all it takes for someone to be saved. 

The main issue is the meaning of the word “believe.” When the Greek word is used as a verb, it is translated “believe.” When it is used as a noun, it is translated “faith.” The Gospel of John demonstrates the importance of this word with its repeated use of “believe” as a verb. It is used 98 times as a condition for salvation. The other Gospels and New Testament books use “believe” as a verb 150 times altogether. The consistent result of believing is eternal life. When one believes, one can then know that he or she has eternal life as a present possession—right now (John 5:24; 9:38).

John is careful to use figures of speech or word pictures that are passive, such as receive, drink, and eat. None of these pictures portrays or communicates the idea of merit, work, or achievement. There are no qualifying words used with believe such as, “really believe,” “truly believe,” or “genuinely believe.” There is only one kind of belief. There are no other conditions mentioned in John, such as repentance, surrender, commitment, confession, or obedience. Nor does the word “believe” intrinsically or inherently contain these concepts. All that is required to be saved is to believe—to place one’s faith in Jesus. Salvation—eternal life—is a gracious gift of God (John 1:12).

This is what a person must do to receive eternal life: Believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for your sin, rose from the grave to defeat the power of sin and death and can give you eternal life freely, as a gift. 

Resource – The Glorious Grace of God. YouVersion. Bible.com. Contributor – Grace School of Theology.

Comfortable With Carte Blanche Prayer?

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On the face of 1 John 5:14, it seems as if God is giving us carte blanche to ask whatever we want and we will be given it…

~ Lisa Blair

1 John 5:14

On the face of 1 John 5:14, it seems as if God is giving us carte blanche to ask whatever we want and we will be given it, much like asking a genie to meet our every desire. At least that is how so many apply this scripture in their prayers. 

But then, what is God really saying? 

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

This scripture is an instructional guide about praying.
God is telling us:

  • Have confidence in approaching Him. 
  • Do not be hesitant to fellowship with Him.
  • We should ask in confidence for God to meet our needs.

God tells us He hears us when we fellowship with Him in prayer. Our prayers do not fall on deaf ears. Our prayers are not ignored or treated lightly. Our prayers are conversations with the Master, our Father in Heaven. 

Then, how should we ask Him to help us? We must always ask within the context of His Will and not our own. He knows what our needs are and why we have those needs. He knows the plans He has for us and is willing to grant our requests if they are built upon on faith. Prayer is the foundation for all communication and action.

I find that before praying for something, I ask – is it my will, something I want because I want it, or is it something that will strengthen my walk? It is not wrong to want things that create an inviting lifestyle if it is not corruptible or wanton. But within this sphere of thought, it should also be something that spiritually strengthens us. We should not gravitate towards hidden agendas to manifest our will.

Selfish praying has hidden consequences. As we grow more mature in the Word and our relationship with Christ, we should examine what the consequences of asking are, as well as acting independent of God, to achieve our desires and the cost of those actions. Throughout the Bible, God’s people prayed to Him. He answered their prayers and instead of waiting for Him to produce the promise, they acted on their own to manifest the promise in the time and way they wanted it to fit in their own agenda. We see this throughout the Book of Genesis. Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob all attempted to expedite God’s Will for their lives and humankind.

Think about this, they stood in God’s presence, held conversations with Him, knew His Glory, and still acted impetuously, what does that say about human nature? It is human nature to conspire, to thing first, to ignore others, to forge ahead in search of meeting our own needs.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">If you remember the original television series, Lost in Space, you should hear, “<em>Warning, warning, danger, danger.</em>” Acting on our own is entering dangerous terrain. It weakens our relationship with the Lord, it causes us to slide down the slippery slope of sin. Free will- that will we choose to implement is a deception if we consider it a trump card to prayer.If you remember the original television series, Lost in Space, you should hear, “Warning, warning, danger, danger.” Acting on our own is entering dangerous terrain. It weakens our relationship with the Lord, it causes us to slide down the slippery slope of sin. Free will- that will we choose to implement is a deception if we consider it a trump card to prayer.

“God is no respecter of persons and al believers have been given the same opportunity to walk in newness of life and allow Christ to be formed in us. The more we live for His praise and glory, align our thoughts to the mind of Christ, and keep our fleshly self-nailed to the Cross, them more we find that we pray according to the will of our heavenly Father, and the greater will be our confidence that He will hear and answer our prayers, “for this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (What Does 1 John 5:14 Mean?  Dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com. 02/11/21)

There are no carte blanche prayers. Our prayers have consequences when we act on them to bring them to pass. We must pray fervently and honestly. We must always seek to discern whose will is the focal point of our prayer. If it is ‘us’, then rethink your prayer, examine the intent more deeply and seek God’s direction for your life.

Are Christians Really ‘Protected From Evil’?

Clarity – Are Christians Really Protected from Evil? Guest Post – David Ettinger. Ettingerwriting.com

EttingerWriting.com

By David Ettinger

A Clearly-Stated Truth
The title of this blog is somewhat misleading. After all, the Bible clearly states in Psalm 121:7 “The Lord will protect you from all evil.”

However, I’ve been a supporter of Voice of the Martyrs – a ministry devoted to telling the story of and aiding victims of Christian persecution – since 1992. I have received all of their monthly newsletters since then, and have read numerous accounts of murders, torture, and brutality committed against believers throughout the world.

If these incidents are not evil, I don’t know what is. Yet, Psalm 121:7 tells us that the Lord will protect us from all evil. Is there a contradiction here?

Another Contradiction?
Elsewhere, Jesus tells us: “In the world you will have tribulation …” (John 16:33), indicating bad things will happen to us. Furthermore, Jesus makes clear that because we love Him, the world will

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The Bible Thrives Amid COVID-19

God’s work cannot be thwarted or destroyed. He is sovereign. Guest Post.

EttingerWriting.com

By David Ettinger

Translating God’s Word
COVID-19 has strangled the economy, lifestyles, businesses, social lives, and church attendance, but it has not touched the Bible. According to the Christian Post, “Despite challenges presented by the pandemic, Wycliffe Associates saw the completion of more Bible translations in 2020 than in any other single year.”[1]

If this doesn’t elicit a “Praise God,” I don’t know what does.

Wycliffe Bible Translators has been translating Bibles into the world’s numerous and diverse languages since 1942. The ministry completed New Testament translations in 141 languages in 2020, and has added another 8 for the Old Testament.

The reason for the surge has been the improvement in online technology. According to Tim Neu, interim president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, “COVID lockdowns kept Bible translators at home, but our online Bible translation system enabled many to continue their work together.”[2]

And the beat…

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Guest Post – Truths to Live By – One Day at a Time

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StudyLight.org

Devotional: February 5th

“I know that Thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 NASB)

No purpose of God can be thwarted. Man may have his wickedness, but God has His way. Man may have a lot to say, but God will have the last word. Solomon reminds us that “there is no wisdom or counsel against the Lord” (Proverbs 21:30). And Jeremiah adds his testimony that “every purpose of the Lord shall be performed” (Jeremiah 51:29).

Joseph’s brothers decided to get rid of him by selling him to a band of Midianites. But all they succeeded in doing was accomplishing the will of God. The Midianites provided free transportation for Joseph to Egypt where he rose to be Prime Minister and the savior of his people.

When the man who was born blind received his sight and trusted the Savior, the Jews excommunicated him from the synagogue. Was it a great victory for them? No, Jesus would have led him out anyway because the Good Shepherd “calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out” (John 10:3 NASB). So they merely saved Jesus the effort of doing it.

Men’s wickedness reached its Everest when they took the Lord Jesus and, nailing Him to a cross, put Him to death. But Peter reminded them that He was delivered up by “the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). God overruled man’s gargantuan crime by raising Christ up to be Lord and Savior.

Donald Gray Barnhouse told the story of a wealthy landowner who had beautiful trees on his estate. “But he had a bitter enemy who said, ‘I will cut down one of his trees; that will hurt him.’ In the dark of the night the enemy slipped over the fence and went to the most beautiful of the trees, and with saws and axes he began to work. In the first light of morning he saw in the distance two men coming over the hill on horseback, and recognized one of them as the owner of the estate. Hurriedly he pushed the wedges out and let the tree fall; but one of the branches caught him and pinned him to the ground, injuring him so badly that he died. Before he died, he screeched out, ‘Well, I have cut down your beautiful tree,’ and the estate owner looked at him with pity and said, “This is the architect I have brought with me. We had planned to build a house, and it was necessary to cut down one tree to make room for the house; and it is the one you have been working at all night.'” 

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