No Forgiveness Without Repentance

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Micah 6:8 is a short verse, and is packed with instructions to become a better person. This post could be entitled, ‘How to become a better follower of Christ’, or ‘Improving our walk with Christ.’

“…there is no forgiveness without repentance, and that repentance is but a name, unless there be a ceasing to do evil, and learning to do well…” (Benson Commentary. Biblehub.com)

I have written many posts that focus on forgiveness. There is no end to the process. With each reading we learn more about forgiveness and repentance. They are tied to justice, compassion, kindness, mercy, humility, and sacrifice. These are traits Christ modeled during His walk on earth.

If we want to walk with Christ, it requires more than simply testifying that we forgive, we mush repent and as Benson wrote, cease to do evil. We must replace evil, e.g., being self-righteous, and self serving and become servants, and ambassadors of the Lord. This type of action does not determine salvation. We cannot acquire it to what we do, it is not by our work, salvation is a gift from God. HOWEVER, it is through our work, actions, and practices that we become closer to God because we must think on these things before we act, this links us to God’s instructions in a deliberate way.

We cannot expect justice until we act justly; we cannot expect compassion until we have compassion for others; we cannot expect kindness until we demonstrate kindness through our actions; we cannot expect a merciful society and world until we demonstrate mercy in our daily walk; we cannot expect the world to be a humble place until we demonstrate humility towards others; we cannot expect others to sacrifice until we work to strip ourselves of being self-righteous. Walking with Christ is more than trying to keep in step with His walk. He was sent to earth to model what it means to possess God in our hearts.

We are one people, culture and race create diversity, but does not negate oneness. We are all God’s children. A friend put it this way, Christ came to earth, modeled His purpose, was Crucified, said to the thief, ‘on this day you will be with me’. He did not take time to evaluate if the thief was worth saving, no, He takes us as we are, that is our salvation. The way in which we choose to live life demonstrates that receiving Christ is more that reciting scripture, it is acting the intentions set forth in scriptures in our daily walk. Our faith is demonstrated through our actions.

If our actions do not align with our faith, it is incumbent upon us to ask for forgiveness, repent, and cease doing evil. We are asking God to forgive us. This happens when we experience the need to repent from the heart, not the mind, meaning we truly experience the sorrow our actions we committed that are not aligned with God’s Word. This is Godly sorrow, heartfelt sorrow, not a sorrow we experience momentarily before we repeat the act we are seeking forgiveness for.

You can ask for forgiveness, but until we truly repent, the forgiveness is fleeting (because) there is no heart felt godly sorrow. Godly sorrow creates the process of change. It weakens and eliminates the evil we demonstrate in our walk, we continually become new creatures in Christ as we strip away our carnal behavior.

Resources: Bible hub.com; Photo – Vikas Nirmal, Twitter

Easter More Than A Holiday

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We will celebrate Christ rising and fulfilling the first part of God’s promise of our salvation within hours depending upon where you are in the world. Hallelujah! We are redeemed and saved.

This year deeply contemplate what your salvation means. There is so much going on in our lives and in the world, how can we be better stewards to all of it? What little things can you change in your life at this very moment. It may be a smile to a stranger or a loved one. It may be seeking out homeless services and supporting it in someway. It may be helping a single parent, reaching out to those around you. It could be picking up a piece of trash on the street and throwing it away. And most importantly, it may be reestablishing or strengthening your relationship with Christ, reading the Bible, attending Bible study, going to church, or sitting and discussing a scripture with someone else. (Important note: you must receive Christ as your Lord and Savior before you can begin a relationship with him. Recite Romans 10:9-10 with an open heart. …that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. biblegateway.com) If you are not yet comfortable with the above suggestions you may begin an internal conversation with the Holy Spirit whom Christ left with us.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 dailverses.net

We should all let this season have purpose in our lives, it should inspire us to become more mature Christians. Others should see the light of the Holy Spirit flowing through us. We should stand out. We are different.

So, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:28. Daily verses.net

This is not a seasonal event. It is a recognition of our Savior being crucified in the worst way to save us from our mortal sin.

Wellspringchristianministries.org
Pinterest.nz. Mrs. Karen Grosse

Times of India, 2019
https://wiirocku.tumblr.com/post/176688157522/romans-109-nkjv-that-if-you-confess-with

Surrendering Looks Like…

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Surrendering is not an act of attrition, it is a deliberate act of contrition.

~ Lisa Blair

‘Looks like’ is a common idiom of our time. What does surrendering look like, you ask?


Surrendering is not a one-time event. It requires constant attention. “Until Jesus returns and takes His rightful place as the final authority and ruler overall, we have to make the decision over and over to surrender our minds, wills, and actions to Him (Romans 8:20–22; 12:1–2). Our first stage of surrender is the surrender of our lives to God when we are saved. www.compellingtruth.org/surrender-to-God.html

My thought for the day. There are many quotes of what people in the Bible have said when they surrendered their will to God’s will for their lives. The two that stand out to me today are:

  1. The angel came to Mary to inform her that God was pleased with her and chose her to give birth to His son. Mary, a young girl of marrying age, was betrothed to Joseph. Wouldn’t you imagine her first thinking, I cannot become pregnant until I marry, what will people think of me in particular and Joseph if I carry a child before the ceremony ends. However, Mary responded to the angel saying, “I am the Lord’s servant,” “May your word to me be fulfilled.” ~ Luke 1:38 NIV
  2. Jesus, the, was in deep prayer about the circumstances that would result in his death, He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; this is the human condition, to ask God to remove the situation so we do not feel the pain. However, the second part of the prayer is one of submission – Jesus then prayed, “yet not my will, but yours be done.” ~ Luke 22:42 NIV

So, what does surrendering look like? Surrendering looks like the person who moves out of the way to submit to another’s wishes. In this case surrendering is looking to God for direction and following His path for our lives rather than forging ahead blindly satisfying our own urges and direction for our lives. If Mary had not accepted God’s will over her own, Jesus may not have been born to her and the story of Abraham may not have been written as we know it. Our decisions not only affect us but many others in our immediate and future sphere of influence. Our decisions affect our descendants. *

If Jesus, the man, chose to run from his purpose, again, the story would have differed, and the Son of God, Immanuel-the God with us, would have led to a different story. Thinking back, how many times has God instructed, or better said, invited you to do something His way, to follow Him, not turn to the left or the right, and you did just what you were instructed not to do, waiver to the left or right and not stay on the path He designed for us, how did that turn out for you? Ask yourself, what happened when you listened and surrendered to God? I am certain the latter set you on a path you couldn’t imagine you could ever attain.

Surrendering looks like victory. It feels like love. Surrendering lifts the burdens of life off of your shoulders and places it on Christs’ shoulders. In Jeremiah 38:17-18, the scripture reads, Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.” (Je 38.17-18)

Jeremiah presents him with a choice – Surrender Babylon, or Don’t surrender to Babylon. The writing is on the wall. (https://thescripturesays.org/2014/08/22/jeremiah-38-41-if-you-will-surrender-to-babylon-then-your-life-shall-be-spared/)

Surrendering looks like victory. The writing is on the wall. God does not promise it will look like success, sometimes the direction is pain staking, but looking deeper we reflect that it was part of the path we must take to become more like Christ, when he said, but your will be done. Surrendering looks like, choosing the path of righteousness over the path of selfishness. Surrendering to God looks like and feels like love, a connection greater than anything this life could afford you.

Surrendering is the establishment of your lineage to God the Father, Christ the Son-our Savior, and the Holy Spirit. Surrendering is the act of no longer resisting God’s love and is the state of acceptance and no longer defiance. It looks like victory when we spread our arms over our head and jump up and down in joy, no longer relying on our own focus for our lives but rather God’s plan for our lives that is often unseen and unexpected. Surrendering is the act of faith. Surrendering looks like and feels like – Victory over our carnal state of being. It is the act of intentionally becoming part of God’s family.

* The Book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Christ. It is a look at the descendants of Jesus. In the Jewish faith and many others, the lineage is important, it defines who you belong to, it expresses your values and character. 

Just between us.org

Resources: Bible.com; the scripturesays.org; compellingtruth.org

Images: google images

The Medium Does Not Matter

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God can call you wherever you may be, in any number of ways, answer the Call.

~ Lisa Blair

The medium does not matter, He can call you via Skype, Zoom, radio, television, advertisements, a stranger, or silently speak to your inner self. The important thing is that you answer His Call. It doesn’t matter what sins you committed, God will receive you and forgive you of your sins. He is a loving God who is waiting patiently for you to call His name and receive His son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior.

God knew you before you were born. He knew the path you would take in life and knew what you were going to experience, and (He) uses those experiences to lead you down the path of righteousness, the righteousness of Christ. For many this is difficult to believe, they feel undeserving of a chance to live an eternal life with Christ, but the beauty of His story is that God wants us all to be saved and reconciled to Him.

There are many stories of people accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, from an innocent child, to atheists, to those who grew up with other religious affiliations, to those who only believe in science, to frightened tormented souls, to those willing to give up their lives to receive Christ and spread the gospel in deadly environments. God will receive you anywhere and everywhere, including on your death bed. His sole concern is your everlasting soul, your eternal life with Him.

My Uncle was a scientist and only believed in science and the Big Band theory. He rejected the notion that God created the world. No one could convince him otherwise. It is not our place to try to force our loved ones to believe in Christ. All we can do is what two sisters have done for their mother, who was a nonbeliever. Their Mom, a Buddhist, accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior after her daughters had shared the gospel with her for many years. The story is the same for my Uncle. Both had heard the gospel and rejected it time and again. Still, the time eventually came when the seeds planted in their hearts overtook their belief systems when they openly received Christ as their Lord and Savior and received eternal life. There is a saying that one plants, one waters, and God sows. Only God can Call us at that moment, both the sister’s mother and my Uncle answered. She was in her nineties and very ill, my uncle was in his mid-nineties, and death was not far off. Later he experienced doubt as did she, but their hearts were already connected to Christ’s heart, and they were overcomers. At the moment, they accepted Christ; they became new people. Both received eternal salvation.

Experiences of two people finding Christ late in life

God knew them before they were born. He knew what path they chose to take, and knew when they would accept His Son as their Lord and Savior. People do their part sharing the gospel (the Great Commission), the seed is planted and when the day arrives, they are ushered to the place of reconciliation. I say reconciliation because God has always been with us, sitting patiently for us to return to Him.  My prayer is that everyone will rest in peace in Jesus’ arms during their life on earth. It is never too late to receive Christ. The time is always the perfect time.

If you have not received Christ as your Lord and Savior and want to have a relationship with Him, recite Romans 10:9 NIV, If you declare (confess) with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Reference Scriptures

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be sav.” Romans 10:13 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

It is important to find a church home or a body of believers to help support you as you walk down the path of righteousness, the righteousness of Christ. The gospel is a living word and meets you where you are. The Bible (Word) is what will begin to inform your decision making. It is the warmth that fills your soul. It becomes the language you use to strengthen your relationship and conversations with God. It becomes your go-to. This is not a walk you want to take on your own. If you have no one to share your walk with, pray to God to send someone. He does not intend for you to do it on your own. The grace of God can change your heart.

Peace be with you.

Scriptures: knowing-Jesus.com

Image: Biblestudytools.com

Pray Through The Dark Times

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Faith overcomes doubt, fear, hurt, desperation, and darkness.

~ Lisa Blair

When we pray we are expressing faith in action. COVID has brought a new level of fear, depression, anger, and bewilderment. Our first response is often, “what do I do now”? The answer is – pray. Prayer is essential in times like these, it is also important to ask others to pray on your behalf. When we ask others, we are asking for intercessory prayer which is much more powerful.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER

Intercessory prayer can bombard the airways in a way an individual has difficulty doing. Why is intercessory prayer better or stronger, because there are many people praying on your behalf for the same thing. Prayers go up to God through the airways. As we know, Satan owns the airways and works diligently to slow down our prayers and once they break through, to stop their delivery to the concerned party. Perhaps you recall in Daniel 10:13, Daniel prayed to God for His people, Gabriel was sent by God but he was hindered for 21 days by one of Satan’s demon princes. Michael the archangel intervened opening the airways so Gabriel could activate God’s blessing. Intercessory prayer is driven by fervent prayer, meaning non-stop prayer. It is during this time that we pray on behalf of another as a group, for a person, a place (neighborhood, city, state, nation or the world), or situation. James 5:14 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him”. We are all the church and I would say, we become the spiritual elders as we mature in the word. Throughout the Bible intercessory prayer has covered those in authority (1 Timothy 2:2); ministers (Philippians 1:19); Jerusalem (Psalm 122:16); friends (Job 42:8); fellow countrymen (Romans 10:1); the sick (James 5:14); enemies (Jeremiah 29:7); and all men (Timothy 2:1). To quote Gotquestions.org. What is intercessory prayer? “God call all Christians to be intercessors. It is God’s desire that every believer be active in intercessory prayer. What a wonderful and exalted privilege we have in being able to come boldly before the throne of Almighty God with our prayers and requests.”

Williamson County Cowboy Church


EXAMPLES OF ACTIVATING PRAYER

I have two examples of how a cry out for prayer has helped two families in the last three weeks and overcame what could have been the darkest moments of one’s life.

The first is a case of a person whose grandson died unexpectedly, what do I mean by unexpectedly? He was young, in good health and God saw fit to take him home in his mid -30’s. His grandparents were devastated by the news and his grandmother went into a deep depression. As she was falling deeper and deeper into depression, she contacted her prayer group and asked for prayer to strengthen her and return her to the light. She continued to spiral, but during that time the group made intercession through intercessory prayer, praying and sending up cries for her recovery. We prayed for approximately one week and our sister in Christ contacted us sharing that our prayers were answered and she came out of the depression almost as quickly as she entered it. She also shared that our prayers not only provided the strength to continue on, but also to help her overcome her grief.

The second case is that of a member of our group whose grandson, age 3, fell in a swimming pool and was not breathing when he was found. He was rushed to the hospital were the doctors said there was little hope that he would survive, he was unconscious and they placed him on a ventilator. His grandmother asked us to pray for her grandson and we did for days, never ceasing. Today she reported that he is still in a coma, but is taking breaths on his own and the breathing tube has been changed to allow him to take more breaths. Recently he had an MRI to determine the extent of damage to his brain. We are waiting for their report and pray that God will continue to answer our prayers. God is restoring his lungs and we pay he will restore his brain to full capacity. Our God is an awesome God.

FAITH IN ACTION

St.Pauls Lutheran Church

Faith in action means that we do not let the things of this earth destroy us. We may be experiencing situations that seem hopeless, but they are only helpless for non-believers. Those who are believer’s and have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, have access to the Lord.

This does not mean that our prayers are always answered as we see fit, only the Lord knows what we need to mature as Christians. What it does mean is that through faith, not doubt, we are praying for an outcome that resolves the circumstance or situation we are praying to relieve.

WHEN WE PRAY

When we pray, we pray in faith that God will answer our prayers. We expect nothing less. There is no doubt or fear. We are standing fast on God’s word, Ephesians 5:13 NIV “…and after you have done everything, stand“. This means that after you have prayed for what may seem impossible, pray and stand, do not let the evil one pollute your mind with doubt. Reject it on its face and say, “I stand on the word of God and the prayers we sent up will be answered, depart from me Satan in the name of Jesus.” And, continue to stand until you see or hear of the answer you have been praying for. Sometimes, the answer may not be the one expected, but our Lord will never forsake us or leave us, you can stand on that.

Prayers of the Righteous, Youtube

IN CLOSING

We can pray individually, with others, in groups, via text chat, email, on Zoom, Google Meet, submitting your prayers to prayer groups. There are no limits on How people pray. Technology has increased our outreach for prayer. It has created new avenues to invite others to act in intercessory prayer.

A FEW ONLINE PRAYER GROUPS

Prayer Wall. College Park Church. Yourchurch.com

The Upper Room Prayer Ministry. prayer-center.upperroom.org