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.

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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Praying for Our Loved Ones

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We pray for our loved ones to be saved, but we do it through our own limited understanding and not through faith in our Lord. ~ Lisa Blair

In reading the Doctrine of Election, we are reminded that only God can provide salvation. The parts that stood out to me most are:

  1. “People are so ruined by sin that they are unable to respond by faith…unless God first gives the ability to respond.” 
  2. “God must draw people Himself and awaken faith in the dead hearts.” (John 6:37-40, 47)
  3. “By grace, God calls individuals to faith” (Eph. 2:8-9)
  4. “This favor of God is undeserved and unearned.” (Romans 9:20)
  5. “God must work in individual hearts to draw them to Himself.”
  6. “Because salvation is God’s work from start to finish, all the glory belongs to Him.”

As ambassadors of Christ, it is our mission to share the Word with them (nonbelievers). We are watering the seed that was placed in them before they were born. At some point, most if not all, of our loved ones will recognize the seed of faith growing within causing them to question their lifestyles and who they are in Christ. When that happens, God calls them to Him. Age is not the crucial factor, surely, we want our loved ones to be saved early in life, but we must not give up it may not occur until they are old. Our prayers are not in vain. A prime example is the life of Abraham. God’s promises may escape us in our youth where our free-will seems strongest, and blossom in the later years of life. Don’t give up on them. It is never too late, and our prayers continue to water the seed God placed in them before they were born.

My prayer is:
Lord cover my son/daughter/loved one in your Blood until they call out your name and receive salvation. Protect them on their walk in sin. Cause them to step back from temptation through faith they do not yet know they have. Thank you for planning our paths before you created life on earth. Help me to accept the things I don’t understand. Help us “embrace the struggle with this truth” and “settle our hearts on Your goodness and your unconditional love”. We thank you for standing by us in all times, circumstances, and situations. We will continue to share the Word with our loved ones knowing you are there to retrieve them from death. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

References: Bible Study Fellowship, Lesson 16, Genesis 25-26. https://www.bsfinternational.org

Other Resources:

What is the Doctrine of Election. http://www.gotquestions.com;

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">What is the Doctrine of Election? Grace to You. John McArthur. https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A331/what-is-the-doctrine-of-electionWhat is the Doctrine of Election? Grace to You. John McArthur. https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A331/what-is-the-doctrine-of-election

Photo – LAB Photos

God’s PEACE is Conditional

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We must release anxiety and fear to receive God’s peace in our lives.

~ Lisa Blair

The conditions leading to peace are explained in Philippians 4:6. God’s peace is achieved through prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. The peace is associated with releasing anxiety and fear, handing them over to God, who will then replace the void caused by releasing anxiety and fear with His peace. You cannot receive His peace if you are consumed with anxiety and fear. His peace is conditional. You must release the cause for anxiety and fear to receive the Lord’s peace. He promises peace to those who believe (have faith) and overcome being fettered by anxiety and fear. Further, the release rests on one’s ability to shift from what we see with our eyes (those things around us)* to what we know in our hearts to be true. God ensures peace to those who welcome Him into our hearts.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬


Associated Scripture References:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Resource – Bible.com

Photo – Dave Hoefler, Unsplash