Friday, 25 March 2022

Signs of Our Times

 Becket Cook has amazing interviews. I am always enriched by his conversations. I hope you’ll listen to the end, and I hope you are as blessed as I am by his videos.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Grace or Works? Part 3

 In part 1 we give a brief glance at what the Bible says about good works and the reason for good works. In part 2 religious reasons for good works and their applications are compared with what the Bible says. 

Part 3 Today I want to share a video message on this topic exploring what the Bible says of those who think they need to add works to obtain or keep their salvation. He begins by examining what salvation is…what are the definitions of the Greek and Hebrew words that have been translated into the English word “salvation”? The answer might surprise you:

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Grace or Works? Part 2

In the last post we can see from the Bible the reason for good works (to glorify God by bringing more people into the kingdom) and where these good works originate from (God). If you didn’t read part one it would be good to begin there before continuing here. 

In this post it will be good to examine how some religions and even Christian denominations get it wrong. Putting the cart before the horse when it comes to good works can, and often does, lead to a bad outcome. 

From my own background of having come out of a legalistic religion, I understand how difficult it is to come out of that way of thinking. I was brought up in Seventh day Adventism. There are many false teachings underpinning that group, but the one I will focus on is the teaching that going to church on Saturday is necessary in order to be saved because it being at the center of the 10 commandments God made it “the heart”  and therefore the most important part of His list of rules for us to keep to prove that we love Him. Sabbatarianism is not unique to Seventh day Adventistism, there are other groups such as Hebrew Roots, Sacred Name, and other Herbert Armstrong and SDA connected groups. 

That is why the Apostle Paul said:

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Galatians 3:1-6 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness

The good works that come from God flow through us by His Holy Spirit in our hearts made right through the washing of His same Spirit (see Titus 2:14, Malachi 3:3 and Hebrews 9:14). Good works we do prior to salvation mostly (always?) come from having some self serving ulterior motive; get a raise in pay or promotion at work or keep from getting fired or laid off, or to receive public recognition of some kind such as a write up in a newspaper or a medal or other award, to “win” a husband,  or even just simply to get a thank you and a pat on the back. Our flesh desires compensation for our work. The work the Holy Spirit desires from us will often gain us the opposite of what our flesh desires in compensation. Often the “thanks” we get will be rejection, verbal abuse, or even get us killed. 

Jesus said:

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake,

 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

When we try to earn God’s favour by doing things that we think will make Him love us, we find (if we are being honest with ourselves)  the more we do the more we are leaving undone. It is never enough. Strive as we might we always fall short of the mark of the perfection that would be required in order for our efforts to truly please a God who is Holy and requires perfect holiness. 

We cannot do enough to earn or keep salvation. That is why many who try to follow this way of religious observance often burn out and eventually resign themselves to the sad fact that they can never be saved that way, or they continue to hang on and hope that the little bit they do will be enough to appease God’s anger at them for having fallen short. They often go through the motions while deep down being fearful that it will still end up by their going to hell. Those groups often give their followers the understanding that if they fall out of the group they are definitely going to go to hell. That is how I felt when I left the SDA religion. I thought I could never be good enough to work my way to heaven, and I was right, but I had not yet come to the full understanding of the Truth of the matter.

The SDA group I attended had us believing that we could fall short in every way but as long as we attended their church on Saturday it was enough for God to save us. And we could earn extra brownie points with God by paying tithes and offerings, maintaining a healthy vegetarian diet and by abstaining from such things as alcoholic beverages and smoking cigarettes. Other religions and legalistic Christian sects will have other items on the to do list, such as teaching Sunday School, and donating time in other ways that benefit the church, which they either imply or say outright that these things will protect their disciples from eternal damnation. These also fall short and, when taken to their logical end, result in failure. 

Jesus said:

Matthew 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Apostle Paul said:

Galatians 5:18-21 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Who can live up to such an impossibly high standard?  
The answer: only Jesus

That answer is the one that leads to the true peace that is beyond human understanding; the mercy and grace of God, but more about that later.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 


Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Grace or Works? Part 1

Grace vs. good works is a complex topic. In this post I will attempt to explain what the Bible says about doing good works, and what kind of good works  He desires from us and then seek out why  He desires such good works from us.

First of all I should put to rest that grace and good works are antithetical to each other; they are not. They only come in conflict in the area of obtaining or maintaining salvific justification. Good works that come from God’s saving grace is evidence of saving faith. More about that in a future posting.

There are some religious sects which stress certain rituals and observances as the proof of being saved, such as Sabbath keeping, or being water baptized a certain way with certain words that need to be spoken while being submerged under water. There can be some benefit of good feelings of a soothed conscience in doing or saying certain things, but the only saving action was the one Jesus performed by submitting His life fully to the Father’s will by dying a substitutionary death for sin in our place. This also will be explored in greater detail in a future post.

It seems every religion puts emphasis on good works to earn a good report card to bring us, like a passport, into paradise. The Bible also speaks of doing good works. If you type “good works” into the search box of any electronic Bible many references in both Old and New Testaments will pop up. Let’s examine a few:

Matthew 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1Peter 2:11, 12Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

What do you notice when you read these verses? Will good works bring glory to yourself or to God? Does God redeem us because of our good works? Or does His saving grace cause a purification which He performs in the lives of His saints?

When we are saved by His grace, it is His goodness that is imparted to us by His Holy Spirit so that through His goodness others might come to a knowledge of the truth and bring glory to God’s name as we rejoice in the truth of His goodness and mercy because He has saved us from the perils of this world. That doesn’t mean we won’t experience trouble. In this world we will have trouble, but Jesus overcame the world, and He likewise will help us overcome this world revealing that He keeps His promises. The knowledge of the truth brings joy and peace in the midst of suffering knowing that the pain suffered in this world will be eclipsed by the glory awaiting us.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Seeds are for Sowing

 This morning’s Bible reading touched on a favourite topic of mine:

Ecclesiastes 11:6  In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. 

When I plant seeds most of them don’t make it.

 Over water? 

Under water? 

Not enough light? 

All of the above?

Sigh. But I keep buying more seed and I keep trying.

But did you know you can find out about just about everything on YouTube?

I found some youtubers who have learned how to beat the odds with getting seeds to sprout! So this year I will try again and hopefully have more success with my attempts.

Isn’t it the same with sharing the word of God?!? Such precious seed. But often the words seem to come out wrong or it just seems out of place, not the right moment to say something when silence was probably more appropriate at that moment…and the seed seems to die, come to nothing.

But if it truly was from the Lord, He promises His seed will accomplish what He intends for it (Isaiah 55:11), so even if it seemed futile or ill placed or ill timed, if the Lord wills He will use it. Did you know some seeds can remain dormant for many years? Purslane seeds are said to be able to remain dormant for up to 30 years!! And recently I saw an article about date palm seeds that were found in a cave which were 2,000 years old, from the time of Christ, and that they were able to sprout and now have date palm trees that had gone extinct from the Romans having destroyed all the Israeli date palms,  which Israel was famous for at the time. A miracle!!! 

So let us plant seeds, even if we think nothing will come of them. Who knows? Maybe God has plans for those few seeds many years down the road! Start planting for a plentiful harvest. ❤️🙏

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

The Perfect Gift

 This week most of the world will celebrate Christmas. There are many ways it is celebrated, usually included is the giving of gifts…When I was a young child I lived in the Netherlands. There children believe Sinter Klaas will come on a white horse along with Zwarte Piet. Sinter Klaas will give gifts but Zwarte Piet will take away bad boys and girls and punish them. In North America many children believe in Santa Claus. Santa Claus also brings gifts.

But some of us remember Jesus at this time of year, to remember that God gave us His Son, the greatest gift of all, the forgiveness of our sin because He was born to be our sacrificial lamb, to wash us through His perfect blood. Let us not neglect so great a salvation, Jesus was born into this wicked and fallen world and died for us.❤️

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Past Traumas and Wounds That Haven’t Healed

I’ve been binge watching Chynna Phillips Baldwin (from musical group Wilson Phillips) YouTube videos. Chynna came to be saved in 2006 and started a YouTube video channel two or three years ago to share her testimony and share Jesus and sometimes has guests over to share their story. She was involved in the new age movement prior to becoming saved so I do share an affinity with her. She is very open and transparent, she shares her struggles, her doubts and fears and some of the things in the past that she kept hidden and compartmentalized….shame…mistrust…anger…sorrow…things we probably all can relate to. In this one she’s taking her little pooch for a walk as she shares a painful memory and the fact that Jesus washes us from the guilt and shame with His own blood. I hope this message will reach someone who has hidden hurts that need Jesus’ healing touch. 

“Peace of Christ!”