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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

I love this message found in Proverbs 24:16 —

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.”

Our being godly is not reflected by being flawless, but instead by being faithful.

And our being faithful is reflected by pressing forward in serving God even when our failures and the forces of darkness press against us.

We all trip by committing overt sins or sometimes we subtly sin by not trusting God to help us keep doing the right things when wrong things come against us.

The godly among us recognize that we’ve fallen short of God’s glory at such times and that we’re to seek God’s forgiveness so that He’ll put us back on our feet spiritually and emotionally.

It’s a wonderful thing to experience God’s forgiveness and restoration to being used by Him at home or work or school.

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” (Isaiah 40:2)

God is in the lifting business, dear friend. Let’s call out to Him in faith whenever we’ve fallen.

It’s what the godly do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If you’ve accepted Christ, you are a divine masterpiece.

Your status is not based on your physical appearance or your ancestral line.

And it’s not based on your personal flawlessness.

Instead, it’s based on the loving grace of God the Father and the flawless blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:10 in the New Living Translation says that one united with Christ is God’s “masterpiece.”

I am so grateful that God considers me as His masterpiece, His ultimate expression of redeemed love.

And I’m so grateful that He considers you as the same.

Dictionary.com defines “masterpiece” in this way — “a person’s greatest piece of work.”

Walk in confidence today, my friend.

God thinks very highly of you.

So much so that He gave His only begotten Son for you.

That makes you even more valuable.

Let’s bring greater value to God by allowing His Word and His Spirit to refine us even more with each passing day.

For until we leave this life, our responsibility is to grow more valuable every day.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Traumatic events such as the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 almost always produce feelings of loss and weakness.

But they also give us the opportunity to rebuild new hopes and gain new strength.

It’s true in the natural world and in the spiritual world.

Most every believer has experienced an extreme loss somewhere along the way in life, a loss that left him or her in a painful fog with little emotional strength to put one foot in front of another.

It’s at such times, though, that the value and power of faith in Christ can be clearly seen and received.

In the weeks and months after the 9/11 attacks, there was a sense of unity in this country that was special and that has long since dissipated.

I pray that our current atmosphere of chaotic finger-pointing and animosity toward Bible believers will somehow be reversed.

But if it doesn’t, we still have available all the help and hope we need.

Even when all else fails.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness,” Christ said to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Paul was suffering as a result of God’s desire to strengthen and humble him.

Paul didn’t like it, of course, but over time realized that this hardship was for his best.

And for the best of God’s kingdom.

Because Paul suffered and learned, we’ve been able to learn from suffering.

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me,” Paul wrote in verse 9.

People will be more interested in learning about our faith if they see it actually help us through a tough time.

So please don’t gripe about hard times.

Instead, rejoice in God’s grace during hard times.

It’s how Christ’s grace and power becomes more visible to us and to others.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Many years ago, a comedian named Flip Wilson hosted wildly popular TV variety show that featured a character he played named Geraldine Jones.

Geraldine was a churchgoing lady who lived in the fast lane of worldliness.

Her signature wardrobe in the church service was a miniskirt which in the early 1970s was unheard of in a church service.

Geraldine didn’t want to hear about spiritual accountability for her choices, though, and whenever confronted about a choice, she’d use the line Flip Wilson made famous — “The devil made me do it.”

The Geraldine character always got lots of laughs when she’d throw out that line.

But making a joke of sin is never a laughing matter.

The fact is that the devil doesn’t make us sin.

We choose to do it.

If he could make us sin, then every Christian would never worship God, never give to God, never pray to God, never give money to those in need, never forgive those who need mercy and perpetually choose flesh over faith.

Sin is a choice. Always has been and — until Jesus returns — always will be.

Our choice.

Adam tried to shift blame for his sin in the Garden of Eden over to his wife, but that was a stupid choice.

Eve didn’t hold Adam down and force the fruit into his mouth.

Why was the tree holding forbidden fruit put in the middle of the perfect garden? Have you ever thought about that?

It was there for one reason — to test Adam’s and Eve’s loyalty and trust toward God.

It was a measuring tool that would explicitly reveal their need for God’s grace if they disobeyed.

They were clearly warned in advance of what the consequences would be if they didn’t remain loyal to God.

You know what happened.

And, no, the devil didn’t make them do it.

It was their choice.

They had no excuse.

Neither did the Old Testament Israelites wandering in the wilderness whenever they ignored the commandments given them through Moses.

Satan couldn’t make them do anything. But he sure could lure them into believing lies and choosing to embrace sin.

Millions didn’t enter the Promised Land as a result.

Listen, sin is always a choice.

We opt into that which dishonors and disobeys God and devalues our spiritual testimony.

There is no excuse for our sin.

No matter what culture and social media sources and Hollywood megastars say.

God gave us the Old Testament Law and the teachings of New Testament scriptures so that we would know and follow the right path.

We have to know that there are no excuses for sin as Romans 3:19 tells us.

In fact, the Apostle Paul said the Law was given to us so that we wouldn’t rely on excuses for sin.

Throwing out excuses might impress other people and even prevent us from consequences with family or friends or employers.

But they also block us from the one remedy that can solve our sin problem with God.

That remedy is repentance.

When sin occurs in your life and mine, it’s vital that we avoid excuses and confess our failure to God.

It’s vital that we repent and pledge to avoid repeating the sin.

Geraldine might think sin is a laughing matter.

But God and His Son who died on the cross to pay the price of atonement sure don’t.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Despite the multiple guards, redundant fences, high walls and electronic/video sensors, some prison inmates still find ways to escape.

We’ve all read articles about such escapes and we’ve shaken our heads in amazement.

There is one prison from which none can escape.

“No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave.” Psalm 89:48

This is such a sobering truth that every human must confront.

Some ignore it until it happens.

Some obsess over it and are nearly paralyzed by angst.

Some think that the grave is nothing more than a start-over stage and they’ll come back to life in a different form or as a different person.

We cannot escape from the grave but we CAN be rescued.

That’s why Jesus came, died, went to the grave and was rescued by the power of God.

Read Romans 6:1-7 and I Thessalonians 4:6 you’ll read more about how you can be rescued from the grave when physical death comes knocking at your door.

I really do hope that someday you’ll join me and countless other rescued people in heaven.

As always, I love you
Martin

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“Thank you, Lord, for a potent reminder of all the reason we need to continually strive to please You.”

This thought resonated in my mind this morning after my devotional time in the Bible. More specifically, the words of Psalm 49:15 jumped off the screen and into my soul.

“But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.”

I thought of that horrible scene in the movie Ghost when the director’s vision of death angels came to take the soul of the bad guy with them to hell. I am so glad that I don’t have to worry about a kicking and screaming trip to hell.

You see, Christ’s death on the cross has given me the gift of a choice between heaven and hell.

Because Jehovah is my God and Jesus is my Savior, I have chosen heaven.

I have chosen life.

I have not earned it, of course.

But I have received it.

Earlier in Psalm 49 were these frightening words:

“Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.” (vv. 8-9)

Believers are blessed people, that’s for sure.

We’re bought and paid for from a divine pocket infinitely deeper than ours.

This provides all the hope and peace we need to keep sharing with others about the hope and peace they need.

Start speaking words of hope and peace into others’ lives today, my friend.

One kind word and one kind action at a time.

We are saved by a higher power. Let’s show others how that higher power can help them.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Had a birthday yesterday.

I’m growing closer to my white robe birthday in heaven.

Until that graduation day comes, I need to embrace the words of Psalm 48:14.

“He is our God forever and ever, and He will guide us until we die.”

On my own, I’ll never be smart enough or wise enough to do life faithfully.

I’m a sinner and I mess up.

I’m a human and don’t remain laser-focused on Kingdom purposes 100 percent of the time.

As a pastor, I encounter shepherding and strategic decisions that need God’s wisdom that is so much greater than mine.

I need God to guide me until I am in His presence in glory.

I pray the same for you.

As always, I love you
Martin

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