Tag Archives: Salvation

He is waiting for your return

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Luke 15:7
If Jesus were to tell the parable of the lost sheep today, he might make it the parable of the lost dog. The idea is the same. If your dog runs off, you search for it until you find it. And when you bring it home, your family celebrates.

Parable of the Lost Drachma

Parable of the Lost Drachma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next story is better understood with a bit of historical explanation. Palestinian women traditionally received a set of 10 coins as a wedding gift. These coins were carried around in a purse or on a chain and held a significance similar to a modern-day wedding ring. As such, these coins held sentimental value that went well beyond their monetary value. No wonder this woman would search so fervently to find the lost coin, and no wonder she would want to celebrate after finding it!
We might even be able relate to the third story. Imagine that you’re a parent and your son leaves home with as much money as he can pull together. He sets out for a big city like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. He is on his own. But instead of working and being responsible, he blows every cent on drugs, sex and alcohol and ends up on the street, homeless and hungry.
As his parent, you worry about him. Every time the phone rings, you hope it’s him. One day you open the front door, and there he stands! Relief is immediate. You throw your arms around him. Words can’t express the joy you feel. Your son who was lost is home!
These three stories express how God feels about every spiritual explorer. And it’s how he feels about you. He’s looking for you because he loves you. God is eager to forgive you, and all of heaven is ready to celebrate your return. But, like the son in the third story, you must decide to come home to his waiting arms.
Taken from NIV The NIV Journey Bible

So it is with God. He made you even if you don’t believe in that. He gave you life, your spirit, that part of you which makes you who you are was given, was planted in you at the beginning. Before you were born God knew you. If you are far from God it isn’t He who moved! It was you. Perhaps you don’t understand, perhaps you are unsure, perhaps you are cynical but whatever and whoever you are God loves you. He wants you to know His love and the high price He paid for you to come to Him. Our sins keep us separated from God and we are unable to restore the relationship. God however knows this and that is why He made the ultimate sacrifice to show you He loves you. He gave His only Son Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for our sins. What a wonderful free gift of love! As we approach Christmas we should remember that gift of love and turn to Him. Accepting Jesus as your Saviour is the only way to restore your relationship with God. Don’t let another year pass, another moment pass, another opportunity to return home to the open arms waiting to embrace you.

Shirley Anne

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Divine justice

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Divine Justice (Psalm 7:6)

The idea that those who reject God will experience torment for eternity is offensive to many people. It seems like awfully vicious behavior from one who is known as a loving God.

Dr. D. A. Carson, prominent professor and scholar, says, “In the first place, the Bible says that there are different degrees of punishment, so I’m not sure that it’s the same level of intensity for all people.

“In the second place, if God took his hands off this fallen world so that there were no restraint on human wickedness, we would make hell. Thus if you allow a whole lot of sinners to live somewhere in a confined place where they’re not doing damage to anyone but themselves, what do you get but hell? There’s a sense in which they’re doing it to themselves, and it’s what they want because they still don’t repent. One of the things the Bible does insist is that in the end not only will justice be done, but justice will be seen to be done, so that every mouth will be stopped.”

In other words, at the time of judgment there is nobody in the world who will walk away from that experience saying that God had treated them unfairly. Everyone will recognize the fundamental justice in the way God judges them and the world.

“Justice is not always done in this world; we see that every day,” Carson says. “But on the last day it will be done for all to see. And no one will be able to complain by saying, ‘This isn’t fair.’ ”

—Adapted from interview with Dr. D. A. Carson

Taken from The Case for Christ Study Bible

So, there is no escape for believer and unbeliever alike. However, the believer has Christ Jesus as their intercessor, one who stands in the gap between them and God. He has paid the price for the sins for which they deserve punishment. They have placed their trust in him, believed in him and in the One who sent him. They will still be judged but as God’s children, members of His family. How will God judge you?

Shirley Anne

One last chance?

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Recently I had the opportunity to view again a movie I chanced upon and watched a few years ago. I enjoyed it then as I did the second time around. The movie had a message in it which made me think it was produced by a Christian or Christians aiming to use it as a witness to the unbeliever who may be watching it. The movie was called ‘Left behind‘ and the leading actor was Nicolas Cage. Perhaps you have seen it too dear reader? I wondered whilst watching it just how many unbelieving hearts were touched by its message enough for them to reconsider their view. The basic theme of the movie centred around these Bible verses:-

Matthew 24:40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
Matthew 24:41 Two women will be grinding with a hand-mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Luke 17:34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.
Luke 17:35 Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left.’

In the movie many people and all of the children suddenly disappeared. Clothes were just left where they had stood. Those who were left couldn’t understand what had happened though some began to realise it was a fulfillment of Scripture….the beginning of the end. Nicolas Cage was the pilot of a plane whose co-pilot, some of the crew and passengers suddenly disappeared whilst in flight. Even a pastor of a church had been left behind and we learned why, although he could quote Scripture he admitted to not believing in what he was preaching. I know a few people just like him. One evening while at a ‘Four square gospel‘ businessmen’s dinner one such pastor of a church gave us his testimony explaining how he became a Christian years after he became ordained. For so many years he too had preached The Gospel but had no real belief until one day it dawned upon him. At that point he invited Jesus into his heart and became ‘saved’. The movie didn’t explain what happened to all those who had been left behind but someone realised that the preceding ‘rapture’ marked the beginning of  the tribulation and the suffering of all who were left.

So now will you believe? Now will you take notice? Now will you come to Christ and be saved? The choice is yours. The rapture may indeed come tonight, only God knows.

Shirley Anne

Matthew 13:24–30
In this short story, Jesus tells why God allows evil to continue in the world. According to Jesus, if God uprooted all the evil people (the weeds) now, others (the wheat) might be uprooted along with them.
For now, God’s allowing evil doesn’t mean he condones it. Rather, God is waiting for people to turn to him and accept his leadership in their lives. After all, if tonight at midnight God wiped out all the people who hadn’t yet trusted in him, where would you be in the morning?
Verse 30 gives us an image of the final separation that God will initiate at the end of time. On that day, God wants to gather you, as one of his people, into his heaven. Won’t you accept that gracious offer?
Taken from NIV The NIV Journey Bible

Shirley Anne

Be loved

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she was loved

She was loved (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be loved
Be adored
Take it all in
For you are worth it.
Don’t feel ashamed
Or insecure
Just be yourself
And I will love you
All the more.
Why shy away
From a love so true?
When all I want to be
Is a friend to you.
I want you to know
That whenever you’re hurt,
I’m there for you
For what it’s worth.
I will be
Always faithful to you
There is nothing else
That I can do.
Just be loved,
Take it all in,
For you to me
Are worth loving.

Copyright Shirley Anne 8 Mar 04

The love God has for you has no equal. It is beyond measure or understanding yet many still reject Him. No matter how worthless you may feel you are God still loves you. If you don’t even believe He exists He still loves you. You are His creation and He is ready to accept you just as you are….warts and all! It doesn’t matter that your heart has been led astray or that you are filled with evil thoughts or do evil things, in God’s heart you are special for He made you. If you turn to Him asking for forgiveness don’t you think He will listen, don’t you think He will forgive? Of course He will. He has already shown you how much He loves you……He gave His Son Jesus as a sacrifice for your sins. It was Jesus who took your sins upon Himself and did away with them to make you clean again. All you have to do is accept Him into your heart. You are loved, you are worth loving…..God says so!

Shirley Anne

The future……………your future!

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What is going to happen in the future? (1 Corinthians 15:51–58)
What happens when we die? The New Testament indicates that people experience an “intermediate state,” which refers to a person’s existence between their time of death and the promised resurrection of their new body. Their earthly body goes into the grave; their spirit lives on in one of two places—in God’s presence where they enjoy a time of peace until they receive their resurrected bodies or in a place of torment where they await final judgment. Jesus talked about this vividly in the story about a rich man and Lazarus (not the Lazarus Jesus raised from the dead). Jesus depicted the place of blessedness for the righteous as Abraham’s side and the place of torment for the wicked as Hades. (See Luke 16:19-31.)
The grand promise of God and the ultimate hope for all Christians is the resurrection. Just as Christ was raised from the dead and received an imperishable body, so will all those who believe in Christ. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, details this major truth.(See 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.)
The event that will trigger this promised resurrection is the Second coming of Christ. Often the Bible refers to the return of Christ as the “day of the Lord.” Paul explains that on the great day of Christ’s return God will resurrect those who have died and then all believers will be brought together and will be with the Lord Jesus forever.
After Jesus returns and we are resurrected into our imperishable bodies, there will be a final judgment by God of every nation. John saw and recorded a vision from God about what will happen at this time of judgment. John wrote down the final movement in God’s grand story—the restoration of what was lost in the beginning. What we read in the opening creation story of Genesis we see again in Revelation—a re-creation—but on a grander scale to accommodate all the people over the centuries who have embraced Christ and received eternal life. (See Revelation 20:11-22:21.)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1–2)

I believe (Christians) there is a heaven and a hell and that Jesus will return to judge all people and to establish his eternal kingdom.
What difference does this make in the way I live?
I ask you to prayerfully take a moment to do an inventory of your relationships. How many non-Christians are currently in your circle of influence? And of these non-Christians in your cir­cle, how many are you actively sharing God’s love with?
Taken from NIV Believe

For my non-believing readers: Although you may not believe in God it doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. For many years I resisted the possibility that there was a God and no matter what people told me I just refused to take it seriously. What did I want with a God? How was it possible for God to be omnipotent and omnipresent? Thinking as a human being who was proud and unyielding and could only see things my way kept me from my Creator. All this time He waited patiently until one day……….I reached out to Him and was welcomed with open arms.

Shirley Anne

Who are you?

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Enjoy the song (sorry about the odd expletives in the lyrics) then read the message below…..

 

Who am I? (John 1:12)

The beautiful thing about God’s kingdom is that all those who welcome Jesus as their Lord are given the opportunity to accept a new identity through him. This is illustrated poignantly through the story of a crooked tax collector named Zacchaeus. Tax collectors were among the most despised people in Israel because they chose to work for Rome and were making themselves rich by gouging their fellow Jews. But Zaccheaus shows that even the lost can be adopted and made new.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” (Luke 19:1-9)
KEY VERSE

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
KEY IDEA

I believe I am significant because of my position as a child of God.
KEY APPLICATION: What difference does this make in the way I live?

Because of our new identity in Christ, we are free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
Because of our new identity in Christ, our worth comes from our position in Christ, not our performance. (Matthew 11:28)
Because of our new identity in Christ, we live to express who we are in Christ, not to prove who we are.
Because of our new identity in Christ, we can focus on building others up, not tearing them down.

Taken from NIV Believe

Shirley Anne

From your Father

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My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is… Will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Bible Verses source: http://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.fathersloveletter.com

Ask Him into your life, see that He loves you…..

Shirley Anne

Making sure part two

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Yesterday I wrote about health issues, today I write about spiritual health and well-being. We often forget that we are spiritual beings inside our bodies of flesh and some of us don’t even believe that. We will some day live outside of the bodies we are born into. Those bodies will see decay but our spirits live on. Many has been the time when I wrote about Jesus Christ here on my site and many has been the time when I urged those who don’t know him as their Saviour to earnestly seek him. I will continue doing this as I am led to do so but it will continue to be an occasional post for fear of driving people away. I don’t wish to turn people away from God and Jesus Christ by attempting to ram the information down their throats, that would be wrong and in any case final decisions are made by those who wish to respond or not. I was watching a televised lecture or teaching if you will by a prominent Christian Pastor who was talking about the true nature of God as our Father in Heaven.

When God chose a group of people out of the many there are in this world to be an example for the rest He chose the Israelites or the Jews as we know them today. He laid down Laws for them to follow, laws meant for their well-being if they chose to follow them for God wanted His people to live in accordance with His will. If they failed to adhere to the laws (sin) they were expected to offer a sacrifice by way of atonement and this they did by offering the blood of an animal, an ox, a lamb, a goat or even a pigeon. God required the shedding of blood as a sacrifice. It meant that the Israelites had to own thousands of cattle, sheep and other animals in order to pay the price for their wrongdoing or sinful ways. Had they been obedient there would have been no need for the vast quantities of livestock but sin was in them just as it is today in each of us. God, our Father loves each of us with a love that is incomparable to any other. The Pastor related this observation in his teaching…..When his three-year old daughter cries out to him in the night because she is frightened of the dark or that she believes there is a monster beneath her bed she doesn’t cry out ‘Oh Father who is married to Mommy and who supplies us with food and shelter and who looks after me’ but she shouts ‘Daddy, I am frightened’ (paraphrased throughout). This is who our father in Heaven really is, a loving daddy whom we can rely upon and who genuinely loves and cares for us as any daddy would do (should do). We approach our Father as little children knowing He won’t reject us but is always there for us at all times. Our cries of help do not go unnoticed. He is Abba, Father our loving God. If we do wrong, and we all do wrong at times, He is there to comfort us and to chastise us but He does it for our own benefit. What loving father doesn’t chastise his children? That is how they learn good from evil. Following God isn’t a punishment, something we have to endure else be damned but rather it is the most natural thing in the world to want to please our Daddy, Abba Father. It is because of His great love for us that He came in the flesh as a human being, Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself the sins of the world, even our sins, mine and yours. We don’t need herds of cattle to offer as sacrifices for our wrongdoing for Jesus has already paid that price on our behalf. Jesus shed his own blood, he became our sacrificial Lamb. All we have to do is repent and accept that free gift of life in His name. This is how much our Daddy loves us…….Make sure you don’t miss out on His love…..

Shirley Anne

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Copyright Stuart Townend

Shirley Anne

Repentance

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The Urgent Need for Repentance (2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.)

The love of God is not for some or a select few, for the rich or the poor, for people from a particular country or society—but rather it is for everybody. God’s love is accessible to anybody who prays with a pure heart and a genuine desire for salvation. In this verse from 2 Peter, we read that God is waiting with infinite patience and mercy for everyone to learn about him and come to him. He wants to welcome us warmly to his home, just as the lost son was welcomed by his father in the Gospel of Luke (see Luke 15:11–32).
God is always calling us to come home—to respond to his love and mercy, to participate in his kingdom. God does not want anyone to lose the chance to receive salvation; he is patient and kind and merciful. At the same time, that does not mean that we should put off the decision! Like a football game, our lives are on a clock that is counting down. One day the whistle will blow, and our earthly lives will come to an end. For some, that will be today. For others, that may be some time from now. We don’t know when our time on earth will end. So it is vitally important that we trust in Christ today as our Lord and Saviour. Heaven and hell are both real (Jesus talked about both). The choice is ours: We can turn to Christ or go our own way.

Taken from NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith

Heaven & Hell (song)

Heaven & Hell (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can you afford to wait? What if something should happen to you which prevented you from turning to Jesus? It would then be too late. You may fancy yourself to be a gambler, someone who likes to take chances and risks but this is your future we are talking about, a future in hell or a future in heaven. There are no other alternatives and remember that eternity is a very long time. Actually time won’t exist, it will simply be a fixed state, you will exist permanently in one place or the other. Which is it to be? The choice is yours and time is running out and get this, the offer is free! God will accept you just as you are, just ask Him.

Shirley Anne

This is what God wants of us

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WHAT DOES GOD REQUIRE OF US? (Micah 6:8)

These beautiful, famous words of the prophet Micah outline God’s simple expectations of his people: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic 6:8). These qualities of the heart that lead to a God-pleasing life have stood the test of time because they reflect the heart of God himself. Throughout the history of his interaction with his people, God has longed for them to remember his goodness and generosity to his people and to live in response to all they know about the Lord.

Dispute of Jesus and the Pharisees over tribut...

Dispute of Jesus and the Pharisees over tribute money (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus confronted the religious leaders of his day, the teachers of the law and Pharisees, for turning worship into drudgery and for outwardly doing all the right things but inwardly neglecting to show justice and mercy. He harshly criticized them, calling them “hypocrites” and “blind guides” (Mt 23:23–24). God desires that his people walk humbly with him, for as they walk with him, they become more like him. Jesus is the way (Jn 14:6). He is the One who came to serve, not to be served (Mk 10:45). When a crowd asked him what kind of works God requires, he simply answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (Jn 6:28–29). When Jesus’ people follow him with their whole hearts, they develop hearts like his—hearts that are compassionate and swift to do justice.

Prayer……
Jesus, thank you for making some things simple. Please help me to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with you. I want a heart like yours. Amen.
Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

So I ask those who don’t believe in God, just what do you believe? Self? Another god? Humanism? None of these will draw you close to God, you have to come to Him through Jesus. He is the only way. I am often accused of being narrow-minded in thinking that all other religions are false or that there are many ways to know God. God says in His word that there is only one way. By rejecting His word you are rejecting Him and guess what? Jesus is The Word. Before the Creation of all things Jesus was with God, He was with God from the beginning. Nothing that has been made was brought into being other than through Jesus. He is part of the Godhead and came to dwell among us. God came to live with us and was rejected. He was nailed to a cross to pay the penalty for all of our sins and all He wants is for each of us to know Him personally. Nothing we can do can wipe away our sins and we have all sinned. Let Jesus be your Salvation for He is the only Saviour. If you want a heart like Jesus then ask Him into your life.

Shirley Anne

Another outreach……..

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Romans 1:16-17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 

I too am not ashamed of the gospel and indeed my desire is that all those in this world who are not believers in Christ Jesus or even in God should be reached out to in love and given this message of hope. I was blind but now I see is a personal truth for me. I truly was blind (spiritually) but now I see. I was an atheist, an unbeliever for so many years of my life, forty-three of them to be precise before I reached out to God and invited Him into my life. He showed me Jesus, he who took upon himself my sins, my sinful nature and paid the price for them with his own life. He shed his blood for me, suffered in pain on a cross as a punishment for MY sins so that I wouldn’t have to. It reconciled me with God who now only sees me as pure and holy, justified by faith and by His grace. It doesn’t mean that I am no longer a sinner, no, it just means that my sins are not counted against me, though I must make every effort not to sin. Christ didn’t come into the world to do away with the law (God’s laws) but to fulfill them. We too must make that our goal but the first step is to acknowledge there is a God and a Saviour who is Christ Jesus our Lord and invite him into our lives……

Shirley Anne

What About Those Who Have Never Heard About Jesus? (Acts 4:12)

Jesus was clear about the rules for receiving salvation when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). And when speaking about Jesus, the apostle Peter said in this passage, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Further, all people have to answer to God whether or not they have “heard” about him (see Heb 9:27). The Bible states that God has clearly revealed himself in creation (see Ro 1:19–20) and that he has “set eternity in the human heart” (Ecc 3:11). This means that people see all around them the evidence of God and sense within themselves the truth that they are meant for more than this world. God is not the problem; humankind is. Because of sin, people reject this knowledge of God and rebel against his will (see Ro 1:21–23). It is only because of God’s grace (see Eph 2:8–9) that he saves people from their own sinful desires (see Ro 1:24–32).
How God works out his plan is mysterious and complicated. We have our ideas of what it means for Jesus to be “the way,” but he is not bound by our understanding. God works to accomplish his goals in ways that we will never see or comprehend. The wideness of God’s mercy and the tenacity of his love is beyond our intellectual capacity.
Jesus is central in the redemption story. But God rewards those who seek him (see Heb 11:6). It is our mission to help those who seek him and make sure that those who have yet to answer God’s call hear and understand the gospel (see Mt 28:19–20; Ac 1:8). God always acts justly; he never acts unfairly or wrongly (see Dt 32:4). We might be surprised at the final roll call of heaven. Fortunately, it is God—not us—who will sort out the details in each person’s case.

Taken from NIV Essentials Study Bible

The message is clear, the rest is up to you. Do you want to live for all eternity in Heaven with your Creator or be cast aside because your sins have not been dealt with?

Shirley Anne

Being a Christian

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Ephesians 1:4

Paul says that God “chose us in him” to emphasize that salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved because we deserve it, but because God is gracious and freely gives salvation. We did not influence God’s decision to save us; he saved us according to his plan. Thus there is no way to take credit for our salvation or to allow room for pride. The mystery of salvation originated in the timeless mind of God long before we existed. It is hard to understand how God could accept us. But because of Christ, we are holy and blameless in his sight. God chose us, and when we belong to him through Jesus Christ, God looks at us as if we had never sinned. All we can do is express our thanks for his wonderful love.

Taken from NIV Life Application Study Bible

English: Neges Gristnogol Ffair Cricieth - Cri...

Neges Gristnogol Ffair Cricieth – Criccieth Fair Christian Message Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. A message on the Christian bookshop at 813796 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who else can say that they are loved by God for His Spirit is in them? Our relationship with God is a two-way street, any and every relationship is. God does love you dear reader even if you do not love Him. Having a relationship with your Creator is a truly wonderful thing, better than any other relationship you may have in you life. You may not think you are worthy to have such a relationship or even think it possible but you would be wrong in thinking that. God’s arms are open wide to receive all who would call upon Him and He has made it possible, not you or by anything you do. To have a relationship with God is only possible because of what Jesus has done for you. He took upon Himself the sins of the world, even your sins, so that if you believe in Him and the One who sent Him you will be saved for all eternity and the relationship with God will have begun. Like any relationship it gets better the deeper it gets.

Shirley Anne

Such wickedness

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In light of all the recent events here in the UK, terrorist attacks and other unreported things too numerous to mention one would think we were helpless to do anything much to prevent it. In a way that is true because we, as human beings are blemished, we are not perfect though we were meant to be that way and indeed for all who believe, we were designed to be perfect. To put it bluntly we have wickedness within us all. Another term would be sin within us. We have this idea that all will eventually be right when in the passage of time we learn to be different. We place that hope in our own capabilities to change for the better. The sad fact is we are incapable but many don’t realise and continue in the vain hope they have that somehow we can change the world. We cannot. We are tainted and stand as filthy rags before a perfect Creator God but many refuse to accept that fact. What would your idea of God do with us all? Should He destroy that which He loves or allow things to remain the way they are?  I have to tell you that God has chosen the latter but will always continue to hold out His hand to those who will take it. That is love, to reach out continuously to those who hate Him and to die for them who have sinned which is all of us. Jesus paid that price because of His love for you.

Shirley Anne

Most Evil

Most Evil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 13:24-30

The parable of the weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed ears, then the weeds also appeared.

27 ‘The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?”

28 ‘“An enemy did this,” he replied.

‘The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”

29 ‘“No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”’

In this short story, Jesus tells why God allows evil to continue in the world. According to Jesus, if God uprooted all the evil people (the weeds) now, others (the wheat) might be uprooted along with them.

For now, God’s allowing evil doesn’t mean he condones it. Rather, God is waiting for people to turn to him and accept his leadership in their lives. After all, if tonight at midnight God wiped out all the people who hadn’t yet trusted in him, where would you be in the morning?

Verse 30 gives us an image of the final separation that God will initiate at the end of time. On that day, God wants to gather you, as one of his people, into his heaven. Won’t you accept that gracious offer?

Taken from NIV The Journey Bible

Shirley Anne

Are you justified?

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Justification

Romans 3:23–24

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

We live in a culture that thinks hard work gets us what we want or what we think we deserve. This is especially true in the workplace. If we work hard enough, we get a raise, bonus, or promotion. And if something goes wrong, we can usually work hard enough to make amends. We live in a meritocratic culture.
But God’s kingdom functions differently. He has given us something we don’t deserve: right status before him.
The doctrine of justification tells us that we are considered righteous before God, not by our obedience to the law—for no one can fulfill the law’s requirements—but because of the perfect work of Christ. He alone lived perfectly according to the law and fulfilled it. Because of Christ’s work, God no longer sees us as sinful or guilty. He sees us as righteous and holy. Therefore, we do not have to fear God’s wrath, because our sins are forgiven and the weight of our guilt has been removed.
In his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion, reformer John Calvin says that no sinner could ever justify himself. Not only that, but wherever there is sin, there also “the wrath and vengeance of God show themselves.” Conversely, a justified person is one “who is reckoned in the condition not of a sinner, but of a righteous man; and for that reason, he stands firm before God’s judgment seat while all sinners fall.” This happens when we trust not in ourselves and our own works—because we will find nothing righteous within us—but in the righteousness of Christ through faith. That’s good news!
Connecting
As human beings, we are constantly trying to justify ourselves before others. Fearful of our inadequacies and sins being exposed, we work tirelessly to prove ourselves. This leaves us only exhausted and joyless. But when we begin to grasp the truth that in Christ we are wholly accepted by God regardless of what we do, we experience a peace that allows us not to be preoccupied with ourselves—our successes or failures. Further, we can have confidence as we perform the work God has set before us, even with all of our human limitations. The doctrine of justification brings an incredible freedom in our work, because if God, the ultimate judge, has already deemed us righteous, then no one and nothing can steal our security or status in him.

Taken from NIV Faith & Work Bible

Redemption:  deliverance from sin; salvation.

Why does anyone need redemption is saying why does anyone need salvation? For those who are not believers in God the words are meaningless and they are meaningless to them because they have no conception of sin. If you are an unbeliever for you there is no such thing as sin and therein lies the danger. Let’s get one thing straight, we are all sinners. Believers know so but unbelievers do not know they are sinners. Then what do they believe? They have no need of a creator God, they are all sufficient and in control of their own destiny. Most haven’t a clue about God and Jesus Christ because their minds are closed books yet they will most certainly form their own opinion about such matters. Their fate is sealed in their ignorance, they condemn themselves. They remain in their sinful state oblivious to the danger. ‘Nothing happens when we die’, is what they say. How do they know that? The same question is levelled back at the Christian, ‘How do you know’? The answer is as true as it is subsequently disbelieved. The Christian knows they are redeemed, forgiven and their sins no longer can condemn them because God’s Spirit is in them.

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Why? Because Jesus took the punishment for the sins of mankind upon himself thereby setting free those who believe and accept this free gift of life. God now doesn’t see the sins that cover us because Jesus has set us free, washed us clean and we have been redeemed and saved for all eternity. What about the unbeliever? Whilst there is breath in them they have the opportunity to repent and have that same assurance. The alternative is total separation from God forever! Do you really want to take that chance because of your refusal to turn to God? Reach out and take the hand of Jesus……

Shirley Anne 

Hang on a minute

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Again we as a nation were subjected to acts of terrorism by religious fanatics as now eight people have died through their actions with many more having been wounded. The attackers, three of them, were shot and killed by the security services. Their motive? To kill as many unbelievers as they could or simply a retaliatory act as a punishment for the nation having been involved in the fight against religion-based terrorism in foreign parts? It doesn’t matter but what does matter is the fact that innocent people are killed or maimed in the process. What bothers me more is that I believe the atrocities are carried out in the name of a false god. Now hang on a minute, isn’t Allah God? He certainly is not, there is only one true God and He is The Creator, the ‘I Am’, who reveals Himself through His creation and through His Son Jesus Christ, for it is through Jesus that all things that have been made (created) have their being. Now hang on a minute all you believers in Allah who maintain that there was something extra that God did after Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind…………Jesus died that all might be saved and when He took His last breath as a human being He said it Himself…’It is finished’. All that could be done had been done. God (the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit) had planned it all and there was now nothing more that could be done. Why would God change His mind?

Mohammed (right) and the Angel Gabriel (left) ...

Mohammed (right) and the Angel Gabriel (left) in a building with three domes. Provenance unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why would the angel Gabriel be sent to give a message to Mohammed to tell him that ‘hang on a minute, God was only kidding when He suffered on The Cross (through Jesus Christ) for all mankind and now you are the true messenger’? The fact is He didn’t. Mohammed is called a prophet by his followers yet he didn’t prophesy anything. He gleaned information from existing texts of both the Old and New Testaments and concocted a ‘holy’ book called the Q’ran. A book filled with good sayings but also filled with untruths. Mohammed himself had lead a rather dubious lifestyle before he ‘got’ religion. He was in fact a military man a  soldier who had been ruthless in killing in his quest for followers and now he was preaching a false religion in the name of his false god Allah. Nothing much changes does it? I am sorry for my Muslim brothers and sisters who have been led up the wrong path, especially those who think that by killing others it will get them into their Paradise. It won’t. If it did then Allah is proven a god of hatred and Christ died for nothing.

English: Resurrection of Christ

Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Praise be to God for Jesus Christ who is the only way anyone can get to Paradise (Heaven). For there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved.{Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ }. If you haven’t got Jesus therefore you haven’t got anything!

Shirley Anne