John 10:9, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be
saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Proverbs 6:6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from
their ways and become wise!
Jeremiah 8:7 Even
the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and
the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the
requirements of the LORD.
Job 8:14 His source of confidence is fragile; what he trusts in is
a spider's web.
Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by
the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with
cleverness in the techniques of deceit.
Isaiah 53:6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left
God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
John 10:3+4 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep
recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads
them out. When he has
brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him
because they know his voice.
Matthew 13:31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: "The Kingdom of
Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field.
Matthew 13:44 "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man
discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold
everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
1 Corinthians 12:12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up
one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 "But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made
the LORD their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots
that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or
worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop
The above are just a few of the scriptural metaphors I found...lessons are all around us.
It never ceases to amaze me how much God has given us!! He has been more than faithful to give us everything we need to know of His existance...as well as His love and of all the knowledge and wisdom needed. He has given us Himself in Christ Jesus, His Spirit, A new nature, His written word, His creation and the body of Christ.
Joshua 21:44 The LORD gave us peace on every side, just as he had
promised our ancestors. Not one of our enemies are able to oppose us—the
LORD placed all of our enemies under our control.
He has equipped us on every side. Not one area of our lives has been forgotten. We have all we need for life and Godliness. We have so much that has been created for us and given to us...to enjoy and to learn from...if we desire to have ears to hear and eyes to see.
Lessons ARE all around us....can you share something you've learned from what's around and in you?
But I wanted to say something about what I see so often during the holidays...conflict. Arguments and controversies over how...and even if we should be celebrating Christmas.
The following text in 1 Timothy 6: 3-21 reminded me of these things as I was reading it today. Reminding me what the important things are, vs what just causes arguments. ~ Especially after what we had just talked about in the last couple of posts, how nothing we do or don't do so as to earn a right standing with God will earn us a right standing with God.
Then, as we read through this text it speaks about gain...how (by arguing or causing conflict) and then why (by thinking only of self/gain) we attain it...then how it all comes down to contentment and realizing that God already gives us all the things we need ~ and all things to enjoy! So, why argue? People who like to argue are most likely into doing it because of self-interest.
So, if we truly are saved...completely saved...by the work Jesus did ~ and not by our abilities to have all the correct doctrinal beliefs yet (as this happens through time and growth) and not by not celebrating Christmas and not by not having a tree and not by...well, not by anything we do or don't do >> then why not enjoy the things God has given us to enjoy?
God tells us in Romans 1:18-23 that it is already in our hearts to learn about who He is through his creation...although some have chosen to dismiss this and worship the creation instead of the Creator. We can see how great God is, what kind of nature He has, and what kind of life He wants for us through what He has created.
...as in the Christmas tree. Of course through the centuries people have used the evergreen tree in various ways and as a symbol of many different things...as God tells us in the Roman's verses...but we are to see it the way that it was intended, for God's glory. Evergreen for me, for instance, and to various Christian traditions means and stands for life everlasting. God and then life with God, means living forever. Through the harshness of winter when some barely see the sun, to the delights of summer when the sun is ever shining...nothing stops the evergreen from living ~ from being ever-green. As nothing stops God and His people from living forever...because God is 'ever-green/always alive'.
Everything was created for His glory and are gifts to us to appreciate and enjoy...and no matter how rich we get, money will always be a poor substitute for what God has already given us. I hope and pray we keep this going with how we live our lives...and are witnesses of His life and His truths that we see in Jesus, in scripture and are all around us every day in His creation.
false doctrine and doesn't agree with the accurate words of our Lord Jesus
Christ and godly teachings 4is a conceited
person. He shows that he doesn't understand anything. Rather, he has an
unhealthy desire to argue and quarrel about words. This produces jealousy,
rivalry, cursing, suspicion, 5 and conflict between
people whose corrupt minds have been robbed of the truth. They think that a
godly life is a way to make a profit.
6A godly life brings
huge profits to people who are content with what they have.7We
didn't bring anything into the world, and we can't take anything out of it. 8As long as we have
food and clothes, we should be satisfied.9But people who want
to get rich keep falling into temptation. They are trapped by many stupid and
harmful desires which drown them in destruction and ruin. 10Certainly, the
love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people who have set their
hearts on getting rich have wandered away from the Christian faith and have
caused themselves a lot of grief.
11But you, man of
God, must avoid these things. Pursue what God approves of: a godly life, faith,
love, endurance, and gentleness. 12Fight the good
fight for the Christian faith. Take hold of everlasting life to which you were
called and about which you made a good testimony in front of many witnesses.
13In the sight of
God, who gives life to everything, and in the sight of Christ Jesus, who gave a
good testimony in front of Pontius Pilate, 14I insist that,
until our Lord Jesus Christ appears, you obey this command completely.
cannot be blamed for doing anything wrong. 15At the right time
God will make this known. God is the blessed and only ruler. He is the King of
kings and Lord of lords. 16He is the only one
who cannot die. He lives in light that no one can come near. No one has seen
him, nor can they see him. Honor and power belong to him forever! Amen.
17Tell those who
have the riches of this world not to be arrogant and not to place their
confidence in anything as uncertain as riches. Instead, they should place their
confidence in God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.18Tell them to do
good, to do a lot of good things, to be generous, and to share. 19By doing this they
store up a treasure for themselves which is a good foundation for the future. In
this way they take hold of what life really is.
20Timothy, guard the
Good News which has been entrusted to you. Turn away from pointless discussions
and the claims of false knowledge that people use to oppose [the Christian
claim to have knowledge, they have abandoned the faith. God's good will be with
all of you.
Galatians 5: 2 + 13-26 2Listen! I,
Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with
God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you.
13For you have been
called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom
to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in
14For the whole law
can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
15But if you are
always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one
another.16Let me explain
further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will
never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants. 17What your corrupt
nature wants is contrary to what your spiritual nature wants, and what your
spiritual nature wants is contrary to what your corrupt nature wants. They are
opposed to each other. As a result, you don't always do what you intend to do.
18If your spiritual
nature is your guide, you are not subject to Moses' laws. 19Now, the effects
of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, 20idolatry, drug
use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict,
factions, 21envy, drunkenness,
wild partying, and similar things. I've told you in the past and I'm telling you
again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit the kingdom of
God. 22But the spiritual
nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
self-control. There are no laws against things like that. 24Those who belong
to Christ Jesus have crucified their corrupt nature along with its passions and
desires. 25If we live by our
spiritual nature, then our lives need to conform to our spiritual nature. 26We can't allow
ourselves to act arrogantly and to provoke or envy each other.
Continuing from the last posting....I talked about the immense worth of eternal life in heaven, and the high price that was already paid by God Himself when He sent His Son.
So what now? OK, then if I don't have to do anything...I mean not a diddly-squat...then what do I do now as a person who's salvation has already been completely paid for?? Hmmm?
To explain a little further - up in verse 2 St. Paul says that what used to make a person right with God before Jesus, won't do it now. If you read more of Galatians you'll see him saying that all circumcision does now is cut into the body. Then if you continue to read you'll see it reiterated in different ways that anything we do...good deeds, rites, sacrifices, anything! to try and be right with God....to try to pay some of the price of salvation...makes Christ's work on the cross of no benefit. It's either one or the other....no fence sitting.
OK...now...what IS it that we do now? How about ceasing sin in my life? Doing good things...rituals and the like won't do it, but maybe if I'm good, that will help!? So, if I work hard not to swear, not to think bad thoughts and to stop gossiping, along with thanking God that I'm not like those sinners over there! - maybe that will do it? Nope again. A resounding NOPE. Being good or not being good won't pay for it either.
Remember this verse in Ephesians 2:8? "God saved you through
faith as an act of His kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a
gift from God."
Now with this in mind, look up in verse 13 & 14...God has given us eternal life. This eternal life gives us freedom from having to work for our salvation. A freedom that we will continue to learn about...and experience as we grow. However, the main purpose for this freedom is not to only use it for our own self-interests.
Lets imagine you work for a boss that made you work your tail off in order to keep your job. But then she hires more help and tells you that you can now have the freedom to take some days off...what would you do with this new found freedom?
During the time of the law...and even now in the lives of those who spend so much of their time trying to mind their P's & Q's, and making sure they don't step out of line...following all the laws took a lot of time and energy, with very little time for anything else. But now we are set free from all that...
So, what do we do with this new found freedom? God says to use it to serve. To love our neighbor as our self. Yes, and since we also read in scripture that His yoke is easy and His burdens are light...and that He wants an abundant life for us...and then up in verse 14 that we are to love others as we love ourselves...then at least three things are apparent. That we are not to neglect ourselves and serving others is not as hard as we may think, along with it being a part of how God brings us an abundant life.
In Pt 3 we will talk more about verse 14 on down...
Let's say one day as you're watching the news a special news report comes on, saying that the world is for sale...well, actually, it is up for auction. The bills of many of the 1st world countries are way overdue, and so for the world to continue running it will have to be sold to the highest bidder.
During this surprising news flash a list of the people that have already placed their bid is put up for all to see. It's an impressive list of who's who. Then across the screen you see that this newscast is a rerun of a previous broadcast. Hmmm....so, this means it hasn't sold yet. Then you pick up today's paper and see that the UN continues to say that when they add things up that there still is not enough money offered in any one bid to even begin to cover the cost of the whole world.
I am not sure if anyone has ever tried to calculate what the price would be of the whole world....but, in my mind it would probably be incalculable.
The value of this world and all of the life on it...immeasurable.
The beauty and the wonders of this created world are so amazing it would be about impossible to figure out it's worth.
Now think about heaven and eternal life. If God can create such temporal, yet precious wonder here...and then considering what we know about eternal life, and then heaven by reading in Revelations 21-22...the latter has got to be more costly than life here on earth has ever been.
So, imagining this...the worth of what is to come...as well as God already telling us that He took it upon Himself to pay for it by sending His own Son....how can we ever even think of trying to pay it back in any way??
I remember a Pastor speaking one time about our salvation and Christ's payment for us. He said it came home to him during a summer when he was asked by a church member to spend some time with her son as he was really struggling. So over that summer he took time at least every week. He took him places and basically spent very good quality time with him.
At the end of the summer he got a thank you card in the mail, which he appreciated...yet, it also had a $10 bill in the card too, which he said felt just like a slap in the face. He said that after all the energy, time and caring he spent (and money too) on this young man, that $10 was all it appeared to be worth to her.
He told us that no matter what her intention (which after thinking about it, he realized she didn't mean to imply that it wasn't worth very much), this was however a good lesson for him about the worth of salvation and God's grace and the price that had already (and completely) been paid for it. God showed him that when we try to pay God back for His free gift, it is like we are whittling it down to human level, and as something that is not worth as much. We would also not be fully acknowledging or paying attention to what Jesus went through to pay for it...as though he still didn't pay the full price, so we have to add to it.