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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The True Bread from Heaven


- The people were happy with physical food that Jesus provided (He just fed the five thousand with 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish the previous day). He then tried to teach them the difference between food that perishes and food that endures unto eternal life. While Jesus had spent much time meeting people's physical needs, the real purpose of His coming into the world was to save people's souls. 
- "Jesus said to them, 'Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from Heaven, but it is My Father Who gives you the True Bread from Heaven. For the Bread of God is the Bread that comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world.'" (John 6:32-33)--In order to prevent misunderstanding, Jesus reminded his listeners that it was not Moses but God Who provided the bread (manna) in the desert and Who was giving them the True Bread from Heaven--the perfect food that satisfies humans' deepest need. "Thou has made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it find its rest in Thee." (St. Augustine) Christ identified Himself as the Bread of Life, One Who had actually come down from Heaven to give life to the world. We must come to Him and believe in Him to receive this life (eternal life and abundant life). "Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the Bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the Living Bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:47-51) Jesus gave "This Bread"/His flesh for the life of the world by dying on the cross for our transgressions. Jesus provides spiritual sustenance, in order that all who believe in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life! I'm so thankful for Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
 - For those who come and put their trust in Him, their spiritual hunger and thirst will be fully and forever satisfied. We are complete in Christ. No one else and nothing else will ever make us complete. People, places, and things are never meant to give us life's fulfillment. Christ alone is the Author of a fulfilling life! We eat bread to satisfy our physical hunger and sustain physical life. Only a relationship with Jesus Christ can satisfy our spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life. He gives us total spiritual nourishment and satisfaction... everything we need to live, grow, and stay strong. He is our Infinite Supply! Feed daily on Jesus, the Bread of Life!
- Do you spend much time with God and His Word? The world will try to offer you junk food and thus diminish your appetite for God and His Word. We cannot be spiritually healthy if we keep feeding our mind, hearts, and souls with unhealthy stuff, instead of the necessary nourishment from God's Word. "It is not the ship in the water but the water in the ship that sinks it. So it is not the Christian in the world but the world in the Christian that constitutes the danger. Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it." (~J. Wilbur Chapman)
- Many people in the world are starving spiritually...living without hope and purpose. May we eagerly share the Bread of Life with others so that they also may no longer be hungry! We cannot force people to eat or take the bread, but we can offer them the bread. Pray that they will "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8a).







Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Scriptures Testify about Jesus Christ


- The Scriptures of the Old Testament point to Jesus. However, the Jews did not receive Him of Whom the Scriptures speak. They studied and searched the Scriptures diligently and seriously because they believed that these contain the secret of eternal life and thought they could somehow attain eternal life that way. Knowing the Scriptures was the goal of Jewish piety. But they did not realize that the Scriptures testify of Jesus Christ. They knew the teachings of the Scriptures but failed to see the Messiah Whom the Scriptures revealed. They followed the strict rules but sorely missed the King. Sadly, even when Jesus was in their midst, these religious people would not come to Him for the life they vainly sought in the Scriptures. They were so smug in their own religious system and their own self-righteousness that they refused to surrender their lives to the Son of God. Don't become so involved in "religion" that you miss Christ, the Savior.
- We should study the Scriptures but we need to remember why. God wants us to read His Word to know Him more, to know His will & His ways, and to do what it says. Studying the Scriptures should strengthen & deepen our relationship with Him, keep us from stumbling & sinning, and enable us to immediately detect any false teaching/doctrines. "Seek not to grow in knowledge chiefly for the sake of applause, and to enable you to dispute with others; but seek it for the benefit of your souls." (~Jonathan Edwards)
- The Scriptures cannot save you; only Jesus can! Accept no substitutes. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood." (Romans 3:23-25a)
"Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22b)
God’s sinless, sovereign Son scorned by several, sacrificed self (solely suitable, satisfactory scapegoat) to save sinners’ souls securely from sin, suppressing sly satan’s scheme. Only the shedding of God's Son's blood can sufficiently satisfy God's justice for our past, present, and future sins. Christ's blood makes us righteous (have right standing with God). He sets us free from shackles of slavery to sin and shame. Please accept His gift of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus if you haven't done so yet. Christ loves you so much that He suffered and died for you so that you can spend eternity with Him.
- "Without the renewed mind, we will distort the Scriptures to avoid their radical commands for self-denial, and love, and purity, and supreme satisfaction in Christ alone." (~John Piper)

Sad but true, we have seen people, including those who appear to be "active" Christians, distort the Scriptures to justify their sins, to serve their own agendas, and even to commit crimes. Satan knows the Scriptures. Most atheists know the Scriptures. Pharisees and false teachers know the Scriptures. What do they all have in common? The lack of the renewed mind and transformed heart! The absence of Christlikeness! Self, not Christ, is still on the throne of their lives. Let's be careful not to fall into the same pitfall as these people: "You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence." (Matthew 23:24-25) We constantly need the Holy Spirit to steer us, show us His will, help us stay steadfast in our faith, stand stable in our conviction, and give us strength each day.

"When they see a follower of Jesus who is sold out for Christ, living free of legalism and bondage to the world, they are drawn to Jesus. When they see a follower of Jesus living for 'self' and the world, they have no problem rejecting Jesus because it allows them to play the hypocrite card. The world needs us to be an example of living the Bible so that they too are drawn to Christ. They need answers, and for us to say we are "Christians" and live our life in pursuit of personal gain would only be a contradiction to who we say we follow. " (~David McGee)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Choose Jesus

- This penitent man demonstrated amazing faith and confidence in Jesus. He was seeing Him dying on a cross and yet believed that Christ would come into His kingdom.
- The dying criminal had more faith than the rest of Jesus's followers combined. Although the disciples loved Jesus, their hopes for the kingdom (for a king who's going to redeem Israel politically) were crushed when they looked at Christ on the cross. By the way things looked at that moment, the kingdom was nowhere to be seen. Jesus had tried to teach the disciples that His kingdom was not to be a kingdom of this world but they didn't get it. By faith, this man saw beyond the present gloom to the coming glory. Now we have the privilege of knowing that Christ's death and resurrection overthrew satan's rule and established Christ's eternal authority over the earth.
- This man trusted Jesus to save him and Jesus accepted him and granted his request. Even in His pain and suffering, Jesus loves sinners and had mercy & compassion on this criminal who chose to believe in Him. It shows that our deeds don't save us. Our faith in Jesus does. It shows that baptism is not required for salvation, either. We're saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.
 "Ever wonder why there were two crosses next to Christ? Why not six or ten? Ever wonder why Jesus was in the center? Could it be the two crosses on the hill symbolize one of God’s greatest gifts? The gift of choice.
The two criminals were convicted by the same system. Condemned to the same death. Equally close to the same Jesus. But one changed!
You’ve made some bad choices in life, haven’t you? You look back and you say, “If only I could make up for those bad choices." You can!
When one thief on the cross prayed, Jesus loved him enough to save him. When the other mocked, Jesus loved him enough to let him. He allowed him the choice. He does the same for you!" ~Max Lucado

Response to Resurrection



"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:23-24)
"In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (Ephesians 1:7)

Jesus Christ, our royal Redeemer, has paid our ransom in full, has rescued us from sin & self, has imputed His righteousness to us, and has reconciled us to God so that we can have relationship with Him. How should we then respond?

Repent. Turn away from your sins and turn to God. "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)
Receive Christ into your heart/life as your Lord and Savior. "He who receives Me receives the One Who sent Me." ~Jesus (Matthew 10:40b) "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) Receive His remarkable grace & mercy...His gift of salvation and eternal life.
Remain in Him. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." ~Jesus (John 15:5)
Resolve to live for Him. "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him Who died for them and was raised again." (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) "If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." (Romans 14:8)
Reflect Him. "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Represent Him. "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Remember what Christ has done for you and remember to tell others about Him. "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel." (2 Timothy 2:8)
Rest in Him. "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." ~Jesus (Matthew 11:28)
Rejoice. Christ is risen! "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:2b)  "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) Christ's resurrection sets Christianity apart from all other religions. Jesus is alive; He didn't stay dead. All the founders of other religions are dead. Only Jesus has victory over death, demonstrating that He has power over all things. His resurrection is a provable historical fact. Some day, all will see the living proof when Christ returns.

Sadly, many choose to reject Him, refuse His offer of salvation, and rebel their way to hell. God gives everyone free will; the choice is yours!  
No one can remain neutral regarding Jesus’ resurrection. The claim is too staggering, the event too earthshaking, the implications too significant and the matter too serious.We must either receive it or reject it as truth for us. To remain indifferent or undecided is to reject it. ~Mark Driscoll 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I Know My Redeemer Lives!

Happy Resurrection Day! The happiest event in world's history! Without Christ's resurrection, there is no hope! Because Christ lives, we can face anything! Let's celebrate Christ every day! Walk daily in newness of life! Dead to sin, alive in Christ!
"Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57)

"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth." (Job 19:25)


"Because I live, you also will live!" ~Jesus (John 14:19b)

I wrote the poem below on the Resurrection Day last year (but I had never posted until now :)).

God's love did win!
Victory over death and sin

For me Christ was crucified
To self, sin, and the world I must die
My Redeemer lives!

All to You, Lord, I give
Your grace still amazes me
Thank You for setting me free

Christ is risen!
All my sins are forgiven
I live with hope and joy always

Because of that first Resurrection Day!

Copyright @2013 Urailak Liljequist

The resurrection of Jesus assures us of God's tomorrow. The glorious hope of living eternally with Him in Heaven enables us to live joyfully now regardless of life's sorrow. Because Christ is risen, we can have assurance of eternal life and resurrected bodies. We can have confidence that He is actively involved in our lives. He is interceding on our behalf. He is preparing a place for us in Heaven and He will return one day to bring us to our everlasting home. He always keeps His promises. He promises that those who abide in Him and do His will would bear much fruit for God's kingdom, enjoy spiritual blessings, and receive guidance from the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who is ever-present.

What does the Resurrection mean to you personally? Who do you say Jesus is?
"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" ~Jesus (John 11:25-26) Christ's resurrection changes everything! It proves that Jesus is truly Who He said He is, that His words are always true, that we have been completely forgiven and justified (His death for the payment of our sins was accepted), that our God is not dead (He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient), and that there is certainly life after death. What you believe about Jesus matters! In fact, it's a matter of life and death!

To my brothers and sisters in Christ: "He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: 'He has risen from the dead." (Matthew 28:6-7a) Come and see! Then go and tell the world about our Living Lord and Savior! Let's live our lives in such a way that people will know undoubtedly that Jesus is alive...that He is living in our hearts and guiding our lives! Live to tell what He died to do!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quote Collector


I'm a quote collector; I collect quotes :). You can see some of my favorite quotes on my sidebar. I quote Bible verses on my posts quite regularly. No question, some people were (dead ones) and are blessed with the gift of understanding and writing . In other words, they have wisdom and have a way with words. I like to collect inspiring, insightful, thought-provoking quotes by those quotable people.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about the cross, Christ's death, and resurrection:

"God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:13b-14

 "The cross shows the seriousness of our sin--but it also shows us the immeasurable love of God." ~Billy Graham

"The cross of Christ reveals man's sin at its worst, but God's love at its best." ~Anonymous 

"How could God remain equally faithful to His love for us and His just judgment of our sins? The glory of the cross, its unimaginable wisdom lies in the way God has devised to provide salvation for His people." ~Sinclair B. Ferguson  

"If I am perturbed by the reproach and misunderstanding that may follow action taken for the good of souls for whom I must give account; if I cannot commit the matter and go on in peace and in silence, remembering Gethsemane and the cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love." ~Amy Carmichael

"We need men of the cross, with the message of the cross, bearing the marks of the cross." ~Vance Havner

"For the Christian the cross of Christ is not merely a past place of substitution. It is also a present place of daily execution...The cross is not a mere event in history; it's a way of life! Take up your cross DAILY, Jesus said!" ~John Piper
  
"God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." Romans 4:24b-25

"Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life." ~Ravi Zacharias

"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" ~Jesus (John 11:25-26)

"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still your sins...If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." 1 Corinthians 15:17, 19

"Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57

"He is not here; He has risen, just as He said!" Matthew 28:6a


No one can remain neutral regarding Jesus’ resurrection. The claim is too staggering, the event too earthshaking, the implications too significant and the matter too serious.We must either receive it or reject it as truth for us. To remain indifferent or undecided is to reject it. ~Mark Driscoll 

"Because the Lord Jesus died on the Cross, I have received forgiveness of sins; because the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, I have received new life; because the Lord Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of the Father, I have received the outpoured Spirit. All is because of Him; nothing is because of me." ~Watchman Nee

"Believing the right things about Jesus isn't enough. You're not adopted as God's child until you confess and turn away from your wrongdoing and receive the freely offered gift of forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus purchased with his death on the cross. Until you do that, you'll always be on the outside looking in." ~Lee Strobel
   
"If Christ thought the soul was worth the shedding of His blood, well may we think it worth spending our sweat." ~Thomas Watson

"Receive every day as a resurrection from death, as a new enjoyment of life; meet every rising sun with such sentiments of God's goodness, as if you had seen it, and all things, new-created upon your account: and under the sense of so great a blessing, let your joyful heart praise and magnify so good and glorious a Creator." ~William Law

There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment. Wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God. Not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Do you collect quotes? Please share one of your favorite quotes in the comment. Thanks!
   

Friday, April 18, 2014

Proof


- Jesus opened the disciples' minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. They finally saw that Jesus was indeed the Messiah Who fulfilled the prophecies written about Him in the Old Testament. Did you know that Jesus Christ has fulfilled more than 300 prophecies? These prophecies were given 500 to 1200 year before His birth. Consider the following: The probability of anyone fulfilling just 8 would be one in a hundred million billion (1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000).
- When we read the Bible, we should pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open our minds to understand and interpret God's Word correctly, penetrate & permeate our heart and soul with His profound truths, and guide us to apply His Word in our daily lives.

- This is the post-resurrection commission Jesus gave to His disciples. It's paramount that the Messiah's suffering/death and resurrection on the third day along with repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached. Primary point of the Gospel!
- Jesus laid out the plan for His disciples. God wants the whole world to hear the Good News of salvation, starting at Jerusalem. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
- "The strongest historical evidence for the resurrection is the eyewitness testimonies of the disciples and more than five hundred other witnesses, which later would include the apostle Paul." (~Lee Strobel) The encounter with the Risen Christ transformed the early disciples and propelled them to passionately proclaim the Gospel, in spite of persecution. May we purpose to do the same with perseverance!
- Praise God for His presence, provision, protection, promises, propitiation, and power! The power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that the Holy Spirit gives us as we continue to "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)
- Jesus, the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, died on the cross in our place to pay for the penalty/ punishment of our sins. By the precious blood of Christ, we have been purchased, pardoned, provided Christ's righteousness, and made peace with God. He died so that you and I might live. Will you live for Him? Don't permit pleasure, position, power, possessions, popularity, preconception, or people to prevent you from putting your faith in Jesus Christ and professing Him as your Lord and Savior.

"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31
"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." 2 Peter 3:9



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Outstanding Offer!


It's appropriate to praise God and give Him the credit for He is the Source of all blessings.

In His overflowing grace and mercy, God has offered us the following spiritual blessings (among many others):-
- New birth (spiritual birth/regeneration) which includes an adoption into God's family
- Living hope (of eternal life) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
- Imperishable inheritance (true riches that never fade, decay, or are defiled by sin) kept in Heaven for us
- Protection by God's power (God will help us persevere through trials and all...Our souls are shielded by Him)
- Salvation which is now enjoyed and of which the full significance will be revealed in the last time (the judgment day of Christ)

I don't know about you but the outstanding offer above from God to His children makes me overjoyed!
God doesn't have to love us but He does. God doesn't have to forgive us but He does. God doesn't have to save us from eternal damnation and give us eternal life but He does. Think about it! He does what He does because it’s His character (God is Love). It’s all about Him, not us. God owes us nothing; we owe God everything! I am truly overwhelmed by His unconditional love and inexhaustible grace for me! By the way, no one ever outgrows the need for God's grace.

How should we respond to God's over-the-top love, grace, and mercy?
Friends, if you have not decided to follow Jesus and surrendered your life to Him yet, please don't put off this most important opportunity of your life any longer. Today is the day of salvation! We're never promised tomorrow. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) Jesus is the only Way to Heaven and the only Way for us to be reconciled to God and have peace with God. God obviously loves you so much and wants you to spend eternity with Him. Jesus is standing at the door of your heart and knocking. Would you open your heart to Him?

To fellow Christians: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1)
"To obey is better than sacrifice." (1 Samuel 15:22b) "If you love Me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15) Obedience is not the way to earn God's love or obtain salvation. It's the way we express our love and gratitude to God.

Finally, let's not overlook this beautiful encouragement and promise as a result of Christ's death and resurrection. Jesus has overcome death, power of sin, and the enemy. He makes us overcomers like Him. "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 John 5:4-5)


"The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with His rescue, our sin with His salvation, our guilt with His grace, our badness with His goodness. The overwhelming focus of the Bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer." ~Tullian Tchividjian


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No Longer


- We died with Christ and we now live with Him. "For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2:19-21)
- "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17) New birth! New life! We receive new heart and new mind. We have new desire and ambition, new passion and vision. We now look at everything from a new perspective (God's perspective/eternal perspective).  
- Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we no longer need to fear death and be in bondage of guilt and sin. We can truly live. We are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We are forgiven and free. "God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross." (Colossians 2:13b-14)
- The Law was given to make us aware of sin and see our desperate need of a Savior. Not until we realize our helplessness is there desire for and appreciation of a Savior! Not until we acknowledge our sin can we see the necessity for repentance and redemption!
- Those in Christ are not under the Law as the means of gaining salvation. We are saved by God's grace alone through faith in Christ alone. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) When we were under the Law, sin was our master. The Law cannot and does not justify us or help us overcome sin. Now we are under the grace of God and Jesus is our Master. He empowers us to overcome sin and to choose good over evil.
- “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14) The grace of God teaches and enables saved sinners to devote themselves to Christ & to do good while allowing neither ungodliness nor worldliness to control them. 
- Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we've been saved from the punishment of sin, we are being saved from the power of sin, and we shall be saved from the presence of sin (when we go to Heaven). Man by nature is under sin but Christ delivers us from the power of sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us. Sin is no longer our pleasure. We now hate sins. We long for holiness. Sin is disgusting/undesirable to the new nature of Christ's followers. Nothing causes them so much grief and sorrow as sin. God's grace not only takes away the love and dominion of sin from our lives but also leads us from the Law to the Gospel (the Good News). We still struggle with sin at times but by God's divine grace, we renounce it, confess it before God, mourn over it, and pray & strive against it. And when we fail, God's grace is there to forgive us and remind us that He loves us no matter what. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
- John Newton who wrote the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace” said shortly before his death, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!” May we never stop being amazed by God’s grace!
- "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." (2 Timothy 2:19b) We, Christ's followers, are Christ's ambassadors to the world. We must depart from sin and wickedness. "In Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him...No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (1 John 3:5b-6, 9) If you claim to be a Christian but still live in a habitual sinful lifestyle, you are a scandal and disgrace to His precious name.

No longer live for self but live for God!
No
longer live in sin but live in Christ!
No
longer live under law but live under grace!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Motivated by Christ's Victory

- How marvelous and measureless Christ's love, grace, and mercy are for us! He died so that we may live. Jesus is not merely a moral teacher as some like to think. Born in a manger, God in the flesh's main mission was to save mankind from miserable damnation.
- We, the redeemed, are to thank God Who gives us the victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. Mortality was overcome by the Messiah's death and resurrection. The battle is already won. Praise God for His mighty triumph over our Enemy and his minions!
- Because of the resurrection, nothing we do in the Lord for the Lord is ever in vain. Knowing that Christ has won the ultimate victory affects how we live right now. Maintain an eternal perspective. Focus on things that will matter for eternity. We have much to do but little time to do it. We must be active in sharing the Gospel to this lost & dying world and ministering to the lonely and needy. How many there are who profess Christ but are doing nothing for God's kingdom! 
- Motivated by Christ's victory, we're encouraged to stand firm, be faithful, steadfast, and immovable. Don't give up. Don't get discouraged. Keep serving. Let nothing move, shake, or deter you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord! Continue to work enthusiastically for our Master even when we don't see results and/or we face opposition/persecution. God, who brings life to dead bodies, will bring life and produce fruit to our messy attempts and meek efforts. If you're on God's side, you're on the winning team.
- "Abound in the work of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58)--the Greek word in this Scripture is the verb, perisseuo which means "more and more, to excel, to exceed, to go beyond that which is necessary, superabundant in quantity and superior in quality." Sounds mind-boggling :)? Yes, if we try by mustering up our own strength. But "God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8)
- Moms, the major work God has given you to do right now is the work of mothering and mentoring. May the Holy Spirit guide and empower us to make the best of every moment to help our children move towards the Most High God and mold them into Christlikeness! O the magnitude of mothers' influences!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Living Lord


- Paul states the utmost importance of Christ's death, burial, resurrection, (and appearances...in verses 5-8). These things make up the Good News. If there was no resurrection, the Gospel would be void of real content/ significance and our faith would be useless/meaningless.
- Christ's resurrection is pivotal; it's the center/cornerstone of the Christian faith! It confirms His claims to deity (what He said/promised is true) and guarantees the future bodily resurrection unto eternal life of all who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It sets Christianity apart from all other religions. Jesus is alive; He didn't stay dead. All the founders/leaders of other religions are dead. Only Jesus has victory over death, demonstrating that He has power over all things. His resurrection is a provable historical fact. We, Christ's followers, serve a risen Savior, a living Lord! Some day, all will see the living proof when Christ returns.
 - Christ's resurrection is the one most crucial and best established fact in all history. Without resurrection, there is no Christianity, no salvation, no eternal life, and no hope. Without resurrection, life is left with mere emptiness and despair. Because He lives, we too shall live. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.
-“No one can remain neutral regarding Jesus’ resurrection. The claim is too staggering, the event too earthshaking, the implications too significant and the matter too serious.We must either receive it or reject it as truth for us. To remain indifferent or undecided is to reject it. (~Mark Driscoll) Jesus Christ, the Messiah, God in human flesh, came to earth to live a sinless life, died in our place to save us sinners, and conquered death by His resurrection to give us eternal life. He did it all because He loves us so much. What will be your response to His love today? Life is short. Death is certain for everyone. I hope and pray that you will choose Christ now before it's too late. "I'm thinking about it" or "I will later when I'm ready" won't do you any good because it means that you decide against surrendering your life to Christ at this moment. There may never be another moment...
 - Searching for one true love? Look at the Cross; you'll find your one & only True Love, Christ Who suffered and died for you! Lonely? He will never leave you nor forsake you. Lost? He is the Light of the world Who will lead you.
"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" ~Jesus (John 11:25–26)


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review: God and Men No-Holds-Barred by Carlton Lee Arnold

How shall Christian men live according to God's Word? The author selects important verses that are relevant to the issues men face in life. He explains them and shows how to apply them. He shares from his own experiences and he hopes the readers will be challenged to live by God's principles with no compromise. I'm a woman but I still enjoyed reading the book. I felt like I was gleaning advice from a caring mentor with a fatherly concern. I underlined as I read. I appreciate the author's no-nonsense/no sugarcoating approach. I can tell that he's passionate about God and His Word. He wants to see other men develop a strong and deep relationship with God and to see their lives transformed by God's truths.

There are 52 chapters which are divided into 5 sections: Foundations of Being a Believer, The Beginnings of a Growing Faith, Maturing in the Faith, Specific Topics Related to Men, and Future Expectations. At the end of the book, you will find the list of Bible verses used and index of major topics. Some of the topics included are anger, idols, pornography, priorities, purpose, sin, etc. The book can be used as a devotional, a personal Bible study, or a small group Bible study. I've used it in our family's Bible time. I find this book helpful for my 12 and 15 year old sons. The author warns readers against worldly living and encourages them to live for God, instead. I want my sons to live for God and be men after God's own heart. This is a great resource for anyone, especially teens, men of any age, or new believers. Practical and insightful!

"God's job description for you would include: get to know Him daily, seek His kingdom first, and go and make disciples--this work is produced by your faith in God...God's job description for you would include: deny yourself; sacrifice for others; and serve others when it's not fun or easy (when others don't deserve it, recognize it, or appreciate it)--this kind of love is prompted from God's unconditional love for you." (p. 57)

"A constant and continually growing relationship with God is the only way to the truth about living. And that TRUTH is a Person--Jesus Christ...He is someone who lives His life in you." (p. 74, 75)

"Do you live each day in the amazing wonderment of what God has done and will do?" (p. 146)


~ I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Keys to a Highly, Happy Marriage


Have you ever looked at happy couples and wondered what the keys to their happy marriages are? Now you can find out! Equipped with many years of research, the author, Shaunti Feldhahn shares the surprising secrets that seem to be common factors in the highly, happy marriages. These are little things that make a big difference. It's fun to read about and learn from other couples what works and what doesn't work in their marriages. My husband and I have been happily married for almost 23 years. While I was reading the book, I smiled many times since the findings in the book affirm what we have already been doing right. The highly, happy couples keep doing the same habits that benefit their relationship, often without even being aware of what they're doing. Some of these habits may surprise you like going to bed mad and keeping score :). The book offers readers small, doable steps for adjusting their attitudes and actions to achieve success and happiness in their marriages.   

The book includes the survey responses from three different groups: highly happy couples, mostly happy couples, and so-so or struggling couples. It is wise to imitate the patterns of the first group and to avoid the patterns of the last group. I love the Fantastic Five for Him (5 things that a wife can do to make her husband happy) and I totally agree with the Fantastic Five for Her (5 things that a husband can do to make his wife happy). They are small actions that make your spouse feel that you care deeply about them. Simple, yet effective! Know that you have to make choices every day. Choose to put God first and at the center of your marriage, choose to commit, choose to change for the better, choose to lead your feelings instead of the other way around, choose to be grateful, choose to forgive, choose to be respectful to each other, choose to make time for each other, choose to focus on serving your spouse, rather than on being served, etc. Every couple will be much happier if each extends unconditional grace, kindness, and generosity consistently. I highly recommend this wonderful & helpful resource. It's a small book but it's packed with insightful and practical tips and advice for marital bliss. Very enjoyable read (my 20 year old single daughter couldn't put it down :))!

"Our feelings often follow our actions." (p. 106)
"We have found that when we act loving, then eventually, wow, we are loving!" (p. 109)
"But they shared that for them the most life-changing part was treating each other the way God commands--not just to please the other, but to please God first." (p. 188)
"When marriage is forever, the only option is 'Let's work through it.'" (p. 204)

You can read Chapter 1 here.

~I received a free copy of this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 11, 2014

JESUS, the Eternal Priest-King

- The priests' work was never done; they always had to stand and keep offering sacrifices.
- Jesus's death (in our place) was the one and only sacrifice required for removing all our sins (past, present, and future). It does not need to be repeated ever. Our redemption and justification were completely accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." (Romans 4:24b-25) His job that satisfied God's judgment is finished.
- Jesus sat down at the right hand of Jehovah. It indicates the place of authority and of priestly service. Jesus both rules and intercedes for us. My heart jumps for joy just from thinking about how much Jesus loves me and wants me to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
Romans 5:1



Friday's Fave Five #94

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story)

My Fave Five this week:

1. "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now." ~Unknown I really like this Thai commercial but I cannot help thinking about one thing: kindness (good deeds) will not save anyone spiritually. We all need Jesus! 


2. A beautiful testimony of God's goodness--a 10-year-old blind, autistic boy sang "Open the Eyes of My Heart" for the glory of God!
 

3. How many times have you heard the song, "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen? Many people start to get tired of it :). Personally, I don't mind the original song. I just think this parody is funny.  
4. I enjoyed watching some of the Together for the Gospel conference's livestream sessions. I'm glad that I'll be able to watch the ones I missed later on the website.

5. I'm excited to have discovered the
Jubilee Project on Youtube. "We exist to tell stories that inspire change! We believe that Doing Good is Contagious and together we can change the world!" They're a group of gifted young Christians who shares meaningful, inspiring messages through short films. Check out their videos  here.

Extra: Since April 1st, I've been participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge (blogging every day of this month #blogboost) and the A to Z Challenge (blogging from A to Z in April). It's been fun and challenging.

Extra Extra:
You can read my review and enter to win a copy of The Sparkle Egg at http://fivesavedbygrace.blogspot.com/2014/03/book-review-and-giveaway-sparkle-egg.html . This is a delightful children's book (for ages 4 to 8) about the true promise of Easter (I prefer Resurrection Sunday :)). Ends 4/13

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Incredible Contrast


- What an incredible contrast it is between life without Christ and life with Christ (in Christ)!

Life without Christ: 

We were alienated from God. We were enemies of God. We were strangers to holiness. Sin corrupted our way of thinking and living. Without Christ in our lives, our natural inclination was to be hostile to God's standards. "They exchange the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--Who is forever praised. Amen....They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy." (Romans 1:25, 29-31) We were ignorant of the Truth and were immoral. Our behavior was evil. We insisted in our own self-centered ways. We were indeed lost and blind in darkness.

Life in Christ:

We are holy in God's sight without blemish and free from accusation. Because of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, we've been declared innocent (no longer guilty and condemned). Christ's righteousness is imputed to us; we've been washed and made whiter than snow. "For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." (Romans 5:10-11 NLT) In Christ, we're saved and secure, forgiven and free. Our relationship with God has been reconciled by Christ's death. We become children of God and friends of God.

- There are two states we can be in: friends of God or enemies of God. What makes the difference? The difference is made by whether we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior or we have rejected His irresistible offer of reconciliation, friendship, and intimacy.
- To live eternally with Christ, we must depend totally on God's grace. We're incapable of saving ourselves. No amount of good deeds will impress God. Apart from Christ, there's no way for our sin to be forgiven or removed.
- Paul explained that Jesus' physical body actually died. He suffered physical death as a human being; He truly died in our place. Jesus was fully God and fully man. His sacrifice was complete and satisfactory for removing all our sin. From God's perspective, it is as though we had never sinned. What an immense relief!
- Some people seem to struggle with an identity issue because they allow the lies of this world to define who they are, instead of finding their identity in Christ, defined by God's indisputable truth. I would like to invite you all to come to Immanuel (God with Us) and cling to Him alone. Without Christ, life is hopeless, joyless, and meaningless! With Christ and in Christ, we have an eternal, abundant, peace-filled, joy-filled, and meaningful life! What an incredible contrast!
- Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the eternal life that is now mine because of Your divine intervention in my life! Please help me live intentionally for You and conform me to the image of Jesus. May my attitudes, words, and actions be increasingly honoring to You. I desire to make an eternal impact in this world and to introduce everyone I meet to my favorite Person and Best Friend, Jesus. Please give me boldness, wisdom, strength, and opportunities to do so. In Christ's Name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Heaven's Throne Made Accessible


- This curtain was the heavy curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies (the Most Holy Place, a place reserved by God for Himself) in the temple. The curtain symbolically separated the holy God from sinful people. When Jesus breathed His last breath, the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. This shows the divine origin of the occurrence. This event is very significant. Jesus's death for our sins opened up the way for us to approach our holy God. God granted us (those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior) a direct access to Him. Before Christ's death on the cross, "only the high priest entered the inner room (the Holy of Holies), and that only once a year (on the Day of Atonement), and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance." (Hebrews 9:7) Before Christ's death on the cross, most people were only allowed partial access to God through the priests. I'm so thankful and happy that God made a way for us to have fellowship with Him. Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we've been given access to our Heavenly Father through prayer (no priests needed). "Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings." (Hebrews 10:19-22a) This is an amazing truth! May we never take it for granted! Have you spent time with Him today? He hears you and cares for you always. The curtain is gone; "let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) We can now enter boldly into the presence of God with our petitions.
- "We have this Hope as an Anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our Forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a High Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." Hebrews 6:19-20
- When he saw how Jesus died, the centurion said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" How He died was prophesied in the Old Testament. He fulfilled the prophecies that were written about Him 500 to 1200 years before His birth. "The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come on you (Mary), and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)
- "Yes, life is like the Emmaus road, and we tread it not alone
For beside us walks the Son of God, to uphold and keep His own.
And our hearts within us thrill with joy at His words of love and grace,
And the glorious hope that when day is done we shall see His blessed face." ~Avis Christiansen

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God's Love Demonstrated


- The fact that God demonstrates His love for us in that Christ died for us while we were still sinners is not only amazing but almost incomprehensible. God sent Jesus to die for us not because we were good enough but because He loved us so much. He loved us even before we turned to Him. God goes to extreme measures to reveal His love for us. While we were still living (but dead) in sin and rebellion, God of all creation stepped out of Heaven and gave His life for ours. Jesus took the punishment that we deserve so that we may gain forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with Him. All we have to do is repent, trust in Jesus & His finished work at the cross, and follow Him in faith and obedience. Come and experience the greatest love anyone could ever know!
"When you love the unloving, you get a glimpse of what God does for you."    ~ Max Lucado
- From Genesis, God already had His rescue plan in mind. The pages of Scripture point to Jesus Christ, our Savior. We can be saved only by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. No human efforts or good deeds can save us. We cannot earn salvation; it is the gift of God!
- When you feel unloved, try meditating on the above verses. Remember how God shows His great love for you and consider how generous He has been with you. I hope you will be able to "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:18b). You're so very loved by GOD, the Creator of the universe....enough for Him to die for!
- Are you grateful for the gift of salvation and is your life's goal to glorify God? If so, go and tell the Good News/the Gospel of grace to those who are lost. Guide them to the one and only Gate (Jesus Christ) through which they must enter in order to get to Heaven. "I am the Gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved." ~Jesus (John 10:9a)
- Let's reflect upon John 3:16, the heart of the Gospel.
"For God... the greatest Lover
so loved... the greatest degree
the world... the greatest company
that He gave... the greatest act
His only begotten Son... the greatest gift
that whoever... the greatest opportunity
believes... the greatest simplicity
in Him... the greatest attraction
should not perish... the greatest promise
but... the greatest difference
have... the greatest certainty
everlasting life... the greatest possession"
~Unknown

Monday, April 7, 2014

For Us


- Isaiah gave us a picture of the Suffering Savior in vivid detail. He even speaks of it in the past tense as if it had already come to pass; yet it was written seven hundred years before Christ's crucifixion. God allows the people in Isaiah's time to look forward to the suffering of the future Messiah and the resulting forgiveness, healing, and salvation made available to all people.
- Isaiah compares all who stray from God as wandering sheep. Yet in His amazing grace and mercy, God sent the Messiah to bring them back into the fold. We have the privilege to see the foretold prophecy already fulfilled and know Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, Who has come and died for our sins. Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, yet or are you still like a wandering sheep?
- Jesus suffered all for us, sinners! He took up our pain and bore our suffering. He was stricken and afflicted for what we deserve. He was pierced for our transgressions and was crushed for our iniquities. He was wounded so that we (our sin-sick soul) can be healed. He carried the weight of our sins and died in our place to satisfy God's wrath and thus justify us. Only Jesus could pay the fine/penalty for our sins. He did all these to make us acceptable to God and able to have peace with God. The Sinless Servant of the Lord offers Himself as a once-for-all sacrificial Lamb to remove the sins of all people for eternity. How will you respond to such love?
- Thanks to Christ's sacrifice, you and I don't have to live in fear, failure, or condemnation because of anything that has taken place in our lives, whether it's our fault or not. Jesus has set us free! Free from sin, (spiritual) death, guilt, and shame. I hope and pray that you will choose to follow Jesus, Friend of sinners. He is our Firm Foundation. Storms of life will come; just make sure your life is fully set on a Firm Foundation. God is faithful and He will never leave us nor forsake us! He will help us get through even the fiercest trials.




Sunday, April 6, 2014

DVD Review: My Name Is Paul


My Name Is Paul is an apocalyptic adaptation of the Apostle Paul in the Bible who started out as a fierce persecutor of Christians. Filled with hatred, Paul who is the best (and perhaps the most ruthless) agent of The World (government), intends to capture (and kill, if necessary) those who follow The Way (Jesus Christ). His new assignment is to find Peter (the enemy of his leader) and get a map of salt mine. However, a car accident changes the course of his life. He's blinded by the bright light and hears the Voice from Heaven. After a miraculous healing, Paul follows The Way and shares the truth about The Way boldly no matter what the cost. He comes to realize that God's Word is the map to guide us and we are to be salt of the earth. Paul was blind but now he sees! My Name Is Paul is an interesting faith-based film with a strong message about God's redemption and forgiveness. No one is beyond God's grace! It's also about standing firm for Christ through persecution and about loving everyone, even our enemies.

It stars Michael Joiner of The Grace Card and Shannen Fields of Facing the Giants. It's a small budget film so please don't expect a Hollywood quality :). My Name Is Paul has enough action stuff that kept my husband's attention and interest. I especially love the little girl, Clare, in the movie. She is sweet and she explains The Way in a simple way with only 5 symbols. This film has been awarded the Dove "Family-Approved" Seal for ages 12 and up. The running time is 100 minutes.


~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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