Without faith, we cannot please Him

 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him,[a] saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23: 39-43 ESV)

This man was obviously an enemy of God and of men. We don’t know what he did to deserve that death, but we know he deserved it. He said it himself: they were receiving the due rewards of their deeds. So he is on the cross, receiving the due rewards for his sins and decided to ask for eternal life.

Did he think of it when beaten by soldiers? When did he start to be filled with remorse? When he saw Jesus enduring sufferings he did not deserve? We surely won’t know what happened and when it happened before reaching heaven, but one thing we know for sure is that somehow he got faith.

So Jesus was dying on the cross, being crucified unjustly, and he knew it. He was going through the same physical pain as Jesus so he knew better than to speak to Him at that moment, especially to ask for a favor. We don’t even like to be disturbed when we are simply busy, so to be disturbed when we are doing something important, especially something that costs us, would make most of us angry. Anyway, people won’t even try to speak to us in those circumstances, even less to ask for favors when we are in pain. But that criminal did it.

He understood and believed important things that made all the difference. First, he understood and believed that Jesus was King and had authority over everything, even over sins and hell, and eternity. He believed Jesus was the Christ. Secondly, he understood and believed that God was holy and righteous, which means there was nothing he could do to satisfy Him, nothing he could have done to save himself. Even without sin, he would only be a creature and to be with the Creator would mean a lot of grace and mercy given. So he understood and believed that all he needed was God’s mercy and grace, and asked for it. He boldly went before the throne of grace and asked for what he didn’t deserve: a place in Christ’s kingdom. But to be able to ask for mercy, he needed to repent. Which means he needed to acknowledge that he was a creature and Christ was the Creator; that Christ’s rules were the only ones to be followed; that he had broken those rules; and that only Christ could make things right.

His faith led him to Christ and Christ honored it by offering him salvation. So next time, you are trying to win God by being extremely spiritual, by doing many amazing deeds, think of this man and follow his example. Live to honor God not because you need to pay to be with Him, but because He deserved it and had proved Himself worthy of all honor and glory. And just go boldly before the throne of grace, as you are, at any time because you believe Him. Faith will always be the key.

 

 

 

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They all did as they wanted

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25 ESV)

It was so easy for them to forget God, so easy not to see what He was doing in their midst. They did not have a king, so they forgot about the Law and all God’s commandments. They did what they wanted when they wanted it. And despite all, God was there for them, loving them, fighting for them, disciplining them, delivering them.

Even when we forget God, He is still the same. His love does not depend on our love. oh, I am not talking about running wide and sinning because of God’s grace. No, I am talking about the grace and mercy we need as sinners, when our emotions, our feelings win. I am talking about the grace that leads us to repentance through Christ’s love, the grace that makes us run to the throne of grace to receive help.

God be praised for He does not change, for His faithfulness, for His steadfast love.

…”if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”  (2 Timothy 2:13 ESV)

 

Good Friday, Easter… What for?

So many people are commemorating Jesus’ death today and will be celebrating His resurrection on Sunday. But what for?

For me,  it is a celebration of a freedom bought at a great price by a merciful Savior.

It is a celebration of the one who died for me while I was doing all I could to resist, rebel and push Him out of my life.

Those three days are a great opportunity to thank the God who gave me the freedom to be who I was created to be.

So Good Friday, Easter, what for? To remember and say thanks and worship even through tears for the forgiveness of my sins and the reconciliation with the Holy One.

6 OPTIONS FOR GODLY SINGLE WOMEN WANTING TO MARRY

“Daughters . . . Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” –Song of Songs 2:7 (NIV)

This is a post from Mark Driscoll. I have made some changes to shorten it. Enjoy.

These are tough times for godly single women who want to marry.There are some single women who remain single for no good reason. Those who are over thirty are sometimes beginning to wonder if their hopes to marry and become a mother will be fulfilled. For some, this leads to near panic. For others, a constant despair with seasons of dark depression lingers like a chronic ache. Whatever the situation there are six options.

  • SIN

You can decide that God has not come through for you, so you take matters into your own hands and do things that will really hurt the one relationship you have with a great man: Jesus Christ. If you take this path, you will eventually come to feel horrible for what you have done and miserable in the world you live.

  • SURRENDER

You can give up on ever meeting someone worth marrying. You can just stop taking any risks, meeting any people, or trying in any way. But when you shut down your heart to life in general, you are not just foregoing marriage but also hope and joy.

  •  SETTLE

You can lower your standards to the point that nearly any guy can meet them. It is possible to keep editing your list to the point where “godly man” eventually becomes “believes in a higher power of some sort,” and “I respect him” becomes “I think I can put up with him.” This may get you a man, but not a long-term, joy-filled, God-honoring marriage.

  •  SUFFER

You can allow your singleness to become the devastating, discouraging, and defining aspect of your life. You can let it make you feel unwanted, unloved, and unworthy. You can allow it to haunt you, pushing you into shame, isolation, and despair. You can let your singleness be a club for Satan to beat you with over, and over, and over, and over . . .

  •  STRIVE

You can start to obsess over doing literally everything you can to land a husband. You never leave the house without looking like you are ready for a pageant. You count every calorie and spend more time at the gym than the treadmill does. You start an account for every Christian dating site that exists. You attend every church with a decent number of single men, and never miss a singles ministry event at any megachurch within a two-hour drive of your home. The center of your life is no longer Jesus, but some guy you are determined to attract to fill his place.

  • SOLACE

You can take comfort in God’s love for you and that Jesus is the Man in your life who sympathizes with your singleness. You can allow your singleness to explain you but not identify you. You can allow your singleness to be an aspect of your life but not the essence of your life. You can remind yourself that the early church was nearly the polar opposite of today’s: singleness was considered a virtuous, preferable life by many in service to God. You can live your life without waiting for someone else to show up and make it worthwhile. You can retain your desire for marriage without drifting into desperation. You can be open to a relationship without putting your entire life on hold until one occurs. You can pour your desires for a family into your extended family and/or church family.

The truth is that it is harder to be a single woman than a single man as a Christian. Polls say that single women are generally more mature and responsible than single men. Men are waiting until around 30 years old to marry for the first time, if they ever do. And, they are going for younger women, according to the statistics. Across Christianity, there are far more single women than single men, which means that the odds are not in the favor of godly single women. In addition, for theological reasons, many Christian women do not want to be the dating initiator, asking guys out and taking the lead in the relationship.

All of this together means that godly single women live in a complex world that is increasingly more difficult for those who want to marry and have children with a godly man. Love, prayer, friendship, support, counsel, and community are needed more than ever. Being single is not easy. But neither is being married. They are just difficult in different ways as God uses everything in our life to make us more like Jesus, who happened to live a perfect life while single.

Did you say friends?

Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Romans 16:12

Different people come in your life for different reasons. Some wants to get something from you: love, information, attention. Some have their interests or the interests of someone they care for in mind. Some just want to gossip or to use your weaknesses to their profit. Some love you genuinely and want a true relationship with you. All of those don’t matter.
They are there for a time, for a lesson. They are there to teach you to be holier, wiser and more God-centered. Some hurt you, disappoint you. Some betray, despise or mock you. Some distract you, draw you far from the most important by loving you. Those don’t matter.
The only ones that matter are those who come to work hard with you in the Lord. Those whom God rejoice to see you spend time with. Those you want your name to be associated with for eternity. Those you can call fellow servant. Those who are your true brother in Christ, who know that the goal is Him and who will fight with you so that you can know Him. Those who will encourage you with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Those who will warn and help you in all wisdom (Colossians 3: 16). Those are the only one worth crying for. They are the one you want the inhabitants of heaven to see you with.
We all need friends. We all need people to listen to us and encourage us. Let’s just choose those we can honor the Lord with. They are those God wants you to be with and He looks forward  to putting your names in the same sentence in His book.
Greet those workers in the Lord, (your name) and (that person name).

Pruning

Hi,

Jesus says in John 15: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

It is not always easy to follow Christ.

Actually, since I have decided to surrender completely everything, to let Him be in control of everything, to be daughter-slave, things are getting more and more difficult.

I thought I was a good disciple. I see how much I need grace. It is good. I am free from self-righteousness. When I feel good about myself, the holy Spirit reminds me quickly that apart for Him, I cannot do anything, that everything I have I received it (1 Corinthians 4:7).

The worse (or the best) is I like that. I like those sufferings because they are telling me that it is real. God is working inside me. We are beyond what people see. I like that I need Jesus to do anything. I can be free to be incompetent and spend a lot of time asking for His help.

I love grace. I love being chosen because… because He wanted it. I love to strive for Him, knowing that the only righteousness I have is the righteousness that comes through faith (Philippians 3:9). He is the potter. What a relief!

I see God answering my prayers and I see His Word alive in my life. I see Him by my side even in my darkest moments. I see Him and I rejoice because it does not depend on me, but on Him.

He chose me to be holy and blameless before Him. My eyes are on Him and one day…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.