Friday, November 18, 2011


"All Scripture is God-breathed  and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

I've slacked off on posting my blog the last few days, but God has still been guiding me in my Bible study each day. There are just some days where I think I've blogged so much about the subject I'm studying that I feel I have nothing else to say about it. However, God still has alot to say about every subject and it's not up to me to decide whether the subject has been talked to death or not. Today, though, I just want to blog about what I believe the Bible says about certain things.

As this verse in Timothy says, I BELIEVE the Bible is God's Holy Word. I believe everything in it, no matter how far-fetched it may seem to others. It is God-breathed and every word in there is there for a reason. Every miracle happened: Moses parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:15-30 NIV); Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:22-25 NIV); Jonah was swallowed (and not killed!) by a big fish (Jonah 1:17 - 2:10 NIV); Jesus suffered, died and rose again on the third day to conquer death and offer us eternal life through salvation (Mark 15:21 - 16:7 NIV); God blessed Abraham and Sarah with a child in their old age (Genesis 21:1-7 NIV); Joshua collapsed the walls of Jericho by only marching, blowing trumpets and shouting (Joshua 6:15-20 NIV) - these are just a few of the miracles God has performed and that I believe are true.

Other things the Bible says that I believe:

I BELIEVE that Jesus is the Son of God. He took on human form for one reason: to take on my sin and become a living sacrifice for that sin so that, through Him, I would have eternal life. "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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." (John 3:16-17 NIV).

I BELIEVE that we cannot go to heaven by doing good deeds; we MUST accept Jesus' grace and mercy by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior in order to have eternal life in heaven. This is a gift we cannot earn. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). And Isaiah 64:6 NIV tells me: "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."

I BELIEVE that once we are saved, we can never lose our salvation. Jesus sacrificed Himself one time. When you accept Him as Your Savior and your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, it cannot be removed from that book. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:28-30 NIV). And "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39 NIV). Also, Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV reveals: "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

I BELIEVE that all those who do not accept Jesus as their Savior will go to hell, because, no matter how good of a person we think we are, we are all sinners. God is just and righteous and will not allow sin to go unpunished. That's why He sent Jesus to pay for our sins. God gives us our whole lives to come to the realization that Jesus is His Son and for us to accept that He is the ONLY way to heaven. If we make the choice not to accept Jesus, they we've made our bed with the devil and choose to spend eternity in agony. It's not a choice God wants us to make, but He has given us free will to choose: Heaven or Hell.  "Then He will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels....Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matthew 25:41 & 46 NIV). And John 3:18 NIV says, "Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.".

I BELIEVE Jesus is alive and in Heaven, sitting at the right hand of God, waiting for the day of Rapture to take all of His believers up to Heaven with Him. "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into Heaven and He sat at the right hand of God." (Mark 16:19 NIV). In Matthew 26:64 NIV, Jesus Himself says, "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

The question now is: what do YOU believe? Have you accepted Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior? Do you believe He is the Son of God and came to die for your sins? Do you realize that Jesus is the only way to Heaven; otherwise you're headed for hell? Don't believe this just because I do or because I said so. Find out for yourself. Study His Word. Believe!!

"He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent." - Augustine

Dear Gracious, Loving God, I lift up my thanks to You for my salvation and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Your Word. I pray for those who do not yet know Your Son as their Lord and Savior. May their eyes and hearts be opened to the truth; may they desire to know Jesus. Lead them to Your Son, dear God. In Jesus' name I ask, Amen. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Art of Acceptance

"In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." - Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
(Reinhold Niebuhr)

I think we all know the Serenity Prayer, at least the first 4 lines. But the rest of the prayer is just as important. There are so many circumstances in this life that are out of my control. Cancer, divorce, abuse...death. Not a thing I can do to change any of them. But God can!! What? God can change death? Yes, I believe He can. Jesus overcame death on the cross and because of His sacrifice, even though my human body may die, I have eternal life because I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. That was the first time I practiced the art of acceptance. And that's how I know that God can change death!

We all have plans for our lives. Marriage, kids, vacations, time with friends, nice home, great job. We never plan to have anything bad happen. But it does. Our marriage falls apart, we lose our jobs, our kids get sick, our parents age and we have to care for them, the bills pile up, the vacations don't happen, loved ones pass away...on and on. When the trial and troubles come our way, we have two choices: cry and complain and rail about how unfair life is OR accept what has happened and lean on our Father who is faithful to see us through. Only one of those choices will lead to peace about our circumstances. Guess which one that is?!

He knows his plans for us; His will is bigger than ours. He doesn't force us to follow His will and purpose, but He can and does allow circumstances to lead us there. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) says, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." His purpose WILL prevail!!

It's easier to practice the art of acceptance when I'm living in God's will. When I give Him control of my plans, they seem to go much smoother. When I'm trying to be in control...not good.! We're studying the book of Jonah at church and he's the perfect example of the lengths God will go to to bring me back into accepting those things I cannot change and surrendering them to Him. As I pray each morning, I am learning to give God my plans for the day and asking Him to show me which of those plans are more important to Him. I'm also learning to ask God for His leading when it comes to decisions I have to make throughout my day. When I say I'm learning, it means more often than not that I forget to give my plans to God but through His Word, such as this verse, He reminds me to keep practicing the art of acceptance. His will be done, not my own.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Dear Heavenly Father, teach me to accept those things in my life I cannot change. When I am discouraged, give me hope. When I am anxious, give me peace. When my plans fall apart, give me acceptance. I place my trust in You and the purpose for which You made me. Your will be done in my life, Lord, not my own. Direct my paths. You are the God of my life and I give that life to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.