High Standards, Higher Grace

At Men’s Prayer Breakfast on Saturday we planned on discussing Matthew 5-7 but in the end we didn’t even get through Chapter 5 because there is so much to unpack.

One point that was brought up was the difficulty of doing a lot of what Jesus is saying.

During the discussion it came to me, “high standards, higher grace”.

We do have high standards to follow as Christians but the Grace of God far exceeds are failures.

This does not give us a license to sin or ignore God’s commands.

No it should give you hope and more reason to follow God’s commands. Because while God’s standards are high it’s not just His grace that is higher but His love and His mercy.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Matthew Chapter 5:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205&version=NIV

Forgiveness is Available For All Sinners

Throwback Thursday from May 2019. This is one of my more controversial posts, in that it attracted some angry attention in the comments. Two comments I had to delete due to profanity. Nevertheless it also received a lot more positivity. I’ve learned a lot about soteriology since I wrote this, so I may have worded a few things different to respect everyone’s theological beliefs but other than that I think the message holds.

The Good Word

I’ve heard many people ask a similar question that often times is hard to answer or even comprehend for some Christians. The question is usually along the lines of, “How can someone who is in jail who did terrible things and repented go to Heaven while I haven’t done horrible things will go to hell for not believing in God?”

For years I struggled with an answer to this question but God showed me the answer through scripture. The reason is that person in prison has now paid twice for their sins.

First through earthly consequences, the person committed crimes, was punished and served their sentence or is serving their sentence. That is their physical judgment.

But what remains is their spiritual judgment and when one truly accepts Jesus Christ as their savior, it is He, Jesus who took on their spiritual punishment. God will know if they truly are…

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Rethinking Doubting Thomas

John 20:24-29 (New International Version)

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

A couple Sundays ago my Pastor was preaching about the above story from the Bible, he asked us if we as Christians focus too much attention on Thomas’ doubt and miss a more important message.

The message that Jesus met Thomas’ need. Jesus wanted Thomas to believe so He showed him His wounds, giving Thomas exactly what he needed in order to believe.

How amazing is that? That is a wonderful thing to focus on but instead we often focus on the doubt, we call people a “Doubting Thomas” if they have doubts, rather than focusing on their need and what will help them believe.

Yes, Jesus said, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” but He did not condemn Thomas for needing to see, instead Jesus knew Thomas’ need and didn’t hesitate. He didn’t shame Thomas, He didn’t call him an insult instead He met the need. What a merciful and gracious God we serve.

Let’s try mercy and grace with those struggling in doubt.

Lord helps us do so.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Daily Bible Readings:
Monday – Acts 9:36-43

Tuesday – Psalm 23

Wednesday – Revelation 7:9-17

Thursday – John 10:22-30

The Common Denominator is people

Three years later and this post seems way more relevant today than it did in 2019.

The Good Word

Most everyone has a bogeyman or men that they blame all their problems or the problems of the world on. Sometimes its one particular person in their life, or a world leader. Sometimes it is a group of people based on their political beliefs, religious beliefs, race, gender or any other difference.

They say all the trouble and problems in their life or the world would be solved if only that person or group of people would change or be gone.

Well turn on the news, you will hear stories of people killing others, robbing others, hurting others, attempting to destroy all that is good. These people are from all different races, religions and backgrounds. Men, women, sometimes even children.

What’s the common denominator here? It’s people.

People are the ones who do the evil, evil does not discriminate, it does not chose race, gender, political affiliation or even the…

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The Relief of Grace

Throwback Thursday from November 2018

The Good Word

One of the saddest things to hear is when an atheist describes abandoning their belief in God as a relief.

Truly if that is your belief than you really missed the God of the Bible.

If someone has caused you to feel this way whether a member of church or your family, you must remember that is not God’s intention.

Trust the Word of God, not words from man.

Read and study the Bible and you will see that despite everything people did, God was always there to save them. He took extreme measures to save us out of love.

God is not wearing you down, that is your own mind that has been conditioned into believing you have to be perfect or face Hell.

God’s commandments are not anything abnormal, the majority of countries laws follow the same standard.

One big difference, is grace. Try committing a crime, then apologizing…

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Unconditional Love vs. Conditional Grace

Throwback Thursday. I wrote this back in 2018. I really had no idea about theology or more specifically soteriology back then but I still think this entry holds up even if it’s a little sloppy.

The Good Word

I once wrote that if God’s love has conditions I am okay with them but I would like to correct that writing with this weeks blog post. It is not conditional love but it is conditional grace. God loves us all and wants us all to be saved. The Bible makes that
obvious. The word Love is mentioned 310 times in the Bible.

The Grace of God is that part that is conditional you must accept the salvation through Jesus Christ.

I have heard often from skeptics that if there is a God it is unfair that they won’t be able to get into Heaven for their lack of belief, they believe they’re good people and that should be enough.

Let me give you a hypothetical scenario, a Father builds his two children a home each, he supplies them with everything they need and sends them out with a small…

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Response To A Person Upset About God Allowing the World To Suffer

For this week I am going to post a response I had to an atheist recently who told me that if there was a God then He didn’t care about us and allowed us to suffer.

Here it is…

“You’re missing the point. Read the beginning of the Bible. Humans sinned which caused the world to suffer. The Bible says the “wages of sin is death.”* It also says, “Satan is the god of this world”**. This is due to the curse humanity is under because of sin. Despite this God breaks the curse through Jesus, one of many times throughout the Bible and history God has bailed out the human race.

But it is never good enough. Again read the Bible for reference, despite every time He did  help or intervene the majority of the Israelite’s rebelled or complained again and again. In history and day to day life it is no different.

I will admit that I do this. I have prayed and seen answered prayers but did that stop me from complaining to God later? Of course not.

We as humans continue to sin, allow others to suffer, we literally have weapons that could destroy the Earth in a day. We do the opposite of what God wants consistently, over and over. Claim we are good but in reality we all live in some form of comfort while others die on the street, then we ask God, “why do you allow people to suffer?”

Some day He will ask us, “why did you?”

Look at who we truly are as a people, looked at how we handle things, what we do under our own free will. Look at the World.

I chose to praise God for intervening ever. The fact despite our deep flaws He gives us a path to Heaven at all is gracious.

And can we really argue with the creator of the universe that He isn’t doing a good enough job? That is filled with pride and it is silly to argue with Him when we as humans are in charge of the Earth and continue to make such flawed decisions.

As far as suffering goes, look at Jesus. He was born poor, doubted by friends, families and neighbors. He continued to live poor, constantly on the run from enemies, dedicated His life to helping others, so one of His best friend could betray Him for a very small sum of money. He then was brutally beaten and killed in public, so we can all be saved. He did this willingly, suffering while helping others.

Could you honestly stand before Him as a flawed human being and say, “Why didn’t you make everything perfect for me and others?”

Sad thing is He promises to but many can’t wait and endure a small amount of what He went through.”

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get through to this person but I pray that he allows God in his heart.

But maybe my response will help you who are reading this.

Either way…

Praise God in it all.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

*https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+6%3A23&version=KJV

**https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Corinthians+4%3A4&version=NLT

God is Easy to Forget

It’s easy to forget God.

So easy to forget Him during our struggles. We forget He can help us.

So easy to forget our Lord during our triumphs. With all the praise given to us by others and even ourselves it’s easy to forget to thank Him.

How often do you hear about a famous person who was raised in a Christian home but now has abandoned the faith. They got their millions and exactly what they needed so they feel they no longer need God.

I’m not picking on the rich this happens to people in all the different economic classes.

We all forget about the Lord sometimes.

Why is that?

Because it’s easy.

The alternative is hard.

Putting your faith in God when it seems like there is no hope can be terrifying.

But the Lord says “Fear not”.*

Praising God for your accomplishments rather then giving yourself all the credit is hard and takes a humble heart.

But the Lord says, “Those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled”.**

We forget God because we can.

We will continue to do this until we can’t.

We will continue to do this until we are face to face with the Lord.

What will happen then?

Will you be welcomed as His child in to His home or will He forget you as you forgot Him?

It all depends.

Have you accepted Him and His grace?

Or have you rejected Him?

The ball is in your court, if you reject Him, He will reject you.

If you accept Him, He will accept you. And your life will change forever and ever.

He will be with you always.

Have a Blessed Week,

Chris

*https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+41%3A10&version=NKJV

**https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23%3A12&version=NKJV

Grace is a Gift

Well with us being close to a week into the New Year and today being the Epiphany the holiday season is officially over.

This week I’ve decided to write about something I struggle with and that is my struggle with grace and being too hard on myself.

It’s very important not to hold yourself to higher standards than God.

He has given you grace as a gift. It doesn’t come with a gift receipt. Don’t try to return it. Accept it.

If you make a mistake, call out to the Lord, ask for forgiveness and focus on the solution not the problem.

God is the solution.

He can and will get you through whatever you’re going through.

When you mess up remember, He forgives you, so forgive yourself.

God is greater than all, He knows what is best. I’ll say it again don’t hold yourself to a higher standard than God does.

Before I had a strong relationship with the Lord I found myself feeling immensely guilty when I would sin. I would feel so terrible and put so much pressure on myself that I would feel sick from being so hard on myself. I would then abandon having a relationship with the Lord. I would stop reading the Bible and lose focus on the Lord.

This of course just led to more sin and unhappiness.

It was only when I truly gave myself to the Lord that I was able to see His grace and allow Him to do His work through me.

My entire life has changed since then and I truly have been able to change.

All thanks and praise to God.

If God is choosing not to punish you, don’t punish yourself.

There may be consequences on Earth for your sin, if they’re trust in God’s will and accept it. But remember ultimately you are forgiven by His grace.

The ultimate punishment you can bestow upon yourself is keeping yourself from God.

Go to Him humbly and let Him change you.

Remember…

Philippians 4:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+4%3A13&version=NKJV

Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving time, a perfect time to reflect and be thankful for what God has given us, family, love, finances, forgiveness, salvation, so many things.

Take the time and think about it and pretty much everything you have can be credited to the Lord.

The blessings from God I have received are endless, from my family, the good times and bad, He is always there to provide for my wife and I.

Thank you God.

Have a blessed week,
Chris

Here is a link to some Bible verses that are great for Thanksgiving.

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/thanksgiving-bible-verses/