Regeneration

Are You Living on the Bridge of Grace?

Is your life a bridge of Grace to the world you encounter each day? The same grace that is saving, growing and changing you is also intended to draw those around you to Jesus. How so? His awesome grace works from the inside out in our lives; changing us from glory to glory and wooing all whose lives we touch. Here are some of the incredible ways that his grace works in and through our lives.

The Bible portrays God’s Grace as the Manifold Grace of God. That simply means His Grace has many facets. It’s like looking at a fine diamond with many sides or facets. As such, grace has innumerable expressions to and through those who have placed their faith in Christ. Another way of understanding this great Grace is seeing it as a bridge that God builds toward and out from those who believe the Gospel of Grace.

Each facet of His Grace expressed in our lives is another plank of that bridge. He builds this bridge of Grace to ensure that we successfully walk out the Christian journey. As we walk in Grace others are drawn to that very same Grace. What a wonderful and gracious God! Let’s examine some of the planks on this Bridge of Grace. First, consider with me some of what the Grace of God means in our lives.

Prayer for Protection and Guidance

Oh Great an Wondrous Jehovah,
I slip into the mighty protection of Your hand.
Lord, forgive me for not trusting You with
the disappointments in my life.
Sometimes, I let all the little things add up
and rob the precious joy I find in You.
Help me to see when I put unreal expectations on
others, especially my friends and family.
It is harmful to us, affecting our relationships
in a negative way. Your Word teaches and gives me
wisdom for each and every day.

Repentance Secures Freedom from Shame

Warning: the following will mess you up. Allow Holy Spirit to lead and guide you into all the truth concerning 'repentance'. This is a critical piece of The Message: that we believe the Gospel of Grace!

"The guilt and shame that is always associated with repentance causes this great gift to be, almost universally, thought of in a negative light and resisted rather than embraced as it should be and will be when seen correctly. " (Clark Whitten, Pure Grace - page 98).

"Repentance is the most mis-translated word in the New Testament" (Broudus). It means to change one's mind in light of new truthful information. This is the process by which believers have our minds transformed. When the truth of the finished work of Christ challenges religious mindsets, repentance allows one to embrace the new and discard the old.

By this process we grow up into the fullness of Christ. The mixture gospel taught by the vast majority of evangelicals reduces the glorious gift of repentance to a tool of behavior modification. Truth embraced will always produce freedom and correct Jesus-like thinking! The truth is--Believers are the righteousness of God (In Christ) or we are not righteous at all.

The Three Graces: Powerful to Equip You

The Three Graces are known in both Greek and Roman mythology as the muses of poetry, music and of course, art.

Lately, I've gained an intense appreciation for their numerous depictions in sculpture and on canvas.

I've been working on an article concerning body image; therefore, I've researched how beauty definitions have changed over time. This, inevitably, brought me to “The Three Graces.".

Centuries ago, the Rubenesque body shape, defined as a voluptuous female figure, was desirable.

In the 1600's, artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens was inspired by this fuller figure in his 1635 work, The Three Graces.

Heart Hope at the End of Your Rope

What produces or gives your heart sustained and real Hope? Can you do anything that produces Hope?

But I need something more! I've tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Romans 7:17a and 24, The Message


Before we can get a hopeful answer to this predicament, we first have to arrive at the door of giving up! Just like Paul; who remember, had a religious pedigree as long and as impressive as the State of Texas is wide-we must exhaust all of our personal resources.

Addictions - A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel (Book Review)

Addictions - A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel is a book for every Christian. Usually when we hear the word "addiction," our thoughts immediately leap to illegal drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. As the author correctly points out in this book, every Christian faces the temptation of addiction. The difference is some addictions are more acceptable than others. I can be addicted to books for example. Others can be addicted to food, credit cards, a beautiful yard, a hobby, work, or a multitude of other items in God's created order.

Welch rightly calls addictions sin. Addictions reveal a love of self and thus are idolatry. In the practice of them we put ourselves above God. Addictions are sin. This diagnosis will not be acceptable to many in our culture. But it is what we need to hear.

The author shows the pathway by which one can become addicted. More importantly he shows the only true way that slaves to addictions can be freed. Thus this volume is filled with hope for those who are tempted to or are already feasting on a "banquet in the grave."

Redeemed Rebels: A Biblical Approach to Addiction

Sometimes we can catch a glimpse of God's majesty in His providence in such a way that we are left bewildered and in awe all at once. These are sweet moments. That is certainly the case concerning my redemption out of the headlong plunge into depravity and my slavery to drug and alcohol addiction. After my addiction, my wife Candi and I used to ask God and ourselves these questions:

    Why, God?
    Why did you allow me to go that way?
    Why didn't you do something to stop me?
    Why did I lose so much of myself, destroy so much, and come close to losing my life so many times?

The Danger of Complacency and Sin

Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin... The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie. ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Matthew 23:26 NASB
You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

God is always ready to forgive -
but we must never become complacent about sin and think it doesn’t matter. Rather, we must do whatever we can to avoid temptation and deal with sin when it happens.

God does not want us to take a neutral attitude toward sin.
Though He loves the sinner, He does not love sin. It is sin that separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), yet He does not desire that any perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Freedom from Bondage

We celebrate our nation's freedom yet there are so many people who are still in bondage. They are in bondage to schedules, deadlines, television, sports, alcohol, drugs, sex, profanity, and all the other things that come before Jesus and keep them from serving Him and spending time with Him as He has commanded us to do. He has told us that we should have no other gods before Him. However all too often we allow things that will one day mean nothing come before Him and our service to Him.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:24-26, 33-34 King James Version

The Truth Shall Set You Free, part 10

This study was done during the last semester of my teaching career. A lot of things were on my mind. The letter of resignation had been written and accepted. I was starting to have dialogs with different campus constituencies about an orderly exit regarding pension, health plans, etc. I met my successor but stayed out of the process of his selection. I got an early start on cleaning out the office. I wanted an orderly exit so that on the last day of my tenure as a teacher, I would walk out and not return.

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