Righteous, or Justified?

“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “there is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; ….. Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; …..” – ROMANS 3:9-11, 19‭-‬25 NASB

I’m so glad Jesus made sure of my justification, because I know I am not righteous! I love how Charles Spurgeon says it:

“Be glad of heart, O believer, but take care that thy gladness has its spring in the Lord. Thou hast much cause for gladness in thy God, for thou canst sing with David, ‘God, my exceeding joy.’ Be glad that the Lord reigneth, that Jehovah is King! Rejoice that He sits upon the throne, and ruleth all things! Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight of our gladness. That He is wise should make us glad, knowing as we do our own foolishness. That He is mighty, should cause us to rejoice who tremble at our weakness.” —Charles Spurgeon

So, are you Righteous? Or Justified? That is the question. I choose Justified, because I can never be Righteous.

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Christian.

Christians. Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s become a common term in our languages, but have you ever wondered how the term got it’s start? Technically, the ending “-ian” means “belonging to the party of,” so “Christians” meant those of Jesus’ party. The word is only used 3 times in the New Testament and each instance is referring to the first “Christians” of the early church. They were called “Christians” because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ Jesus. The word Christian means, “follower of Christ” or “belonging to the party of Christ.”
Did you know that the word “Christian” comes from the Greek word christianos, meaning “little Christ”? And that the accusers of Jesus’s disciples used it as an insult…? “Check it out, there’s the ‘little Christs,’” they would say. So, what was meant to be a jeer became a blessing for billions of people as their actions made them part of this group called “Christians.” What a beautiful historical irony…

I guess the question we each should be asking ourselves is this: do I deserve to be called by that name? Am I worthy to claim His Name as my own?

Sources:
John 13:35, Galatians 2:11-17, 3:28, Colossians 3:10-11, Acts 11:26, 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16

Where the "Christian" Name Really Came From

Do you know where the word “Christian” comes from?

https://www.allaboutgod.com/what-is-a-christian.htm

I Just Don’t Get It

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” – JOHN 21:25 NASB

There are other, similar statements in the scriptures, stating that Jesus did innumerable unrecorded miracles. These miracles were witnessed by hundreds of people. Yet we still don’t believe? I just don’t get it. Millions follow Buddha. He never did a miracle, he never claimed to be sent by the Creator of the Universe, and he didn’t arise from the grave after he died. Research “great religions of man”. Belief in Jesus in not a religion. It is a way of life. There is no dictated behavior. I found this from the C.S. Lewis Institute, and it says what I mean to say much better than I am able to.

“When we look carefully at the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, the call to “follow me” takes on much greater clarity and specificity. It is indeed a call to “walk as Jesus walked,” to live a life of radical faith and love. Once we truly grasp this, our first reaction is likely to be one of dismay. If we are at all aware of the depth of indwelling sin and the dysfunctions that plague our lives, we know it is impossible for us to fulfill such a call. Yet this reaction is actually healthy, because it is based in reality. It is indeed impossible for us to live this way. And that is precisely the point.

Jesus knows we cannot follow him without a power beyond ourselves. And that is why he sent the Holy Spirit to empower us.

It is only through the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can obey the teaching of Jesus and follow his example. He assures us of the Father’s love, he makes the things of Christ real to us; he makes the gospel precious to us; he convicts us of sin and assures of forgiveness when we repent; he transforms us from glory to glory, into the likeness of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:16–18). That is why we are taught to earnestly seek to be filled with the Spirit each day (Eph. 5:18) and to be led by him in all our ways (Gal. 5:16–25). When we do, we will find that we can live in newness of life. Not perfectly and not immediately. But day by day, as we walk in faith and obedience, the Spirit will produce in us the character of Jesus: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23).” – Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D.Min. Director of Ministry, C.S. Lewis Institute

(http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/Following_Jesus_Christ_Tarrants_Single-Page_Full_Article)

I’m grateful to have access to study such diverse sources! Study for yourself and determine the truth. I don’t believe that anyone who diligently and honestly searches for the Truth won’t find it. I know where it lies, and it is in the Person of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that you will discover the Truth – and accept the Truth – as well! Amen!!

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – JAMES 1:5 NASB

Lead Me

Lead me, for I can’t do this alone.

Sanctus Real sings this in the song, “Lead Me.” It’s something I say to God every day because life is hard, and I can’t do it alone. None of us can. We think we can; we can ‘shoulder through the pain’, we can ‘pull ourselves up by the bootstraps’, we can ‘think positive’ and adopt an ‘I can do it’ mentality, but how successful are we – really – when we are truly alone? Without family or friends, without any spiritual or emotional support, where would you be?

The LORD, the Psalmist’s Shepherd

A Psalm of David

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of deep darkness, the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil or harm, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – PSALMS 23:1‭-‬6 NASB

There are many ‘successful’ people who are without a Saviour out in the world, but at what cost to themselves? Money and power on earth are only meaningful temporarily. They can’t buy us into eternity, and they can’t bring us any kind of lasting peace or companionship. The wealthiest people I’ve met in my life are also the most miserable people I have ever known. Having millions of dollars (and I am being literal here) didn’t provide them with the thing they truly craved: real love, and real friendships. What I saw was immense paranoia that someone would ‘take advantage of them’, and I saw it taking place with those people the wealthy had surrounded themselves with to ‘protect’ themselves. They were unable to accept that someone might care for them just for themselves, making themselves absolutely reject anyone reaching out to them in real friendship; lonely, isolated and alone, while surrounded by people. Immensely saddening situation, especially knowing that it is their choice to live that way. Immune to the Gospel, because that would require trusting someone outside of themselves. Keeping too busy in the whirlwind of social life to face reality.

Successful, rich, abjectly lonely, and miserable.

I won’t deny that it would feel so good not to wonder how to stretch a too limited income to cover expenses, and to be able to write a check (not a ‘rubber’ one!!) to pay bills as they come in…… but I have someone, my Saviour, Who loves me regardless of my socio-economic standing. He loves me no matter how I look, how I dress, or whether my address is trendy enough. He loves me through my down times and my up times. His Name is JESUS.

I am blessed to have a family and friends who love me, too. It’s something that many people don’t have, and I know what a blessing it is. That’s the thing about Jesus – He loves you and is reaching out for you, even now. He wants you to understand what it’s like to know you are loved and cared for! Do you know? Have you realized yet that what He is offering is total, absolute, and completely without any strings? Free, a gift for the taking, waiting for you to accept it?

Are You Thirsty?

“My soul thirsts for GOD, for the Living GOD. When can I go and meet with GOD? ….. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in GOD, for I will yet praise Him, my SAVIOR and my GOD.” – Psalm 42:2,11 NIV

Psalm 42 was written as a poem to be sung by the sons of Korah, the highest choir of the land for King David. The psalm tells us that though our road to heaven is trying, it is the same for the king. It helps to know that we aren’t alone in our struggles. However, we have a major advantage over King David and his people: we have seen JESUS, the Living GOD, MESSIAH, Who has come and fulfills the prophecies! JESUS is the embodiment of what the prophet Isaiah spoke of in this passage, which JESUS refers to in John 37.

“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” – Isaiah 55:1‭-‬2 NASB

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast [the Feast of the Booths], JESUS stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” – John 7:37‭-‬38 NASB

Have you drunk of the Living Water, or do you depend on yourself and the world to satisfy your thrist? Without JESUS, you will never be satisfied.

Truth, unvarnished and unrepentent.

Good works, being a “good” person – these will not satisfy your soul, and at the the time of Judgement, when you face the LORD on His Throne – only one thing matters: have you received the Salvation freely offered, the Living Water of JESUS CHRIST? Not Buddha, not Muhammad, not Nostradamos or any other human prophet; not the greatest good deeds nor the best intentions…… only JESUS.

Are you thirsty?

References: https://www.biblestudytools.com and

https://bible.com/bible

Selfish Ambition; Vain Conceit

Where does love fit into our society today? I was reading comments on Twitter this morning. Appalled, embarrassed, incredulous…. a few of the emotions that were running through my mind as I read. The majority of the tweets I see are so negative; full of blatant lies, selfish ambition, and vain conceit. How did we, as a society, reach the point where it is the norm to curse and blaspheme the LORD GOD and His followers? How are the television and media outlets in America surviving – thriving, even – when so much of their content is about denigrating and debasing others, and it seems, our top government officials? Almost every preview of a major late-night talkshow host is filled with him taunting and ridiculing our President. Where has respect gone? If you look at the progress of Roman civilization, toward the end of its existence as a super-nation, her people had degenerated into a parody of humanity. The U.S. and the world are quickly headed to the same destruction.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as CHRIST JESUS: Who, being in very Nature GOD, did not consider equality with GOD something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore GOD exalted Him to the Highest Place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of JESUS every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the Glory of GOD the FATHER.” – Philippians 2:3‭-‬11 NIV

We are teaching our children to be vain and selfish, telling them they are a “princess” or a “prince,” and that they are worth more than anyone or anything else. We are teaching them to expect the world to treat them as if they were the ruler of all around them, and that everyone is there to serve them. Then we wonder why they act entitled and vain, and want everything their way (and throw hissy fits when they don’t get it!) Look back at these verses: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others…… just as JESUS, SON of GOD, made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant …..”

This week is a perfect time to show our children – no matter their age – and our peers just what true love looks like. Happy valentine’s week, ya’ll.

( https://monochromejunkie.com/category/jesus-love )

Rejoicing in Hope

“….. casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 NASB

So easy to say, yet how difficult to live! Where would we be without hope?

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” – Romans 12:9‭-‬13 NASB

Today, I find myself yet again anxious and fretting over finances. I desperately need another source of income in order to cover my financial obligations, and although I continue to search, nothing is presenting itself as a solution. This is the type of thing that our Father GOD permits in our lives, to teach us to rely on Him rather than ourselves. Letting go of my “control.” Again, easy to say and difficult to do! I want to fix it, and GOD wants me to let it go so that He can show us (me!) how Powerful He is. He is reminding me that there is a GOD, and I’m not Him.

“….. Rejoicing in Hope, Persevering in Tribulation, Devoted to Prayer …..”

Simple, right? Hah.

Actually, it is simple for those who are confident in their salvation through JESUS CHRIST. With JESUS in my heart, and the HOLY SPIRIT beside me, I am inundated with Hope. Without their presence to lift me up above the muck and mire of everyday life, I could only flounder around and eventually succumb to hopelessness and helplessness, allowing it to overwhelm me. I’ve been there, stuck in those feelings, and it is definitely not a good state of mind. Because JESUS loves me (and you), He waits alongside me until I lift my eyes to Him and ask for help. I almost think that Paul got it backwards. If we are not first praying, how can we possibly perservere in tribulation? Where is our hope, if not in the LORD?

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” – Psalms 121:1‭-‬2 NASB (Read all 8 verses of Psalm 121. Powerful!)

I encourage you – and me – to learn these scriptures, especially Psalm 121; to hold on to the words of the LORD whenever despair and hopelessness raise their ugly heads and try to drag us down. There is nothing more Powerful in the Universe than our GOD: FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT. Nothing. Remember,

“….. at the Name of JESUS every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth …..” – Philippians 2:10 NASB

REJOICE at our HOPE in the LORD!

AMEN.