you know those times when Jesus is trying to teach you something... like really get the message across to the point that every sermon, Bible study, significant conversation seems to echo the same theme.. and you feel like you are 5 again and your mother has her hand on her hip saying "If I have to tell you one more time.." Ok, you get the point but that is how my last few weeks have been and oh how grateful I am for a persistant Savior. I am just scratching the surface of this whole obedience thing but I wanted  to share my few thoughts in case our Jesus has some other hearts and souls to tug at. Let me warn you that what I am learning is not warm or comfortable or the least bit natural to my human flesh.. so here it goes...

These  2 themes  have flooded my thoughts over the past 2 weeks:

GRACE: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. " Ephesians 2: 8-9

WORKS: " In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
James 2: 17

woah... wait a minute. Aren't these 2 statements in the same inspired word of God? These sound contradictory. And at first glance they are. I have learned that God can't completely be figured out. Once you completely figure something out, you have authority over it and we will never have authority over the Word of God. Whew... Thank goodness!

One of the core values of my faith is that I am a messy, undeserving sinner and nothing I could ever do or say will earn my spot in eternity. I will never be good enough for Him and neither will you. However, the gospel did not come just to check me off Hell's list. It came to give me a NEW LIFE so I better get to LIVING IT and so should you if you have made this commitment.

James goes on to say "But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder." James 2: 18-19

Does Satan believe in God?  You Bet. And he believes in the crucifixion and ressurection. Is he going to live with God in eternity... I'm afraid not. To Satan, the stories of Christ are just that, stories. If mine (and your) lives have not changed as a result of the gift, the gospel is just information. WOW! If that doesn't make you shudder.

 Have you ever given someone a gift and they barely got a "thanks" out? If a gift doesn't have an affect on someone, it was never truly recieved. The same is true for the most incredible gift we have ever been offered, Christ. If it doesn't change you; I'm talking truly give you a new mind and characteristics like LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL; it was never fully received. The fruits of the Spirit are part of the gift.

At church we are going through a series in I & II Thessalonians about "Living with the end in mind." Guess what, it is coming :) Therefore, spend your life on behalf of the Gospel. I 'encourage, comfort, and urge you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.' - 1 Thess. 2:12

You LIVE out of your real belief system. I am tired of talking. Aren't you?


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