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Grace vs Works

“Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable; always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know, that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1Cor 15:58

 

On the surface, this passage of scripture might seem to contradict the gospel of grace as a whole. If the grace of God is not contingent on our works, then why does this scripture mention anything about our labor. I believe the definition of labor is work, is it not? Anytime the Word of God seems to contradict itself, then a deeper look into the scripture in context is necessary. God is not schizophrenic. He certainly would not contradict himself. The church of Corinth was struggling in their belief system regarding the resurrection of Christ. Yes they had heard and some of them had seen him resurrect the dead, but resurrect himself was hard for them to fathom. Especially since there was another voice (doctrine) suggesting that the resurrection was a farce cooked but by the disciples to keep the movement going.

Isn’t it strange that most believers today do not struggle with the resurrection of Jesus, but do struggle with receiving that there is nothing we can do to earn righteousness. Why is it so difficult to understand that Jesus paid it all? We feel like if we do, or don’t do something that God will bless or not bless us.

We are urged to be steadfast and unmovable in our believing. Hold fast to what we have been taught that lines up with the Word of God. Let nothing separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Oh, what love; unconditional Love He has shown! We couldn’t ever be good enough to earn it. But He gave it anyway!

We are to abound in the work of the Lord, not our works! To abound means to be filled, rich, to be well, abundantly supplied. We do the natural things in the kingdom of God because of our stand in Him. When we really come to grips with how much He loves us, there is nothing we won’t do for Him. Our only labor is the work involved in believing. It’s work to take a stand and believe something we cannot see. Our entire faith is based on what we believe. For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Growing Pains

Today I am proud to introduce a guest blogger.  My beautiful anointed wife Torrecca will share a thought that I know will bless you.

Life itself eventually leads us to a place where we must ultimately decide…… At this point, Will I allow life to continue to “break me” or will I begin to let it “make me”?  Much of my life was spent broken, holding on to the past, wavering in the present and unsure about the future. But God!  The deal is this; He knows the thoughts that he thinks toward us, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring us to an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). So with that being said, He knew who we were in the past, He knows who we are now, and He knows who He has called us to be in the future. Therefore, whether the consequences of negative circumstances in our lives were the results of things individuals have done/do to us or things we have done/do to ourselves; all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and those who are call according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  We must grow up in the things of God; recognize the call on our lives and hold on to His promises made specifically for us.

Letting go of the past and embracing the promises that lead us to our purpose and destiny is truly a sign of maturity. Understanding, God is for us, it matters not who or what can be against us!!!

“Maturity is the ability to start again even when it hurts and the courage to stand in the midst of the pain”. © 2014 Torrecca Nicholson

How often have we seen a football player after being hit hard, jump right up as if it doesn’t faze him, and run back to the huddle?  He may be hurt, but he doesn’t let his opponent know it.  He does not give his enemy a target to go after on the next play. He continues to play in the midst of the pain. God has mapped out the course for our lives and the navigation system is His Word. When we choose to follow His plan and His way we are able to walk out our purpose with joy and peace. So even when we fall and it causes injury, we are able to get up and continue on the path set before us. You’re standing on a sure foundation, planted like a palm tree, not being moved, even when the winds try their best to blow you away (Psalms 1:3). Now, let’s walk in peace, joy and liberty, the finished work that is already ours. Whom the Son has set free is free indeed – Amen

Torrecca Nicholson “TNick” –

 

Through The Fire

“Woman, how could you have done this? What would make you listen to someone else and do the exact opposite of what you knew to be right? Just because it looked good and you thought we would be better off, now you have put this whole family in jeopardy!

“Well if somebody would man up and stop being a punk and talk to his wife, then maybe I wouldn’t have to listen to someone else’s voice.”

“You need to grow up and stop acting like a little girl! I hope you’re satisfied, now we have to move, and I have to work that much harder.

“You said that God made me just for you. Well He wouldn’t give me to a jelly backed boy. I need a real man! I can’t do this anyone! I’d be better off by myself!”

“So would I.”

This could have very well been Adam and Eve’s first argument, and their last. Both had a reason to call it quits. I mean, Adam, by succumbing to his wife, gave away the entire planet. Then threw her under the bus when God called him on it.  She could have talked him into almost anything, and did..[wit her fine self!] He probably thought…”I didn’t get into trouble until this woman came along.“ But one thing Adam and his wife never did…leave each other.  Divorce was not an option, it wasn’t even in their vocabulary.  Even after one of their children killed the other, they found the strength to keep going together…..and all of this without a Jesus.
I was speaking to a friend of mine about Satan’s attacks on my marriage and how we have been able to overcome. He spoke of his wife of nearly 20 years with such endearment in his voice.  He said, Man, I love her so much. When you have been through the fire together, you appreciate and love each other so much more.“

“…We went through fire and through water, but you brought us out into a wealthy place.” Psalm 66:12b paraphrased

You may be going through fire right now in your relationship, but know this; if you are a believer, there is another person in the fire with you.  His name is Jesus. He still says come to me. Learn from me. Watch how I do it I will bring you out unharmed and you won’t even smell like smoke! ( Matthew 11:28-30 The Message; Daniel 3:24-27 KJV)

Dreams

To be without a dream is to be without direction and purpose. We all have dreams. Those things that God himself has placed within us to drive us to our purpose. Dreams don’t just automatically come into reality. Often times it requires a fight to stay focused. Life can really put a damper on your dreams. Then there is Satan, whose job is to steal, kill, and destroy both you and your dreams. God already knew this, why else would He record the story of Joseph in the scripture. Now here is one guy who never let go of his dreams. He never stopped believing what God had shown him even though for years it looked like they would never come to pass. In fact, it appeared very opposite was happening to Joseph. First he was sold into slavery by his brothers. Then he found himself falsely imprisoned. Who would blame him if he just gave up, through in the towel. But Joseph was steadfast, ummovable. He trusted God and that dreamer’s dreams led him from the pit to the palace! What God had shown him came to pass.
God cannot lie and no matter what it looks like, never let go of what he has shown you about your future. Never let go of the passion for anything He had placed in your heart. The gifts and callings of the Lord are without repentance. In other words, he won’t take it back. Here is a song I pray will encourage you….

‘Tis The Season

Just in case you are finding it difficult  to get into the “Christmas Spirit”, I thought I’d share this remarkable group with  you.  The name of the group is Pentatonix and and they are awesome! Winners of season 3 of NBC’s singing competition “Sing Off”‘ this extraordinarily gifted quintet sets a standard of excellence that can be even be an example to the church today although they are not a “religious” genre. These artists are professional and could very well  follow their own lane and be very successfully musically. They came together literally days before the competition and developed their own style, growing into a tight knit group, every joint supplying, and the result can only be described as WOW!!  Imagine what group of anointed believers could accomplish when they come together united as one.
I first heard of this group a few days ago when my wife showed me one of their videos on you tube.  I was blown away!! Gotta share then with you.

A Complete Set

crayola-crayonsThe manufacturer “Crayola”  specifically identified each color crayon that would be included in a particular set or box.  These colors were not just arbitrarily chosen at random, but there was a plan for each member of the set. They were chosen with respect to how they would be used in a particular market.  Just as a rainbow has many colors, so does the world have just as many kinds of people. No two people are the same, but collectively in a “set place” they can accomplish any goal.  Colors bring new reflective light to a portrait.  Each color adds significantly to the overall picture. No one color is more important to the set, for if one were missing, it would not be complete and could not be placed in stores for sale to the public.  When you are missing from your local fellowship of believers, an important element goes lacking.  The ministry cannot do its job effectively because your unique talents and gifts are gone. 

What if the color white decided not to show up because it felt inferior to the rest of the set, or maybe blue turned its nose up on white, causing white to stay home? Who would color the clouds in the coloring book?  Black couldn’t do it, neither could green or brown. Clouds are something that can only be colored by white. Every element of the set is important; just as every member that God has set in a particular body of believers.  God has placed you there for a purpose and only He can change your assignment.  Not only should you recognize your importance to your church , but so should each member value one another.  If orange is missing, someone should be concerned.  If there is any place where members should feel loved, shouldn’t it be the church? I believe that many of our congregations are not growing because we don’t now how to treat the members we already have. Can we really expect God to give us more people to abuse? Just as it is the goodness of the Lord that leads one to repentance, it is the love of the”bretheren” in the local fellowship that draws others and maintains those already there. Together we can reflect the brilliance and clarity of the rainbow of God so that others will be drawn to its marvelous light.

Missing The Point

” For if any be a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is likened unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth  himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner man he was.” James 1:23-24 KJV.

Is there anyone out there besides me that finds it sometimes difficult be a doer of the word and not just a hearer? I will go out on a limb here and say that no person who has ever lived or will ever live in the earth is even capable of always being a doer of the Word of God.  So why would God even give us a law knowing we would never be able to keep it? So we could recognize that without Him we can never measure up to His standards. The Bible says that the law was our schoolmaster (Gal. 3: 24-25) to bring us to Christ.  Just as Adam’s sin did not take God by surprise, neither does our missing the mark catch God off guard or throws a monkey wrench in His plan for us.  The Lamb (Jesus Christ)  was slain before the foundation of the world! God already had a plan to handle the sin problem.  Satan has become crafty in stealing killing and destroying our capacity to believe Jesus’ finished work. We look in the mirror at ourselves in our sinful state,  feeling the guilt and condemnation of our actions. God only sees the blood of Jesus when He looks at us.  We have been missing the point…

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2Cor 3:18 KJV

From now on, when you look in the mirror, see what God sees….Jesus’ finished work; an individual who was made righteous, justified by his or her faith in the one who paid our debt once and for all…Jesus!! Once we see ourselves the way God sees us, the power of the most high and our appreciation for all He has done will cause us to live victorious in the perfect law of liberty. We will be changed into the very image we behold.  The beauty of it is that we did nothing to deserve this “unmerited favor”.  Let us embrace the Grace!!!

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