Scripture Passages

IT WILL COST YOU EVERYTHING – STEVE LAWSON — LIVING BY FAITH

A god or THE GOD?

What does the cost mean to you? For me, it meant giving up certain movies, music, activities, and even unhealthy relationships.

If you proclaim Jesus as Saviour, then the workings of the Holy Spirit will regenerate. Through this regeneration, we grow toward Christlikeness…and away from people and things that encourage our sinful nature. God’s word is alive and active; therefore, our Walk must also reflect this Truth. We are, after all, created in His image.

Some foolishly believe simply knowing there is a god is enough. Merely saying “I know god” believes that a god exists; however, it is not a basis for faith. Thinking in your head apart from believing your heart is useless. Just as you may acknowledge, a fire extinguisher puts out fires, but unless you pick it up, squeeze the trigger, and activate it, that fire will consume anything in its path. So, what does “I know god” really mean in the eternal? Even Satan knows God.

The Fruit of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit indwells the sinner, the sinner responds and submits, and through His workings within us flow the Fruit of the Spirit. The sinful must believe in Christ Jesus, “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Also see John 5:24, John 7:38, John 12:44-46, John 6:35, Romans 4:5, 1 Peter 2:6, 1 John 5: 1-5, 10).   

Once the Holy Spirit indwells the child of God, The Fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23) begins to develop. Yes, people can be kind, good, gentle, but without the indwelling of the Spirit, those attributes are limited and temporary. Even if you have never read the Bible, you’ve seen the Fruit of the Spirit somewhere. It has become a popular decorative piece, I know; I own one of them!

SO, what exactly is the Fruit of the Spirit outside of home decor? The Fruit of the Spirit is a direct outpouring of His love into our families and the community. It is a result from our communion with God. Therefore, saying you know god with your mouth is fruitless until you are filled with the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit indwells a sinful being, they begin to think and act differently. They make better choices. They seek God. They actively grow into Christlikeness by putting off sinful ways and, when failing, fully repenting. They put on Christlike attitudes and behaviors. They are visibly different from what they used to be—a new creation.

Knowing of God versus being in a relationship with Christ Jesus, which produces Fruit as you live out your faith, are two different things. The faith of every Believer is VISIBLE. There should be no believers who keep their religious beliefs to themselves—this is not the way of a True Believer. In God’s perfect design, He created community. This truth is revealed in the Trinity—all commune as One but is separate in themselves, with different functions. This same “community” is reflected in the Body of Christ. We are of One Body, with individual talents/gifts, and different functions.

In that community, the outpouring of the Fruit of the Spirit reflects Christ in us. We are to reflect Jesus Christ in all that we do. We are to profess His work in us to others, being thankful that He is drawing us nearer. We are to share His love with others in word and deed. This reflection is how Believers know the difference between those who profess to know god (Pharisees and scribes) and those who have a relationship with THE Holy God. There is a distinction. What is the cost then? What does it mean for you? “It is one thing for you to be in a church building, another thing to be in Christ Jesus” -Steve Lawson

Following Jesus requires us to unfollow the world.

Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”

Faith-Hope-Grace

May This Be Our Response in Trials…

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soulIt is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soulThough Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ (yes, He has) has regarded my helpless estate
And has shed His own blood for my soulIt is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soulMy sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought (a thought)
My sin, not in part, but the whole (every bit, every bit, all of it)
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more (yes!)
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soulSing it as wellIt is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soulAnd Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul!It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soulSing up to Jesus, it is well!It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Faith-Hope-Grace, Scripture Passages

“It was VERY Good” Genesis 1:26-31

26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Reading Genesis 1 reminds me of the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness…”Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided.” Surely this would be the foundational praise as God meticulously created every living thing. As He creates, He deems them as “good.”

It is not until we come to His final creation, Man, that He concludes with, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was VERY GOOD” (emphasis mine). Perhaps this is where we get that old saying, “save the best for last”? This is clearly speculation on my part. Nevertheless, Genesis 1:31 boasts of God’s love for His created beings. We are His “best for last.” He was pleased with all that He had created, but he rejoices when it came to man. We are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV).

Do you view yourself as God’s workmanship? Have you thought about the things which God gifted us? (vs. 28-30) Everything He created is ours to use for HIS Glory. We are uniquely created and infinitely blessed! It is because of this that we rejoice! Even in our trials we rejoice because He loves us that much that He is willing to draw us nearer to Him. The trials of life are opportunities to Glorify Him and grow or ignore Him and fall prey to our adversary. Which will you choose?

He created us in His image (imago Dei). No other part of Creation can claim this truth. We witness His hand in all of Creation but WE are the only created ones in His image. Let that sink in for a moment. How beautiful is this truth? Praise His Holy name! Commit to running toward Him instead of away from Him. 

You are His masterpiece created to bring Him Glory BECAUSE He loves us so. 

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