The Journey Thoughts

October 13, 2016

I was having a discussion about faith and works again the other day, and I
love to discuss this very valuable piece of information to us.  We know that
we are saved by grace through faith, as the bible tells us, but what about
the people who really try to be good enough through a works issue? After
all, they are trying to show their faith through their works, or are they?
Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.  He was
righteous because of his faith that God would do as He said He would.  Even
though what he did was works, (for the covenant of grace was not yet given),
he still was set apart from others who worked under the law, because he
worked through faith, and not the works themselves.  Listen to how Paul pens
it to the churches in Rome: "What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not
pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness - namely the righteousness
that comes from faith. But Israel, pursuing the law for righteousness, has
not achieved the righteousness of the law. Why is that? Because they did not
pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the
stumbling stone. As it is written: 'Look! I am putting a stone in Zion to
stumble over and a rock to trip over, yet the one who believes on Him will
not be put to shame."  Romans 9:30-33  But before we get too self-confident
in our righteousness, let's take a look at how many still regard their lives
in Christ.  If you were to ask the average believer why God should let them
into heaven, the majority would have to respond, 'Because I'm a good
person.' People, Gentiles, are still trying to live their lives by being
righteous to a law, instead of by faith. So James throws a little more gas
on the fire, by telling us that faith without works is dead.  But what makes
the difference between the one who wants to be a person who does good
because he loves the Lord so much, and is compelled to follow Him, not
because he has to, or because he wants to look good in front of the Lord,
but purely for the sake of loving the One who gave so much for us.  Contrast
that to the one who knows about Jesus, and feels he now has to live a life
that is "Christian," meaning that he has to put old ways behind, and start
to live better.  He goes to the street to tell people, because he wants to
show God how righteous he is.  He wants to "look good" for God, because
that's what Christians do.  Both of these are living righteous lives, but
God wants His people to love Him, and to show their works for the sake of
love, not because they want to earn something when they get to heaven.
True humility brings the person who is so grateful to God for saving Him,
that he cannot help himself; he must live like Christ, even if he doesn't
earn anything in eternity; even if he is persecuted instead of admired here
on earth.  For what is a 'good person?'  The Bible tells us that: "There is
no one righteous, not even one."  So then, those that try to be a good
person, do they really consider themselves good? If they do, what is it they
have done that could possibly earn them a crown of righteousness in
eternity.  I work because I am compelled to work.  I have turned my life
over to the One who is better at handling it than I am.  I work, not for the
crown, but for the gift already given to me, by changing me, to become a man
of faith, that believes that Christ is the One who did the work, and He died
for all the sin you and I have ever committed, and will ever commit.  I work
because my heart cannot do otherwise.  When Paul was ready to enter
eternity, he said he had finished the race, and had kept the faith, and
that's what gave him the peace and confidence of knowing his heart was right
before our Almighty God.    Pastor Andy

Heavenly Father,  Forgive us Lord, when we forget the reason for our
Salvation.  For we know in our heart's it's because of what You did, and not
what we do.  So I pray for You to renew a right Spirit within us, that we
start to truly live by faith, and not by sight.  I pray for these, not to
earn points, but because they so desperately need Your touch, Your comfort,
and Your peace to rest on them.  So I will commit them to You once again:
Pastor Berkey and June, Jerry, Nancy, Don, Dwight, Eva, Ramona, Loren,
Robbie, Kathy, Terri, Becky, Montella, Carolyn, Charlie, Kim, Nada, Angie,
Isabel, Terry and his father, Tim and his mother, Shelly and her mother,
Julissa and her friend, Richard and his father, Pam and her son, Kelly and
her son, Ellen's friend, Kristena, Abby, Vanessa, Malachi, Corbin, Mike S.,
Ryan, Olivia, Jeremiah, Joanna, Tom, Evelyn, Joy, Ruth, Ada, JV, Bj, Ida,
Betty H., Briggs church, Ben, Jackie Ann, Tonia, Todd, Liam, Aiden, Alan,
Fisher, Tuly, Betsy, Michelle, Trevor, Maria, Choya, Alex, Ken, Eric, Sandy,
Andrea, Shannon, Robert, Pat, Ryan, Tyson, Wendy, Joyce, Betty, David,
Phyllis, Devon, Cindy, Hunter, Betty, Asher, Lynette, Kathy, Jennifer,
Patrick, Abe, Candace, Trent, Garret, Meredith, Mayeaux, Ben, Jason, Ashley,
Marc, Macy, Jade, Bob, Tracy, Abraham, Elijah, Japheth, Matt, Liz, Matt,
Bethany, Jeff, Laura, Mike, Megan, Lisa, and myself, Lord, that all here,
would be surrendered to You fully, completely, as we seek to draw closer to
You, for I pray this in Jesus name.

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