Remembering to Remember

“And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:14, NKJV)

Here, in the first chapter of his first epistle to Timothy, Paul recounts his past: “…I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man…” Let’s look at the terms Paul used to describe his former self:

“A blasphemer.”  This word literally means, “abusive, speaking evil.”  It is always used in reference to God, speaking evil of Him, slandering His Name and Character.  Paul was a blasphemer because he denied the deity of Jesus Christ and forced others to deny Him, under threat of death, as well.

“An insolent man.” This word is defined as “a persecutor.”  Paul is referring to his persecuting Christians before his conversion.  To the church in Galatia, he wrote, “…I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.”  (Galatians 1:13, NKJV)

“An insolent man.”  This word means, “a violent, insolent man.”  Paul was a bully. He opposed and sought the torture and death of all who believed on Jesus.

Often, we cannot forget the past even though we have been forgiven.  And because we dwell on it, the enemy of our faith tries to make us feel guilty for that which we have been forgiven.  This is false guilt.  If God has forgiven us, and He will never remember our past sins, why should we feel guilty?  We shouldn’t.  But, alas, we often do.  We all have regrets, but we need not feel guilty about the past.  It’s forgiven, it’s gone.  We need not concern ourselves with it.

However, we should remember our past for one very good reason:  We realize the exceeding, abundant grace God has bestowed upon us.  Paul said it, “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”

Now the question is, “how could God forgive someone who so publically denied Jesus Christ and murdered Christians?”  The answer is the mercy and grace of God. Paul deserved death. No one who knew his past would deny that.  Yet, God forgave Paul and bestowed His Grace upon him.  His unmerited favor toward one who in no way deserved it.

Now, one last question:  If God so abundantly forgive someone like Paul, why are you, O Christian, struggling with forgiveness?  God has bestowed upon you His mercy and grace, just like Paul.  Your sins are forgiven and He will never remember them.  And regret is just forgiveness unrealized.

Next time your thoughts start to bother you about the past, remember the exceedingly abundant Grace of God that He bestowed upon Paul.  And remember that He has shown us the same exceedingly abundant Grace with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

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A Word To Those Who Are Weary

“The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary.” (Isaiah 50:4, NKJV)

“There are a lot of weary people in the world. They are worn out form the struggle of life and living. They are in desperate need of someone to speak a word in season. Some of them are Christians, many are not. Can we speak a word in season to them? Of course we can! All we have to do is be looking for them…”

Jon Clayton

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Who’s at Fault?

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered.” Ezekiel 34:2-5, NKJV

It seems a great mystery to many pastors (so-called) as to why people are fleeing the church. The answer really is simple:

  • They are sick of not being fed. They hear you quote a few verses, read a poem, and then talk about how great life can be if they just buy your book(s).
  • They are sick of your begging for money. You talk about how much God needs you money for his program, yet they see you living in million dollar homes.
  • They are sick of you twisting the Scriptures. Instead of declaring the grace of God, you enforce on them a new legalism that leaves them feeling guilty.
  • They are sick of you being a bully. Everything is good if they agree with you; but should they disagree, they are characterized as divisive and being led of the devil.

And you blame them for leaving. Am I missing something?

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A Must Read!

http://libertyforcaptives.com/2015/03/11/30-signs-of-legalism-a-checklist/comment-page-1/#comment-9859

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The Look of Love…

“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:17, KJV

Perhaps no man fell farther than the Apostle Peter. I mean, he denied Jesus three times, even after publically declaring his willingness to die for Him! After the third time denying Jesus, Luke records for us, “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.” (Luke 22:61, KJV)

What do you think that look was? Sadness? Anger? A desire for revenge? I don’t think any of these apply. I believe that Jesus looked upon Peter with love. You see, Jesus knew Peter would fail, yet He loved him anyway. Luke continues, “And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61-62, KJV).

I bring all this up because I wish to honor a friend of mine. He is probably one of the most honest people I know. I have known him for years, having attended church with him, even having the privilege of ministering with him. And in a day when men of God are afraid to admit sins or failures, he is an example of humility. His name? Joe Dallas.

Joe has a blog over at joedallas.com. If you haven’t read his blog, you should. It is an encouragement to all who have failed. Joe is brutally honest about his struggles and failures. And to see how God has restored him is truly an encouragement to all who believe that their failures have disqualified them from being used once again.

Of course, Joe correctly credits Jesus Christ with drawing him back to Him and restoring him to Christian Service, even beyond where he was before he fell away. But that’s just how our God works. That’s one reason why grace is so amazing.

Jesus made an amazing statement to Peter, before he denied Him: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32, KJV)

Jesus prayed for Peter…and Joe…and you. And that is truly amazing…grace.

Think about it…

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Hyper-Calvinism

“The true minister of Christ feels impelled to preach the whole truth, because it and it alone can meet the wants of man. What evils has this world seen through a distorted, mangled, man-molded gospel! What mischiefs have been done to the souls of men by men who have preached only one part and not all the counsel of God!.

I have seen the young believer, just saved from sin, happy in his early Christian career, and walking humbly with his God. But evil has crept in, disguised in the mantle of truth. The finger of partial blindness was laid upon their eyes, and but one doctrine could be seen. Sovereignty was seen, but not responsibility… I could point you to innumerable instances where harping upon any one peculiar doctrine has driven men to excess of bigotry and bitterness… There is a necessity that the whole gospel should be preached, or else the spirits, even of Christians, will become marred and maimed… The believer in Christ, if he is to be kept pure, simple, holy, charitable, Christlike, is only to be kept so by a preaching of the whole truth as it is in Jesus.

And as for the salvation of sinners, ah, my hearers, we can never expect God to bless our ministry for the conversion of sinners unless we preach the gospel as a whole. Let me get but one part of the truth, and always dwell upon it, to the exclusion of every other, and I cannot expect my Master’s blessing. If I preach as he would have me preach, he will certainly own the word; he will never leave it without his own living witness. But let me imagine that I can improve the gospel, that I can make it consistent, that I can dress it up and make it look finer, I shall find that my Master is departed and that Ichabod is written on the walls of the sanctuary. How many there are kept in bondage through neglect of gospel invitations.”

C. H. Spurgeon, quoted in Iain H. Murray, Spurgeon verses Hyper-Calvinism (Edinburgh, 1995), pages 155-157

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Giving Thanks

 “And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:  And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” Luke 17:12-19, KJV

Jesus misses our giving of thanks. We have so much to be thankful for, not just for today, but for everyday. No matter what our circumstance or situation, we have so much to be thankful for.

Think about it…

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