for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [Romans 3:23-24]
Did you notice that above verse? Please don’t tell me you skipped it just to get to the “good stuff”. Read the verse. Now, read it again and this time include yourself in the word “all“. Now, read the verse again, keeping yourself in the word “all” and now, soak in the words “are justified by his grace as a gift“. Are you feeling silly for skipping that verse the first time?
My point is that YOU are a sinner, but through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you are justified; made right in God’s eyes, as a GIFT.
No strings attached
No fine print
No bait and switch
Through faith in Jesus (which is a gift) you are justified by his grace.
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. [Psalm 84:10]
Now, consider the closing verse of the beloved Psalm 23…
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. [Psalm 23:6]
Do you see it? One day in the courts of God would far exceed a 1000 years elsewhere. I agree with that. I am right there with the psalmist. But now consider this, through faith in Jesus Christ, we get more than one day in God’s courts. Actually, we get to dwell in God’s HOUSE…FOREVER. Did you just get goose bumps? Yup me too 🙂
All praise be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Death is the great equalizer, for no one is immune, and death is the great divider, for some are not attuned. For Jesus conquered this enemy and shattered its mighty power, therefore some will be on his right, and others will be left to cower.
Death still runs wild, threatening to devour. Death still strikes blows, trying to exert it’s power. But Jesus lives and reigns, thus I will live too. So take your best shot, Death, for you will be left the fool.
So when Death comes a knocking, to claim another life, just shrug him off with a smirk, knowing that he is not right. For my Lord has won the victory, thus I will live again. Death can have its moment now, but Jesus lives, AMEN!
Sunday’s sermon text is Matthew 20:1-16; the Laborers in the Vineyard. The following is the prayer of the day I wrote based on our hymn of the day, Amazing Grace. For it is only through God’s amazing grace that we are saved through Jesus Christ; no matter the work or amount of work. Let us pray…
your grace is amazing;
such a sweet sound to our ears;
for through Jesus Christ you have saved us;
a wretched people.
Once we were lost but now we are found.
Once we were blind but now we see.
may we see You as our shield and portion
for as long as our lives endure.
In Jesus name we pray,
I’m preaching on John 17:1-11 and this is the Prayer of the Day I wrote for worship:
through faith we know Jesus,
and because we know Jesus we know You,
and because we know You we have eternal life,
all praise be unto You,
Now may our words and deeds
make You known
that others may come to eternal life
through faith in Jesus,
we praise Your holy name forever.
All praise and worship be unto You,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. Hebrews 11:1-2 (ESV)
Faith doesn’t make sense, but if it did make sense, it wouldn’t be faith. If faith made sense we wouldn’t need God. Faith is mysterious so that the only thing left to do is to trust God. It’s like being blind, and being OK with it, because you’re being lead rightly and loved abundantly. Faith is being blind and not fearing the darkness because you know the one with you, who sees everything, is for you. Faith is knowing with certainty, in the absence of physical and logical proof, that something is true because the one who says it’s true is infinitely trustworthy.
Faith doesn’t make sense, but that is OK with me because my faith is in Jesus Christ my Lord; my sure foundation, and thus there is nothing to fear. Jesus the Light of the world, has scattered the darkness, and thus Satan’s claim on me is null and void. Jesus the Good Shepherd, will never lead me astray. Jesus the resurrection, rose for me.
In reading the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20, I am quickly reminded that the call and the joy of the Christian is to sow the Word of God. The joy comes from the fact we are sinners but that God offers forgiveness of our sins by His grace through Jesus Christ. And through this forgiveness, we have the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.
This is the Gospel.
This is the Good News.
This is AMAZING news!
And yet, we often see evangelism as a chore or as something to do later if we have time or something reserved for a certain committee or (and this is my favorite) it is something reserved strictly for the pastor.
Maybe this inattention to evangelism comes from the fact that, more times than not, you get beaten up when you try to seed sow. Maybe someone strongly rejects your Gospel presentation. Maybe someone tells you to keep your faith to yourself. Maybe someone argues with you to the point of exhaustion. Maybe you have been shot down too many times to count and you’re just plain tired of getting hurt or embarrassed. Whatever the case, it serves as a reminder that Satan is hard at work. Whenever you are sharing your faith or trying to present the Gospel or stand up for what you believe, Satan is right there to make life difficult. And he should because the Gospel threatens Satan.
But we must keep seed sowing.
We must keep spreading the Gospel.
We must keep telling people that there is hope.
We must keep showing people Jesus.
For when we stop, Satan wins and thus he laughs.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, seed sowing is hard but look at the bright side. If seed sowing is difficult and it feels like you are being resisted every step of the way, then maybe you’re doing something right. In that case, keep on going in the strength of the Lord and mock Satan knowing that Jesus stands with you and that Satan can not possibly win.
And that is cause to laugh in Satan’s face and praise be to God always and forever!