By His Grace

Archive for the ‘Getting To Know God’ Category

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There are many people in this world who believe prayer doesn’t matter and nothing good comes out of it.  There are Christians in the world who do pray but they don’t think of themselves as effective.  God does not want us to have doubt when we are praying  whether it be a specific prayer or an all encompassing prayer.

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

I also like the Amplified version of James 5:16,

“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart].  The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamics in its working].”

A righteous person is a person who is in right standing with God.  It is a person who has a personal relationship with Jesus and our Heavenly Father.  A righteous person wants what is right according to God’s will.

Here are some simple steps to follow for an effective and powerful prayer:

Start your prayer  with praise and gratitude.  Praise God for what He has done, all He does and all He will do.  Thank  Him for his faithfulness and His unconditional love.  Praise Him for all He is and who He is.

Confess and repent your sins.  Acknowledge any sin that you are aware of and ask forgiveness for those sins that were unintentional.  Asking for forgiveness of sins also entails we are to turn away from that particular sin.   Repentance means a sincere turning away, in both the mind and heart, from self to God.

Ask for knowledge of His will.  Pray that the Holy Spirit gives you guidance, understanding, wisdom and strength.teachustopray

Continue to pray, never give up.  God has a plan for your life.  Remember, God’s timing is not like our timing.  So if you haven’t had an answer to prayer, just keep praying and remain faithful.  You will reap your harvest in God’s appointed time.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

 

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If I don’t have any other testimony, I have this…”I’m still here”.

This past year has brought many struggles, much confusion but also revelation.  Much of the bad stuff was of my own doing, making poor choices and getting myself in trouble.

Once again God saved me from myself.  God’s love for me blows my mind really.

You know the verse that says, “pray for your enemies”?  I tried this with my boss.  Granted, my boss really isn’t my enemy but sometimes the way he treats me it feels like he is.  He can be pretty brutal with his words.  And I can have a pretty bad attitude when it comes to someone verbally attacking me,  or rather I “perceive” it as an attack.  I was becoming pretty miserable and hating going to work every day.  I DREADED it when I saw my boss’s car when I pulled up so I would sit in my car for a few minutes before every shift and ask God to help me get through my shift without getting upset, or storming out, or getting a bad attitude, and I would ask God to keep me tough and help me get through it biting my tongue, help me, help me………..

And then one day I got a smack upside the head!!   The Holy Spirit said flat out, “Michele, you are praying the wrong prayer”.  You should be praying for your boss. So I listened and started praying for my boss.  I prayed with sincerity and that’s when things started to change.  He wasn’t as rude and nasty to me like he usually was.  He wasn’t constantly down my back about stuff.  It changed!!  or was it me who changed?

All I can say is the Lord is an amazing and wonderful God.  He takes my breathe away.  In everything I do I want to bring glory to Him.   Through my prayers, through my mistakes, through my job, and through my daily life I praise Him.

There are many reasons why Christ’s death on the cross is important.  First, Jesus’ dying on the cross is the only way we are able to establish a relationship with God the Father.  If Jesus’ death and resurrection did not happen, we would not be able to have this relationship with God the Father because our sin separates us from God until we receive salvation through Christ.  Salvation is not possible without Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Jesus made this possible by taking upon our sins with Him on the cross and dying for us.

Secondly, by Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and then being raised from the dead, we are given the opportunity to have a place in His kingdom.  Jesus clearly explains that the only ones who will enter into heaven are those who believe and accept Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 3:16, 14:6).  The most important decision you will ever make is to accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

Jesus’ death is not like any other person’s death.  The Bible tells us that Jesus came to the earth to destroy the works of the devil.  In 1 John 3:8 it tells us, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

It’s important to know that it was the devil who brought death to this earth, not God.  It was God’s plan for us to live eternally with Him from the beginning.  But because of the sin of Adam and Eve, and their disobedience to God, not only did a spiritual death come to us, but the physical death of dying came about as well.

The significance of Jesus dying on the cross was in fact God’s way of showing the devil who is still “in charge”.  Christ’s death freed us from the chains of sin and death on this earth.  Christ’s death shows Satan that just because our physical bodies may die, we do not have to die spiritually but can have an eternal life with Him in heaven.  Christ’s death on the cross showed that Jesus has the authority over death, not Satan.  By believing in Christ as our Savior and believing He died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead, we are able to have salvation through grace in faith in Jesus Christ.  It enables us to be able to go to heaven when we die.  It enables us to have a relationship with God the Father.

Thirdly, if Jesus didn’t die on the cross we would not be able to have the Holy Spirit indwell in us.  The Holy Spirit comes into our hearts after we are saved (also known as “born-again).   This is a gift from Jesus after His death.  Christ told us about this in the book of John 14:16 that He will send an “advocate” in His place for us.  The Holy Spirit is also our “comforter” and gives us strength and courage in such a wicked world we live in.  A regular human’s death cannot achieve all this.  They cannot give us their spirit.  Only Jesus could do this.

And finally, Christ’s resurrection gives us the assurance we will also receive perfectly resurrected bodies after our death and will be given these bodies when we go live in His kingdom, which will be a new heaven and a new earth.  Essentially that is what Jesus is talking about when He says “His Kingdom”.  His kingdom consists of us believers living on a new earth “where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).  Some say it will look like the Garden of Eden and we will be able to live amongst Jesus and other believers.  How wonderful this sounds!

Jesus was in fact a great spiritual leader, but he is so much more.  He is our Savior, He is the Son of God, He is our friend, He loves us more than our minds can comprehend.  He is the only way for us to have are relationship with God and the only way for us to receive His Holy Spirit by believing through faith.  Salvation is an undeserved favor of grace from God.  As Scripture says, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life, no one can come to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

Angels are created spiritual beings.  They have not always existed but are part of God’s creation of the universe and are part of His Purpose.  Angels are “spirits” without physical bodies yet are highly intelligent and are capable of having moral judgment and free will.  The apostle Paul tells us in Col. 1:16,

For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him and in and for Him.

Paul specifically includes the existence of an angelic world by the phrase, “whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities”.  It is reflected in the Scriptures that angels sinned and fell from their positions (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6)  This shows proof that angels have free will and moral judgment and could make choices and decisions of their own.  Also, angels are invisible, however, they have from time to time took on a bodily form to appear to people in Scripture (Matt. 28:5; Heb. 13:2).  We are not able to see angels unless God gives us a special ability to do so.

There are 3 other kinds of heavenly beings.  We can think of these as special types of angels or we can think of these as heavenly beings distinct from angels, but either way they also serve and worship God.

1. The cherubim – They are given the task of guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:34).  God himself is said to be enthroned on the cherubim or He travels with the cherubim (Ps.18:10 ; Ezek. 10:1-22).

2. The seraphim – these heavenly beings continually worship and praise the Lord “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory”(Isa. 6:2-7)

3. The living creatures – Ezekiel and Revelation tell us of other kinds of heavenly beings only known as “living creatures” around God’s throne.  Their appearances are of a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle.  They are the mightiest creatures of various parts of God’s entire creation.  (Wild beasts, domesticated animals, human beings, and birds.)  Just as angels do, these living creatures worship God continually.

God sends angels for our protection.  Some people believe they have their own “guardian angel”.  Scripture does not support the idea of a personal guardian angel for each person, yet it does support that the role of an angel is to protect us here on earth. 

Angels watch us throughout our daily lives.  So be aware and think on these things.  They see when we are obedient to Christ as well as our disobedience.  It can be safe to say that angels rejoice when they see our obedient actions made in secret.  Take comfort in the fact that even though no one may be a witness to your good deed, angels witness our struggles and how much we are striving to be more like Christ. On the other hand, angels can be grieved as they witness our sins and disobedience.

Fallen Angels and Satan

It’s important to know that God did not create the world with evil angels in it.  We know this because in Gen. 1:31 God “saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good”.

Demons are evil angels who sinned against God.  They work evil in the world today.  Sometime between Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 3:1, there must have been an angelic rebellion.  Many angels turned against God and became evil.

The Bible also warns of false doctrine from angels. Not all angels are good. “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) There are instances where people claim that an angel has spoke to them. We as Christians are warned against accepting any claims that differ from the doctrine of the Trinity, Christ as the Messiah and is fully God, justification by faith alone, and others. One example of this is the Mormon faith in which Joseph Smith claims an angel called Moroni spoke to him and revealed to him the Mormon religion.

Satan is the head of the demons.  He once was an angel of God and held a very high rank.  The sin of Satan was pride and the attempt to be equal to God in status and authority.  But because of his defiance, Satan was cast out of heaven and many angels followed him.  The fall of Satan is written in Isaiah 14:12-15:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How you are cut down to the ground—mighty though you were against the nations of the world.  For you said to yourself, “I will ascend to heaven and rule the angels.  I will take the highest throne.  I will preside on the Mount of Assembly far away in the north.  I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.  But instead, you will be brought down to the pit of hell, down to its lowest depths.”

We should recognize that sinning gives a foothold for some kind of demonic influence in our lives.  Wrongful anger could allow a demon to attack our emotions and possibly increase the anger that is already inside of us.  Paul mentions in Eph. 6:14 that the “breastplate of righteousness” is part of the armor we use to stand against the “wiles of the devil”.  If we have holes or weaknesses in our breastplate of righteousness, then this can make us vulnerable to demonic attack.

Jesus gives all believers authority to rebuke demons and command them to leave.   We have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Cor 10:3-4).  It is important to recognize that the work of Christ on the cross is the ultimate basis for our authority over demons.

One of the greatest mysteries of Scripture is what’s known as “The Trinity”.  The Trinity is made up of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Although the word “Trinity” is not found in the Scriptures, the Trinity is at the very heart of the Christian faith. God is a triune God.   God is one in essence, one in Godhead but 3 in person.  He is 3 persons yet one God.

The following 3 statements are taught in Scripture:

  1. God forever exists as 3 persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit
  2. Each person is fully God.
  3. There is one God.

God reveals Himself as 3 persons in both the Old Testament and New Testament.  In Genesis 1:26, He says, “let us make man, after our likeness”. Who is He speaking of?  He is speaking of the Son and the Holy Spirit.  In Romans 1:7, we are told that God is our Father.  In Colossians 2:9, we are told that Christ is all God in a human body. In the book of John 14:16,17, Jesus speaks of giving us the “Comforter”, who is the Holy Spirit.

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are equal in deity and power yet they have different primary functions when relating to the world and creation.

For example:

  • God the Father planned deliverance and salvation and sent His Son into the world.
  • God the Son obeyed the Father and carried out redemption for us.
  • God the Holy Spirit transforms us after salvation.  He gives us a new spiritual life and dwells inside us giving us strength and understanding.

There are many mistaken views about God and the Trinity.  Scripture is often misinterpreted and taken out of context.  One of these mistaken views is called Modalism.  In Modalism, it teaches that there is only one God but that God appears in different “modes” or forms, such as the Son and the Spirit.  It denies the fact that God is three distinct persons as clearly reflected in the Scriptures.  When Jesus was baptized, the Trinity was represented all at the same time.  God spoke from heaven and the Spirit descended in the form of a dove when Christ was baptized.  If Modalism were true, then the baptism of Christ is compromised and doesn’t make sense.

Another mistaken view is called Arianism.  Arianism was developed by a bishop named Arius.   Arius died in A.D. 336 and his teachings were condemned by the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.  Arius taught that Jesus, the Son of God, did not always exist but was “created” by God and also was inferior to God.  He based his views largely on the wording “only begotten” as written in John 3:16.  The word “begotten” is a derivative of the word “beget”.  Beget means to procreate or to generate.  So Arius believed that if Jesus was created than He didn’t always exist.

There is little debate that God the Father is fully God.  But what about the Son and the Holy Spirit?  Although Jesus is called the Son of God, he was not created by God.  Christ is the eternal Son and existed from the very beginning.  There are many references calling Jesus “God” in the Bible.  John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning the Word already existed.  He was with God, and he was God.  He created everything there is.  Nothing exists that he didn’t make.”  Jesus is the “Word”.  Romans 9:5 also states that Jesus is God, “…and he is God, who rules over everything…”.

The Holy Spirit is also a distinct person and not just a force or power.  The Holy Spirit is referred to as “He” in John 14:16,17.  The Holy Spirit has many personal activities such as teaching, bearing witness, interceding or praying on our behalf to God, distributes gifts to believers, and he knows the thoughts of God.

It is interesting to note that all three persons of the Trinity took part in creation. When God the Father spoke, His glory was manifested in creation.  The Bible tells us that all things were created through Christ, the Son of God.  The Holy Spirit hovered over the surface of the earth in Genesis 1:2 as God was forming the world.

We as human beings can never fully understand God.  God is infinite, as we are finite, or limited.  God has always existed and will always exist.  He is eternal just as the Son and the Holy Spirit are eternal.  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.  That is where our faith comes into play.  We trust God and learn of Him and His ways through the Scriptures.  What we don’t understand we put our faith and trust in the Lord and continue studying His Word and spending time with Him through prayer and meditation on a continual basis.

When I think of someone being “emotional”, I picture in my mind a female crying.  To think of the Holy Spirit as being emotional is a totally different story.  But it’s true, He has emotions.

The Bible tells us that we are capable of grieving the Holy Spirit.  To grieve means a deep mental suffering, usually done alone and in silence.  To mourn is more of an outward display of sorrow but grieving is done inwardly.

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

Grieving is an emotion.  Sorrow is an emotion.  Grieving the Holy Spirit by what we say or do is a big deal.  It’s not like just simply hurting someone’s feelings.

The Holy Spirit can be grieved when:

  • we return to the things from which we should have been set free
  • we don’t forgive others
  • we hold onto bitterness and resentment

The Bible also talks about “quenching” the Holy Spirit.  This means “restricting” the Holy Spirit.  We can restrict the Holy Spirit by not doing the things we are suppose to do.  For example,  instead of thanking God, we are ungrateful and question what God is doing.

What are some of the things the Holy Spirit does for us?

~ He gives us assurance of our salvation.  If we have grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit, we won’t feel close to God and may begin doubting our salvation.

~ He teaches us and helps us remember Scripture.

~ He leads us into holiness and moral living.  If the Holy Spirit is restricted then fleshly desires will be more evident.

~ He produces fruit in our lives, such as  love, joy, peace, kindness, etc.  Grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit will produce just the opposite.

~ He reveals the deep things of God to us.

~ He comforts us.

~ He intercedes for us in prayer.

I know when I grieve the Holy Spirit I can feel it.  It doesn’t feel good.  It’s like an aching in the middle of my chest.  The best thing to do is pray and repent of my sins.  And after that, not continue in the very sins I was asking forgiveness for.

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”  1 John 1:9

I just started taking a course on Systematic Theology.  This is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time and I am excited to say I have started it.  I just finished reading from a book titled, “Bible Doctrine”, by Wayne Grudem.  In the fourth chapter, he speaks about The Knowability of God.

It is so interesting that I wanted to share with you a few things I read about this topic.

  • We can never fully understand God.  God in infinite, we are limited.
  • We can never fully understand any single thing about God; His greatness, His wisdom, His understanding, His knowledge, etc.
  • We will never be able to know “too much” about God.
  • We will never run out of things to learn about God.

The source of our joy and sense of importance ought to come not from our abilities or possessions, but from the fact that we know God.  Jeremiah 9:23-24

God bless you all!


A little about me........my name is Michele and I am a born-again Christian. I was saved as a teenager and graduated from a Christian high school. I am a mother of one son who is the world to me. Despite my upbringing, later in life I fell into a life of self destruction which led me down many dark paths. I am a recovering addict and alcoholic and I have a great passion for Christ and His amazing power to heal even the worst cases. I am living proof of the miracle of God's power to change your life and way of thinking. Nothing is impossible with God.

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