By His Grace

Posts Tagged ‘salvation

TRUST IN THE LORD

God has pulled me through so many difficult circumstances in my life I can not count. And yet, I still struggle with worry and fear. When a situation comes into my life that is unpleasant, I instantly feel that sicky feeling in my stomach and my heart races. I really don’t like this about myself and this problem is probably what I want to change most about myself today.

My faith in God has certainty strengthened through the years. He has done tremendous works in my life. In hindsight, I see extraordinary circumstances that just seemed to work out for the better without much of my doing. It was most certainly God working good in my life.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

Have you ever thought just how busy God is making everything work together for our good? Look at all the mistakes we make. Look at the mess we can make in our lives from sinning. And yet God always comes through for us. Granted, God’s timing is not our timing. Sometimes God works quickly to resolve our problems, and sometimes He works slowly. Very slowly. It is during these slow processes that our faith is tested.

But my issue is with my FIRST response to unpleasant news. I do eventually calm down after a few minutes and start to pray for His help. I ask for comfort and the strength to endure. And I also pray to help me trust Him. The frustrating part is that I DO trust Him! And yet my someday-ahia-b (300x199)first response is fear and worry. I don’t get it. How do I change this about myself? Am I just built this way? God has changed so much about my life and my way of thinking, but this part of me hasn’t changed. I am aware that the difficulties that arise in my life are definitely coming from when I chose to go outside of God’s Will.

Awareness of where my problems start is one thing. I guess that can count for something. But awareness does nothing if not followed by practicing faith in God’s promises and what He says in His Word.

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully”. 1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

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Are you in a situation or dealing with the consequences from a bad choice you made? Do you feel overwhelmed with worry and your day to day life is filled with anxiety? Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34,

“So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” (AMP)

It’s one thing to be worried about a circumstance that you have no way of changing. You’re at your wits end about something and you know you have no power to change your circumstances so you just have to roll with it and trust God to help you through it. But what about having to deal with negative consequences due to a bad decision you made?

Many people will tell you, “Well, you did this to yourself. You only have yourself to blame.” While that being true, it certainly only adds guilt on top of dread and worry. Of course we have to take responsibility for any bad choices we make, especially when dealing with an addiction. The healing process for an addict who wants to become clean and sober starts with acknowledgement that there is a problem but also taking responsibility for all the bad decisions and actions that were made in the midst of active addiction. Admitting responsibility is also vital to the healing process of guilt and condemnation.

So how do we trust God even though we know there are inevitable consequences in our near future?

  • We must repent and genuinely ask forgiveness for those sins. God doesn’t raise His hands in the air with frustration and say, “I can’t believe she did this again. Well this time I’m not forgiving her.” He will forgive us over and over again. We must believe that God has forgiven us before we can move on.
  • We must praise God in the midst of trials. Even though we may not “feel” like doing this, the Bible tells us we are to do it. By praising Him through a difficult circumstance, it will bring a feeling of peace.
  • We must thank God for all our circumstances. You’re probably asking, “How can I thank Him for something that is so awful in my life?”. First of all remember that God will bring good out of any situation (Romans 8:28).

rainbow roseGod will make all things good to those who love Him. He is able to turn any situation around for good. These forms of good can be anything from strengthening you and making you more resilient from that particular sin. He may put someone in your path that is going through a similar situation and you will be a great testimony of showing them how to go through it. It will show others your strength and faithfulness to God no matter what is going on in your life.

As a father loves his child, so does the Heavenly Father love you! Although God may be allowing you to go through a negative situation, He still loves you and His love for you will never change. God won’t love you any more than what He loves you right now and it is an uncomprehendable, amazing love He give us. He knows your pain and sees your tears (II Kings 20:5). Our heavenly Father even keeps track of our sorrows and tears,

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

I myself, am going through a trial right now. Unfortunately it is because of a poor decision I made back in August and I am suffering the consequences of that decision still but more so now. I have struggled tremendously, mentally and emotionally, because of what I did. Phil 413Satan has been trying to get to me while I am feeling down.  But I’m saying close to Christ. (Phil 4:13). Satan, you are not going to win anymore!

Just the other day I was having a bad day and I literally cried for 3 days. During those 3 days, instead of working myself into a panic attack, I prayed fervently and read my Bible. I was determined to find peace and joy. By the end of the 3rd day, I found the peace I was seeking and acceptance of the fact that God is going to be there and walk me through this. He told me there is an end to it and it won’t go on forever. He also told me, “Sometimes Michele I have to allow a devastating event to happen in your life in order to get through that thick skull of yours.” Lesson learned my Father! So I went to work on the 4th day and I had a customer tell me I look different. She proceeded to ask me if I had a new boyfriend or something because I had a “glow” about me. No I don’t have a new boyfriend. But I can tell you what was making me have that glow….it is Jesus Christ living in me and also because I just went through a 3 day cleansing of the soul which gave me renewed strength and peace.

I think it is easier to get through trials and tribulations if we look at them with a different perspective.  For example, what if the trials in our life are actually blessings of mercy and grace in disguise?(there is a lovely song, “Blessings” written by Laura Story that talks about this). Sometimes God will calm the storm, but if He doesn’t He will comfort your soul as you go through the storm. I think II Corinthians 12:9 says it best,

“Be He said to me, My grace is enough for you {sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully}; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in your weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ may rest upon me.”

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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).

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 wrote a previous article titled How’s Your Salvation Working Out For Ya?“.  I was relating the article to Phillippians 2:12-13,

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

I want to further my understanding of what this means—-to work out our salvation.  Charles R. Swindoll wrote a booklet God’s Will.  In it he explains the above verse,

“Closed doors are just as much God’s leading as open ones.  The believer who wants to do God’s will must remain sensitive and cooperative, not forcing his way into areas that God closes off.  The Lord uses circumstances and expects us to “read” them with a sensitive, alert conscience.”

He goes on to say that what it means to work out our salvation in fear and trembling essentially means maintaining a sensitive heart.  As part of my prayers I usually ask God to keep me sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.  I have a true desire to know His will for my life.  God tells us in Ps 32:8 that He will instruct and teach us in the way we should go.  So how do we know if we made a right choice?

One way is the fact that no matter the outcome, whether it be happy or horrible, we have inner peace.  It’s difficult for our human minds to comprehend having inner peace in the midst of a horrible outcome.  But I have experienced this personally.  It can and does happen.

I love one of the lyrics written by Heather Williams:

In spite of it all….Hallelujah!

Every person wants the feeling of satisfaction.  It’s the feeling that we are making the right choices in our life and from those right choices we feel happiness.  I question that I made a right decision recently.  But in spite of it all, I am leaning on God and I know He is instructing me and teaching me as I go.


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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