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Found 27 results

  1. i don’t really know how to start this. i can barely believe i am typing this right now. before i try and sugarcoat anything, i’m going to say i am currently agnostic, but please keep reading. my mom was diagnosed with cancer a few days ago. i feel very scared and hopeless, and even though i have years worth of disenfranchisement from religion because of being queer, i truly don’t have anywhere to turn but here. i’m basically asking, how do you pray? i don’t think i’ve ever done it for real. please help me out, i could use some comfort.
  2. I believe in God, and probably won't ever stop. I'm a Christian Protestant, and have been for years. My problem is that while I believe in God, I believe Jesus died for our sins, and accept Him as my Lord and Savior, I don't really care. I actively dislike church, I dislike churchgoers, and I dislike the Christian lifestyle. I also have jealousy of other people for their health, their wealth, their successes, their physical looks, etc. and blame God for giving me nothing. I understand that I don't live in Haiti, Ethiopia, etc. where I don't have a toilet or clean water, and I'm thankful. But for someone who lives in the United States and deals with problems such as what I noted in the previous sentence, I just blame God for everything and can't get over it. For months, I'll say "**** you, God," or "**** God," or something similar. I think about the people I have met since I became an active Christian again about 4 years ago (after a lifetime of believing but not bothering or anything) and how many issues I have with them. Most of the people I have met at church are people that I dislike for various reasons. In their defense, I'm not a really nice/good person (I'm very blunt and dislike even perceived weakness if I think it's dumb). However, this is where I am now. I just don't want anything to do with church or church people, but at the same time, I understand church and God are good for me. I remember an argument for atheists and how they think it's unfair God is basically sending them to hell for not believing. The answer to it was, "Well, you are alive now and you dislike church, you dislike the ten commandments, you dislike worship and prayer. Heaven is full of that, and everything to glorify God. If you don't want it now, why are you complaining about not experiencing it for the rest of eternity/in the afterlife?" But yet, here I am. I can only think of people I dislike and the way none of us see eye-to-eye on things. I think of the dullness of Christian life, the stupid rules (e.x. a local Christian college forbids men and women from sitting together at lunch, or going out to see a movie), and the general stupidity I see such as faith healing (it doesn't cure cancer), the old-fashioned adults who try bossing the younger churchgoers around because the Bible says to respect your elders, and just nothing really good. I had this problem, sort of, a few years ago. I remember a girl (who is now an ex-Christian, I believe) saying that I was judging God and my relationship with Him based on other people, i.e. imperfect beings who didn't have a thing to do with God's greatness or my relationship with Him. But everything combined from the people I know/have met, the way I think I'm getting the short stick in life, and the lifestyle we're expected to lead just make me dislike it all completely. I believe in God, but I'm not practicing the religion anymore. My relationship with Him is weak if it even exists anymore, and again, I know that's bad. But what can I do to strengthen it? I opened a new Bible app on my phone last night, but I didn't know where to start. I was hoping someone here could point me to some Bible verses/stories/parables/books concerning this that could hopefully help, but after writing all of this out, I'll take pretty much any advice you guys can give. I just wanted friends, a girlfriend, success with my college degree, and generally a good life, but I've never had it. If I give up religion completely (and possibly political views although that is highly unlikely), I would probably get the first two and maybe the last. But I don't want to trade eternity in Heaven for a few good decades on earth and then the rest of forever in Hell.
  3. Hi I’m not exactly new just haven’t been on here in a long long while. Also if this is the wrong place to put this just tell me I can post it elsewhere. So this has been bugging me for a bit and now I can’t sleep a wink and am thinking of pulling an all nighter just to find answers. I’m having extreme doubts about God. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Christian, I’ve given my whole life and everything to God, and I want to follow Him my whole life and trust in Him. But I think too many conspiracy theories made me question my entire existence. ANYWAY the thing is: what if God is lying or deceiving us? Not the Bible lying, not Him lying about stuff like Him creating the world or His existence. The thing is, He’s God of everything. That I’m sure of. He can do literally whatever He wants, I mean He created the universe and did countless other miracles. He knows about everything there is to know. But since He is all powerful and above everything else in existence, it would be INCREDIBLY easy to lie and lead people in a trap. Specifically lying about Heaven and Hell, Good and Evil, death, His love for us, etc. Just sprinkle in a little truth and miraculous signs you’ve whipped up to build trust, and reassure the people of your “good intentions” by blessing them and doing good things for them, like cheese in a mouse trap, and you’ve got all these people who’ve entrusted their everything to you. People “feeling” Gods love, Satan’s tempting, the truth of the statements, could all be made up, because anything is possible with an all powerful God. And the proof we have of God saying He loves us and He’s telling the truth are from the Bible, written by people who were led by GOD to say those exact words. And I don’t know what His intentions would be, but He’s all knowing, so the reason would probably be beyond us. The more I think about it, the more true it seems. It’s scaring the heck out of me and I need help as soon as possible. I want to trust God with my whole self, but I can’t do that if there’s still doubt in my mind. Sorry if I explained it horribly, hopefully you get the gist. Maybe im just tired.
  4. cami40

    Love is Expressed

    Love is expressed and not confessed only. You can’t just tell a person you love him/her , you have to show it as well. Back your words with sincere actions from the heart. It is wicked to tell someone ‘' I love you’’ but your actions are contrary.Love requires a sincere expression.For God so love the world that He gave his only son. God’s offering of Jesus was the expression of His love for the world.Likewise, Man’s obedience to the word of God is an expression of his love for God.(John 14:27) A person who loves God, expresses his love for God by obeying His will.. I pray, may your love for God be expressed with all your heart. Jehovah Shammah ( The Lord is there)!!!
  5. I was twelve when I first realized I was attracted to girls. I didn't want to say or do anything about it--what was there to say? Who could I tell? I thought the feeling would go away eventually; that it was just a phase, like everyone would usually say. It isn't, though. I'm seventeen now and I'm sure about my feelings more than ever. I like girls, and I don't think I've ever liked anyone of my opposite gender. Yes, I've had a few boyfriends every now and then.. and a girlfriend, twice. I'm currently not in a relationship with anyone at the moment but looking back then, my feelings towards the two genders were definitely different and I can't pinpoint what exactly it was in the relationship that made it different, but it just was. I saw something in girls that I've never seen in boys. My feelings felt more concrete, more real. I like girls and I don't like boys, not at all. I feel so much happier, so much lighter, so much more of myself whenever I'm with girls. It's never felt right with a boy. But I don't know if it's a good thing or not. My fear has been eating me up inside and I don't know if it's right. I don't know if it's okay, being Catholic and also being homosexual. I don't know if I'd be accepted the way I want to be accepted, I don't know if I'd be looked at the same way if I ever told anyone. This is who I am, this is who I've always been, and I don't think this is a phase. I don't think it has something to do with "finding the right person". I know I haven't found my true partner yet but I know I won't find it in a man. I like girls, but will I be damned? Will God look down at me, call me a fool? Will He talk to me in a condescending tone for being both a firm believer of His Word and a lover of people of my own gender? Is it wrong?
  6. Hey guys! I wanted to come on here today and see if anyone else on here can relate to what I've gone through. My parents are what the Bible would call "unequally yoked". My mom is a strong Christian and my dad is a strong athiest. It's a really long and complicated story of why the situation is like it is, but I'll try to give you the quick version. My parents met at church. At the time when they got married, they were both committed Christians who prayed together and wanted to raise their kids in a Christian home. My dad was still a Christian when I was born. A few years after my birth, however, things started to change. My dad started to have questions about the Bible and if God really existed. He started to read books on evolution and other similar scientific topics and he began to lose his faith. He did tons and tons of research and came to the conclustion that there was no God. This was when I was about five and my brother was about three. My dad told my mom that he would no longer attend church and he told her that if she let my brother and I go to church, then he would talk to me and my brother about how he didn't believe in God and evolution. My mom couldn't bear the thought of me and my brother being confused like that at such a young age and so she decided that we just wouldn't go to church. Saying all of this, my dad is a great guy. He has morals and is a good person. He just isn't a Christian and my mom is and it's made my family a bit dysfunctional. So, I went for years wihout ever being taught about God or faith or anything. Even though my mom was a Chrisitan, she couldn't talk to us about God because then my dad would talk to us about being an athiest and it would be confusing for us. I grew up not being allowed to read the Bible and not ever having anyone say a bedtime prayer with me. One of my cousins gave me a children's Bible for Christmas when I was in elementary school and I remember my dad taking it away from me. I remember going to my best friend's house as a little girl and playing a video game that had a Christian theme and having my friend's mom come up to me and say that I needed to stop playing the game because my dad wouldn't approve of it. My family NEVER talked about religion and after a while it got to the point where I was terrified of even saying the word God in my own house because I didn't want things to be uncomfortable. I wanted to be a Christian when I was little because the school I went to was a Christian school and so I knew about it from that exposure. But it had to be a secret desire because I wasn't allowed to be one. When I was about 10 or 11, my dad was still a strong atheist but he decided that it would be okay if my mom started taking my brother and I to church. It was then that I was exposed to Christianity even more and I felt more comfortable with the idea that I was allowed to be a Christian. Of course, my dad didn't go with us but at least my mom was able to go now. My family still never talked about church or God. In my high school years I was mostly uncomfortable with talking to my mom about God too because it just seemed weird to me. I remember asking my mom to not pray for us at Thanksgiving one year before the meal just because it made me so uncomfortable with my dad around. I've been going to church ever since then. I'm 19 now and I also go to a Christian university where I feel like I am growing in my faith a lot. My family still doesn't tallk about God and I've never talked about the situation with my dad before or hardly anyone else. I still feel a lot of pain from the situation with my dad. It bothers me that my mom is in a marriage with someone who isn't a Christian. She can't share her faith with her husband and she wasn't able to share it with her children as much as she would have liked. Don't get me wrong, my parents love each other and are committed to each other. They don't arugue often. But there is a distance between them and I feel that much of it has to do with this issue. My mom has told me that she loves my dad but that she had no idea that this situation was going to happen when she married him. She wanted to be with someone that she could share her faith with. Apparently my dad used to pray with her when he still believed. I can't even imagine that now AT ALL. It's difficult because I feel that because of my dad's atheism I can't be as close to him as I would like to be. I grieve that he has lost his faith because I know that he has to feel alone all the time. I wish that I could have had a Dad that told me how much God loved me and that I am God's princess. But I didn't and I know that it has made my rely on God more and has made me stronger as a person. I still wish with everything that I have that things could have been different for my family though. Now that both my brother and I are in college, I feel really bad for my mom going to church and sitting alone there. I've heard that when one person in a marriage is a Christian and the other isn't that it is called being "spiritually single". I feel that this term definitely applies to my mom. I just still have trouble dealing with this and the pain that it has caused my family. I hope and pray that this doesn't happen to my future marriage. I am afraid that when I get married someday that my husband will start out being a knight in shining armor and then later change his personality and his whole belief system just like what my dad did to my mom. I also have trouble believing that men really can be strong Christians because I have lacked that influence in my life for many years. My mom tells me that she hates how this situation is but that I shouldn't worry about it too much. But it's just that to me it is a huge deal because if you are a Christian then your whole life should be about God and when that lifestyle is repressed for so long it becomes difficult. I guess it bothers me because my mom wouldn't have married my dad if she had known this was going to happen. Sorry this was so long. I just have been really curious to talk to anyone else who has gone through this or something similar to this??? Your sister in Christ, R.M. <3
  7. Hey there! Hope you are all doing well For those who do not know me, I am 16 years old and am a new believer in Christ! There is still a lot for me to learn and I'm definitely hoping to grow in my faith and become closer to God. So I have heard that there are many things that hinders our prayers from God that keeps God from listening to our prayers. And one of the main reasons for that is, unconfessed sin. And so, I definitely do have a lot of questions about that. 1. How can we know 100% FOR SURE that God is listening to our prayers? That our prayers will definitely reach heaven and that God will answer them? 2. Yes, we can ask God for forgiveness in our sins. But what if we have sins that we have not confessed to God because they were done a long time ago that we completely forgot about them? 3. Can you ask God to simply “forgive all your sins” or do you need to state specifically what it is? 4. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, all our sins are supposedly forgiven. That means past, present, and future sins. So do we still need to confess our sins all the time even though we are already forgiven because we accepted Christ? 5. And lastly, this one is a bit complicated. I knew that things such as homosexuality, lust, and psychics are sinful. But look at this: http://list25.com/25-normal-things-the-bible-forbids-but-we-still-do/1/I had no clue that eating lobster, snails, cheeseburgers, or pork (this one actually made sense though) were sinful? Or wearing ripped jeans or polyester is also sinful? So does that mean I need to just stop eating/wearing those things and confess all those things to God because I have done all things too many times? But I love eating lobster and I have lots of cute clothes in my wardrobe that are polyester material? So I guess God wants me to throw out my clothes made out of polyester? And if I keep wearing those clothes, apparently it is sinful and that my prayers will be hindered because I wear polyester? Sorry it is a lot, just that when I pray, I don't want to have any doubts that God isn't listening to me. Thanks so much!
  8. GirlandTheWord

    You Are Known

    Let’s get a little personal. When I was in elementary school, I used to be a tomboy. To be clear, I wasn’t exactly sure what a tomboy was, I just felt comfortable wearing my dad’s shirts and socks. It also didn’t help that my parents thought it would be funny to see their little girl scootering around in a giant t-shirt and oversized socks. I once got a comment from my 6th grade teacher a few days before my promotion to junior high, asking, “Hey, Anh. You still gonna dress like that in Garvey [my would-be junior high school]?” I didn’t understand what he was getting at, but I could hear the negative connotation in his voice. I said, “Yeah! Why?” He shrugged and tried to keep his laughter in. When I hit high school, I started wearing girly Hollister clothes because that’s what all the cool kids did and I wanted to be cool like them. I began dressing “girly” from then on and never got a comment like the one I got in 6th grade ever again. When I entered college and exposed myself to a host of different communities, it became more apparent to me than ever that I have what people would call a “strong personality.” I’m more of a Type A than a Type B. I like to lead. I know I’m a thinker and a doer, so I end up coming up with my own ideas and then I try my best to execute them in the most efficient manner. I only like group work when my group mates are as self-motivated as me; otherwise, I get irritated beyond belief. Some people might point at this and say, “YES!!! Yes, that’s exactly how I feel.” Still, others would think, What’s the big deal? Relax. There will always be both types of people in the world, and they will almost always be on the same team as each other—whether in church, in the workplace, or in school. Anywhere you’re exposed to people, you will run into someone you might clash with. I know that full well. Nevertheless, in my personal experience and observation, I think that a person’s sex also has a lot to do with whether or not his/her personality would be accepted or even praised by his/her community. My personality is what you would define as a ‘masculine’ personality. You know those sociology personality quizzes you take to find out whether or not you fall more into the masculine or feminine side? Mine came out almost all masculine. Strong-willed, opinionated, initiator, correcting, and straightforward: that’s what society deems as a good portrayal of a man. Well, I’m not a man. I don’t identity as a man and I’m also not attracted to girls. So what does that make me? In college, I thought that it made me a saucy, insolent lady. I found out very quickly that my personality deemed me as offensive and out-of-line to many conservative communities and individuals. In college, I began hating the fact that I was born a girl because I wanted to be praised for my personality, just like the boys were praised for having an assertive personality. I actually wished I could keep my personality and change my sex, because I thought maybe then they would take my input seriously. Since I couldn’t wish myself out of being a girl, I decided to make small changes to my personality instead. I would literally bullet things to change about myself in my journal daily, like: · Stop talking so much. Only talk when you have something really profound to say. · Wear [insert girly outfit in detail here] · Be more graceful · Don’t get too excited. Stay calm. · Don’t talk too loud. When I first became a Christian, these insecurities grew even deeper. Reading verses that praised the gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4) and personally experiencing some clear injustices made me feel like I was severely misunderstood simply because I am an outspoken, strong-willed girl. I didn’t come to these conclusions right away; rather, they came to me as I spent time reflecting on situations that bothered me from time to time. From my observations, my experiences, and my analysis, I came to the conclusion that my ideas and potentials were shriveling in the midst of an essentially sexist environment. As a result, I became bitter. I started to secretly harbor this bitterness and became hyper-skeptical of the people around me. I constantly questioned their motives and made negative judgments about them secretly in my heart. For a long time, I was truly hurt from all the negative thoughts that circulated my mind as a result of the few bad experiences I had. Still, in the midst of all the hurt I was experiencing, I had forgotten how to empathize with others. My bitterness and insecurities made me become indignant and prideful, and I caught myself gradually turning into the judgmental and unjust person that I had hated so much. My insecurities made me extra sensitive to how people treated me in a group setting, which pretty much meant that my antennas were actually looking for flaws and negativities in a person’s intentions. Instead of “taking the meat and throwing away the bones,” I gradually did the exact opposite: I craved for the “bones,” or flaws in the person’s character, and I threw away the “meat,” or the valid points that they bring up in an argument. Most of my interactions became filtered through a “Is this person being sexist?” lens, and this wrong outlook set me up for a bitter load of disappointments and pain. Maybe there had been times when you felt the same way. After finding out that someone had gossiped about you, maybe you felt like you needed to be extra careful around everyone—not just the person who backstabbed you. Maybe after someone insulted your weight, you felt like it was as if the entire school was full of shallow people. Maybe after a racist incident occurred between you and a stranger on a bus, you think that the whole society is chock full of no-good racists. Whatever your experiences may be, I’m sure that you’re not the only one who has ever felt bitter after going through these painful incidents. It’s human nature to guard ourselves once we get hurt. Our brains seem to react to emotional pain similar to how it reacts to physical pain—it does whatever it could to avoid experiencing the same trauma again. I understand why you might be angry and bitter. In many cases, it’s also completely justifiable to feel that way. But please hear me out on these encouragements, as I’ve finally learned why I should let go of the hurt rather than hold onto it with everything I’ve got. God loves the gentle and quiet spirit; yes, but that doesn’t translate to “God only loves meek and quiet people.” He loves us all, and he created us with these personalities for his own pleasure. He loves it when we’re silly and when we get excited- there’s nothing wrong with that. It is only when we are inconsiderate of others, or forget to forgive those who speak against us and then hate them in our hearts, that makes the spirit of God sorrowful. Even when people speak against us, even when they deliberately hurt us with their unjustified words and actions, it would still be wise to work towards forgiving them in our hearts. When I continued to harbor bitterness against people who have hurt me, I was doing a massive disservice against both God and myself. I was eventually able to let go of my bitterness, but only after days of crying, praying, and wrestling with the subject. But you know what? Once I finally committed myself to trusting the Lord with my relationships, I felt an immense relief that I’ve only felt twice in my entire life—once when I got saved, and again when I decided to have compassion over those who made me bitter. Choosing to let go of the hatred helped me to become a more genuine and loving person. It allowed me to serve others with the compassionate and empathetic mindset of Christ. Ephesians 4:30 says, “And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Just like the verse points out, there will be times when we have to bear with one another. It’s not a matter of whether or not people will slander you; it is a matter of when they will speak and sin against you. As a response, Apostle Paul tells us to have compassion and be tenderhearted and get rid of bitterness—why? Because we would be damaging our own wellbeing as well as bring more sorrow to the Father who had gone out of his way to forgive us. Trust me, I’m also preaching to myself as I write these words. It’s not easy to forgive—and I don’t mean the “out of sight, out of mind” type of forgiveness, but the head-on, face-the-person and truly forgive-them-in-your-heart type of forgiveness. Christ’s type of forgiveness. It takes time, it takes wisdom, and it takes guts, but God is more than willing to bring you comfort and guidance as you decide to forgive those who have hurt you. It wasn’t an easy road for me to take, but in all honesty, after experiencing time and time again of how much he loves me and wants to restore me, how could I keep running away from him by choosing bitterness? I couldn’t. I want to encourage you to pursue the same route. Choose peace of mind and wisdom and freedom over bitterness; even if you have to face the monster head on to get to the other side. God is paving the road for you, anyway. Written by GirlandTheWord www.girlandtheword.com
  9. Speakeasy

    Having a Significant other

    How do you get over that overwhelming feeling of wanting to be with someone. Obviously God will give you someone when it is time, but until it's time how do you focus more on God and his blessings and less on the fact that everyone around you has a significant other.
  10. Why am I still like this? I thought I've changed my life Still need to be somebody's Miss To feel like I'm alive High five To mself that I'm still the biggest idiot no matter the size Still get my worth from compliments Of stupid childish guys Forever lowest price Maybe two dollars or three For a **** like me I wanna love you But don't want nobody to see Imagine my so called friends When they realize who I am Imagine my so called fam Maybe I'm just seeking for the love I could never get from them No boy in the whole world could ever love me like you But nobody understands me, sad but true And you know what? I love you too But if anyone knew they would separate us Never understand my trust Are too caught up in lust Like everybody How could I try to replace you with guys like this? Acting like an idiotic chic Falling so quick For nice words and what I thought was love But it wasn't Has never been Will never be You are all I need And you are all I seek For All I breathe for How could I ever ask for more? Please forgive me my stupidness And let me rest In your arms Holy heavenly embrace Your lips are the only ones that should ever recieve my kiss of faith Wrong time wrong place But still right heart Please forgive me, my Lord
  11. Hi guys! I'm a complete newbie to this site and its great to have a page like this! My name is Stuart, and I'm from Birmingham UK. I run a Youtube Channel called Cross Kinetic and my vision for the channel is to show people how fitness and faith should be related, that God wants us to be fit to live out his purpose for our lives, not keep the two completely separate! The page also includes a vlog, vlogs are pretty popular nowadays and that's kind of a side project but the aim is for people to see what life with Jesus is like as Life, not just something that's put on for video purposes. If anyone has any ideas or are interested in being involved I'd love to expand our work into sports ministries or other avenues! The link for the page is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQhi-ChYGEthznjPXgUWLmQ I would love to link up with you guys and share the love of Jesus! Thanks Stuart
  12. It’s a Matter of Faith… Consider: 1 light year is 5.88 trillion miles long=5,880,000,000,000 miles=distance light travels in one year This is the size of the ruler we must use to measure God’s universe. Isaiah 40:25-26 NIV “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. We think Adam naming all the animals was something! He was just acting out of his God-nature. What could we create with our words? We are formed by God in His likeness. What are we missing? Hebrews 11:1-3 NIV 11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. John 20:29 NIV Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy… Belief is so important! Many of us believe, and yet, we can’t see Him. Why do we have trouble doing this with the promises of God? We believe in Jesus. His death, burial, and resurrection is the evidence and substance of our hope. We did not see it, but we believe it and because of that we receive our salvation: through faith. We receive salvation: through faith. We receive God’s righteousness: through faith. We receive God’s promises… Romans 4:13 NLT Clearly, God's promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God's law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. Romans 1:17 AMP 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith.” …through faith. As children of God, we have to quit looking at our circumstances for evidence of what we hope for, and put our confidence in God, His truthfulness, and His Word. He cannot lie, and He cannot fail. Hebrews 6:13-20 NIV 13 For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying: 14 “I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.” 15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. 16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. God has set the example that we have to declare the promises of God (Romans 10:10), which are “Yes, and Amen” in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20), with our mouths to see in the physical world that for which we hope. That is so awesome! Do we believe that? How much would our lives improve if we stopped doing the opposite: focusing on what we don’t have or the negative things we see? This is so backwards, and I am guilty! We believe the promises of God in our hearts, we say them, God acts—not always in our timing or even in this life do we always see their fulfillment (Hebrews 11:13-16). However, God never fails or disappoints us, ever. Don’t give up on your hope (Hebrews 10:35). Sometimes it’s a process. Sometimes we don’t see the manifestation until after we die, but how much better could we bear today’s trouble if we knew that for eternity (compare that to today’s lifespan), we’d be with Him lacking nothing (Revelation 21:3-5). This lifespan is much too tiny to live for; live for eternity. Don’t get me wrong; God wants us blessed in our current lives. It gives Him glory and is a tangible thing people can see to know we are His (Matthew 5:14-16; John 15:7-8): that starts with love (1 Corinthians 13; John 13:34-35). There’s no more valuable material on earth because it is the essence of God. We will sell or do anything for the hope of it. We cherish it once we have and understand it. We are instantly crushed when the anticipation, hope, or reality of it leaves. When we look for love, we are actually looking for God. We have to quit seeking things or expecting human beings to give us what only God can give: perfect love. At best, we can simply reflect it, and that comes through daily fellowship with God in prayer (Philippians 3:7-14). We must read His Word (2 Corinthians 3:18). 40-year minister, Ivan Tait says we are only as close to God as our ability to love those who wound us (Luke 23:34). Bible knowledge alone does not create selfless love; intimacy with God and obedience do. We are best defined as Christians by what we do to satisfy the needs of those who hate, abuse, murder, threaten, falsely accuse, betray, and misuse us (Matthew 5:43-48). It is the power of God. Are we like the Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), King Saul (1 Samuel 18:6-9), and/or the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35)? 1 John 4:7 NASB Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:16 NASB And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. Look up the scriptures I noted. Take your time and really think about their application—ask three questions: “What did I learn?” which is knowledge, “What does it accomplish?” which demonstrates understanding, and “What can I do now?” which shows application. Biblegateway.com or BibleHub.com are great resources to look up Scripture. Find which versions work for you! I love you guys. It is my passion that we see God for who He really is: AWESOME There’s no one like Him, and the best thing is, He loves both you and me (big smile). There’s no greater joy than being with Him. Hallelujah! Psalm 16:11 NLT (One of my favorite scriptures!) You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Always love, Mr. MJ
  13. Silentflood

    I feel disconnected

    I am not sure how to fully explain this in words, so I'll try my best. Lately, I've been feeling disconnected from everything, even religion. This is so unlike me. It may be depression, I don't know. But when I pray I don't feel anything, when I read the word it's just not the same anymore. I keep feeling like something is missing, but what?! I pray everyday, read everyday, I think I'm doing it correctly. I don't feel like God is here anymore But I just feel empty, meaningless, like a big part of me is gone and all I'm doing is trying my best. I've been feeling really depressed, and partially wanting to give up on life (I'm not, don't worry) I'm sorry if this sounds depressing, I just need some insight. I'm not trying to be annoying.
  14. This is going to be long, so brace yourselves. And may be a little uncomfortable. Well I broke up with my boyfriend last month. It was for a variety of reasons and I feel like the bad person. But I'll just make a list for you guys okay? Twice when I was with him, he shoplifted. Putting ME in danger. He always pressured me to s.moke (I know I'm not supposed to talk about that on here. Just let me list this) He always pressured me to be sexual with him, which I've denied constantly. Gosh. When we went out places, I always had to pay for things because he spends all his money on "stupid things" One day he told me about some "disturbing" illegal things that he's done I mean really really disturbing, enough to make you want to run away 10 miles from him He's super messy, and I noticed that he started to become quick to anger He wasn't Christian. He used to be but got rid of that title for some reason. He listens to satanic songs, but claims that he's not that way He never cared about the things I was passionate about: like my poetry. He would get bored and change the subject. EVERYTIME he came over my house, he left it a mess When I was in college this summer, he was upset that I wasn't paying much attention to him. But I was trying to do my homework. These are some of the reasons why. I just feel like I was mean for dumping him. His exact words to me was "I feel no pity for you." and "If you want to leave me for something ike this, then feel free to step out." I haven't heard from him in a month. So he must not care about me anymore. it's like I never mattered. It's always that way. I originally thought he was my soul mate (I know kind of cheesy), until I realized the things he was "in to."
  15. So it has been a few years since I have been on here. A lot has happened and I'm technically not a teen anymore! When I first joined these forums it was at a time I was struggling in my relationship with God (and doubts at times to his existence), struggling with a huge porn addiction, and with mild depression. I sought out this forum as a place to talk with other Christians my age. I am in a much better place now (and married!!) and pursuing my dreams. I thought I would revisit these forums post about what helped me through those times, and invite you to experience what I did all those years ago. After college I took about half a year off to really pursue God. I decided to do a Discipleship Training School in YWAM Slovakia. It was a real time of breakthrough for me -- I was able to connect to God in a way that truly changed my life. I learned how to hear God's voice...and it made all the difference. For years I had tried SO HARD to break my porn addiction. I just couldn't shake it. The best I could do was sometimes resist for a week at a time. Usually though, I was "using" porn on a daily basis, and the kind of porn I wanted kept getting darker and darker. Yet all that changed when I started listening to the voice of my Heavenly Father. I won't lie and say I have never looked at porn since then. There are times I still struggle. But you know what? Those times are so few now, and I still believe there will be a day when even those will pass. Why? Because, it is no longer MY FIGHT against porn, or MY FIGHT against depression, or MY FIGHT against anything at all. I was trying so hard to accomplish something I simply couldn't do. Through teaching on how to hear God's voice, God started to speak to me about letting Him fight through me, surrendering to His Spirit and letting the Holy Spirit overcome through me. It was no longer MY FIGHT to be obedient to God, it was His Spirit in me showing me that He loves me no matter what. It's one thing to read in the Bible that God loves you - and quite another to begin to experience it first hand. I started writing down the things I felt God spoke to me -- and sharing them with others to make sure I wasn't going off the deep end. Through it all there were times I wondered if I was just making this stuff up...yet it all felt so real. God spoke to me that by the time the school was over He would remove all the doubts I had about if this was His voice or not. And he did! Through a dream, God showed me some specific things about one of the members of our team. In the dream this person came to me while we were each sitting on our separate beds. He told me two or three different things, and then we prayed together. The strength of the prayer woke me up, and I wrote the dream down. A few weeks to a month later the dream unfolded before my eyes. Me and this guy were assigned to prepare a Bible study, and we were each sitting on our beds across from each other (although were were in a different town at this point). In the middle of the preparation, he said he needed to talk to me about things he had never told anyone else. And...boom. It was those exact things from my dream. Can I encourage you that God is real! He is alive, and He is in you! If you take the time to listen...He is always speaking. Sometimes He is just saying "I love you!" but that can be the most transforming thing He says...if you let Him speak it to your heart. Well...if you want to experience something like that you can join our next DTS at the end of August. Or you can check out this teaching by Mark Virkler on How to Hear God's Voice. Either way, it can change your life! If you have any questions about my journey, feel free to ask here or send me a private message. P.S. Can I also encourage you to always pursue God in the context of community? I know when I was struggling, although these forums WERE encouraging, there was nothing like meeting together face to face and being vulnerable. Although the teaching on hearing God's voice was what brought real breakthrough in my life, the journey towards that started when I told a close friend of mine about my struggle that I had kept hidden for years. We ended up staying up till 2 AM talking and praying together. Don't try and walk things out alone -- God made us function as a body for a reason. Blessings!
  16. Twitwi96

    My God-given Dad

    Hi, I'm new on here and just thought it would be nice if one or two (or more) of you could help me pray for my Dad. He is suffering from malignant melanoma (skin cancer) and it came at him all of a sudden and over the last few months I have watched him wither away. I'd really love it if you help me pray for God's direction in this situation. He had a black mass taken out of his foot a few years ago but the doctor who removed it denied to mention that it was cancerous so my Dad has been living by the Grace of God for the last couple of years until fairly recently when he fell very sick. I don't come from a well to do family (at the moment I'm not in school cause I can't afford school fees for my siblings and I) so yeah it's tough and I'd love it if someone kind just helped me pray for him. "Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you" says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future""
  17. Jesusismyticket

    A question of faith

    So with the awakening of ISIS and many other people who are persecuting religion, one day may come the day it is asked to you "Convert or die" or "what are your last words?" What would you do if they pushed you to choose? you have to leave God, or be killed. Do what they do, or die. What would you do?
  18. goxfiles

    Secular music & faith

    Hey there guys, I swore to myself that I was going to take a break from this site, but I just want to chime in with a quick topic. How do you guys feel Christian music impacts your faith? Does it positively contribute, negatively contribute, or do nothing at all? I have had people recently tell me that avoiding all non-Christian and secular music and listening to Christian music only is a great way to keep your faith strong because it minimizes your expose to "worldly things"? Comments? PS: This is probably posted in the wrong section, perhaps a moderator can move it.
  19. Ulemi

    Orthodox creativity.

    Creativity on the phenomenon of the Mother of God. Creativity on the phenomenon of the Mother of God. Such creativity is good for the soul. True Faith – a great power. I want you dear friends to share a picture of the Mother of God and a photo with her Appearing near the Temple.
  20. * Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. * John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". Non-Christian people who love, serve, donate, care for various communities and sacrifice their life for the benefit of others in a good cause has no right of entering the kingdom of God. Good Men, Women, and children living a humble life in isolated parts of the world, in result not knowing Christ's existence will suffer eternal torment wondering what have they done wrong. More than half of the people in the world regardless of their actions are cursed unless they know, worship and submit to God's will through his son Jesus Christ. Why is salvation based through faith alone? If God's absolute love is unconditional, why won't he extend his salvation to those people who respect others and did good in this world but was cursed because they were born in a different way of life? I thank Jesus for providing an expensive and precious ticket to heaven which we all got for free but a huge price for others as they have to sacrifice their loving family, friends and culture which is something they would have lived for. Someone who loved you unconditionally with all their heart, fed you when you're hungry, took care of you when you're sick and raise you to become a good respecting person, supported you in your very hard times and was very proud of you no matter what. Sadly, they can't give up their way of living as it is already part of their lives up to their old age and you have to leave them as they can't join you yet still supportive on your decision on how you want to live your life spiritually. Soon after they passed away and you reflecting the love they given to you but at the back of your mind "Father God have mercy on their souls" I apologize for speaking out such an unpopular opinion. I have no intentions of insulting the Christian people but I'm here seeking answers, opinions, and insights on how you see and interpret the word of God based of the topic given. I also apologized for my lack of knowledge on the matter if I got it wrong and I'm open minded and I will accept my mistakes. I do request if you want reply, please quote through scriptures/ bible verses along the way so I could note them down for reference.
  21. erleonetti

    Losing Faith

    So for the past couple months I've been really struggling with keeping my faith in God. Huge life altering changes have just recently occurred and there have been a large amount of temptations they have come my way. Unfortunately I've fallen for some of them. I've asked for God's forgiveness and I know he has granted me it but I'm having a hard time believing it. Just like I know God is always with me but I'm struggling to believe this. I feel so alone even though he is right there. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or ideas to help me rebuild my faith? I would really appreciate them. I don't want to keep living like this. I need Christ in my life. I cannot do this alone. If i could find any help at all I would be so thankful.
  22. I've just recently joined these forums to seek answers and help. I'm 15 year old Catholic (sort of) female and I would need help from someone who will understand me. I've grown up in a good, Christian family since birth, which consists of just my mom and me. I've been going to Catholic school since I was only 5 years old and have been consistently going to Mass every Sunday and once a week at school. I would just ask my mother or Religious Ed. teacher for help, but I'm afraid if I tell them I'm losing faith, they'll judge me or get angry with me, so here I am, writing on a Christian forum. Basically, I don't think I believe in God anymore. But I want to. I want to be able to fully trust and pray to Him, but I can't do it without some sort of doubt. Since last year when I started my Confirmation training, I have put a lot of thought into my faith and where I stand and have found that I don't truly believe anymore, regardless of how often I go to Mass or how many religion classes I take. Now, don't get me wrong, I WANT to be able to believe and I want to be able to confide in God but I just can't bring myself to believe that Jesus performed all these impossible miracles and rose from the dead. Now, don't get me wrong, I WANT to believe, but my scientific and logical mind has gotten the better of me. I keep thinking "Well you can't rise from the dead. That's scientifically impossible!" or "Unless Jesus was some sort of magician, he couldn't have turned some fish and a loaf of bread into food for thousands," and I just don't want to think that way anymore. Over the past 2 years, I have found my Religion textbook as just a book of fables and stories. I have found the Church as a group of people with endless laws and restraints. AND I DON"T WANT TO THINK LIKE THIS. However, I will say this. I have had an extreme fear of flying on planes ever since I was little. So although I don't think I actively believe in God, I always find myself desperately saying every prayer I know in 2 different languages over and over again as the plane flies. This always seems to make me calm down, but the thing is, I don't want to be one of those people that only believes in God when they need Him or are in trouble. I don't want to be selfish enough to only pray when I want something. I need to find a way to restore my beliefs, but I don't know how. Reading the Bible hasn't helped me much. I keep thinking that miracles are scientifically impossible and that doesn't help at all. Please help me? I'm in a tough point in my life where I really wish I had the faith enough to pray and actually believe in who I'm praying to. Is there some way I can help myself to believe in God?
  23. Pinterestlover<3

    My Testimony :)

    *slowly walks into room* Hi. *waves* I'm new to this website, but...here goes... This is my testimony. ~ I've been a Christian for as long as I was remember. I was saved by my mother when I was either seven or eight, I can't really remember, I just remember being saved. x) My parents got me my first Bible for Christmas in 2008. I occasionally tried to read it – I’ve always been an avid reader – but I couldn’t yet understand it. In late 2011, my grandmother gave my family her iPod NaNo. (This sounds irrelevant, but it’s not.) For a long time, we weren’t able to access iTunes to delete unwanted songs and add wanted ones. Two of the Christian bands on there that I have ended up falling in LOVE with were Casting Crowns, and Leeland. I loved listening to If We Are The Body by Casting Crowns, and too many to count from the three Leeland albums on there. I was obsessed with them. But not in a weird way x) When I finally had access to iTunes, I got songs off I didn't want and put on ones that I did. I'm pretty sure it was the time after the first time - I couldn't figure out how to rightly word that -- that I bought three songs from Leeland's newest albums. The first one was called The Great Awakening, which overtime, I have sorta liked. But not really. x) The words are great, but it easily gets stuck in your head since it's basically the same line over and over!! The second one was called I Cry. The song starts with: "Fear is far from love, and I feel scared enough, to think You've given up on me...and I can't hide my shame, You know my deepest pain, You are well acquainted with my grief..." I really love how that song starts. <3 The third song changed my life forever. Its name? - Holy Ghost. I liked the sound of it enough. But for some reason, I never really ended up listening to it until a month after purchasing it. Funny how that happened, huh? ~ When me and my family (parents and two brothers) were on our way to my little bro's 3-month checkup at the doctor, I was listening to the iPod - like I usually did. The date was January 11th, 2012. Since my birthday was in April and I was born in 2000 ;D, I wasn't yet 12 years old. Occasionally listening to the car's discussions, which weren't usually that interesting , I was tuning out to Leeland. Being bored of songs I'd listened to half a million times, I listened to songs of theirs I hadn't yet played. I immediately fell in love with Theif in the Night (...look it up) and some others, of which I can't remember at the moment... x) Anyway, that was the day I finally listened to Holy Ghost all the way through. One of the first verses was lifechanging. They are: "I feel You everywhere, I breath You in the air..." and then it continues on to the chorus. Right before the chorus started, I had noticed a change in me. I had been filled with the Holy Spirit. And I could consciously feel it. For three days straight (at least!!), all I could think about was Him. It was amazing <3 I've had a relationship with Him ever since. - Maggie
  24. Soulaire

    God's Love

    Recently, I've been thinking about God's love for us, and love/compassion in general. I mean, if you look at any other belief or religion or anything... nothing is close to God's love for humanity. (John 3:16) Jesus DIED for us, so that we could have everlasting life. He was crucified upon the cross, because He loved us so much. And through that love and commitment to us, we can begin to understand what love really is. Not only that, but He wants us to show that love and compassion to everyone, so that they can see His love for them through us. (John 13:34-35) So then, we come to the issue of what happens when things aren't going well. I know that we have bad days; I've experienced many of my own. But if you give that trial or tribulation or whatever it is you're dealing with to the Lord, He will help you through it and give you the strength to get past it. So then, when you've experience that love and help from Him, you gain patience and hope. (Romans 5:2-5) And when you have these experiences, do you ever go to someone else, maybe someone who is struggling with what you dealt with, and share your experience with them? In sharing your walk, and really connecting with that person, you're giving them a part of you. This trusting, loving, compassionate action is what brings us together as Christians in many cases. That interaction is literally called by Christ, in the Great Commission. He calls us as to make disciples. (Matthew 28:16-20) Making disciples is important, especially in the Church. Just like the story of Paul and Timothy, whom he discipled from a young age. This lengthened discipleship gave Timothy the tools and knowledge he needed for many situations, and since Paul was the one discipling him, Timothy became great in his faith and began making his own disciples. And that's what happens when we disciple others: They are strengthened and lifted up, so that they can get through their own trials and tribulations. Then, they share that story with another person, discipling them. So the result of discipleship is multiplication. That show of faith, that connection with the person you discipled is passed along, giving many people the tools they need to get through these situations. And that's just one example of how God's love works through us. So there are also, and I've experienced this heavily, earthly needs for love. We become lonely and need connection, and that desire and need can be twisted in many ways by the devil. I'm not saying that earthly love is bad- God made us able to love and wants us to love each other. He instituted marriage and other things for us to be able to fulfill those desires and needs for earthly love and attention. But in many cases, especially if we don't know Jesus or are not strong in our faith, we as people who are looking for Love begin to look in other places. So when that happens, we take our desire for love and attention from God, and begin to desperately cling to earthly affections. So, instead of turning away and going down the fleshly, carnal path of need, we should turn our attentions to God and open ourselves to Him. For only Jesus can truly and completely Love us: anything on this earth is temporary, at least for now, even love. But God is eternal, and He can and will love us unconditionally even when everyone else may not. So when you feel like no one loves you, or when you have that need to be loved or love someone... look to God, because he can fulfill your needs beyond anything that this world can give. Matthew 22:36-40 Romans 5:2-5, 5:8 Galatians 2:20 Ephesians 2:4-5 1 John 3:1, 4:7-11 Zephaniah 3:17 Psalm 86:15 Proverbs 8:17 Colossians 2:6-7 Hebrews 11
  25. These are the notes from a sermon I preached at my church when filling in for our pastor. It is all about Ephesians 2:1-10, and the meaning of "by grace, through faith." Needless to say, my Catholic friends here will likely not agree with much of this, but I pray everyone can find something edifying here: Ephesians 2:1-10 By grace through faith. This is one of our distinctives as evangelical Protestants. But what does it mean, both objectively and subjectively? What is the significance of our salvation being "by grace through faith" both theologically and practically? I would like to examine this by going through Ephesians 2:1-10. ** 1 ** Why do we need grace? Ephesians 2:1-3 explains that well enough. Paul tells us under the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit that we, before we were saved by grace through faith, were dead. In what sense were we dead? Our sinfulness had robbed us of true life, which Jesus said in John 17:3 is to know God and His Son who He has sent. But it is worse than this. Our natural sinfulness had cut us so far off from God that we were completely incapable of submitting to God. Romans 8:6-8 tells us. So before grace, we were so dead in our spirit that we had no ability or inclination to trust in Jesus Christ and live in the eternal life of knowing Him and His Father. Because of this, we needed grace. Paul explains this in Ephesians 2:4-5. God's grace is what was needed to bring us to life, to so restore our minds and hearts that we would have both the ability and the desire to trust in Jesus Christ and experience the life of knowing Him. Knowing this should change how we view and treat unbelievers. First, we should remember that they are dead, and you do not berate or judge or condemn the dead for being dead. Yes, their deadness will lead to their condemnation, but our place is to weep at their deadness and seek their life. After all, we are called to preach the Gospel, the power of God to salvation, and that is what the Holy Spirit uses to bring life. Let me be more explicit: it is not appropriate for Christians to spend time berating, complaining about, gossiping about, or lamenting the dead, lost behavior of those who do not know God. We were once that way as well, as the first verses of Ephesians 2 make clear, and they are doing what dead people do. They need grace, and we are to give it so that through us God might give His grace and bring them to life in Jesus Christ, who died and rose to be the Redeemer of the lost, the Resurrector of the dead. This should also humble us when we think of it, because we really needed grace. We were totally dead in our sins, and it is *only* by God's grace that we are now alive. As Romans 9:11 makes clear, there was nothing in us that prompted God to give us life. It is nothing but His love and grace, so we should never be proud or boastful or feel superior to anyone, even unbelievers, but instead should fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, the only one strong enough to give grace of the magnitude that could save such sinners, and say, "To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood...to him be the glory and power forever and ever! Amen." ** 2 ** How are we saved by grace and saved through faith? I pay attention to prepositions. We are saved *by* grace and *through* faith. Of course, Ephesians was written in Greek, so I stepped back to check out the details of the grammar. As it turns out, there is no preposition before "grace." We get the word "by" because it is the best English way to translate the dative case of the word "grace" in ancient Greek. The dative case of a noun is used to show that this particular noun is what accomplishes the action of the verb. So grace, being in the dative case, is the instrument of salvation. Grace is the power which God uses to save. Grace makes us alive together with Christ. Faith is not the instrument. Faith does not do the saving. Instead, the word "faith" has the Greek preposition "dia." This means, just as it is translated, "through." What is the difference? Salvation by grace through faith means that the saving grace comes by means of faith to the person. To put it simply, faith is essentially the bridge by which grace comes down to save us. Faith is the like the IV tube in which flows the saving medicine of grace, provided by Jehovah Rophe, the Healer. God saves, using grace to do the saving, and getting the grace in through faith. So what does this mean to us? How should that impact our lives? Firstly, it kills any pride. Faith is not something we do or decide that saves us. Sometimes we can get or give that impression when we talk about being saved by faith. But faith doesn't do the saving; grace does the saving, and grace uses faith as the door. Our decision to have faith in Jesus Christ did not save us; all it did was open the floodgates of God's saving grace. And furthermore, our faith is not even from within ourselves, but, as Paul says in verse 8, it is part of a gift that God gives. So we are saved by God's grace, and God's grace gets to us by means of our faith, but our faith is itself a gift of God! We can claim no credit for our own salvation; it occurs completely by God's loving power. This should, like the answer to the previous question, destroy our pride and fix our eyes on the glory of our God who is so mighty to save us. This should also remind us not to get frustrated with ourselves or with unbelievers when our evangelistic efforts seem to be fruitless. Salvation is God's work (Rom. 9:16). He is the one who opens the eyes of the blind to have faith, and He is the one who delivers the saving grace. Also, it should remind us of the part of salvation we ought to work for in others. Our goal should be getting people to trust in Jesus Christ, to have faith. This is the part that comes out of them, even if God creates it. We should be the people God uses to create faith. We only need to be concerned about bringing about faith, removing the intellectual, emotional, and willful obstacles to trusting in Jesus. The rest we can leave up to the wisdom and power of God to make a dead heart alive. ** 3 ** Why does grace come through faith? It is important to consider why faith is the channel through which God gives saving grace. Fortunately, we don't have to endlessly ponder this question, because Paul himself answers it. He says, "it is not from works, so that no one can boast." Salvation by grace through faith is humbling. We just saw that twice. If salvation came from works, we could claim credit and exalt ourselves, saying, "I did right before God, and He has rewarded me with what I earned! I deserve eternal life." But this would be blasphemy, because men are by nature hopelessly corrupt, set against all that God is. Romans 5:10 tells us that we were once enemies of God. God is mighty and holy and righteous, and therefore He should rightfully hold all the cards over those who have rebelled against Him. It is not proper that man should be able to make up for his sinfulness, but instead that God should out of love restore man in forgiveness. Jesus died for our freedom, and He should rightly get all the credit. Because of this, grace is the perfect power for salvation, since it is free and unearned, and faith is the perfect channel for saving grace, because it is entirely dependent and trusting. By grace through faith gives man no place to claim credit for salvation, and no grounds for pride. There is another good reason for grace through faith, though. It is not merely to keep man in his lowly place, but to provide an ocean of freedom and security in knowing that salvation is all God's. Salvation comes from God's grace, and so God will sustain it even when you fail. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus, so trusting Him keeps you connected even when you mess up. And since faith is a gift from God, by which you receive God's grace, God will never take your faith away. So knowing that salvation is by grace through faith means the confident assurance that our eternal life of knowing Jesus is completely in His capable hands. This means, to quote Tenth Avenue North, "Hallelujah! We are free to struggle! We're not struggling to be free!" ** 4 ** How much of salvation is by grace, through faith? This is a question you may have never thought to ask, but it changes so much. We usually think of this verse as basically saying, "You get saved by grace through faith." To speak with more precise theological terminology, we usually consider this as saying we are justified by grace through faith. We think of it as saying this is how salvation begins. However, there is more to salvation than getting saved, more than justification. One of the most important components of salvation is transformation, sanctification. Part of being saved is being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, changed from the inside by the Holy Spirit. This is what the last verse in our text addresses. Ephesians 2:10. We are no longer dead sinners. Instead, as God's new workmanship, we are vessels of mercy created in Jesus for a certain purpose. This purpose is to do good works which God has prepared for us. God doesn't just use His powerful, overwhelming grace to get you out of Hell and into Heaven; He also uses it to make you more like a citizen on Heaven now! We are now new creations make "in Christ Jesus." Can you see what that means? Jesus is the prototype of believers. One day we will be made like Him on the outside and in, but for now God is gradually transforming our soul to be more like Jesus, so that we will walk in good works He has made for us. Again, boasting is excluded, for at this point we see that anything good in us is a result of being remade in the image of Jesus Christ. However, I am getting ahead of myself. How does by grace through faith relate to this transformation? How does it relate to doing good works and being more like Jesus Christ? We are sanctified by grace through faith. God's changing grace comes to renew us by the pathway of our growing faith. When we live in faith, when we trust God, He pours powerful grace into us that changes us and enables us to live in His good works. The beauty of this is that it provides the same assurance and safe confidence that initial salvation by grace through faith does. Just our getting saved doesn't rely on our own efforts or will or performance, so our living out salvation is not dependent on anything in us. Through the faith He provides, God gives us sanctifying grace that makes us more like His Son and enables us to live up to the calling He has given. Paul himself put this best in Philippians 2:12-13. God has saved us, and He calls us to work out this salvation into our lives, but by grace through faith He Himself is the who creates in us the desire and effort to do the good works to which He calls us. All we have to do is trust Him, to have faith in His promise. He says that He will give us grace through faith, so our response should be simply to open wide our hands of faith and receive the grace He promises. In this, God gets the glory and we get the grace, so that salvation is perfected and God's plan of "by grace through faith" gets its full meaning.