define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true); Pastor Ralph Diehl » God’s Grace

Archive for the ‘God’s Grace’ Category

29
Dec

12 Days: DAY FIVE

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On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: Five Golden Rings.

In this ancient song the Five Golden Rings represent the first five books of the Bible, known as the Books of Moses or the “Pentateuch”. The Books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy record the beginnings of God’s dealings with man. They provide the history of man’s fall and paint a compelling visual story of what happens when man walks away from God.

Those Golden Rings also provide a descriptive example of God’s efforts to lead man back into a redeemed relationship with Him in the midst of a fallen world. God revealed His perfect will for man through the giving of the Mosaic Law. But He also provided the plan for redemption for sin through the model of the Passover Lamb. He also demonstrated His deliverance power when He delivered His people from the encroaching Egyptians by parting the Red Sea, then closed it on the enemy. Grace is also manifested in the account of the flood and His choosing Noah, the life story of Joseph and God’s provision, and His answer of the Israelite’s prayer by sending Moses.

The five Golden Rings, the Books of Moses, don’t conclude until we arrive at the Book of Revelation. Thanks to God for sending His word.

27
Dec

12 Days: DAY THREE

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On the third day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: Three French Hens”.

The three French Hens represent the Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity (agape = love). These three key virtues are referred to often in the New Testament. They summarize all the other Christian virtues in a nutshell. Faith is trusting in the omniscience (all knowing) of God. It is resting in Him because we are assured in our hearts that He has a great plan for us.

Hope, however, is not passive trust. It is aggressive in desiring something. Some confuse faith, which is passive by nature, and hope, which is aggressive and takes action. But both have to do with belief. The Hebrew writer said that faith is the substance of things hoped for.

Charity is a better word than love because ‘Agape’ requires action, not feelings. ‘Agape’ actually kicks into gear when feelings are absent or negative.

Our True Love, God gave us these three gifts. PTL!

14
Dec

THE RESCUE

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A dignified lady who possessed a valuable diamond ring was once walking along the street in Paris, France. In pulling off her glove she dislodged her ring, which rolled along the ground and dropped through a grating into a drain. Greatly distressed, she peered down into the catch basin, which was full of black, watery mud. She tried to retrieve her treasure with the end of her umbrella, but her efforts simply pushed the ring deeper. In desperation, she finally rolled up her sleeve, plunged her arm deep in the black muck, and in a few seconds retrieved her ring.

Isn’t that a great illustration of God’s reaching down into our sinful lives to save our souls? He plunged Himself into the world of sin around us, took us out of the horrible pit of sin, positioned us in Christ, and set us among the princes in glory. As Jim Otis says, He saved us from the guttermost to the uttermost.

12
Dec

GOD’S 3-D KINGDOM

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Jesus said, “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised…good news is being preached to the poor” (Matthew 11:5 NLT).

Here Jesus describes a 3-dimensional kingdom where:

The rejected find acceptance. Listen: “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear.” These particular people had no status or value; they were society’s rejects. But what others see as trash, God sees as treasure.

Death is powerless. Jesus could say, “The dead are raised,” because He personally unlocked death’s prison, turning every funeral into an Easter celebration. In 1899 two men died: evangelist D. L. Moody and political leader, Robert Ingersol, an agnostic. A biographer characterized their deaths like this: “Ingersol died suddenly. Public response to his passing was dismal. But Moody awoke on his last winter dawn and said, ‘Earth recedes, heaven opens before me! If this is death it is sweet’.”

Mercy replaces justice. Why did Jesus say, “Good news is being preached to the poor?” Because membership in God’s kingdom can’t be purchased. You don’t get in by doing enough, but by admitting that you could never do enough. That’s why Paul writes: “By grace you have been saved…not by works” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

10
Dec

HE RAN ME DOWN

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Pastor and author H. A. Ironside told about a new convert who gave his testimony during a church service. With joy in his heart, the man related how he had been delivered from a life of sin. He gave the Lorsd all the glory, making it clear that he had done nothing to earn salvation.

The person leading the service didn’t fully appreciate the truth that salvation is by grace through faith alone, apart from works. So he responded, “You seem to indicate that God did everything when He saved you. Didn’t you do your part before God did His?”

The Christian jumped to his feet and said, “Oh, yes, I did. Fore more than 30 years I ran away from God as fast my sins could carry me. That was my part. But God took out after me and ran me down. That was His part.”

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

9
Dec

SAVING FACE

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Before he enlisted in the Union Army to fight during the US Civil War, Joshua Chamberlain was a quiet and unassuming college professor. In the crucible of military combat he distinguished himself for his heroism in holding the line on Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg. He was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

To recognize Chamberlain’s contribution to the Union victory, General Ulysses S. Grant designated him to receive the first flag of surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. The defeated troops of the South expected to be ridiculed and humiliated. Instead, Chamberlain showed them kindness and respect. For this, the Confederate commanding officer wrote in his memoirs that Chamberlain was “one of the knightliest soldiers of the Federal Army.”

As a committed Christian, Chamberlain reflected the grace of Christ. We too need to stand for what we believe but also to be kind to those with whom we disagree. Paul noted, “as a good soldier of Jesus Christ…be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Timothy 2:3, 24-25).

When was the last time you helped an opponent “save face”?

9
Dec

THE PENNY BIBLE

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Dwight L. Moody illustrated grace like this in a late 1800s sermon:

“Remember, salvation is a free gift, and it is a free gift for us. Can you buy it? It is a free gift, presented to “whosoever” will accept it.

Suppose I were to say, I will give this Bible to “whosoever” will take it; what have you got to do? Why, nothing but take it. But a man comes forward, and says: “I’d like that Bible very much.”

“Well, didn’t I say ‘whosoever’ will can have it?”

“Yes; but I’d like to have you mention my name.”

“Well, here it is.”

Still he keeps eyeing the Bible, and saying, “I’d like to have that Bible; but I’d like to give you something for it. I don’t like to take it for nothing.”

“But I am not here to sell Bibles; take it, if you want it.”

“Well, I want it; but I’d like to give you something for it. Let me give you a cent for it; though, to be sure, it’s worth about five dollars.”

Suppose I accept the cent; the man takes up the Bible and marches away home with it.

His wife asks, “Where did you get that Bible?”

“Oh, I bought it.”

Mark the point: when he gave the penny, it ceased to be a gift. So with salvation. If you were to pay ever so little, it would not be a gift.