Hi this is our Blog on Grace. We hope and pray that the Grace of God will flood into your life like it has ours. A good place to start is to listen to the mp3 messages, they will not only turn your world around, you will feel like you have just been saved all over again!

Friday, 30 November 2007

A neat study on righteousness.

Whose Righteousness?
By Andrew Wommack

The word "righteousness" has become a religious cliché that has lost its meaning to many people. Even Christians are confused about what righteousness is and how to receive it. This has left our society without a clear understanding of what it takes to have a relationship with God. This is reflected in our nation's moral collapse. It's imperative that we get back to the basics of righteousness.

"Righteousness" and its counterpart, "righteous," appear 540 times in 520 verses of the Bible. In contrast, "faith," "faithfulness," and "faithful" are only used 348 times in 328 verses. This means that there are 1.5 times as many scriptures about righteousness as there are about faith. Righteousness is important.

A layman's definition of righteousness is simply, "right standing with God." Righteousness is the condition of being in right relationship with the Lord. This can only happen through TOTAL faith and dependence upon Christ. There is no other way, and there is nothing we can add to our faith to obtain right relationship with the Lord (Rom. 11:6).

One of the things that blinds people to a true understanding of righteousness is confusion about how we become right in the sight of God. It is commonly thought that our actions are the determining factor in God's judgment of our righteousness. That's not true. There is a relationship between our actions and our right standing with God, but right relationship with God produces actions, not the other way around. That is to say, we are not made righteous by what we do.

Righteousness is a gift that comes from the Lord to those who accept what Jesus has done for them by faith (Rom. 5:17-18). The gift of salvation produces a changed heart that, in turn, changes our actions. Actions cannot change our hearts. It's the heart of man that God looks upon (1 Sam. 16:7), and we must be righteous in our hearts to truly worship God (John 4:24).

The mistake of thinking that doing right makes us right is the same error the Pharisees made. Religion has always preached that if we clean up our actions, our hearts will become clean too. Jesus taught just the opposite (Matt. 23:25-26). It's through a changed heart that our actions change. The heart is the issue. Actions are only an indication of what is in our hearts. Actions are the fruit the heart produces.

Modern-day Christianity often puts the emphasis on actions instead of issues of the heart. This is reflected in Christians' excessive efforts to legislate change in people's actions instead of changing their hearts by the preaching of the Gospel. It's the Gospel that contains the power of God, not political action groups (Rom. 1:16). Laws only affect actions. The Gospel changes hearts. Once hearts are changed, actions change.

Contrary to popular belief, Christianity does not promote receiving justice from the Lord. Praise God for that! The Lord has a much better plan. We get what we believe.

I once developed pictures in a photography studio for a living. People would come into the studio to look at their proofs and say things like, "This picture doesn't do me justice." I never had the nerve to say this, but I often thought, Lady, you don't need justice, you need mercy.

That's the way it is with God. We sometimes call for justice but that's not what we need. As the Scriptures say, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Is. 53:6). Again, in Romans 3:23 the Scriptures say, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10).

The wonderful plan of salvation is that those who put their faith in Jesus and what He did for us get what He deserves. On the other hand, those who do not put their total faith in Christ will ultimately get what they deserve. Believe me, that is not what they want. Religion has subtly instructed people to trust in their own goodness instead of God's. This will never work. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).

The Biblical story of the handwriting on the wall illustrates this point (Dan. 5:1-31). Belshazzar was the king of Babylon. His father, Nebuchadnezzar, had conquered the nation of Israel and brought all the wealth of the temple, along with most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, back to Babylon. During an extravagant feast, with 1,000 of his lords in attendance, Belshazzar chose to toast his gods using the golden vessels from the temple in Jerusalem, which was in open defiance of the God of Israel.

The Lord moved swiftly and dramatically by creating an image of a man's hand, with fingers that wrote on the wall in front of Belshazzar and all his guests. Belshazzar called on all his magicians and wise men to decipher the writing, but none could. Then the queen reminded Belshazzar about Daniel who had interpreted the dreams and visions of Nebuchadnezzar when no one else could. Daniel was summoned and the writing explained.

The message from God revealed that Belshazzar had been weighed in the balances and was found wanting. Therefore, his kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians. This came to pass that very night. Belshazzar was overthrown, and Darius, the Mede (Persian), took control.

If we were weighed in the balances against God's righteousness as Belshazzar was, we too would come up short. God's righteousness is always more in quantity and quality than ours will ever be. Our righteousness is as filthy rags compared to God's righteousness (Is. 64:6).

Someone might say, "That's not fair. No one can compete with God's righteousness." That's exactly right! However, God's righteousness is the standard by which everyone must be measured. So then, how can anyone be saved? The answer is that no one can be saved, if they are trusting in their own righteousness. We all must have a righteousness that exceeds anything we could ever produce through our own effort. That's where Jesus enters.

Jesus was in right relationship with God as no one else can be. He is the Son of God. He is God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). He is holy and pure and without sin, yet He became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), through no wrongdoing on His part. He took our sin in His own body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Is. 53:4-5).

In return for Jesus taking our sin, those who put their faith in Him get His righteousness instead of their own. It's not our actions that make us acceptable to the Father. It's our trust in Jesus that imparts the righteousness of Jesus into our born-again spirits that makes us in right standing with God.

Those who don't understand this righteousness, which comes from God as a gift, become frustrated trying to establish their own righteousness through good works (Rom. 10:3). It won't work. It's an all or nothing situation (Rom. 11:6). We must trust completely in what Jesus did for us to obtain right relationship with God. Any trust in our own goodness will void the atonement Christ made for us (Gal. 5:4).

This is precisely the condition of millions of people in the body of Christ today. They receive salvation by putting total faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, but then they return to believing that the Lord still relates to them on the basis of their works, even after their salvation. That's not true.

Colossians 2:6 says, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." That means if you were saved by putting faith in God's grace alone, then you maintain that relationship in the same way. Some people sing "Just As I Am Without One Plea" when they are born again. They need to sing this song all the way through their Christian lives.

Failure to understand this truth is at the root of all guilt and condemnation. Satan's only inroad into our lives is sin. If we understand our right standing with God on the basis of what Jesus did for us, and not by our own actions, then Satan's power to condemn is gone. Those who live with a feeling of unworthiness are not trusting in God's righteousness but are looking to their own actions to obtain right standing with God. That will never work.

Check out the website on www.awmi.net


Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Reverence and godly fear

NKJ
Hebrews 12v28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
 
NIV
Hebrews 12v28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

This is from Jamieson Faussets and Brown Bible Commentary

let us have grace—"let us have thankfulness" [ALFORD after CHRYSOSTOM]. But (1) this translation is according to classical Greek, not Paul's phraseology for "to be thankful." (2) "To God" would have been in that case added. (3) "Whereby we may serve God," suits the English Version "grace" (that is Gospel grace, the work of the Spirit, producing faith exhibited in serving God), but does not suit "thankfulness."


 

Monday, 26 November 2007

Common Grace

 
Common Grace:  is a grace of God that restrains sin in the lives of those who are not his people.
 
''From this common grace proceeds all that is good and true that we still see in fallen man. The light still shines in the darkness. The Spirit of God lives and works in everything that has been created. Therefore there still remain in man certain traces of the image of God. There is still intellect and reason; all kinds of natural gifts are still present in him. Man still has a feeling and an impression of divinity, a seed of religion. Reason is a priceless gift. Philosophy is an admirable gift from God. Music is also a gift of God. Arts and sciences are good, profitable, and of high value. The state has been instituted by God.....There is still a desire for truth and virtue, and for natural love between parents and children, In maters that concern this earthly life, man is still able to do much good....Through the doctrine of common grace the Reformed have, on the one hand, maintained the specific and absolute character of the Christian religion, but on the other hand they have been second to none in their appreciation for whatever of the good and beautiful is still being given by God to sinful human beings.
 
Sin is a power, a principle, which has penetrated deeply into all forms of created life.....It would, if left to itself, have devastated and destroyed everything. But God has interposed with His grace. Through his common grace he restrains sin in its disintegrating and destructive working. But this [kind of grace] is still not sufficient. It subdues, but does not change, it restrains, but does not conquer.''
 
--Herman Bavinck--
 
 Here are some Scriptures that support this teaching:
Genesis 20 (Abimelech's sin restrained in verse 6 & 7).
Rom. 1: 24, 26, 28.
Rom. 13: 3-4. [ Sin restrained through state law imposed on criminals.]
1 Pet. 2:13-14.
2 Thess. 2:3-10,[v 6-7 speaks of a power that is now holding back the appearance of the man of lawlessness mentioned in v. 3]
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Living Bread: food for life
 

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Email to friend

This is a part of an email that I wrote to a friend of mine this morning, that leads a church about 2 hours drive south from where I live.
He just returned from the "Glory and Grace" conference with Rob Rufus and Fini De Gesigny in Hong Kong.
Since his return there has been revival in his church. With tangable presents of God, healings and "gold dust".

I am curious if anyone else is feeling like this?

That is great news.

Long for that this side. I am kind of legalistically asking God what I am doing wrong. What more must I do, to see these miracles, signs and wonders.
Remember in Bloem you asked me that if I am living in grace, and grace brings the miracles, then where are my miracles. I keep asking myself this. Like Father "what about me???". I get quite bummed sometimes.
Am I still living too much in the old? Am I not living in Gods grace. I thought I was, but nothing obvious is happening.
Is it because I am at the church I am. Should I look for a place that preaches just the gospel? I have all these thoughts running through my head.
I wonder if I am too concerned about the signs and not enough about being in the presents of our Father??

All these questions, yet I see a remarkable difference in my and Shans life. I suppose we grow in grace. I need much patience.

Take care and well done bro. Praise God for what He is doing that side.

Later
GB

Friday, 23 November 2007

Love Louisa...(23Nov07)


Louisa's computer got fried during the time that her roof has been damaged by the huge hail we had recently.

She has apologised that she has not typed up any thing this week.

Please hold her and her husband Rowan up in prayer during this time. They are really going through a difficult patch.
But God is in control and looking out for their best.
We give praise to Him always.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

This weeks question

Do you believe you can loose your salvation?
 

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Love Louisa...(13Nov07)

Hi
 
After another tough week, in fact after a pretty awful year filled with contradictions, I've come to the conclusion that it's ok to ask God those difficult questions.

I have felt the presence of God in tangible powerful ways and experienced first hand His provision, healing, restoration and heard His voice of encouragement, without some extra special effort on my part. I know I serve a living God who loves me and cares for me and hears my cries. I know He is at work in amazing ways in a world wide revival kind of new way and I'm so very, very grateful to be part of it! But I have also experienced many, many things going wrong, sometimes I feel my prayers bounce off ceilings of brass; I'm confused and so very tired.

In the past I have been cautioned not to question God, the reasoning being that God got angry with Job's friends in Job 42:7 when they questioned Him and also in the gospels Jesus got angry with the Pharisees when they tried to trap him with their questions. But I'm reminded of what Rob Bell says in his book Velvet Elvis: that theological student David Rylaarsdam argues that God is angry because Job's friends and the Pharisees believed they had all the answers. Whereas the psalmists humbly asked questions in faith mixed with much doubt! As Bell says the psalmists asked, "My God, my God you said you would not forget your children, and now you're hiding your face from me, I don't get it! Where are you? I'm getting hammered here. Why?

That's my question now! A friend said, "Are you spending enough time with God? Maybe that's why things are going wrong! Must be something you have or haven't done!"

BUT I know without a doubt that this is not so. Because I'm convinced that how God treats me has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with what Jesus did for me!

Lots of love

Louisa

 

Monday, 05 November 2007

This weeks question

 
How do you cope walking in the revelation of grace and attending a fellowship that is still mixing law and grace?

I'm going to be a daddy!!

Deu 28:11 And Jehovah shall prosper you in goods, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which Jehovah swore to your fathers to give you.

So we found out on Saturday that I am going to be a daddy.

We have the oppertunity to raise a child in the ways of the Lord. What an honour and priviledge.

Your prayers would be more than welcome.

Bless you Father for this gift.

 

 

Love Louisa...(5Nov07)

Hi

Hope you had a good week.

Since I last wrote my columns on the Kingdom of Heaven being about righteousness, peace and joy-my righteousness being secure because of the finished work on the cross for me by Jesus and my peace and joy not dependent on circumstances. This has been put to the test, again and again. With us experiencing 90mm of rain on Thursday night, through our severely hail damaged roof. Also fighting with contractors and many more irritating disappointing stressful happenings!

I began to wonder if I was loosing it and began to question whether I really was at peace and as for the joy

But in talking to friends still living under a mixture of grace and law, I realized that a comment I'd written down by J C Wheeler is true, "Now that I know Christ (And particularly viewed from a grace perspective), I'm happier now when I'm sad, than I was before when I was glad!

For me the best part of being free and secure in God's love is that I'm not so self centred anymore. Before so much of my time and energy centred on ME. Am I good enough, Am I doing enough, Is God punishing me, Is God correcting me, Is the devil tempting and testing me? You see me, me, me, me, and ME!

Know that I know that the work on the cross is finished and complete, my thoughts are centred more and more on God and His ways, His voice and His love. I want to please Him; I desire to know Him more and more. I spend my days in His presence more and more just for the pleasure of it. I don't avoid Him because I fear His rejection, His correction and His displeasure.

The Message Bible puts it this way in Romans 8:6-9 Those who trust in God's action in them find that God's Spirit in them-living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us into the open, into a spacious free life. Focusing on self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what He is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored. But if God Himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of Him.


Other by products of this freedom and security in His love, in my life, is the over flowing love I experience for people and I'm able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in a much more intimate way-exciting stuff! But more about that next week.

Do any of you have similar experiences? Please let me know.

Lots of love

Louisa.


Friday, 02 November 2007

Love Louisa...(1Nov07)

Hello,

Sorry for the delay in posting my column, but in my defence, what a week I've had! After talking last week about the Kingdom of Heaven being all about righteousness, peace and joy, my peace and joy was put to the test.

On Tuesday afternoon we experienced a severe hail storm on the coast where I live. The roof on our house was severely damaged with at least 80 holes blasted through it. You can literally see the sky through them. And then the rain came and it has rained almost non stop since then! But miraculously non of our furniture or valuables were damaged.

Friends came to our aid in many wonderful ways and although we know it will all end well and we'll get a sorely needed new roof, it has been a very trying week!

But because I'm convinced that my righteousness in Christ is not dependent on me, but on Him, I never had to waste my time and energy on worrying if this was a punishment from God because I did something wrong or because I'm not good enough. And because I'm secure in God's love and the knowledge that He wants the best for me, my peace and joy remain in tact. If my peace and joy were determined by my circumstance I'd be worried and miserable, but I'm not..

My husband is a wonderful man and I thank God for him, in trying time's he's amazing. This together with the truth that if God is for us who can be against us, keeps me positive and grateful.

Lots of love

Louisa