Christian Life · salvation

Professor or Possessor?

I read about a man who wanted to be a doctor so badly that he decided to impersonate one, and was arrested for doing so! There’s a big difference between someone who says they are something and someone who really is what they claim.

When we read the fourth and fifth chapters of the book of Acts, we read words like, great faith and great power that came over the Christians.  I can just hear their joy as they had all things common and were laying their gifts at the apostles’ feet so that the ministry of the Gospel could press forward. 

How invigorating!  How exciting! 

But in my head, I can almost hear the music of the movie, Jaws beginning to play as Chapter 5 begins.  It’s that eerie music that tells you that something really bad is getting ready to happen.

Sure enough, you turn to chapter 5 and we meet Annanias and Sapphira, a husband and a wife.  The chapter starts with the word, BUT, which tells us that after the joy, fellowship and sacrifice that we read the believers had,  this couple is experiencing something completely different.  What did they experience?  They simply imitate what they saw.

“Oh, others are giving money from land they sold? We will, too!” 

But they connived together to only give part of what they received, but to say that they were giving it ALL. They each came, one at a time and told their lie to Peter.  They were both buried that same day.

Their sin was not that they didn’t give it all – their sin was that they lied about it.  Where did that sin get its root?  In their heart.  Why did they lie?  Because they only professed that they had the same thing these early Christians truly possessed. They didn’t have a true love for God and the risen Savior.

You and I can imitate this dead duo simply by saying with our mouths what is not truly in our heart.  I believe there are many people in the church who profess they are Christians, but they’ve never possessed Christ as their own personal Savior.

We can look at this couple and learn whether or not we are possessors or only professors of a true relationship with Christ  Let’s look at the differences between the two.

  1. Possessors pray.  Professors talk about prayer.  A relationship with the Lord begins with prayer. We confess our need for Christ.  We confess that we are sinful and unable to save ourselves.  We surrender our lives to Him.  People who don’t really know Christ can say a lot about praying, but they don’t have an intimate, close relationship with the Lord so that they are in constant communication with Him.
  2. Possessors give sacrificially.  Professors give sparingly. A true believer realizes that everything he owns came from the Lord, so he opens his hand and gives it back with a thankful, generous heart.  A professor is more concerned about looking like a giver and is fearful of giving away too much, so he gives what he thinks he can afford to give.
  3. Possessors love the fellowship of other believers. Professors isolate themselves. A true believer enjoys the fellowship of the saints.  Time to worship, pray and communicate with other believers invigorates and strengthens him!  A professor gets irritated at the length of time a church service goes.  They complain about “having to pray” in a group.  They can’t wait to get our the door.
  4. Possessors speak out of their own personal witness.  Professors can only say what they have heard someone else say. A true believer has a walk with God that is fresh.  They are constantly learning as they dig into God’s Word.  They share what God taught them today. A professor doesn’t have a continual understanding of the Word of God because He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit in him to teach the Truth.  Therefore, they can only echo things they’ve read or heard from others.
  5. Possessors operate with great grace. Professors operate out of the their flesh. A true believer has God’s grace to be able to give, to pray and to tell others what God has done for them.  A professor has to pull up from their flesh the willing and the doing.  
  6. Possessors have the evidence of spiritual life. Professors show evidence of spiritual death.  True believers produce good works out of the spiritual life – not to gain it, but their works prove their spiritual life.  Professors can only reveal dead works because they are dead people, just as we literally see in Ananias and Sapphira. 

We need to remember that a believer who is out of fellowship with God can imitate an unbeliever.  That means that if we are living with unconfessed sin, we haven’t lost our salvation, but we will look just like the professors that were just described.

I don’t want my “dead corpse” to be my testimony.  I long to live a life that is alive and vibrant, giving, praying, learning, and enjoying fellowship all with great grace! 

Which are you?  A possessor or a professor?  It’s your choice.

Coronavirus · gratitude · salvation

Why Coronavirus Inconsistencies Make Me Grateful

I think I’ve shaken my head out of confusion and disbelief more in the last few months than in my entire life.

The reason?

Inconsistency.

It’s centered around the Coronavirus, of course (because isn’t everything these days?).

  • You may not sit inside…Of course we serve inside but you may not sit outside!
  • Only half capacity in store…Only 7% in stadium!
  • Church may not meet…Half the building may be full.
  • Masks are required at all times by everyone…Most of the staff have masks pushed down below their nose.
  • No one may stay overnight at the hospital with a patient…We can make allowances for you to stay.

I could go on, but I think you get my drift. It’s not as much what we have to do, but how inconsistent all the rules are that make this a season of frustration and confusion.

This frustration made me sit recently and think about how thankful I am that my salvation is rock solid. It is all based on Christ Who never changes and on His Word that is forever true! I never have to wonder if He has changed His mind or if there have been new guidelines added as to how to get to heaven! It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Realize I’m a sinner on my way to hell.
  2. Understand that Christ took my place on the cross to reconcile me to God.
  3. Accept Christ as my personal Savior.

All that will never change. Why?

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8

What peace that truth gives! My daily life goes on with a grateful heart. Christ lifted the rules (the law) and saves us by grace!! How blessed we are!

So in reality, I can be thankful for the inconsistencies because it makes me realize once again what a wonderful gift my salvation truly is!

I’m done ranting about the Coronavirus…until I start ranting again. Just kidding. I really am asking the Lord to help me to remember the grace-filled life I get to enjoy for ETERNITY and be thankful instead!

Maybe this reminder will give each of us something to share with others when we start to shake our head again. The world needs to know of our Savior Who is ALWAYS full of grace, and that never changes!

Christian growth · Christian Life · salvation

How To Have Life and Peace

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It was a busy evening of decorating the church for our recent Vacation Bible School when one of the leaders picked up a “Conversation Beach Ball” and decided it was time for a break.  She threw the ball to a worker and yelled, “Right hand!”  They caught the ball and then read the question that was under the grasp of their right thumb and answered it.  The ball was passed to me and the question I read was something like,

What  Bible story do you love the most?

Not wanting to take too much time to answer, I thought of one I’d recently been reading in my morning devotions.  I said, “The story of Joseph forgiving his brothers.”  The group was satisfied with my answer because it allowed the game to continue.

The next day I got to thinking back on our game, and my question in particular, and I was shocked when I thought about how I had responded!

Continue reading “How To Have Life and Peace”

children · Dinner · Marriage · salvation

My Most Popular Posts

To continue with my theme of my 10th anniversary of blogging, I thought it would be fun to share highlights of my blog.  Let’s start with food!

You don’t have to read my posts for long to know that I love to cook.  We love good food made at home and it’s fun to find the best recipes to make for my friends and family.  The recipe that has had the most hits on my blog is my recipe for Beef Enchiladas.  That is for good reason, friends.  This is probably my family’s favorite dish!  You can find this recipe here.

Coming in as another sought after recipe is this one for Empanadas.  Another beef recipe, this is a great do-ahead recipe that could be frozen prior to baking.

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The blog post that has the highest readers was a post near and dear to my own heart.  It dealt with how to know if your child is ready to be saved.  Many parents struggle to know if their child is too young to trust Christ.  Should they make them wait until they’re older?  Do they need to know more before they pray?  Here was my response to those questions.

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Marriage posts are important to me because I know how the devil attacks the home and would love to destroy the union between husband and wife.  Simple posts like this one on kindness in marriage shows that it’s really the little things that can make a big difference in a happy relationship.

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This post on getting a toddler ready to sit in church must be a hot topic because it was another popular read.  We all know that getting a 4 or 5 yea-old to sit quietly in church is like trying to corral kittens!  I trust these ideas will help get those kittens to sit for a little while so Mommy and Daddy can hear God’s Word without having to leave the service (as often).

I trust that some of these most popular posts might help inspire you in your kitchen, your home and marriage, or your church service!  Come back tomorrow where we’ll get a little more personal.  =)

Denise

 

 

 

Easter · eternal · salvation

Our Best Efforts

Yesterday was a challenging day in my 4’9″ world!  When I ran into the grocery to buy a container of sour cream, it was inside a cooler refrigerator on the TOP shelf…and the front of the box was empty!  That meant I had to R-E-A-C-H on my tip toes, pull the box forward and hope that a sour cream container in the back would slide into my hand.

It worked!

Then on to look at some fresh flowers.  On the TOP shelf was a pot of greenery I was interested in.  Using my resourceful short-person-skills, I got as tall as I could, pulled the green stem towards me and then the rest of the pot followed behind.  Mission accomplished.

I left the store and moved on to do some decorating at church.  When I got up to the storage place where our spring wreaths were hung, they were hanging as high as they could be, dangling from nails like a loose  tooth in a kindergartner’s mouth. No amount of stretching was going to get those wreaths down!  I looked around me for something long, and found a piece of metal  that I knew would do the trick.  I slid the metal under the top part of the wreath, lifted it and then lowered it into my waiting hands.

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As I thought back to each of those scenarios, I remembered that I had been offered help in each of those situations, but it came at the wrong time.  This short lady had already made her move and gotten the job taken care of!

All these efforts reminded me of a truth connected to Good Friday.  This is a day that reminds us of the death of Christ on the cross.  He died to take our place, paying in full the payment due our sins.  Before He died he uttered,

It is finished.

You see, He did everything necessary for us to be forgiven and to give to us eternal life.  Nothing is left for us to complete in order to gain salvation.  It was all done on the cross by the Lord Jesus.

Just as I refused the help from those who offered to assist me, people often ignore Christ’s perfect solution to their sin problem.  Many ignore His plea to take care of their sin debt, and reach up on tip toes for their best efforts – good works, humanitarian deeds or kind acts, thinking that will allow them to reach up to God’s high standard.  But their efforts are far less fruitful than a short person’s attempts to grasp out-of-reach items.  They will never attain God’s standard because it is holiness.  Only Christ was without sin.  He alone could reach what is necessary for us to be forgiven.  And when He steps in, He is always on time.

If you’ve never accepted His sacrifice for your sin, stop trying to step in with your best efforts, and realize that He’s done it all.  Your salvation is complete.  All you have to do is receive what has been accomplished on your behalf by acknowledging your sinfulness, and your need for Christ. Then turn your back on your sin and receive Him. 

Because of Him salvation is at hand!

Rejoicing in Good Friday and Easter morning,

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