We’re not saved by what we DO, but by what has been DONE by Jesus! Titus 3

From my reading in Titus 3 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

Most people think that salvation can be earned by doing more good things than bad things.

Paul tells us the exact opposite.

“But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”  Titus 3:4-7

God saved us, we can’t save ourselves!

Jesus washed away our sins with his blood and gives us new life through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that we are saved.

We are saved by God’s mercy, not our good works.

Because of God’s love and kindness, followers of Jesus can be 100% confident that they will inherit eternal life. We are declared righteous in God’s sight because of Jesus death on the cross.  Our salvation is 100% dependent on Christ’s death and 0% depended on our good works.

We are not saved by what we DO, but by what has been DONE by Jesus!

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4 Ways To Be A Wise And Winsome Witness- Colossians 4

From my reading in Colossians 4 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

Paul gives us 4 great ways to be a winsome witness to people who are not yet followers of Jesus.

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:5–6

1. Live wisely among non Christians.

Live wisely among those who are not believers…

Wisdom is knowing how to do the right thing, at the right time in the right way. Living wisely around non Christians means that we should be aware of their needs and smart with how we treat them. The way that we live will be attractive if we are living in a wise way.

2. Seize divine opportunities to share.

…and make the most of every opportunity…

This phrase literally means “buy up the time.”  The opportunity to share only come up rarely, so we must be careful to make the most of them. At the same time we must use wisdom.

There is a tension that we must embrace if we want to share our faith. We must be urgent about making the most of opportunities to share and at the same time use wisdom to know when to stop.

3. Always share in gracious way.

…Let your conversation be gracious…

One of the things that many of the street preachers don’t do is be gracious. I actually admire the courage of many of the street preachers, but too often they do not preaching in a loving and grace giving way.

Whenever we share about Jesus we must be sure to speak in a gracious and respectful way. This will help people trust you.  You don’t have to pressure people because God is the one who saves anyway.

4. Always share in an attractive way.

…and attractive…

Other translations says that our conversation should always be “seasoned with salt.” Salt makes things taste good. Salt has an addictive quality. Like a potato chip, you can’t eat just one.

When we have spiritual conversations we should seek to make it a pleasant experience so that the person will want to talk more about it later. Too much salt is makes eggs taste nasty. Too much pressure or unsolicited sharing can turn people off as well.

These four practices are done for this purpose….

…so that you will have the right response for everyone.

It takes wisdom to know how to respond in the right way to everyone who is interested in Christianity. One size does not fit all.
I pray that God would use us as we seek to be wise, intentional, gracious and winsome in how we share our faith.

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How To Grow As A Christian – Colossians 2

From my reading in Colossians 2 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

Paul gives us some solid advice on how to grow as a Christian.

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6–7

We grow in the same way we were accepted Christ, by faith!

Faith is necessary not only for salvation, but for spiritual growth. Our growth depends on if we are continuing to follow Jesus by faith. We start and finish our relationship with God by faith!

We must develop deep roots in Christ.

A tree that has deep roots is strong and will be able to withstand harsh winds. As followers of Jesus we are to build our lives on Jesus. Getting to know Christ well is the best way to ensure you can make it through the hard things of life.

As you learn the truth your faith will be strengthened.

Going deep in God’s truth will help you weather the storms of life. Going deep in God’s word is another way to go deep with Christ.

The natural result of your growth will be a life of thankfulness.

If you are not growing in thankfulness you might not be growing in your walk with Jesus.  Thankfulness is a natural result of a rooted relationship with Jesus.

Are you rooting yourself in Jesus? 

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What Does It Really Mean To “Not Judge” As A Christian? – John 8:1-27

From my reading in John 8:1-27 in the One Year New Testament.

Jesus was teaching in the temple and the religious leaders brought a woman caught in the act of adultery in front of Jesus. The man was no where to be found, which proves that they had no intention of actually seeking justice. They were trying to trap Jesus by putting him in a hard situation.

Jesus took his time before speaking, which is a principle we can apply. When someone asks you a hard question it is ok to think about what a wise answer would be before blurting something out and ending up on the internet. They kept on badgering him for answer, so he stood up and said,

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

One by one everyone left because they realized they all have sinned. It is interesting that the oldest were the first to leave, and most aware of their sinfulness.

Until you realize you own sinfulness you won’t be willing to offer grace to others. Those that understand their need for forgiveness are able to offer forgiveness to others.

We should not think of ourselves as better than others just because we struggle with different sins than they do.

Jesus, who was the only one actually without sin went to the woman and said.

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10–11

Jesus accepts us as we are,

but loves us to much to let us stay that way!  

It is important to realize that Jesus did not overlook her sin, he forgave her. As followers of Jesus was are not called to excuse sin, but humbly offer the forgiveness of Jesus to those willing to repent and leave their life of sin.

Jesus did not tolerate the woman’s sin, he died for it.  Jesus was able to forgive the sin because he was about to die for that sin. He then challenged her to leave her lifestyle of sin. 

Some people say that Christians should never “judge” meaning that we should never call sin what it is. But if we did that we would not the following Jesus.

Jesus called sin what it is, then died for it!  As his followers we should humble offer his forgiveness to all who would turn from their sin and choose to follow Him!

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Who Was The Other, Other, Mary? – Mark 16

From my reading in Mark 16 in the One Year New Testament.

Have you ever noticed that besides Mary mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene there was another Mary who was one of the first to see Jesus’ empty tomb! (Actually there were several other Marys.)

“Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body.” Mark 16:1

She didn’t have any extra-ordinary role but she was a part of the story. She was one of the women who followed him in Galilee and even helped support his ministry!

“Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there. Mark 15:40–41

She was not a big name in the Bible but she played an important role. There will be other people more famous or popular than you. There will be people who get a lot of credit for what they do.

The question is are you willing to participate in what Jesus is doing even if you don’t get much air time?

Am I willing to be the other Mary?

We all have a part to play, and it is God’s choice who will be lifted up and who will simply get to be a part of what He is doing.

I pray that I will be content experiencing the power of the resurrection and being a faithful servant, even if that means living in obscurity.

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