Richard Craig, Author at GraceAndWorks

It Doesn’t Matter How You Say It…..

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

WHAT are you doing?
What ARE you doing?
What are YOU doing?
What are you DOING?
Even though different words are emphasized, the statement means the same.

I love you.
I LOVE you.
I love YOU.
Even thought different words are emphasized, the statement means the same.

WHY did you make that call?
Why DID you make that call?
Why did YOU make that call?
Why did you MAKE that call?
Why did you make THAT call?
Why did you make that CALL?
Even though different words are emphasized, the statement means the same.

Acts 2:38
REPENT and be baptized.
Repent AND be baptized.
Repent and BE baptized.
Repent and be BAPTIZED.
Even though different words are emphasized, the statement means the same.

Mark 16:16
BELIEVE and be baptized to be saved.
Believe AND be baptized to be saved.
Believe and BE baptized to be saved.
Believe and be BAPTIZED to be saved.
Even though different words are emphasized, the statement means the same.

Hebrews 10:25
DON’T forsake worship service.
Don’t FORSAKE worship service.
Don’t forsake WORSHIP service.
Even though different words are emphasized, the statement means the same.

1st Corinthians 13:8
LOVE never fails.
Love NEVER fails.
Love never FAILS.
Even though different words are emphasized, the statement means the same.

One can spin God’s word however they want to, but God’s words will always mean the same. He, and His Word, was the same yesterday, today, and will remain the same tomorrow. Nothing in His Word is “Old fashioned” or “Out dated.” The way to Salvation has not changed. The path remains exactly the same for everyone. The statements we hear about, “you do it your way and I’ll do it my way and we’ll all end up in the same place” is not true, according to God’s Word. There are over a 1000 commands in the New Testament, and God expects us to adhere to them. God has made us a promise, that IF we keep His commands, He will prepare a place for us. Disobey and He’ll send you to Satan.

IT is your choice.
It IS your choice.
It is YOUR choice.
It is your CHOICE. Make the right one!!

Have a good day all. SMILE God loves YOU!!

 

PRACTICE????

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

I’ve been wondering about this word for quite some time. A short definition  means to do something over and over to get better. I’ve always wondered why people say that a Doctor is “Practicing” medicine or why Attorneys are “Practicing” law. Shouldn’t they know what they are doing? I’ve thought to myself that I would just prefer a Doctor instead one who is still “Practicing.” Same would go with an Attorney. Soooooo, I’ve decided that they are still practicing, doing things over and over, so they get better at what they are doing ( sure hope by the time I would need one, that they would know what they are doing. lololo). Then I  thought, why don’t we have “Practicing” teachers, sales people, secretaries, business owners, preachers, coaches, etc. In athletics we have, football, basketball, volleyball, hockey, soccer, and track “Practice” so the players can get better by doing the same plays over and over until they get them right. All that “Practice” is done so they can be prepared for the games they play. Hopefully being able to win their games.

The next question I had was, why are Christians just called Christians? Shouldn’t we be called “Practicing” Christians. After all, doesn’t God want us to get better at what we do for Him? His scriptures tell us to listen, not only listen, but HEAR, attend Worship services, study to show ourselves approved, go forth and Preach His Word. He also instructs us to be kind, gentle, loving, forgiving, tolerant of others, and compassionate. How can these things be accomplished if we don’t continue to “Practice” what God  says? We can’t just “Be Christians”, it takes work!! Sooooooo, don’t just be a Christian, go to work and “Practice” what is to be done. Become a “Practicing” Christian!! Hopefully we will win the race and receive the Crown of Life that God has promised (Providing we are obedient to Him).

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

TRUST!!

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

We trust our friends, until, someone lies or misuses us in some manner. We trust our family, until, something goes astray and breaks that trust. We put our trust in banks, government, cars, electricity, gas lines, media, etc., until, someone lies or somehow breaks that trust. As I was driving down the highway today, I was thinking about the hundreds of cars that were traveling on the road and the ABSOLUTE trust the drivers had in each other. That trust gets put in question when someone cuts you off or even worse yet causes an accident. Then we get very cautious and take a moment to reflect on what is going on and eventually the trust is regained.

I started to think about if we have the same kind of trust in God that we have in our fellow human beings. Then asked myself:

 “How can I learn to trust in God?”

Answer: We cannot trust someone we don’t know, and that is the secret of learning to trust God. When someone says, “Trust me,” we have one of two reactions. Either we can say, “Yes, I’ll trust you,” or we can say, “Why should I?” In God’s case, trusting Him naturally follows when we understand why we should.

The main reason we should trust God is that He is worthy of our trust. Unlike men, He never lies and never fails to fulfill His promises. God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Unlike men, He has the power to bring about what He plans and purposes to do. “The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand” (Isaiah 14:24). His plans are perfect, holy, and righteous, and He works all things together for good for those who love Him. If we learn to know God through His Word, we will see that He is worthy of our trust, and our trust in Him will grow daily. To know Him is to trust Him.

We can learn to trust God as we see how He has proven Himself to be trustworthy in our lives and the lives of others. The record of God’s promises is there in His Word for all to see, as is the record of their fulfillment. Historical documents verify those events and speak of God’s faithfulness to His people. Every Christian can give personal testimony to God’s trustworthiness as we see His work in our lives, fulfilling His promises to save our souls. He comforts us with peace and understanding as we run the race He has planned for us . The more we experience His grace, faithfulness, and goodness, the more we trust Him.

A third reason to trust God is that we really have no sensible alternative. Should we trust in ourselves or in others who are sinful, unpredictable, unreliable, have limited wisdom, and who frequently make bad choices and decisions swayed by emotion? Or do we trust in the all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, gracious, merciful, loving God who has good intentions for us? The choice should be obvious, but we fail to trust God because we don’t know Him. As already stated, we cannot hope to trust in someone who is essentially a stranger to us. God has not made Himself difficult to find or know. All we need to know about God, He has made available to us in the Bible, His holy Word. To know God is to trust Him.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

Braving The Storm

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

When I went to bed, it was drizzling rain outside and this morning that had frozen and it was snowing. I HAD to get to work!! Sooo, I started the car and let it warm up while I scraped the ice from the windows. WOW, I thought, this is bad. The sky is full of of clouds and now it is REALLY snowing hard. I backed out of the driveway and started on my way. The streets are nasty slick and I’m just inching along. There are cars off on the side of the road. Sure am glad I left early so I could be on time for work. Then I come to a little hill in the road and it was so slick I couldn’t go any farther. Cars were stopped in front of me and they were stacking up behind me. I’m STUCK!! I look in my mirror and see a big sand truck coming. The cars started moving around and we got going. Finally I made it to work. By the time work was over, it had quit snowing and the streets were all sanded and I could make it back home. WHEW!!

I was thinking about this and life is kind of the same was. You get up in the morning, get ready for work, go outside to leave, and the world you enter into is FULL of sin. You inch along trying to find your way, people are “Off in the ditch” not knowing what they are going to do. Finally things become so bogged down you get stuck in the same muck as all the others. Now, what to do?? Try to get out by yourself? Talk to friends about it? Hey, why not talk to God? I remember reading in the Bible that He will never leave me or forsake me. Maybe I’ll try talking to God and see if He can get me unstuck from all this sin. It’s starting to help, I feel better already. Work is over and I’m ready to leave and head home. The clouds of sin are gone from my mind and the sun is shining. YAY!! Made it home and feeling much better. The difference is: The snow only comes around once in a while–Sin is there every day. The battle with it is every day. How we fight it is up to us. Do we succumb to it? Or, do we let God help us fight it? Don’t let the clouds of sin get to you–turn to God and let the sun shine!!

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

Posted by | Daily Bible Verse | No Comments

“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun.”

The Fallen Leaf

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

Standing outside taking in all the beauty of the flowers, yards, and the skyline we have here in Vegas, I noticed a leaf had come detached from the branch it was clinging to. As it fell to the ground, it nonchalantly waved back and forth in the air until it reached the ground. Not giving much more attention to it, it just laid there. Then a gust of wind came along and swept it away. I just thought to myself….I wonder what happened to that leaf and where did it end up. I suppose it decayed away somewhere. A sad ending for the leaf.

As we go through life, it has been compared to the four seasons. Spring for our youth and younger years, Summer for young adulthood, Fall for middle aged, and Winter for the senior years. That leaf was in it’s senior years and finally after holding on as long as it could to the branch, it’s life was over. The Bible tells us that life here on earth is as short as the life of a vapor. Meaning it doesn’t last long. We hold on as long as we can, but eventually we will all be like the leaf and leave life behind. What we do while we are here is what matters. Are we so tied up with ourselves and our own lives that we have no time for anyone else? No love for others, no care for others, not doing what God wants, no consideration for the elderly, no consideration for the homeless, and the list goes on and on!! The world today tends to only care about themselves. One day Grandparents and parents won’t be here anymore and you’ll wonder, why didn’t I………..? (Or maybe not)

I’ve been in Christ’s church for 55 years and Ive seen a lot of people come and go. Those who have died a physical death and those who have died spiritually. I’ve been guilty of not contacting some of those who left the church, and ask why? What happened to them? Where did they go? It seems that they are kind of like the leaf, just reached the end, swayed back and forth as they fell away from the vine, and then just went away. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” He will never leave us or forsake us. Don’t let your spiritual life nonchalantly float away like the leaf. Cling onto the vine (Jesus) and you won’t die spiritually. God promised us that if we would keep His commands, He would provide a place for us in Heaven to live eternally with Him. Never to die again. Live this life you have been given on earth, don’t forsake yourself from loving those who mean the most, and above all don’t forsake God and His commands to do right.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

 

 

It’s Christmas Time!!

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

Awwwwww….The hustle and bustle of Christmas season. The lights are twinkling, the trees are decorated, the crowds are maddening, and some of us spend more than we can afford so we can enjoy the happy faces of kids, family, and friends. We all have memories of different times we have had at Christmas. I thought I’d share a couple of mine.

We lived on a farm in Western Nebraska and money was always tight. However, we always had a nice Christmas. I was some where around 8 or 9 years old this particular Christmas. It was Christmas eve and we were starting to open our presents. The first one I opened was a screw!!! Well I tossed that thing right into the pile of wrapping paper garbage. Dad did a swan dive to recover it. The next package I opened had some kind of wood thing inside. The next one had some kind of metal thing in it. I had no idea what was going on!! The last one had a gun barrel in it. Dad finally put it all together and low and behold, there was a 22 caliber bolt-action rifle. Oh, how funny it became when all the pieces were found and put together. I was totally surprised!!

The other story I want to share was the Christmas right before my Dad went to be with God. The family all gathered at my Mom and Dad’s house in Dix, Nebraska. The food and fellowship was beyond compare. Fabulous, you might say. It was a bitter sweet time knowing that Dad didn’t have much time left. Christmas eve it snowed and Christmas morning when we got up, it was spectacular looking outside. My sister and her family were living in Dallas and snow was a rare occasion there. My nephew, Kevin, had his girlfriend with them and when she saw the snow outside, she said, “Oh, look, it snowed, just for me!!” We all had a good laugh over that. The cheer and the gifts were plentiful. Good times for all. Dad joined God about a month later. Fabulous memories of that last Christmas with my dad.

This Christmas is also going to bitter sweet. It will be the first Christmas, in many years, that Peg and I will spend the holidays with out any of our family around. It’ll be quiet, but, a fun time for us. We get to share a lesson and Sermon with the Saints in Pahrump. Desert Church of Christ, in Pahrump, has been such a blessing for us, to not only work in God’s kingdom, but also cultivate long lasting friendships.

This is also the time of year that most will remember and give praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Churches will have special events to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, but, this gives everyone an opportunity to remember Him. God wants us to go to Worship services each first day of the week. We, as Christians, remember Jesus’s birth, death, burial, and resurrection every Sunday and not just on “Special” days. Will we see you in Worship this Sunday? God wants it that way.

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!!!!

One Body-One Faith-One Baptism-One Lord

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

Old Testament prophecy told us several things about the New Testament church Coming. It told us about a new covenant. It told us that this covenant would take place in the latter days, which places it after Jesus died on the cross. It told us the church would be established in Jerusalem and spread from there, and all who believed and obeyed would be saved.
Prophecy:
Jeremiah 31:31-35–New Covenant
Jeremiah 32:40–New Covenant
Zechariah 1:16–Place
Isaiah 2:2-3–Time/Place
Micah 4:1-2–Time/Place
Daniel 2:44–Time/Frame
Joel 2:28-32–Who believed

Jesus stated, about Himself, that upon this rock I will build MY church. This means there is only one New Testament church.
Building The Church:
Matthew 16:13-19–Foundation/Confession Jesus is the Christ
1st Corinthians 3:11–Foundation/Jesus Christ
Matthew 21:42–Foundation
Acts 4:11–Foundation/Stone
Ephesians 2:20-21–Foundation
Isaiah 28:16–Rock

The first two chapters of Acts tells us of the Church being established. This occurred 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus. As prophecy told us, it started in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and spread from there.
Established:
Acts 1:1-2:47–Church established/Day of Pentecost
Acts 11:26–First called Christians/Antioch

Ephesians 4:4-7–The Apostle Paul has this to say:
“There is ONE BODY and ONE SPIRIT, just as you were called in ONE HOPE of your calling; There is ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM; ONE GOD and FATHER of ALL, who is above ALL, and through ALL, and in you ALL. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

Our salvation depends on us getting “IT” right.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

WHAT GOALS DO YOU HAVE?

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

If you haven’t set goals, maybe it is time. Where do you want to be tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, 5 years from now, 20 years from now? Goals need to be set for money, job advancement, family, homes, cars, and life.

As I watch sports, many of them score by goals. Hockey, soccer, and basketball come to mind. The team that scores the most goals wins the game (DUH!!). My point here is, each team has goals when they enter into a game. Short term goals come from practice and getting prepared. Goals throughout the game, such as, leading at the first break and second break. Staying out of foul trouble–remain error free. Keeping other players involved. Pay attention to to the little things. If the players and team meet their short term goals, they will lead to the long term goal of winning.

In life we need the same set of goals. How much money do you want to have saved each month, each year, at the end of 5, 10, 20 years? If we set the short term goals, we will reach the long term goal of having enough money to retire. Where do you want to get in your career? I’m here now, I want to be there in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. If you can’t advance the way you want to meet financial and personal goals, you may have to seek change in where you work. What about your home? Are you in an apartment or small rental home and want to have your own home? You will need to find the price range you want, the size you want, then set financial goals for down payment and monthly payment.

You also need to set goals for your life. What do you want out of life? Do you want to just float along, or do want to have purpose? The ultimate goal, everyone should have, is a place in Heaven with God. So, how do we get there? The first advice I would give you is: take Paul’s words to Timothy in 2nd Timothy 2:15 and following to heart. 1) Study God’s Word. 2) Show yourself approved as a workman. 3) Being able to rightly divide the Word. Become educated so you know right from wrong. Not listening to false teaching, which most generally comes from pulling verses out of context to make God’s Word say what you want it to, instead of what God wants. Once you have learned what God has to say, the 2nd advice I would give you comes from 1st John 5:3-6. If you love God, you will keep His commandments. They are not burdensome. Now I’ll give you 6 simple commands to start your goals with:
1) Hear God’s Word–Romans 10:17
2) Believe God’s Word–John 8:24
3) Repent (Do away with) of your sins–Luke 13:3
4) Confess to others that you believe Jesus is the Son of God–Romans 10:9
5) Be baptized–Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38-41
6) Live righteously thereafter–Revelation 2:10
These are short term goals to help you with the long term goal of reaching Heaven. You can’t and shouldn’t expect to reach Heaven by only doing one or two of these. They ALL need to be done. They are GOD’S commands.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

 

IT’S YOUR CHOICE

Posted by | Life Blogs | No Comments

Those of us that have raised families know what I’m talking about. There was the hustle and bustle of little ones running around the house having fun and causing commotion. Then it was off to school and the house was quiet during the day UNTIL they got home. Then back to the joyful(?) noise. Then one by one they got married and moved on to their own lives until they were all gone. Then there were two. Empty Nesters, if you will. At this point what do we do? It always comes down to choices. Do we do this or that? Do we go there or there? Do we drive or fly? Do we go out to dinner or stay home? Do we retire or continue to work? Choices–there almost always are only two.

Throughout the Bible there are choices that were made. Does Lot’s wife turn and look back or not?–her choice. Do you get on the Ark or not?–it was their choice. Jesus asks, “Do you have faith or not?”–it’s your choice. Does Peter walk on water or sink?–it became his choice. It seems like it always comes down to “Just Two” choices.

Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate that leads to destruction, and there are MANY who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are FEW who find it.” It once again comes down to two–wide gate or narrow gate? With the wide gate there is no worries!! Everything goes. Party on, do the drugs, drink the alcohol, engage in homosexuality, use the foul language, commit adultery, stomp on everybody that gets in your way for success, cause destruction in others lives, cause division with family and friends, etc. Because that gate to destruction is wide you can bring with you whatever you want, Satan WILL LOVE YOU!! The verses say that the narrow gate is difficult. That’s because we have to do what God wants instead of what we want. We have to have faith and obey the commands that God sets forth. Listen to God’s word, Believe in what God has to say, Repent of our sinful ways, Confess that we believe Jesus is the Son of God, be Baptized, and live a Righteous life thereafter. Not easy, but can be done. Once again it comes down to two–narrow gate or wide gate? It’s your choice!! Make the right one.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.