Life Blogs Archives - GraceAndWorks

MAN’S WAY OR GOD’S WAY??

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There are a lot of people that think all you have to do to get to Heaven is believe in Jesus. There are a lot of people that believe Baptizing infants is OK. There are a lot of people that believe you can go to any church of your choice. I’m going to address these three ideas in a very concise form.

1) Mark 16:16, the Bible is very clear that you MUST believe and be Baptized. Revelation 2:10, the Bible says, “Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” Being Faithful means being obedient. Being obedient means (studying), 2nd Timothy 2:15 and following, (Worshiping on the Lord’s Day) Hebrews 10:25, Every example in the New testament refers to the 1st day of the week, Sunday, as Worship. 1st Corinthians 16:1,2, lay by and store on the 1st day of the week. Acts 2:42, Communion on the 1st day of the week. Not once a month, once a quarter, or once a year, those are only 2 of the examples, and (Living a righteous life), being right with God–Doing what He says, not what you want.

2) Baptism means immersed. Phillip and the Eunich went down into the water and came back up out of the water, Acts 8:34-39. Colossians 2:11,12 , we are buried with Him through Baptism. Romans 6:4, again buried with Him in Baptism. As far as infant Baptism–Mark 16:16 says to believe and be Baptized, Matthew 16 2-5 says to become like little children (innocent), Romans 14:10-12 says that everyone is accountable. Infants cannot be like little children, they already are one and innocent. Infants cannot believe because they don’t have the capability. Infants cannot comprehend what God’s Word means. Infants cannot be held accountable as they have no idea right from wrong. Baptism is for those that understand the “Plan of Salvation” and know right from wrong.

3) The New Testament church was established on the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus. Acts 1:1-Acts 2:47. Old Testament prophecy told us about the coming the New Testament church and a new covenant. Jesus stated, about Himself, that upon this rock I will build My church. That means there is only one church, the New Testament church. Ephesians 4:4-6 says there is ONE Body, ONE Spirit, ONE Hope, ONE Lord, ONE Faith, ONE Baptism, ONE God, and ONE Father of all. The church was not established in the 100’s, 500’s 1200’s, 1300’s, 1600’s or any time after the Day of Pentecost. There are no added man made creeds in the New Testament church. The Bible has everything in it and nothing needs to be added to it. There are 100’s of different denominations today. Why is that, when the Bible is very clear there is only one. The reason: Man thinks he has a better idea than God has.

I would pray that none are offended by God’s Word. If you would like further study, contact me at richardcraig60@yahoo.com, and I will set up a Bible study with you. This can be done through the mail or in person.

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

 

SPEAKING BAD ABOUT OTHERS…..

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As Christians we need to be careful about what we say and or post. This applies to family, friends, politicians, and co-workers–and anyone else!!

Talking Bad About Others

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

I tell you, on the day of judgment, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

So…………what did we learn? Keep your tongue from slander. Do and say good to all things. Stop the hatred of others!!

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

A DEADLY VIRUS CALLED SIN…

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“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1st Corinthians 10:13

Face it, there are a lot of people spiritually sick. (That’s why some refer to God as the “Great Physician,” right?) Yet as Christ is transforming and healing each one of us, we get weak and impatient … and many of us otherwise good Christian people end up doing some really bad things.

This virus, of course, is sin.

It poisons our thoughts, twists our actions, and blocks our lives from being what we know God wants it to be. It keeps our faith walk stuck in limbo–instead of healthy and growing. “There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who understands, nobody seeks after God. They’ve all turned aside; they have, together, become unprofitable. No one doing good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb, with their tongues they have practiced deceit. The poison of asps in under their lips. They open their mouths and it’s full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are their ways; The way of peace they know not. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18, The NKJV)

Sin begins with a subtle pang of temptation. If we allow it to take hold, it can grow into a deadly “lifequake,” wreaking havoc and turmoil in our lives. That’s why Jesus warned us to be on guard: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:2-3).

But we have a choice. Through Christ we can overcome temptation and sin.

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

BECOME A COMPLETE PERSON!!

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This Blog is about becoming a complete person. It’s not about racism. It’s not about politics. It’s not about protests. It’s not about riots. It’s not about the Church, Baptism, or Salvation. It’s about escaping corruption and becoming a complete person.

It all begins with Faith. Faith in family. Faith in friends. Faith in your job. But even more important is Faith in yourself. Walk with confidence. Know you can do what you aspire. Most important is–BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!

Now add Virtue to that. Conform to a standard of doing the right thing. Be of moral excellence. Gain strength through your own courage.

Now add Knowledge to those. Be an excellent student whether in school or on the job. Learn everything you can about your place of employment. By becoming knowledgeable about your workplace, you enhance your chances of advancement.

Now add Self-Control to those. Stay away from those things you shouldn’t be doing. Maintain the self-control over your faith, virtue and knowledge knowing that if you do, those will be become stronger.

Now add Perseverance to those. Don’t give up. Stay steadfast in what you want from life. Be unmoveable in what you are doing. Don’t get distracted!!

Now add Godliness to those. Have a strong belief in God and strive to be your best in obeying what God wants from you. Heaven is a goal.

Now add Kindness to those. Treat people right and they will treat you right. Respect those around you. You may not always agree with them, but you don’t have to be disagreeable towards them. Be cordial and pick your friends wisely.

Now let’s top all of those with Love. Get the hate out of your life. Love your family. Love you friends. Love your job. Most important, LOVE YOURSELF!!

As you can see, these are building blocks. Work on each one as you move up the ladder of life. Faith in yourself is the foundation for all others!!

Have a GREAT day all and remember to SMILE God loves YOU!!
P.S.–If you want a study on becoming a complete Christian, you’ll find this in 2nd Peter 1:1-11.

I WON’T COMPLAIN!!

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We have a lot of “Stuff” going on in America and the World today. We have a split Country on politics, a virus, small business’s struggling, and many people unemployed. It certainly is a troubling time. I won’t complain.

I’m 72 years of age and I’ve seen 12 different Presidents in office during that time. It seems like every time there has been a change, there are those that think America is doomed and can’t go on. Guess what? America will go on until God says, “No more.”  Throughout the Bible there have been many different leaders, some good, some not so good, but the World has continued. In these 12 Presidents I’ve seen, some were good and some not so good, but America has continued. I’m an Independent voter and I try to vote for the best person whether they are Democrat or Republican. Once someone is in office, I will pray for them, support them, and do my best to not complain, because until there is another election, I can’t do a thing about what is happening. I believe God is in control and I won’t be the one to second guess Him. We should have one focus–FAITH–that God will take care of business. It’s been said that we plan for tomorrow and God laughs because He has plans for us.

I have no idea what the homeless people go through. I have a nice home and family–I won’t complain!!

I have no idea what the small business people are going through. I’m retired–I won’t complain!!

I have no idea what people do without their own transportation and have to rely on public transportation or walk. I have a nice car–I won’t complain!!

I have no idea what people having to go to food banks for food are going through. I have cupboards and a refrigerator full of food–I won’t complain!!

Please stop whining, complaining, and preaching doom and let God work his plan. IT’S CALLED FAITH!!

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

PERSEVERE IN TIMES OF TRIAL!!

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Beyond the concept of PERSEVERANCE, there are biblical exhortations to PERSEVERE in the Christian life. In his letters to Timothy, the apostle Paul reminds the young pastor to “watch your life and doctrine closely. PERSEVERE in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). Timothy’s character was that of a godly man, and his doctrine was sound and scriptural. Paul warned him to watch them both closely and PERSEVERE in them because PERSEVERANCE in godly living and believing the truth, as with us, would keep him Faithful, Steadfast, and a good influence to others.

Further exhortations to PERSEVERE in the Christian life come from James, who warns us to be “doers of the word and not hearers only” because those who hear but do not do are “deceiving themselves.” “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it [PERSEVERES]…this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-24). The teaching here is that the Christian who PERSEVERES in both godliness and the spiritual discipline will be blessed in the very act of PERSEVERING. The more we PERSEVERE in the Christian life, the more God grants His blessings upon us, thereby enabling us to continue to PERSEVERE. There is great reward is PERSEVERING in the Christian life. In keeping God’s commandments, there is “great reward” for our souls (Psalm 19:11), peace of mind and a clear conscience.

James also exhorts us to PERSEVERE “under trials” because those who do will be blessed and will receive the “crown of life” which God has promised (James 1:12). A Christian can be secure in his salvation and his faith will also PERSEVERE in affliction, sickness, persecution, and the other trials of life that come to all Christians. If we desire to live godly lives in Christ, we will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12), but the faithful will PERSEVERE, kept by the power of the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our salvation and who will keep us “strong to the end,” PERSEVERING so we will be “blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8).

We are living in a time, right now, where we need to understand what it means to PERSEVERE. We need to not lose our Faith and understanding of God’s Word, standing steadfast is all we do.

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

WHAT ARE THE PRISON EPISTLES?

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Shared to you from: GotQuestions. org Home.

The prison epistles—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon—are so named because they were written by the apostle Paul during one of his incarcerations. It is generally accepted that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his first Roman imprisonment. The exact dates he wrote each of the prison epistles is unknown, but the two-year period he spent under house arrest in Rome has been narrowed down to the years AD 60–62. Paul’s imprisonment in Rome is verified by the book of Acts, where we find references to his being guarded by soldiers (Acts 28:16), being permitted to receive visitors (Acts 28:30), and having opportunities to share the gospel (Acts 28:31). These details, along with Paul’s mention of being with “those who belong to Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22), support the view that Paul wrote the prison epistles from Rome. Paul’s Roman incarceration produced three great letters to the churches of Ephesus, Colosse, and Philippi, as well as a personal letter to his friend Philemon.

Three of the prison letters, also called the imprisonment or captivity letters, were bound for three of the churches he founded on his second missionary journey (Acts 20:1-3). Always concerned for the souls of those he continually prayed for in these churches, his letters reflect his pastor’s heart and his love and concern for those he thought of as his spiritual children. Colossians was written explicitly to defeat the heresy that had arisen in Colosse that endangered the existence of the church. In his letter, Paul dealt with key areas of theology, including the deity of Christ (Colossians 1:15–20; 2:2–10), the error of adding circumcision and other Jewish rituals to salvation by faith (Colossians 2:11–23), and the conduct of God’s people (chapter 3). The letter to the church at Ephesus also reflects Paul’s concerns for the beloved, especially that they would understand the great doctrines of the faith (chapters 1–3) and the practical outworkings of that doctrine in Christian behavior (chapters 4-6). The epistle to the Philippians is Paul’s most joyful letter, and references to his joy abound within its pages (Philippians 1:4, 18, 25–26; 2:2, 28; 3:1; 4:1, 4, 10). He encourages the Philippian believers to rejoice in spite of suffering and anxiety, rejoice in service, and continue to look to Christ as the object of their faith and hope.

The fourth prison letter was written to Paul’s “friend and fellow laborer,” Philemon (Philemon 1:1) as a plea for forgiveness. Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, had run away from Philemon’s service to Rome, where he met the aging apostle and became a convert to Christ through him. Paul asks Philemon to receive Onesimus back as a brother in Christ who is now “profitable” to both of them (Philemon 1:11). The theme of the book of Philemon is forgiveness and the power of the gospel of Christ to undermine the evils of slavery by changing the hearts of both masters and slaves so that spiritual equality is achieved.

While the prison epistles reflect Paul’s earthly position as a prisoner of Rome, he makes it clear that his captivity was first and foremost to Christ (Philemon 1:9; Ephesians 3:1; Colossians 4:18; Philippians 1:12–14). Paul’s time in prison was for the purpose of the spreading of the gospel in the Gentile capital of Rome. The Lord Himself told Paul to “take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (Acts 23:11). Paul’s time in captivity was no less profitable to us today than it was to the first-century churches he loved so well.

SMILE God Loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.

IT JUST DOESN’T WORK!!

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The Bible is full of stories about getting it right with what God has to say. To do things different, “It just doesn’t work.” I want to share a couple of these stories with you.

In 2nd Kings 5:9-15–Naaman had leprosy and was told to dip in the Jordon river 7 times and he would be clean. He got furious, but eventually did what he was told and became clean. He grumbled about what God had told him, just as we do sometimes, but in the end he did what he was told. If he dipped in a different river, dipped 6 times, or 8 times, “It just doesn’t work.”

In Genesis 6:8-12–Noah was told to build an Ark. God gave him precise instructions on how the Ark was to be built. Noah, through his faith, did as God had told him, just as we do sometimes. Had Noah built the Ark his own way and not done what God said, “It just doesn’t work.”

In Numbers 20:7-12–Moses was told to talk to the rock and there would be plenty of water. Moses was not happy with the people and struck the rock with a rod instead of talking to it, as God has instructed. The rock produced water, but Moses lost his right to enter the Promised Land. One mistake, not doing what God said, cost him dearly. “It just doesn’t work.”

In Genesis 19:12-26–God was ready to destroy Sodom because of the immorality that was going on. He told Lot and his wife to leave the city and not look back. Lot’s wife turned and looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. One mistake, she didn’t do what God said, cost her her life. “It just doesn’t work.”

4 Stories–2 did what they were told and things worked out good–2 didn’t do what they were told and things turned bad. So, what about in today’s world? Are we doing what God says, or doing things our own way?

In the new Testament God has precise plans we are to use.

The plan of our Salvation is laid out for us and to do different, “It just doesn’t work.”
Romans 10:17–Hear the Word of God
John 8:24–Believe His Word
Luke 13:3–Repent of our sins
Matthew 10:32–Confess that we believe Jesus is the Son of God
Mark 16:16–Be baptized
Revelation 2:10–Remain faithful until death and receive the Crown of Life
Leave any of these steps out, “It just doesn’t work.”

Jesus established His Church in Acts on the Day of Pentecost. He gave precise instruction how to Worship Him.
1st Timothy 4:2–Preach the Word
James 5:16–Prayer
Ephesians 5:19–Addressing one another with song from the heart (No example of instruments)
Acts 20:7 and 1st Corinthians–Communion on the 1st day of the week.
1st Corinthians 16:1-2 and 2nd Corinthians 9:6-8–Giving on the 1st day of the week with what you purpose in your heart
1st John 1:3–Fellowship with one another, Jesus Christ, and the Father.
Hebrews 10:24-26–Don’t forsake Worshiping with the Saints.
Ephesians Chapter 4–There is only one Church. Christ established His Church on the day of Pentecost.
Leave any one of these out, “It just doesn’t work.”

1st Corinthians 6:9-10–These with not inherit the Kingdom of God. UNRIGHTEOUS, FORNICATORS, IDOLATORS, ADULTERERS, HOMOSEXUALS, SODOMITES, THIEVES, COVETOUS, DRUNKARDS, REVILERS, or EXTORTIONERS.

Don’t be like Lot’s wife or Moses making mistakes. If we don’t do what God says and Commands, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. “IT DOESN’T WORK!!

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

 

WHERE DOES HAPPINESS COME FROM?

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We clamor for happiness. And usually happiness is dependent upon certain desires within us. A new car might make some happy. Or a new puppy. Or dress. Or house. Or mate. Or…..Happiness is a circumstantial matter. If conditions are right, we feel happy. But there is something far greater to be grasped than this.

In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul says: “He has learned that whatever state he is in he needs to be content. He knows how to be abased and he knows how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned to be both full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul is saying here that he knows the good times and he also knows the times when he didn’t have much. But, no matter what he was going through, he could always lean on Christ to get him through. He learned to be content with what he had, good or bad.

In 1st Timothy 6:6-12, Paul is giving instruction to Timothy (And us). He states in verse 6 that Godliness with contentment is great gain. Be a Christian and be happy with what you have!! He goes on to say we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out. Having food and clothing along with being a Christian we shall be content. Temptation and snares come to those who strive to have riches. These bring about foolish and harmful lusts, which will drown men in destruction. The love of money (And Things) is a root for all kinds of evil. Many will stray from their faithfulness in their greediness, and pierce themselves through with many sorrows (And Depression). He then finishes this thought with telling us to flees those things and and pursue: RIGHTEOUSNESS, GODLINESS, FAITH, LOVE, PATIENCE, and GENTLENESS.

Contentment has nothing to do with our circumstances. You see, our joy does not depend on the size of our bank account or whether your house is larger that the neighbor’s. BE CONTENT!! And thus happiness will become an ever present by-product. Our contentment comes from our relationship with God and the Faith we hold onto.

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

HE TOOK CONTROL!!

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This is a story about a person that has battled with alcohol for nearly 30 years. I may be a little bit all over the map with this, but I felt it needed to be told. There are those who have been in these shoes and will fully understand and there are those who will have a hard time wrapping their head around it.

Alcohol played a big roll in his life, but he never thought he had a problem….until the last few years. It had control of him even though he wouldn’t admit it. There were lost marriages. There were lost jobs. He had lost the trust of family and friends and finally had his brother to the point he wouldn’t talk to him. It wasn’t because his brother didn’t love him, it was because his brother needed to show some tough love to hopefully set urgency into the situation. It gets to the point where a person can’t wait to get home and just crawl up with a friend (Bottle of alcohol). I look at the situation as he was a “Functioning” alcoholic. Go to work, get home and start the drinking and get up the next morning feeling horrible and stumble off to work. It becomes a vicious cycle!! Most will say that a person has to hit rock bottom before they can begin the trip out of the deep dark dungeon. But what is rock bottom? It is different for different people. Some have to lose everything….the family, the home they have, the jobs, and all their money. For some it won’t go that far before they seek help. Some never  seek the help and drink themselves to death.

Well, this story has a REALLY happy ending. He has gotten the help he needed and has reached a milestone. He is 1 year sober!! His Mom and Dad flew in and his Brother and his wife flew in for a celebration and the presentation of his 1 year medal. The first time he and his brother had spoken for about a year. The love was still there. The forgiveness was there. He had to feel so good to have his family back. Then………..after he was presented the medal, he gave it to his brother. To me this was an act of love and compassion and a thank you for the tough love. A tremendous way of showing the appreciation and love for his brother. If you’ve never been in these shoes, it will be hard to wrap your head around what really transpired. He is finally up out of the dungeon and climbing up the mountain. He has finally got control over his life instead of the alcohol controlling him. I’ve been in these shoes. Not as far down as he was, but I can appreciate where he is now and what the giving of that medal means to him. CONGRATS on your 1 year of sobriety and many more years to come!!

SMILE God loves YOU!!