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Strength for Believers

This epistle of Ephesians was written when Paul was a prisoner at Rome. It’s purpose was to strengthen the Ephesians in the faith of Christ, and to give exalted views of the love of God, and the dignity and excellence of Christ. It applies to mankind today as in these early days of Christianity, as it teaches that we were saved by grace, and and it encourages us to persevere in our Christian calling. It also urges us to walk in a manner that is becoming to our profession of Christ. I am not sure why, but God has led me to share Chapter 4. I have inserted notes from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible.

Ephesians 4

 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures, than to walk as becomes those called to Christ’s kingdom and glory. By lowliness, understand humility, which is opposed to pride. By meekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes men unwilling to provoke, and not easily to be provoked or offended. We find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgive ourselves; therefore we must not be surprised if we find in others that which we think it hard to forgive. There is one Christ in whom all believers hope, and one heaven they are all hoping for; therefore they should be of one heart. They had all one faith, as to its object, Author, nature, and power. They all believed the same as to the great truths of religion; they had all been admitted into the church by one baptism, with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as the sign of regeneration. In all believers God the Father dwells, as in his holy temple, by his Spirit and special grace.

 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for their mutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon every one. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience. There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of that fulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we never come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God’s children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the Christian’s growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a man finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the grace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart.

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

The apostle charged the Ephesians in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus, that having professed the gospel, they should not be as the unconverted Gentiles, who walked in vain fancies and carnal affections. Do not men, on every side, walk in the vanity of their minds? Must not we then urge the distinction between real and nominal Christians? They were void of all saving knowledge; they sat in darkness, and loved it rather than light. They had a dislike and hatred to a life of holiness, which is not only the way of life God requires and approves, and by which we live to him, but which has some likeness to God himself in his purity, righteousness, truth, and goodness. The truth of Christ appears in its beauty and power, when it appears as in Jesus. The corrupt nature is called a man; like the human body, it is of divers parts, supporting and strengthening one another. Sinful desires are deceitful lusts; they promise men happiness, but render them more miserable; and bring them to destruction, if not subdued and mortified. These therefore must be put off, as an old garment, a filthy garment; they must be subdued and mortified. But it is not enough to shake off corrupt principles; we must have gracious ones. By the new man, is meant the new nature, the new creature, directed by a new principle, even regenerating grace, enabling a man to lead a new life of righteousness and holiness. This is created, or brought forth by God’s almighty power.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Notice the particulars wherewith we should adorn our Christian profession. Take heed of every thing contrary to truth. No longer flatter or deceive others. God’s people are children who will not lie, who dare not lie, who hate and abhor lying. Take heed of anger and ungoverned passions. If there is just occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and to reprove, see that it be without sin. We give place to the devil, when the first motions of sin are not grievous to our souls; when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This teaches that as sin, if yielded unto, lets in the devil upon us, we are to resist it, keeping from all appearance of evil. Idleness makes thieves. Those who will not work, expose themselves to temptations to steal. Men ought to be industrious, that they may do some good, and that they may be kept from temptation. They must labour, not only that they may live honestly, but that they may have to give to the wants of others. What then must we think of those called Christians, who grow rich by fraud, oppression, and deceitful practices! Alms, to be accepted of God, must not be gained by unrighteousness and robbery, but by honesty and industry. God hates robbery for burnt-offerings.

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Filthy words proceed from corruption in the speaker, and they corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them: Christians should beware of all such discourse. It is the duty of Christians to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring persons to think seriously, and to encourage and warn believers by their conversation. Be ye kind one to another. This sets forth the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of it, in a humble, courteous behaviour. Mark how God’s forgiveness causes us to forgive. God forgives us, though we had no cause to sin against him. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. All lying, and corrupt communications, that stir up evil desires and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve the Holy Spirit. Provoke not the holy, blessed Spirit of God to withdraw his presence and his gracious influences. The body will be redeemed from the power of the grave at the resurrection day. Wherever that blessed Spirit dwells as a Sanctifier, he is the earnest of all the joys and glories of that redemption day; and we should be undone, should God take away his Holy Spirit from us.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in God's Love

 

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2015 Walk for Life

My family and I are doing the Colorado Springs Life Network Walk for Life again this year, on June 6th. The Life Network started out as the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center and has grown over the years because of many prayer partners and because of generous people who have a passion for saving babies and families.

Please go see our fundraising page, and prayerfully consider giving to this God-Blessed ministry. Click Here Please – Hodges Family Walk for Life Fundraising Page at Fund Easy

The goal of the Walk for Life is to raise funds for the ministry of Life Network, educate community members about Life Network and its outreaches, and make a strong life-affirming statement to our community.

We will be celebrating life with hundreds of others from the community at Memorial Park, located near downtown Colorado Springs. The Walk for Life will have many family friendly activities – we hope you’ll bring your family and friends and join us! (more information at www.walkforlife.com)

Life Network depends on the funds raised at the Walk to continue offering free services to the community and ministering to over 14,000 babies, women, men, families and students that God will send our way this year. Through its four outreaches (Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center, LifeSteps, Education for a Lifetime and Bridges of Hope) Life Network offers many free services including:

– Pregnancy tests
– Pregnancy options counseling
– STD testing and treatment
– Ultrasounds
– Baby clothing and furnishings
– Parenting education
– Childbirth and infant care classes
– Emergency baby supplies
– Maternity clothing
– Post-abortion recovery groups
– Education on sexual integrity and risk-avoidance

 

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Call to Action

 

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The Work of the Holy Spirit – Part 3 – What He Will Do

* He will guide the Believer.

Acts 8:29 “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” (I suggest you read the whole chapter.)

Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

* He will give assurance of Salvation.

Romans 8:14-17 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

* He will be the Believer’s teacher.

1 John 2:27 “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

* He will intercede for us.

Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

* He will comfort us.

John 14:16 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;”

* He will sanctify us.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”

* He will accomplish regeneration in us.

John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

* He will make us aware of our sin.

John 16:8 ” And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”

* He convicts and convinces us of the truth of the Gospel.

John 16:8, 13, 14 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”; “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”; “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

* He will empower us to witness for the LORD.

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”

* He will destroy the power of sin in our lives.

Romans 8:2-6 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

* He will lead and even control our lives. His leading will be obvious by our fruits.

Romans 8:13-16 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

Galatians 5:16-25 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

* He will distribute gifts to be used in the Kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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The Work of the Holy Spirit – Part 2 – His Record

The Holy Spirits Record: What He Has Done

In the Old Testament:

He was active at creation – Genesis 1:2

” And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

* He was the bestower of supernatural giftedness – Genesis 41:38

“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?”

* He was the giver of creativity – Exodus 31:2-5

“See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.”

* He was the source of power – Judges 3:9, 10

” And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.”

* He inspired prophecy – 1 Samuel 19:20, 23

“And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.”; “And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.”

* He was the mediator of God’s message – Micah 3:8

“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.”

In the New Testament:

* He was part of the Incarnation – Luke 1:35

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

*He declared the truth about Christ – John 16:13, 14

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

* He endowed believers with power for witnessing – Acts 1:8

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

* He poured out God’s love – Romans 5:5

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

* He interceded – Romans 8:26

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

* He was the inspiration for the writing of Holy Scripture – 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”; “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

* He distributed giftedness for ministry – 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”

* He empowered Believers with characteristics for Godly living – Galatians 5:22, 23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

* He strengthened Believers within – Ephesians 3:16

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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The Work of the Holy Spirit – Part 1

Attributes of the Holy Spirit: Who He Is

* He possesses omniscience (He has infinite knowledge; He knows everything there is to know).

1 Corinthians 2:11, 12 “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

* He possesses omnipresence (He can be everywhere at once).

Psalm 139:7 ” Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”

*He possesses omnipotence (He has unlimited power).

Job 33:4 “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”

* He is Truth.

1 John 5:6 “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”

*He gives life.

Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

* He possesses creative wisdom.

Isaiah 40:13 “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?”

* He possesses ALL the attributes of deity; He is God!

Acts 5:3, 4 “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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Reasons to Know and Cherish God’s Word

“This book (the Bible) contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened and the gates of Hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good is its design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgement, and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”

—Source Unknown

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in God's Truth

 

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Perfectionist? Who Me?

Image result for who me?

News Flash! Not one of us is perfect. Why? Because it is not possible!

Admit it ladies! Some of us have a compelling need to be more than what we are capable of ever becoming while living in our human nature on this earth. This compulsion is the driving force behind perfectionism. It originates from a deep insecurity, or gnawing fear that being the women that God made us to be is somehow not good enough.

The roots of this longing for downright perfection comes from our lost remembrance of Paradise. Deep down inside of every Believer is an internal barometer about how things ought to be, a  mysterious yearning for the perfection that only Heaven can bring. Something inside of us knows that no matter how good things are–they should be better. And one day they will be better, but not in this human vessel with this sinful human nature. Our knowing how it could be while having to live with how it actually is, can often cause an unhealthy tension in our psyche. There is not a day that goes by that I do not ask my Dear Abba Father to forgive me for being a disappointment to Him in one way or another. I find myself beating myself up for things like thinking earthly, negative thoughts or prejudging others, more than any one else ever could. I am so very thankful for the Grace He renews for me with every single day. As I grow closer to Him, I am quicker to hear the sweet whisperings of the Holy Spirit saying, “I forgive you my Anna, now forgive yourself and go on.” It’s like when Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “Go and sin no more.”

Instead of letting this drive for perfection beat us up as we constantly fail, we need to try to understand that inborn desire to be perfect. Then we can look forward with hopeful anticipation to an eternity of perfection with our LORD and Saviour in Paradise. This also helps us to let go of any demands we may put upon ourselves that our lives in this present world must satisfy all of our longings. That is never going to happen.

At the same time, the Lord does call every Believer to strive to live a life of wholeness and soundness of spirit. These are concepts that are often described as “perfect” in the New Testament i.e. Matthew 5: 48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” The most prominent trait we are called to perfect in our lives is the ability to love – I John 4:17-19 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” As human beings with a sinful nature, it is not possible for us to be complete or perfect, as the result of our own striving. It is the manifestation of God’s work in us. – Hebrews 13:20, 21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

So, while we cannot ever expect to be perfect in this life, we can work on doing our best to follow God’s teaching and guiding hand to be the best we can for Him. At the same time, we have eternity in Heaven to look forward to where there is no sin and we will never make mistakes or stumble. I don’t know about you, but that sure does put my mind at ease to know that God does not expect me to be perfect yet.

 

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in God's Love

 

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