SOLA GRATIA (GRACE ALONE)

BY GRACE ALONE  (I)

Grace is undeserved favor -the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.

The word grace is derived from a Greek word “charis”

Mankind, as recorded in the Bible, is born in a state of sin because of the original sin of Adam and Eve. We are therefore not just sinners because we sin but instead, we sin because we are sinners by nature. While we may have freedom to choose our course of conduct, we still lack the freedom to fully avoid sin. Sin is inherent in each choice we make. It is only God’s choice to extend His grace to us that salvation is possible.

Romans 5:18-19          Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation of all men, so one man’s (Jesus) act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Grace cannot be earned in any way. Instead, God freely accepts people. He is not obliged to save anyone and neither can a man take himself as good enough to earn his way to Heaven on his own initiative. It is only by the redemption brought about by Christ’s sacrifice that one is saved.

 

Have you ever asked yourself what would have happened if God was only just and not merciful? Then probably everyone would have gone to Hell because Hell is what we all deserve. Even our best ever intentions are somehow tainted by our sinful nature and are therefore unworthy before God.

None of us can claim entitlement to God’s grace. It is only by God’s generosity that salvation is possible. (1 Timothy 1:8-9) It is only y God’s own initiative that He chose to make a path of salvation to men, irrespective of our actions, earned worth or even our goodness. (Titus 3:3-7)

Titus 3:3-7       For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various                  passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others                  and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in           righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration         and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us richly through            Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become             heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Grace is an attitude of God towards men, in which he provides a benefit to us all without consideration of merit. We receive it by just having faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:5-6; 1:17) Despite Paul being the worst of sinners, God still shows him His grace and even chooses to use him in spreading the Gospel. (1 Timothy 1:13-16). God still makes a plan for our salvation by giving Jesus Christ to die for us despite we humans being sinners. He made him who knew no sin to be sin so that we may get salvation. (Rom 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

Romans 5:8      But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

 

The wages of sin are death as stated in Romans 6:23 but God chose not to give us that which we deserved but instead gave us a gift in His son Jesus Christ. The story of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15) and that of workers in a vineyard (Matthew 20) best illustrate grace-God not giving us the punishment we deserved.

John 1:17         For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Now that we didn’t work to earn Grace, can we boast of salvation? The answer is obviously  NO. We also cannot take any praise for our salvation for all the praise belongs to God. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Rom 3:24-28)

Ephesians 2:8-9           For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—  not because of works, lest any man should boast

 

 

 

MORE ON GRACE COMING

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INVESTING IN FOREVER

By Michael French
Giving up some of the things we enjoy or desire can seem like a sacrifice, but when we get to heaven and see things in proper perspective, we’ll be ashamed that we didn’t make those little sacrifices more cheerfully.
Even now I feel bad, remembering little jobs I weaseled out of, arguments I had to have the last word in, times I made sure to get the biggest piece of pie.
I’m beginning to see how temporary those things were, and that the things that have really counted were the times I gave up some free time to help someone out, the times I let a mean comment pass without answering back, the times I helped someone save face, and the times I saved that biggest piece of pie for someone else.
Giving up these inconsequential things doesn’t seem like such a sacrifice anymore, when I consider that I’m investing in forever.
Because I have been given much,I, too, must give: Because of Thy great bounty, Lord, Each day I live I shall divide my gifts from Thee With every brother that I see Who has the need of help from me. Because I have been sheltered, fed, By Thy good care, I cannot see another’s lack And I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread, My roof’s safe shelter overhead, That he, too, may be comforted. Because love has been lavished so Upon me, Lord, A wealth I know that was not meant For me to hoard, I shall give love to those in need, Shall show that love by word and deed, Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

From http://www.tommyswindow.com

FORGIVENESS FROM GOD.

on 27 May 2015 at https://thukukamau.wordpress.com/

Many at times we have heard the sermon on the mountain better still known as the beatitudes. Would like to look careful into two beatitudes, from which, we are  clearly argued to be repentant and God promise for us is a free forgiveness.
The bible records in..
Mathew 5:3-4
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”

Some Christians think that they must Wear a perpetual grin and be continuously boisterous and hubby. However, the christian life, according to Jesus, is not all joy and laughter. The Truth is that there are such things as Christian tears, and too few of us ever week them. As the second beatitude teaches, sorrow can be the source of blessings.

Confession, the topic of the first beatitude, is our  acknowledgement that we are spiritually poor. Contrition, the topic of the second beatitude, is to mourn and grieve over our sin. One might also translate the second beatitude “happy are the unhappy” in order to draw attention to the starling paradox it contains. It is not the sorrow of bereavement to which the beatitude refers,but the sorrow of repentance.

Those who bewail their own sinfulness with be comforted by the only comfort that can relieve their distress, namely, the free forgiveness of God.

Action:

Pray, confessing our Sins to God. Allow Christ to speak peace and comfort to us..

Peace be with you..

THEN WHY GAMBLE?

One married couple came to visit their friends at the other end of the country. Their friends took them to the races. Fascinated by overlooking the horses raced around the racecourse, the husband and wife were playing sweepstakes all the evening, while only two dollars have left in their pocket.

Next day the husband said that he would go to the races alone. In the first race he put two dollars on the outsider, and the horse came to the finish first. He put all his winnings on the next race and won again. That day, he was very lucky; his winning has reached fifty seven thousand dollars in the evening.

On the way home he saw a gambling house. The inner voice, the one that told him today, what kind of horse he needed to put his money on, said:

— Come in and play.

A man came inside and saw roulette before him. The voice said:

— Number thirteen.

A man put all fifty seven thousand dollars to the number thirteen. When the roulette stopped, the dealer announced:

– Number fourteen.

He returned home with empty pockets. His wife asked, meeting him near the door:

– How did you play?

Her husband shrugged the shoulders:

– I’ve lost two dollars, – he said.

WAIT? JUMP OUT?

Put a frog in a vessel of water and start heating the water.

As the temperature of the water rises, the frog is able to adjust its body temperature accordingly.

The frog keeps on adjusting with increase in temperature…

Just when the water is about to reach boiling point, the frog is not able to adjust anymore…

At that point the frog decides to jump out…

The frog tries to jump but is unable to do so, because it has lost all its strength in adjusting with the rising water temperature…

Very soon the frog dies.

What killed the frog?

Many of us would say the boiling water…

But the truth is what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when it had to jump out.

We all need to adjust with people and situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust and when we need to confront/face.

There are times when we need to face the situation and take the appropriate action…

If we allow people to exploit us physically, mentally, emotionally or financially, they will continue to do so…

We have to decide when to jump.

Let us jump while we still have the strength.

Think on It !!

NOW THIS IS TRUE LOVE

Two guys were drinking in a bar.
As they were drinking, they started arguing, one guy pounce on his friend and started
beating him.
.
After a long beating he realized that his friend was no longer breathing, he already died instantly.
Then the guy started running with his
shirt full of blood.Those who were
watching the fight started chasing him.
.
He ran to the house of a Christian man, knocked and said,
“Can u please hide me, i have killed a person and people are chasing me.”
.
The Christian man replied ,
“Where am i going to hide you in my one room
apartment?”
The murderer said “There is no time to
waste here, just think of anywhere you
can hide me.”
.
After a long thinking, the Christian man
said to the murderer,
“Give me your shirt and take my shirt but remember to keep my shirt clean”
They exchanged their shirts.Then as
soon as the Christian man opened the
door, people started beating him and
was badly injured that he was taken to
the police station.
From police station, the case was taken
to court and the man was found guilty of
murder and was sentenced to death.
.
The real murderer was safe at home but
was feeling so guilty that he ran to the
Court and said,
“Can you please release that innocent man, am the real murderer”.
.
The judge replied “unfortunately it’s too
late, the man is already hanged at last”.
He ran to the police where the man was
hanged and for sure he
found him dead hanging.
.
He knelt down and cried his eyes out and said to himself, ” You paid for my crime”
He remembered the Christian’s last
words:
“KEEP MY SHIRT CLEAN !!!”
That’s how the murderer repented and
became a christian!

This is what Jesus did for us. He died for
the crime he did not commit on the cross of Calvary.
Now if you are thankful with what Jesus did for you, please keep his shirt clean.

YOU ARE SPECIAL- YOU WILL NEVER LOSE VALUE, NEVER

A popular speaker started off a seminar by holding up a $20 bill. A crowd of 200 had gathered to hear him speak. He asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

200 hands went up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He crumpled the bill up.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

All 200 hands were still raised.

“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” Then he dropped the bill on the ground and stomped on it with his shoes.

He picked it up, and showed it to the crowd. The bill was all crumpled and dirty.

“Now who still wants it?”

All the hands still went up.

“My friends, I have just showed you a very important lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, life crumples us and grinds us into the dirt. We make bad decisions or deal with poor circumstances. We feel worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. You are special – Don’t ever forget it

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LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT

You have probably already heard that statement. Most likely from someone who has just achieved something of his own and now wants to rub your nose in it. Let them have their few minutes of fame, your time will come one day, too. I am sure of it.

But what if that statement really annoys you? It’s provoking. Wants you to pick a side. Is it true or not? You can look at any person who achieved something and you immediately see that they had some advantage over you from the start. And perhaps you feel some predestination in your own life, too. So you dismiss the whole idea as pretentious and stupid…

You should not.

No one said that we all should do the same things with our lives. Or compete in it. No one even claims that the world is fair.

Yes, we all have very different starting points, different talents, genetics and environments we grew in. All of this shapes us. But we also have totally different desires. And this is a good thing! Amazing really. Because it lets us cooperate instead of just competing.

Going back to the original topic, the question have to be put this way: Can we really make our lives to our liking?

The essential thing is to understand that it is us who defines, what is our own liking. In another words, we ourselves decide what we want to make out of our lives. And then we either work on it, or not. But it is a two phase process and we have control over both parts! So even though you are influenced by all kinds of things, you are still in charge.

To illustrate it even more, imagine you were born into a family running a famous restaurant. And you would feel being predestined to become a cook, because your father, grand father and great-grand father were all cooks. You might even be pushed by the family to go in the same direction.

Understand this: FIRST you have a choice, if you want this way of life or not. If you do, becoming a great cook will be easier with this starting position, doing something else little bit harder. Perhaps you will have to fight for it.

SECONDLY, it is again your choice, if you make specific plans and work on achieving them, or would rather just go with the flow and take life as it is, not trying to shape it actively.

Realize that you can be easily happy with the right combination of the two things above. And unhappy, if you choose the wrong one. For instance liking the preselected cooking career in my previous example and just going with the flow will lead to an easy life. Not liking it, but not being willing to work hard on changing it to something else, would lead to an unhappy life. Working hard on something else will lead to a tough but fulfilling life. And working hard and liking the predestined option will give you a very rewarding life…

Of course, these two aspects very much depend on your personality. But now you know how it works, you can think about it. And change, if you need to. Because being happy is an outcome of your choices.

Life is what you make of it.

 

THIS WILL SURELY INSPIRE YOU TO PURSUE YOUR DREAMS.

Following your dreams is usually easier said than done. A little motivation and inspiration from people who have successfully pursued their dreams can help you get started.

Following your dreams isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Watch a movie about someone following his/her dreams, and the conventional narrative formula leads you to believe that, after one or two hiccups and a couple of hours, you’ll eventually get exactly what you wanted. The real world operates somewhat differently; for some people, this dream path may pan out, but for most of us, the road to our dreams is long, challenging, and unexpected.

Of course, none of this means that the pursuit isn’t worthwhile–in fact, the experience of pursuing your dreams is often more rewarding and more enlightening than the achievement of your dreams themselves.

In trying to put the pursuit of dreams into perspective, below is a list of insightful, inspiring, and in some cases, amusing quotes:

  1. “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.” — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

Some people throttle their potential by refusing to think “what if?” and ignoring what’s truly important to them in life. You have to start dreaming before you can achieve anything.

  1. “I have lots of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly.” -Oprah Winfrey.Fear is a limiting factor, and it’s present in all of us, but moving past that fear is essential for success.
  2. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” — John Wooden.The moment you believe you can’t do it, everything else begins to crumble. Never stop believing.
  3. “You will never find time for anything. You must make it.” — Charles Buxton. Many people convince themselves they’ll have time for their dreams in the future–but there’s never a better time than now. Make time for your dreams.
  4. “Never be ashamed! There’s some who will hold it against you, but they are not worth bothering with.” — J. K. Rowling.If your dreams are big, people will mock you for them. Forget those people; they will not help you succeed.
  5. “To be a human being is to be in a state of tension between your appetites and your dreams, and the social realities around you and your obligations to your fellow man.” – John Updike.Our dreams are often at odds with our realities, demanding freedoms and resources we may not have. But this doesn’t make them impossible to achieve.
  6. “Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” — Ray Kroc.

Persistence is much of what separates the successful from the pure wishful thinkers. Distinguish yourself by staying motivated even in the toughest of circumstances.

  1. “Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told.” — Alan Keightley.

This is the realization that fuels most people to follow their dreams relentlessly. Staying complacent never led anybody to greatness.

  1. “I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.” — Walter Cronkite.

You can’t follow your dreams at a leisurely pace. You need to give them 100 percent of your effort if you want to achieve them.

  1. “When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.” — Mary Kay Ash.Following your dreams is an exhausting, draining effort–but the rewards are well worth it all.
  2. “Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.” — Ray Bradbury.Ignore everybody who tries to tell you what to do or think. Follow your own instincts and goals.
  3. “I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.” — Venus Williams.It’s easy to get lost in thinking only about the challenges and obstacles before you. Instead, think only about your ultimate destination.
  4. “It is better to risk starving to death than surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?” — Jim Carrey.This quote may be a bit extreme, but it carries a great point; your dreams define you. If you abandon them, what else could possibly motivate you?
  5. “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” — Nelson Mandela.Every milestone is a miniature victory in the road to achieving your goals. Don’t neglect or underestimate them.
  6. “The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” — Seth Godin.In some cases, failure is inevitable. Don’t let that stop you from starting something new.Be sure to consult this list the next time you feel challenged or disillusioned in the pursuit of your dreams. By adopting the perspectives of people who have already achieved their dreams, you can wrap your mind around the challenges you face in your own life, and remain resolved in accomplishing your goals.

 

FRIENDSHIP WITH OUR HEAVENLY FATHER

James 4:8Draw close to God and he will draw closer to you.

Drawing closer to God as mentioned above means living in accordance with His conditions and doing what His will for you is. In the above, God is offering His friendship to the Godly.

The story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 clearly brings out how God offers His friendship to all those who are willing and ready to serve Him without favoritism. God really loved the world (all of us included) that He gave His only beloved son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). For our sake he made him who knew no sin to be sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). He tells all we who are heavily laden to go to Him and He will give us rest. (Matthew 11:28) (John 4:7 – 19)

When we get closer to God, he must increase in us as we ourselves decrease. (John3:30)

Well, friendship with God comes with great benefits but is still conditioned. It is stated in Jeremiah 29:13 that we shall only seek Him and find Him if we seek Him with all our hearts.

It even takes as farther away to forgetting our worldly ways and being dedicated to Him only for we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:32) because friendship with the world is enemity with God as stated in James 4:4.

Moreso, He requires us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).

And:

…The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding shall keep our minds and hearts in    Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:7)

…He will make everything work for good with those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

…No evil shall befall you nor scourge near your tent (Psalms 91:10)

… He will incline His ear towards you. He will hear and answer your prayers. (Psalms 116:2)

…The Lord will bless you and keep you and shine His face upon you and be gracious to you (Numbers 6:23)

…The Lord will set you above all nations of the earth and bless you abundantly (Deuteronomy 28:1-14)

These and many other benefits shall be your portion if you seek friendship with God and set him on top of your priority list. (Matthew 6:32)

But then How can we develop friendship with him?

Choose to be honest. God requires us to speak the truth at all times and the truth will set us free. (John 8:32) Moreso, we should be open, bold, and ready to express our feelings at all times instead of keeping bitter hearts. Bitterness is, has been and shall forever remain to be greatest barrier to friendship.

Choose to obey God in faith. Be submissive to Him for it is written that obedience is better than sacrifice. The woman with the flow of blood in Mark 5:25-32 had faith that by just touching Jesus’ garment she will be well, and indeed by her faith she was healed. In Mark 11:23 we get to learn of the authority we have by just believing.

Desire friendship with God more than anything else. Our hearts, mind and soul should be focused more on having a close and intimate relationship with God more than anything else.

Choose to value what God values. Just as God values spiritual and heartily virtues, we too should value these to get closer to Him- love your neighbor as you love yourself, forgive those who trespass against you (Matthew 6:14), care for those in need (Matthew 25:42) and many others.

Dedicate your time to worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23) the choice is ours whether to get closer to God or not. The more time we give to Him the closer to Him we get. God wants full and total surrender. He wants to be a priority in our lives and not just an option for us. He wants the whole of us and not just a small portion of us. Let the kind of worship that we give to our good God be accurate, authentic, practical, heart-felt and mind-engaging.

It is my wish and my prayer that we all leave behind everything, and set our hearts to seek God’s friendship more than anything else. For He has promised us:

Mark 10:29 –     No one who has left his house, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or lands for my sake and for the gospel will not receive a hundredfold.