Flowing Faith

October 1, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

All You Need is God

http://www.flowingfaith.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/1291.jpg
Few years ago I read an interview with a retiring bishop. He was asked what he would like to be remembered by. He said that it’s not important that he would be remembered. But he hopes people would remember that God is good. Amen to that! It’s not really about us, it’s about God! Because God is good – all the time!

God is all mercy and grace—
not quick to anger, is rich in love.
God is good to one and all;
everything he does is suffused with grace.  
God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
      gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.  
Generous to a fault,
you lavish your favor on all creatures.
Everything God does is right—
the trademark on all his works is love.
(Psalm 145:8-9,14,16-17, MSG)

Sometimes I am asked why I believe in a loving God when the world is so bad and broken. But they’ve got it all wrong. They are focusing on the evil in the world. I want to focus on the good in the world. What would I do in this shattered world if I could not be embraced by God’s grace? How could I go on living without becoming cold, bitter, hard or a combination of all three? With the words of Henri Nouwen “Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives.”

We need God so badly. We need God to be alive. We need God to breath life and more life into us. We need God to be able to love. God really is our everything. But with God we can do anything. Because God’s loving care is more than enough for us. Because we blossom under God’s tender loving care.

All you need is love is one of the famous Beatles songs. I find the sentiment true if we see God as the ultimate love. God is love. God is all we need. Soren Kierkegaard has said it so well: “To the Christian, love is the works of love. To say that love is a feeling or anything of the kind is really an un-Christian conception of love. That is the aesthetic definition and therefore fits the erotic and everything of that nature. But to the Christian, love is the works of love. Christ’s love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what-not: it was the work of love which was his life.”

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you cäan’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.(1 John 4:7-10, MSG)

Gracious God,
You are our everything.
Thank you for being beyond good and wonderful.
Thank you for pouring out love upon love
and grace upon grace on us.
Show us how to respond to your love.
Guide us to live in your love and grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U:How have you experienced God’s love and grace in your life? How do you respond to people who have trouble to believe in God because of the evil in the world?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim. No matter how hard your life is right now wait for good because our God is good!

Photo courtesy of Colton Kvapil. This post is refurbished from 2010. Linking up today with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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September 29, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Traveling Light

traveling light
Traveling light is one of the tricks to endure on any journey. This is especially important to Christian pilgrims wanting to make it all the way home one day. The journey itself is hard enough, no extra baggage needed to drag us down. Especially when the help is near and readily available for anyone.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1, AMP, emphasis added,*)

Jesus is ready to take our extra baggage and that sin that burdens us.
Jesus is ready to enable us to enjoy the joys of traveling light.
Jesus is ready to empower us to steadily advance on our way home.

Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2, AMP, emphasis added,*)

Traveling light is possible if we steadily look away from troubles, fears and distractions to Jesus. Because Jesus is the only one who can help us along the way. Worrying does not do the trick. Collecting material things does not bring peace. Taking safety measures into our own hands does not bring security.

Only Jesus can lift our burdens.
Only Jesus can bring life through death.
Only Jesus can direct us to the joy of salvation.

But it’s real. And readily available. We just need to ask for help. We are not meant to carry our own burdens. We are meant for traveling light. Why would we then insist on doing it the hard way? Pride has never brought on anything good. Carrying our burdens does not only get us overtly exhausted but also prevent us from helping others along the way.

It’s time to put aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely.
It is time to strip down and start running and never quit.
It’s time to start traveling light.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for collecting extra baggage
and for the sin that is so easily clinging to us.
Forgive us for getting so distracted
that we forget Jesus.
Especially because Jesus is all we ever need.
Help us to keep our eyes on Jesus only.
Take our extra baggage and sin away.
Show us what traveling light really means.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you have extra baggage? Do you let Jesus to carry them for you? Do you know how to enjoy traveling light?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you strip down and start traveling light!

Photo courtesy of Forrest Cavale, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God.

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September 26, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Praying the News

Praying the News

Are you tired of the news lately? Or are you avoiding them all together? Because they are so depressing and devastating? Or do you have a powerful urge to run to the other direction and pretend the bad things don’t exist? Denial does not work. But there is another option.

Because of Christ we have a change to be part of transforming the world.
Because of Christ we are able to do something to make things better.
Because of Christ we are not helpless in the face of terror.

Listen to me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am helpless and weak.
Save me from death, because I am loyal to you;
    save me, for I am your servant and I trust in you.
(Psalm 86:1-2, GNT,*)

How then are we to react to horrible news? By praying the news. By bringing the situation and our fears to God. That way we invite God into the midst of our troubles. That way the divine forces get into work on our behalf. That way we can prevent the attacks of the evil in the world. That way – instead of slumping into denial or depression – we become agents of transformation. How powerful is that?

It is so easy to retreat. It is so easy to go in denial. It is so easy to get frustrated. And do nothing. But that’s exactly what the devil wants so he’d have more room to play. We are called to fight the good fight of the faith.

You are my God, so be merciful to me;
    I pray to you all day long.
Make your servant glad, O Lord,
    because my prayers go up to you.
You are good to us and forgiving,
    full of constant love for all who pray to you.
(Psalm 86:3-5, GNT,*)

Praying the news is more important than we can imagine. If we do nothing, the evil in the world gets stronger. But if we read the newspaper prayerfully, we are part of God’s troops in this world.

Because when we pray, miracles happen.
When we pray, we build up the good in the world.
When we pray, we are messengers of hope.

Listen, Lord, to my prayer;
    hear my cries for help.
I call to you in times of trouble,
    because you answer my prayers.
(Psalm 86:6-7, GNT,*)

You see, no matter how bad the news are, the good news of Jesus Christ wins hands down. Because of Jesus, we don’t have anything to fear. Jesus conquered all evil and death on the cross. But we are not in paradise yet. Evil rages until Jesus comes back. Meanwhile we are called to pray. Because prayer is a mighty powerful weapon of transformation. We are changing the world one prayer at a time.

By praying the news we are transformed into agents of hope.
By praying the news we are fighting against the evil.
By praying the news we are making a difference.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for providing us a way to fight the evil in the world.
Thank you for calling us to partner with you.
Empower our prayers, Lord.
Show us how to pray the news.
Make us your agents of transformation.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U:  Are you praying the news? How does is change your view on the news and the world?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you change the world by praying the news!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I've used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of Kaitlin McMichael, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday and Faith Jam.

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September 24, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

5 Tips for Christian Life

5 tips for Christian life
I wasn’t planning on writing a post on Hebrews 10:19-36 but these verses kept coming back to me over and over again so I finally succumbed to the challenge. This passage gives us (at least) five tips for Christian life.

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. (Hebrews 10:19-21, MSG,*)

Because  Jesus has prepared the way for us, we can 1) approach God freely in faith. Let’s not pass by this opportunity! It is tremendous! It is wondrous. We are invited and called to spend time with God daily.

22 Let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us 2) persevere and stick to God’s promises. Let’s be steadfast and embrace what God is doing. Let’s not waver but keep on trusting. Our God is trustworthy, let’s celebrate the One who is faithful.

23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.

Let’s see how inventive we can be in 3) encouraging each other on this journey to God. We are in this together and we do need each other. We are meant to bless as we are blessed by God.

24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,

Let’s 4) not avoid worshiping and gathering together in Jesus’ name. It is so tempting to sleep in on Sunday morning. But it is our loss. God does not needs us but we need him. The fellowship of believers uplifts us and keeps us on the right track.

25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(Hebrews 10:22-25, NRSV,*)

5) Do not reject Christ no matter what. Now that you know God’s grace, don’t put it in vain. It is not a light matter.

26-31 If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: “Vengeance is mine, and I won’t overlook a thing” and “God will judge his people.” Nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me. (Hebrews 10:26-31, MSG,*)

Stay with God’s plan and abide in Christ daily. If you embrace these five tips for Christian life, you will blessedly advance on your Christian way.

Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. 36 For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36, AMP,*)

This is the time for spiritual endurance.
This is the time for persistent perseverance.
This is the time for spiritual alertness.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for guiding me in your Word.
Thank you for Jesus preparing the way to you.
Thank you for invitation to spend time with you.
Help me to persevere and stick to your promises.
Empower me to encourage others along the way.
Make fellowship of believers irresistible and
keep me from ever rejecting Jesus.
Fill me with your Spirit and
use me for your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you practice these tips for Christian life? What would you add?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you put your faith in practice daily!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I've used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of Jason Smith, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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September 22, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
10 Comments

Knowing God

knowing God
Do you keep God at arm’s length? Is your relationship with God a long-distance one? Or do you have an intimate and close relationship with God?

Is knowing God really possible? Yes, because of Jesus it is. Because of Jesus we can be made right with God. But the adventure of faith does not end there, it’s just a beginning. The real adventure is in getting to know God.

Yada is a Hebrew word that means “to know” but it has several meanings depending on the context. Knowing God is much more than a long-distance relationship for sure.

The man Adam knew [yada]his wife Eve intimately. She became pregnant and gave birth to Cain, and said, “I have given life to a man with the Lord’s help.” (Genesis 4;1, CEB,*)

Cain knew [yada] his wife intimately. She became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain built a city and named the city after his son Enoch. (Genesis 4:17, CEB,*)

Adam knew [yada] his wife intimately again, and she gave birth to a son. She named him Seth“because God has given me another child in place of Abel, whom Cain killed.” (Genesis 4:25, CEB,*)

One of the meanings of yada is sharing love and knowing someone intimately. But it’s not just a sexual relationship, you can’t experience yada without dedication and love. The same word yada is used also to describe the intimate relationship with God. Knowing God is as intimate and sacred as the bond between a husband and a wife. We can’t keep God or his people at arm’s length if we want to truly know him.

Are you a king
    because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father [Josiah] eat and drink
    and do justice and righteousness?
    Then it was well with him.
16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
    then it was well.
Is not this to know [yada] me?
    says the Lord.
(Jeremiah 22:15-16, NRSV,*)

This is God’s way to tell the corrupted king what knowing God means. It means acting justly and showing mercy to others. It means living righteously. Micah 6:8 comes instantly into mind: He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (NRSV)

Knowing God requires that we are truly dedicated to him. That we seek his company. That we praise him, thank him. That we talk to him and listen to him. That we ask for his advice. That we lavish him with our love. That we strive to live in love and do as much good as possible. That we read his word and seek his wisdom. That we spend time with him. That we focus on him, not on ourselves. That we throw masks away and be who we really are. That we truly abide in him.

It does not happen over night, it is a life-long process. But this process is empowered by the grace of God. So we can rest assured there will be enough fuel for the whole journey. Isn’t it amazing that the Creator of the Universe wants to know us intimately. That God Almighty wants to be our everything. What do we do? Keep him at arms’ length or open our arms wide open? I recommend the latter.

 

Gracious God,
How wonderful you are!
How amazing your love is!
Be praised forever and ever!
Knowing you is what I want.
Experiencing yada with you is what I crave for.
Show me how to share love, show mercy and act justly.
I open my arms wide open for you.
Fill me with your Spirit, your wisdom, your love and grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What does knowing God mean to you?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you get to know God intimately?

Photo courtesy of Spencer Hirst, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God.

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September 19, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Hold onto Hope

Hold onto hope
I didn’t realize the word ‘hold’ is such a hope-filled and faith-saturated one. I was doing a search at Biblegateway.com and found an abundance of faith-affirming and uplifting verses that had the word ‘hold’ in them. Here are my favorites:

Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands(Matthew 10:28, MSG, emphasis added*)

We are in God’s hands. Our entire life is in his hands. We don’t need to worry. We are safe and secure. There’s nothing that can harm our core being. We can hold onto hope that keeps us going. For God is reliable, loving, and faithful to his word.

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. (Hebrews 10:22-23, NLT, emphasis added,*)

We can trust God with our everything. Nothing is too strange to God and nothing goes to waste. God knows us as we are and loves us despite of everything. But also his love for us is so powerful that he does not leave us where we are. He cleanses us and washes us with pure water and then sends us to share our faith, hope, and love with others.

We don’t need to be afraid that there would not be enough faith, hope, and love for everyone. Because when we are in Christ, we can’t use faith, hope or love up. The more we use faith, hope or love, the more we have. Because those are God’s gifts to us. And they are meant to be shared and celebrated.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. (Gal. 5:25-26, MSG, emphasis added*)

The life of the Spirit is not just a dogma or an idea in our heads. And it’s not a sentiment in our hearts. We are called to hold onto hope and live our faith out in love. God can be trusted and God is holding our entire lives in his hands.

Everything begins and ends in God’s grace. But there’s work for us too: to trust God, to share his love with others, to hold on to hope and live out our faith. No need to stress out about it: our work is empowered by grace. That’s why we can hold onto hope no matter what happens in our lives.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for holding us in your arms.
Thank you for pouring out hope, faith, and love in abundance.
Thank you for sustaining us along the way.
Empower us for victorious living.
Help us to always hold onto hope.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U
:
  How do you hold onto hope?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you hold onto hope!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I've used while preparing each post.]

Photo courtesy of Ben Branum, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday and Faith Jam.

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September 17, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Is the Blood of Christ too Precious?

Is the blood of Christ too precious?
Do you think the blood of Christ is too precious for you? That you think so highly of the blood of Christ that you don’t dare to apply it to you and your sins? That you and yours problems are too small to bother Jesus?

Slow down for a minute. Let’s think this through.

[Therefore, I do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.] (Gal.2:21, AMP,*)

God gave his only son to die for everyone’s sins. It cost God everything to offer you freedom of sins and now you don’t receive it because it is too precious? It’s precious all right. But not accepting it would be a) wasteful and be) prideful. Do you want the sacrifice of Jesus go in vain? Isn’t that much more costly? Wasteful? Prideful?

You see, God’s grace is God’s power to redeem a sinner and make him/her like Christ. If we don’t accept it, grace goes in vain. Is that what you want? That you say no to God for his grace to make you what he created you to be? I didn’t think so. Hence open your arms wide and receive all the grace God has for you.

The blood of Christ is not too precious for you. Because you’re are God’s precious child and he wants to have a living relationship with you. And that only happens by receiving grace through faith in the risen Christ.

 

Gracious God,
The blood of Christ is truly precious,
it delivers us from death to life.
Thank you.
Forgive us for using it in vain or
ignoring its power in our lives.
Enable us to humbly receive
your amazing gifts and
out them in good use for your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Is it hard for you to put the blood of Christ at work in your life? Why/why not?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you receive everything God has for you?

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I've used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of Kevin Carden, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Unite the Bloggersphere, Three Word Wednesday and #tellhisstory.

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September 15, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
8 Comments

The Holy Spirit – the Difference Maker

The Holy Spirit - the difference maker
Have you ever wondered why you don’t make any spiritual progress? You’ve been diligent with spiritual practices and attended faithfully church functions but nothing happens? Sometimes we are lead to desert and that’s ok. There are different seasons in faith life too. But make sure that you don’t ignore the most important aspect of your spiritual life: the Holy Spirit.

 This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. (1 John 4:13-16, MSG,*)

The Holy Spirit is the difference maker. If you don’t abide in the Holy Spirit, it does not matter how hard you work towards spiritual growth, it’s not going to happen. It’s not us creating spiritual growth. It is the Holy Spirit in us who does the work. We just need to create time and space for the Holy Spirit to move in our lives.

This does not mean that spiritual practices would be in vain. Not at all. This means that we need to do those practices in the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is the difference maker here, not us. When we live in the Holy Spirit, the spiritual reality is more true than the visible one. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, spiritual growth is natural part of our lives. When we we abide in the Holy Spirit, we will bear spiritual fruit in due time.

The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to all the Christians. Spirit-filled life is just a prayerful life. The Holy Spirit is always with us, we just need to acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit and let him run our lives. The Holy Spirit is the difference maker: Our stagnant spiritual life becomes robust, when the Holy Spirit breaths life into it. If you want to make a difference in the world, start by cultivating an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Do you dare?

 

Gracious God,
You’ve given us a tremendous gift: the Holy Spirit.
Forgive us for ignoring the Holy Spirit
and forcing our way alone and then wondering what’s wrong.
Lord, I surrender to you and let you run my life
according to your plan.
I want to have an intimate relationship
with the ultimate difference maker.
Show me how joyful it is to abide in you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Does the Holy Spirit make a difference in your life?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let the Holy Spirit run your life!

Photo courtesy of Aleisha Knight, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God.

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September 12, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
7 Comments

Heed the Gospel

heed the gospel
Are you alert to the ways of God and ready for Jesus? Are you heeding the gospel and living it out every way you can? Are you helping others along the way? Good for you. Then you are right where God wants you to be.

But if you are not satisfied where you are spiritually, now it’s time to make a change. You don’t want to abandon the living God. You do not want to become spiritually dull and not be ready for Jesus. Watch out, friend. Know that you do not have to become holy by your own effort. God is ready to pour out grace upon grace and make it happen for you. But you do need to heed the gospel. God will only work in willing hearts.

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:11-14, NLT.*,

We are all called for spiritual growth. Faith is not a one-time event but a way of life. Faith is about becoming holy like Jesus. And it does not happen if we do not heed the gospel. But it organically happens if we abide in Christ and study the word of God.

We are not meant to be spiritual babies forever. We are called to grow in grace and steadily advance on our pilgrimage. This is not a to-do list but it is an invitation for a dynamic relationship with Jesus. Only then we are ready for the second coming of Jesus or for the time of our death or for suffering or for anything else. Only then we are able to be bold in Christ. Only then we are embracing all there is for children of God. Only then we are living fully.

It is odd, I know. When we give up the goodies of the world for Christ, we finally have everything we ever wanted. When we surrender our will, we receive more than we ever dreamed of. When we truly heed the gospel, we are blessed beyond measure.

Don’t delay.
Turn to God.
Heed the gospel.
Get ready.
Be blessed.

 

Gracious God,
I do want to dig deeper into your word.
Help me. Draw me in. Teach me.
Make me ready for anything and everything.
I want to heed the gospel
and do your will.
Bless me, Lord.
Thy will be done.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Are you ready for anything and everything? How do you heed the gospel?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you heed the gospel every day of your life!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I've used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of Lee Tucker, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday and Faith Jam.

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September 10, 2014
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Sins Washed Away

 My Sins Are Washed Away
Do you know how you can have your sins washed away? It’s one of the most important things to know, don’t you think? Of course, you need to first acknowledge that you are a sinner. But aren’t we all? I, at least, don’t know any one person who would be so perfect and holy that there would not be any trace of sin in him/her.

If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts]. If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. (1 John 1:8-9, AMP,*)

If we do admit that we need our sins washed away, God is faithful and will forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. That’s God’s will for us: to be made right with him, to have our sins washed away by the blood of Christ.

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21, NLT,*)

God made it possible through Christ that we could have eternal life. He gave his only son so we could have our sins washed away. That’s real love for you. God loves us so much that he sacrificed his holy son for our sins. That is incredible but true nonetheless. The sin problem solved. But how do we respond?

When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s. (1 John 2:2, MSG,*)

God is inviting every person in the whole wide world to come to him, confess his/her sins and have his/her sins washed away. How does that happen? By God’s grace. Watch this fun & short video to show you how the blood of Christ works in our lives.

(If you are interested in doing the experiment on the video at your church, follow these guidelines: YOU = 100%water, SIN= 80%water + 20% iodine, CHRIST= 80% water + 20% bleach. Let me know how it went!)

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
(Psalm 51:7, NLT,*)

When our sins are washed away, they don’t exist any more. Like Max Lucado has said “Christ’s blood doesn’t cover, conceal, postpone, or diminish your sins. It takes away your sins, once & for all!”

We are pure in Christ.
Only in Christ.
Always in Christ.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for providing a way back to you.
We confess our sins and
ask that you cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Make us yours.
Make us holy like you.
Thank you for your sacrificial love.
Be praised forever and ever!
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let your sins be washed away!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I've used while preparing each post.]

Image courtesy of Kevin Carden. Some parts of this post have been previously published. Linking up today with Unite the Bloggersphere, Three Word Wednesday and #tellhisstory.

If you are interested in doing the experiment on the video at your church, follow these guidelines: YOU = 100%water, SIN= 80%water + 20% iodine, CHRIST= 80% water + 20% bleach. Let me know how it went!

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