Our thoughts are not His thoughts

Our thoughts are not His thoughts

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

We may experience many things that we thought were not relevant to some situations we have. And many times we don’t like the moment or situations we are in but God has a plan that we don’t know. He has His ways to teach us through people that we may learn and gain more experience to be encouraged and to be prepared to the future that awaits us. For who knows what would happen the next day or to the future? Things may change but the fact is that our experiences are one of the things that can bring us to the success and happiness and Contentment in life. We may not understand yet the will of God at the moment but when you reached the top, then you will always look back..and smile. God loves you and God knows what He does with you. And he precisely know what you can and what is ahead of you. Just be patient and be calm.

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What?? Once Saved Always Saved?

What?? Once Saved Always Saved?

One of the core teachings of Christianity is that we need to have faith in order to be saved. But what kind of faith saves us?

What is it that we have to be saved from?
Sins? Eternal damnation? Destruction?

In this study we’re going to discuss how we know we’re saved.

To do this, we’re going to look at three examples of people in the Bible who mistakenly thought they were saved, ( see Romans 5:9 ) see why they were wrong, and from that learn how we can know we’re saved.

Mistake #1 – Believing you’re saved because of your tradition

“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.’” – John 8:42-44
Our first example comes from a heated exchange between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees — the religious leaders of their day. Jesus tells them that He speaks the words of His Father, while they speak the words of their father, the devil.

These religious people felt they were saved because of their bloodline and because of the traditions they followed. They felt these things made God their Father. Many people believe this today. They feel because they were raised in a Christian home, or because they attend a church, they’re saved.

But Jesus refutes this by saying, “If God were your Father, you would love me…” The requirement for being a child of God is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Notice two things:

1) Notice that Jesus says “you”. Not your parents, or friends or your church but “you”. No one can have a relationship on our behalf. You alone must put your trust in Him to be saved.

2) Notice that Jesus says “me”. It’s not where you were born, or what church you attend that makes you a child of God. It’s a belief and a trust that Christ came from the Father to pay for your sins (John 3:16). John 1:12 tells us that “all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Let’s look at our second example.

Mistake #2 – Believing you’re saved because of your behavior

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”- Luke 18:10-14
Our next example comes from a parable Jesus told. Here we find that the Pharisee thinks he’s saved because of his good behavior. This is probably the reason most people today believe they’re saved. Most people feel that they’ve lived good lives.

But Jesus refutes this by telling us that it’s not the Pharisee who is justified (declare innocent from sin), but the tax collector. To be justified Jesus tells us we must be humble about our condition. We must realize we’ve sinned and call on God to forgive us.

Notice two things:

1) Notice that the Pharisee compared his behavior to the tax collector.

2) Notice that the tax collector compared his behavior to God.

The tax collector did the right thing because Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It’s “the glory of God” that we fall short of. Our behavior is compared to God — not other people — and all of us fall short when held to this standard. But Romans 3:24 tells us that we can be saved because we’re “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Let’s look at one final example.

Mistake #3 – Believing you’re saved because of your works or deeds

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:21-23
In our final example we find Jesus talking about who will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Here we find people who believe they’re saved because of good works they do. Again this is something many people do today.

Jesus refutes this by saying that He won’t accept their works. As we mentioned in our last example, God’s glory is the standard we’re held to, and it’s perfect. So unless our offering is perfect, it falls short of His glory. When we try to offer good deeds to atone for our sins, God rejects that because the sacrifice is stained with sin, and falls short of His glory.

Jesus says that only those who do the will of His Father will enter the kingdom. What is His will? “He commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30) What does it mean to repent? It means to turn from sin, to Christ.

Where our works are stained with sin and rejected, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is perfect and is accepted. When we repent and come to Christ to be our Savior it means we’re relying on His sacrifice to make peace with God on our behalf. When we do this God credits Christ’s perfection to us and we are justified.

How are we saved?

In this study we’ve looked at people who mistakenly thought they were saved because of their tradition, behavior or good works. Each example had one thing in common: Each tried to obtain salvation through their own strength and fell short.

God gives us salvation through His Son. Our salvation isn’t based on what we’ve done, it’s based on what Christ has done. We know we’re saved when we know we trust in Christ completely for our salvation.

Verses to remember

— 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” -Acts 2:36-38

– “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8)

– “This is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13)

– He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Heb 7:25)

Surrender

We are tempted to think that the more powerful we become, the better we will battle sin. But the exact opposite is true. The more power, influence, or prestige we possess, the more temptable we are. The strength of sin feeds on our sense of strength. This is why we are warned that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). In weakness, we feel our need for God, but when we are strong, we lack that saving sobriety. We lost the need of God and mostly in strength we tend to think THINGS ARE UNDER CONTROL..but it is not so. THEREFORE learning to surrender towards God is needed the most…then we will know how to respect a sovereign power over us. An authority to lead us and not to control us.
-wisdom

Jonah The Prophet

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me’” (Jonah 1:1-2).

 

It’s hard for us to grasp how shocking this must have been for Jonah. In Jonah’s lifetime there was one world superpower: the Assyrians.    The Assyrians were known for their brutality. They had refined the art of torture in a way that is recorded in history. It would make your hair stand on end. They were the terror of Jonah’s time.

 

Nineveh was one of the major Assyrians cities. The prophet Nahum describes it as “the city of blood, full of lies, full or plunder, never without victims” (Nahum 3:1). This was not a place you would want to visit. If you saw that in a vacation brochure “city of blood, full of lies,” you would not go there.

 

The Word of God came to this successful prophet. He was highly esteemed in Israel. His wonderful prophecies about extending the borders of the Promised Land came true. He was settled and secure in what he was doing for God. Then God said to him “Go to Nineveh!”

 

Suddenly, the music stops in Jonah’s life:

 

“Lord I am really happy in the work you’ve called me to do here in Gath Hepher.”

 

“I want you to go somewhere else.”

 

“You want me to leave the ministry I love?”

 

“That’s right.”

 

“Where do you want me to go?”

 

“Nineveh”

 

“That’s in Assyria. There are terrorists and torturers there. What do you want me to say?”

 

“Preach against the city, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

 

“That’s not surprising. Their wickedness is notorious! And if you judge them now, it will be a big relief to all of us!”

 

Put yourself in Jonah’s shoes: This man has a successful ministry among God’s people. He was known for prophesying good things like extending the borders of Israel. He has a good life in a good place, doing good work. And now the Word of the Lord disturbs his comfortable life.

 

Our culture says “live your dreams,” but God has a way of disturbing our dreams. We all have hopes and dreams of what our lives will be. We plan our families. We plan our futures. We plan our finances. Then God breaks into the plan: A child is born, a loved one dies, the market crashes, you lose your job, and suddenly your life is not going according to your plan.

 

When God stepped into Jonah’s plan, his heart was revealed. Jonah’s self-centeredness was hidden under the surface of his successful ministry but his “I want a comfortable life, God,” was exposed when God called him to leave something old and to start something new.

 

You can avoid it by running after your own plans

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord” (Jonah 1:3).

 

“Jonah ran away from the Lord.” Jonah was a prophet, well-schooled in the Scriptures written during that time. He knew that God is present everywhere. Jonah would have known David’s words:

 

“Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

…if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-10).

 

Jonah knows he can’t escape from God’s presence. What he is running from is God’s call. That’s the issue here. When he gets in the boat, he is giving up being a prophet. He is resigning from the work God called him to do. He is saying, in effect:

 

“There are other things in life that I could do, besides bringing the Word of the Lord. I’m quitting this ministry and I’m going to make a new life in Tarshish.”

 

Jonah is dodging a God-centered life: He planned where he wanted to live and what he wanted to do. When God disrupted his plan, he quit.

 

If your plan becomes more important than God’s plan, you cannot live a God-centered life. What if God wants you in another place? What if God wants you to do another kind of work? What if God has another purpose for you for the sake of people who need to hear the Gospel?

Refining your mind

Recognize that whatever you are doing now is only for a time

The world wants you to believe that everything is stable, secure and permanent. But it is not so. The home that you live in is yours for a time. The work that you do is yours for a time. The people you love are yours for a time.

 

One day, others will live in your home. One day, others will continue your work. One day, others will have your money. James says:

 

“What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

 

David says:

 

“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

 

Whatever you are doing in your life, hold it lightly because it will not be forever