What right do you have to judge or criticize your neighbor?

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     Recently I noticed myself complaining about others, and eventually the human race in general. Am I alone here? I was annoyed and had run into what I considered a some rude and maybe annoying, selfish people in a short amount of time. I sat down contemplating a compilation of the rudeness I’ve seen and heard over the last few months and saw my dog come over to me and I thought, you know, he’s my best friend and I’d be okay never dealing with humanity again, and just living -me and my dog. Then suddenly I felt a dose of reality trying to work it’s way into my heart and mind. I realized that I have done some of the same things I was complaining that others did. I wasn’t being loving and I had to forgive all in love and move on. Perhaps as I step out of covid hibernation, I need to remember how to deal Christ like with others and remember we are not at home stuck with the same people that had to put up with us for the last year.

I felt bad for a while and sat down to do my bible study that I do on Sunday nights on zoom with friends.

We were studying Luke 17-18, there is a lot of great scripture in there but as I read Luke 18:9-14 :

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else:  “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[b]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!  I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’  I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

I wondered if I was being like the Pharisee who looked down on the tax collector when I was complaining about others. Was I being like the Pharisee in my frustration? I think I was. I’m glad I checked myself  (well God did) and with that, I looked up more scripture about judging and criticizing others which are listed below. Bottom line, is that the law is for me to obey, not to use it to judge ( criticize, complain) others. I am not God, only He is the judge. It was quite freeing and none of what bothered me before bothers me now. I really don’t know what people are going through and I don’t want to destroy the gift of Joy God has put in my heart with a weed of bitterness. (having joy is much more fun!)

Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
    Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
 Those who refuse to gossip
    or harm their neighbors
    or speak evil of their friends Ps 15:1-4

Scripture from Matthew 7:2-6, James 4:11-12, Romans 2:1-4, Romans 12

Don’t Judge others, don’t criticize others and  don’t speak evil of others. You will be treated as you treat others, if you judge others, you will be judged; the same standard you use to judge will be used against you. If you judge others for doing these things, you cannot avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things. When you judge others, you are actually condemning yourself, for you do these very things and we know that God, in His justice, will punish anyone who does such things.

As we look at others in judgment and condemnation, complaining about them, thinking we can condemn such people, we need to realize that we are just as bad, and have no excuse. We worry about the speck in a friends eye, and haven’t checked ourselves for the log in our own eye. Don’t be a hypocrite! Get rid of the log in your own eye, so you can see well enough to deal with the speck in your friends eye.

When you criticize others, you are criticizing God’s law. That’s not your job, God is the judge. Your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether or not it applies to you. Remember that is its God alone who has the power to save or destroy. I think what God is saying here is “Hey! you are not God, so don’t act like it. You are not God”

  Scripture tells us to consider ourselves and the big sin God can see in our heart before we confront someone else with an obviously smaller sin than we have hidden within us and right after these instructions, it says not to waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs, they will trample you and attack you. So first we’re told to check ourselves and then maybe or maybe not deal with the other person and do so with Godly discernment which may mean keeping quiet.

 Well then, I stand corrected. If someone is what I consider rude, I’ll say as my young niece says : ” Who matters, who cares” (say it with a Jersey shake and a New York accent for the full effect)

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:1-4

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:14-18

Remember the importance of forgiveness

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. Isaiah 65:17 (Importance of a new mindset)

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This is an interesting verse settled in among the writings of Isaiah. It’s in the 2nd to last chapters of his book.  The book of Isaiah talks about Judah and the surrounding countries at the time, it also is about a future redeemer- a suffering servant and also a victorious warrior. Isaiah speaks of times past, times to come and times to come again. It’s like the verse in Revelation “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”. (Rev 1:8)

Christ was, Christ is and Christ is still to come.

In the future, there will be a time of the new heavens and new earth ( that are being prepared presently) when the worries and cares of your present life won’t be remembered. I could spend a lot of time wondering about this, why? how? This verse speaks of a time still to come.

Reading through the book of Isaiah, the reader understands that some prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ Jesus, and there are still other prophecies that have not passed yet, but soon will. I don’t want to get off track, but here’s some examples if your interested :

Still to come :

  1. You shall be called by a new name Is 62:2b (rev 2:17, 3:12)
  2. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+51%3A6&version=NKJV
  3. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+49%3A11-12&version=NKJV
  4. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+66%3A15-18&version=NKJV
  5. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+63%3A1-5&version=NKJV
  6. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+60%3A18&version=NKJV
  7. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+34%3A4&version=NKJV

Fulfilled in Christ :

  1. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+52%3A13-15&version=NKJV
  2. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+42%3A1-4&version=NKJV
  3. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+53&version=NKJV
  4. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+11%3A10&version=NKJV

There’s much more, and some leave the reader wondering… for example, verses about darkness over the whole land. That happened at Christ’s death and will also happen again according to the book of revelation. (6th seal and 4th trumpet in Revelation)

Back to my main subject….in looking at the verse titled above, “And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” I wondered why would God want to remove our remembrance of this life?  To me, it seems puzzling. The former things, the days we are in right now as you read this will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. This has not happened yet but it will happen. Why? I believe it is to renew us, the things of this life can heavily weigh us down, sins, hurts, life circumstances, even some things we don’t realize. We will enter into this new Kingdom with a brand new cleansed mindset. Will we remember people? maybe, I think so but I don’t know the answer to that , but this life won’t be remembered. Two things I ponder here – Were our spirit’s /soul’s with the Lord before our birth and that memory wiped out? also this shows us the IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A NEW MINDSET. God wants us to have a right mindset.

   Our mindset/ thought’s are often spoken of in God’s word. We are told to continually renew ourselves and the way to do that is through God’s Word. We are instructed to consider our thoughts, take wrong thoughts captive, make sure you are thinking and meditating on the right things- (not ideas of this world and pagan ideologies)  How is this renewing accomplished? We are renewed with 1) obedience, to Christ, 2) knowledge – , God’s knowledge, that is the Word of God. 3) refusing to go along with the way the world things 4) putting off your old lusts and sins 5) living in righteousness and holiness 6) Checking your thought life

5 verses on RENEWING YOUR MIND :

1-And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.Romans 12:2

 2-But you have not so learned Christ,  if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:  that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,  and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness Eph 4:23-24

3- Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. PHil 4:8

4-casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ 2 cor 10:5

5 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,  and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, Col 3:8

Not only do we need to study and obey God’s word along with watching our thought life, but its also important to stay away from sin and anything that could potentially drag you down and into past sins. (Isaiah 5:18) That includes the friends you have (Ps 1) , the shows you watch, the music you entertain yourself with. (It is better to listen to the sharp words of a wise man than to listen to the song of fools.Eccl 7:5) I can’t find it, maybe its in another version that what I’m using (I use NLT and NKJV) but there was a verse that I remember where God was saying the people sit around and listen and entertain themselves with idle, worthless music. And you might be wondering, what’s the big deal?
Well, King Solomon explains:  

Keep your heart with all diligence, ( Guard your heart above all else)
For out of it spring the issues of life. ( for it determines the course of your life)
 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, ( avoid perverse and corrupt speech)
And put perverse lips far from you.
 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.
 Ponder the path of your feet, ( stay on the safe path)
And let all your ways be established.
 Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.Prov 4:23-27

What we see,  what we hear, where we go, what we do goes into our heart and it comes out in issues of our life. Your heart is like a spring and there are branches out of this into your life. I wrote a post on this a while ago describing the heart. It’s both a spring like of water and there is also, among believers, the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Back to my subject… former things won’t be remembered, it’s important to renew your mind and with that, I want to share  a vision, I was part awake and then I woke up and I could see the vision continuing, which may further explain what will happen to us in the end time – being completely renewed ( not remembering all the dirt , sorrows, pains and hard times of life) and also I sometimes think this is how we were originally created in the beginning….

A dream and vision of a garment of brilliant light  ; early in the morning, I was waking up out of a very different dream. It seemed there had been an innumerable amount of time and hours spent searching through my entire life- an exhaustive study- you could say of me. Things were being taken out of my life- every bad thing I had ever done and said, along with every wrong or bad thing that had happened to me.  All of this was being taken out of me and put in a canister that was being held by an angel. There was much- intense study- searching back to my early childhood. I stood there as my life was being cleaned out – as if they were going in my heart/spirit and cleaning everything out. I was waking up and the dream/ vision still continued as I was awake – watching it all play out before my eyes. They had gone back to my toddler days- every hurt was being taken out of me, things I didn’t even realize were there. Times when I had sinned, hurt others, moments of sadness, times when others hurt me. They didn’t stop until every wrong, every hurt, every evil was gone. It was amazing to think that even as a small child, there were things that I didn’t even know were there. They were taking out all the times I had been hurt or hard times I had suffered- even back to my toddler and childhood days. It was amazing.. This was no short event, it seemed to go on forever, but as I watched, and I was awake fully now, I could see a bright light around and on me, I could see myself standing up with my arms out as my life was searched and cleaned out.(At this point I am fully awake and watching this)  I looked at the canister and it was almost full and I turned to see myself, I looked- and in amazement I had turned into this brilliant shining white light. My arms, my clothes were like a bright white shining light. I could see myself on a brilliant white step and there I was- a brilliant shining white light. I was changed and transformed. I wonder if this is what will happen when the Lord changes us when He returns again! It was amazing.

Be Dressed and Ready, with your lights burning – Our Garments  in the unseen world

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51 & 19

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

This is so important to the Lord, not only will He cleanse us in the future, but He instructs us to be continually renewed in our minds and hearts while on this earth. Make renewing your mind in Christ a part of your everyday life.

Create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Show us the old paths, the right way to go,we will
not turn to the left or right but set our face like flint toward you. Watch over us, O Lord, guide in the way to go
cleanse our hearts and make us acceptable before you.
In the precious name of Jesus,

Christos Anesti, Aléthos Anesti Which is Greek for : “Christ is Risen!” And we reply “Indeed He Has! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

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In the Greek tradition, we crack eggs each Easter. One person says “Christ is Risen” and the other says “Indeed He has” and we smash eggs. (Its a fun time for the family and each year there is a winner- the one with the unsmashed egg wins, usually my brother wins and I always accuse him of cheating- it’s never ending) Legend has it that eggs were brought to the tomb by Mary that special morning.The eggs are dyed red in remembrance of the blood of Jesus, the shell represents the tomb that couldn’t hold Him, the smash of the egg is in remembrance of what Jesus did to the power of the grave by disarming the powers and authorities, making a public spectacle of our enemies. Amen!

Disclaimer: This is what I imagine and also what I’ve seen  along with scripture on the death, burial and resurrection of our Blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A great heavenly host of angels, the prophets, the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Archangel Gabriel and all of Heavens armies, the entire host of heaven surrounded the cross at that moment. They had  watched as the Son of God as He was tried and beaten throughout the night, they watched as He carried the cross, beaten and bruised. The entire heavens stood silent as He was nailed to the cross. A great silence and stillness covered the heavens as tears slipped down their faces, their fury held back as they watched the Savior suffer in utter torment. Abraham watching his children spit and strike the Lord, the angels wanting desperately to rescue Him, and the prophets of old bowing their heads with broken hearts as they all watched the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Lion of tribe of Judah and the King of kings brutally  nailed to a cross. The Savior of the world in deep abandonment, sorrow, pain and rejection. It was through Him the earth an all creation was made, yet we didn’t recognize Him. He took the punishment we deserved. On the cross for 6 hours and soon the skies became as night. Dark clouds billowed in mid day and darkness covered the land. His friends, disciples, His mother, Joseph of Arimathea and many more stood off at distance on a small hill, they were still in the darkness facing the cross.  After  and after 3 hours of darkness, they heard the Lord cry out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” and then another cry “It is finished!” He bowed his head and released his spirit. It was done. He died,  the earth quaked, the graves opened, the dead came back and were seen among the living, The soldiers gasped in fear and exclaimed ” Truly, this was the Son of God!”. The thick veil in the temple tore in two as the earth shaking, sky pitch black darkness, fear in every heart, walls crumbling, dead digging their way out…… and the proclamation echoed out:

“See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. FOR HE  will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence! For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about. And because of his experience, ” My righteous servant has made it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he has borne all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death.” He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. He has opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. Amen!
               He has made the people holy by the blood He shed, He has now become our High Priest. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. He mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. ”

As He released His spirit, He was taken up into the arms of the heavenly host who quickly gathered around Him and held Him with great love, comforting Him.

Now an honorable man, Joseph of Arimathea, took the body of Jesus down with the help of Roman soldiers, Nicodemus  and a few others. It was still dark as they took down His body. I could see them releasing HIs feet first, then His hands, His body slumped over on Joseph as they came in to prepare His body.  He was wrapped in white linen , placed in a wooden box like a casket with no top so they could properly carry Him. It was still dark and there were about 6 men carried the Lord to a place Joseph had prepared for Him. Guards were set over His grave so no one could claim that He would rise again as He had told His disciples, yet on the third day, another great earthquake shook the ground, a mighty angel came down and rolled the stone away and sat on it. The guards shook with fear and fell into a dead faint. The angel told the women ” Jesus is not here! He is risen from the dead!

He had risen, but He had not yet ascended to the Father.  He told the disciples not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father. Remember what Jesus said- the only sign given to them would be the sign of Jonah, just as he was in the belly of the whale for 3 days and 3 nights so the Son of Man will be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.  Moses and Elijah were there to witness, they had met Jesus before hand at the Mount of transfiguration to discuss what was to come. Jesus had a mission….

At His death, He disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of our enemies in high places! For He, our redeemer, triumphed over them by the cross.

Remember Jesus’ words in Mathew 12 and Luke 4 :

  For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. “This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah.  What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God…….

 When you ascended to the heights, you led a crowd of captives. You received gifts from the people, even from those who rebelled against you. Now the Lord God will live among us there. Psalm 68:18

However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people. Eph 4:7-8

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit 1 Peter 4:6

 Who shall descend into the deep(go down to the abyss)?   Roman 10

So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—  those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 3:19-21

Jesus had risen from the dead, but had not ascended to the Father, so where was He for the 3 days? In 1 Peter, we are told He preached to the spirits in prison- the people from long ago who died in the flood of Noah’s day.  When did He do this? based on Matthew 12 and 4, I believe this happened while He was in “the heart of the earth for three days and three nights”. What I find so amazing about this- whether it happened at this moment or not- it did happen, is that God, after 4000-5000 years, he still deeply cared for all those souls who perished in the flood. He wanted to make a way for not only us today and all those after Christ, but also a way for all those who had died since the beginning of our time.

knowing this, I can imagine it now, I can see it as it’s happening:
   There He is, Jesus Christ, Savior of the World, given ALL AUTHORITY  in Heaven and Earth from God the Father. He is holding the keys to Hades. He enters in the heart of the earth,  the dark abyss with a mighty angelic force behind Him. Entering into the gates of Hell Proclaiming freedom every captive “ You have been set free! I have come to save You! Your Father in Heaven has sent for you!” His voice like thunder echoing throughout for every man and woman to hear. Teaching and preaching to them the Good News. He walked through the gates of Hell and throughout the pit of Hell, making sure He spoke to everyone who had ever been created, gathering as many as He could. Demons surrounding Him silenced in His Power unable to speak and filled with weakness, trembling in His presence. The Savior, full of power and authority continued showing the captives His hands and feet, showing everyone what our Savior had done so they could be set free. Many called out to Him, grabbing on to Him, following and believing, but yet others – in anger like the Pharisees, mocked Him and treated Him as the people of the world had treated Him. Just as the Pharisees knew He was God and choose to reject Him for their own pride, status and evil hearts, so some of the people in heart of death also treated Him.

     So the Lord Jesus took His captives to freedom as they He gathered them into the Heavens, out of the pit of torment and dread that was supposed to be eternal for each one of them. As they reached the Great Throne room before the Lord God Almighty, the Lord’s heart leaped for joy to see His children. He gave each one a Great Embrace as is they were the only child of the Father- telling them- “ My Child, I have always loved you with an everlasting love. Since the very beginning, even those of you who died in the flood during the days of Noah, I have never forgotten you. You have never left my mind. I am filled with Joy that you are here with me. I have a place prepared for you.” ( God never forgets you)

Jesus came back to earth to see and talk to His friends giving them instructions and proving that He is the Son of the Living God many times after His resurrection. Today,  He sits today at the right hand of God the Father. The heavens, the freed captives, and the angelic host filled the heavens with great Praises to the King of Kings and they have never stopped – even unto this day- I can still hear them sing praises to the new born king, Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, Christ was born in Bethlehem -the praises to Him ring forth forever and ever.
Amen and Glory Hallelujah! Our King is Risen.

As we say each Easter in celebration of Christ and God’s love for us :“Christos Anesti” and we continue to reply “Aléthos Anesti “ Which means : “Christ is Risen!” And we reply “Indeed He Has! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

Wont you join Him? There’s a place for you before His mighty throne, as space made before Him just for you – yes,  for you as if you were His only child.

Who has believed our message?
To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?
 My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot,like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the LORD laid on him
the sins of us all.
 He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
 Unjustly condemned,he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
 He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels

You are saved by grace? or works? or faith? or fruit? Can Grace save you?

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I had a dream and in this dream, I stood before a great king. He seemed larger than life and he sat on a great throne. It seemed I was only 1/3 of his height. We were going back in forth in debate- well only I was debating- on the subject of salvation, but the king only had one answer and would defeat my argument each time.

My Dream:

I walked into a room and there was a great king on a large throne and between us seemed to be desk. I stood and argued that it was not possible to be saved by grace alone. I argued with all the scripture I knew and the king would reply each time “No, it is only by grace that you are saved”

What! That can’t be, I would argue back. The bible is clear that we are not saved unless we believe and even that isn’t enough, because scripture says that even the devils believe, and with this that we need works, because the bible says with out works, our faith is dead. So we need to believe, but we need to add to that faith, but yet, still that is not good enough, we need works – because scripture says that.

The king would gently reply: “It is only by grace that you are saved”

Really? I argued back, so how does that make sense? What about John 3:16?So I guess everybody’s saved, if it’s only grace? But what about those who don’t believe in Christ? Are they saved only by grace because what good is believing, faith and works then? Do they all disappear? What about Hebrews 11:6- We can’t please God without faith and Romans 1:5 and 16:26 we need to believe and OBEY, and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing and he cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit- so that proves we need works; and works without love is worthless, so now we need works, love, faith, and fruit to be saved!!!!!!

“ No, it is only by grace that you are saved” He kept saying to me. I was totally annoyed because I didn’t feel like I was winning this argument. The king would look at me with the most loving eyes and let me finish each thing I said before he spoke. He seemed to look at me as a loving father would, even in my frustration – he would calmly tilt his head back touching the back of his throne with his head and smile as if I were quite entertaining. He never got angry and always looked at me with loving eyes, even though I was mouthing off and flying my hands all over the place with my argument.

Each time I would finish my argument, he would pause…. Smile at me and say – in a ‘he was so right way’ – “it is only by grace that you are saved”.

And I kept on: Well why do I need to keep running the race? Aren’t I supposed to win the prize? I keep running as it says in 1 Corinthians 9, and what about faith- what good are we without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – His death and resurrection? 1 tim 1:9 and all the old testament great men were honored because of their faith – like Abraham- because of their faith- in Hebrews 11” And Romans 3 says we are made right with God because of our faith, not obedience. Doesn’t faith justify us in Gal 2:16 and Romans 5:1? So it’s not grace – impossible– Salvation is belief in Jesus, plus works, plus faith, plus love, plus fruit – because without that….aren’t we chopped off that vine?

The King loving and calmly replied (as he smiled at me)  “Lisa, it is only by grace that you are saved”

No, I said, you are wrong- impossible. I know all the scripture and I know I’m right. I saw him look at me, enjoying this conversation. He knew he was right and he knew my argument wasn’t standing up to his. So I continued on…..okay, well what about this verse: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” where does grace fit in there? Doesn’t that verse prove we are saved or not saved by our actions? And see! Look at Romans 4” But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” So here we go with rock, paper, scissors! It’s faith, and not works? But still – it’s faith in God, right? So now it’s just faith, but wait Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).- so faith and belief are different? Anyways- how can God’s grace alone save us? I know God’s grace is important, but I know we are saved because we believe, and even that is not enough! Because even the devils believe, and we must add to that faith because without faith we cannot please God and to that we must add works because faith is shown in works, and to that we must add love because works without love is nothing and to that we add fruit, because without that we are cut off from the vine, and there you have it, I win.

He leaned over to me, and I really think he had a sparkle in his eye, patiently smiling, making sure I was done and said

It is only by grace, that you are saved.

The argument went on and on through the night. I kept quoting scripture, but the king kept winning the argument with his reply “You are saved by grace” ,Uggghhhhhh! I woke up and I still felt like I had not won this argument.

What exactly is Grace?

This dream prompted me to intensely study Grace and what I have found is truly amazing.  I think I have found some great discoveries as I study Grace. As I put all the scriptures together to define grace, I have found an interesting possible link between grace and the Holy Spirit. The definition of grace almost exactly matches the Holy Spirit, but that will have to be another post, for now, I just hope to have you thinking. As the Holy Spirit has sealed us for the day of redemption, could also God’s grace do the same? Is Gods grace the underlying denominator to faith, works, belief, love, and fruit?

As I study further, the analogy I imagine, I see it as a train on tracks. I am the train, the Holy Spirit is the force that moves me and leads me along the track which is Grace. You see, I am always in Grace, on God’s path sealed and led by the Holy Spirit – keeping myself and flesh in check not to go off those tracks – just my thoughts…..

   I studied Acts a few months ago in order to gather all he said to the people about Salvation in Christ Jesus and I came up with these 7 things:


3-TURN BACK TO GOD- He wants you to SEEK HIM

As I considered all this I suddenly thought:

It is by grace that  1- I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ
It is by grace that  2- He forgives me when I confess my sins and repent
It is by grace that  3- He calls me to seek Him
It is by grace that 4- He washes away my sins through baptism
It is by grace that  5-He continues to work in me, leading, guiding and teaching me to be Holy like He is holy
It is by grace that   6- He gives me His Word to teach me how to live
It is by grace that  7- He gives me discernment and knowledge to know right from wrong.

And this verse was brought to my remembrance : “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9

I’m still not done studying, but I keep on…I keep on….

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves

Ephesians 2:8