Lion And Lamb

* image source: google.com/images

Great or Small – Haiku

 

*image source: google.com/images

Eternal King

*image source: google.com/images

Glorious Mother

image source: dreamworlds.ru

Oh

Glorious Mother

of our Lord

On

this day

be not ignored

But

rather as 

one also adored

For

the Child

you did afford!

Teresa Marie  12/25/11 © 

 

 

Today’s Sermon From The Ranch – Believing In Your Heart

(This Day’s Thought is pleased to bring you Eric Elder’s new sermon series, “Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind.”)


The Ranch: A Place of Healing and Restoration


Believing In Your Heart

Lesson 22 from Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind

By Eric Elder
www.theranch.org

 

There were once five frogs on a log.  One of them decided to jump off.  How many frogs do you think were still on the log?  … Four?  … None?  … Nope.  All five.  One of them just decided to jump off.

There’s a difference between deciding to do something and doing it.  There’s a difference between believing in something in your mind and moving that belief deep down into your heart so that it can take root and spring into action.    

Throughout this study of the book of Romans, we’ve been looking at ways to renew your mind, and the difference that can make in your life.  But if all you do is focus on your mind and never move what you’ve learned down into your heart so they can be put into action, then all of this will just be an intellectual exercise.  

God wants you to do both:  He wants you to renew your mind and believe what you’ve learned in your heart so that it can make a difference in your life.

In Romans chapter 10, Paul tells the Romans what it takes for someone to be saved.  He says: 

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

This is one of the greatest statements of faith found in the whole Bible.  If you can say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, your saying that that no one else is, not even yourself.  And when you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you’re saying that you believe in the resurrection, and that one day you’ll be raised from the dead, too, if you’ve put your faith in Christ.  

This sums up two of the most important ideas of what it means to be a follower of Christ:  that Jesus is both your Lord and Savior.

Many people want a Savior—someone to save them from their sins.  But not everyone wants a Lord, someone who calls the shots in their lives.  But the truth is, it’s awesome to have Jesus as both Lord and Savior.  Why?  Because when He’s your Savior, he’ll save you from your sins.  And when He’s your Lord, He’ll put you on a path that keeps you from having to be saved from quite so much!

When I saw at age 24 where I was headed in life, I realized that it would have been better if I had let Jesus call the shots instead of me.  I asked Jesus to be my Savior—to forgive me of my sins—and also to be my Lord—taking control of my life from that point on.  Now that I’m 48, I can say that this second half of my life so far has been significantly better than the first half (and I loved the first half, too!  But I just didn’t realize how much trouble I was causing for myself and others along the way!) 

Now I now have a purpose for my life that propels me forward, and I have Someone to go with me along the way, guiding and directing me so I can make the most of the time I have here on earth.

How does this apply to you?  Have come to the place in your life where you’ve confessed with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead?  If so, that’s the best decision you could have ever made in your life and it’s the starting point for your life with Christ.  But it doesn’t end there.  God wants you to follow through on that decision and take a leap of faith, jumping off the log and jumping into His full-blown plan for your life.

I know a young man who has put his faith in Christ and is theologically brilliant.  He’s well-versed in Scripture and has sound doctrine.  But he’s recently started dating a non-Christian girl, going against God’s stated desire for him in his life.  As it says in the Bible:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

Like King Solomon, he’s going to find out some day that all the wisdom in the world is worthless if you don’t put it into practice.  King Solomon was, as the Bible declares, the wisest man who has ever lived.  Yet he didn’t put that wisdom into practice in his relationships, going against God’s clear warning to the Israelites about not taking wives from those that didn’t believe in Him.  God said:

“You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods” (1 Kings 11:2).

That’s exactly what happened:  those wives led Solomon astray.  Wisdom is only valuable if you move it from head knowledge to believing it deep down into your heart and putting it into practice.  

Someone in this situation might think:  “But I could lead this person to Christ, and God wants me to lead people to Christ, doesn’t He?”  Yes, that’s right.  But if it means violating one of God’s other pieces of wisdom along the way, then it’s more likely to do harm than good.  God wants you to follow His plan for your life in all areas, not just the ones that appeal to you.

I know men who are in love with other men.  They compare their relationships to the close friendship that Jonathan had with David.  They say that God wants them to have close male friendships.  And on that point I agree:  God does want them to have close male friendships.  But then God draws a line—as He does with all relationships outside a husband and wife committed for life—warning that if you become involved with anyone else romantically and physically,  you’ll end up needing saving yet again at some point. 

 Jesus is glad to be your Savior, but as I said before, if you’ll let Him be your Lord, too, you won’t need saving quite so much!  

Maybe the area you need a Lord today is in your finances.  Maybe you need Someone to help you know what to spend and on what to spend it.  Look in the Bible and you’ll find your answers.  God has great wisdom regarding finances, whether it’s saving or spending or giving your money away.  Wisdom like:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

But you’ll have to put that wisdom into practice so that can make good and godly decisions.

Maybe the area you need a Lord today is in your health.  Maybe you need Someone to help you know what to eat and what to drink and how to take care of your body.  Again, look in the Bible and you’ll find your answers, like this:

“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive (1 Corinthians 10:23).

You can justify almost anything, but that doesn’t mean everything is equally good for you!  Look closely at God’s Word for your answers and then put it into practice.  

Maybe the area you need a Lord today is in your relationships.  Maybe you need Someone to help you know how to act and react to those around you.  The Bible contains a wealth of wisdom on this topic, too, like anger and forgiveness and love.  Wisdom like:

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Applying a verse like this to your life could bring more healing and wholeness to your relationships than you could ever achieve by any other approach.

I’m sure you’re getting the idea.  God loves you incredibly much.  And He’s glad to save you from those things that plague you in your life.  But if you’ll let Him be your Lord, too, and not just your Savior, you won’t need saving quite so much.

If you’ve never put your faith in Christ, I’d encourage you to do it today.  Confess with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you’ll be saved.  

If you have put your faith in Christ, I’d encourage you to follow through on that decision.  Keep digging into God’s word and finding out what He wants you to do with your life and do it.  Keep believe in your heart that Jesus is both your Lord and Savior.  

Will you pray with me?

Father, thank You for being so interested in our lives that You’re willing to be both our Lord and Savior, saving us from our sins and guiding us into godly living.  Help us to make wise decisions to follow You in every area of our lives, and to follow-through on those decisions and put them into practice in our lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

InspiringBooks.comP.S. If you need some additional resources to help you dig into God’s word, I’d encourage you go through a few of the Bible studies that we’ve created to help you do just that. I’ve written several on various topics, filled with stories from the Bible and stories from people living today who have put God’s word into practice in their lives. These books also make great gifts to help your friends and family grow in their faith, so I’d encourage you to get a few and pass them around. Here’s a link where you can learn more about each of the books:
http://www.inspiringbooks.com

 

Questions for Reflection
1. Read Romans 10:1-13.  What was Paul’s heart’s desire for the Israelites?  Why did he say in verses 2-4 that they were not able to receive it?
2. What can you do in your life to keep from being like the Israelites Paul mentioned?
3. Why does it seem to be important to both confess with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead?
4.  If you’ve never put your faith in Christ, are you ready to do it today?  And if you’ve already put your faith in Christ, how are you doing at following through on that decision in your life?

To read more from this series, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind, please visit:
The Romans Study

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Fear No Evil

I’ll fear no evil
that waits for me

For child of God
I will always be

 Though the devil lurks
for his latest prey

My most precious Savior
I will not betray

If I feel evil
that is around me

I bow my head
and peace I see

For my Guardian angel
is always right there

To reasure me that
I’m in His care

Here in this world
no evil I fear

When in the next
it cannot come near!

Teresa Marie  10/6/11

 

Staring At The Moon

As at the moon I stare
I wonder is God there?

When life is so unfair
I question does God care?

With sin around us everywhere
does He have grace to spare?

When my faith I declare
should I these questions share?

Fear lead me not into despair
let not doubt my soul ensnare

God my love do I swear
from all sin my soul repair

‘Cause I know You’re truly there
for I can see You everywhere!

Teresa Marie   9/16/11

 

Good Out Of Evil

 

God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.

Augustine of Hippo

 Because God has judged it
to be much better when
His purpose we don’t get
at the time it may happen

That evil comes upon you
to bring a greater good
and His grace seems untrue
but you have misunderstood

For if you’ve suffered not
that you may just exist
lessons learned will be forgot
when no evils you resist

As the devil then attacks
to steal your soul away
the strength in you lacks
on His path to stay

So next time just remember
the evil that came unto
the Man born in December
Who gave His life for you

And there is no suffering
in the life you live here
 unto you that will ever bring
that of our Savior dear!

Teresa Marie   6/15/11
 

In The Blood

It is in the blood
that you find His power

      which is there for you
      at any minute of the hour.

                   And when the enemy sends
                   his demons out from hell

                         to prey upon your soul
                         and in your house to dwell,

                                      if you call upon Him
                                      on this you can rely

                                            His blood was shed for you
                                            the day that Jesus die.

                                                         So it is by His stripes
                                                         that our disease is healed

                                                               and it’s by His blood
                                                               that our salvation’s sealed.

He gave you this weapon
to use it as your sword

      when you go into battle
      with the devil’s demon horde!

                   By the power of our Savior
                   they must bow down to you

                          and then obey immediately
                          what you order them to do.

                                       So when you’re in a battle,
                                       then this is how it’s won –

                                             “Through the blood of Jesus Christ
                                              I order that you be gone!”

Teresa Marie   1/22/11