Christ's Words "Count"

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Some claim we can make Jesus our Savior without making Him our Lord. These words of Jesus deny such an option.

Most people in modern culture think they are too "good" to go to Hell. That's one reason universal salvation has become an increasingly popular belief, even among Christians.

In addition, some Christians claim that repentance, sanctification, and discipleship are not a necessary part of salvation.

Of course, they don't have a biblical leg to stand on. Scripture makes it clear that no one can genuinely believe in Christ without repenting of their sins that nailed Him to the cross and then seeking to obey Him (John 14:21).

Genuine faith in Christ is nothing less than a life commitment.

In Luke 14:25-34, Jesus says "count the cost... those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples."  

This doesn't mean God will ask us to give up everything. It means we must be willing to do whatever He asks of us (Matthew 19:29). He died for us so that we can live for Him (2 Corinthians 5:15).

There will always be people who think God's wonderful grace is a license to sin. That was a problem in the early church, and Paul addressed it in Romans 6:

"Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2)

If someone thinks they can come to the Lord without repentance and continue to live an ungodly lifestyle, refer them to 1 John 3:6. If they think they can repent but give up nothing for the Lord, refer them to 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.

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If you'd like to explore this question a few more minutes, check out my Bite Size Bible Study HERE. It includes all of the Scriptures and can be done on your computer or iPhone or easily downloaded.

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Bible Love Notes

Letting God Complete the Work in Us

Why do some Christians mature? They understand this important Spiritual truth about God!

Philippians 1:6 explains the most wonderful promise: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 138:8 says it a bit differently: “The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.”  

When we understand these wonderful promises and the love of God behind them, we grow in our faith because we choose to:

1. Purify our lives, getting rid of things that “contaminate” us (2 Corinthians 7:1).

2. Take our faith seriously so God can change us from the inside out (Philippians 2:12-13). 

3. Stand firm and give ourselves fully to the Lord’s purposes, knowing that our “labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). 

If we aren't maturing in our faith, we can be sure it's because we don't understand the wonderful love and promises of our Lord.

Note:

1 Corinthians 3 tells us that some Christians remain babies because they choose to be worldly, putting their confidence in men instead of God.  

For some encouragement in Christian growth see Ideas for Improving our Well-Being.

Why do some Christians mature? They understand this important Spiritual truth about God!

Bible Love Notes

More Than Prayer

Prayer often leads to action. This devotion encourages us to discern when we need to do more than pray.

It's good to know the 3 Results of Prayer so we can respond biblically.

Sometimes God tells us to persevere in prayer because there’s nothing more we can do in a situation. Sometimes God tells us to “wait” constructively for His next purpose. 

But some prayers lead naturally to actions. For example, when we pray about relationship problems, sin problems, or new opportunities from God.

If it’s a relationship problem, our prayers should lead us to forgiveness, repentance, acts of kindness, open discussions, consideration, returning good for evil, doing our best to bring peace. If the other person shuts down and refuses to work on the problems, we revert to prayer alone, but not before that point (Matthew 5:23-24; Romans 12:9-21).(1)

If we have a sin problem, we need to repent to God and to anyone else we’ve offended and right whatever wrongs we can (Acts 26:20; Romans 13:7-8).(2)

If God has a new purpose for us or if God is asking us to help others, we need to get busy! There is a time to pray and a time to act (Ecclesiastes 3:1).(3) 

๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”

(1) The Bible Love Notes collections on Relationships, Honoring Parents, or Marriage may offer some help.

(2) When we damage something, lie, or neglect a responsibility, we should do whatever is necessary to prove our repentance and make restitution if possible. If it's an ongoing sin problem, we need to seek accountability, avoid temptations, memorize Scripture related to our problem, and do whatever it takes to turn from our sin. See: A Practical Method for Overcoming Sin, Confession is Good for the Soul, and 6 Characteristics of Sincere Repentance.

(3)  When there are things we should do and we fail to do them, we are using prayer as "mere talk" (1 Corinthians 4:20). See The Prayer Excuse, Romans 12:6-8, 1 John 3:16-18, and James 2:15-18. For encouragement in a new venture see All Things in Christ's Strength and Secret Strength.

Prayer often leads to action. This devotion encourages us to discern when we need to do more than pray.

 
Bible Love Notes

Waiting Constructively

Sometimes when we pray, God tells us to wait. This devotion explains how we can wait "constructively."

It's good to know the 3 Results of Prayer so we can respond biblically.

If we pray and God tells us to wait, we need to make sure we’re “waiting constructively.” 

When my husband retired from the Army, we felt the Lord wanted to send us to the foreign mission field. We thought we’d go immediately, but God directed us to wait. 

During the next ten years, my husband and I gained tremendous work, ministry, and educational experiences. When God directed us to go, we could see how He'd uniquely prepared us for specific tasks for our five years of ministry in Budapest, Hungary. 

But those ten years of preparation were part of His purposes just as much as our five years overseas were (Ephesians 2:10). 

Christians are never standing still. We are either moving forward or backward. The process is every bit as important as the fulfilled goals. 

When God tells us to do something, we need to do it without hesitation! When God tells us to wait, we need to wait constructively. 

In some ways, we are always “waiting” for the next step in life whether graduation from school, marriage, a job, a home, a promotion, a job change, a move, children, grandchildren, retirement, etc.

So take some time today and ask God how you can wait “constructively” for the next step in your life.

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Additional Notes

While we wait, in order to prepare ourselves for our future purposes: 

1. We can deal deliberately with our sins

2 Timothy 2:20-21: "In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work." 

See A Practical Way to Deal with Specific Sins.

2. We can renew our minds in God’s Word

Romans 12:1-2: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

See Brainwashing Can Be Good.

3. We can prepare our minds “for action,” developing self-control and other godly characteristics.

1 Peter 1:13: "So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world."

See Self-Control in an Out-of-Control World.


Sometimes when we pray, God tells us to wait. This devotion explains how we can wait "constructively."


Bible Love Notes

“Only” Prayer

This 1-minute devotion explains the importance of prayer when there's nothing else you can do!

It's good to know the 3 Results of Prayer so we can respond biblically.

Prayer is significant, important, critical, and powerful. It should be the thing we do first, last, and always.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Sometimes our prayers lead us to “wait constructively” or take some action. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do but pray and keep praying. 

Perhaps an unsaved loved one refuses to listen when we share Christ, or a friend cuts off contact with us even though we’ve tried our best to reconcile, or God prompts us to pray for national and world events beyond our control (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Sometimes the best thing we can do is pray and keep praying. So let's be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.Romans 12:12

As Jesus taught in Luke 18:1, “Always pray and never give up.”(1)

๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”๐ŸŽ”

Here are some helpful resources for persevering in prayer.

If you are on Pinterest, you might want to pin these resources so you can easily access them. You can also bookmark them on your phone or computer.

1. When we don’t know what to pray:

Passages and Prayers  

6 Good Prayers from the Epistles  

10 Good Prayers from the Psalms

2. When we need helpful reminders:

Every Time I Drink a Glass of Iced Tea

3. When we want to pray more effectively


(1) See the full passage Luke 18:1-8

This 1-minute devotion explains the importance of prayer when there's nothing else you can do!

Bible Love Notes