Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January Blog Chain

Welcome to January 2012 edition of Christian Writers Blog Chain. Our theme this month is "Quest" For the most part life is a quest. We are always seeking something whether it is  some type of resolution of change or perhaps something less grand than the meaning of life. My personal quest began a few months ago when I discovered that I am not using all the benefits of being a Christian with unlimited access to the throne of grace. I've entitled my post "Finding Grace"  I hope that you'll benefit from my discoveries. Please check out other posts from our talented team of writers on the chain. Their links are listed on the right side bar. May God bless you on your personal quest!

Finding Grace

We are taught in scripture that all we need is found in God's grace, but more often than not we find ourselves begging God for the things we need in prayer. Sometimes we look to other people to learn the secret. Sometimes we try to earn the favor of God by our actions, but we know something is out of balance.

I've spent the last couple months meditating on three familiar scriptures: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall have everlasting life” and John 10:10 “Jesus said,” The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come so that you will have life to the full” finally Hebrews 11:1 “ What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we can not yet see” These three scriptures are stand alone scriptures, no other definition is necessary,

The Lord has been so gracious to us, that although things in the physical world are amiss, because of  the sinful nature of man, His word gives us many assurances of the truth and how we can find balance. Some question God's goodness or His power when their needs are not met, but in meditating on these scriptures, I've discovered an eternal truth. God is good and His love endures forever. He provided all we could ever need BEFORE we had a need.

In the beginning He created light (Genesis 1:3) three days before the universe we know. He created the land, sea, sky, seed-bearing plants and animals before He made the sun. The sun is not the source of life, but God is. This logical progression begins and ends with His power. Everything was prepared for us before we were created, thus proving the forethought and provision of God. So is it so hard to imagine John 3:16?

God's grace is ever present. He never withholds it or changes His mind, our problem is accessing this source. This is where faith comes in. Faith is our response to God's word. It is the amount of trust we have built through spending time with Him. Our experience in faith determines how much of God's grace we access. It was by using a tiny amount of faith, we received salvation and it's by more focus on believing God's word, growing in His love and allowing it to transform our mind (Romans 12:2) that we access His grace more abundantly.

Jesus said, “The thief [Satan] comes to kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10). He steals the truth from those who are seeking, the innocence from those who trust God. He distorts the truth of God's word by deceiving believers that the war is still on and we need to earn salvation. Satan is a master manipulator who thrives on watching Christians misrepresent Jesus.

We have come to believe that our sin still separate us from receiving the Lord's blessing in our lives-that is simply not true, Jesus paid all our sins on the cross, which separated us from God. He is the source of all blessing. It is our unbelief that stops the flow of blessing in our lives. Jesus said “Ask and you shall receive, Knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:8).  “If you ask for anything in my Name you will have it”(John 14:13),''But when you pray, do not doubt that you have received it" (Mark 11;24). “A person who is double-minded can not expect anything from the Lord”(James 1:6-8). We can still sin against each other, which causes separation in our lives, but not from God.

So how do we find and live in balance of God's grace and our faith? First, we need to strip off the trappings of religious thought and renew our minds to the truth of God's Word. We are deeply loved, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Christ Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith! It was the hope we placed in His truth that brought us to His redeeming grace. Second, we need to act in love towards others, remembering we all struggle with the same deceitful enemy.

Becoming grounded in this truth, our faith will grow, allowing us greater access into God's boundless grace that is always available. We will realize we are more than conquerors in this age and how rich we are in spiritual blessings through Jesus. As we grow this way in uncompromised faith, we'll bring greater glory to God and receiving all we need or could hope for.

“ I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13

Copyright©2012 – tathorpe – All Rights Reserved-

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What Year is it Really?

The New Year has come and according to the calendar, it is January 2012, but is it the true year? I am the curious type and enjoy research. I have investigated the history of our current use of time keeping. I wanted to know about the use of A. D. (Anno Domini) and B.C. (Before Christ), including the other recent use of the abbreviation B.C.E. (Before the Common Era).

It's because of Jesus the way time is kept has changed in relationship to him. In 525 A.D., Dionysus Exiguous is credited with the use of Anno Domini, a Latin phrase that means, “In the year of our Lord.” He was a brilliant mathematician who calculated the lunar cycles backwards to come to an approximate year of Jesus birth, being 4 B.C.

Many other ancient peoples would use the epoch method, meaning an era of an event or ruler, to mark time. According to the Hebrew Calendar, the year is 5772, which began September 10, 2011 and will end on September 29, 2012. The Jewish people kept a record of time as prescribed in the Torah. A method described Anno Mundi a Latin phrase which means, “the Year of the World,” with Year 1 being the creation of Adam.

Julius Caesar had a method of recording time, which was named after him in 46 B.C. It used the method most commonly used in our time 12 months of the solar year equating into 365.65 days including a leap year. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII reformed the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, desiring to accurately calculate Easter. Most of the world use the Gregorian calendar today in order to unify business dealings.

I am amazed that my research points back to the book of Genesis. The Lord designed creation in such a way that we have a method of keeping record of time. In Genesis 1:14, “And God said, “Let bright lights appear in the sky to separate the the day from the night. They will be signs to mark off seasons, the days and years.” The Lunar cycles are a dependable source that the ancient peoples as well as modern man still uses the cycles to record time.

With all this research into the marking of time, what did I discover? Something I knew all the time, only God knows the true and accurate date. Is knowing the exact year something that would change our views of the world? Would it make any difference in our relationship with the Lord?Knowing the Lord controls time involves our trust in His wisdom. Events take place at the designated time according to His master plan. It is one of the mysteries of God.

As believers we must trust in His goodness and believe all things happen at the correct time according to His Word. One more reason to invest our trust fully in the Word he has given us.

“For I know the plan I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper not to harm, plans for a hope and a future” Jeremiah 29: 11