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Through Faith… What Does The Bible Say?

Sunday---What-Does-The-Bible-Say-GraceEphesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” 

These were two of the first verses I memorized as a young Christian.  I was eager to share my faith and the truth that we cannot save ourselves through good works was a critical part of the message.  Most of us are familiar with these verses.  And they get thrown around a lot in theological discussions. 

“It’s not by works!  Salvation isn’t by works and sanctification isn’t by works either!  Its’ all grace-it’s not by your works!”

And that’s true, as far as it goes.  But the discussion is often left very incomplete because the very next verse in Ephesians 2 is left out of the passage.  Verse 10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

So we are emphatically not saved BY good works.  But while we’re pontificating on that great truth, let’s not forget another one:  though we’re not saved BY good works, we are most definitely saved FOR good works.

Theologians will argue forever over the part good works play or don’t play in our spiritual growth.  But the undeniable fact is that we are saved for the purpose of doing good works in Christ’s name. 

Take whatever theological stand seems right to you, but at the same time—get to work.

 

 

 

He Was No Side Show ~ Saturday Stories

Saturday-Stories-BullSitting Bull was a famous fighting Indian chief, a great leader of the Sioux nation.

But after many years of warring against the American government, Sitting Bull was finally compelled to yield to superior numbers and surrender. A few years after his people gave up the warpath, he was befriended by Buffalo Bill Cody. Cody had been an army scout and had done his share of fighting against the Indians. But he held no malice toward the red man, and wanted to see him treated with fairness by the government and his rights respected.

A born showman, Cody put together Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, a sort of circus that included mock battles between real Indians and Bluecoat soldiers, stage coach robberies, buffalo hunts and gunfights. Wish I could have been there.

Buffalo Bill prevailed upon the old chief Sitting Bull to be a part of this show, rightly figuring that the famous chief would be a huge attraction for the crowd of Eastern show-goers who delighted in seeing a real live piece of the Wild West. Bill and Bull often traveled together from city to city between shows.

Whenever the train pulled into another town to take on passengers, fuel or water, Cody and the chief would step out onto the platform, address the crowd and shake hands in an attempt to generate interest in their show. Sitting Bull was indeed a huge attraction. People nearly trampled each other to crowd close for a look at the famous fighter. They shouted out offers of large amounts of money for a lock of his hair.

The Chief had experienced enough threats to his scalp to have grown very attached to it, so he politely declined such offers. However, he graciously offered a button off his coat for $5.00. This was a considerable amount of money in those days, but there was no shortage of takers. The Chief sold every button at one stop. As the train pulled away, people who had been disappointed in not having obtained one of the prized souvenirs would gang around the successful buyers and offer them far more than the $5 they had spent for a button. But some miles down the line, another town and another crowd was waiting. These people would want souvenirs too, and they wouldn’t be disappointed.

Because old Chief Sitting Bull was still just as cagey as he had ever been on the warpath.

As the train pulled out of town, he reached into his pocket for several more buttons and began to patiently sew them on his coat for the next crowd.

 

 

Absolutely Pleasing In Every Way! ~ What Does The Bible Say…

Sunday---What-Does-The-Bible-Say-BaptismMatthew 3:17: “and behold, a voice out of the heavens saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Of course the scene here is the baptism of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit has just descended upon Him as a dove and it seems the perfect time for the Father to announce to the world that Jesus is indeed His only begotten son. And that He is pleased with His son.

It was a wonderful and never-to-be repeated occasion. The Son of God has been announced to the world. This is who He is. And the heavenly Father finds Him absolutely pleasing to Him in every way.

It would be well for all of us parents to make such public statements of pleasure about our children. We can be so quick to criticize and condemn—even in public, if we’re not careful.

How many times have our children heard us praise them publicly?

Do they know that we are happy to proclaim to the world: “Hey world! This is my child! He’s a good one! I’m so glad he’s mine!”

What could make them happier?

 

Grace Then Works ~ What Does The Bible Say?

What-Does-the-Bible-Say-Rick-Boyer2Matthew 5:16: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

There are several good points to be taken from this familiar verse. Some point out that the purpose of our good works is to glorify God, not ourselves. Others notice that we’re to let our light shine before men—in other words, don’t be shy about our testimony. But one thing that Read More…

What Does The Bible Say? with Rick Boyer

What-Does-the-Bible-Say-Rick-BoyerPsalm 92:1, 2:  “It is good to give thanks to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your loving kindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night”

An article in the Wall Street Journal health section, published November 23, 2010 had some interesting things to say about thankfulness.  Of course the secular writer didn’t give proper glory to God, but she did quote research showing that a thankful attitude can Read More…

Few Paid A Higher Price ~ SATURDAY STORIES

Saturday-Stories-JailOf all the men who courageously signed the Declaration of Independence, few paid a higher price for their patriotism than Mr. Francis Lewis, a delegate from New York.

His sufferings began early in the War of Independence. In the fall of 1776, British Colonel Birteh led his troops toward the fine country estate of Francis Lewis on Long Island. He intended to see Lewis hanged as a traitor at his own home. But finding that Lewis was away at the time, Birteh instead took out his hatred on Mrs. Lewis.

The poor lady was forced to watch as her home was destroyed. British soldiers exhibited the most vicious forms of vandalism as they stole her silver, clothing, china, clocks, food and drink. She had to watch as her husband’s library-a rare luxury in those days-was burned. Before her eyes, her lovely estate was ravaged and torn apart.

Then she was taken prisoner and locked up, for no crime but that of being the faithful wife of a patriot. Taken away as a captive on horseback, she soon found herself locked in a tiny cell with no furniture but a toilet bucket. She was given no change of clothing, no bed to lie on and only the most meager scraps of food.

Finally, after many months, George Washington was able to free her in a prisoner exchange. But the poor, aging lady’s health had been so devastated by her captivity that she died soon afterward.

Francis Lewis finally returned to his home in 1783, he saw only rubble remaining of his beautiful house and cultured acres. He survived the war as a bereaved and impoverished man.

Lewis never rebuilt his lovely home. He spent his remaining years in the homes of his sons. He had paid a great price for his patriotism but lived to see his children enjoy the fruits of his sacrifice as they raised their own children in peace and liberty.