Working Your Way To Heaven

Most of us were taught that you have to work for what you get in this world. Nothing is free and there are no free rides. If it is free, then there must be a catch. As a young boy I won a scholarship to a Art College. My teachers were very happy, I was very happy but my Daddy said “No way.” He thought I would go off to College and leave him a big bill. The people from the school and my Art teacher came to our house to talk to my Dad. He refused to listen and refused to let me go. So I went in the Army, not the brightest idea. But it put an end to any notion of Art School. I would have to work for anything I got, according to my Dad. Most of us live our life that way, but thanks to God we start to learn about the grace of giving as time passes on.

My grace is sufficient for thee. This is one of the most comforting statements given to us in God’s Word. When we understand how it applies to every aspect of our lives, we will see that God’s grace is, in fact, sufficient for our salvation, for our security and for our suffering. In this Age of Grace, God’s grace reigns supreme for all of our needs.
What is Grace?
Someone has said that grace can be defined as the free unmerited favor of God. However you define grace, there are two truths about grace that are made abundantly clear in scripture.
First, grace and works are mutually exclusive principles. They cannot coexist.
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6
The truth of this passage is critical. Many people seem to have the opinion that if they simply, “do their best, God will take care of the rest,” or if they, “reach up as high as they can toward God, he’ll reach down the rest of the way”. This understanding is in direct contradiction to the principle of Romans 11:6. We will either be rewarded based entirely on our works, or we will be rewarded based entirely on God’s grace.
The second principle of grace that scripture teaches is that God’s grace will accept only one response from man. Faith.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:4,5

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

It is plain to see that grace and works are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the only response that grace can accept is something that is not a work. Notice that in Romans 4:5 Paul specifically excludes faith as being a work-“to him that worketh not, but believeth”. This is because the merit of faith is not in the faith itself, but in the object of the faith. Faith alone does not save. Faith in Mohammed will not save. Faith in your works will not save. Faith in your church will not save. Faith cannot save because faith is not a meritorious work. Faith in Christ will save because in Christ there is merit, not because there is merit in the faith. Scripture is clear-the only response that grace will accept is faith. When you consider the working of grace in your life keep these two important truths in mind. Grace and works are mutually exclusive principles and the only response that grace will accept is faith. We need to stop working and start believing.
Saved by Grace

God Is at Work

Throughout the Bible, we observe God at work in people’s lives. Sometimes He acts in dramatic fashion, as when He parted the Red Sea to let the Israelites escape from the Egyptian army. At other times it may appear that He’s not taking any action. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother needed His help, but Christ delayed before traveling to their home (John 11:3-6). In fact, He was preparing an even greater miracle.

The Holy Spirit helps us recognize God’s presence and handiwork. He does this by cultivating our ability to discern when and where the Lord is at work.

In addition to spiritual discernment, we must develop patience because God operates according to His timetable, not ours. Abraham was promised numerous descendants, but there was a long wait before his wife conceived—in fact, he and Sarah were beyond childbearing years. Impatience can cause us to take matters into our own hands and make mistakes.

The Lord’s efforts can bring delight, as was the case when Hannah became a mother (1 Samuel 1:27-2:1). His plan can also lead through painful times, which was Joseph’s experience. Before the Lord elevated him to a position of authority to help his family, Joseph was sold into slavery and unjustly imprisoned.

Jesus told the disciples that His Father was always at work and so was He. We will be encouraged and strengthened in our faith when we recognize the ways in which God is operating. These glimpses of His handiwork will motivate us to stay the course and help us maintain a godly perspective on life.

The Secret of Real Living

By Billy Graham

Some Christians have learned little of a daily devotional life. Some time ago a policeman asked me what the secret of victorious living was. I told him that there is no magic formula that can be pronounced. If any word could describe it, I would say surrender.

The second word I would say would be devotion. Nothing can take the place of a daily devotional life with Christ. Your quiet time, your prayer time, the time you spend in the Word, is absolutely essential for a happy Christian life. You cannot possibly be a happy, dynamic, and powerful Christian apart from a daily walk with Christ.

Christ is calling Christians today to cleansing, to dedication, to consecration, and to full surrender. It will make the difference between success and failure in your spiritual life. It will make the difference between being helped and helping others. It will make a difference in your habits, in your prayer life, in your Bible reading, in your giving, in your testimony, and in your church membership. This is the Christian hour of decision!

Prayer for the day: I long for a deeper devotional life, living Lord. May I consecrate myself completely to You

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee . .—Psalm 63:1

Great Exploits

Colorado pastor Mike Paulison, who’s made many mission trips to Haiti to build and maintain an orphanage, shares about prayer’s power:
“On one trip, we were bringing large items that could’ve been problematic, because in Haiti customs officials often make up their own rules. We urged our prayer-support team back home to be praying as we went through customs. But when a storm delayed our flight from Miami for two hours, the schedule was off. We encouraged one another, saying at least prayers had been lifted. Later, on the plane to Haiti, I noticed I’d made a mistake on the schedule. It was off by exactly two hours. The supporters were actually praying the very moment we landed in Port-au-Prince!

“In line at customs, we watched officials opening luggage. But by the time we got to the front, the inspectors were gone, and we were allowed to walk into the country. We experienced firsthand the promise in Daniel 11:32b (KJV): “but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits..”

The Home School Myth

Here is the article I wrote in order to apply for the Teen Board of our local paper.
Sincerely, Laura Leigh Reaves

The Home School Myth                                               By Laura Leigh Reaves

You’ve probably met at least one person in your life who is homeschooled.
What was the first question you asked that person? Let me guess. “How do
you socialize, or do you even have friends?” This question is one many
homeschoolers get a kick out of. The word ‘unsocialized’ is a label that
has been slapped on homeschoolers, but it isn’t true. The fact that
homeschoolers are unsocialized is a myth. In fact, there are many myths
surrounding homeschoolers.
Take it from someone who knows. I’ve been homeschooled ever since I
started school, and I love it. The first thing people ask me when they
find out I’m homeschooled is how I socialize. The truth is, I have lots
of friends. One of the ways homeschoolers socialize is by being involved
with a homeschool group, like my family is. Our group, Soaring Eagles,
has held dances and gone on mission trips. We go to the movie theater on
some weekends. We go bowling or just hang out at someone’s house. The
truth is, we’re far from unsocialized. That myth is something that many
homeschoolers find funny. Just because we’re educated at home doesn’t
mean we don’t have any friends.
Another myth about homeschoolers is the rumor that we don’t work nearly
as hard as public school students. That’s not true. In order to graduate,
we’re required to complete the same amount of work as students who attend
public school. We’re also usually involved in numerous extracurricular
activities, both academic and non-academic.  We’re also not ignorant,
which is yet another myth spread about homeschoolers. Most of us have
excellent grades. Not all of us, but a lot of us.
Just because we’re homeschooled doesn’t mean we can slack off. I don’t do
my schoolwork in my pajamas. I don’t sleep as late as I want to, although
I wish I could. Believe me, if I could, I would gladly sleep late every
morning. The fact is, however, that most of have routines we have to
stick to. For example, my brothers and I have to get up at a set time
each morning. We get dressed, eat breakfast, do some chores, and then we
have to start school. Our mom oversees us and helps us whenever we get
stuck. Contrary to popular belief we are not done with our work in two
hours! We work all day in order to get all of our work in, just like
public schooled students. We have our own routine, and Mom makes sure we
stick to it.
Homeschooled teenagers are not very different from public schooled
teenagers at all. We’re a diverse group, just like public school students.
I have friends who are amazing artists. Some of my friends excel at
English and writing. Others are good at math. Some of us love to read.
Others are really talented photographers. Many of us participate in
sports, from football and baseball to horseback riding and volleyball. We
all have different personalities, and different interests. Students who
attend public school are the same way. So the truth is, homeschoolers
aren’t unsocialized, ignorant, slackers. These are just rumors that
contribute to the Homeschool Myth. Keep these in mind the next time you
hear a rumor about homeschoolers. You might want to ask around. Chances
are, it’s only a myth.

Laura Leigh Reaves is the granddaughter of Donald and Sue Reaves.

repost from Oct 08