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From Galaxies to Governments

14 Sep

But I do more than thank. I ask–ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory–to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him–endless energy, boundless strength!

All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever.

Paul of Tarsus

Ephesians 1:17-21, Message Bible

Relentless Love

31 Aug

For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul of Tarsus

Romans 8:38-39, Good News Bible

Grace Not Works

16 Jul

Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!
We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!
No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.

Paul of Tarsus

Ephesians 2:8-10, Message Bible

Fall From Grace

6 Jul

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace.
Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit.
For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.

Paul of Tarsus

Galatians 5:1,4-6, Message Bible

Living Free

22 Jun

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.

For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.

Paul of Tarsus

Galatians 5:13-14, Message Bible

Enemies Into Friends

25 May

All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also.
Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends.
Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends!
Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.

Paul of Tarsus

2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Good News Bible

The Day of Small Potatoes

11 May

We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do…
And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive.
Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us.
There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

Paul of Tarsus

2 Corinthians 4:8-9,14-18, Message Bible

The Glorious Government of His Affirmation

27 Apr

We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this–that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation.
We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter.
His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!
The Government of Death, its constitution chiseled on stone tablets, had a dazzling inaugural. Moses’ face as he delivered the tablets was so bright that day (even though it would fade soon enough) that the people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun.
How much more dazzling, then, the Government of Living Spirit?
If the Government of Condemnation was impressive, how about this Government of Affirmation?
Bright as that old government was, it would look downright dull alongside this new one.
If that makeshift arrangement impressed us, how much more this brightly shining government installed for eternity?
With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back.

Paul of Tarsus

2 Corinthians 3:4-12, Message Bible

Believing instead of Achieving

20 Apr

But now we are seeing the righteousness of God declared quite apart from the Law (though amply testified to by both Law and Prophets)—it is a righteousness imparted to, and operating in, all who have faith in Jesus Christ. (For there is no distinction to be made anywhere: everyone has sinned, everyone falls short of the beauty of God’s plan.) Under this divine system a man who has faith is now freely acquitted in the eyes of God by his generous dealing in the redemptive act of Jesus Christ. God has appointed him as the means of propitiation, a propitiation accomplished by the shedding of his blood, to be received and made effective in ourselves by faith. God has done this to demonstrate his righteousness both by the wiping out of the sins of the past (the time when he withheld his hand), and by showing in the present time that he is a just God and that he justifies every man who has faith in Jesus Christ.

What happens now to human pride of achievement? There is no more room for it. Why, because failure to keep the Law has killed it? Not at all, but because the whole matter is now on a different plane—believing instead of achieving.

Paul of Tarsus

Romans 3:21-28, J.B. Phillips Translation

Little Patterns

5 Apr

For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.

Paul of Tarsus

Galatians 6:14, Message Bible

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