Category Archives: Favorites Scriptures

Favorite Scripture #7: “The Grace of God That Bringeth Salvation:” What Does the True Grace of God Teach Us?

Titus 2:11-15

11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.1These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”           

There is no passage of scripture which more accurately describes the effect that the grace of God has on a soul that knows it has been saved from the eternal consequences of sin, than the passage above. When we understand what exactly the true grace of God is, who gave it to us, and at what cost, it should not only bring us to our knees in joyful gratitude and relief, but it should start us down the path of holiness through the Spirit. It should, as this passage states, spark in us a desire to flee the lusts of our flesh, which alienate us from our great God, and should instead turn our eyes, our minds and our hearts, not to this short and often painful life, but to the next one; the life that is with God, in paradise…forever.

It is humbling and sometimes overwhelming to quietly contemplate this impossible truth: that Jesus Christ, the God on the sapphire throne in Ezekiel 1, stepped out of that glory and became a dirty, sweaty man…not because he had to, but because he loved us and was willing to offer himself, without condition, to his cruel and spiteful enemies. As this passage teaches us, he did that, not only because he loves us and wanted to redeem us from the eternal consequences of our sin, but also to purify for himself a people…unique in this world, separated out…who are not primarily focused on growing their businesses and building their reputations, but who are zealous of good works in his name. In other words, as Paul says in Philippians 3, God wants his beloved children to consider everything in this dying world that feeds our reputations, our lusts and our pride…as a loss for the sake of Jesus Christ. Instead, we are exhorted to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us. Phil. 3:7-14 and the purpose of life God isn’t looking for lukewarm believers who simply want a free pass out of hell. He wants men and women who know him, love him, and are willing to give up the short term pleasures of our vain existence, to honor the one who created us and redeemed us with his sweat, blood and pain.

This passage ends with an unmistakable call: teach these words with all authority, and use them, not only to encourage the brethren, but also to rebuke those who teach a false grace – a grace which doesn’t lead to salvation. The authentic grace of God results in a change of mind and heart from the love of sin, to a deep and abiding love of the God who ransomed us from death. The world, and sadly even today’s “Christian” culture, does not take kindly to the true grace of God. They both seem to prefer a false, a cheap grace, which offers a free pass to do as thou wilt…to freely sin and quickly claim his mercy, with no thought of the love, glory and power of the only one who could redeem them from the eternal fires of hell. That mentality (and that heart), does not comprehend the true, saving grace of God. Salvation is not a prayer prayed. It is a heart that understands exactly who Jesus is and believes that it desperately needs his blood to cover the dark and ugly blemish of sin. Anyone who understands the true gospel message will not take sin lightly, and will joyfully pursue godliness and righteousness in this life, while quietly living in hope for the life to come.

We will all wrestle with the weight of sin as long as we are in this body of death, but as we eat, drink and breathe the word, the Spirit will slowly move us away from our old ways and into His ways. While new sins (forgotten or intentionally ignored) always seem to pop up, when we truly understand the surpassing mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we press on to apprehend that for which he has so graciously apprehended us. And as Paul said so eloquently:

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

Sin, Repentance and the Cross of Christ

Grace, Obedience and Salvation: The Narrow Road

Ecumenism Part 1

Hell and the Wrath of God

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Favorite Scriptures #5 – When I Long for Reassurance of God’s Enduring Love, Power and Character…I go to the Psalms.

When I am weak and wounded, feeling alienated from God and man; when I am desperate and fearful, and when I am lonely and dry and need to be reminded of exactly who our God is….I run to the Psalms. There, perhaps more than in any other book of the Bible, I find the everlasting God painted clearly and beautifully, in the full measure of His eternal power, intimate love and unceasing glory. According to the Psalms our God is:

A sun and a shield, our rock, our refuge and shelter. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble; for by His breath all things were created. He set the stars,  the sun and the moon in their places. He alone laid the foundation of the earth, making both summer and winter, and all of the creatures of the sea. The day is His, and His also is the night, for darkness is as light to Him, nothing in all of creation is hidden from His sight.

When our hearts and flesh fails He is our strength and portion.  He holds us by our right hand when we are weak and embittered. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is righteous, just and true. All of His ways are loving and faithful to those who fear Him and keep His commands. He is gracious and full of compassion. Look upon Him and Him only, for His faithfulness never ends.  He has searched us and He knows us. He knit us together in  our mother’s womb. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and even if we travel to the far side of the sea and make our beds in hell, there He is with us…His right hand holds us fast.

The Lord is gracious, slow to anger and full of compassion. His mercies are new every morning. Trust in him for he alone is to be praised. Praise him and sing aloud to him with your voice. Lift up your hearts in song to Him for as long as you live. He alone is our refuge, our strength and our portion. He is our deliverer. In Him and Him alone will I trust.

I have many favorite Psalms, so it is hard to list them all. The ones I cherish the most have spoken to me about God’s deep love and protective hand as I have struggled through depression, desperate family situations, and severe vocational distress. His right hand has always held me…and held me fast.

A few of my absolute favorites are : Psalm 1, 3, 8,16,19, 24,27,*34*, *40*,51,71,*73*, 86,88,91,94 ,97, 101, 103, 107, *112*,115,116,118……..

When I think of Psalm 119, I actually become emotional because of all it has taught me over the years. To me, the depths of wisdom and truth set forth for us in this chapter is unparalleled in the Bible. Even as I read it today, it instructs me on how exactly to live, and what should be important to me as a lover of God (hint: the word, the word and the word). Psalm 119  truly is gold…eternal gold, revealing even more eternal treasures to those who meditate on it and take it to heart.

More favorite Psalms:  121, 127,138, ***139***,141,142,143, 145 and 147

Portraits of Jesus Christ in the word: Who Exactly is our God?

Favorite Scriptures #2 – Meditate on the word day and night (Psalm 1:1-3)

At age 18 I was taken out of college by my father with only a few hours notice. I was sent to live in with a relative I wasn’t close to, in order to try and get my life together in a new environment. I was a D+/C- student, and an out of control binge drinker with no hope, no friends and no future. I had never truly sought God, but I knew from what was a disastrous childhood filled with hypocritical and abusive “Christians,” that somehow, Jesus Christ was real. So the very day I arrived in Northern Virginia to live with these relatives, I asked for a Bible. I didn’t know what to read or what to think when I read it, but I opened it up to Psalm 1 and I prayed something to the effect of….Lord, make this book more than just stories about fishermen. Make it real and teach me…please. Then I read:

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners or sit it the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on that law he meditates day and night. He shall be a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper.”

…And life, and light, and hope and peace flooded my broken soul. The Lord Himself had instructed me, in an instant, with His word, teaching me exactly how I should live. Through this beautiful passage, He was telling me, gently but clearly, to take my focus off of men, and to place it instead on His words, and to eat, and drink and breathe those words all day every day.

To this day, 28 years later – as I sit, as I rise, as I rest, as I drive, as I surf, as I jog, as I wake, as I work… the scriptures that I have memorized, like my very breath, ebb and flow through my mouth, my mind and my heart. And I continue to ask the Lord to translate his beautiful words into life so that I can love those he has given me to love, and so that I can proclaim His redemptive work in power and peace to the people he places in my path…wherever I may go.

Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective On This Short Life (Philippians 3:7-14)

Portraits of Jesus and other excellent verses to meditate upon and/or memorize

With all of the false teachings about Jesus Christ being preached in mainstream churches, It is extremely important that those who profess him as Lord and saviour, know exactly who he is. Fortunately, the Bible has painted many portraits of Him, so that we may know, with certainty, who our God is, even to the point that we have some idea of what he looks like (Ezekiel 1, Daniel 9: 5-6, Revelation 1:12-18).

Jesus Christ is love, grace and mercy…..but He is also wrath and unmitigated vengeance in His perfect timing. Rather than piece together all of the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus which describe him, often times with great detail  (Isaiah 53 and Ezekiel 1), I will limit this to the New Testament. In my view, the verses below are critical to understanding who Jesus was before the world was created, who he was while He was on the earth, and who He is now and forever….

1)John 1:1-18  1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 The same was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

2) Philippians 2:5-11 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

3) Colossians 1:13-20  13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

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4) Hebrews 1:1-3  1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

***5) 1 Peter 2:22-24*** 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

6) Revelation 1:8-11  8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last….

 7) Revelation 1:12-18  12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

The passage below shows us exactly how it is going to go down at the end of time, when Jesus and His army march through the heavens…and finish what Satan started, with unfettered vengeance, and the rebellion…will be over.

7) Revelation 19:11-16  11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

Favorite Scriptures #4: God Chose the Weak and Foolish Things of the World (1 Corinthians 1:17-25) Catholicism and the Worship of MaryEcumenicism: Praying With People from Other ReligionsPrayer: How to Approach God and What to Expect From Him