Today’s Devotional – May 3rd (True Bullet-Proof Faith!) ALSO READ (“What is True Grace?”)

By admin On January 18th, 2021

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Today’s Devotional – May 3rd

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ARTICLE # 1

ALSO READ (What is True Grace?”) by scrolling to lower portion of this page

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TRUE BULLET-PROOF FAITH!

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“That the trial of your faith,

being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,

though it be tried with fire,

might be found unto praise and honour and glory

at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

1st Peter 1:7

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Have you ever seen bullet-proof combat gear?  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpg

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Well, here’s a medal-of-honor soldier wearing the bullet-proof gear which kept him alive, as he kept on fighting bravely, thus inspiring his fellow soldiers to also keep fighting through the overwhelming barrage of deadly gunfire from the enemy!

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But how does this bullet-proof gear help us to understand our Salvation and our faith?

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Well, read on to find out…

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Bullet-proof gear – cropped photo – Worn by Clinton L. Romesha – Wikimedia – US Govt. Public Domain

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WAR IN HEAVEN

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgListen to this little verse which presents a giant truth about this present world…

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“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,” Revelation 12:7

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The Bible tells us that there was war in Heaven.

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Yes, there was a great rebellion by Lucifer, who desired the same homage that only belongs to God.

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Bullet-proof gear – cropped photo – Worn by Clinton L. Romesha – Wikimedia – US Govt. Public Domain

Paradise Lost – by G. Dore – wikipedia – public-domain

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REBELLION MOVED TO PLANET EARTH

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgAnd in the process of time, this rebellion found its wayhttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paradise_Lost_3.jpg to planet Earth.

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And as a result, we now have, not only the angels who rebelled, but also an entire planet of humans in rebellion.

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Yes, generation after generation of the human family have lived in defiance against the government of Heaven!

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Bullet-proof gear – cropped photo – Worn by Clinton L. Romesha – Wikimedia – US Govt. Public Domain

Gustave Dore – Paradise Lost illustration – Lucifer becomes Satan – Wikimedia – US Public Domain

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GOLD TRIED IN THE FIRE

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgNow listen again to this, our signature passage for today…https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christianandapollyon.jpg

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“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1st Peter 1:7

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Here Paul makes the analogy between our faith, and the purification of gold by fire.

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Christian and Apollyon – Pilgrim’s Progress – Wikipedia – US Public Domain

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FAITH THROUGH THE FIRE!

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgNow, listen to this next passage about a, “third part” of God’s people, who will be purified by fire…

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“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” Zechariah 13:9

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Here again, this above passage makes a similar proclamation! God will purify His people, even as gold is purified by fire!

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Goldkey (logo removed) – cropped photo – Wikipedia – Public Domain

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GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE: TO PURIFY A PEOPLE

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgYou see, God, in His infinite wisdom, is using this great rebellion on planet Earth for His own glory.

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He speaks of this truth in such places as the Epistle to the Romans… 

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Listen… “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be comparedGoldkey logo removed - wikipedia - public domain with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope,” Romans 8:18-20

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So this above passage reveals that the entire Creation is waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God, and the glory which shall be revealed in them.

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Goldkey (logo removed) – cropped photo – Wikipedia – Public Domain

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GOLD TRIED IN THE FIRE

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgPerhaps it could be said that God is raising up a people to replace those angels which rebelled.https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Como-investir-ouro.jpg

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Now, the Bible doesn’t use that exact language, so we shouldn’t speculate.

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But one thing is for sure! Those who go through the fires of tribulation, will be so strengthened, that their love and faith will be “bullet-proof”, so to speak.

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Gold bars – cropped photo – Wikimedia – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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“LOOK UP, AND LIFT UP YOUR HEADS”https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_and_the_pauper.jpg

Luke 21:28

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgNow listen to this passage in which Jesus restored the blind man’s eyesight…“After that He (Jesus) put His hands again upon his (the blind man’s) eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored…” Mark 8:25.

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Here, Jesus put His hands upon the blind man’s eyes, and made him look up.

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And by so-doing, the man’s eyes were opened!

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Christ and the blind Pauper – cropped photo – Mironov – Wikipedia – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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WE TOO MUST, “LOOK UP, AND LIFT UP YOUR HEADS!”

Luke 21:28

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgAnd the healing of that blind man is a wonderful picture of what Jesus does to all who call on Him for Salvation!

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Munch_Det_Syke_Barn_1896.jpg

So when we see God’s people going through very painful experiences, let’s keep in mind that God is allowing such trials to strengthen their faith in God.

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And the many trials Christians often go through are given, so as to make them look up!

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He wants to make them forever-faithful! He desires to instill in them an unshakable faith which will last throughout all eternity!

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Munch – Det Syke Barn (The Sick Child) – 1896 – Wikipedia – US Public Domain

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LOOKING UP AT ETERNAL THINGS!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Starry_Night_at_La_Silla.jpg

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinton_L._Romesha.jpgAnd so, as we step back and look at our seemingly desperate circumstances from the heavenly vantage-point, we begin to realize that, “…our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2nd Corinthians 4:17, 18.

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Yes, in the light of eternity, our afflictions down here are very little, in comparison to the exceeding glory that will soon be revealed in God’s people!

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Starry Night at La Silla – cropped & altered photo – Wikimedia – Share-Alike license

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http://theheavensdeclare.net/orion-constellation/OUR DAILY BATTLE

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Perhaps at the end of each day, maybe while lying down in bed (and at any time during the day), we need to spend much time thinking back on how we might have overcome that big or little attack by the Devil. Just what “exceeding great and precious promises” could have been employed, which would have given us the victory over the temptations which assailed us in our daily warfare?

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Listen…Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2nd Peter 1:4)

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Constant learning and hiding of the many Bible promises into our hearts is a critically important part of our daily walk in the Lord! 

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The armor of God – theheavensdeclare.net -use by permission only

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TODAY’S PRAYERhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christianandapollyon.jpg

Dear Lord, Help me to endure these trials which plague my life! Help me to look up and fix my eyes heavenward. Give me that bullet-proof faith necessary to overcome the world, the flesh, and the Devil…

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Christian and Apollyon – Pilgrim’s Progress – Wikipedia – US Public Domain

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Question_book_magnify2.svgFURTHER READING

You may read the following…January 7th (The Chrysalis Christian!)“, but also read yesterday’s devotional…“May 2nd (Faith That Overcomes!)”

Question book magnify svg – Wikimedia – GNU license

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THE END

.Soldiers of the Cross - Armor-Up!

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ARTICLE #2

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“What Is True Grace?”

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“But by the grace of God

I am what I am:

and His grace which was bestowed upon me

was not in vain;

but I laboured more abundantly than they all:

yet not I, but the grace of God

which was with me!”

1st Corinthians 15:10 

 

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christian_in_Pilgrim%27s_Progress.jpg

In John Bunyan’s masterpiece allegory, “Pilgrim’s Progress”, there was a sad man who went by the name, “Graceless”.

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And the reason why he was so sad, was because his Bible informed him that his very own city, “The City of Destruction”, was going to be burned with fire from Heaven because of its wickedness and sin. 

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Christian in Pilgrims Progress – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PProg_17_p47_HisBurdenFellOffHisBack.jpgGRACELESS BECOMES “CHRISTIAN”

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But in the process of time, by God’s saving grace, his name was changed to “Christian”.

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And from that time forward, Mr. Christian began his long upward sojourn to a distant city, “The Celestial City of the Lord Emmanuel”, as he encountered various characters, pitfalls, perils. etc., along the way.

Pilgrims Progress – His Burden Fell Off His Back – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:At_a_loss.svgWHAT IS TRUE GRACE?

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Now, of course, this little book is an “everyman tale”, written to encourage all those who likewise have become Christian pilgrims on their sojourn to that heavenly city!

.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:At_a_loss.svg

But the purpose for today’s devotional is to present what true grace is, as well as what true grace is NOT! 

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And the reason for writing this is because there is some confusion about what grace truly is.

Question Mark – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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“For I (Paul) know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock”

Acts 20:29 

https://theheavensdeclare.net/running-the-christian-race-part-2-pauls-godly-example/.

And truth-be-told, there are many faithful church-attendees who have been deceived by false shepherds, mere wolves in sheep’s clothing, deceiving, even devouring God’s flock; saying that God’s grace somehow excuses them from “fighting the Good Fight”, or from “running the race”.

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In other words, there are many who believe that grace somehow excuses them from such verses as, “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He (Jesus) walked.” 1st John 2:6

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Or perhaps, they might confess…“God loves me, and all I need to do is to love Him back, and my fellow man too!” Well, it’s true, of course that to love God supremely and to love our fellow man are the two greatest commandments.

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But by continuing to read Scripture, we might run across such verses as this…“If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10  

Picture – Running the Christian Race

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http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1901/acts22.jpg“For by grace are ye saved through faith

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Oh yes, Salvation by grace is as follows…“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

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http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/The%20Early%20Church%20Artwork/target8.htmlYes, Salvation is truly a gift of grace and grace alone!

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And yet, if we keep reading that very same passage, we likewise read one verse later that…“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

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No, good works and obedience do not earn our Salvation.

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But rather, Holy Spirit inspired good works and obedience are the evidence and the fruit of our Salvation. 

Paul Converted – www.thebiblerevival.com

Paul Shipwrecked – Acts 27:41-44 – www.lavistachurchofchrist.org – Public Domain

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Magnifying_glass_on_book_iconsAnd so, because of all the confusion and misinformation coming forth from today’s church-world, let’s take a few moments to consider some examples of what true grace is.

Magnifying Glass – Wikimedia – Share-alike License

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http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_198722/William-Brassey-Hole/The-sorrow-of-king-DavidSAVED BY GRACE AND RENEWED BY FAITH!

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And it is true grace which forgives our failings and causes us to renew our faith and commitment to continue to follow Him, even in our discouragement, after we may have fallen…“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentation 3:22, 23

David’s sorrow – Wikigallery – Public Domain

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http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficheiro:Transfiguration_bloch.jpg“But we…beholding…the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same Image”

2nd Corinthians 3:18

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For example, it is grace that inspires the desire to serve God and to become changed into His image…“But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same Image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2nd Corinthians 3:18

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Yes, the more we fix our minds upon God’s Word, and how it is fulfilled in Christ’s example, we become, day-by-day, imperceptibly changed into His image!

Transfiguration – Bloch – cropped – Wikimedia Commons – US Public-Domain

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https://theheavensdeclare.net/woman-the-altar-the-most-holy-place/A NEW HEART ALSO WILL I PUT WITHIN YOU!

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It is grace that causes us to begin to love the things of Heaven: such things as unceasing prayer and Bible contemplation, and beholding God’s wisdom found in all the things of Creation…“A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart…And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.”  Ezekiel 36:26, 27 

ABOVE PICTURE: Most Holy Place within the heart – Signs Of Heaven

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Columpio_Veracruz_059.jpg“Put on…mercies, kindness, humbleness…Forbearing…and forgiving one another”

Colossians 3:12, 13

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And it is true grace which places a Spirit of forgiveness within us, and a sympathetic understanding of the plight of others, yearning for their many needs and most of all, for their salvation…“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another” Colossians 3:12, 13

Man Husband & Married Wife on swing – Fraternal love (Prehispanic sculpture from 250–900 A.D., of Huastec origin) – Wikimedia – Public Domain

Ferguson Day – cropped Image – Wikimedia – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

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http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVarticles/PaulsTentmaking.html“…but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

1st Corinthians 15:10

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And it is grace which gives us power to go mightily forward in our labors for souls: for our own soul as well as the souls of others…“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1st Corinthians 15:10

Paul Tentmaking – La Vista Church of Christ – Creative Commons License

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“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing!”

John 15:5

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PProg_54_p127_AtheistFellIntoAVeryGreatLaughter.jpg?uselang=de.

No, true grace is not merely some nebulous aura surrounding God’s people! But rather, it is the empowering Spirit of God, working in and through an otherwise helpless, bumbling, spiritual-ner-do-well, incapable of doing any good thing, apart from God…

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Oh yes, we can confidently agree with Paul, when God says through him…“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…”Ephesians 2:8

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But true grace goes far beyond God’s forgiveness! Grace even infills us with all the desire, and courage, and strength, and power necessary for every aspect of the Christian life, as we continue our ongoing, upward sojourn out of this “City of Destruction” world!

Pilgrim’s Progress – Then Atheist fell into a very great laughter – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Magnifying_glass_on_book_icons

Well, these are but a few biblical examples of true grace.

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But they give us a great head-start in understanding this very powerful truth!

Magnifying Glass – Wikimedia – Share-alike License

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LET’S NOT BE LIKE “WORLDLY WISEMAN”, OR LIKE “MR. IGNORANCE”!

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/John_Bunyan's_Pilgrim's_Progress

But back to the tale of Pilgrim’s Progress.

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PProg_51_p119_Ignorance.jpg?uselang=deYes, Bunyan’s pilgrim, “Christian”, encountered various other fellows along the Way, such as “Worldly Wiseman”, and also, “Mr. Ignorance”, both of whom it may be said, did not understand the true Way of grace.

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And such it is, still today, in so much of the Christian community. There are an abundance of Bible teachers who, either by word or by example, misdirect the professed people of God, as to what the Christian life truly is!

Worldly Wiseman – Pilgrim’s Progress, p34 – Mr Worldly Wiseman – Wikimedia – Public Domain

Pilgrims Progress – Ignorance – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-06831.jpg“the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith…”

2nd Timothy 3:15

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But the remedy for all such ignorance is for each hungering soul to soak in for his or her own self, God’s soul-saving Word…“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2nd Timothy 3:15

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Yes, a daily prayerful Bible study and contemplation will gradually diminish our ignorance, giving us Holy Spirit inspired wisdom in all heavenly matters! 

USMC – Prayer before Bible study – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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THE END

.Soldiers of the Cross - Armor-Up!

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TODAY’S FEATURED HEAVENLY SIGN

Info & pics of constellations on this site from Wikipedia & International Astronomical Union (click here)

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GOODLY HORSE IN BATTLE CONSTELLATION

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“With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground.” Ezekiel 26:12

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Holy-Ghost-Rider Constellation

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THIS STAR-CHART: Notice how the right front hoof is trampling on the tail of the Dragon. Also notice his eye is a star. It’s best seen when in the western half of the sky. It is found in mid-sky traveling from east to west. In January, it is in the west after midnight. As winter progresses, it can be seen earlier and earlier in the evening. a dark sky with good star-visibility is best, but not absolutely necessary to see this constellation. It is found on the opposite side of the Dragon Constellation from Orion. And as already stated, this Glorious Horse Constellation can be seen best in mid-winter when it is in the western side of the sky, and you are looking at it while you are facing west. The nose and head of this horse is partly made from the Perseus Constellation. The tail and rear end is partly of the Cassiopeia Constellation. The hind-leg is made partly of stars from the Andromeda Constellation.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Question_book_magnify2.svgREAD MORE…

To explore deeper into this subject, please read… “Goodly Horse in Battle Constellation” or you can also read… “The Holy-Ghost-Rider Constellation”

Question book magnify svg – Wikimedia – GNU license

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https://theheavensdeclare.net/mark-of-the-beast-seal-of-god/Thy Word Have I Hid In My Heart - wwwtheheavensdeclare.net - not for commercial purposesTOMORROW…

“May 4th (Mark of the Beast & Seal of God)”

ABOVE PICTURE: Mark of the beast – pub. dom. – Wikipedia

Thy Word Have I Hid In My Heart – wwwtheheavensdeclare.net – not for commercial purposes

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