This is a guest post by Alexis Sparks who is “an imperfect person loved by a perfect God with a heart’s desire to fall more in love with God and be transformed by Him.” You can contact her on Twitter
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Today as I was cleaning my kitchen I found a stain on the floor in our pantry. And once I tackled that stain I looked up at the solid white door frame and found lots of other little stains; some I think were jelly, one maybe butter, one some orange color that wiped off easily. But the irony is that I go into our pantry no fewer than 6 times a day and somehow I had missed these stains. And when I was eye level with them they were screaming at me to be clean (also we are having some neighbors over so I really wanted to impress and make sure they knew I kept a clean house ;)).
And while I was scrubbing off the, what I think was a jelly stain it hit me, this is a metaphor for my life. I am a Christian; I go to church, I don’t cuss, I don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, I rarely tell a lie, I try to read my Bible and pray at least once a day, and so I’m going through life feeling okay about things. But I have this aching feeling, is this all there is? And that has birthed a prayer I’ve prayed for many years periodically, “Lord, I don’t want to get up to heaven and wish I would have done more, I don’t want to get up to heaven and see that I missed you calling me to do something. Do any of you ever feel that way? Are we missing something?
Giving is not the most popular topic for a lot of Christians. However, it is discussed in the Bible over and over again, clearly showing there is importance in our giving. It’s not a matter necessarily of the amount of giving that is taking place, but the heart motivation behind it.
Jesus gave us the ultimate example by giving His life for all of us. For those of us who choose to follow Him, there is no reason we can’t give everything we have for everything that He is for us. And yes, that includes money as well (which is really all God’s money anyway).
Once we choose not to give, whether that be money, or our time, or a possession, we proclaim that we don’t trust God to be our provider and we trust more in ourselves to do the providing. We also often raise those things we are “tight fisted” about to the level of god in our lives since they become more important than Him, the real God.
Let’s look and see what the Bible has to say with Scripture on Giving:
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I don’t want to be misleading and make you think that sanctification only happens within 48 hours. It’s a lifetime journey for those who decide to follow Christ. This is simply a story of what I experienced recently in regards to my own personal sanctification and I hope it encourages you with whatever God is calling you to do next.
We have been involved in a series at my Church involving God’s relentless love towards us. How He is faithful and how salvation is available for all of us through what Jesus has done on the cross. I had a conversation with my Pastor and he asked me to share my story…in front of the Church.
Sharing my story…no problem. In front of the Church? Problem.
I was immediately sent into a whirlwind of emotions thinking through how to get over the fear of speaking in front of a large crowd of people (1500 over the weekend). I went back and forth in between moving forward with sharing my story or to just cancel overall. Just ask my wife, she probably saw me go back and forth about 50 times leading up to it!
Being that my emotions were all over the place, I decided to take some extended time to pray to just hear from the Lord on what He wanted me to do. And of course, the hard (convicting) part began…
I admit . . . I’m a protective father. I’m sure people have seen me in public hovering near my 2-year old as she runs around doing what toddlers do best. Playgrounds heighten my protectiveness. If Haley Joel Osment’s character saw dead people in The Sixth Sense, I see accidents waiting to happen.
Taking pursuit angles, re-directing her steps and clearing debris (and fire-ants) are just a few methods I use in effort to keep little one from dangerous encounters with things and people. If a fire ant bit my daughter, I would become the William Wallace of pest control, find those anthills and burn them down.
It’s out of love I do this . . . and it’s futile.
While watching this last rendition of the Winter Olympics, I had to wonder if the parents of those Olympians who thrust themselves down the slopes, tracks and ramps ever saw it coming. Were they protective over their child(ren)? If so, how hard is it for them to watch them compete? I think 100% of the parents of Olympians agree if they didn’t let their child face danger, they wouldn’t be an Olympian’s parent.
Depending on where you live and what culture you were raised in, this question either comes up all the time or it’s never even been touched for you. It’s an important question to address with the Bible because there are many implications both ways with the answer. So is baptism necessary for salvation?
Scripture is both clear on what baptism is and if it is indeed necessary in order to be saved.
Most arguments claiming that baptism is necessary is found from Acts 2:38, “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
All throughout the book of Acts, we see the early Church starting to form and take place after Jesus ascends into heaven. Jesus commanded His disciples to go make disciples of all nations, to baptize them, and to teach them to observe all that He command them (Matthew 28:19-20).
Baptism is demonstrated in Acts as a sign of conversion, but not the means of it. Believers decided to trust in Jesus and follow Him for the rest of their lives, and at the moment, received the Holy Spirit…meaning they were saved because of trusting in Jesus. Then after that, they were baptized (Acts 10:47).