Tag Archives: christ follower

Tend To Your Own Weeds

29 Oct

I am that girl. The Jesus freak girl.

I am that girl that found Jesus late in life, though I had religion much of my life.  I am a bit of a rebel  at heart. I am an “I can do it myself” kind of girl. It’s been hard for me to surrender to God. I have found great peace in this place of surrender, but obviously I have trust issues as I keep finding myself back in the driver’s seat.

I am also the girl that always hated injustice. I’ve stood up for people, fought battles for people, alongside of people.

I am that girl; the one that brought home the stray pets and outer fringe people.

I am also the girl that at age 47,  finally heard the words of Jesus, echoing in my heart as I read, and reread “The Sermon on the Mount” (*Matthew 5-7).   Literally, I understood my salvation as I read the words of Matthew 5:3-5 in the Message version.  It changed everything.

Church friends…We can talk about needing a revival all we want, but we have to start within our own four walls. It’s time for the church to wake up. It is time for us to hear what He has been saying to us, in Matthew, Mark, in John, in Roman’s. Stop with the rules and rituals. Stop thinking that your actions determine your salvation. They don’t.  Stop thinking you have to fit a type! Stop rejecting people based on sin. Seriously!

Love God and Love your neighbor. Believe that Jesus is exactly who He said He is.  Our redeemer. For the man hanging next to him on the cross, it was as simple as saying “remember me”.  It isn’t hard! Stop making it so hard!  These are the simple rules we have unless we want to go back to trying to earn it again by doing our best to follow the Ten Commandments.  I can’t even get through traffic on my way to work!  I am desperate for a Savior!

This is my takeaway on the very words of Jesus from that sermon.  It is the philosophy of not throwing stones before you look into your heart to see if you have ANY sin.

If you are going to call out Homosexuals for not “turning from their sin”, you had better be free from every single sin you meant to turn from. Every single one.   Because that is how you will now be judged.

If you are going to hate or judge a person for the color of their skin, their religion, for their economic status or their politics, you are acting as if they are your enemy. You have villainized them and you are  not loving your neighbor. Period. Period. Period.   The verb.

If you are not going to forgive every single person, every single thing they have done, every single time, then you don’t know what redemption is.  (This isn’t about boundaries, this is about forgiveness).  See, I can say all this because I know how prideful I can be, I know how unfair it can seem in my tunnel vision of looking at other’s instead of myself. The really sad truth is, when you don’t love the people of this world…then you have not loved God.

I have walked through grief, fear, anger, un-forgiveness and I have walked through peace. Unshakable peace even in the midst of great trials. Oh how I wish I could sit here and write this from a place of having it all together.  Some days, I am there. Some days, not so much.

I have had great faith, great joy, deep peace and I have really messed it up.  I have hurt people I loved, I have been selfish. I am never perfect like Christ. Never!  But this is the truth. I have zero secrets from God. I have confessed all of my sin. I can walk in freedom knowing this.

I really wish I was so faith filled that I would ALWAYS come from love, always forgive everyone everything, always be filled with supernatural peace.  One day, in Heaven. I will have all of that and more.

I don’t care what your sin is, because we all do it. We all have our thing, the thing we know the bible tells us is wrong, but we have this thorn in us. Stop letting ANYONE tell you that it separates you from God ‘s redeeming Grace. It never has and it never will. He loves every single one of his beautiful sheep.
He probably loves his homosexual sheep a bit deeper because they have been treated like lepers.  Just sayin!  They are like the tax collectors, and remember who Jesus spent time with!

I want every single person I come alongside to see so much of God in me, that they want to know if it applies to them. (It does, but that is YOUR journey).

What real faith looks like, perfected: Being grace filled when someone slanders you, when someone lies about you, when someone blames you or uses you, rejects you, or disrespects you.  When you watch a loved one suffer or there is more month than money. When things unravel or no longer look the way we thought it would look, that is the kind of disappointment that makes faith really hard.  Oh but when our faith is that big, NOTHING can touch us.  This is MY religion.

Grace is perfect. I am not. No matter if I mess it up or remain in Him, He never stops loving me. He never leaves my side or stops reminding me to check myself first.

Before we look over the fence at anyone, ever… we may want to check our own yard. We have to constantly look for new weeds, especially the ones hidden in corners.

My friend and I were on the phone the other night. She was driving around, retracing her stops, searching for her son’s missing glove. When she finally found it, she happily texted me to share the good news! We were both happily giving God praise. That is how God feels about the people that He is searching for. When they turn to Him, Heaven sings praise!

God’s words of loving affirmation belong to you, whether you know them or not.
He lovingly knit you together, carefully planning every detail of you, even numbering the hairs on your head. Even if you never stop to wonder at His amazing creation that is you, He still loves you.  He pursues you, longs for you to know Him. Not the church, not the rules, not the teachers, not the religions, not the writer of this blog.

Him. He just wants you to know Him.

 *Matthew 5:3-5 The Message (MSG)

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

 

Turn Back

9 Aug

As I begin to really get into the prophecies now, I am prompted to share. One commentary brought me to 2 Peter 3:9,15.
We that are called have to first come to a deep understanding of who God is. The old testament tells us clearly that this world is a fallen world. Nothing is new under the sun.  Sin runs rampant and always has. Time after time, we lost our way from Him and His desires for our living.
Time and time again, we turn back. This new age of believers – harmed by legalism, have swung a bit too far from really knowing His desire for our obedience, and how it protects. New age Christianity will tell you that sin is not that big of a deal because you have Grace. Grace doesn’t exclude the law, it just made you saved regardless of your sin. But you have to know Him, you have to know His laws. Others may attend church, they may believe but really don’t know Him or what His word says. It’s not about punishment or judgement. It’s about freedom. The law was written for our protection and also to give Him praise. What pleasure to Him when we choose to obey rather than sin. When we choose to really be like the disciples, like Paul.
We are not meant to correct the behavior of others, we are called to love our sister’s and brother’s and help them stay the course! What is that course?

Do you ever stop to think about the way you see your Christian Life through God’s eyes?

We are not condemned. We are blessed. We have been set free and Satan knows he can’t steal our salvation, but he will try everything to steal our reputation, our legitimacy in this world, so we can’t be the hands and feet, so we can’t be the light!
He will encourage other’s to lie about you, to discredit you. He will use other’s to negatively affect your ability to touch more lives. He will use your pride, your ego to poke at you. He will use your mistakes and your past to hold you back from really surrendering. He will lie and tell you that to go all in, is to be the church lady! None of those are true. He is a liar. He is very smart and very cunning. But his power is beneath ours that walk in faith.
Every one of our sins, great and small, is still known by God, whether we ever bring it to His feet or not. You are not so far gone that Grace can’t reach you. If we are so self focused, so worried about our lives, so panicked about provision or loneliness or what other’s think of us, how can we honestly give Him glory, how can we be ready if He calls?
This is not the religion of right and wrong, this is the religion of faith, of worship, or trust, of being a disciple! We are saved, and we all sin. Every single one of us. Our salvation happened the moment we turned back. the minute we surrendered, whether we sin or not. He died for us while we were still lost. Sin is what we always battle.. for sure, but our sin, if not observed by us, acknowledged by us, repented by us, is giving Satan a handle on our lives. We give him tools to hold over us.  It causes us to harm ourselves and other’s.  Only the truth will ever set you free. God already knows it all.

Peace comes from knowing we are set free because we can take our unholiness and bring it Christ and we are forgiven. It doesn’t mean we can ignore our unholiness and continue to just be who we are. We must surrender, we must turn to him. Submit to Him. It isn’t the finger pointing, shaming of our sin but rather the “tell me everything so we have nothing between us, so we can be close and I can do everything I promised to do for you. He says to confess to one another, and forgive and ask forgiveness of other sinners. It removes all power from darkness when you do that. You break the chains that hold you back. God say’s I will protect you, love you, grow you, help you and lead you to lead others”.
Deep thoughts!! But my fellow believers, we are Babylon!! We are Isreal! We are Judah! We are Nineveh. Clean your hearts of the sin that is there. Stop living in hiding! No one can judge you as harshly as you do! Go to Him and worship Him. Give him your sin, break the chains that Satan uses to hold you back from a full relationship with Christ!! 
Amen!

Reset

25 Jul

I have struggled lately with feeling invisible. Alone. We all do at times. This morning I read these words “God sees. He sees what you do quietly. When no one is watching. When no one gives you the credit.”

I am instantly humbled by my selfish need for more than Him! For the approval and love of man.

He is all that I need and more, and when the lie of alone or not enough creeps in- I need to worship Him even more!Humbled, bold, extravagant, crazy worship! I mean full on praise and adoration. Glorifying Him even in the worst of our times and trials.

He remains the same whether we exalt Him or forget about Him. It has already been promised and spoken. He sees us, He never forsakes us. He loves us and refreshes our souls. Whether we ever accept that or not.

We just need to stay the course, focused – our hearts set on Him and not of this world.

To have a mind so set on Him that you could be completely outcasted, thrown away, and still be so consumed with worship for Him!

It’s not my sorrow that separates me, I draw nearer in my rawness, it’s when I care too much about my place in this world. What I don’t have. Like Mary and Martha. I want to stay like Mary – “I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand, lay back against you and breathe, feel your heartbeat.”

If we train our mind like our body, to refocus our thoughts from us back to Him, we will find abundant joy and peace there. Amazing love!

Lord help me to lose myself in my worship of you! Amen!

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Light In The Dark

10 Aug

In the midst of all  the harsh realities of hard times,  we will sink, we will soar, we will say and do things out of hurt or anger and we will make mistakes. The truth is, the pain is not constant and it is only a portion of the journey. Light remains.

The beauty of having a relationship with God, in trusting Him, is knowing that this is not permanent. Having faith doesn’t stop the pain from overwhelming you at times, we are still flesh and bones and our hearts truly ache at times. This journey can be so painful. Faith is knowing, even in the depths, that you are not alone. He is suffering with you and you know this, even when you can’t find Him.   In this hurt, in this lack, you absolutely know He is there, you know this is an important time of your journey with Him, you know this won’t last.

God doesn’t cause suffering, hard things don’t happen to us because he’s an unruly, unrelenting, punishing God. Hard things happen to us because freewill exists, evil exists because sin lives in all of us, disease lives. The most amazing thing can be found in God’s living Word. The bible lays out experience after experience for what we walk through today. Not to control our response but to teach, empathize and encourage us; To guide us in hope from each trial.  Ecclesiastes says, nothing is new, and also, this too is just one of many seasons in life, this hardship.

God is faithful and He loves each life that roams this earth. He longs for all of us, knowing He will only know some of us. We are His creation and He adores us. When we embrace the life He laid out for us, we must trust that He knows where he needs us to get to,what we need to go through to get there, who is going to be touched by that. He also uses this time to minister His healing in our hearts.

There will be hard moments during these time where we don’t feel Him, where we feel lost in our sorrow or trial. Hre is still there, but there is purpose in that as well. We may be pulled deeper, we may be healed more, we may be called out on the water to trust a little more. It is in the looking back, that you see every blessing that came along just when you needed it to even if you couldn’t see it at the time.

He will slowly remove the barriers and strongholds from our past, He will show us the lies Satan tells us that attempt to deter us from healing and peace. As we suffer, we often cause ourselves to suffer more. Maybe we pick up some old legalism,that  we deserve it, that we can somehow fall outside of his grace and his mercy.  These are lies of Satan. God’s beloved Son,  promises us fully that His mercy and grace has been there every step of the way simply by believing that it’s truth.  He will not leave us,  He will not forsake us, He holds us, He guides us. He is and always has been our only true hope.

From my own journey through divorce and betrayal, my faith is assured, even in the hardest moments of all this life has brought my way. What shattered me two days ago has empowered me today. He is so gracious, so amazing like that. Peace comes for a moment and rests within me.

There comes a point as you journey through a painful time that you realize that this is your life’s path and it matters; not just for you but for others as well. We cannot be lost in the moment and lose sight that in the end, this will be a page, a chapter or even a section, but it isn’t the full story.

If you are walking with Him, I will bet that even the darkest parts had light. Praise God for that hope. The light may dim and flicker sometimes, but that light is shining bright within our soul and it is meant to be shared with the whole world.

What will your story tell?

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭39:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.”Psalms‬ ‭119:49‬ ‭NLT

Love Fulfills The Law

12 Jul

Romans 13:8 “8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. “

As Jesus was dying for us (because He loved us, not because we were loveable or because we loved Him) in what I can only imagine to be horrific pain, He prayed on behalf of those that wished him death. Why, pray tell, would this gentle, sacrificial Lord expect anything less than that of us? The state of our world requires us to rise by kneeling; not to attack but rather to encourage and pray together for everyone. It’s time to let go of arrogant posturing, puffed up statements of indignant self-righteousness and pride. Fighting one another. These are not the ways of The Word. These are the ways of ego.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

We are taught to encourage, pray for, band together, not against one another over policy…as satan would LOVE for us to do. If we read the prophecies…It appears to me and many that we are headed for or in the midst of end times. This should inspire you! Incite a deep desire to share the GOOD NEWS! Jesus lived and died for all Because of that sacrifice, we are shown and instructed over and over…

Standing on the Word of God begins and ends with Love. Period!

As our example, he taught from love and encouragement, He was humble and He taught. Yelling about a thing, being mean about a thing, self righteous indignation are not the humble ways of Christ. Follow His teachings. Encourage one another, forgive one another everything, love one another, build one another up, not for ourselves but for those that need so badly to know the Lord that saved us from our own sin. Love is a verb. Love is action. Love is not a feeling. The arrogance of many Christians is painful for me to witness. You are not talking about my walk with Christ. My testimony is so full of missteps and sin. I cannot, will not, point to any sin and say you are not worthy. You are wrong. How about instead we say, I am a sinner and look what this HOPE has done for me, this sinner.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I personally cannot wait to see my Savior face to face, but I also know I want to look Him in the eye and say, I lived and loved your people, I reached out to those that didn’t know you, I remained open to all so all had the chance to know YOU! It’s not about laying down or not defending the Word of God. It is about living out the Word of GOD. The Word of God calls out arrogance and haughtiness over 200+ times calling it an abomination. There is a small line between Righteousness and Self Righteousness. We must reflect on the entirety, not pieces. We know, behavior follows salvation. It isn’t possible the other way around. HE is ALL KNOWING, All Powerful. The living word will never die. God doesn’t need you to war over it, He needs you to teach it, walk it, share it. But mostly, you owe it to Christ to love from it, with it, and through it! Don’t be a clanging bell! So much of Proverbs is the educational part of how to be humble and strong in the Word at the same time. The beatitudes speak of the gentle and meek. Jesus taught us the way to defend is to allow the attack and Love. (Sermon on the Mount) Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! [Isa. 61:2.] Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth! [Ps. 37:11.] Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! [Isa. 55:1, 2.] Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy! Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous–possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! [Ps. 24:3, 4.] Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God! Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before

A New Song

16 Apr

Sunshine upon my face, the raindrops have gone away
It feels so good to be free
With You I’ve found a way, to overcome all the things
That hold me down, that keep me down away from You
~Caleb Rowden

Another plane, another journey.

As I listen to my music on this flight, I reflect on the many flights I would spend with my head pressed against the window, tears streaming down my face. It was dreaded quiet time, forced time in my head, a place I spent as little time as possible in that season.

Reflecting as lyrics of praise lift me up and fill me with my now ever present peace; I realize music has always been here, season to season, from sad songs to dance. These days my genre of choice is christian music, which also reflects where my mind is at these days.

What a journey this has been. What a ride the past 6 years have been. Broken to new, lost to so sure, sorrow to joy.

My heart was broken back then. I had no love in my life. Not even for myself.
How great is the love I found in that loveless state? Crazier still is that I found the Love of all Loves when I fell in Love with Jesus.

To be sure, the journey was still mine to walk, the valleys were still there and I had to walk through them. But! He brought such amazing friendships to walk beside me. Some to challenge me, some to teach me and some to encourage me. The deeper I went in my faith, the deeper those God-inspired friendships went, teaching me about abandon, trust and faith.

Though I knew His greatness and power, though I had walked through great darkness at times only to be so incredibly blessed on the other side. Though I could literally feel the Holy Spirit beside me at time…I still forgot. I still panicked, still doubted.

What I never want to forget is that during the hardest moments, that is when I knew He was beside me; I grew so calm during the hardest moments in my walk. Music is a great reminder. A song can take me back to a place. Like now.

I find it inspiring to look back, to see what I have walked through, how God’s faithfulness never ceases and He fulfills every promise. People cannot do that. We are just not perfect enough.

I didn’t become better, or righteous, I simply surrendered it all; My hurt, my sense of failure, my lack of hope, my disappointment in people, my self-sufficiency, my self-blame and self loathing. I was empty.

It was then that I was able to let go and let God begin to change me. Not the people around me, not my circumstances, not give me everything I wanted but to change the way I saw the world, change the way I processed life and emotion, change my awareness.

I began to have moments of super natural understanding, which goes so much deeper than anything I could do myself.

My sinful nature is still with me. Certain sin fell away when love replaced the destructive lies. I believe without our sin, we would forget our need for humility and Christ. We will never be able to be sinless. Only He could do that.

Singing a new song, listening to a new genre, there are no more tears on planes. There is no fear. There is hope. I am not always happy, but I am always hopeful. Life is really hard at times, but this is temporary. A drop in the bucket of eternity and the fulfillment of the greatest promise ever!

That’s my song from here on out.

Psalm 96
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

What Guilt Could Not Do

3 Apr

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

~Tenth Avenue North – By Your Side

Easter has always been my favorite time of year. It symbolizes the transformation from winter to spring, with the promise of summer. The days are longer, the sun shines brighter and the coats get put away.

I have always felt this newness to everything.

As I have grown in my faith, I realize that the hope and newness was exactly what Easter is about. I just didn’t quite grasp the full measure…yet.

My catholic upbringing made me aware of God and Jesus. I loved and accepted Jesus my whole life. But the religion of it clouded what He taught and what his death meant for me, what Grace was and that hope of salvation for me.

I learned guilt and shame in my faith walk. I learned that I was never going to be good enough for heaven and probably would just barely make purgatory. I couldn’t stop sinning. No matter how hard I tried to be perfect, I could not be. When I would be judged, it went very deep within my shame.

As I became a mother, I was keenly aware of God. He kept me safe and strong in times of need. I sought Him constantly. Trying so hard to find Him in my life. What I still did not understand was His love for me, His desire for me.

I was in awe of His creation and His Holiness, I just could never seem to connect the dots, to “get it”. I was trying so hard to be good, to be perfect, to earn my way. I worked so hard at being a “good person”, to be a “good christian”.

In the blink of an eye, everything came crashing down at once. I was humbled by the sheer loss of it all; Beautifully shattered.

From that place of humility and rawness, God slowly showed me what Grace was. He taught me so methodically, it is only in the hindsight that I see His plan unveiled.

What guilt could not do, complete failure and sorrow did. Suddenly, at the end of me, from my dark and hopeless place…I gave up on me; I quit. In that moment of I can’t do this anymore, there was nothing left. I had no fight, no pride, no ego, no hope left.
Finally, I was able to look up and be saved. I was the veil that stood between me and Grace.

In my moment of despair, I surrendered.

The peace that settled on my heart that day is the joy and light in me that people comment on all the time.

The lyrics to the song (above) remind me…Heaven has been won, not by me, but by Jesus. I can’t earn it.

Grace and Mercy are ours for the asking. Being saved is the beginning of a journey. Easter is now about new life, new hope. I am in awe of the sacrifice for me and how much He Loves me to suffer so greatly for me. When you truly surrender, you allow God to guide your life, transform your thoughts and you begin to see your purpose here and to love people from His eyes. The best feeling in the world is looking at you and loving the you He created.

His Mercy, His Love and His unending Grace…are ours for the asking.

If you want to know that love and grace…If you understand that you are a sinner and long to know hope…accept Him. Pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart.

“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior”.

Then let Him guide your heart. (A bible based church is so helpful and important in sustaining that journey)

This is what Paul said about religion vs. faith:

Galatians 2:17-21 MSG

17-18 Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Amen.