Friday, February 17, 2017

Pure Heart, Good Conscience, Sincere Faith


The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 1 Timothy 1:5-11

stacked paper elements, kit:  Kitty Love by Kristmess Designs, paper by Silvia Romeo

Heavenly Father,  Please help us to always remember that our goal when serving you, out of love and gratitude, is to show your love to the lost and to each other so that all might come to repentance and receive salvation.  We want our motives to be pure and sincere, trusting that whatever efforts we make and whatever results are realized are powered by your Spirit.  We don't want to be so disgusted by this sin-ruined world that we fail to reach out to people who are deceived and living in darkness.  We don't want to forget that we were once lost, too, before you brought us into the light of your truth and gave us the gift of faith.  We don't want to take the credit for anything you do, either in our own lives, or in response to our sharing your message with and praying for others.  Please help us to be faithful in doing the work you prepared for us to do and not to water down the gospel to make it more palatable to sinners.  Sound doctrine includes repentance, as your word repeatedly reminds us.  You are not looking for empty words confessing faith that is not evidenced by truthful actions, but genuine belief from the heart.  You are a merciful God, full of grace, ready to forgive any sin that is confessed to you and repented of.  You have not placed a limit on how many times we may come before you to be washed clean of our sins, but you will not be mocked by hypocrites who sin deliberately and have no thought whatsoever of repentance.  Please show us any "blind" areas of our lives where we may not even realize we are holding on to sinful thoughts, attitudes, habits or tendencies.  We want to be made holy, conformed to Jesus' image and set apart for your service and to be used for your glory.  Please bring to our minds Scriptures that will help us to discern the truth when we receive conflicting messages about your will and desire for us.  Put our feet on solid ground and let us build on the one, true foundation with precious materials, remembering that whatever we do, we are working for you - not to earn salvation, but because you loved us first and sent your Son to die for us while we were yet sinners.  We love you!  In Jesus' glorious, worthy, beloved name, Amen.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.  Romans 5:1-11

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.  Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:10-17  

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24  

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.  For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.  The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.  He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil. Psalm 36:1-4  

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.  Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:12-14  

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:5-10

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.  Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,  but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:1-6

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19 

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8