What you can’t do, God can.

It’s widely accepted in the church that you can’t save yourself by your own efforts. As the scripture says,

Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The only thing that pays the penalty for sin death, not good works. We can give our own life for sin,  but that would not do us any good because then we would be dead.  Impossible for us, but God did it by sending His Son to die for us.

What about being more like  Jesus by our own efforts?  Consider these verses

Galatians 5:19-23 (NKJV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Verses 19-21 show what we can do ourselves without God’s help. But doing those works of the flesh will not make us one bit more like our example Jesus.  What we can’t do by ourselves is to produce the fruits in verse 22.  Again what’s impossible for us, is done by God the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Sharon and I encourage you to pray about this and ask your  Heavenly Father to change you through His Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus.

 

 

Copyright 2018, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

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Does God always love you?

All of God’s people have to bear some amount of suffering and loss. In another post I quoted Psalm 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”   You might these two questions about this. First, is this for women as well as men? Yes it is, God’s promise is for all His people. The second, while God will keep His word and do this (in His timing) does He still love me? Consider these verses from Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Romans 8:35-39 (NKJV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

These verses show that nothing or no one can separate us from God’s love. And being the all powerful God, there is nothing or no one who can stop Him from loving us. Pastor Sharon and I encourage you to pray about this. Ask God to make you more aware of His unending love for you.

 

copyright 2018, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved.

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Are poverty and persecution caused by a lack of faith?

You may have heard that problems and troubles  in the Christian life, if not caused by sin, are caused by a lack of faith.  You may also have heard of the 11th chapter of Hebrews, also known as the faith chapter and the heroes of faith chapter. Usually the readings from this chapter are from verses 1-35, telling us the how their faith of the men and women of God was part of  God working out His purpose in their lives.  God did the miracles. Even their faith was a gift from God through the Holy Spirit (It’s one of the fruits of the spirit). These verses are encouraging reading for us as we see that nothing and no one can stop God’s will.

The next three verses we hear little or nothing of.  The men and women of God mentioned in verses 36-39 also had great faith (also given by God the Holy Spirit)’ otherwise they would not be mentioned in this chapter.

 

Hebrews 11:36-38 NKJV

36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, [a]were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.  

 

The only way these men and women of God were able to endure these things was because of the miracles God was working in their lives. He gave them faith,  strengthened them, guided them and provided for them.  Consider the first words of verse 38 “of whom the world was not worthy”, God was not punishing them, He was pleased with them. And what do all God’s people, those who lived in the past and those living now, have in common?

 

Hebrews 11:39-40  (NKJV)

39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

 

None of us have received the promise yet. We are all going to receive it together. That’s the important thing. Anything else in this life, whether we have much or little, or how much suffering or loss we have to bear, is God’s will being worked out through us. Pastor Sharon and I encourage you to pray about this post and ask God what He wants you to learn from it.

 

 

Copyright 2018 Pastors George and Sharon Billington. All Rights Reserved.

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Is sin the cause of all afflictions?

God, being sovereign, has the right to cause or allow suffering in His creation. You may be familiar with some of the many scripture in the book of Psalms confirming that God does punish sinners with loss or suffering because of their sins.  But are you familiar with any of the scriptures in that book showing that God may allow afflictions in the lives of His people even thought they are not sinning?

Consider these verses from Psalm 34.  In verse 17 it says,

“The righteous cry out and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” And verse 19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

As it has been said, we live in a sin filled, fallen world. But the good news for God’s people is that God loves us. He may allow a certain amount of suffering in our life for His purpose,  but He always puts a limit on it, and never allows more than we can bear.

Pastor Sharon and I encourage you to pray about this and ask God to strengthen you and guide you with His Spirit, to be able to do and be what He wants for your life.

Copyright 2018 Pastors George and Sharon Billington,  All Rights Reserved

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These things must be

If you’re like me, you petition God for better health and quality of life for many He sends across your path.  You truly want to positively impact their lives through intercessory prayer, and you pray for God’s will to be done.  If you are spirit-led, you hear His voice, loving you for your wonderful gifts of time, love and concern.  Sometimes He says, clearly, “these things must be.”

Christ prayed for the Father to change His circumstances when He knew sacrificing His life on the cross would happen soon.  He surrendered to the Father’s will.  The Father essentially told Him, “These things must be.”

Matthew 26:42(NKJV)

42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

You or someone you love could be facing a physical death sentence.  Could you accept that it’s God’s will that it happens?  Is God saying , “These things must be” about your sincere desire for physical healing?  How do you live your life knowing God’s will and answer?

The other day a friend emailed me about her choir director being sent home to hospice care.  We had been praying for her for quite some time as she battled cancer.  As believers, we know God can intervene any time, but we also know some things must be.  I asked God to help me comfort my friend and help her to accept what seems to be happening.  My answer was that God is preparing the choir director to come home to Him.  While my friend will grieve the loss of a physical relationship. she can also rejoice at a spiritual life continued.

Only God has the authority to determine when we live and when we die.  If it’s not His will and plan for a life, no amount of decreeing, declaring or rebuking will change what will happen.

May God help us all to accept what must be and rely on Him to get us through it.  Scripture does say that he who endures to the end will be saved.  Life is tough sometimes, and sometimes it must be that way.

copyright 2017, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved

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God makes a way to help us move forward

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