God Calls Us His Children

Bible Journaling page was traced from a Pinterest post from Carmen Ramirez.

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from I John 3:1-3, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” (NLT) God loves us so much that He calls us His children! What an awesome thought!

God refers to Believers in different ways. He says we are His children; He says we are lambs; He says we are His bride! I love that He calls us His children! That makes Him my Abba Father! I can go to Him with everything that concerns me. Joys, sorrows, victories, defeats…anything that I experience, I can tell Him about it. His love is never ending. His love is more than I can comprehend.

There is one requirement for a person to be considered God’s child. Each person must decide in their heart what they will do with Jesus. Will He be accepted into that person’s life or rejected? To be God’s child, we must accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, ask forgiveness for our sins, and promise to live for Him. From that moment on, our lives must be lived for Him in everything we do and say. We must exhibit a pure life that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. When we do this, the Bible says we are Born-Again. (John 3)

There are several references in the Bible where Born-Again Believers are called children of God. The Apostle Paul states in Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (KJV) Jesus said as much in Luke 20:36, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” (KJV)

As His children, we are required to keep ourselves pure (verse 3), and as human beings, that can be difficult at times. But we must stay close to Him to accomplish purity in our lives. Once we wander away from Him, it makes it more difficult to stay pure. Obedience to God is needed in every area of our lives. We realize that we are not perfect, and God knows that also, after all, He created us. But He requires that we persevere in living holy, pure lives for Him. Daily Bible Study and prayer, fellowshipping with other Christians, church attendance…all these things help us to live holy lives before Him. We often stray and get off the pathway He has laid out for us, and when that happens, God, as our Father, disciplines us. He disciplines out of love, not as an overbearing task master, but He gently leads us back to where we belong. The writer of Hebrews explains, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11 KJV) Job 36:10 (NASB) says, “He opens their ear to instruction, And commands that they return from evil.” As a loving Father, He disciplines us so that we overcome our rebellion, our mistakes, and our sin.

He knows what is best for us, just as earthly fathers know what is best for their children, and desire to keep their children safe and happy. God wants us to experience the best in life that He has to offer us. He loves us and wants our obedience and a close relationship with His children. He wants us to talk to Him every day, He wants to shower us with His blessings. He wants us to get to know who He is and enjoy His presence with us. I am so glad He loves me enough to discipline my rebellious ways. It is then that I can truly enjoy a life of peace and joy with God as my Abba Father!

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A Father’s Love

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Matthew 3:16-17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (KJV) In this month of celebrating fathers, we look at our Heavenly Father.

God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us more than we can ever imagine. As I was thinking about this and looking at our Scripture passage I began to do my art journaling and ended up doing something other than I wanted to do, and I think God wanted me to go in a different direction than what I had intended. What I had intended was a pretty, speckled background overlaid with pretty roses. However, it didn’t come out that way and looked a little more like a mess. Then I got to thinking. God meets us in the middle of our mess and loves us just like we are. That spoke volumes to me!

In our Scripture today we see Jesus, God’s Son, beginning His ministry by setting an example for us, and God, the Father, and God, the Holy Spirit, are both giving their approval. We see here, in picture form, the Trinity. Even though the Bible never uses the actual word, “Trinity”, the concept is shown in so many instances throughout Scripture. Jesus, God the Son, is being obedient to God, the Father; and God, the Holy Spirit, is sealing the Father’s approval upon Jesus. This is God’s love shown, not only for Jesus, but also His love is shown for us.

The Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins. He shows us His love by providing a means for us to escape the penalty of death that is required as atonement for our sins. Jesus shows us His obedience to His Father as an example. Water Baptism is an outward showing of what has happened to us on the inside when we ask Jesus to be our Savior and to live in us. When we are plunged under the water, it signifies the washing of our sins by Jesus’ blood, we are, in essence, under the blood. When we come up from under the water we are washed, cleansed from all our sin, completely clean, just as Jesus’ blood has cleansed us from all our sin.

God loves us even when we don’t love Him. (I John 4:19) He doesn’t require that we get ourselves all cleaned up before we approach Him. He meets us in the middle of our mess – dirty, confused, unlovable, rejected, sinful, and feeling worthless. There is nothing we can do to keep God from loving us. No act, no thought, no attitude, can keep God from showering us with His love.

God is my Heavenly Father, my Best Friend, my Anchor in the storm, the Rock upon whom I can stand for a firm foundation in my faith. He is the One who will love me unconditionally. I don’t deserve it, but He loves me. There is nothing I can do to earn His love, yet He loves me anyway.

My responsibility is to show Him how much I love Him by living in a manner that gives Him glory and honor. I am to live in obedience to His will and follow His law of love, and He showers me with His love!

What an amazing, awesome God we serve! He loves us no matter what!

Our Confidence is in Jesus – A Better Covenant

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Hebrews 7:22, “so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (NASB) As we investigate from where our confidence comes, we see in this passage that our confidence can be placed in Jesus because He guarantees our salvation. The writer of Hebrews points out in this chapter that the Law of the Old Testament “made nothing perfect” (Hebrews 7:19 NASB) and therefore couldn’t be a guarantee of entrance into Heaven, it couldn’t save us from our sins, rather it pointed out our sins.

Verses 18-19 say, “For, on the one hand there is a setting aside of a former covenant because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (NASB) Only through Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sins, and our acceptance of His sacrifice, can we be guaranteed a home in Heaven.

As we place our confidence in Him daily, He walks with us, He guides us, and when we fall, He picks us up and sets us back on the right track. We are not worn down by the weight of sin that we bore, because He took our load of sin upon Himself. We can now walk free of that burden. He promises never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5), He promises to be our help in time of trouble. (Hebrews 4:16) He is our High Priest, (Hebrews 3:1) the one we confess our sins to, and who is able to save us from our sins and He is continually making intercession for us to the Father. (Hebrews 7:25) He has promised that not only will He save us from our sins, but He will remember them no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

Chapter 8 tells us that under the New Covenant a New Law will be placed into the hearts and minds of His children. (Hebrews 8:10) This Law is a Law of Love. We obey because of our love for Jesus, not because we must follow a Law that is impossible to keep and that shows us our shortcomings. The Old Testament Law had a purpose…to show us how far from God’s perfection we are. The New Covenant shows us that because of God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can be obedient to His Law because of our love for Him and the salvation He paid in our stead.

Because of His faithfulness to us we can have confidence in whatever He promises. We know that He will never leave us, never go back on His promise to help us, never turn His back on us. He will always walk with us. We can trust Him to bring us through whatever we are facing. We can trust that He has our best in mind. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The New Covenant has made the Old Covenant obsolete; it no longer is useful. (Hebrews 8:13) The New Covenant, salvation through Jesus Christ, is a better covenant, and that is from where our confidence comes.

Saved By Grace

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Acts 15:11, “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” (NASB)

To give a little background on this verse, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas had been ministering to the Gentiles and many were being saved through their preaching. Acts 15:1 says, “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’” (NASB) This brought confusion and arguing among the congregation, some saying circumcision was not required and some saying that it was. Paul and Barnabas were commissioned by the congregation to go to Jerusalem to talk to the elders of the church concerning this issue. As Paul is explaining, he appeals to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (NASB)

There were some in the church who wanted to require a strict adherence to the law in addition to being saved by grace. They advocated a grace plus works salvation. God never placed that upon us as Believers, and I for one am grateful. We can do nothing to obtain our salvation, it is given as a free gift from God with no strings attached. If someone gave you a present and then required something of you in order to receive that gift, then it would not be freely given, there would be strings attached…something you would have to do to receive it. In my book, that’s not a gift, that is a duty, something to be earned by your actions.

I have been in churches that required a strict adherence to their denomination’s book of laws as a requirement for salvation. Trust me when I say, I’ve never seen such unhappy, joyless people. They were under a yoke, a burden, that they were unable to bear. Regulations on outward appearance, requirements of things that must be done to appear holy. Perfection was the goal…I am here to tell you that no one is perfect, and God most certainly does not expect us to be perfect. We are not required to clean ourselves up before coming to Jesus and asking for forgiveness and salvation.

I am so thankful that my salvation comes freely by grace. Oh, how much God loves us! Because of His great love for us, salvation is free! We can live our lives for Him without worrying about whether we are measuring up to a set of laws that are impossible to keep. Does He require us to live a holy life? Absolutely! But we do the works because of our love for Him, and as proof of what God has done in our lives. (James 2:17) We are not bound by man-made laws demanding us to live a life that is impossible and brings no joy or peace. His salvation to us is offered freely. His grace is extended to us because of His love for us.

This Blood

I am deviating from our study on grace for a moment, but in reality, God’s grace is plainly shown in our journaling for today. We just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. During our Easter service at my church our worship team did a song called, “This Blood.” I woke this morning with that song running in my mind. Take a listen:

As I thought about the words and heard the song in my head, I began to get an image in my mind, one of my sin being covered by Jesus’ blood, no longer to be remembered or to be charged against me. The image was so powerful to me that I knew I had to journal it in my Bible. So, I searched for a Scripture that would express what I was feeling. I came upon John 19:30, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” (KJV) The thing that hits me is that when Jesus died on the cross, He did it willingly because of His great love and grace toward me. As I am sitting here listening to the song, I can’t help but be completely in awe of what Jesus has done for me. He has forgiven me of every sin I have ever committed or ever will commit. He has welcomed me into His family. He has become my Best Friend, He is my Healer, He loves me unconditionally, and He beckons me to have a relationship with Him.

The Scripture reference highlights for me that nothing more is needed to be done. Jesus finished the work assigned to Him to bring about my salvation. Nothing more is needed, not from Him, and most certainly not from me, because there is nothing I can do to purchase my salvation, only Jesus was the perfect sacrifice! The old hymn, “Nothing but the Blood”, says it all…” What can wash away my sin…nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again…nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

Not only did He die for my sins, He rose from the grave three days later and conquered sin, death, and the grave! That gives me hope (confidence). A hope that one day I will also rise again and be joined with Him in the sky to go Home to Heaven! I have nothing to fear because He will walk with me through death.

What can be more precious than that? To walk through a time that can be fearful, with your Best Friend who will bring comfort and strength just as He has done your entire life. Peace beyond anything we can even imagine overflows our hearts and souls at the thought of being with Jesus.

This morning, my heart overflows with love for my Lord and Savior! I am so grateful for His salvation, His love, His friendship, and His leadership. “This Blood” is so precious to me!

Because of Love

 

Today I’m focusing on the Easter season with this being Passion Week. Friday is Good Friday, where we remember the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. His sacrifice was accomplished because of His love for us, and because of His great grace that has been bestowed upon us in that, He took the punishment for our sins. He was the only perfect sacrifice to fulfil the requirement of death as payment.

As we look at the entire 19th chapter of John, we are taken through Jesus trial, scourging, death, burial, and resurrection. I can’t help but think that the Easter account is not just about Jesus dying for us, but it also is about how He conquered sin, death, and the grave. Jesus loved us so much that He willingly endured the pain of being crucified, the most painful death one can imagine, to take our place so that we would not have to pay the requirement of death for our sins.

John 3:16 is probably the most recognized Scripture in the Bible. Most people can recite it without difficulty. I wonder though how many realize just what that verse means, and do they believe it? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV) God’s love for us is so vast, it is hard for mere humans to comprehend. He willingly gave His Son up to die for us. I don’t know many people who would willingly give their lives for another, especially someone they don’t even know. But God loves us all, He created us, and He wants us to have a relationship with Him. Through Jesus death on the cross, that relationship can be achieved.

How? By accepting Jesus as personal Savior. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (CSB) Every person born is born into sin because of Adam, and the relationship with God has been severed. There is a punishment for that sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (CSB) God provided a means of escape, a plan, to save us from the penalty of sin. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (KJV)

I Corinthians 15:3-6 says, “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.” (KJV) Jesus not only died for our sins and was buried, He was resurrected again to life, conquering death and the grave. We have nothing to fear because of this. Death and the grave has no power over those who trust in Jesus as Savior.

The Bible says that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Jesus, Himself, said, “I am the way, the truth, and he life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (KJV) John 1:12 explains that, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (KJV) When we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, we become children of God, He takes us into His family.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “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.” (KJV) We have no claim to our salvation, because we cannot in ourselves be saved. Nothing we can do can ever pay for our sins. Only Jesus can save us. All we need do is ask Jesus to save us. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (KJV)

The process of salvation is simple, even a child can ask Jesus to come into their heart and save them. All we must do is ask forgiveness of our sins, invite Him into our hearts, and promise to follow Him, make Him Lord of our lives, and endeavor to live a holy life. We can rejoice because we have eternal life because of Jesus! He is Risen!

God’s Grace Transforms Us

This past week has been very hard for me and my family. Saturday, we held the funeral for my nephew, and it’s been difficult to say the least. So, I’ve not been in any frame of mind to do journaling. The day before my husband and I left to go to the funeral I did my Bible journaling artwork, and Satan knew just how to get to me because my hubby and I had a big argument and I couldn’t even put my thoughts together to write my journaling blog. So, the artwork has just been sitting here and as I look at it and read the Scripture, I still am having a hard time knowing where to begin.

The verse comes from Titus 2:11-13, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” (NASB) The first thing I see in this passage is that God’s grace brings us salvation. For that, I am eternally grateful! Without His grace toward me, I would have no hope, no joy, no peace.

The second thing I see is that God instructs us in how to live our lives. He guides us in godly living, and that guidance helps to transform us. When we allow Him to do that transforming work in our lives, we are changed. We are not the same people we were ten years ago, five years ago, a year ago, even a day ago! He is constantly molding us and changing us to be more like Him. As I think about how He has transformed me, I recognize that the transformation He must do in me can only come about if I allow Him to work in my life, allow Him to change me.

I still battle with anger issues, but He is working in me trying to help me gain control of my anger. It isn’t easy for me to not just lash out at whoever I’m angry with. I am a work in progress. I don’t know if I will ever gain control over this, but I know it can’t happen if I don’t allow Him to do what He needs to do in me to gain the victory over anger. He is still working, and I can see that the outbursts aren’t as frequent, but I still have a lot of work to do to be more like Him.

The last thing I see in this passage is that because of His transforming work in our lives, we have something to look forward to…”the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” We are expectantly waiting for His return, the Glorious Appearing! As I look at events in today’s world, I know His return is very close. There are days I say, “OK, God, You can come anytime, I’ve had enough!” We have a future to look forward to! We can be assured that He will keep His promise to come and take us home with Him. We also can have that assurance that He won’t call us home until we are transformed into who are to become…a transformed child of God who is the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.