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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Feb 27, 2014 | Comments (0)


First Sunday in Lent

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the First Sunday in Lent

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The Strength of Christianity is Grace

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Another name for Jesus is "Grace". Another name for God is "Grace". We are saved by GRACE. "Love" is not Love if it is not grace. This is true for "Faith", "Hope", "Joy" and all other theological words of significance in the scripture.

Until someone experiences the grace gift in their lives, all other theological words have no real meaning. Why not begin to use the word "grace" in place of "Jesus", "God", "the Spirit", "Love" and so on? It might seem inappropriate to do so. However, until it is actually experienced it will make no sense at all.

That is what this year is all about. Grace, did you get it?

Finding Grace in Our Life

When you say grace, you've said it all.

Prayers for Lent from Forward Day by Day.

Pray this prayer:

“O God: Give me strength to live another day. I will try this day to live a simple, sincere and serene life, exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God.”

Now quietly move into God's Presence and pray the prayer again:

“O God: Give me strength to live another day. I will try this day to live a simple, sincere and serene life, exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God.”

What is the difference?

Find the difference between being transformed by His Grace to pray or praying to be transformed by His Grace.

 

Matthew 4:1-11 “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

We have within us a Peace. It is not ours. It has been given to us by grace.

Prosperity followers believe God wants Christians to be rich! There are millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. If this is so, why isn't everyone in the church a millionaire? Their answer:

  • It's God's will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty.
  • It's God's will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt.
  • God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us.
  • I want to be wealthy and God wants me to be wealthy too!
  • “Who would want to get in on something where you're miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?”
  • God wants us to be prosperous.
  • To be happy we need to have money to pay our bills, send our kids to college bless, be a blessing to other people.

Prosperity's defenders match their critic’s chapter and verse:

  • Riches and wealth are not bad things.
  • These are gifts from Gods.
  • I can be wealthy and still be of God. This allows me to feel justified for wanting these things in my life.
  • “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastic 5:19
  • Since we are all created equal, if someone else is successful, I know I can do the same because this is what God wants for me and you.
  • “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” II Corinthians 8:9

Pick out the scriptures you want most to believe in. Be careful of what you pick out! The basis for the prosperity believer is the same as the temptation offer Satan made to Jesus, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."

Prosperity thinking goes something like this:

  • I think God wants us to be prosperous.
  • I think he wants us to be happy.
  • To me, you need to have money to pay your bills.
  • I think God wants us to send our kids to college.

What is being said is that to be happy you must have enough money to pay your bills and send your kids to college. This sounds logical if you believe in legalism. It is implied that if this does not work out, you cannot be happy: “What happens to you will make you happy or not.” This is idolatry. It is depending on something other than God to get what God has already given us, A Joy that “no one can take from us.” John 16:22 It is not what St Paul said. Here he is in prison, not knowing the outcome. Paul states, “I have learned to be content in whatever state I am in. I know how to be abased and I know how to abound, how to be full and how to be hungry. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philemon 4:11  That is the Gospel of Grace and the Word of God.

What was Jesus thinking? How could He pass up such a bargain? That is the problem. What was He thinking about being rich? What was His answer? Simple, don’t worry about being rich. Seek FIRST the Kingdom of Gold and His Righteousness and all these things will come. 

How does that work? To seek first the Kingdom of God is to be open to His Presence within us. In His Peace, Love and Joy we find our happiness. This is not a God-fueled, self-help program.  Yes, God wants us to be happy. But it is not to give us riches to be happy. It is to be happy to receive His riches. What the prosperity people tell us is to worship God, pray our prayers, be faithful and obedient and we will prosper. Grace tells us that in His Presence is where we prosper, filled with His Love Joy and Peace. His prosperity is unconditional and inclusive.

Legalism tells us what to do to become happy. Grace tells us to become happy to do what we do. God want us to be rich spiritually by opening our hearts to His Presence. That is the difference.

Did you find grace? Lent is the season to learn to take it with you before you go into the coming Easter and Pentecost Seasons.


THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group: Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.


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