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Cheap Grace

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What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God’s wonderful kindness will show up even better? No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning?  - Romans 6:1-2 God's gift of new life in Jesus Christ is a gift we received. This gift is costly to God. He made it available to us through the death of His Son, Jesus. Living a new life daily is not easy. It is a continuous response in faith and trust. Living in humility, confession, and submission to Christ as Lord of our life. Quote “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ—living and incarnate.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship Prayer Lord, grant that us may not cheapen Your grace by taking it lightly. But help us dedicate ourselves to doing your will. Amen. 

Learning to Listen

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James 1:19-20 Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. Human anger does not achieve God's righteous purpose.  We have to admit it. We are not good listeners. Our own thoughts and concerns distract us from doing so. Doing what we want for others is not serving. Serving others is finding out what they need and help to meet them. How do we know what other's needs are? By carefully listening to their hopes, fears, and concerns. Effective service comes from listening and it only happens when we give our time to others.  “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together Prayer Lord, please help us to give our time to listen to others especially those who are in need. Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

We all can pray

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1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 "We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."  We can do many things for one another. We can love, encourage, help carry each other's burden. We can challenge, support, give, and serve. But we have to realize that we cannot do everything for others. The pandemic shows us that we cannot be with our friends and families who are infected with covid or other sicknesses. We cannot do anything to show our love except maybe extending financial help. Yet one thing we all can do is to pray for one another. We pray for people we know who are in need of healing, provision, and victory. We should pray for people who ask us to pray for them. And there is no reason under heaven that we cannot.  “And above all, we must not neglect the greatest service that is left to us, our

We owe to others what God did to us

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Matthew 6:14-15  For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Christians should act toward others the same way God acted toward us. God is generous, faithful, and gracious. We can not help but treat others with these attitudes. God forgives us so we should forgive others. He blesses us so that we can enrich others, and sets us free so that we can serve others. Having received so much from God, we can give to others out of the gratitude of our hearts.*  “When God was merciful to us, we learned to be merciful with our brethren. When we received forgiveness instead of judgment, we, too, were made ready to forgive our brethren. What God did to us, we then owed to others.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together  Prayer Lord, having received from You, help us to bless others with Your blessing. Amen. *Charles R. Ringma, Seize the Day with Dietrich Bonh

Live Beyond Our Limitations

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Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God - Psalms 42:5 Our life situations, most of the time, are not ideal. The year 2020 proves this is true. But the situation and events in our lives should not control the way we live.  It is what we make of them that will define the direction of our life. When we overcome our fear, anger, disappointment, and frustrations.  It is the time to celebrate what we have, our ministry, and trust God for the result.* “The important thing is to make the best use of one’s possessions and capabilities—there are still plenty left—and to accept the limits of the situation, by which I mean not giving way to feelings of resentment and discontent.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters And Papers From Prison Prayer: Lord, give us the strength to follow your will and not be bound by the limits of our situation. Amen. *Charles R. Ringma, Seize the Day with Dietrich Bonhoeffer

My Burden Is Light

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28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30 We long for freedom but create oppression. We strive for ease, but make it hard for ourselves. We seek to make our own way, yet become lost in the process. We run from God but create our own idolatry.  So, we need to surrender to Christ to find peace. We need to embrace God’s words and ways to find true liberty. We need to walk the narrow way of obedience to find true fulfillment. We need to surrender our own way, which finally becomes the way of sorrow, and enter the freedom Christ has won for us. “If they follow Jesus, men escape from the hard yoke of their own laws and submit to the kindly yoke of Jesus Christ.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship Lord, make us your captive so that we can be free. Excerpt from

The man who raised the Son of God

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"But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.’ " Matthew 1:20 Joseph does not get much attention in the Christmas story. The spotlight points to Mary and the birth of Jesus. And rightfully so. But we can learn a lot about this good man. Joseph first appears in the Bible in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. He was a carpenter whose lineage went way back to King David. Joseph was a man of strong conviction who put his faith into actions. The Bible described him as a righteous man chosen by God to be the human father of Jesus Christ. What kind of man God has chosen to raise His own Son? God knew who that man was.  Joseph obeyed God. We can imagine how shocked he was when the angel informed h