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Grace, Grace and More Grace.

and then sin will no longer have any power over you — you are living not under law, but under grace. -Romans 6:14 (NJB)

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. – Romans 11:6 (ESV)

Recently, I have begun re-reading Brennan Manning’s book The Ragamuffin Gospel. While I recognize that this book and some of its ideas may be controversial in some circles, I think it makes some good points about the believer and their relationship to God through Christ. The simple fact that Brennan was formerly in the Catholic priesthood is enough to send some into a tailspin and accuse me of promoting heresy. However, from my viewpoint, his life experience cements his credentials as someone who examined the issue in detail from more than one point of view and has a more informed perspective as a result.

Let me get some things out of the way at the outset of this post. I do read some Catholic literature and refer to Catholic Bibles on occasion in my studies of God’s Word. One Bible I enjoy making use of [among others] is the New Jerusalem Bible. I even at times read the Apocrypha and can get a lot out of it. I believe in the “invisible church” — the body of believers who really ‘get it’ and whose Lord and Savior is Jesus. I think the invisible church can be found within the walls of many different types of churches… regardless of the name that may be over the door.

When I was called by God, I was dead in my trespasses and sins and needed to be made alive again by Him (regenerated). It was not because of some theology I expounded or great deeds done, nor was it the result of some magnificent penance I performed. It was simply because of God’s incomprehensible love for me and through His grace that I have been saved. Nothing more than that. I must be careful to reflect on that love and grace each and every day, so I don’t think myself too terrible to save without having to do some extra work. I have nothing to bargain with God over. I am completely dependent on His grace.

Having stated my beliefs and opinions above, let me also say this clearly: I am not Roman Catholic. I am not Baptist, Lutheran or Methodist. I am simply a Christian. In fact, even the church I attend does not have a denominational affiliation attached to it. Let me also state plainly that I suspect that many Roman Catholics are true Christians, and would say the same about many others of Protestant persuasion. It is God who sees the heart, not me. Not you. God. Many protestants like to point the finger at Catholics, accusing them of following a works-based religion and discounting the Grace of God. The reverse is also true, where many Catholics see Protestants as doomed. It is sad that so many don’t get it. Jesus is everywhere He needs to be and will meet us when we call for Him.

I think that Bible study is very, very important. From its pages, I can discover true doctrine. But I also think that we often tend (as believers) to place too much emphasis on some things that God may deem of lesser importance and allow them to divide us, therefore rendering us ineffective in spreading the message of the Kingdom: the message of love and grace. And more love, and more grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) The message of grace can all too easily become obscured in theology, which means we miss the whole point of the Gospel. I have spent much time mouthing the word “grace” without the slightest comprehension of what it really means -and how much God has really done for me. It is too easy to think that I have to perform some sort of ‘works’ to compensate for the extra sinful nature that I sadly possess as a human. For some of us maybe it’s some Sunday morning duty we perform at Church that we would rather not be doing -or perhaps it is tithing when we begrudge the money to the church, but fear God’s disapproval.

What shall we say, then? Should we continue to live in sin so that God’s grace will increase? Certainly not! We have died to sin—how then can we go on living in it? -Romans 6:1-2 (GNT) I write none of this as an excuse to sin in a conscience-free religious environment with an idea of a God who simply says “don’t worry about it” when I choose to indulge in sinful behavior which is clearly, if nothing else, self-destructive or harmful to those around me. Because I truly get the idea that God loves me in my broken, sinful state enough for Jesus to go to the cross for me, then it is natural for me to want to obey Him and live in a way that pleases Him — not to indulge myself even more in destructive, offensive behavior whose end is death.

Lastly, let me say a couple of words about “ecumenism.” Many fundamentalists and evangelicals cringe when they hear the word because of the connotations it often carries. Many see it as a way to erode doctrine and adapt some sort of “everything goes” way of looking at the Christian life. I know this is true for many instances. I try to boil it down to what it is supposed to mean and apply it to my life in that manner (thinking of the term when I ponder my relationship to other Christians): the principle or aim of promoting unity among the world’s Christian Churches. I am not referring to liberal, “anything goes” churches that aim to change with the times and please the world at the drop of a dime. I am talking of those who preach that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to God and life everlasting. I am talking of those who take the Bible seriously as God’s inerrant word to us.

I believe firmly in doctrine. At the same time, I must allow that there are believers in other denominations [and in Catholicism] who are truly saved because they get what Jesus did for them and have placed their trust in Him. Many realize that combining faith with any form of work diminishes the true meaning of the Gospel and attempts to unseat God’s grace as the only thing that can save us. One need simply spend time reading, praying and meditating over the words in Hebrews 11 to come to a full realization of what it is that truly saves.

I am sorry to offend anyone who may be Catholic or Orthodox or any other form of religion that likes to work in some ‘tasks’ in combination with salvation, but I must speak what I know to be the truth as revealed in God’s word. That truth is GRACE.


The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. – Psalm 37:39-40 (ESV)

I think it is important to remember in this time of global concern over the spread of deadly viruses and such that our faith must first and foremost be in God. In the United States of America, the President will be addressing the public tonight at 6 PM EST in an attempt to assuage fears resulting from the spread of coronavirus to our continent. While this pandemic is not to be taken lightly, it is important to always remember that there is nothing man can do that God cannot do, but there is plenty that our LORD can do that man cannot. Prayer should always be the first thing we engage in, not a last resort.

It’s been a while…

So I am sitting here in front of my Chromebook, trying to decide what to write a post on — just for the sake of posting something! Hardly fair to any passerby who might stop to read it. Albeit, there are several topics of interest — particularly given the current political crisis in the United States with the election of a socialist a possibility and also the growing corona-virus epidemic globally. There is much someone with a biblical worldview might offer on either topic. But… I’ll stick to just one.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
-Colossians 3:2 (ESV). The verse I have chosen to comment on would apply to either topic mentioned above. However, I will stick to the topic of the upcoming election for now. There are some that are very upset when they even consider the possibility of someone like Sen. Sanders becoming president, due to his many socialist views. To those with such concerns, let’s remember who it is that appoints rulers — and that they should focus on Him, not man’s feeble attempts to solve his own social problems. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. -Romans 13:1 (ESV). Here is more on the topic from Peter: Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. – 1 Peter 2:13-17 (ESV).

There is a certain comfort when one realizes they are not in control and things rest in the ever-capable hands of Almighty God. Wouldn’t you agree?

What really matters.

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life. -Proverbs 13:7 (MSG) So often we spend much in resources to impress others, as if in some way that improves our life or gives it meaning. Each of us is here for such a short time that it makes no sense to waste it on acquiring and exhibiting that which is very temporary in itself.

I give up; I am tired of living. Leave me alone. My life makes no sense. -Job 7:16 (GNT) Apart from a life spent with God, there is no sense to be made of anything. He alone gives us true purpose and meaning in our lives.

Someone you can depend on…

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. -Nahum 1:7

Like everyone else I know, I suffer some unnecessary anxiety quite frequently. It always happens when I try to plan for [and take charge of] situations I am powerless over. In creeps worry and fear, and God is somehow left behind in all of it. Until I realize who I am in Christ and who God is to the universe. Spending a lot of time in His Word tends to minimize the amount of time I waste being anxious and allows me more attention to devote to the Lord.

‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ -Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV)

In a famous twelve step program, one of the promises offered in their primary book is to be able to “intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.” This comes after spending some time not under the thumb of one’s addiction and having drawn closer to God as they have come to understand Him. I can say from personal experience that this rings true.

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. -Isaiah 54:10

All of my Christian life (even when I strayed from Him) I have had a sense down deep in times of trouble of God’s presence and an awareness that He was watching out for me. I have that feeling even still, perhaps even more so. Do you share that same sense of peace (that passes all understanding)? I hope and pray for your sake that you do. It’s the only way to truly live life to its fullest.

The Coverings of the Tabernacle

One of the many things that make it easy to believe the Bible is God’s Word is its honesty. Not only are biblical characters painted in a realistic light (the sins of the famous O.T. men of God were far from hidden, such as David’s adultery and murder of Uriah), but Christ Himself is depicted as no one of extraordinary looks or charisma (at least in the eyes of most of the people of the day).

Let’s look at the words of Isaiah 53 that depict the coming Savior of the world:

He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him. He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him. He was treated harshly and afflicted, but he did not even open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block, like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not even open his mouth. He was led away after an unjust trial—but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded. They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully. Though the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill, once restitution is made, he will see descendants and enjoy long life, and the Lord’s purpose will be accomplished through him. Having suffered, he will reflect on his work, he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done. “My servant will acquit many, for he carried their sins.So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes, he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful, because he willingly submitted to death and was numbered with the rebels, when he lifted up the sin of many and intervened on behalf of the rebels.” -Isaiah 53:2-12 (NET2)

The coverings of the tabernacle were nothing special to look at, being dull bluish or gray in color with nothing of any appeal. Certainly not what you wold think of, especially when you look at the way some churches and their worship altars are adorned. In fact, you might even say that they would be “despised and rejected by men” as coverings. That is how Christ is viewed by all who refuse to accept Him by way of the cross.

Christ as the Tabernacle

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. -Eph. 2:13 (NLT)

Recently, in our Friday night Bible study, a friend has embarked on a study of the Temple, beginning of with the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant. I must admit, at first I wasn’t sure what level of interest I would develop in this, but as time as advanced, I have come to realize that I have a great deal of interest in it –and in finding the many ways in the Old Testament writings that Christ is talked about, either prophetically or by illustrating types and shadows.

So, first of all, the novice reader is probably asking themselves what “types and shadows” are. Here is an excerpt from a Web site containing some useful information and resources about the tabernacle ( Dr. John R. Sampey said, “A type may properly be defined as a person, institution, or event in the old dispensation which was designed to prefigure a corresponding person, institution, or event in the New.”

We know that only the High Priest could make atonement. Jesus is our High Priest. What He has done for us is not something that must be repeated constantly. He did it once and for all: He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. -Heb. 7:27 (NET)

The Tabernacle, as a type of Christ, symbolized a place where God and man could meet. Jesus, in becoming a man and being the atonement for our sins, has bridged that gap between us and God. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands—the representation of the true sanctuary—but into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. -Heb. 9:24 (NET)

The gate to the entrance of the tabernacle was the only entrance, much as Christ is our only gate into the presence of God. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. – John 10:9 (NLT)

Please take the time to visit a well-done page at for much more useful information. May God continue to bless you as you strive to know Him better!