Another Gospel

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As I read Paul’s letter to the church of Galatia I was only a few lines in when his words hit home.

I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! Galatians 1:6-8

I was so convicted by these three verses of scripture I had to pause and pray for myself, my family and this nation. After all we know to be true about our Savior and King, after all the times we have seen Him at work in our lives and the lives of others, after all the moments of divine meetings and answered prayers . . . How can we be so quick to turn from Him?

We can so easily fall into the trap of following “another gospel”. The gospel of the world that brings fear, pride, selfishness, greed, anger, discontentment, materialism, and sexual immorality and sets it up on an altar before us. This world casts a wide net that can trap us into believing in something more than our Savior. I pray we don’t forget that we will NEVER fit into this world because this is not our home. When we feel left out, alone and strange for not worshiping these modern-day idols, we have to remind ourselves (and other Christians) that the narrow gate is difficult to find and tricky to fit through. It takes work, dedication and commitment, but the benefits that the one true God has promised us are worth every second those feelings. Uncomfortable is a good thing!

My prayer is that we are not quickly distracted by the shiny and temporary things of this world. May we always have the cross before us as we honor and worship the One who has called us by the grace of Christ.

 

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The BIG Turnaround

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At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture Me? Every day I used to sit, teaching in the temple complex, and you didn’t arrest Me. 56 But all this has happened so that the prophetic Scriptures would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted Him and ran away. Matthew 26:55-56

We are the only religion that serves a risen God. No other religion can claim this, but how do we know for sure? If your faith isn’t quit big enough to trust and believe the scriptures, take a look at a few human men in history that show us seeing is believing.

After Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, we read above in Matthew 26 that “all the disciples deserted Him and ran away.” They hit the road, denied knowing Him and went back to their old fishing jobs (John 21). They may have even felt a little stupid. They had given up everything (lives, families, jobs) and followed this man called Jesus for three years thinking He was the Messiah, the Son of God who would save the world and now He was dead. But then something happened. . . something so amazing . . . something so BIG that even when the high priests and elders ordered the disciples to stop telling the story of Jesus they were unable to “stop speaking about what they had seen and heard”. They suffered floggings, ridicule, death threats and prison.

So they called for them and ordered them not to preach or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; 20 for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20

After they called in the apostles and had them flogged, they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. 41 Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the Name. 42 Every day in the temple complex, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 5:40-42

Why would anyone put their life on the line to tell a story that wasn’t true? They wouldn’t. Maybe one of them was crazy, but not all of them. Jesus really did rise after three days. He even ate, hung out with and presented Himself to Mary and His disciples several times before ascending into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father.

After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3

Can you imagine living to see and share a story like this? The biggest story in all of history! How could you keep that under wraps? I’m so thankful God knew what it would take to grab the hearts and trust of our faulty human minds and hearts. His plan is a miraculous and amazing one that leaves me sitting here in awe of His love for each of us and in gratitude for those who shared boldly and loudly the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. I pray we can be as bold as Jesus’s disciples and share the story of our risen Savior that will return for us once again.

NEW! 11-week Devotional Bible Studies available

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I have recently added three new short 11-week Devotional Studies to my website that are available for download for only $5/each.

These are great for summer Bible Study on the run or by the pool. Based off of some of my blog series, but set up in a devotional format for you to enjoy. I have included:

The 22 Commandments based on 1 Thessalonians 5,

The Jesus Said Series on the thoughts of Jesus regarding various topics,

and a Bible Study for the Whole Family on the Book of James.

Simply add them to your cart and check out with PayPal. You will receive an e-mail including the document after purchasing.

www.allisonTcain.com

Keep It Up!

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In Matthew 26, we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion. He understands what’s at stake and what’s coming. Jesus knows the Father’s will and the part He is to play in His divine plan. Thankfully, we don’t find ourselves faced with life and death situations often. However, when we are in the midst of great trial, persecution and pain we do tend to lean on God more closely through prayer. Often, we will even ask others to come along side us and pray for us as well.

Jesus spent His life and ministry living and loving in the way He desired for us to live and love. Where we find Him at the end of His ministry is no different.

After leaving them, He went away again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Matthew 26:44

Jesus kept coming back after prayer to His disciples, who He had asked to stay awake and pray for Him, only to find them asleep. This was a gentle reminder to me that my strength can’t and won’t come from others or myself, but must come from the Lord. Not only that, Jesus shows us that fear can be overcome with prayer and faith in the Father is essential to living out our lives for His glory.

Even Jesus, as He told us to do in Matthew 7:7, prayed without ceasing and wasn’t afraid to go before God three times and ask for the same thing. Jesus wanted God to answer His prayer and allow His fate on the cross to be overturned. Jesus knew at the mere whisper of a word that God could send His legions of angels to rescue Him, but He also trusted God and loved Him enough to follow His plan and trust the path set before Him.

I’ll never forget when God called me to writing and speaking. I was, and always had been, terrified of public speaking. In elementary school I could be moved to tears just by being called on by the teacher to answer a question. I truly am living proof that when God calls you to do something He equips you with what you need to carry it out. As I sat in prayer before my first speaking event God spoke straight to my heart and whispered, “Allison, I don’t need you to go out on that stage and be nailed to the cross. I’ve already taken care of that. I just need you to go out there and share the story of how I’ve worked in your life. Can you do that?” I wasn’t facing a life and death situation, but my fear was so strong it felt as serious. I prayed, I prayed over and over and then I trusted when He said, “Go!” Since the day I took that first step of faith in this journey, God has never let me down and always showed up with His strength.

Is there something in your life that the Lord is calling you to do that you have put aside because it was to scary, didn’t make sense or you felt like you didn’t have the ability to do it? Pray, and pray again.  Ask God what His will is, but be ready to accept and move forward when He whispers, “Not your will, but Mine. Will you trust and follow Me?”

Still Remaining

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Jesus says it repeatedly in John 15..

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that each year I choose a word to dwell on during the year. The Lord usually places a word on my heart. This time that word was, “remain”. Over and over again, this was a word He kept placing in my path over and over. You can read more about this from my blog called The Year of Remain at https://thewhisperofgod.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/the-year-of-remain/

All that said, as I get closer to the end of an amazing year of reading the Bible chronologically it was wonderful to find, tucked into John 15, a wonderful reminder of why I have done this and how much I have grown over the past year simply by remaining in God and His word.

Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.  (v. 5)

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. (v. 7)

“As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. (v. 9-10)

Tears well up in my eyes as I type this and consider all the benefits we receive by simply remaining in the light of our Heavenly Father’s word. There are many of us who never make the time, think we are to busy, that it’s a waste of time, that it isn’t relevant anymore, that we can’t understand what it means so what’s the point. . . . I remember using a few of these same excuses years ago. Please don’t assume what others say about the Bible is true. Read it for yourself. It’s a face to face conversation with your Heavenly Father that He so desperately wants to have with you. If our favorite movie star or athlete called to say they wanted to meet for dinner I have no doubt most of us would take out a loan for the flight, drop everything and rearrange our schedules to get there. Well, the Creator of the Universe wants to have a one-on-one with you. The Creator of everything that has ever been and will ever be. Will you meet Him?

We have access to knowledge, wisdom and understanding that we can only begin to tap into and comprehend when we read the Bible. As Jesus said in John 16:1, “I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling.” I pray each of us will carve out the time the study God’s word, that we would thirst for Him in new ways and that He will create a fire in our hearts to remain in Him today and every day of our lives.