Grace, Oversight and Direction Spell G-O-D

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I am sharing another excerpt from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World. ” It talks about the grace of God, and how we sometimes ignore it and feel we are doing fine on our own. Dr. Phil might ask, “How is that working for you?

The book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” is on sale on this site. In the bookstores it is $19.99, but here it is only $15.99, and the shipping has been cut in half. A total savings of over $6.00.



Chapter 34


Grace, Oversight and Direction

Spell G-O-D


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8–10


As I have grown in my Christian faith, I have seen some disturbing trends in Christianity. One that particularly disturbs me is that we have so many what I call “Sunday Christians.” Oh sure, they’re in church on Sunday—they even may teach a Sunday school class or usher or be the preacher—but on Monday they go back to telling their raciest jokes, padding their expense accounts, cutting corners in business deals and doing things that would make even the average pagan blush.

They attend church on Sunday and then disgrace themselves—and their Savior—the rest of the week. Saying someone is a Christian just because he goes to church is the same as saying you’re a hamburger just because you eat hamburgers! (Yes, this is a bumper sticker that I used earlier. You are very sharp!)


I read a book called “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” by Philip Yancey.1 He is a wonderful writer who doesn’t pull any punches and goes directly to the heart of the matter on any subject. He talks about people who avoid grace.

Grace is one of the most important things God has provided for us. He showed His own tremendous grace by sending His only Son down to earth to die for us.

But people avoid grace because grace brings about change. It causes them to live righteous lives. It causes them to love their neighbor. It causes them to give their hearts away to God. It causes them to give up their sinful desires for power and lust. And, frankly, some people don’t want that kind of change in their lives because it totally rearranges their lives.

We see these people in our churches. They have an outer face of love and grace, but on the inside they are greedy and selfish, and wonder what they can do to help themselves look more important. They come because it is the proper thing to do, and it makes them look good in their community.

Experiencing true grace is seen in the account of the prodigal son. He knew he was wrong. He knew that he had wasted all his inheritance. He was ashamed of everything he had done. The only thing that saved him was his father’s grace. He realized he needed to go back to his father and ask for forgiveness, hoping (no, knowing) his father would extend grace.

The truly gracious person was the father. Instead of turning his back on his wayward son (which he had every right to do), he ran toward his son with tears in his eyes, embraced his son and welcomed him home. He even had the best calf in his herd slaughtered to celebrate the occasion.

However, the brother of the prodigal son hated him because of the disgrace he had caused the family. He was livid that the father accepted him back without punishing him. His hatred and envy were not very far below the surface of what probably looked wholesome and loving.

Think of the prodigal son’s father as our God and how He will accept us back no matter what wrong we have done. His grace is every day. He loves us seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day—not just on Sundays.

Not only does God extend His grace to us in providing salvation and welcoming us into His family, there are two other things He wants to do for us—the last two things in the acrostic at the beginning of this chapter: He wants to provide oversight and direction in our lives. Those are things we must give Him permission to do for us.

We can accept His salvation and then decide we’ll simply go on with life, using our own intuition and “smarts” in plotting the course of our lives. But that’s not very smart. He has a so much wiser plan for our lives. It’s in our best interest to turn that part of our lives over to Him as well.


God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8


Further Adventures

If you were given grades for your commitment to going to church, helping others, or loving God, what would those grades be?  (I love giving out grades since I once was a teacher.) Would you get an “F” for going to church? Have you decided there is no way that going to church can make a difference in your life? Do you think that you can grow spiritually on your own? What about helping others? What grade would you receive for giving to the poor, or helping a homeless family?

Now for the most important grade that will help you pass your requirements to go to heaven: How much do love and serve God? Are you a non-believer? Are you an occasional churchgoer who believes in God but doesn’t seek to grow? Are you a dedicated Christian who seeks more knowledge about God and tries to help others to do the same?

Think on this: Study up on the real meaning of life by reading the Bible. Learn how to be compassionate to others in their time of need. Place God first in your life, and be in fellowship with others who have also put God first in their lives. Then you’ll be in line for the final BA (Bible of Advancement) degree that will advance you into heaven.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that when we show grace enough to help others shine, we begin to shine ourselves?


What Should I look For When I go to Church?

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The book “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” Is now on sale on this site. In the stores it is $19.99, but if you order here it is only $15.99. The shipping has been cut in half as well. A total savings of over $6.00. Just click on the “Bookstore,” tab at the top of this page.


I have another excerpt to share with you. I hope you have been enjoying them.

Today’s excerpt is about how some people are religious nuts and actually harm the vision people see of Christianity.


God Wants Spiritual Fruit, Not Religious Nuts


Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.



You’ve seen them after football games, or after basketball games. They stand on the corners yelling that the world is a sinful place, and you had better repent. Although I’ve always admired their courage, it seems like the people around me think of them as religious nuts.

There are so many types of beliefs out there that claim to be Christian. There are those who believe we need to be baptized before we are a Christian. There are those who feel God will heal without doctors. There are some who will not allow their children to be part of Halloween, Fourth of July, birthdays and many other things. Some go to church on Sundays. Some go to church on Saturdays.

But the Bible’s bottom line is: What we need to believe in is that Jesus died for us and that the only way we are able to get to heaven is through Him. We need to let Him into our heart and be born again.

There are many beliefs that agree with that basic premise, but then they twist things around to fit their doctrine. Some come from the far left, and some come from the far right. Who is right—the far left, or the far right?

Again I am here to tell you that we have one goal for our souls: to believe that Christ died for us, and we need to accept Him into our hearts.

So, whether you’re from the far left or the far right, stop fighting over who is right and get on your knees to thank the only Savior we should be talking about. You do not need to be a religious nut to gain spiritual fruit.

            Left … Right … Left … Right … Left … Right

We’re marching to the wrong tune!

 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the roadthat leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and a few find it.

Matthew 7:13–14


You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Romans 2:1


Further Adventures

I would like to suggest that you not go to church looking for a specific doctrinal stand. You’ll be overwhelmed when you find there are hundreds of different nuances to doctrine. Look instead at what is being taught. Is the Bible read during the service? Does the pastor preach from the Bible? Or does he have his own agenda? Some church leaders spend the whole service talking about current events and their views on them. That is not what God intended. He wants us to study His Word and not conform to this world’s standards in our daily living. If you find a Bible-teaching church, try it for awhile and see if it is a good fit for you.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny how we are so quick to judge, but not eager to be judged?


Why do we Need to go to Church?

I would like to invite you to join me by signing up for the RSS feed to this site. By doing that you are informed each time I post. It also helps this site move up in the Google Search Rankings. Just click on the icon right after the title to do that.


My  book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” is available at the bookstore. Just click on the “Bookstore” tab at the top of this page to check it out.

This book reaches out to those who may be suffering from anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, self-doubt, hopelessness, or the many other usual suspects.

The book sells for $19.99 in the stores, but on this site it is only $15.99, and the shipping has been cut in half as well. A total savings of over $6.00.


I am sharing another excerpt from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” This chapter discusses the question, “Why do we need to go to church?” I use quotes from Rick Warren, the author of “The Purpose Driven Life.” He shares many thoughts on why we need to go to church.



Go to Church; Avoid the Christmas Rush


Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25


Why do we need to go to church? The purpose of going to church is about much more than just being a good Christian. Church attendance and involvement help you grow as a Christian.

Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” is a wonderful book that hit the world with a tremendous splash in 2002 and made the top of the best-selling lists for weeks on end. I highly recommend it because it will bless (and sometimes challenge) you a great deal.

I will be quoting him several times in this chapter to give you a feel for what it means to go to church. What he says has opened my eyes even more to the need for fellowship with others in your church home.

The first quote that almost made me laugh was, “The person that says, ‘I don’t need the church,’ is either arrogant or ignorant.”1 He lays it out as if it is not even up for discussion. I can’t agree more.

I was on the other side of the fence in my earlier Christian life. I went to church on a sporadic basis. During the football season, if my favorite team was playing during church time, I didn’t go to church. Football was a priority (read that “idol”!). As the years went by, I eventually didn’t go to church at all. I found “other things” that were more important. I still felt I was a good Christian because I was doing good things with my students and helping others when I could. I was doing good deeds for the people around me, and that seemed good enough.

What I didn’t realize was that I was also drifting away from God at a pace that was leading me to eternal death. I came back to reality when I hit rock bottom on March 31st, 2001, when I had my close encounter with God. It took words from God to wake me up, and realized that I needed to be with other Christians to remain strong.

I have said before that not all people who go to church are Christians. If you are looking for the perfect church made up only of Christians, I have some ocean-front property inArizonafor you. There is not a perfect church; in fact, there are no perfect Christians. Christians are not perfect; just forgiven. (Great bumper sticker!)  So don’t look around your church and judge the people going there.

Our mission (whether we accept it or not) is to grow ourselves and to help others grow. We are commanded to help one another to grow as Christians since we all belong to one body. If one part of the body is weak, other members rally to help it heal. This is true in the human body. If we break an arm, the other arm takes over some functions during the healing process. The church body needs to function in the same way, pitching in when another member is struggling.


From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4: 16


Rick Warren goes on further about our command to help other Christians in the church. He says, “We are commanded to love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, admonish each other, greet each other, serve each other, teach each other, accept each other, honor each other, bear each other’s burdens, forgive each other, submit to each other, be devoted to each other, and many other mutual tasks.”2 These are important reasons we need to go to church. We will not get this kind of interaction and care watching football on Sunday.

Another bumper sticker says, “How about you come over to My house before the game on Sunday—God.” We can fit both in, but the body of Christ needs to be first.

Rick Warren also says, “Worship helps you focus on God; fellowship helps you face life’s problems; discipleship helps fortify your faith; ministry helps you find your talents; evangelism helps fulfill your mission. There is nothing else like the church.”3

There are people who are simply churchgoers, and there are people who are members of the church—I should say members of the body of Christ. Those who use their talents to help others are the members God desires. I was a churchgoer for many years until I realized that I needed more than just what I got by sitting in a pew on Sunday. There is commitment that takes more than just going to church. It is being a member of the body.

Being with others at church can also bring you much closer to God and His love. Stormie Omartian says in her book, The Prayer That Changes Everything, “The times I most sense God’s love for me is when I worship in a group of people gathering together for that purpose. An extremely powerful dynamic happens when people worship together. I’m not talking about just getting together to sing nice songs about God. I’m talking about worshiping God for who He is with all we have in us. There is nothing more healing, restoring, or life-changing. Once you sense God’s love through those times of corporate praise and worship, you won’t want to ever live without it.4

I have to agree with her statement. There have been so many times when I am in a group praying or worshiping that I can feel the warmth and love of God in the room. It’s something I hope all of you have felt, and if you haven’t, get with some of your closest Christians friends and have a love fest prayer session where you do nothing but praise God. Then you will understand.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:16


Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:46–47


Further Adventures

Start going to a Bible study if you haven’t already done so. I am always blessed when I am part of a Bible study. I not only make new friends, I also acquire prayer partners. And I get to be part of an in-depth Bible study of the topic under discussion.

I especially love the prayer time at the end. At one time, it was very difficult for me to pray out loud in a group, but from sharing in these small group settings, I found the assurance that no one in the room cared about how my prayers sounded. They are always more interested in what I say, listening carefully so they can follow through and pray for me.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny how powerful a prayer grows when it’s shared with several people?

Remember: Never, ever, give up!