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"Unless you turn and become like children"

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:1-4)

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A True and persevering faith

If our Heavenly Father was like an ungracious earthly father he may have given up on us the moment we have rebelled against him. But instead, our Father in heaven doesn’t turn a blind eye to our un-repented sin, he disciplines those he loves. Hebrews 12:6,10b says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives...and he disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness.” And holiness here is being transformed into the likeness of Christ's character - loving God and our neighbor.

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"We...have died to sin"

Romans 6:2b
“We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

Romans 6:6
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”.

Romans 6:10-11
“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Verse 2 says that we “have died to sin”.

Verse 6 says that “our old self was crucified with him [with Christ]”.

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“What then shall we do?”

And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins...He [John the baptizer] said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees.

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"Jesus...became the source of eternal salvation"

Luke 2:52 says,
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”

There was growth and development in Jesus’ earthly life. Though he was God's Son and possessed all the attributes of God the Father, Jesus didn't use his divinity to help him to obey his Heavenly Father perfectly. Jesus was a real man, and he grew mentally, socially, and spiritually.

Philippians 2:6-8 says,

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Easter is a message of hope and salvation for us!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But doesn’t God command and require our good works that we may live?
Yes, he does, but we would have to obey God’s law which means loving God and our neighbor perfectly.

Can anyone keep God’s law perfectly by loving God and our neighbor?

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"Between morning and evening"

Job 4:20
"Between morning and evening they (human beings) are beaten to pieces".

By nature, even we Christians are morally weak and failing.

We get "beaten to pieces" by our sin, and our suffering.

And that's why "between morning and evening" we need Jesus and his free undeserved grace, every day of our lives.

We never qualify or deserve to receive God's grace.

God gives his grace richly to us simply by faith in his Son Jesus.

One with the Son and the Father we need lack no supply of grace for this moment and the next, and the next...

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"Praise the Lord, all nations!"

"Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 117)

This is the shortest Psalm, but one of great importance. In it, all the nations are called upon to praise and extol the LORD. Not only his redeemed people, but also all peoples from all the nations are to stop, ponder and praise and make much of their God, and maker and redeemer.

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The new normal and the new better things in Christ

New things have come. The new normal is here. The old way of life as we know it is gone. Things will never be the same. The virus has changed our lives to be more difficult in different ways. Social distancing. Wearing of masks. Disinfecting hands, surfaces, and things that we bring into our homes. Fear of the future is among us. And all that many times results in anxiety on peoples’ faces.

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An instantaneous change

I took these two pictures two days ago at West Mabou Beach after water-running (great workout). One picture is of the sunset looking west and the other one is of the moon looking east. It really looks like they were taken at two different places and at two different times of the day. It’s like a person who is looking at themselves and feels sad about their life, but when the person turns around in the same place and starts looking at Jesus who loved them and gave himself for them, instantly they can feel joy and peace rising in their heart.

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