Tuesday, July 31, 2012

walking through the gospel: the free gift of salvation and repentance {part 2}

Last week we talked about part one of salvation- understanding what we are saved from, and this week we are talking about what happens in our hearts when we are saved!

When the Holy Spirit opens your heart to hear the Word, something crazy happens. You see yourself for who you truly are. You see the sins that Jesus had to die for. Your heart breaks because you know you did wrong. This is what we call repentance.

Repentance is turning away from the sin in your life with great sorrow and desire to do what is right. Repentance is more than merely saying I'm sorry- it's leaving wrongdoing behind. It's about the heart wanting to please God more than itself.

{a side note- no one will ever be perfect while wearing flesh- only Jesus did that, and we are going to fight against sin for our entire lives. Repentance isn't legalistic- it's not about breaking the law or not breaking it, as much as it is about our hearts hating sin. Does that makes sense? God gives grace to cover our sins- again and again- but He asks us to leave behind these sins and pursue Him, not indulge in sin.}

When we see the great sacrifice Jesus made for us, we see ourselves for who we truly are- desperate, ugly sinners in need of a Savior. This is the beauty of the Gospel- that WHILE we were sinners, Christ died for us:

Romans 5:
6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 

You see, while we were still deep in sin, God had compassion on us! He knew we were lost without Him, and He made a way for us to be clean and to be saved from His wrath {justified anger}.

He loves us so much!!

Being broken- repenting from our sinful ways- is essential to coming to God. We cannot keep our own ways and serve God. When you have faith in Jesus- you believe in your heart and confess your belief and become saved, your heart will be changed by Him!

He doesn't ask for sacrifices, or require any good deeds to be done to come to Him. He wants you to be broken, and desperate for Him:

Psalm 51:
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

accepting the free gift

God wants your heart, and He wants to bring you to Him. The best part? Nothing you could do could ever earn your salvation:

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

You start to think, but now I need to repay Him, or I have to do something to get to the point where I could be saved. No. No. Oh no.

Salvation is a completely free gift!!

That's what that verse is saying- if it came by what good deeds you did {by works}, you would have a reason to brag {boast}. It's not like that- because the best things we could ever do are filthy rags in the sight of God:

Isaiah 64:

For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
         And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
         And all of us wither like a leaf,
         And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

We were carried away by our own sins, walking just like everyone else in this world, dead and not even realizing it, and God's great love and mercy saved us and made us alive, and made us pure like Jesus! HE gives us His grace!!

Ephesians 2:
1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the bodya and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4Butb God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

You see, forgiveness of sins used to come through animal sacrifices and following the Law/keeping all of the commandments, but since Jesus came, those things are gone, and being forgiven and made clean comes only through God's grace, and you can only receive the gift through faith {believing and trusting} in Him. He was the sacrifice!

Romans 3:
21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
 For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Oh, I can't say enough how amazing this is!! We were dead- walking around pleasing ourselves, and not caring one bit about God, and He rescues us out of our sin, and gives us faith to believe in Him, and brings our hearts to repentance- to turn away from sin!!

He rescues us from the pit of Hell, literally, and gives us a clean robe of righteousness because of Jesus!! We are made PURE in His sight, because He loves us THAT much!!

He takes our sin on Himself, and when we are saved, the weight of our sin is lifted off of our shoulders!!! HE brings us peace and fills our heart with joy!!


You are no longer condemned!!

Romans 8:
1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.a 2For the law of the Spirit of life has set youb free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death

finding freedom in Jesus
If you haven't felt this forgiveness, this peace, this freedom, pray and seek God with all your heart. Ask Him to show you what you need to see- to give you faith to believe, to see the truth. Find someone who  believes to help explain this to you. Pray for God to help you to understand!

He will do it. He is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all come to repentance! He wants you to give your burdens, your sins to Him! Oh, how He loves you!

He already took care of them on the cross, and all you have to do is believe in Him- believe in His Word- believe that Jesus died and rose again for you!!!

When you believe, your life can't help but change. Your heart will repent from it's sin, and you will start to long for God to be Lord over all your life.

His love is overwhelming. It makes you forget about everything else. That's why salvation isn't found in just a single prayer- it's in a heart that believes and that belief changes your entire life through help of the Holy Spirit.

And that's what we'll talk more about next week- what believing and following Jesus looks like in a person that is saved by by the free gift of grace.

I wanted to leave you with a perfect song for today:

Oh praise God, for His goodness, for His mercy, for His sacrifice, for making us pure and holy and blameless before Him. Thank you Jesus!!

Q: do you believe? Have you been made free from your sins by accepting the free gift? :D email me if you want to know more! I would love to pray for you! mandy at biblical homemaking . com

next week: believing and following Jesus now

Monday, July 30, 2012

{bh} web round-up and news

I hinted at it last week... I've got some exciting news coming here on the blog!

Many of you have mentioned that you wish you had thrift stores in your area- well, if the Lord wills, I'll be bringing the thrift store to you this week! :D eeeekk!!!

This Thursday I'll be launching a little online store called Mandy's Closet, where I'll be passing along my thrift store deals to you!

mandy's closet

I'm crazy excited! :D Each item is unique and like the thrift store when the goods are gone, they are gone! But that's the fun part, right? You never know what you'll find! {okay, except bright colors and fun patterns! :D}

Oh, and speaking of bright colors, last week I shared three ways to wear the lovely color-blocking trend without breaking the bank over at RooMag!

I'm working this week to finishing listing lots of inventory in my shop, so get ready to do some thrifting on Thursday! :D

Thursday, July 26, 2012

thrifty thursday transformation: $4 placemat pillow

One of my "do" goals this month was to make cute pillows for the girls' room. I made one, but now I want to keep it downstairs for the living room! :D

When I saw the fabric at the store, I fell in love:

But what really sold me is that I knew I could whip up this adorable pillow with all these fancy seams for just $4 and 5 minutes of my time {okay, more like 30, but optimism won out at the store}. The reason? It was already mostly done for for me! 

You may recognize this Target placemat:

Double-lined, and just $3.99, all I needed was an old pillow for filling. I happened to have one in the junk pile:

I seam-ripped an opening big enough to stuff. {this is where you have to be careful to not rip through the fabric, or the whole process gets a lot harder. ahem.}

And I ripped open my slip-covered junk pillow:

Stuffed the new one, and repinned:

I hand-sewed it loosely, then machine stitched it. This is where having green thread would have come in handy, but, hey, I had white. And I tore the fabric with my seam-ripper in two places, so I had to close those too. So, my pillow bottom isn't too beautiful:

But it works! It's one of those things where my mind really wanted perfection, and I had to tell it no. It's a $4 pillow, and it's not worth another hour of my life to rip it out, redo it all, and achieve a perfectly hidden seam. Like the Nester says, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful! :)

And you can't see the bottom anyway. :D

It's the world's cheapest and easiest pillow to make- even when you mess it up like me. :D

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

what i wore this week {clothing comfort zones}

Okay, is your summer going by in a blur like mine?


I'm getting dressed, but before I can look up it's time to change and go to the gym. 

And after the gym in the evening, I {shower} and go straight to the comfy clothes. :D

Luckily I have managed to catch a few pics before it was that time of day! ;)

So I finally found a great pair of replacement wedges for my worn-out ones. They were Lucky Brand, and they were real leather, and $29 on clearance. If they last me like the last pair did, I'll pay like $12 a year for super comfortable shoes that I wear all the time.

And I must be getting old, because in my shoe search, the comfort factor held almost as much weight as the cuteness factor. Sheesh. Watch out, next year, I'll be wearing Dr. Scholl's.  :)

This outfit was entirely retail, though I did have a dress a lot like this one before that was thrifted. It was really too big, and so I knew I loved the style so when I found one in my size for a few more dollars at American Eagle, I brought it home. {and you'll be seeing my old favorite version very soon! ahem.}

I'm probably so weird because I love to wear the same style of clothes. I buy something I love that goes with all my clothes and wear it over and over again, usually until it wears out! {belts, solid dresses, wedges, bracelets, etc.}. I get in this clothing comfort zone or something.

I did find a new scarf last month that has been livening up all my favorite outfits:

I've been working on consolidating my closet since last week- trying to take out what I don't wear.

Strangely enough, I had this shirt in my closet for almost a year before I wore it:

 It's out of my usual color palette {ahaha! I have a color scheme!}, but I wore it last week and got so many compliments on it. So funny! I  have no idea why I never wore it before. I got it on final sale for $12 at a store going out of business.

I'd say neutrals are definitely out of my comfort zone with fair skin and red hair, but every now and then I try to step out and try new things!

I wore this to go on our date in Allen. :D

 So that the shirt and jeans {the same ones in the previous outfit too} combo above cost me $19 together. 

I tried this outfit on for fun at Anthro while we were browsing, and I realized it looked very similar to what I was wearing already! {The shirt was a little fancier, with gold threads running through it.}

The price? $188 together. Yep. My original outfit was brand new retail- not thrifted- and was still only 10% of that price! {the gold threads must have actually been made of gold, right? haha!}

Now I'm not against buying high quality clothes {especially nice jeans!} that fit you well and you can wear over and over again. But seeing the difference, and putting my $18 outfit back on and liking it better made me realize again that price or quality isn't really a measure of how good something looks on you.

Retail, clearance, thrifted, etc., it doesn't matter- if you don't like the way it fits you- you won't wear it.  {It's taken me a few years to learn that one! :D}

Are you the same way? Do you find yourself getting into a clothing comfort zone?
It's a good thing sometimes, isn't it? {You actually get your money out of your clothes! haha! :D}

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

walking through the gospel: the free gift of salvation: part 1

This week we are talking about salvation- and honestly, it's the biggest and most exciting thing ever. :D

We've been hinting at it over and over for the last six weeks, but the sacrifice we talked about last week becomes very personal this week. The sacrifice that we talked about last week- Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of mankind and for you- it was a gift from God, and it's called salvation. And your choice is to accept or reject it.

What is salvation?
Salvation is being rescued from our sins and their eternal consequences by One who paid the price for us. A sacrifice had to be made for you to become pure in God's sight- and it's a sacrifice you could never do on your own, or earn. This is what we call being justified. You are made pure- just- because Jesus, the Holy Son of God, paid your debt.

What are we "saved" from?
When you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died and rose again, defeating death for your sake, you become saved from a life here on earth without God and eternity apart from God in a place called Hell. This is why we call it being saved, or salvation.

We have life on this earth, and the Bible says we will live eternally- all of us. We will either spend eternity with God, or eternity away from God in Hell because we rejected His offer to cover our sins.

Every single person on the earth will be judged for their deeds:

Hebrews 9:27-28
 27Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Matthew 25:31-33
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Everyone will rise from the dead in the end- for those who believed, they receive eternal life with Jesus, for those who did not, they receive eternal condemnation apart from God:
John 5:28-29
 28Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

Daniel 12:2:
2And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Matthew 25:
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 
What does eternal condemnation really look like?
Hell is a very real place, sweet friends. There are quite a few mentions of it in the Bible. It's a literal place of punishment prepared for those who sinned against God to go after they die. {remember Romans 6:23? "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."}.

1. It's a place of judgment for those who have sinned:

Revelation 20:11-15
11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 
13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

2. It's full of great sorrow:
Matthew 13:41-43
41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

3. It's full of pain and fire:
God's wrath or anger against evil is explained to be poured out like fire:

Nahum 1:6-8

6 Who can stand before his indignation?
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
7 The LORD is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
But with an overflowing flood
he will make a complete end of the adversaries,a
and will pursue his enemies into darkness.

The fire referred to being in the verses about Hell could simply be God's wrath, or it could literally be fire, or both. Whether it's literal or metaphorical, it doesn't really matter. It's horrible either way. You can bet you don't want to be on the receiving end of it!

Matthew 5:30
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

Matthew 25:41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Mark 9:43-48
 43And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell,h to the unquenchable fire.i 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 

But here's the thing- Not only does believing in Jesus save you from eternity in Hell, it saves you from a life lived in sin apart from God right now:

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
{and it goes on to say...}
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

So when you reject God after seeing His creation and hearing His truth, God gives you up to the consequences of your sin- and sin overtakes your life even more.

Believing that Jesus paid your debt- believing in this sacrifice saves you from the consequences of your sins- a life lived in sin, and after death, eternity in Hell, away from God.  Salvation comes from believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord:

Romans 10:9-13
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

And believing that Jesus bore your sins on the cross is not just a one-time decision, or a single prayer you say. It's a belief that changes the very course of your life- both now and in eternity. 

And everyone who believes will not be put to shame- if you call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved. Inside your heart you believe, and with your words you outwardly confess that Jesus is Lord- you tell God and others that you believe. You don't have to do anything but believe.

If it sounds heavy, it is. It really is the biggest decision you can ever make- because it changes your life forever. Those who follow Jesus cannot look the same as the rest of the world. Your heart cannot search for the things the world desires anymore. Your hope is in Jesus!! Your joy comes from Jesus!

Salvation is a free gift that you can accept or reject. It's a wonderful, unbelievably awesome gift, and it's for your good. Believing in the sacrifice of Jesus through the love of God brings repentance to your heart, and your life can't help but be changed, and it's a very, very beautiful thing. :D

Since we've talked in-depth about the first part of salvation- what it is- and it's so, so very important to understand, the next time we are going to talk about part two of salvation- what happens when you accept the free gift of salvation: repentance from sins and the beginning of heart change.

Updated: {read part two- how to believe and be saved}

I would also like to try to answer a few questions you might have in next week's post. This is the turning point of the Gospel- the very center of it, and I don't want to leave it behind too quickly. So let me know if you have questions about salvation!

We will continue covering the verses we had in the last worksheet, and be thinking of questions! Even if you don't believe, and you have some serious questions about all of this, I will try my best to answer them with the Scriptures. :D

I'll be praying for you this week- let me know if there is anything or anyone I can pray specifically for! I would love to!

the gift of salvation and repentance

previous posts in the walking through the gospel series:

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