..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Around Our Yard Today

Today I snapped these photos of the American Beauty Bush in our yard. I LOVE the colors in these berries.

I also got the picture of one of the last roses until next year.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Organizing Linens

Does your linen closet look like this?

Most of us can relate. My linen closet is not where I want it to be. Face it. I want it to look like Martha Stewart's linen closet.. perfect, ribbons, lacy edged shelf liner, etc. But most of us have to live in the real world. We are doing good to be somewhere between the messy and the perfect. I can fold a fitted sheet but it never looks like Martha Stewart's. She would fire me. But, at least mine are folded and stacked.

But I want mine to look better. I'm always looking for a better system. It has to work for me! If it doesn't and I'm not satisfied, I look for a new way. Research and development.

The first thing I would do is pull everything out of the linen closet. If it needs cleaning, it gets cleaned. If it needs painting, wallpaper, new shelf liner, etc this is the time to do it. Wipe down your shelving. Get those baseboards. Clean the door, door handle.

Next purge.Get rid of everything that you don't use. I keep an old set of Queen, King, Twin for those times when you rent a house for vacation. Those are kept separate from my houshold bed linens. Make sure those are clean, folded and labeled or stored in a labeled container.

Go through your sheets and towels and if anything is getting bare, raggedy, stringy, stained, faded... put them to the side. For old towels you can cut into rags or donate to an animal rescue organization, your local pet groomer or vet. For old sheets, you can save a few to be used as paint rags. I keep them in a large plastic bag with the paint supplies in the garage. After that I either throw them away (if they are in too bad shape) or donate them.

Make sure every thing is clean and neatly folded. Label or place in labelled containers. You want all your King size sheets together. Same with Queen, Full or Twin. Basically you only need 2 sets per bed. And you can get away with 1 set if you just take them off, wash and put them back on. Since I have dogs and we have unexpected accidents sometimes, I keep 2 sets for my bed. I have 2 of mattress pads, waterproof mattress pads, cloth pee pads, sheets and quilts. Because I use all these layers, the accidents don't penetrate to my mattress. But that's why I keep 2 of everything. Because it takes several hours to wash and dry all those layers.

Anyway, you don't have to keep 14 sets of sheets. Get rid of the extras that you don't need. Be ruthless. If they are pilled up and you avoid using them, if they are the wrong color, if they are faded, etc go ahead and toss them. If you never use them because they were the wrong thread count or because you like percale instead of flannel, it's OK to get rid of them. Keep what you use and what you need. But don't keep what you don't like or what you don't use. Some people still have the sheets that matched the comforter back in 1987. That's silly. If you use them and like them, by all means keep them. If you don't, get rid of them.

Decide what works for you. Some people store their 2nd set of sheets between the mattress and box springs or under the bed.

Others store each set in the bedroom that uses those sheets. Some people store them in a cabinet in their laundry room and others store them in the hallway linen closet. Decide what works for you and your family.

For me, my bed linens go in the hall linen closet. The bathroom linens go in each bathroom. My bathroom doesn't have a bathroom closet. I purchased an old vintage metal kitchen cabinet. I put it outside my dressing room and that is where I store my bathroom linens. It wasn't made for linens but I use it for that. You can think outside the box, it's OK.

The old entertainment centers can make wonderful closets or wardrobes.

Next decide how you want to fold your linens. Each person is different. It depends on you and you alone. But you do want them neatly folded. Some people roll them, others fold in thirds, etc. If you fold, rather than roll, place them with the spines out.

Although others don't do that. Do it the way it works for you.

Decide how you are going to fold your sheets. Some fold them and fit them inside a pillow case. This makes for a neat package.

Others like to wrap with a ribbon.

Now you've cleaned, purged, folded and it's time to put like items together. You can keep all your King size sheets together. Or you can keep all the sheets for John's room together. Again, whatever makes sense to you. You can label a shelf, or label a container, a basket, drawer, etc. You could use a safety pen to label each set of sheets and then stack them together. Then decide on containers if you want to use them.

I hope these ideas inspire you like they do me.

While we are talking about linens, let's look at table linens. Just because they sell tablecloths doesn't mean you have to use tablecloths. They can be beautiful but they can also be a pain in the butt to keep washed, ironed and stored. But if you like to use tableclothes, here are some great ways to store your tablecloths. Storing large tableclothes on dowels can help keep them wrinkle free.

Here are some great ideas on how to store your napkins. If you use cloth napkins you might need a way to organize and store them.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Authentic Christian I

In the New Testament, 1 Peter, was a letter written by the Apostle Peter (before Christ's death, he was a disciple of Jesus) in about 63 A.D. Jesus Christ was born between 4-1 B.C. (Before Christ, aka B.C.E. Before Common Era). Jesus Christ died between 26-37 A.D. (Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord, aka C.E. Common Era). This means that the fist letter of Peter was written 26-40 yrs after Christ's death and resurrection.

Peter's trip

Peter was writing to northern Asia Minor which is basically Turkey today.

2 Peter was written between 65-68 A.D. just before his death. Tradition holds that Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. He said he was not worthy to die as his Lord had died so they crucified him upside down.

Tradition holds that he was crucified at the site of the Clementine Chapel. His mortal remains are contained in the underground Confessio of St. Peter's Basilica, where Pope Paul VI announced in 1968 the excavated discovery of a first-century Roman cemetery. The workers appointed to excavate the burial found the area marked with graffiti dating from the early Apostolic Age, particularly a Greek inscription that reads Petros Eni (English: Here is Peter). A small niche was noted where the original purple and gold pouch containing the remains of a mid-60-year-old male is believed to be the bones of Saint Peter. Pope Paul VI publicly confirmed the authenticity of the site on Christmas day, 1968 after painstaking research and archaeological excavation.

The Clementine Chapel is part of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The altar structure of the chapel was formally consecrated in 1123 by Pope Callixtus II. The chapel is named in honor of Pope Clement VIII, who used the chapel as his oratory and donated funds to install various religious mosaics preserved today. It is one of the two main untouched areas of the original St. Peter's Basilica. The chapel is the holiest site in the basilica, and the prime reason why the basilica was constructed in the first place.

Paul affirms that Peter had the special charge of being apostle to the Jews, just as he, Paul, was apostle to the Gentiles. Peter undertook a missionary journey to Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea, becoming instrumental in the decision to evangelize the Gentiles. In a strong tradition of the Early Church, Peter is said to have founded the church in Rome with Paul, served as its bishop, authored two epistles, and then met martyrdom there along with Paul.

I Peter was written to encourage the believers in the midst of affliction. II Peter was written because false teachings were appearing and confusing the church. So 1 Peter was written about problems from outside the church and 2 Peter was written about problems inside the church. They were letters just like you and I write letters and send them through the snail mail. He was writing to churches not to unbelievers outside the church.

For this study lets look at 2 Peter 1: 1-11
2 Peter 1:1-11 (King James Version - KJV)  (1) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: (2) Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Let's look at some different translations:
2 Peter 1:1-11 (Amplified Version - AV) 1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Confirming One’s Calling and Election 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:1-11 (Easy To Read Version - ERV) (1) Greetings from Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. To all of you who share in the same valuable faith that we have. This faith was given to us because our God and Savior Jesus Christ always does what is good and right.  (2)  Grace and peace be given to you more and more, because now you know God and Jesus our Lord.  (3)  Jesus has the power of God. And his power has given us everything we need to live a life devoted to God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus chose us by his glory and goodness,  (4)  through which he also gave us the very great and rich gifts that he promised us. With these gifts you can share in being like God. And so you will escape the ruin that comes to people in the world because of the evil things they want.  (5)  Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge;  (6)  to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God;  (7)  to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love.  (8)  If all these things are in you and growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (9)  But those who don't grow in these blessings are blind. They cannot see clearly what they have. They have forgotten that they were cleansed from their past sins.  (10)  My brothers and sisters, God called you and chose you to be his. Do your best to live in a way that shows you really are God's called and chosen people. If you do all this, you will never fall.  (11)  And you will be given a very great welcome into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a kingdom that never ends.

St. Peter introduces himself in the first verse. He uses his original name of Simon and the name the Lord Jesus gave hime, Peter. He mentions his position as "servant and apostle of Jesus Christ".  Why does Peter call himself a "servant"? Wasn't he chief among the Apostles? Let's go back to Matthew 20: 20-28 and see what Jesus has to say.

Matthew 20: 20-28 (Modern King James Version - MKJV)
Then the mother of Zebedee's children came to Him with her sons, worshiping and desiring a certain thing from Him.
(Mat 20:20)

And He said to her, What do you desire? She said to Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit in Your kingdom, the one on Your right hand and the other on the left.
(Mat 20:21)

But Jesus answered and said, You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They said to Him, We are able.
(Mat 20:22)

And He said to them, You shall indeed drink of My cup and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.
(Mat 20:23)

And when the ten heard it, they were indignant concerning the two brothers.
(Mat 20:24)

But Jesus called them and said, You know that the rulers of the nations exercise dominion over them, and they who are great exercise authority over them.
(Mat 20:25)

However, it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant.
(Mat 20:26)

And whoever desires to be chief among you, let him be your servant;
(Mat 20:27)

even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
(Mat 20:28)

It seems that there was an ambitious mother who wanted her sons to be high in the government that she was sure Jesus was going to establish here on earth. Jews expected the Messiah to come to earth and establish an earthly government that would rule over all other governments. It's why Jews didn't accept Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah. He didn't raise an army and conquer Rome and go on to conquer all the other countries and take over the world. Jesus was first going to establish a spiritual kingdom and most Jews couldn't understand that.

But Jesus used this conversation to teach His disciples (who would later become Apostles) what it meant to lead. In our human-ness we think being a leader means we lord it over everyone else, we are in control and we use that control to get what we want. But, as Christians, we are taught that to be a leader is to be a servant to those under you. Jesus, Himself, submitted Himself and voluntarily chose to serve us. He gave up His Life in order to save us. It's upside down thinking.

So the Apostle Peter, who was the chief among Apostles and leader of the early church, did not take that position and misuse it to rule over them. He used it to SERVE the first church.

What is an apostle? One sent forth. He is the first successful Christian missionary in a country or to a people; a messenger; a representative; a pioneering advocate. An important early Christian teacher. All of the original 12 disciples, except for Judas, became Apostles. Paul became another Apostle after his Damascus road experience. Peter calls himself a servant and Apostle.

Matthew 10:2-4 (Contemporary English Version-CEV)
(2) The first of the twelve apostles was Simon, better known as Peter. His brother Andrew was an apostle, and so were James and John, the two sons of Zebedee.
(3) Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles.
(4) The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.

They were chosen by Christ himself.

Mattew 16:15-19 (MKJV)
(15) He said to them, But who do you say I am?
(16) And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(17) Jesus answered and said to him, You are blessed, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father in Heaven.
(18) And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(19) And I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven to you. And whatever you may bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven, and whatever you may loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven.

Peter is often portrayed holding giant keys, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Catholics believe that Jesus meant the church would be built on Peter and the Popes are the "Peters" of their generation. Protestants believe that Jesus meant Peter's words, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" is the rock upon which the church would be built.

The qualification to be an apostle was that he should have been personally acquainted with Jesus and attended throughout the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John until He was taken up into heaven. On the Feast of Pentecost, ten days after our Lord's ascension to Heaven, the Holy Spirit came down on the assembled church in Acts 2. Peter was the first of them to preach.

"Their first mission out of Jerusalem was to Samaria Act_8:5-25 where the Lord himself had, during his ministry, sown the seed of the gospel. Here ends the first period of the apostles' agency, during which its centre is Jerusalem and the prominent figure is that of St. Peter.

"The centre of  the second period of the apostolic agency is Antioch, where a church soon was built up, consisting of Jews and Gentiles; and the central figure of this and of the subsequent period is St. Paul.

"The third apostolic period is marked by the almost entire disappearance of the twelve from the sacred narrative and the exclusive agency of St. Paul, the great apostle of the Gentiles. Of the missionary work of the rest of the twelve we know absolutely nothing from the sacred narrative." (Smith's Bible Dictionary)

So Peter considered himself an Apostle. But he did not use his office as a way to garner honor, glory, riches or power to himself. He used his office to serve his Savior and the people of God.

After Peter introduces himself, he addresses the receivers of his letter, "To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours." Amplified

Let's focus on the words, "have received a faith as precious as ours" Amplified.  Let's look at different versions of these words:

to them that have obtained like precious faith with us - KJV
to those who with us have a part in the same holy faith   - 1965 Bible In Basic English (BBE)
to them that have obtained a like precious faith -  Revised Version (RV)
who share in the same valuable faith that we have - ERV
to those who did obtain a like precious faith with us - Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

What is faith? "Knowledge is an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the understanding." -Easton's Bible Dictionary

Hebrews 11:1 (MKJ)
(1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I.e. faith is believing in Jesus Christ and the Word of God whether we have have proof or not. We use a phrase, "we take it on faith", meaning we believe something whether we've seen proof of it or not. Where sight is, there faith ceases. It is not faith if we can see the proof. Christian apologetics can explain many things but there comes a time when you have to believe or not believe. It becomes a loving trust. Deciding that God and His Word are worthy of our trust and therefore true.

Romans 10:14-17 (ERV)
Rom 10: 14 But before people can pray to the Lord for help, they must believe in him. And before they can believe in the Lord, they must hear about him. And for anyone to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. 
Rom 10:15  And before anyone can go and tell them, they must be sent. As the Scriptures say, "How wonderful it is to see someone coming to tell good news!" 
Rom 10:16  But not all the people accepted that good news. Isaiah said, "Lord, who believed what we told them?" 
Rom 10:17  So faith comes from hearing the Good News. And people hear the Good News when someone tells them about Christ. 

We can learn all about something but still not believe it. We can become scholars of something and still not believe it. We can write books, perform ceremonies, rituals, liturgicals but still not believe. So knowledge is not faith. Knowledge only becomes faith when it is coupled with acceptance. We hear, then we believe, then we see proof because our spiritual eyes and ears have been opened to see the truth.

Do we muster up faith? Do we decide we are going to believe? Often we think WE make the decision to be saved. Even our faith is not ours. It is given by God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (MKJV)
(8)  For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,
(9)  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Every person has that seed of faith within them. It was given by God. The Holy Spirit does the work in our hearts that make us receptive to the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ. Our hearts have to be prepared much like man prepares the earth to plant seeds that lead to a harvest. So our decision to accept Jesus by faith is not our own. God has been working in you and preparing your heart. He loves you and desires you. He will not quit working to woo you until you take your last breath. If you ignore His Call, ignore His Work in your heart, ignore His repeated attempts to draw you to salvation; if you resist Him until death, then you will die and got to Hell. You can concsciously reject Him. But even if you just ignore Him, making no choice.... No choice is the choice not to accept Him and the result is to go to hell. It is not His desire. You make your choice, the results are yours. You have to own your lifelong choices to avoid God.

On the other hand, if you listen to God's Call,; respond to the work of the Holy Spirit, accept His love, forgiveness and salvation then you will become one of His Children and will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God. And the Word of God reveals Jesus as Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, God's only Son. Faith accepts and believes it as the very truth. I believe every word in the Bible. I accept it as truth. I believe that God created the Earth, that there was a universal Flood, that Abraham was a real individual, that Jesus is the Son of God through the Virgin Mary, etc. There is not one word that I don't believe in. I believe it was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. I believe it was preserved over the centuries by miracles of the Holy Spirit. Even if someone found something contrary to the Word of God, I would believe God before I would believe man. It is my standard against which I judge all other things.

The more I study the Word, the more true I find it to be. People can take verses out of context and argue that it contradicts other passages or that it hasn't been proved scientifically or archaelogically. I would still believe the Bible. But I've found that when I've studied the Word there haven't been contradictions. In fact, I find it more and more cohesive. I LOVE to study the Word because there is no end to it's depth. I'm a lifelong Christian and I've made it a goal to deeply study the Bible every year. I'm not a scholar but I've made it a purpose to study the Word. And I've done it with faith to begin with. I don't go into a Bible study class with the intention of disproving everything the Bible says. I don't disrupt the class to prove how much smarter I am than my fellow students or how much smarter I am than God and His Word. I believe, therefore I study.

It is God's grace that awakens faith within us.

Ephesians 2: 4-8 (MKJV)
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us
Eph 2:5 (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),
Eph 2:6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Ephesians 2: 4-8 (Amplified)
4 But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, 5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).
6 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 7 He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;

Peter also said it was the same faith that he had. "a part in the same holy faith". That faith has not changed. We have the same faith as the Apostles had. We have the same faith the early church members had. We have the same faith that our Christian ancestors had. I have the same faith that my Great Great Grandfather had.

John, 17:8 (MKJV)  For I [Jesus] have given to them the Words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me....
John 17:20-21  And I do not pray for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 

Every believer has the same faith that Jesus passed down to us. Through the ages, we have the same faith. Everyone who is a true believer shares that same faith. 

Revelation 21:9-14 (CEV)
Rev 21: 9  I saw one of the seven angels who had the bowls filled with the seven last terrible troubles. The angel came to me and said, "Come on! I will show you the one who will be the bride and wife of the Lamb." 
Rev 21:10  Then with the help of the Spirit, he took me to the top of a very high mountain. There he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven. 
Rev 21:11  The glory of God made the city bright. It was dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone. 
Rev 21:12  The city had a high and thick wall with twelve gates, and each one of them was guarded by an angel. On each of the gates was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. 
Rev 21:13  Three of these gates were on the east, three were on the north, three more were on the south, and the other three were on the west. 
Rev 21:14  The city was built on twelve foundation stones. On each of the stones was written the name of one of the Lamb's twelve apostles.

What are the gates? The Twelve Tribes of Israel. Why? Because God used the Jewish people as an object lesson to all the rest of us. When we study the Old Testament we learn about sin, the consequences of sin, how destructive sin is, how God deals with sin, etc. Their history in the Old Testament is a lesson book, a lesson plan. What are the foundations of the city? The Twelve Apostles. Why? Because they were entrusted with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Everything rests upon that truth! It is the foundation of our faith. The children of God, the true believers, make up the church. Our foundation is built on nothing less than Jesus' Blood and Righteousness (as the old hymn goes).

Acts 2:42 (KJV) And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The early church learned from the Apostles. They learned what is the base, the foundation of our church. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone and it is the truth of the gospel that provides the foundation.

Matthew 21:42 (CEV) Jesus replied, "You surely know that the Scriptures say, 'The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important stone of all. This is something the Lord has done, and it is amazing to us.' 

Ephesians 2:19-22 (YLT)
Eph 2:19  Then, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God, 
Eph 2:20  being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being chief corner- stone , 
Eph 2:21  in whom all the building fitly framed together doth increase to an holy sanctuary in the Lord, 
Eph 2:22  in whom also ye are builded together, for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (ERV)
Eph 2:19  So now you non-Jewish people are not visitors or strangers, but you are citizens together with God's holy people. You belong to God's family. 
Eph 2:20  You believers are like a building that God owns. That building was built on the foundation that the apostles and prophets prepared. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in that building. 
Eph 2:21  The whole building is joined together in Christ, and he makes it grow and become a holy temple in the Lord. 
Eph 2:22  And in Christ you are being built together with his other people. You are being made into a place where God lives through the Spirit. 

After we are saved, God looks at us and He sees Jesus and His Righteousness. That is the work He did on the cross for us! Praise to Him and Him alone!

Natural man is hostile to God. We come into the world with a natural hostility towards God. It is the human nature we are born with. But the grace and mercy of God works in our hearts to show us the Way, the Truth and the Life!

John 14:6-y (KJV)
(14)  Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me. 
Joh 14:7  If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. And from now on you know Him and have seen Him. 

John 3:27 (MKJV)  And John [the Baptist] answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it is given to him from Heaven. 

John 14:26 (CEV) But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my [Jesus'] place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you.

You may think that you are a Christian because your family attends church. You may think you are a Christian because you aren't Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. You may think you are Christian because you attend church and pay your dues, I mean, your tithes. You see it as a social club where you can enjoy family events and network for work. You may think you are a Christian because one time you got baptized. But let me tell you... you are NOT a Christian unless you are a true believer in Jesus Christ as revealed through the Bible. Saving faith is believing in the One who is worthy to be trusted. Saving faith is knowing Jesus Christ as your personal savior and knowing that He has forgiven you and He lives in your heart through the person of the Holy Spirit. Do you believe or are you pretending to believe? Or do you not believe at all? If you go to a "church" that teaches Jesus was a good man, a moral teacher but not really the Son of God, leave that church, for it is not the true church. If you attend a "church" that teaches the Bible is an interesting book but not word-for-word truth, leave that church for it is not the true church. Use the brains and intelligence that God gave you and search for yourself. Listen to the calling of the Holy Spirit and respond with the faith that God gives you. Study the Bible with an attitude of gratitude and a heart of love for God. I promise you, that the more you mature in Christ, the better it gets!

Note - This lesson was prompted by a Bible study by Erilynn Barnum in the Call To Discipleship ministry, "Authentic Christianity", Lesson 1. She is a wonderful teacher!

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