Welcome to Risen Treasure

 

WARNING: This is a story about finding God. Out of respect for those who are offended by this subject, and so as not to take anyone by surprise, this is your chance to turn back. Seriously, it is not my intention to “push” the gospel on anyone who has no interest, but I am not ashamed to make the offer to those who are genuinely searching. I will be delighted to simply do a great job meeting your photographic needs if you choose to use my services. 


Back to Garden Island Photography website:  https://gardenislandphotography.com/ 


If, on the other hand, you are hungering for Life and peace, I have taken the time to write down for you the story of how I was “found”. Hopefully my story will help you find rest for your weary soul.


Testimony of Salvation

I call this link “Good News” because that is what it was to me. It’s also what the word “Gospel” means.

I have a great passion for photography, but really that’s just my cover. It is also how I offer something of value to others to meet my financial needs. My greatest passion however, is helping people find eternal life and grow in the knowledge of God. In the interest of that mission I offer this account of my journey in finding the Life that is truly LIFE.

When I was a child I went to a traditional church. I had a desire for pleasing God, but somehow I was also drawn to “badness” and getting attention in inappropriate ways. My grades for “deportment” in class were always an issue when report cards came out. As I grew into my early teens the appeal for the darker side drew me into all kinds of crazy behavior that I’m not proud of today.

When I was 16 my family moved from inland in California to “the beach” – San Clemente. At that time I started to surf. I began trying to move toward some healthier choices because of the physical demands of surfing. I found I was still bound by some of my habits, and I was unable to break free on my own. I was really a lost soul in bondage, seeking to satisfy that inner hunger in any way I could. My internal life was characterized by three things. I would not have admitted it at the time, but I was lonely, insecure, and had a haunting feeling that there might really be a God. If there was, I knew I was falling seriously short of His expectations for me.

As I would later tell my children, “If you won’t be disciplined by those who love you, eventually you will be disciplined by those who don’t.” Well, “eventually” finally came for me, and I started getting into some trouble with the law. I began to feel the consequences of my behavior catching up with me. I decided I needed some real changes, so I got into some of the Eastern religions that were becoming popular at the time. That made me feel a little better, but it wasn’t helping me become the kind of person I wanted to be. By the age of 18 I had come to one firm conclusion: if people truly loved one another the world would be as it should be. Deep inside, I wanted to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem, but I had no idea how. I really wanted to be a loving person.

I did have a brush with the TRUTH during that period. I was sharing an apartment with a friend, and somehow, a little pamphlet turned up in our living room. I still remember the title. It said “I Must Tell You This.” It went on to quote the Bible verse John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It explained that Jesus, the Son of God, paid the penalty for my sins. I could be forgiven for all my sins and receive eternal life if I turned from my sinful life, believed God, and received His gift of salvation through Christ. I knew it was true when I read it, but I wasn’t ready to make that leap. I consciously decided to wait, and hoped that if I died, I would have time to slip in under the wire and accept God’s forgiveness at the last minute. In retrospect, I shudder at the thought of taking that gamble; but clearly the fear of eternal loss was not enough motivation for me to turn to Christ. It had to be something more.

It was about a year later when I was living and skiing in northern California that a couple of young ladies invited a friend and me to their condo saying that a few people were “getting together” there that evening. We assumed that it was a party.

When we arrived we discovered that it was just a few Christian people hanging out there. It wasn’t a formal meeting of any sort, but they were discussing a newly published book by a man named Hal Lindsay. It was called The Late Great Planet Earth. It was all about (then) recent events and how they were predicted by the Bible as signs of the second coming of Jesus. When I was a kid we occasionally talked about “the end of the world”, but it was always some far off event. I hadn’t even conceived of Jesus “coming again”. I was curious and intrigued. They answered my questions, and I thought “Wow, if this event is imminent, maybe I had better find out more about this.”

One thing that struck me about these people I’d just met was the LIFE they had inside them. It was not a literal glow, but it made them seem to glow nevertheless. They were filled with something I knew I didn’t have; but I wanted it.

I noticed a framed picture on their wall. From a distance it looked like the face of Jesus. As I looked closer I could see that it was writing, bolder in some places and thinner in others to make the “picture”. The writing was what is referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount” spoken by Jesus and recorded by Mathew, one of His disciples. I asked if I could take it down and read it. They said yes. (Like they would say “no”). I started reading. As I did, I realized that the same Jesus I had heard about when I was young, whom I had left by the wayside in search of something to distract me from who I was, had spoken the kind of words that illuminated the soul. I recognized that HE was the source of the “light” inside my new acquaintances. I knew He spoke the truth. The same desire for God I had as a kid was instantly reawakened. Here was something more than simply escape from damnation, here was the person of Christ; and I desired Him!

Honestly, it was a gift from God. (Still, to this day, I marvel every time I watch it happen in someone else’s life). My eyes were being opened. Here was one who truly loved and who taught to love. Not in a superficial mushy way, but in a sincere and strong way. Here was one who not only had LIFE, but WAS LIFE. There are so many benefits to knowing the Lord, that I hesitate to say “the best”, but certainly one of the best things I found out in time was this: The same One who taught love, could not only “teach” me about love, but could transform my heart, and help me love in a deep and genuine way. The same one who was LIFE, and who had filled those new acquaintances of mine with LIFE, could fill me with LIFE, and not just life now, but LIFE that never ends.

When my friend and I left that condo, as we were walking down the street, I mentioned to him some of the impressions I had of our experience there. He commented to me “Yeah, that was interesting, I think I might check out the Bible a little more”. I was happy he felt that way, but I thought to myself “I know what I need to do”.

Because of that little pamphlet I had read about a year earlier, dissecting the John 3:16 verse, I knew I needed to turn from my selfish ways, confess my need for a Savior, and receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. That’s exactly what I did. I went home, got on my knees, and gave the reigns of my life to God. I decided to let God be my God, and Jesus Christ be my Lord from that moment on.

For some people there is a lot of feeling and emotion involved when they make that commitment. For me there was nothing like that. In fact, though I knew it was a big step for me, I didn’t even realize I might want to note the actual date. I just know it was a week or two before Christmas 1972. I do know I was so zealous to start living for God that I went to church twice that Christmas.

So that is how He rescued me, so many years ago. Now, the “rest of the story”.

A week or two after I received the gift of God, I moved back to San Clemente. I never again saw the people who were the impetus for my decision. I wish I had been able to thank them and let them know of my decision.

Back in San Clemente I started thinking about finding a “Christian” church. “Coincidentally” an old acquaintance of mine had gotten “saved” himself and was going door to door sharing the good news of salvation and inviting people to church. The next evening I went to that church.

Wow! Was that a change from the dog eat dog, ego driven, harsh reality I had experienced among the young surfers and skiers with whom I had been surrounding myself. When I walked in the door, people welcomed me and seemed genuinely happy to see and meet me. I found out later many of these people were always like that. They really loved one another.

That was the beginning of one of the most important elements of the new life I was born into by God’s mercy. The loneliness that was my constant companion, even in a crowd, soon became a thing of the past as I began to build relationships with people who really cared. Even away from home, traveling, anytime I am among true believers, I feel the warmth of true fellowship and friendship. I can’t tell you how much all this warmth and connection has meant to me over the years.

The other component in relieving my loneliness is the very presence of God in my life. The Bible teaches that God Himself actually takes up residence in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the Bible we repeatedly find the phrase “and God was with (insert name)”. The Bible says “If God be ‘with us’, who can be against us?” Having the constant presence and fellowship of Almighty God has been a great comfort to me over the years. And the great thing is He has also promised “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

The second great change in my life since receiving Christ as my Savior is that where I used to be so anxious and insecure there is now such a great peace. The difference is really indescribable. And there is nothing I would trade for it.

I often say that “we live life on the inside”. In other words, no matter what our circumstances, it’s what we experience in our minds and hearts that make our lives seem good or bad. We all see the rich and famous living chaotic, strife-filled lives. Many are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and some of them even commit suicide. We all know (or know of) others who have little and live seemingly boring, regular lives but who are just as happy as can be. So circumstances, no matter how good, cannot produce peace. But to know that the very God of the universe is personally orchestrating every detail of my life, right down to who pulls out in front of me on the highway, gives me greater peace than I ever thought possible. I have had many challenging times since becoming a Christian, and I have learned that, no matter what life brings, God is faithful. Through it all, He is making something out of me that I wasn’t before. And every time, through every trial, big or small, it’s always worth it.

Remember that “haunting fear” that I mentioned toward the beginning of this story? The fear that there might be a God, and that I wasn’t cutting it in pleasing Him? Well, that is gone. Because, you see, the scripture says that “The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.” It is kind of paradoxical that what God saves us from is His own wrath. But His wrath is a necessary part of His character. If He didn’t judge and condemn evil, He wouldn’t be good.

We tolerate some evil because we know some of it is in us and we recognize the hypocrisy of condemning it in someone else. In some ways, we feel like it justifies our own bad behavior when we see it in someone else. But God doesn’t do evil, and He never will. So because He is all good, his standard for us is “all good” too. That is how “The way of the Lord is…the ruin of those who do evil.” It’s a pretty tough spot for us once we’ve sinned because we cannot change the record. Only by the gift of God can our record be changed. The Bible says that “He (Jesus) who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. In other words, He took the punishment for our sin (which is on our record) and because of that we can be credited with His record (righteousness). Our very Judge, because of His kindness to us, becomes our refuge and the agent of our freedom. It is an unspeakably generous offer from God on our behalf.

So, now that haunting fear I had is gone because He paid for my sins: past, present and future. The Bible says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions (sins) from us.” That is pretty far.

Now, I still fall short of perfection every day, but the righteous standing I have in Christ never changes. So all fear of God’s Judgment is gone forever. Now, in theory, I could live a life of corruption and debauchery if I want, but I don’t want that because He has given me a new heart like He promised. Thankfully, He is changing my desires. I no longer feel comfortable with sin; it wrecks everything it touches. It’s not me any more. Why would I continue in darkness, when I have entered into the light? I really love people now, and I don’t want to violate them. I no longer like deadness, I like LIFE, and want as much of it as I can get. Besides that, I’m so grateful for the gift and goodness of God that I want to please Him now. I want to be the son God wants me to be. Also, because I now believe what God says, I know that His ways are good for me; so why would I reject His counsel?
Which brings me to the last thing I would like to share with you.

In any new relationship, we are always taking a chance. That person may turn out to be a scoundrel, or hurt us, or break our heart or disappoint us.
Let me share with you this: God has turned out to be better than I could have imagined. After nearly 40 years, I can say without reservation that He is good, that He is unshakably faithful and loving, and that there is no flaw in Him or His ways. He cannot be improved upon.

I started out with a lot of questions. Through the years I have found that everything about God revealed through the Holy Scriptures makes perfect sense and fits with everything else, including the reality we can observe.

Even the couple of things about Him that the Scripture clearly teaches but that we can’t fully rationally comprehend, such as the Trinity, three persons in one God, make sense in this respect. If God is a higher being (like the kind who can speak the universe into existence), does it really make sense that we would be able to fully comprehend His very nature? Not to me. So I’m satisfied with a couple of mysteries. I’m also pretty happy that throughout eternity I will always be the creature and He will always be the infinite God, whose attributes will always be a source of amazement and worship.
So that is my story, along with a few thoughts and observations.

I’m sure many of you who read this have already made the decision to follow the Lord. But for those of you who may not have, I make this offer, because, as you may recall, this is my real reason for living: If you are truly seeking, and you have sincere questions about salvation or following the Savior, I am at your service. You may email or call. Just remember, we are in the Hawaiian time zone.

Sincerely,
Dana Nadeau


An Explanation of Salvation through Faith in Christ

 

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT HOW TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

Since we live in a “Christianized” country, and a lot of people attend church, it is easy to presume that everyone knows about, and understands what the Bible teaches about God’s offer of salvation and the forgiveness of sins. But I have found that is not always the case. If the pattern holds, the odds of you and me dying are about 100%, so you may be interested in making sure you have secured your peace with God while there is still time. I will give you as clear an account of what the Bible teaches about salvation as I can; then the choice is yours, whether to receive or reject His offer.

According to the Bible, in the original creation, God made man (in His own image) to have fellowship with Him. He made a beautiful garden for him to live in that met all his needs, and God had a personal, intimate relationship with the man and his wife. Adam and Eve had all the freedom to enjoy what God had made for them. He made only one rule. They were not to eat from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. Adam and Eve originally had no “knowledge” of, or experience with evil. They knew only good, and the peace and order that came with letting God be in charge. Man did not have to determine what was good and evil; he only needed to trust that what God told him was true, and obey that one simple rule. God warned Adam and Eve what would happen if they broke trust with Him. He said: “In the day you eat of that tree you will surely die.” The “death” God spoke of encompassed two things; a.) Spiritual death – separation from God (who is life) and b.) Physical death – the loss of the capacity of man’s body to live forever.

God did not make man a machine, which simply performs as programmed. He made him for relationship. Every meaningful relationship is voluntary, and is built on trust. The one rule God gave was a way of giving man a choice, whether to maintain the relationship by trusting what God said was true, or to break the relationship by abandoning that trust. It was an act of “faith” for man to remain within the generous limits God had provided him. God gave man the ongoing option to say yes or no to His leadership

Well, we know the choice Adam and Eve made. They chose to believe the lie of Satan, that God was withholding from them something good; that they could be “like God” in some greater sense than they were created to be. By choosing to not believe God, they broke trust (and thus the beautiful relationship), and moved out from under God’s leadership. Mankind (through Adam) decided to be his own judge of what is true or not. We, as Adam and Eve’s descendants, have all experienced the fruit of that choice. We have each inherited the fallen nature of our corporate head (Adam). We know each of our bodies will perish, and we see the fruit of sin every day, as people violate each other and God’s laws. Even if we don’t acknowledge God’s law, we all find ourselves fighting to live up to the standards we personally believe are right, whatever those standards may be. We see “death”, spiritual and physical, reigning all around us. We see evidence that God was telling the truth in His warning to Adam. Rejecting God’s leadership leads to death.

Fortunately the story does not end there. God still desires to have fellowship with man, and for us to experience His love, peace and joy now – what the bible calls “abundant life”. And He still desires for us to have “eternal life” – abundant life that never ends. But we are cut off from Him by our sin and our continued persistence in not believing Him, rejecting His leadership, and going our own way.

There are two issues at stake: In order to have “fellowship” with God we must be reconciled to Him by having our sins forgiven. Also, if we are to spend eternity with Him and each other, in peace, we cannot bring sin there, or it will be just like here – a mixture of rebellion and goodness. Both heaven and the presence of God are places where perfection is a prerequisite. That means we must be forgiven (our record wiped clean) and perfected, in order to fit in there. Without the wisdom and generosity of God, we are stuck in a hopelessly unresolvable dilemma.

The bible says that “The wages of sin is death.” Each one of us has inherited, and earned, by our own behavior, a just reward – death; separation from God; and a body that will pass away. In our dead state, with our record permanently stained, we have no hope of approaching God for fellowship or of attaining the perfection that is required for access to heaven. Our own death cannot buy salvation, and it certainly won’t make us perfect or change our record; it is simply the application of justice for the sins we have committed. Without a solution from God we are hopelessly lost.

One common mistake many of us make is thinking that God judges people like we would – on a curve. The interesting thing I have noticed, is that just about everyone judges him or herself to be on the winning side of the curve (assuming that will qualify them for heaven). There are always plenty of worse sinners than ourselves. Or we think that if we do more good things than bad, that God will accept us. The flaw in that thinking is that God does not grade on a curve; it is a pass/fail system; and the standard is perfection. The bible says explicitly in Romans 3:19-20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his (God’s) sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” No one (except Jesus) has ever lived without committing some kind of sin. And it only took one sin to plunge mankind into death. So we see that keeping God’s law cannot erase our record, or make us perfect. In Jesus’ day, there were some Jewish leaders (the scribes and Pharisees) who were very adept at keeping the law, but He told the people that “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees you cannot get into the Kingdom of God.” He was addressing the condition of their hearts. He went on to share several examples of people keeping the law on the outside, but not in their hearts. He said that hating is just as much a sin as murder, lusting is just as much a sin as committing adultery, lying is just as much a sin as breaking an oath, etc. So, even if we could keep the laws of God on the outside, we would still fall short, because our hearts would continue to be corrupted with sinful desires or impure motives. Clearly we cannot achieve perfection by works, and we are just far from the mark when trying to earn forgiveness. Once again, our position is hopeless, unless God provides a solution.

We constantly see, and at times experience injustice ourselves as we go through life. Unless we are the perpetrator (in which case we usually justify our behavior), injustice grates on us and we want to see justice done (and usually done now). God feels the same way about justice, only for now He is patient. If He insisted on executing perfect justice before the time of His choosing, we would all be hopelessly lost. But God is also merciful. And for now He withholds judgment, so that men and women can turn around and be reconciled to Him. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9-15 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief [by surprise]. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.”

So, though God’s justice demands punishment for sins, in His mercy He has provided a way of escape for now. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22 “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” The only way for sin to be forgiven is for the debt of death to be paid. The Bible says “the wages of sin is death”. Just before His crucifixion Jesus said these words; “Now is the time for judgment on this world” (John 12:30). The punishment we deserved (death) was voluntarily taken by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Bible says “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18). And in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 ” We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him (Jesus Christ) we might become the righteousness of God.” Through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ we have the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins – because He (the innocent), was killed in our place (the guilty). Not only do we receive the offer of forgiveness of sins in Christ, escaping our due punishment, but we can also have our sinful record cleared completely. Because Christ took our record (of sin), we are offered His record (of perfection) in trade. That is what the Bible means when it says “that in him (Christ) we might become the righteousness of God.” Through Christ’s death we receive forgiveness and are reconciled to God; through His sinless life our record is perfected and we are made worthy of heaven; and through His resurrection we

are assured of the gift of eternal life. The bible says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And again in 1 John 5:11-14 ” And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Our eternal life is guaranteed by the resurrection of Christ. That same life that He won by conquering sin and death, will infuse us if we choose to reconnect with God through Him.

We can either look back at our judgment, which was taken for us by Jesus Christ, or we can look forward to being judged on our own merits on the final day. We can have justice in the end or mercy now; eternal death – or eternal life. The choice is ours.

How do we obtain the eternal life that God offers us? Remember how Adam and Eve lost it? They chose to not believe God, to be their own final authority; and they moved out from under His leadership by breaking trust with Him.

The way back is just the opposite. First, we must choose to believe God, restoring a relationship of trust. We take our rightful place as His creatures, and we let Him be our God and Lord. In John 3:16 Jesus said “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” And in John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

It is important to differentiate between “believing in” God and “believing God”. The Bible says that the demons believe in God (acknowledge His existence) and tremble. To be part of God’s family we must do more than acknowledge that God exists, we must decide to believe that He knows best what is true and what is not. Of course if we believe Him, we will obey Him. So our behavior will begin to change, as well as our desires, when we truly “believe God”. The change in our behavior will not “save” us, but it will be evidence that we believe God. This change of mind is called repentance in the Bible. We go from unbelief to belief (faith).

Also, as man’s rejection of God’s leadership brought death, coming back under God’s leadership will result in life. Jesus said in John 5:26 “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.” And in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” In John 1:10-12 John testifies “He (speaking of Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

So, what does “receive him” mean? It means to put Him in His rightful place in your life, as Lord and Sovereign. It means to stop living for ourselves, and live for Him. To let God’s truth be our truth. To let our faith in Him express itself through obedience. To let God have the reigns of our lives. To acknowledge Him as our Creator, and as His son or daughter, to worship Him and let Him have pre-eminence in our lives, and to bear good fruit with the time and gifts and resources He puts in our control.

To make the transition into right relationship with God, is as simple as confessing to God our sorrow for our sin and rebellion; our need for His leadership; and our desire for forgiveness and reconciliation. When we turn from our sins and make the commitment to let Jesus be our Lord, He forgives us, and He gives us eternal life. We get plugged back into “Life” when we are restored to proper relationship with Almighty God, who IS Life and the source of life. And that life never ends. In John 8:12 Jesus spoke again to the people. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” In John 5:21 Jesus said “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. In John 5:24-25 Jesus said “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

We may or may not feel anything when we make the commitment to follow the Lord, but if we believe His word, we receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. In Romans 8:17 Paul the apostle wrote; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” The whole transaction begins and ends with believing God; what the Bible calls “faith”. So faith is not some mysterious force that we need to generate, it is simply believing what God says. In Romans 10:9 the Bible says that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So our impossible dilemma is solved through the generosity and wisdom of God. But His generosity did not extend to providing a multitude of ways; only one. God was under no obligation to provide salvation to man; and those who demand He do more, or be more open-minded, would do well to reconsider their position. We are fortunate that there is a way at all.

Of course there are many wonderful benefits to being one of God’s children. We can live in peace, knowing our heavenly Father has promised He will care for our every need while we are here on earth. Having the assurance of eternal life with Him when we depart takes the fear out of dying. Once we are His people, God will begin to transform us by the power of His Holy Spirit who now indwells us. In Galatians 5:22 Paul the apostle says; “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Another passage that shines some light on the road the Lord will take us on, as we submit to His leadership, is Colossians 3:12-13, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 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.”

Once we are no longer under God’s wrath, but under His favor, once we are “in Christ”, we are given the same standing with God as Jesus has. In Romans 8:31-32 Paul the apostle makes this marvelous statement: “If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” In Romans 8:15-17 the Bible says “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of son-ship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba (Daddy), Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”

This only scratches the surface of the things God has for us. But this is what God wants for you more than anything – abundant life now, and for eternity. I pray that you will give yourself to the Lord and let Him make something beautiful out of your life, and that we will meet and rejoice together over God’s goodness in His eternal kingdom.

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