Posted on Aug 06, 2009 at 4:42 p.m. JULY - AUG 2009 Edition

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“Seek After Lord Valiantly And Take In Omnipotent Newness! (S.A.L.V.A.T.I.O.N)”

By Ramesh C.Reddy
Pittsburgh Standard

Aug 06, 2009

Editors Note: The devotional has a background song called 'How Great, How Strong', which can be heard if you use Internet Explorer.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13, NIV)

I asked what is 'therefore' in response to?
I was reminded that the ‘therefore’ is in response to what I learned in yesterday’s devotional time on the topic N.A.M.E.

I asked myself what is the cause-effect relationship here?
Because of the power of the NAME OF JESUS, the Philippians were told 3 things:
As you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence.
2. continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling
3. for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

I asked myself what words stuck out to me in point 2?
Five words stood out from this command.

I asked myself what does it mean to "continue"?
What came to my mind is a non-stop action. It should not be a one time thing but perpetual.

According to Microsoft Word’s thesaurus, “continue” can also mean to carry on, remain, resume, go on, persist, keep on, prolong, and maintain. This is how we are asked to work.

I asked myself what does it mean to "work"?
What came to my mind is a non-stop action again. It should not be limited to a particular day but always.

According to Microsoft Word’s thesaurus, “work” can also mean to labor, act, toil, and succeed to name a few. This is how we are to approach Salvation.

I asked myself what does Salvation mean and it's significance?
What came to my mind is ‘being saved from our sins and having Eternal Life’ because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross of Calvary when we acknowledge, believe, and confess Jesus as Lord. It also means living life in such a way to show that I have been saved.

According to Microsoft Word’s thesaurus, “Salvation” can also mean deliverance, rescue, escape, and recovery.

As I looked at these definitions, it seems though that this command emphasizes ‘works based Salvation' on the surface but it does not.

I learned the danger of studying Scripture out of it’s context and that is exactly what would happen if someone wanted to teach ‘works based Salvation’ as opposed to ‘Salvation by grace’.

For they would take a person to this particular verse and say, “look v.12 says it right here to
“Continue to work out your Salvation with fear and trembling.”

Then they would say, “It’s not me speaking but right here in the Bible so you have to work for your Salvation otherwise you won’t be saved.”

Hogwash! In other words, they would say that you are to attain as many brownie points as possible to be accepted by the Lord when you die. They could go further and say that if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds then you have worked out your Salvation the correct way and be promoted to Heaven.

There is a reason why Paul told the Philippians to 'continue to work out their Salvation with fear and trembling' and it is not to emphasize a work based Salvation but still grace based. They are to focus on the Salvation they have been given as a free gift of grace by the Lord and continue to live out their lives in the grace of the Lord. They are to live each and every day by grace for it is His grace that not only justifies them by grace but it is this same grace that sanctifies them by His grace. It is this grace that continues to transform a person.

The work here is not to achieve Salvation for the Philippians could not do it on their own anyway. It was a gift offered to them by Jesus as He paved the way for them to receive this Salvation by the finished work done on the Cross of Calvary.

Now, they are to live it out for others to see that this Salvation offered to them is not just for Eternal Life but also makes a difference right here and now. Living out their Salvation is synonymous to the previous verse that addressed obedience which is a fruit of our Salvation.  Philippians are reminded to continue to show fruit in their lives because of the Salvation they have received as a free gift of grace.

I asked myself why is 'fear and trembling' mentioned?
It is mentioned as a way to honor God and approach His majesty with a sense of reverent fear as opposed to cowardice fear. The trembling reminded me of being unable to do anything on our own because when we tremble, we are also shaken up! Instead, the dependence is on someone else to help us. In this case, it is dependent on Jesus Christ to help us daily in our lives.

I saw important implications for my own life. It is to continue to live out my own Salvation as a daily work in my life with reverent fear and total dependence on Jesus.

I want to start out my testimony with a quote by GEORGE SODINI, the MURDERER at a LA FITNESS CENTER:
"Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter."

His quotes will be in red & black!

First of all, Sodini is not even sure of his Salvation and that's why he writes, 'Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus.'

I (Ramesh), can be sure of my Salvation in Christ for it is dependent on Jesus, my Good Shepherd who has saved me when I gave my life to Him on Feb 14, 1985.  On that day, I was assured of my Salvation when Jesus came into my heart and made my heart His home, living in me. He also gave me the promised Holy Spirit to work in me and through me to continue to work out the Salvation that I have received in Christ so the fruit will be a reflection of His grace. This means when I walk in the Spirit, I will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Salvation was not dependent on me earning it but Christ giving it to me. Thank you Jesus. I am not perfect and do mess up but the fruit of the Holy Spirit is seen when Jesus works in me and through me. If Jesus is not working in me, then I am not saved but I know He is working in me. Thank you Jesus.

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.... My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:14-15, 27-29,)

For the first year of my Salvation, I basically grew up on Gospel of John alone and its enormous promises for my life. Then, I focused on Romans and so on! I am reminded of all these verses throughout the New Testament.

"All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:25-26, NIV)

"Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men." (Romans 14:16-18, NIV)

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV)

"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21, NLT)

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another." (Galatians 5:22-26, NLT)

"At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell."

Whoever told Sodini that, mislead him badly because the Gospel was not presented clearly or in its entirety. Yes, Eternal life does NOT depend on works. You nor I cannot do anything to earn Eternal Life because all our good works are like filthy rags to the Lord. The filthy rags actually describes a women's menstruation cloth filled with unclean blood during her period. That's how God sees our works if we are trying to use our works to attain God's favor. God will have none of that. That's the problem with all the religions of the world that think they can reach God by the good they do. But God does not see it as good. Our greatest goodness is still sin in the eyes of the Lord if it is not done in Christ for man's definition of goodness is filthy rags to God.

"But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners;  how can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:5b-6b, NLT)

And a Holy God cannot allow sin into His presence and that's why He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins so when we accept His free gift of grace and pardon, we will be saved not for anything we have done but for everything Christ has done. So, the point of Salvation is not dependent on us by our works but totally on the Lord by faith. It is because He chooses us and because He chooses us, we will live for Him as His Spirit works in us and through us by His grace, we will produce good fruit as a result of our Salvation and not as a means to earn our Salvation.

"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)

When we do receive Salvation in Christ, others will know about it because the fruit of our lives will reflect it. It is not self-effort work but work done by the Holy Spirit's power. This is the work that is asked of the Philippians 'to continue to work out your Salvation with fear and trembling' by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So Sodini is right in the sense that Salvation does NOT depend on works (self-effort works) because then we will all be in Hell but where Sodini erred is not remembering Titus 3:3-8 that says,

"Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone." (Titus 3:-8, NLT)

Killing people is not doing good!

As Pastor Paul Bucknell, a missionary of Oakland International Fellowship reminds us, "Salvation results in good works produced by the Spirit of God in our lives. We still depend on Christ's righteous works presented because we are in Christ!"

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. 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 we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, NIV)

For when we are saved Christ will produce works in our lives but these are works of the Holy Spirit blessed by the Lord. Another way to see it is, these are the FRUITS OF OUR LABOR IN CHRIST. Here we are talking about good fruit as a result of our Salvation. That can only happen when we realize we need Christ's righteous deeds imputed to us.

"But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us." (Galatians 5:5, NLT)

"May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God." (Philippians 1:11, NLT)

Did George Sodini produce that on the night he decided to go on a murdering rampage?

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ (Matthew 7:21-23, NLT)

"A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." (Matthew 7:17b-20, NLT)

"What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless." (James 2:14-17, NLT)

"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?" (James 2:19-20, NIV)

Then James, the brother of Jesus goes on to share examples of Abraham and Rahab whose faith was made complete by their actions. Remember, this book is written to the Christians. It is an exhortation to LIVE OUT THEIR SALVATION IN CHRIST.

Sodini wrote, "Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter."

Yes, Jesus paid for every sin: past, present, and future that humanity has committed. But, just because Jesus paid the ransom for humanity's sin does not mean all humanity is saved or will be saved. No, not all humanity will be saved even now!  It is only those that have received the free gift of grace and the Holy Spirit in their lives who produce fruit that will be saved. And the fruit is a guarantee when we are truly in Christ. The free gift of grace is received when we acknowledge our own sinfulness before an all awesome loving God and ask Him to cover us by Christ's cleansing blood that we are saved because His righteousness is imputed to us.

I will not be the person to say that Sodini was not saved. It is only for God to make that decision. What I do know is if I say I love Jesus, I need to obey Jesus and live for Him. I know I can only do that with the power of the Holy Spirit working in me and through me as I spend time with Jesus daily in the joy of the Lord, studying His Word, meditating, and praying. Again doing these things will not be a means of my Salvation but a result of my Salvation.

As Pastor Bucknell likes to remind the PCCO-OIF congregation from Ephesians 1, John 3, and Romans 8, our Salvation and our entrance into Heaven is totally dependent on Christ and not us. Christ is the One that chooses us and if He chooses us, we will do good deeds and can be assured of our Salvation.

"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." (Ephesians 1:4-6, NLT)

"And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him." (Ephesians 1:13b-14, NLT)

He did that so we can praise and glorify him and not kill people as Sodini did. He got the whole concept of Eternal Life twisted. So many people still do that. They did it in the Apostle Paul's time and they still do. There is a reason what Paul emphasized in Romans 5 - Romans 11.

Romans 8 actually speaks out against Sodini's wrong belief that he can kill people and still go to Heaven.

"Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God." (Romans 8:5-14, NLT)

If you are elected by God to be His very own, you can be sure that you will never ever fall to the prince of darkness. Jesus will protect you and take care of you. You can always be assured of your Salvation in Christ and that His Salvation in your life will show forth His fruit in your life.

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory." (Romans 8:28-30, NLT)

Am I any better than George Sodini to go to Heaven?

God forbid that I should think that. I am just like George Sodini with the same sinful human nature which is capable of murder and other devious vices that give pleasure to Satan. I am capable of doing worse on my own because I cannot control the sinful nature of the flesh on my own.

It is like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome. As I write about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome, I am reminded of my brothers and sisters in Christ: Luke, Ryan, Jeremy, Steve, Yohko, Cathy, and Antonia who are doctors, residents, or med students who love JESUS CHRIST SO MUCH and are the doctor of the physical infirmities even as Christ became the doctor of their souls including mine. I need Jesus always otherwise, I will be a murderer at heart. Jesus' definition is much more specific. We all do murder people in our hearts even if it is not done in real life. Your nor I are in no place to condemn Sodini.

"You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things." (Romans 2:1, NLT)

My soul sickness is similar to George Sodini's where I can murder too. It is human nature and that's scary.  We all have murdered in the heart. But, I am humbled and thankful to Jesus for working in me and through me to live for Him. I so need His help for my soul and I am so thankful that He came to take the darkness of my soul and fill it with His light empowering me, equipping me, and enabling me to do His will by the Holy Spirit.

So, I don't think I am better than George Sodini. I am not and would be the same if it were not for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you so much Jesus. So, there is nothing I can boast about because without Christ's work in my life, I am as evil. My total dependence is on Christ. Your total dependence should be on Christ too!

The alternative in my life is terrible and is governed by Satan. It is the greatest sin of pride. Once I start thinking I am better than anyone else and start judging others to make my relationship with Christ look better, I actually am the worst. I am no better. By thinking that I will let pride sweep in. This is how Satan came to be. Satan actually was Lucifer, the chief angel of worship before the throne of God until he thought he could do better than God. At that moment, he was abased and so were 1/3 angels with him sent to the pit of hell.

I don't want that in my own life. I want to have a daily relationship with Christ in humility, joy, and courage. Please help me Jesus and work in me through my weaknesses. I don't want to give the enemy a foothold. I don't want to do anything that dishonors your Name. If I stand for evil desires, I know I will dishonor your Name. Oh Jesus, I need you. We all need you! Help us Jesus. Thank you that you promise to help!

"But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”  So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come close to God, and God will come close to you." (James 4:6-8, NLT)

I am so thankful to Jesus because He has called me to be His very own, He will also help me resist the devil and live for Him. Help me Jesus!

"They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:8-9, NLT)

If I say that I am saved by the Lord Jesus, then I cannot go living my life however I want to though. Jesus paid the ransom by His blood to save me and redeem me. How can I again, go back to the old ways of living when Salvation is not only for the life-after but this same Salvation is for me to be able to live by His grace here and now. Christ the Lord will prompt us and help us to live Holy and godly lives when we are saved.

"Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?" (Romans 6:1-2, NIV)

"For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame." (Hebrews 6:4-6, NLT)

"This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.  But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:5-9, NLT)

This also means when I have Salvation or am saved, it is for eternity and the Holy Spirit works in my life to produce good fruit. My life will reflect that good fruit because of the Holy Spirit's promise. It is the Holy Spirit that will help me 'continue to work out my Salvation with fear and trembling' If the Holy Spirit is not working in my life, then I am not saved for a person who is saved will have the work of the Holy Spirit. That is a promise of the Lord. His transforming grace not only justifies but sanctifies.

When I am truly repentant of all my sins and confess them before the Lord, asking Him to be the Lord and Savior of my life to cover me in His precious blood and transform me by His grace to live out my life daily for His honor and glory, He will do it. I can be assured of my Salvation in Christ when I have surrendered my life over to Him.

I ask you now dear friend, is GEORGE SODINI'S belief in Salvation yours?
Dear friend, Sodini had a twisted view of Salvation and the Gospel. Sodini believed he could just kill people because Jesus died for his sin anyway and won't be judged. I hope everything I have written above debunks what he believed and what he did are not consistent with having Salvation in Christ.

Good works are the evidence of our Salvation and not the means of our Salvation. If we have Salvation, it will reflect in our relationship with Father God who has called us out of darkness and into His glorious light. Jesus reminded the Pharisees who thought they knew it all and were in right standing with God but they were not with these words:

"Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” (John 8:42-47, NLT)

"Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I Am he. ” (John 8:23-24, NLT)

"Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." (John 8:34-36, NLT)

The Bible reminds us that all the good works we think we are doing on our own are still filthy rags to the Lord without us acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord.

God in His Holiness cannot allow us to enter into His presence even if we have lived a good life for 99.99% of the time and only messed up a miniscule 0.01% because that miniscule % is still sin. The purity of our soul is not there anymore. It is like putting 1 drop of cyanide in pure distilled water. It is not pure anymore is it even though all the other ounces of water in there make it look pure! Looks can be deceptive!

The only way for our good works to count and be seen as pure is having us covered in the Blood of Jesus Christ and accepting His Salvation by grace through faith. The awesomeness of this Salvation is that it is God who works in us to will and act according to His good purpose. Now when we die and approach the judgment throne, God sees us  pure because we are covered by the BLOOD of JESUS cleansing all of our impurities and making us pure.

For me v.12 does not emphasize “Works based Salvation” but still “Salvation by Grace”

The evidence for that is in verses 6-11 and verse 13 for me. In the previous devotional times I learned about what Jesus did for us to be saved. It is by His grace we are saved! The previous devotional times J.E.S.U.S, C.R.O.S.S, and N.A.M.E are the ones that help me to take this verse in its context. Now based on the passage, I know it is not ‘works based Salvation but Salvation by grace’.

Since I know that I asked myself what is Paul telling the Philippians when he says, “Continue to work out your Salvation with fear and trembling”?

What came to my mind is that ‘Salvation itself is guaranteed by God’s grace for those who have received it. In other words, I do believe once saved we are always saved and John 10 details that. Since Salvation is guaranteed then ‘continue to work out’ could mean "to persist acting on.”

I asked myself what does it mean to persist acting on my Salvation?
Salvation means saved from sin to Eternal Life! Since I am saved from sin, my actions should reflect that. This is where working out comes with fear and trembling lest I go back to sin. I need to also remember no matter what is happening in my life that I am saved by the Lord. When I do mess up by doing wrong and feel yucky inside, I need to persist acting on the Salvation the Lord Jesus has given me by His grace if I have accepted Christ's free gift and continue in the work out! It is His Holy Spirit that helps me with the work out.

Rather than wallowing in my sin and thinking I am only human bound to do wrong because I am a “sinner saved by grace”, I need to have the mentality that I am a “saint reflecting His grace” because of what Jesus did for me and start acting that way taking His help.

Many times as Christians, we throw ourselves back into defeat by telling ourselves that we are only human bound to do wrong. I do believe the Lord has provided us a way to act as saints and reflect His grace in people’s lives.

It won’t be because we do it on our own, but it will be because of our reverent fear of the Lord and His working in our lives. This is evidenced by v.13
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
In closing dear friend, I am so excited for all that I learned in today’s devotional time as I sought the Lord. You know verse 12 always seemed to trouble me but after praying and studying it in its context I am excited. I am excited because I know no amount of good works I do will save me but it is because of receiving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Personal Savior that I am saved by His grace.

If that were not the case then what all religions preach will give people access to the Lord. In all religions except in Christianity, people try to reach God by the good works they feel they are doing but in Christianity, God reached out to man to save man.

May you know that you can receive the Lord’s Salvation as you seek after Him for the Word of the Lord says that if we seek the Lord and search for Him with our whole heart, He will be found. In that same chapter of Jeremiah 29 we are reminded that the Lord knows the plans He has for us and they are plans for good and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope!

It is the Holy Spirit that will have a marked seal on us assuring our Salvation as He produces the work in us! Praise the Lord!

"Seek After Lord Valiantly And Take In Omnipotent Newness!" (S.A.L.V.A.T.I.O.N)/”"Is GEORGE SODINI'S belief in S.A.L.V.A.T.I.O.N yours?"

Dear Jesus, thank you for your Salvation by grace. Help us Oh Lord to live our lives for you because of what you have done for us. We want to do right not to earn Salvation, for you alone have already given it to us as a gift, but we want to do right because we love you and for all that you mean to us. We want more love, more power, and more of you in our lives. We seek you with our whole heart. We worship you with all our mind, strength, and heart. Thank you for opening your Word to me Oh Lord. I pray Oh Lord that as I share this with others you will let them take what you would have them take and that it can impact their lives as it has mine. I pray that the Gospel can be presented more clearly to others and also that you would protect my friends from the enemy's lies and deception as Sodini was deceived. Oh Lord, it is so sad what he wrote and then what he did. We need you in our lives because we are no different than Sodini if it were not for your grace working in our lives daily. Help us Jesus! Thanks so much Jesus! Thank you for hearing our prayers and answering us! In Your Name I Pray Jesus! Amen!

May you experience the POWER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION this day, and give Him the LOCKED areas of your life too so you can experience His PEACE as you become an ACTOR in the film called LIFE being directed by your DIRECTOR, JESUS CHRIST who comes to give JOY and PEACE.

You don't have to be locked away anymore for Christ is here to free you and give you peace to LIVE out your actions.

How do you look at GODISNOWHERE?

One of my pastors, Pastor Hugo SHARED this example one Sunday at the RESURRECTION DAY SERVICE in the combined worship service of Pittsburgh Chinese Church-Oakland & Oakland International Fellowship:

If you look at it as GOD IS NO WHERE, you will still be lost in your sin and be in bondage locked away in your sins and problems finding no peace.

But  as my pastor spoke to the congregation and spoke to me, I am here to tell you that GOD IS NOW HERE.

Yes, friend God is aLIVE and wants to bring a transformation in your life through the GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ for He paid the penalty on the cross to rescue you and me and came back to life to save us and LIVE with us.

Yes, friend that is exciting to know that we can experience HIS SAVING GRACE & LIVING GRACE.

When we mess up, we can go to Jesus with our shortcomings and He will forgive us and RESTORE us to Him and we will find peace in Him.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23, NIV)

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:7-9, NIV)

Friend, we need Jesus because we have been separated from God due to our sin. Because of our sin, Jesus had to pay the price to become our bridge so we can reach God now not of our own good works but because of the finished work of Christ, the Lord on the cross.

"For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)

Come to Jesus as you are and pray this prayer to accept Jesus as your Lord and Personal Savior. He will transform your life around! Praise the Lord! You don't have to have all the answers! You can come as you are!

If you want to be a soldier in the Lord's army, you can become it right now. Now is the time of Salvation! You do not have to wait but can pray this prayer and give your life to Christ to serve Him daily! There is no draft but coming to Christ is voluntary. He loves you so much and wants you to come to Him! He will take care of you, guiding you and leading you!

Dear Jesus, I love you. Thank you for loving me so much and thank you for choosing the cross to die for me. You became the Son of Man and LIVEd here on earth. Then you humbled yourself and became obedient to death-even death on the cross. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin. You died on the cross so that I can be covered in your blood and cleansed by your blood as I acknowledge that I need you and cannot enter Heaven without you being my pathway. So, Jesus I confess all my sins to you and all the ways I have tried to get into Heaven when you already provided the means and the Way. Thank you for all that you have done for me. The cross is the place, a wonderful place where accused and condemned find mercy and GRACE. Thank you Jesus, it is at the cross where the wrongs we have done and the wrongs done to us were nailed at the cross. Thank you Jesus, at the cross you died for our sins and at the cross you gave your life for us. I thank you for that and thank you for coming back to life to save us. Thank you Jesus for being there for me! Thank you for loving me. I love you Jesus! Please take me as I am and make my life into something that you will be proud of. I surrender my life to you and need your help to LIVE for you. I am forever grateful for what you have done for me and I can never repay you. I want to LIVE for you and need your help. Help me Jesus please. I thank you Jesus for saving me! Thank you for hearing my prayer and answering me. Whatever your will give me the willingness and strength to bear it. Thank you Jesus! I acknowledge you as my Lord and Personal Savior! In Your Name I Pray precious Jesus! Amen!

No matter what you feel in your heart, know that Jesus has come in and resides with you! You are not alone! To make your walk strong with the Lord, spend time in prayer talking to Him as you would to a friend. You don’t need special words to talk to the Lord. Spend time in His Word reading Psalms and turning them into prayer. Next allow God to heal you and speak to you through the Gospel of John or Gospel of Mark before moving on to other Books of the Bible! Slowly, let the Lord show you to which Scriptures He wants you to go to next. It is also important to be part of a body of believers to help you grow in the faith. Find a Bible believing church that preaches the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation proclaiming Jesus Christ our crucified and risen Lord who brings us hope, healing, and help! But beware of churches who do believe in the Word of God completely but there is no freedom in Christ but legalism involved.

As a professional, it is not too late to join a church! As a student, it is not too late to join a fellowship on campus this  new year of 2009! May the Lord's presence and peace fill you with His love now and forever! Amen!


Friend, if you have prayed this prayer and meant it in your heart, you are a new creation in Christ and all old things are passed away and everything has become new! You may feel something or may not but don’t base it on feelings but base your new life in Christ on the promises of our Savior who will never leave you nor forsake you! Amen!

Spend time in His word and let the Lord speak to you! Start out in the Gospel of John! You can also check out the Gospel of Mark which are the devotionals I have been going through.  Learn from Jesus through study and prayer. Also find yourself a church fellowship and a college fellowship you can be part of where you can be part of a community of believers to supplement your own walk with the Lord. Let it be a Bible-believing and Bible-breathing church! Believe in Bible LIVE Eternally!

Feel free to email me at if you want to meet to study the Bible, pray with, talk about Spiritual issues or whatever is on your mind! My number is 412-720-4579

"This is my work and I can do it only because Christ's mighty energy is at work within me." (Colossians 1:29, TLB)

Love in Christ,


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Devotional of  yesterday:
"What's the point of O.B.E.D.I.E.N.C.E in life?" (Aug 05, 09, 12:30 a.m.)
The point of obedience in life is not to get something in return. We obey because of the Name of Jesus. In the Name of Jesus, there is power. The Name of Jesus.......

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Philippians 1:1-2: "Who will you be a S.L.A.V.E to in life?" (June 29, 09, 11:23 a.m.)

Philippians 1:1-2: "Will you be seen as a S.A.I.N.T or sinner in life?" (June 30, 09, 9:00 a.m.)

Philippians 1:1-2: "Will you let a servant of God T.R.A.I.N you in life?" (July 01, 09, 10:16 a.m.)

Philippians 1:1-2: "When do you B.L.E.S.S. others in life?" (July 02, 09, 10:28 a.m.)

Philippians 1:1-2: "What do you I.M.P.A.R.T to others?" (July 03, 09, 2:56 p.m.)

Mark 5:24b-34: "Where do you need F.R.E.E.D.O.M in life?" (July 04, 09, 10:00 a.m.)

Philippians 1:3-6: "Who do you I.N.V.E.S.T your time with?" (July 06, 09, 12:46 p.m.)

Philippians 1:3-6: "What makes you give T.H.A.N.K.S. in life?" (July 07, 09, 9:32 a.m.)

Philippians 1:3-6: "How can you attain a P.A.R.T.N.E.R.S.H.I.P in the Gospel?" (July 08, 09, 1:00 p.m.)

Philippians 1:3-6:"Where are you C.O.N.F.I.D.E.N.T in?" (July 09, 09, 9:32 a.m.)

Philippians 1:7-8: "Why cannot you be saved by G.R.A.C.E alone?" (July 09, 09, 9:32 a.m.)

Philippians 1:7-8: "Why are you not in a R.E.L.A.T.I.O.N.S.H.I.P in life?" (July 13, 09, 2:44 p.m.)

Philippians 1:8: "What is your L.O.V.I.N.G response based on?" (July 14, 09, 12:17 p.m.)

Philippians 1:9-11: "How can you feel S.P.E.C.I.A.L when things are going so wrong in your life?" (July 15, 09, 8:59 a.m.)

Philippians 1:12-14: "What have C.H.A.I.N.S done to you in your life?" (July 16, 09, 11:22 a.m.)

Philippians 1:15-18: "How are your  M.O.T.I.V.E.S in your life?" (July 17, 09, 9:44 a.m.)

Philippians 1:18-19: "What reason do you have to R.E.J.O.I.C.E in life?" (July 18, 09, 10:21 a.m.)

Philippians 1:18-19: "Who do you C.A.L.L. often in life?" (July 19, 2009)

Philippians 1:20: "Where do you need C.O.U.R.A.G.E  in life?" (July 21, 09, 11:40 a.m.)

Philippians 1:21: "Why do you L.I.V.E your life to be appreciated?" (July 22, 09, 11:43 a.m.)

Philippians 1:21: "Why D.I.E for Christ?" (July 23, 09, 11:47 a.m.)

Philippians 1: "What are your C.H.O.I.C.E.S based on?" (July 24, 09)

Philippians 1: "How do you C.O.N.D.U.C.T yourself in life?" (July 28, 09, 1:04 p.m.)

Philippians 1: "How do you handle S.U.F.F.E.R.I.N.G in life?" (July 29, 09, 12:20 p.m.)


Philippians 2:1-2: "How is your C.O.N.D.I.T.I.O.N in life?" (July 30, 09, 3:48 p.m.)

Philippians 2: "How do you respond to C.O.M.M.A.N.D.S in life?" (July 31, 09, 2:48 p.m.)

Philippians 2: "How do you match Jesus' A.T.T.I.T.U.D.E in life?" (July 30, 09, 3:48 p.m.)

Philippians 2: "Why should you make a C.R.O.S.S transaction in life?" (Aug 03, 09, 12:38 p.m.)

Philippians 2: "How do you handle the N.A.M.E in life?" (Aug 04, 09, 11:48 a.m.)








Oakland International Fellowship welcomes incoming students to its worship service on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. near North Dithridge St. followed by Sunday School at 11:30 a.m. and fellowship lunch at 12:30 p.m.

Book Review of "Lord Change My Attitude Before It's Too Late"
“McDonald's Mesmerizes Lovingly, Leading Searching SOULs!
(June 04, 09, 2:51 p.m.)
"Lord Change My Attitude: Before It's Too Late!" is a mesmerizing book of 224 pages that will keep you glued to your seat bringing to life the attitudes that have brought you down into the wilderness using Biblical examples but...



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