Bob Coy was my pastor

“We have confirmed that Coy has admitted to at least two affairs in the past year alone and has had a long standing “problem with pornography.”” – April 04, 2014, http://www.phoenixpreacher.com

In the early 90’s Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale was a thriving, vibrant, energetic church filled with throngs of young people. Bob Coy had founded the church with his wife, Diane, and a handful of others. Under his charming leadership, it grew to become one of the Top-10 largest churches in America.

I began attending in 1991. Back then, we met behind the dumpsters of an Albertson’s grocery store. I liked the fact that it wasn’t glamorous; that it was “non-denominational” and, in my mind, the farthest thing possible from the Catholicism of my youth. (Later realizing that it really wasn’t much different after all. I simply had traded “High-Church” for “low-church,” so the strict rules and regulations were harder to spot.)

Image result for calvary chapel church fort lauderdal

Bob Coy was the reason for the church’s success. He is a phenomenal speaker. He had a gift for showing people their need for salvation and it was not uncommon to see 20 or 30 people “go forward” for his altar call.

I never planned to go forward. I was confident in the fact that God loved me and wanted me in His heaven; therefore, I didn’t believe I needed to “get saved” or be born again. But the message that Pastor Bob preached on Sunday morning, September 1st, 1991, changed my mind; it allowed me to see that I was guilty of breaking God’s laws, that I was guilty of committing sin. I was a sinner who needed His help; the help that only He could offer because of what He did on the cross. God opened my blind eyes so I could see, and I said yes to God . . . and then went forward for the altar call. 😱

I am eternally grateful to Bob Coy; I was saved from hell on that September morning. I am thankful for his gift of teaching, but I have come to regret the year and a half that I spent at his church, paying 10% of my income in order to help enlarge his ministry, and getting steeped in the doctrine of “works righteousness”. My disappointment turned to major surprise several years ago when I learned that Pastor Bob is a sex addict.

“Over two decades, Coy had built a small storefront church into Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, a 25,000-member powerhouse that packed Dolphin Stadium for Easter services while Coy hosted everyone from George W. Bush to Benjamin Netanyahu. With a sitcom dad’s wholesome looks, a standup comedian’s snappy timing, and an unlikely redemption tale of ditching a career managing Vegas strip clubs to find Jesus, Coy had become a Christian TV and radio superstar.

But then, in April 2014, he resigned in disgrace after admitting to multiple affairs and a pornography addiction. Coy shocked his flock and made national headlines by walking away from his ministry, selling his house, and divorcing his wife.” (www.miaminewtimes.com)

After the scandal, he re-entered the world of nightclubs. He got a job managing the “Funky Biscuit” in Boca Raton where he was subsequently fired amidst new allegations: charges of child molestation.

What a turn of events. The marvelous preacher Pastor Bob Coy wasn’t respectable enough to manage a night club.

How could this have happened to Pastor Bob? How could this have happened to someone who led thousands of people to salvation in Jesus Christ!?

“It takes only a little yeast to make the whole batch of dough rise,” as they say. (Galatians 5:9 – Good New Translation)

And it only takes a little bit of false teaching to permeate the gospel message. Just one little rule that says, “Work hard.” Or, “Try to be good.” Or, “Exert yourself to be holy.” That one tiny command then acts like yeast, it grows and spreads until the entire message of good news becomes bad news.

Think about a loaf of bread, can you pick out the yeast and discard it? No, it’s impossible. The yeast has taken over the dough and ‘leavened’ the entire loaf; there is no yeast-free section of the loaf of bread.

So if your Christian life is saturated with LAW, it’s no wonder that you’ll become miserable and turn to sin for a bit of temporary relief.

Pastor Bob gave us a plethora of laws/rules/methods for us to obey so that we could become more holy. For example, he once taught us to choose a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and to practice it until someone noticed. I chose the fruit of “love.” I worked hard at it until someone DID eventually tell me that I was loving. Of course, by that time, I was so exhausted from all of the effort that I went right back to my normal self. Also, he suggested that we memorize Scripture verses; that we get involved in volunteering for one of the church’s ministries; we were supposed to fellowship regularly, at least three times a week; to read the Bible every morning. . . . Basically, he presented us with a set of rules for us to live by.

He may not have taught us to obey the Law of Moses, but we certainly were taught to obey the Law of Pastor Bob.  Those of us who took his words seriously ended up, inadvertently, focused on sin.  Sin gets it power from laws.

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.” 1 Corinthians 15:56

As Bob George of People to People Ministries used to say, “If the truth sets us free, then the lie keeps us in bondage.”

Jesus came to set us free from the Law of Moses, and any other system of law that man invents.  Jesus came to enact a new covenant. He does not want us to obey a set of rules. God wants to set us free from the bondage of religion. He wants us to trust Him. He has abolished the Law of Moses, and now He, the true and living God, offers Himself.

Trust in HIS finished work. He has done all the work necessary to make you holy and righteous. Accept His free gift of salvation . . . and then REST. You deserve it! 😃

Let’s Count our Spiritual Blessings

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.”   1 Corinthians 2:12

My husband pointed out this verse to me yesterday.  What a great verse!  It reminded me of a list that I made 9 years ago of all the things that have been freely given to us by God.

I have copied the list below.  It is divided into two parts: Part 1 – We have been given, and Part 2 – We have been…

For example, we have been given sanctification.  And, we have been born again.

The list consists of 79 spiritual blessings that are OURS as children of God, who have been saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ Jesus.  These 79 blessings have been handed down to us through the will of God – His Last Will and Testament – that went into effect when Jesus died. (Hebrews 8 & 9)

Let’s consider His will to see what the children of God have inherited in Christ.  Let’s count our blessings, and see all that we have been given . . .

Part 1 – We have been given….

  1. Acceptance: Christ has accepted us (Rom 15:7); acceptance in the beloved Son (Eph 1:6, KJV); assurance to draw near to God (Heb 10:22); we are the type of person He has chosen (2 Tim 2:10); we are the elect chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father (1 Pet 1:2); we’ll never be ashamed before Him (1 Pet 2:6); we are true worshippers who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24)
  2. Adoption as God’s own children (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5); He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself
  3. An Advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1); who will separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom 8:35)
  4. Bread of life: Jesus, the word of God, we will never go hungry (John 6:35)
  5. Baptism of the Holy Spirit: baptism into Christ and we have been clothed with Christ (Gal 3:27); He baptized us with the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11); we are in Him who is true – in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:20); we are in the Spirit because the Spirit of God lives in us (Rom 8:9)
  6. Baptism into His death (Rom 6:3); burial with Christ (Rom 6:4,5); we died with Christ (Rom 6:8); buried with Him in baptism (Col 2:12); we died (Col 3:3)
  7. Blessings: Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm (Eph 1:3); graciously given all things (Rom 8:32); everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3); all of our physical needs will be provided for us (Matt 6:33)
  8. Boldness to access to the Father (Eph 2:18); boldness and confidence to enter God’s presence (Eph 3:12); confidence to enter the Most Holy Place (Heb 10:19); assurance to draw near to God (Heb 10:22); the Lord is our helper, we will not be afraid; what can man do to us? (Heb 13:6); we worship God in the Spirit (Phil 3:3); we are no longer afraid, because we do not have a spirit of fear, but one of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7)
  9. Christ Jesus our Lord: We are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1); we are members of His body, parts of His body (Eph 5:30); We received Christ Jesus as our Lord (Col 2:6); we are hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3); we are in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30)
  10. Circumcision: We have received the true circumcision (Phil 3:3); Christ cut away our body of flesh (Col 2:11)
  11. Citizenship: We are citizens with the saints; we belong to God’s household; we are no longer foreigners and aliens (Eph 2:19); we are God’s holy nation (1 Pet 2:9); once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God (1 Pet 2:10)
  12. Comfort: God comforts us in all our tribulations (2 Cor 1:4); we will never be left nor forsaken by God (Heb 13:5)
  13. Completeness (perfection): In Him we have been made complete (Col 2:10); we are perfected forever, made complete, by His one offering (Heb 10:14); God will perfect us, render complete (1 Pet 5:10)
  14. Confidence in death knowing we will be going home with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6,8); we will be blameless in the day of our Lord (1 Cr 1:8); to die is gain; to depart and be with Christ is far better (Phil 1:21, 23); great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us (Heb 6:18)
  15. Eagerness for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed (1 Cor 1:7); eagerly waiting for him to come again and bring salvation (Heb 9:28); looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells (2 Pet 3:13); when Jesus returns, those who have died will come with Him (1 Thes 4:14)
  16. Eternal glory: Our present troubles are producing for us an eternal glory (2 Cor 4:17); eternal glory (2 Tim 2:10); called to God’s eternal glory (1 Pet 5:10)
  17. Eternal life (Matt 19:29); we have eternal life in Him (John 3:15); the gift of God is eternal life (Rom 6:23); eternal life (Titus 3:7); He has promised us eternal life (1 John 2:25); eternal life in his Son (1 John 5:11)
  18. Fellowship: Called into fellowship w/ Jesus (1 Cor 1:9); fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 13:14); fellowship with the Father and with His Son (1 John 1:3)
  19. Freedom: We have freedom from sin (Rom 6:18); we died to the law so that we could be married to the resurrected Christ (Rom 7:4); set free from the bondage of the law (Rom 7:6); freedom from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2); all things are lawful (1 Cor 6:12); liberty in Christ Jesus (Gal 2:4); we died to the law (Gal 2:19); redeemed from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13); it was for freedom that Christ set us free (Gal 5:1); called to freedom (Gal 5:13); freedom from the basic principles of the world (Col 2:20)
  20. Forgiveness: Forgiveness from our lawless deeds; our sins will never be held against us (Rom 4:7,8); therefore there is no condemnation for us, no damnatory sentence or verdict (Rom 8:1); no one can bring an accusation against us (Rom 8:33); God does not count people’s sins against them (2 Cor 5:19); forgiveness of sins in accordance to the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7); forgiveness of all our sins (Col 1:14); forgiveness of all our trespasses (Col 2:13); cancellation of the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us by nailing them to the cross (Col 2:14); Christ forgave us (Col 3:13); our sins and iniquities He remembers no more (Jeremiah 31:34 and Heb 8:12 and Heb 10:17); we are dead to sins since He himself bore our sins in His own body: by His wounds we are healed (1 Pe 2:24); our sins are forgiven us for His name’s sake (1 John 2:12)
  21. Gifts (evangelists, pastors, etc.) to equip us for works of service (Eph 4:11); made into fishers of men (Matt 4:19); each member of His body receives different gifts (Rom 12:6); we are not lacking in any gift (1 Cor 1:7); He uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere (2 Cor 2:14); anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20, 27)
  22. Glorification in the sense of praise or honor (Rom 8:30); we are being transformed into the image of the Lord with ever-increasing glory (2 Cor 3:18)
  23. God as our Father (Rom 8:15); He is a Father to us, and we are His sons and daughters (2 Cor 6:18); we are the children of God (Gal 3:26); the Spirit of his Son within us calls out, “Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6); we are dear children of God (Eph 5:1); Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters (Heb 2:11); we are children of God (1 John 5:19); “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 Jo 3:2);
  24. God’s Temple: We are the temple of God, a holy temple (1 Cor 3:16, 17); we are the temple of the living God (2 Cor 6:16); we share our bodies with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:15); our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19); we are living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house (1 Pet 2:5)
  25. Grace in which we stand (Rom 5:2); abundance of grace (Rom 5:17); we are not under law, but under grace (Rom 6:14); we have been given the grace of God in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:4); grace poured out on us (Eph 1:6); God’s grace has been lavished upon us (Eph 1:7,8); the gift of God which is His grace (Eph 2:8); grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Eph 4:7)
  26. A High Priest: a great high priest who has passed into heaven, Jesus the Son of God (Heb 4:14); the ministry as priest that Jesus has received is much greater than the one of the earthly Levitical priests since the New Covenant is established upon better promises (Heb 8:6); Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come (Heb 9:11)
  27. His Power: The exceeding greatness of His power toward believers (Eph 1:19)
  28. His Will/ an inheritance: He made known to us the mystery of His will (Eph 1:9); we have received an inheritance (Eph 1:11); the riches of His glorious inheritance for the saints (Eph 1:18); the right to be heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17 and Gal 4:7); Paul prays that we will be filled with the knowledge of His will (Col 1:9); qualification to share in the inheritance of the saints (Col 1:12); we will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward (Col 3:24); we are Abraham’s descendants and heirs of the promise (Gal 3:29); we are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7); the promise of the eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15); given an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, that is kept in heaven for us (1 Pet 1:4); Jesus the King will say to us one day, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matt 25:34)
  29. Holiness: We are saints, His holy people (Rom 1:7); the branches are holy since the root is holy (Rom 11:16); we are saints by calling, his own holy people (1 Cor 1:2); chosen to be holy and blameless before Him (Eph 1:4)
  30. Holy Spirit: Holy Spirit of God dwells in us (Rom 8:11, 1 Cor 3:16); God’s Spirit was put in our hearts as a down payment guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor 1:22); Spirit given to us as a pledge (2 Cor 5:5); received Holy Spirit (Gal 3:2,5); the blessing promised to Abraham: we have received the Spirit (Gal 3:14); the Spirit of His Son sent into our hearts (Gal 4:6); the promised Holy Spirit (Eph 1:14); the Holy Spirit who has been poured out upon us abundantly (Titus 3:5, 6); He has given us his Spirit (1 John 4:13)
  31. Hope: the hope of His calling, our inheritance (Eph 1:18); hope (Heb 6:18); hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Rom 5:5); this hope is an anchor to our soul, firm and secure, allowing us to enter the inner sanctuary behind the curtain (Heb 6:19)
  32. An Intercessor: the Spirit intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings (Rom 8:26); the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom 8:27); Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us (Rom 8:34); Jesus is alive forever and will always make intercession for us (Heb 7:25)
  33. Joy: His joy remains in us, and our joy is full (John 15:11); we rejoice in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:3)
  34. Justification by His grace (Rom 3:24; Titus 3:7); justification by His blood (Rom 5:9); He justified us (Rom 8:30); at salvation we were justified (1 Cor 6:11); justified by faith in Jesus (Gal 2:16)
  35. Knowledge (understanding): knowledge of the things that are freely given to us of God (1 Cor 2:12); all knowledge (Rom 15:14); the veil that covered our minds to keep us from understanding the Old Covenant has been taken away (2 Cor 3:16); we no longer evaluate people from a worldly point of view; we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer (2 Cor 5:16); we are taught the truth by Jesus (Eph 4:21); knowledge of the mystery of His will (Eph 1:9); we know the truth (1 John 2:20); we have knowledge of the truth (1 John 2:21)
  36. Knowledge of God: We know Jesus our Shepherd (John 10:14); we know what it means to fear the Lord (2 Cor 5:11); we know the resurrected Jesus (2 Cor 5:16); may we grow know Him even better (Eph 1:17); we know the Lord (Heb 8:11); the Son of God has come and given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true (1 John 5:20); knowledge of Him who is from the beginning (1 John 2:13)
  37. Life: He has given us abundant life (John 10:11); we have a new life (Rom 6:4); we are alive to God (Rom 6:11); He gave life to our mortal bodies by giving us His Spirit who dwells in us (Rom 8:11); we were dead, and God made us alive with Christ (Eph 2:5); made alive together with Him (Col 2:13); new life that is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3); Christ is our life (Col 3:4); we now live in the Spirit (1 Pet 4:6); passed from death to life (1 John 3:14); life (1 John 5:12); we died with Him, we will also live with Him (2 Tim 2:11)
  38. Light: We are light in the Lord; we are children of Light (Eph 5:8); we shine as lights in the world (Phil 2:15); we walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7)
  39. Living water: we will never thirst (John 6:35); living waters flow from our heart (John 7:38)
  40. Love from God: God so loved us that He gave His Son to save us (John 3:16); we are beloved of God (Rom 1:7); the love of God was poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5); nothing can separate us from His love (Rom 8:35); Christ’s love constrains us, holds us together (2 Cor 5:14); Jesus loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God (Eph 5:2); “God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9); He shows his love for us by being the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10); we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us: God is love (1 John 4:16)
  41. Love for God: We love Him, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)
  42. A Master: We are no longer slaves of sin (Rom 6:14); we are slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:18); we are servants of God (Rom 6:22); we are a people of His own possession (Titus 2:14); we are God’s special possession (1 Pet 2:9); we are bondservants of God (1 Pet 2:16); we belong to God (1 John 4:6)
  43. Mercy: His mercy (Rom 11:30); mercy from God (1 Tim 1:2); His mercy (Titus 3:5); His great mercy (1 Pet 1:3); we have received mercy (1 Pet 2:10); mercy (2 John 1:3); mercy in abundance (Jude 1:2)
  44. The Mind of Christ: we can know His mind, because we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16); Christ lives in us (Gal 2:20)
  45. The Ministry of Reconciliation; He has given us and committed to us the message of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19); we are ambassadors for Christ as God makes His appeal through us, “Be reconciled to Me.” (2 Cor 5:20)
  46. A New Covenant: He has made us ministers of a new covenant (2 Cor 3:6); we are recipients of a new covenant (Heb 8:8); the old covenant is obsolete to us (Heb 8:13); the new covenant allows us to receive the promised eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15); we have come to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant (Heb 12:24)
  47. New Identity: we were once sinner, but we are no longer labeled by our sinful behavior (1 Cor 6:11)
  48. New Law: we serve in the new way of the Spirit (Rom 7:6) the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2)
  49. New self: We walk according to the Spirit (Rom 8:4); prepared by God for the purpose of being clothed with our new body (2 Cor 5:5); given a new life since we have been made into new creatures (2 Cor 5:17); new self created in the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Eph 4:24); we have taken off of our old self, the old man, with its evil practices (Col 3:9); we have put on the new man which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us (Col 3:10); we have no confidence in the flesh (Phil 3:3)
  50. Peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you,” (John 14:27); peace with God (Rom 5:1); the God of peace is always with us (2 Cor 13:11); He Himself is our peace (Eph 2:14); He made peace through the blood of His cross, we are no longer God’s enemy, alienated and hostile in our mind towards God (Col 1:21); the Lord is able to give us His peace in every circumstance (2 Thess 3:16); peace given by God (Eph 1:2); peace in abundance (2 Pet 1:2)
  51. Promises: We will be presented before Him as holy and blameless and above reproach (Col 1:22); promise that all things work together for our good (Rom 8:28); promise that when Christ is revealed, then we also will be revealed with him in glory (Col 3:4); we are children of Abraham (Gal 3:7); promise that He who began a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6); after we have suffered for a little while, God will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us (1 Pe 5:10); His very great and precious promises so that by them we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Pe 1:4); heirs of the promise (Heb 6:17); He is able to keep us from stumbling and to present us blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy (Jude 1:24)
  52. Promise to suffer: We are joint-heirs to suffer with Christ (Rom 8:17); the sufferings of Christ abound in us (2 Cor 1:5); the privilege to suffer for him (Phil 1:29) will suffer a little while (1 Pet 5:10); we will suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12)
  53. Propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10)
  54. Reconciliation: we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son (Rom 5:10); God reconciled us to Himself through Christ (2 Cor 5:18); He has reconciled us through the death of Christ’s physical body (Col 1:22)
  55. Redemption (1 Cor 1:30); redemption for us who were under the Law (Gal 4:5); redemption through His blood (Eph 1:7, Col 1:14); redemption of the transgressions committed under the first covenant (Heb 9:15); redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:18,19); Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior, gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed (Titus 2:14)
  56. Rest: In Jesus we found rest for our souls (Matt 11:29); we who have believed have entered the promised rest (Heb 4:3); we have entered God’s rest and therefore we have rested from our works (Heb 4:10); the fulfillment of the Sabbath Day rest has been found in us because the Sabbath Day rest was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, and Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28)
  57. Riches: the unfathomable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8); we are made rich in all speech and knowledge (1 Cor 1:5); made rich (2 Cor 6:10 and 2 Cor 9:11); we will receive the unfading crown of glory at His return
  58. Righteousness: our faith is credited as righteousness (Rom 4:5); “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom 10:4), “our righteousness can only be accomplished in us by our belief and trust in Him because of what he has accomplished” (Aaron Budjen on Rom 10:4); made righteous (Rom 5:19); the righteousness of God (2 Cr 5:21); righteousness of the law fulfilled in us (Rom 8:4); we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness (Gal 5:5); we have righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith in Christ (Phil 3:9)
  59. Salvation: Jesus saves His people from their sins (Matt 1:21); saved from the wrath of God (Rom 5:9); saved by His life (Rom 5:10); we are saved (Rom 10:9); saved by the gospel (1 Cor 15:2); salvation through faith in Him (Eph 2:8); we are appointed to obtain salvation, not wrath, so that we shall live together with Him (1 Thes 5:9, 10); God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace (2 Tim 1:9); He saved us according to His mercy, by renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5)
  60. Sanctification (we are set apart): we have been sanctified in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:2); we were sanctified (1 Cor 6:11); we are sanctified (Heb 2:11); sanctified, made holy, through the offering of His body once for all (Heb 10:10); sanctification by the Spirit (1 Peter 1:2); we are set apart by God the Father (Jude 1:1)
  61. Seal of ownership: we belong to Christ (1 Cor 3:23); He has sealed us (2 Cor 1:22); sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13); sealed with the Holy Spirit of God unto the day of redemption (Eph 4:30)
  62. Security: Jesus is the chief leader and perfector of our faith (Heb 12:2); we have been given protection by the power of God for a salvation to be revealed at the end (1 Pet 1:5); God will make us firm, strong and steadfast (1 Pe 5:10); He is able to keep us from stumbling (Jude 1:24)
  63. A Shepherd: Our Lord is the good shepherd who gave His life for His sheep (John 10:11); we were once lost sheep, continually straying and wandering, but now we have turned to the Shepherd of our souls (1 Pet 2:25)
  64. The Truth: We have been given the power to stand for the truth (2 Cor 13:8); we know the truth (1 John 2:21, 2 John 1:1); we walk in the truth (3 John 1:3)
  65. Unity (and equality): we children are one body in Christ (Rom 12:5,6); the Jews and Gentiles have been made into one group no longer divided by the barrier of the Law of Commandments (Eph 2:14); Jews and Gentiles have been reconciled in one body to God through the cross, the enmity between us has been put to death (Eph 2:16); Gentiles are now fellow heirs with the Jews, members of the same body and partakers of the promise in Christ (Eph 3:6); in the family of God; we are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28); we will no longer marry or be given in marriage after we receive our resurrected bodies (Matt 22:30)
  66. Victory: We are more than conquerors through Christ (Rom 8:37); we have overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:13); overcome the lying spirits that are in the world (1 John 4:4); “Everyone born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” (1 John 5:4, 5), “In the world you shall have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33);
  67. Wisdom: Christ Jesus has become our wisdom; wisdom is available by God who gives to all generously and without reproach (James 1:5)
  68. Works prepared for us by God: We are God’s workmanship, his product, that is, His fabric or His tapestry; we are a thing that He has made, created, and He has prepared good works for us to do (Eph 2:10)

 

Part 2 – We have been….

  1. Blessed: We have been given the blessing of Abraham (Gal 3:14); He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3); blessed is the one who reads and hears the words of this prophesy (Rev 1:3); have inherited a blessing (1 Pet 3:9)
  2. Born again: He saved us through the washing of new birth (Titus 3:5); born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Pet 1:3); born again – not of corruptible seed like the life that our parents gave us, but of incorruptible seed – through the living and enduring word of God (1 Pet 1:23); born of God (1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:1, and 18)
  3. Called: we are the called of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:6); called into his kingdom and glory (1 Thes 2:12); have been called (Heb 9:15); called out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Pet 2:9); called to inherit a blessing (1 Pet 3:9); called by God (Jude 1:1)
  4. Crucified: We are dead to sin (Rom 6:2); crucified to our old self so that our body of sin might be destroyed (Rom 6:6); crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20); we have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24)
  5. Equipped: we walk in the good works that God has prepared for us (Eph 2:10); God works in us both to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil 2:13); equipped by God to do His will in all that we do as He works in us that which is pleasing in His sight (Heb 13:21); by knowing the Scriptures we are thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:17); made eager to do good works (Titus 2:14)
  6. Made Priests: We are a priesthood that offers us spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Pet 2:5); we are a royal priesthood (1 Pe 2:9); we will reign with Him (2 Tim 2:12)
  7. Obedient: We have obeyed Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:2); we have turned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Pet 2:25)
  8. Predestined: We are predestined to be conformed to His image (Rom 8:29, 30); He predestined us for adoption (Eph 1:5); predestination (Eph 1:11)
  9. Raised with Him: We will be resurrected just as He was (Rom 6:5); we will be raised up by His power, just as the Lord rose (1 Cor 6:14); we will receive a resurrected body that is incorruptible, immortal, spiritual and will bear the image of our Lord (1 Cor 15:42-490; as opposed to this earthly tent we now live in, we will one day have an eternal house (2 Cor 5:1); God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realm (Eph 2:6); we were raised with Him because we trusted the mighty power of God (Col 2:12); raised with Christ (Col 3:1); transferred to the kingdom of his dear Son (Col 1:13); will be caught up in the clouds and meet the Lord in the air (1 Thes 4:17); we have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, and to God, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant (Heb 12:22); “It has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
  10. Rescued from the power of darkness (Col 1:13); rescued from this present evil world (Gal 1:4); rescued from the wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10); the evil one can not harm us (1 John 5:18)
  11. Washed at salvation (1 Cor 6:11); saved by the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5); our bodies have been washed with pure water, our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean (Heb 10:22); Jesus purified us to be a people of His own possession (Titus 2:14); purified/cleansed/purged from our past sins (2 Pet 1:9)
  • Scripture verses are from either the KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, or NLT
  • Many thanks goes to Aaron Budjen who inspired me to begin this project (2007) by his continual exhortation to us at his weekly Bible Study to search the Scriptures to discover all that we have been given in Christ.
  • UPDATE! 11/30/2018: I have updated this list which now totals 99 spiritual blessings!  All of the Scripture verses are spelled out in full.  I’d be happy to mail you a copy for $15, which will cover the cost of the printing (37 pages), front and back plastic cover, spiral binding and finally the shipping charge (within the U.S.A).  Email me at MomForFreedom@gmail.com if you are interested.  😊

 

 

Grace Given to Me — my personal testimony — Part 2

I chose Jesus. This was a private moment between God and me; all I did was respond to the offer that He presented.  Responding to the gospel is described in the Bible as the “hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:2). It is not a “work;” it’s the acceptance of a gift.

When I received the free gift of Jesus, I passed out of death and darkness because Jesus is “the life.” (John 14:6) He gave me His life, and His life saved me.

If you want to receive salvation, you simply need to believe in this message of grace and decide to trust in the good news. Tell God that you trust that Jesus died for the forgiveness of your sins; that you believe He paid the debt that you owe. Tell Him that you accept the free gift of the Holy Spirit; that you need His life to save you. Thank Him for the gift of eternal life.

It was 1991, and I had become a brand-new creation. Once a foreign concept, I now understood that to be born-again was real! This was proven to me the day after my salvation.

I worked with my mother at a law office, and in the hallway, I noticed the obituary of the lawyer’s father posted on a door. The article related how he had attained great wealth, success, and fame.

Suddenly, I began to cry. My heart ached with sadness over this lost man.

My reaction surprised me; it was as if someone else were living inside of me and giving me a new way to view the world. That was exactly the case.

I had received the Spirit of Jesus; I now had access to His mind. God’s view of success was radically different from my own: true success is finding the grace and peace of God, and has nothing to do with fame and wealth.

A few months later, my parents called a family meeting in order to discuss my strange new behaviors. They were disturbed that I was going to church four times a week, reading the Bible at the kitchen table, and worst of all, they were angry that I got baptized in the Atlantic Ocean, a very offensive thing to them in light of the fact that I had already been baptized as an infant.

The family meeting gave me the opportunity that I was looking for to tell them that I had accepted Jesus and was born again!

They did not share in my enthusiasm. As they saw it, I had joined a cult. I was a fundamentalist, a term I had never heard before.

“What’s a fundamentalist, Mom?”

She answered, “It is someone who takes the Bible literally.”

“Oh!” I said, “Then it must be a good thing to be a fundamentalist!”

My mother set up an appointment for me to meet with our Parish Priest. I explained to him that I found God, and had become a new person.

He said, “No, you found God and received the Holy Spirit when you underwent Confirmation at age 13. You are welcome to come back home whenever you are ready. Once you realize the mistake you’ve made, the doors of the Catholic Church will always be open for you.”

Of course our Catholic priest was wrong; I had found the true God. To illustrate His reality in my life, here is a diary entry from December 9, 1991, just three months after my salvation.

 Dear Diary, 

God gave me understanding today as I was taking a shower. Thank You, Jesus, my God. My wonderful, loving God! I didn’t even ask for this – but I needed it. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for knowing my needs. God revealed to me the fall of man. 

Before sin, Adam and Eve were in perfect union with God. They had a perfect relationship. That is why and how God created us to be. Adam and Eve lived in perfect peace and happiness. Then Satan came along, stealing God’s serpent to speak through and tempted Adam and Eve to commit sin.

“No, God’s word is that we can’t do that.”

Satan said, “Oh, c’mon, you believe God’s word? Would he really punish you? He’s God. Did he really say that? C’mon, do what I say and you will know what evil is. Your eyes will be opened. You will know all things.”

O.K., they said. They were tempted and they followed and they sinned against their father’s word. God was grieved – he was hurt. Now they could see good and evil. Now they were unclean, unworthy of God.

God could not change what happened. He created us with the free will to choose him or to reject him. Adam and Eve chose to reject God. So the punishment for sin is death. Sin would have to lead to death. Sin had to be killed.

As Adam and Eve procreated, all their children were born as they were – separated from God by their sin. Nothing they could do could change that fact. We are born ungodly creatures. We are born as children of the devil. Our bodies are destined to death. Sin is contained inside our flesh and our soul. But God desires and yearns for his creation.

God does not want any of us to perish. But when he saw how sinful we had become, he sent a great flood and wiped out most everyone. That didn’t work. Then he sent us the 10 commandments and the Law spoken through prophets. It was written down and called Scripture. But the law couldn’t save us or take away our sinful flesh. God told us that he would send us a son. He said a child would be born by a virgin.

This child was born and he claimed to be God himself. But his words were rejected. He was hated and eventually was killed. The blood He shed on that cross fulfilled God’s word. That blood took away our sins. God rose from the dead and therefore overcame death. Satan was defeated, forever. But since we are sinful, we must now turn from our sin and accept God.

If we don’t believe that God’s blood was shed on the cross as a sacrifice to us, then how can we be saved? If we don’t believe, we are still living in sin. We remain as simply a creation that has rejected God.

When we come to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice and that God rose him from death, then we become God’s adopted child and heirs to his kingdom.

How are we saved? All one has to do to be saved and to have eternal life in Jesus Christ is to truly believe that Jesus was sent to save us from our sins. That takes a leap of faith. Believing that is all you have to do. Then, to secure your salvation he sends the Holy Spirit to live inside of you.

Once you have the Holy Spirit – you are saved and you know it. You may not realize it is the Holy Spirit at first, but you will feel a rebirth. You are no longer the same person. You have been made whiter than snow on the inside. God now can see us and have a relationship with us. Because, when God looks at you, he sees the pure blood of Jesus. You are now justified. You have been born-again.

All you have to do to be saved is to believe that Jesus was sent from God to die for us, and that he was raised from his death. You believe by faith, and you are saved through God’s grace. Ask God for the faith to believe. Ask God to reveal your sin to you.

God, help me to understand salvation. I want to share it with everyone. Lord, I want to be with you in heaven. I desire to love you, God. I want to obey. (End of diary entry.)

Meanwhile, my church was teaching me to walk away from Christ. This was actually a popular teaching at CCFL:  that maturity in Christ is the ability to walk on your own.

One of the female deacons could see that I was fully depending on the Lord, and that He was working in and through me. So, she set me straight.

She told me, “Yes, God is holding your hand now, but as you grow in the faith He will let go of your hand and teach you to walk on your own.”

One day I would be on my own? God would eventually push me away from Him? How deflating and discouraging it was to hear her say those words! But, she was popular, and well respected, so I trusted her; I believed her.

I allowed this falsehood to begin to permeate my thinking. In fact, I began to like it.

My prideful nature began to assert itself.

“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other…” (Gal 5:17, ESV)

I didn’t want to struggle with sin; I wanted to be perfect and holy. I didn’t want to have to wait around for God to continue leading me; I wanted to take control. Sure, I had read the verse that says “God would be faithful to complete the work in me that He had begun,” but I wanted to be faithful to complete the work myself.

“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Gal 3:3, NIV) …Apparently, yes; I was that foolish.

Fifteen months after getting saved, in January of 1993, I moved across the country to California in order to attend Calvary Chapel Bible College. I was thrilled to be in an environment where I could commit myself 100% to works-based-sanctification.

“Sure, positionally you are sanctified,” we were often told, “but practically you are not.”

I lost sight of my closeness to Jesus as I focused my eyes fixedly on myself and worked tirelessly to accomplish my sanctification.

One of my roommates complained to the Dorm Dean about me. My behavior made her feel uncomfortable. Well, sorry, but I was not going to change for HER. I had a mighty God to please!

I continued with my 5:30 a.m. quiet times, attended all of the prayer meetings, wrote the best papers that Pastor Larry Taylor had ever seen, fasted once a week, went street witnessing in L.A. every Friday night, did the hospital ministry, the phone hot-line ministry, the Junior High ministry, wore baggy clothes, and taught Sunday School.

Without acknowledging that I was in a competition with the other students, I did realize that I was at the top of the food chain: after all, I had been asked to come on staff and manage the front office. I was practically in full-time ministry, thank you very much.

Despite my efforts to be godly, I continued to struggle with the temptation to binge on junk food. This bizarre behavior had confounded me for eight long years; it was painfully obvious that there was nothing I could do to change myself. And then one day­­, I said a very sincere prayer: “God, I am completely fed up with this. Could you please give me a new sin to struggle with?”

As it turns out, God said ‘yes.’

This event should have proven to me that my efforts to ‘sanctify myself’ were futile. We cannot conquer our own sins, but the Lord God can choose to change our hearts. And on this day, He chose to deliver me.

For years, it had been like walking down a long, dark alley with a scary man following me. The fear of that man had been with me for eight years. In the months to come, I would occasionally turn my head to check for him, worried that he was still there lurking in the darkness, but he was really gone. As I said, I had begged God to give me a new sin to struggle with, and He did. But that is an entirely different story.