NOT Taking Life by the Horns

Success in our world is something that is always chased, we want our life to amount to something and to have meaning. Often people think the best way is to just grab life by the horns, to steer our lives ourselves. But what if that isn’t the best way?

For Abraham’s life in the Bible can be a great lesson for us today. For God gave him promises about the plans for his life and the life of his decedents, that his decedents would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and that through them the world would be blessed, that He would make Abraham’s name great.

But in the beginning of Abraham journey even though he knew what God had said, he still had plenty of moments where he tried to grab his life by the horns.

I want to look at two of these experiences real quick. First, where he tried to provide his own protection when we was traveling to follow the promise of God. 11 As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ 13 So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.” – Genesis 12:11-13 NLT

Second, He and his wife tried to help God out with starting the family lineage. 1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. – Genesis 16:1-2 NLT

You see in these two cases when his plans fell to pieces, they found out that Sarah was his wife and God rejected his first child. For he had to learn that his ways of protection and that his ways of timing weren’t always the best ways. He had to humble repent and return to God, to see the promise fulfilled. Through that and growing his relationship with God he learned what faith truly was. He learned that faith does more than just believe that God can do what He says He can, but that faith takes trusts that God will do what He said He will do and patiently endures to the end.

The evidence of this is found in Genesis 22 when God asks him to go and sacrifice Issac the long awaited promised son. This time Abraham didn’t try to make his own way, he did exactly what God asked him to do because he knew God was in control of the plan. Telling Issac when he asked where is the sheep, “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” (Genesis 22:8 NLT)

Abraham was so faithful in following after the will of the Lord his promise was reemphasized; 15 Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. 16 “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. 18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” – Genesis 22:15-18 NLT

The question is can we learn from Abraham today? Because God has plans and promises for each and every one of us too, His word promises it!

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10 NLT

Will we let Him have control? Or will we try to strong-arm our way through this life?

Will we place our faith in Him? Will we trust in what He has for us and see it to the end?

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? – Matthew 16:24-26 NLT

Only God Can Do the Math


Math, everyone does it. You either like it or avoid it. You may be able to do easy problems or hard problems, maybe good at anything from addition to calculus or something in between. But for whatever level of math you can do, there is an understanding that 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 1. But God’s mathematics are on a whole different level. When Jesus came to Earth, He broke the basics of our understanding of math, for Jesus has 2 full natures, not just one. For Jesus is both fully man and fully God. He is not a little of both, He is fully both.

As we grow in our relationship with Jesus we must always be continuing to know him more and more. If you will give me a few minutes today, I want to look at a few points of why it is that Jesus is both fully man and fully God. I believe that it is important for us to understand this fact of who Jesus is for our lives. Because when we have a clear understanding of the identity of Jesus, it allows our relationship with Him to be even closer. For if Jesus is not fully both man and God, He wouldn’t be who He said He was. He would be a liar and would not be able to be the source of humanities salvation.

You see Jesus was not just a man with divine qualities, in fact, His divine qualities point to Him as God. Let’s start all the way at His birth on Earth, for it is the only birth in history to be a virgin birth. It starts with the supernatural nature of the event.

30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. – Luke 1:30-35 NLT

But why it points to more than just an event in history, the reason for Jesus being God is found in the last part of verse 35, “So the baby to be born will be holy, and will be called the son of God.” For humanity’s sin nature has been passed down from generation to generation through fathers, going all the way back to Adam. But, since Jesus doesn’t have a human father, but has a heavenly father He doesn’t inherit a sin nature but inherits a holy nature. So even becoming man He remains His divine, sinless nature. Which separates Him from all the rest, overall people who have come before, whether a teacher or a “good man” alike. His divine nature allows Him to remain sinless in His life and be an example for all of us.

21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. – 1 Peter 2:21-22 NLT

Furthermore Jesus also openly in the New Testament points to Himself being God, with He Himself claiming to be Son of God.

70 They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?”

And he replied, “You say that I am.” – Luke 22:70 NLT

He also openly called God His Father, thus pointing to being equal with God the Father.

17 But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” 18 So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God. – John 5:17-18 NLT

He did so many more times through the scriptures. But He alone was not the only one to testify of Himself being God. It was recognized and recorded by the Apostles. Which further points to the fact that Jesus is God Himself. Because for no one before or after in scripture was called that. For no one from Israel had ever made the claim of Mose being God, or David being God, or Abraham being God. But yet the apostles did just that, and they even shared it among the early churches.

28“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. – John 20:28 NLT

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. – Colossians 1:15-17 NLT

For when we understand that Jesus is 100% God, it allows us to trust in the power that comes with it. He can and will do everything He said He would.

Now that we discussed Jesus being fully God, we must equally understand that Jesus is fully man. We can’t fall trapped into the false thinking of docetism, where they think Jesus body was not real, that it was just a celestial substance that only seemed to be human. Because the truth is that He is fully  human, His birth not only confirms He is God, but also confirms His humanity. Because He is born, Jesus had to grow up and develop.

40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him. – Luke 2:40 NLT

52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. – Luke 2:52 NLT

Jesus had to grow just like you and me, because He is actually human not just some thing that seems like it. Further proof that Jesus is man is that just like our bodies, Jesus’ body had limitations and needs. Jesus got tired, thus causing His body to need sleep in His life. Jesus also grew thirst and hungry, because just like our body it needed food and liquid for energy to survive. But beyond the physical, Jesus also has emotions just like we do. He had frustrations, moment of being discouraged and even heartache.

7 While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. 8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 9 In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. – Hebrews 5:7-9 NLT

For Jesus made Himself human to show His love for us. Proving it in His willingness to even die for us.

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. – Philippians 2:5-8 NLT

It is important for us to understand the aspects of the truth of Jesus: that He is both 100% man and 100% God. For it allows us to know that He experienced life as we do. So that we know He can understand our needs and the correct way to bring comfort to our lives. And that He is also all powerful, and all knowing because He is God. For with being fully both man and God, He meets the requirement for sacrifice for our salvation.

14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. – Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT

In closing I hope that you will continue to go deeper in the word, to know Christ more and more and to know that Jesus became man for each and every one of us. But He also never ceases being God. The math for us 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 1, but for God ultimately in life, only God can do the math.

We All in Need

This month as I read thru the book of Romans going thru Berean Book on Paul’s writing of it. The first 3 chapters stick out to me, where Paul is writing to the church about the Gentiles and those who are Jewish of the time.

Paul in chapter 1 starts talking about the Gentiles and God’s anger towards sin.

“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” – Romans 1:18 NLT Sin can not exist in the prescience of a holy God. Paul continued to say how even those who are not Gods people, the Gentiles, have no excuse. “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” – Romans 1:19-20 NLT

Which adds to what David wrote in the Psalms. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” – Psalms 19:1 NLT For God does not hid Himself from people on earth, His qualities are seen thru all of creation. The wind, the seas, the birds in the sky proclaim His divine creation. The beauty of this world was not created by accident.

Paul continued with discussing how even greater than not excepting God, they would make their own gods. “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” – Romans 1:21-25 NLT

The is a quote by author Matthew Henry in the book that I think greatly describes it. “It was the greatest honor God did to man that he made man in the image of God; but it is the greatest dishonor man has done to God that he has made God in the image of man.” Because when people make idols out of what is just purely a creation of the creator, they tend to write off and forget the creator of the thing that is being idolized. For them Paul continued to say for their foolishness would lead to God abandoning them or removed His restraints from them.

“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” – Romans 1:28-32 NLT

So, Paul continued in his writing in the following chapter to write about now the Jews of the time. Where often they thought they were above it all. “Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.” – Romans 2:3-9 NLT

For Paul was reminding them in a way that Jesus Himself did, where He instructed people about watching for the plank in their own eye before trying to remove the speck in someone else eye. For the Jews thought that because they were God’s people thru Abraham and that they had completed the ceremony of circumcision as a baby. That they were better than others of the time. Paul knew that the expression of faith of things as circumcision and baptism are indeed important because they are an outward sign of the expression of our inward faith. But, that true faith in God, is what is in our hearts. That as Jews they must have a heart that is right with God, not just continuing to live on being circumcised alone. “No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” – Romans 2:29 NLT

Paul was writing this to show that it was not just the Gentiles who needed a savior but also the Jewish people themselves. He knew that truly none of them were righteous on their own. That they had all sinned in their lives. He knew that sin was widespread, universal, intensive, and personal. That sin effects the entire human race, that all people are in need of saving. “As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace.” “They have no fear of God at all.” Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” – Romans 3:10-20 NLT

Paul knew that the law lets them see what is sin, but it lacked the power to free them from sin’s control. That it serves as a mirror to see the sin in our lives. But all are in need of a soap per say to bring cleansing to their lives. “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.” – Romans 21-26 NLT

For salvation would not come from anything the Jews or the Gentiles would do or could do, but from God Himself. Jesus took are place, His death on the cross is the atoning sacrifice for their sins. He died the death that they deserved. His death redeemed them and justified them, thru His power alone. Paul concluded chapter 3 with reminding them that. That either Jew or Gentile it was not who they were or what they did that saved them but the free gift of Jesus taking their place.  “Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.” – Romans 3:27-31 NLT

As it relates to today’s world, many people think that God hating sin means that He is an unloving God or a God of hate. But truthfully His hate of sin is truly an expression of His love. It can’t be unreasonable or unjust, because if God is not angry at sin. Then He could not be holy or righteous. Because of who God is, His righteous nature, He must resist sin and oppose evil.

I think that Paul writing in Romans is something that stays with time. That it is something that we must continue to read and have in our memory. I believe as Paul discussed to the Roman church the dynamic of Gentiles and Jews. That it is the same today for the dynamic of non-believers and Christians. We must all know of God’s divine nature and see Him in the world the He has created. That we must not worship other god’s before Him. That as Christians we can not become boastful and complacent in our faith. That we must remember that Jesus died and took the place for all mankind; which includes us, our family, our friends, our neighbors, our rivals, and our brutal enemies. That our salvation is a free gift, that none of us can claim by our own doings. That it is all from the doings of God Himself. And remember as Peter wrote that it is God’s desire that none shall perish, but that all would find Jesus and repentance thru Him.

That as believers we must do are very best to share and turn people to the gospel and to Jesus and not turn them away from it. That especially in our ever hosteling world, to remembering that Jesus is the answer to it all. That it is not what side of politics we stand on, or anything else that is trying to bring division to us all. But Jesus alone that is the answer. And that it is by His power everyday that we live. Because all of us are in need of a Savior!

Conflict & Our Response to the Enemy

Conflict the thing most try to avoid. But, something that we must understand conflict will happen in our lives as long as people are involved in our lives. As men and women, we must understand that conflict in some case is normal because none of us are going to have the exact same opinion or viewpoint as another person in every single situation that happens in our lives. Conflict in our lives can be a good and a bad thing. When conflict becomes unresolved and has the ability to continue to grow and escalate it can become very destructive and almost unmanageable by ourselves. But, conflict can also bring good, it can bring clarity and strength in our lives when it is dealt with and handled in the correct manner.

The bible gives us many examples thru the scripture of how to handle conflict in the correct form. Jesus explained of one Himself in Matthew 18, where He tells us to make sure we handle the conflict with going to the opposing party and bring light to the conflict. And, gives us the advice to continue if the problem continues.

15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. ( Matthew 18:15-17 NLT )

But, in our lives as Christians, we must also understand that we have a real enemy against us. The Devil will do what he can to disrupt and destroy our lives. But, we must know how to maintain and remained focused in our lives.

As I am reading through the book Conflict Management in Leadership, at the end I believe that it has 4 practical steps that can be related to everyone’s day to day lives when facing conflict and the enemy.

When battling the enemy and having conflict in our lives, and we are striving to remained focused. The number one thing for us to do is to, trust in God. I know that some days that is easier said than done when we are under attacks of life. But, we must keep our focus on the one who is in control. We must remember His promises that are in His word.

That the Lord is with us and will protect us.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. ( Psalm 23:1-4 NLT )

That Jesus came to give life that is rich and satisfying.

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. ( John 10:10 NLT )

We are not promised that there will not be any bad times in our lives, but that God will be with us through them and will be with us for eternity in Heaven. So, during times of conflict and difficult situations. We must not resort to using the same tactics that the enemy is using against us. No matter how many rumors, exaggerations or groups may come against us. We must place our trust in the Lord. When the opposition becomes greater, then we must remember to pray all the greater. Not saying to neglect to work for a solution, but to also learn to seek the Lord all the more during trying times. Understand that He is the great shepherd and is in control.

Secondly, we must understand that the threat is real. Which we all know when we are in a difficult or trying situation, but we must remember at all times. Jesus throughout His physical ministry on Earth told the disciples and people over and over again about the idea of watching and praying. To be prepared for what will happen in our lives. To be prepared and know that the enemy’s real purpose ( John 10:10 ). And, to be prepared for His, Jesus, return.

42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. ( Matthew 24:42-44 NLT )

He wanted to teach the early disciples and those to follow to be prepared for things to come. So, we must as we go through our lives be prayed up and ready for those things to come in our lives.

Third, we must know the areas that we are weak in our lives and look at reinforcing those areas. Because the enemy will do whatever it can do to stop and slow us down. Meaning that we need to understand the areas of weakness that are in our lives. We see biblical examples of it in a physical and spiritual sense. In the physical, during when the prophet Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. There had been attacks from the enemy, so Nehemiah stationed people at the lowest points of the wall to bring protection.

12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” 13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows. ( Nehemiah 4:12-13 NLT )

Spirituality as Paul writes to Timothy, where He tells Timothy to avoid foolish and godless behavior and to remain pure. To know where areas of weakness were and to run from them, and escape the Devil’s traps.

15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18 They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith. 19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.” 20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. ( 2 Timothy 2:15-26 NLT )

Because as people we must understand we do have weaknesses and we must not allow them to be our Achilles heel. We must ultimately know as Paul wrote in another passage, that Christ is ultimately in control of our lives and even our weaknesses.

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ( 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT )

Lastly, to NOT QUIT! The enemy wants to hinder and stop us in our lives especially in our relationship with Christ. We must refuse to stop, to stand in our relationship with Christ and His Kingdom. To know that no matter the struggles and discouragement that happen in our lives. That we must trust in God and know that He is for us.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ( Ephesians 2:10 NLT )