Why I’m Leaving My Job to Stay at Home

10665086_10153306429439746_6094945465861559680_nPast Tears and Prayers

I cannot tell you how many times I have cried on my way to work, missing the baby smells of all four of my children’s bald little heads each time I returned to teaching after maternity leave. I’ve felt jealous that some other woman got to hold them, teach them, watch them take their first steps or say their first words and then lie to me when I picked them up so that I did’t get my feelings hurt for not being the one for whom my children showed off.

I cannot tell you how many times I have begged God to open the doors to bring me home and close the doors that keep me working 45-minutes away and so hard that when I come home I am worthless: I’m tired, having given all my energy to other people’s children, and now feigning enthusiasm when my own kids or husband want to share the excitement from their day, but all I can think of is that stack of papers to grade, and that lesson to still plan, and how I’m going to do that along with giving everyone their baths and making dinner and still grabbing that box of diapers because we are down to the last one and the baby will need a fresh one before bedtime. I can barely breathe just saying those words aloud.

10731153_10153301356889746_428918937321489811_nMy husband helps so much. He is a wonderful and attentive father. He wakes up with the kids and makes sure they have breakfast and are dressed before taking them to daycare or school while encouraging them in the day’s events. He takes them to their doctors appointments while I’m at work, reads bible stories in the evening with them, helps them practice their karate moves and makes sure they go through their checkoff list before bed before awarding them their prize-earning stickers. He leads us all in prayer. So I can’t get upset and say my husband doesn’t help. He does. In many ways, he does a better job than I do all while running a business from home.

11537903_1416455935350373_3951834884061779110_oThe Answer

But one day on my way to work two years ago, after I left my daughter with the daycare provider at 8-weeks-old, I was crying to God as usual and felt him strongly tell me that he would bring me home one day, but not now. That I wasn’t ready and that Owen wasn’t ready. We still had more to learn to prepare us. The thoughts came out of no where. I was crying, asking God to please get me laid off  or something and then the words just stopped me in my tracks. I remember it clearly now, sitting at the red light on the 76 right before the 15-on-ramp. And a peace just overcame me. Ok, God. For those of you who have a relationship with the Lord, you know what I’m talking about. When the thoughts and feelings are clearly not yours but they nudge you from the side in the midst of your thought, headed in a different direction entirely. And you test them by comparing them to what the Bible teaches to find they do line up. Then you know–this is from God.

I decided then and there that if this was the case, I was going to really enjoy my job while I still had it. And I did. I’ve always enjoyed teaching, it certainly is a job I love,  but I embraced it with a joy I hadn’t had in years–rekindled that early love for it. You know the kind? The one with fresh ideas and untainted expectation? I’ve written about this in the past. I have felt like a “born again” teacher the last couple of years.

Growth

11224331_10153372509787969_7440667631282452323_nAnd then four months after I drove on to that north-bound freeway at 6:15 that tearful morning,  Owen was diagnosed with stage 3 Thymus Cancer.

And we grew.

Night sweats, chest pains, weight-loss, then finally–answers. Then it was surgery,  chemotherapy, and radiation. Loss of hair, weight, and pride. We were pruned. Stretched. We grew faith and hope. I developed a supernatural strength I didn’t knew I could have. Owen softened with patience and compassion he struggled with before. It was a painful and beautiful trial. Not just our family. But for our friendships, and our marriage.

And then after one year of treatment while still running his business (he is a rock star!), Owen was healed from Cancer. And we celebrated and grew some more as we basked in the sunlight of hope, ready for further growth and new possibilities. Last week we just got our news that Owen is still cancer-free after one year since treatment.

14055127_1266185730072219_2370877723585375866_nThat summer during treatment two years ago, I worked on creating content for a marriage app I invented, realizing I should apply some of what I preached to the world around me. The ideas multiplied. Ideas lead to paper, led to spread sheets, lead to app developers and branding designs. And we grew some more. Then over the last year, the idea for the marriage app morphed into a marriage Facebook page and private group that has lead me to be a part of a movement to strengthen marriages and heal broken ones called Thriving, Sexy Marriages. And so we grew some more. Marriage app still to come. But something else has sprouted in the process.

The Turning Point and the Faith of a Child (or a Husband)

Owen_4_months_before_diagnosisSo when my husband’s business went through some changes this winter that lead us to to reconsider our understanding of God and to trust him in ways we didn’t understand, I would never have guessed that it would yield in my husband a desire for me to step out in faith with him and quit my job to come home. By no means was it a surge of prosperity that lead to this decision. Something I thought would need to happen for that decision to ever happen.

This was not how I had envisioned it. But God’s plans are not our plans. God did not say we weren’t ready yet because Owen’s business wasn’t making him so rich we could quit mine and still live a life of quarterly weekend getaways, season passes to Legoland, and a winter cabin in Big Bear. I thought this when he said we weren’t ready. But I have learned that God was talking about our character. Our faith. Our growth as husband and wife. Our unity and vision for our future.

224049_10150277882159746_816151_nWhat is Next

Taking a leave of absence from  my well-paying job to stay home will take sacrifice, there is no denying that. At least for now. But we have plans to be a husband-wife team. I will not be trading grading papers and lecturing seniors on the rhetorical triangle for lying around all day cuddling with my 2-year-old and watching day-time television or making Pinterest boards on animal shaped sandwiches. While cuddles will certainly be apart of my day, it will also be helping my husband out with his business, finishing my other children’s books, growing my blog,  and growing our marriage ministry so that we can make it a virtual marriage support movement–something that could lead to courses and books and private coaching or accountability.  Owen and I have learned so much through just our short seven-and-a-half years together. And we know that in the trials that have hit our marriage, what the darkness intended to destroy, God is using for good.

15895156_10210707506737750_2280544613316238102_nSo we will need to work at it. And it may be tight for awhile.  And there may very well be some conflict. But yes, I will also be able to take my kids to school. I will be able to teach my daughter how to read and put her down for her naps and enjoy her company at lunch. I don’t have to hear my son Jameson pray at the dinner table that his Mommy could get her work done faster so she could play with him. I will be able to pick up my boys from school and do homework with them in the afternoons. I will be able to enjoy them in the evening without a distracting pile of papers to grade.

And just as importantly, I will be able to watch them walk across the stage at high school or college graduation, without regretting losing those precious moments with them in those short years God lent them to us because I wanted fancy face washes, Arbonne shakes, and shiny cars, or a remodeled bathroom. I don’t want those material things at the expense of my children saying they remembered me as the stressed out mom who rushed them through everything– never really present.

14918948_10155407468274746_8711807688632773943_oPersonal Faith and Purpose

So that’s my story. That’s my reason. I don’t write this to guilt-trip any working moms. We are all different and I’m sure there are many working moms who can do both well. But I’m just not one of them. I can do one really well and the other just mediocre. And I’m tired of putting my kids second. And I can’t really get away with doing the other mediocre in the age of test scores and professional development accountability. This is God’s call on my life.

Until then, when my husband says lets step out in faith and see what God can do with the passions and talents he has given us, I say heck yes. I already feel a change happening within me just knowing it’s 5 weeks away. It makes me want to hold on to my husband, my kids, and Jesus all the more tightly because I have to let go of my idol of a stable income.

14956009_10155407464944746_2339658837828538358_nBut I think that is a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a blind faith. We’ve crunched the numbers. We’ve looked into health insurance. We’ve looked at our mortgage budget. It will be tight at first. But it can be done and it can and can loosen up later. The difference is that when you work solely on bringing income from your own business, the income varies month to month. It doesn’t feel as “safe” as a contracted salary position. So there is a reliance on the Lord that doesn’t happen when relying on that steady paycheck with the exact same number every month. But what it also means, is that there is no cap on our income. We get what we put into it too. If I help my husband with his business Videospot, his business can grow faster. If he helps me with the Thriving, Sexy Marriage business (he is an expert in selling with video, by the way) then I can eventually bring in some supplemental income through that business project to keep me home with my babies.

And I don’t doubt for a second that God will certainly show off for me since I’ve given him room to do so. A good friend of mine, Jamie once asked me–how can we see God’s power in our lives if we don’t give him a chance to show off for us because we play it safe? In the end, I think it is rooted in distrust of God. And that is unwarranted.

And if I’m wrong–perhaps yes, we’ve seen all the wrong signs or God wants this to be just temporary and hasn’t revealed that to us as of yet, my leave of absence allows me to return to my secure job as a teacher in a year or two. Within two years though, we hope to have a clearer picture of the road ahead. We won’t know until we take that turn down that road

I don’t know the future, but I know I’ve got a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I’m tired of walking down a different path than my family. There are here in Vista and my husband has this vision for our future that I want to be a part of, but I’m on this side-road heading off in a different direction, constantly shouting over the valley between us, saying, “You can do it honey!” I want to be with him. I want to say “we can do it.” And when two people share a common vision and work together to achieve it, I don’t see how that could not lead to many good and plentiful blessings.

Those two paths have finally joined because of my husband’s faith and vision. It is a faith of God’s child. And I will not say no because Lord, we are ready to walk down it, wherever it leads. united toward a one vision

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Summer Blessings

13445400_10154927222784746_4419286371882224395_n (1)After our trial the last year with cancer, it has been such a nice break this summer. This morning at church, our pastor had us look at where God has us right now and where he might be taking us in his big plans. During that time, as I reflected on where he has me right now, I couldn’t help but praise Him as I saw blessing after blessing in His active working my life. I wanted to share them with you and let you know that every single thing on this list has been given to me by God and for God–No one can tell me there is no God because I know Him personally! 🙂 This isn’t an eloquently written post by any means, but its truth and I felt lead to share.

13512128_10154932488199746_4493964367166036115_nSo the first thing is my relationship with my children has grown this summer. When my daycare provider told me that she needed the kids to come in at least 2 times a week this summer to keep their spots open (3 kids is a lot of income to lose for the summer when you are a daycare provider), my first thought was “Maybe I can use that time for me time! I can go to the beach, read a book, take a nap!” And then of course, the other day could be used for business–lesson planning, work on my books, my app, Owen’s business, etc. At first that is what I planned to do with those two days until God clearly spoke to me and told me to use that free day to take one of my kids out each week on a date for one-on-one time. 13415497_10154891369579746_7140565395515364686_oWhile I was sad to lose my lost me time, I knew it was right and also loved the idea. I  knew it was much better and God-glorifying than a me day. So I’ve been doing it and it has been such a wonderful time! James and I went to a movie, had lunch together and chatted, then held hands as we walked to the beach. Kanan and I did something similar, but he actually talked me into jumping in the cold ocean water and body surf with him. Once I got past being cold, I had an exhilarating time. I felt alive! Then Benny and I enjoyed our one-on-one time at Chucky E Cheeses and the Lego Land Water Park. He is going through a whiney phase lately which he still pulled on our special day, but with his bright brown eyes and chubby cheeks, He was easy to forgive. Won’t have time for Scotty to get a date in without causing an imbalance with the boys, but she alrady gets so much attention given she’s the baby. I really feel the boys are the ones who really need that special time. But even on days when we are all together, we have had such a great time going to Balboa park on free museum days, enjoying the refreshing water at the waterpark on hot days, or working in the yard.

Next, when I found out the cost of making an app last year, the marriage app project that my friend Nikki-Marie from TheMomIWantToBe.com were working on last year seemed to feel impossible. I put my focus on my sick husband and teaching and pretty much forgot about it. That is until my cousin came up with an app concept and started successfully crowd-funding to make it. It has since inspired me and Nikki-Marie to do the same and we are now writing the scrip13434815_10154926962694746_32091562682476397_nts and getting the logo made for the campaign. We both strongly believe that this app could potentially save marriages if people use it. What is more God-glorifying than that? We are praying God blesses our endeavors and helps us get the funds to make it. Hoping to have the video filmed at least before I return to work.

Then, we found a new church. And while our old church was wonderful and helped Owen and I grow so much, we are so excited to grow deeper and make more friends in the church community as well as follow God’s lead in where he plans to take us through this next church community. If someone had told me two years ago we were going to leave our old church, I would have kicked and screamed and cried. But over the last two years, God has really prepared my heart for this change. We like the church too so much. Our new pastor has an interactive way of teaching–having us pull out paper and draw concept pictures so we can connect to the teaching as it relates to13442337_10154926961649746_7051367176373135726_n our lives. He teaches verse by verse. We just finished going through the book of Nehemiah and just started the book of Jonah. Seeing how these prophets helped create change in large communities for God’s glory has been so inspiring. While the church itself is much smaller than our old church, the new pastor’s vision is to be very active in the world. Everyone there is really friendly too. The pastor and his wife even took us our family out to lunch and had our kids play while we got to know each other!  We are really excited about his vision for our community and how we might be involved to serve God’s purpose and heart for people.

Finally, Owen and I have been talking about moving to Temecula the last few months. It wouldn’t be for a couple more years, but Owen has been so excited about the move and passionate about the decision.While the idea of living closer to work and being more connected to that community as w13445686_10154927222944746_2781050758264998830_nell as the lower cost of housing was appealing to me, I knew if we did, I’d have to ask my oldest son to choose who he wanted to live with. And I knew he’d choose his Dad. The idea of losing my son has been weighing so heavily on my heart. I have wept so much over it in private moments. Having him every other weekend for material things seemed like such an awful decision, but  When I first brought up my issue with moving, he didn’t budge. I don’t remember how I worded it, but it was brief. So I have resorted to prayer the last two months.  I’m doing a Beth Moore study right now on Believing God and during the study I came to recognize that God loves my son Kanan as well. And he would not want any decision to be made that could hurt him. I felt lead to trust that he would take care of it. I didn’t know how, but he would. Then a week ago, Owen prayed out loud during family prayer for God to let him know if He wanted us to move to Temecula or not. I praised God then because I knew that believe godGod must be working on his heart for him to be questioning the decision and asking God. I thought, I would wait for God to tell him. But a few days ago, I was hanging out with my friend Brianne, who I feel God used to speak to me. I brought up the move to Temecula and she immediately pointed out the concern for Kanan. She suggested I speak to Owen again about it, but I decided to just wait and let God speak to him because I didn’t want to start a fight and didn’t think Owen would agree with me. Maybe God could speak to him through a friend or divine revelation. But last night, I felt God tell me “Why are you waiting for Me to speak to Him through someone else? Don’t you think I could use you to speak to Him?” So I got up the courage to risk a fight and I told him my concern. But I brought up the possible damage it could cause Kanan and our family. Immediately, he said that he never considered those possibilities and that we would not move to Temecula. Then today, he brought it up again, saying that it his job to keep our family together. Yes! No fight. God just worked. He took care of it. He worked on Owen’s heart and worked on me to get the courage to bring up a sensitive subject when I hate conflict.

So right now I am just basking in God’s love and mercies. We are not experiencing any trials right now and I feel so safe.I feel very much like we under God’s canopy of protection right now. It is a joyous place to be. I know that if you are not in a trial that you just left one or about to be in one. We had a huge one this last year. And while I know this middle place won’t last forever, I want to acknowledge it, and thank God for it. I also hope to encourage any of you who are reading this to trust in God. He is so good and mighty!

Grace through Faith? Or Grace through Faith AND Works? : What the Bible Teaches

faith worksI recently was sharing a verse from Romans on Facebook about the Grace of God demonstrated even in the Old Testament and it got some positive replies. One of the replies was from my sister-in-law, who is LDS, and equally as passionate about her religious views as I am. She shared that she believed the bible teaches Faith and Works and cited two verses to support her claims. However, I think that when we take in the context of these verses and the verses from the other books in the bible, that this is not quite so. While works are often proof of faith, I don’t think the bible teaches that it works at earning Grace when paired with faith. Here are my reasons.

First of all I think there is no confusion that there are ridiculous amounts of verses that clearly say Grace comes through faith alone. I will not take too much time commenting on them as they speak for themselves. Take the time to read the context in these but here they are:

Paul clarifies that God has always deemed righteousness by faith and not by works in  Romans 4:2-3/13-15:

If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness […] It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.”

Here Paul goes on to explain, our good works are not what saved us. We were saved FOR our the ability to do good works. Therefore, Good works is the product of being saved. It is not what saves us  in Ephesians 2:8-10:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

He goes on to elaborate on why works cannot save us and how he is able to even complete good works in the first place due to his faith in Galatians 2:20-21:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” 

Many people want to add “and works” to the equation for salvation because of fear that people who have faith will run around living ungodly lives all the while claiming they are covered in grace. But Paul clarifies again in Romans 6:1:

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you no know that all of us who have been baptizes into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

sinner-saved-by-graceTrue faith means the old person has died and the saved person now lives. Our baptism into Christ’s family has made us new creations. Once we have the spirit of God within us, we can now truly do good works as all good we do will be rooted in Him and pointing to him. So how does Christ prepare us for Good works? Because when we truly have faith and a relationship with the one who saved us, God’s spirit within us will supernaturally lead us to follow him and want to please him and no longer have only our natural flesh to direct our path. Again, if you were saved from damnation, wouldn’t your inclination be to want to follow and love and know the one who saved you? Especially if you recognized your need of being saved? Grace through Faith does not give believers permission to live disgusting lives. In fact it is only through faith in Christ that we are even capable of doing good works in his eyes. But don’t other places in the bible say otherwise? there are two that may seem to at first glance. But God does not contradict himself. With further inspection we can see how these verses help believers no if they are really saved. Many people often use the words of James to claim it is faith and works that gives us salvation and eternal life in  James 2: 18-19 :

” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c]”

I love this verse. It clearly explains what is real faith. Simply believing there is a God is not a saving faith. Think about it. How many people do we know believe in God? Plenty. Especially in the States. But most of them live their lives like they are atheists. James compares that belief to the belief the demons have. What is the difference between demon’s belief in God and the saving faith of one of his Children? When we read the rest of the bible we see this–The demons believe there is a God. They believe he is the creator of the universe. They believe he is powerful. When we read the gospels, we learn that they believe Jesus is the savior. But they don’t love God. They don’t trust in his goodness and his grace. They don’t worship him or have a relationship with him. They continue to work with Satan in an attempt to overthrow God’s plans for humans. They are in rebellion against him. This faith is what James calls dead faith. True faith in God and Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior for that matter will naturally manifest itself in trust, in reverence, in a relationship whereby the believer lives what they believe. If they believe Jesus is the savior, and have faith that he saved them, they will live their life like they needed to be saved; in thankfulness, wanting to follow and serve their Lord and Savior. We can see this when we study the etymology of the Greek used in the original words of James. The word he used “pistis” is derived from “peithō” which is a primary VERB. Real faith will manifest itself in action. The verb means “to be persuaded, to suffer one’s self to be persuaded; to be induced to believe: to have faith: in a thing to believe; to be persuaded of a thing concerning a person; to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with; to trust, have confidence, be confident.”

faith isIt works like this…If I truly loved my husband, I wouldn’t have to remind myself to love him AND be nice to him. If I truly love him, that will naturally show itself in being nice. I could surely act nice and not love him, but it wouldn’t be authentic. Anyone can fake it. But its the heart that makes it true. Another way of looking at is by an illustration my husband likes to use: If I truly believe with all my heart that it is going to be pouring rain tomorrow. Then I will bring an umbrella and dress accordingly. If I don’t, I’d have to question whether I truly believed it or not.” Real Faith does not need to ADD Works. We will want to follow God. Will we be perfect at it? No way. But we will show fruit. We will show change in our life and continuous change as we continue in our walk and relationship with him. When we stop believing or stop loving him in action by praying and reading his word (Because if you believed you were saved from death by your Savior, you will naturally want to know him and talk with him) then you will start to revert back to your old ways. You will stop growing. We need Christ to grow in our perfection. This is called Sanctification. True believers will show fruit. Some more than others depending on where they started and how long they have been connected to the Vine (Christ).

This leads me to another verse that people often misunderstand as proving it is Faith AND Works that gives us salvation and eternal life.  Its the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:20-22:

“So then, you will know them by their fruits.21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?”

Many people think this shows that doing the will of the father is what is needs to be added to faith in order to be saved because of this verse. But if they read the context, a few verses earlier Jesus says the following:

 ” 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.”

We are incapable of even producing good fruit without being deemed good. And how are we deemed good? By our faith in Christ! Christ’s blood covers our sins so that we are washed white as snow. We are made righteous by our faith. He even further illustrates this in John 15:1-4 when Jesus says these words:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

So does he say we produce fruit in order to have a chance to be grafted in the vine? Nope. We are already grafted in beforehand. So if it is faith alone that saves us and there are plenty of so-called Christians out there claiming to believe. How then do we know if we are truly saved people? Paul explains how to do so in 2 Corinthians 13:5-7:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

fruits-of-the-spirit-LOVELooking at our fruit helps us know whether we have real faith. And if we don’t , we can really determine if we have that faith or not. This happened to me when I was 28 years old. I had called myself a Christian for years until a situation arose where I had to look at my life. And I saw that I did not live like I did. I prayed only when I was in need of something and never read the bible. I was selfish, living in sexual sin, and when my live-in-boyfriend asked me questions about God, I had no answers for him because I didn’t even Know God. I felt God calling me to him and decided to try going to church again (after 13 years!). I heard the gospel message again and rededicated my life to the Lord. I felt the Spirit of God within me for the first time in my life and it changed me. I started reading the bible, worshiping him, tithing, and even moved out of my boyfriend’s house and stopped sleeping with him. He broke up with me and I still clung to Christ. I wanted to please him in all I did no matter how hard. Anyone who reads this blog can look at all my posts prior to January 6th, 2008 and will see some of my life before being saved. Mind you , it was a mommy blog then, so it was not anything crazy, but you will see I had a boyfriend of 6 years who I lived with and even had a child with. But I had to chose him or God. I chose God. That is the power of Christ!!! I boast in him and him alone. No way was that me. Now It is 7 years later. I am married to a sinner saved by grace who loves the lord and grows everyday in him. We have 4 beautiful children. And while I still battle with my flesh, it is my heart to still please God because I love him. And I continually show growth in my life year after year since I was saved, becoming more Christ-like. I am far from perfection but I trust that Christ will finish the good work he began in me that January 6th, 2008 when I am transformed and given my new body. I am a living testament to the power of a loving God who gives grace to sinners for loving him.

But what if we don’t get the chance to produce works from our faith? Are we really saved? The bible shows us that the answer is yes. It is faith alone! Look at the thief on the cross? He did nothing more than proclaim Christ as King and asked Jesus to save him. Christ declared he would be in paradise with Him. God knows our hearts. He knows if it is saving faith or not. And by that, I believe that had that thief not died on that Cross, he would have been living life a changed man in the early church age.

Another reason, it cannot be faith and works is because we still sin after being saved! Don’t believe me? John points out in  1 John 1:8-10:

“”If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

The thing is, just like the thief on the cross, we all still sin and deserve death. That is why we need a Savior! Confessing our sins is a verbal act stemmed in the saving faith in a Savior. If we recognize we are sinners, we recognize our need for a savior; if we recognize our need for a savior, we recognize the severity of our wrongs and in love for our God, we would confess those to him and apologize, asking him to save us because we know we cannot save ourselves. If his Word is in us, we will confess our sins and be continually cleansed so that we can continue to be good trees and produce good fruit if time allows. And this will be at a pace set by God. Some people show drastic change right away; some slowly change over time. Regardless, we show the fruit of our salvation stemmed in our saving faith in him by our works. And these works will not reap salvation, but rewards.

Paul explains this in  1 Corinthians 3: 13-15:

” But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”

Here we learn that at the “Bema” Seat Judgment (Google it or stay tuned for an upcoming blog on the subject), Lack of valuable works will not send us to hell. But instead, Christians lose rewards. Even Christ himself mentions this in Matthew 16:27:

“For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what He has done.”

But we will be saved from the wrath of the Great White Throne Judgment John mentions in Rev 20:11-15:

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” Here, those with saving faith will have no sins on record because their slate was wiped clean by Christ. Their names will be written in a separate book.

jesusThank God in his grace that where I have fallen short, Christ has covered. Even David knew of this Grace when he prophesies in Psalm 103: 11-13 :

 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him. 12As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.…”

In the end, if it took faith and works, then I’d still be relying on my works to finish where Christ left off. I’d be living my life trying to earn my salvation still and therefore trusting in my works to get me there. I’d be living in fear of messing up and not in joy of being set free. How many lies would I have to tell before I lied one too many and lost my salvation? How many good deeds would I need to do to make it? If you dishonored your parents 10 times but gave to the poor 20 times, would that get you into heaven? What if I never dishonored my parents but I never gave to the poor either? When we got to heaven, if we even could, we could boast in our works, and sympathize with the other believers who just didn’t do quite enough to actually be saved by their savior. See, by salvation being made by faith and works, it really just makes it by works. And it makes Christ’s death null and futile. Rewards come from works, but not salvation. It is through faith alone that leads to salvation. And when we stumble and fall, sinning, as we all do, we can trust that Christ has saved us. Because we have his word that promises his children that he has cast our sins “as far as the east is from the west.”