Sunday, October 30, 2011

Salvation Is A Free Gift

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith----and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-----not by works, so that no one can boastEphesians 2: 8-9
Grace is unmerited favor.  It means getting what you don't deserve.  I know that I am a sinner, saved by grace and that makes me a saint.  Not someone who is perfect so don’t get it twisted.  Just someone that loves the Lord with all my heart.
Faith is believing in what you cannot see.  Believers, be ready to tell people how you can believe in someone or love someone that you cannot see.  Love is an emotion from the heart which is connected to our spirit.  God speaks to our spirit, aka heart.
A gift is something that is given to you and is meant to be free.  A gift from God is intended to be used.  You know, such as spiritual gifts.  The gift of discernment, prophecy, etc…….  But these things come once you have received the gift of salvation.  I believe my spiritual gift is exhortation and I plan to specifically write about spiritual gifts.
Works is the means to earn something.   We don’t work for free.  We work hard in order to receive something in return.  But you don’t have to work for something that is free.  And you cannot work for the gift of salvation. 
Boasting is bragging about what you have or what you have done.   As human beings, we tend to talk about what we have or what we have done.  We can’t help it because we are proud of our accomplishments.   We all do it, including me.  For me, I am nothing apart from God and He is the one that helps me accomplish things.  He is the one that wakes me up in the morning and keeps my heart beating for another day.  And when my heart stops beating, I will be with Him in heaven.  Is that boasting?
Apply these definitions to Ephesians 2: 8-9 to see what salvation really means.
You see, it's not about how much you tithe or how often you go to church.  It's not about singing in the choir.  These things come with obedience once you have been saved through your faith.  Only God can save you because He is the one that knows your heart.  A man can fool another man, but a man cannot fool God.  God knows your heart and He will not be mocked, ridiculed or rejected w/o consequences.  He is the one who created you.  He can make a mountain move out of your way.  With God, all things are possible.  Not some things, not a few things but all things are possible according to His will.  If you don’t know God’s will for your life, ask Him to show you and He will do it. 
Stop complaining and start praying. 
Stop gossiping and start praying. 
Stop trying to be what you see, be what you ought to be.
You are created by God to do great things for His honor and glory.  He is the one that will give you the desires of your heart.  
Why do we always want to know what God can do for us?  What does God expect you to do for Him?  Hmmmmm…………

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Think About It

Ya know what?  I learn something new about myself almost every day.  I once heard someone say that at least 10% of the people you know or come into contact with will not like you or your ways.  No matter what you do, they will see it or take it wrong.  Everyone has their own reasons for how they feel.  I have judged people that I don't know simply by how they look.  I have to believe that people have done the same with me.  I like to think that I'm ok with that.  But truly, truly I don't want people to think or feel the wrong thing about me.  Sometimes you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Truth be told, you cannot control how people feel about you.  I try to stay true to myself and be the woman that God created me to be.  No matter what I do or say, I want people to see God in me.  I'm not always a good ambassador or representative for Christ, it's just the opposite.  Christ is my ambassador.  My savior who helps me be the woman that God created me to be. 

Today in church we read about Jesus' appearance.  He was not attractive.  He was actually very homely.  He looked like someone that most of us would either judge or dismiss.  Why do you think God created Jesus this way?  This taught me that looks should never, ever matter.  We need to get past our feelings regarding looks.  Somebody can be fine as wine and not worth your time.  You feel me?  Don't be so vain.  Satan was one of the most beautiful angels.  Most of us envision Satan as this ugly, red being with horns, a pitch fork and a tail.  But when evil presents itself, it will be a deceptively beautiful package.  It will appear as something that you think you need or must have.  Anything to take your focus off of God.  Most of the time it's very subtle.  Think about something that keeps you from spending quiet time with God, such as TV or anything that keeps you from going to church.  Aren't most NFL football games on Sunday?  I'm just saying.

I let so many things distract me and interfere with reading God's word.  Honestly, when I skip quiet time with God, my peace can be difficult to obtain.  Reading His word is what gives me the daggers that I need to  defeat the lies and tricks of the devil.  God's word helps us in the battle between good and evil.  This battle is not against flesh and blood.  This is not a physical war.  This is a spiritual battle that goes on around us and we are not even aware of it most of the time. God's word reveals everything that we need to fight the spiritual battle against temptation, confusion, illness, fear, etc..... 

"Enemy occupied territory that is what this world is." - C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Not Without Hope

Since I spend so much time on computers, I listen to audio books instead of reading them to preserve my eyes.  I don't wear glasses every day but I do have a very mild prescription for the few times when my eyes feel too strained.  One book that I just finished listening to is Not Without Hope by Nick Schuyler.  He went on a deep sea fishing trip with 3 other men and he was the only survivor.  I remember hearing about them on the news when they were lost.  I actually prayed that they would be found soon.  I couldn't imagine being lost in the ocean for even a few hours, let alone 43 hours to be exact.  The other 3 men were his best friend Will Bleakley, and 2 NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith.  Marquis was the first one to die, then Corey and finally Will. 

One of the scariest points of the story is when they noticed 2 sharks in the water.  They weren't really huge, maybe about 5 feet but they were afraid and clung to the capsized boat even though the waves kept knocking them into the water.  There was another scary part when something best described as an Octopus came near the boat and ended up hanging out underneath the boat for like 2 hours.  A few times they thought it was gone and then they would notice the tentacles protruding from underneath the boat.  They were so relieved when it finally left.  I think it was just him and his best friend Will at that point, but I can't remember.

Nick said that he prayed a lot, asking God to please help them all survive.  He couldn't fathom the thought of his mother at his funeral so he never lost hope.  After he was saved, he asked God why he was the only person to survive.  He was very used to being exposed to cold weather when he was younger.  Maybe that was a major factor.  I believe the cold would've killed me.  Most black people do not handle extreme cold temperatures very well at all.

 I hope that Nick has a relationship with God.  A relationship where he does more than pray.  I hope he reads the bible and fellowships with other believers.  I thank God that at least one of them survived and told the story about what took place out there in that ocean.  I pray for the families of the other men that died.  I hope that they don't despise Nick for being the only survivor and telling his story.  This is something that he endured and he didn't cause any of this to happen but this is what he personally endured and I believe it helped him cope with everything that he went through by sharing his story.