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At Church we are covering a series on Grace and so far the study has reminded me of two things that I would like to share today.
The definition of grace is “unearned, unmerited and undeserved kindness and favour of God.” Grace is free and has all to do with God and His love for us a sinful, unfaithful and undeserving people.
Sometimes we forget this meaning and so it’s the third thing that we often forget and so I thought it wise to begin there. Now onto the things that I have actually learnt.
- No sin is bigger than God’s grace. There is nothing that we can do that will set us apart from the grace of God. Because if there were, it would negate the very definition of grace.
- We have to accept this grace on our own behalf. In that sense it’s personal but it’s also possible that you can reject it and miss out because we choose the penalty (death – the wage for sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ [Rom 6:23]) over and over again.
- Lastly, due to our nature, we can get very transactional with God. If you do this, I will …. I thought I didn’t do this but I see that I quite often do this I still bargain and negotiate and try to “please” God so I am slowly learning to rest in His completed work and to be still.
I pray that I continue to meditate on these truths always.
This song is giving me pause in this season of my life. God still moves, He still works, He breaks all chains and He can work even where situations seem dead and hopeless.
In this season of late nights and quiet early mornings, of little cries and fussy babies I am learning three truths about God and really reflecting on that.
- God the Creator. Throughout the pregnancy I have seen how God creates little beautiful people and the level of care and His great attention to detail. His ways make sense and when you read the Science behind it all, you cannot help but worship Him deeper and love Him even more.
- God the Provider. Isaiah 49:15 talks about how just as mother will never forget the child she is breastfeeding so also God will never forget us and will always show us compassion because He has engraved us on the palms of His hands. God knows all the details of our lives and He sees to all our needs from the small to the large. He is our Source and Sustainor.
- God is Love. I love my daughter and it sometimes overwhelms me just how much the little lady has captivated us and then I think that God loves me even more than that. That He loved me so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for me. Oh how He loves us!!
What does God mean to you as we approach this Easter season?
43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there.
44 The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands.
45 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
Joshua 21:45 (NIV)
This year’s study of BSF begun with the book of Joshua and I am in awe of God and His faithfulness to His Word and His Character. God never lies and He can be depended on always as we see in these three remarkable verses above. I can trust God with my present and future cares, wishes and thoughts. He can be trusted.
I have also learnt about obedience through Joshua’s response to God’s commands. He was swift in His obedience and He always trusted that God would come through for him and the Israelites. How was he so sure? Because he abided in God’s word and spent time in prayer such that he knew what to ask, how to trust and how to obey. I want that, don’t you?
- Grandparents are the bomb.com
- Teaching your kids the bible.
- Trusting God through suffering.
- Marriage advise for young women.
- Bringing your full self to work, even your weekend / after-hours self.
- Humans are versatile and multi-dimensional.
- I enjoyed Africa’s a Country posts during the World Cup on racism in France
- … and the fear of a black France.
- Planting food in your home garden.
- Would you live in a house without a kitchen or re purpose the room if you never cook?
- Memoirs from North Korea
- Cooking with tuna.
- Cauliflower stir-fry with quinoa.
- … and another one pot quinoa pilaf recipe.
- Egg-free ice cream.
- Chickpea And Coconut Korma Curry With Pumpkin.
- Cooking with cream
Some mellow songs to soak in …
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left,that you may be successful wherever you go.
8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9)
True success is found in meditating on the Word of God and in carefully obeying His precepts. I will be honest and say that this is not how I often think of success but my prayer is that for the days to come, this is how I would view it and by the grace of God attempt to live my life out like this.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We recently read this at BSF and here are a couple of thoughts that I would like to share with you.
- Our response in sacrifice, follows God’s mercy to us, former sinners who now believe in Him, receive righteousness. and therefore belong to His family This is the right and reasonable response. Have you consciously made this choice to belong to Christ’s family?
- A living sacrifice signifies that it is a voluntary choice, continuous and implies a death to self. All Christians are called to die to self daily, take up their cross and follow Christ.
- Something holy is something consecrated and set apart. What we offer to God is different from what we offer to anyone else. This particular thought struck me because we live in a very secular world and I struggled to think of those holy things that I only set aside for God.
- The verse speaks of either the pattern of the world or a renewed mind. It is truly binary. God will not be mocked and we cannot fool Him by adding on anything to His word. Off the top of my head, I think of ancestral worship, superstition, witchcraft, modern/ humanistic thoughts. None of that compares to God, it is the world or Christ’s way.
- Ultimately, we all struggle with discerning God’s will. What is God saying, what does he mean, what should I do …? All of this is never easy or obvious but this verse makes clear that it is found by abiding in God’s presence and dwelling in His word, only then will one know His good, pleasing and perfect will.
“To all the little girls out there,
we will set fire to this world
that steals your childhoods
and stops you from being
everything you want to be,
and build you a better one from the ashes,
the kind of world that treasures you
for all your powerful capabilities.”
– Nikita Gill, Women’s March 2018
- Improving your productivity when you work from home.
- Books on female friendship – I immediately got Sula, Toni Morrison.
- What some people will do to get married to the person of their choice.
- Helping your children to read the Bible.
- I would like a friend that keeps me accountable.
- I have been having Presidential Dinners.
- Tough circumstances but very important lessons for Christians in the Marketplace.
- Chimamanda on motherhood.
- I love me some “This is Us“
I loved the Collect from our Service today and so I thought I would share it with all.
O Christ, light of the world,
born into human pain and joy;
let our celebration of your birth
make us bold witnesses of your love;
to the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
- Podcasts for the economist / development practitioner on holiday.
- Game of Thrones meets poetry
- On waiting eagerly and patiently.
- On building your instincts.
- Trusting God through financial difficulty
- Loss in motherhood will always defeat me.
- The hashtag #MeTooPhD had me shaken.
- Styling a charcuterie and cheese board.
- Butternut humus sounds like a good idea.
- Did someone say seafood and rice in a pilaf?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
And then this same verse from the Message edition of the Bible
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:26 – 28)
God is sovereign. Nothing and no one will defeat His plans. Nothing is beyond His grasp. This is sometimes difficult to hang onto but it often gives me strength and the purpose to withstand and I pray it would give you the same confidence today.
Romans 4:20-21 NIV
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Like Abraham, I want to face the truth of my circumstance and not flinch in face of them but to maintain my eyes on the focus on the truths of His promise and His character. I want to have an active faith that clings desperately to God.
This is the reason why I am a Christian. Truths I have been reminded through the study of Romans in BSF.
- We are justified through faith because Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). The great exchange: His life for ours; His righteousness for our sin.
- Knowing this saves me from striving for salvation. There is nothing I can do to save myself., I am powerless to do this. If I do not accept this truth, I strive and try to work at my righteousness through works. All I can do is accept this free gift of salvation.
- Christianity makes all men equal. Before salvation we were all sinners, after salvation we are all justified by faith. No one’s sin is greater than the other or the utter worst; none of us is more righteous once we have believed. God views all men as equal.
- As a believer, I know what I am saved from (the penalty of sin which is death) and what I am saved for ( eternal life) and while here to do good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
- While we wait for the day when we will be taken up to meet our Lord and Saviour, we have the Holy Spirit as a seal and a promise. He also reveals all truth and teaches us all things righteous.
So do you believe, and if you do not, will you tonight ask Him to be your Lord and Saviour (Acts 4:12 / John 14:6)?
- Curiosity about one self, people, life or other.
- A passion for life. You have to have that thing that drives you.
- Ability to laugh at one self and others but not in a mean girl way.
- Not being clingy / able to chill with yourself and do stuff on your own.
- Ambition or wanting to better yourself.
- Being comfortable in your own skin and trusting that people walk through life in different lanes and being OK with yours.
- A love for simple things. Yes big luxurious things are great to have, but someone that you can enjoy the small everyday things with is even better.
- A fear of God, I don’t know any atheists/ agnostics because I feel it is important to have a fear of God, an external standard that guides you and reigns in your own inner and crazy self.
What about you, what qualities do you look for in other people?
I have often heard of this verse (repeated three times) as a caution to young unmarried people to guard their hearts so I enjoyed hearing it as a prayer to God to stir up those feelings of first love we felt when we first became Christians.
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Source)
Psalms 103: 12 reminds us that God forgives fully and removes our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. This truth came up recently when I met a friend to discuss the bible studies that we had both done separately over the BSF break, her Hebrews and me, James.
A theme that separately came up for each of us is belief and how it is also possible for us as believers not to take God at His word and put in caveats that are not there OR that limit our overall ability to enjoy the time spent with Him. And this way, practice unbelief. In my specific case, this came through in the area of prayers. For others in my life, I am able to pray big prayers and believe on their behalf that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He said He will but somehow somehow in my case my faith is muted and I doubt that He will do what He said He can. So my pal rightly asked me: “what’s that about?” And in that moment, I was reminded of the verse that exhorts fathers not to provoke their children to anger by how they treat them (Ephesians 6: 4 NLT).
We often approach God based on our earthly experiences rather than step out of those and experience Him as the eternal Father who loves perfectly. Who has been perfectly revealed through His son Jesus Christ (Heb 1:3) and His living word (the Bible).
This contrasts with the devil who speaks from both sides of his mouth. On the one hand he is the father of all lies (John 8:44) and in the other, the accuser of brethren (Revelation 12:10). However, we also know that Jesus has fully overcome the world on our behalf and though we will have trouble we should take heart and have peace (John 16:33). This means that I can overcome this burden of shame and this fear of intimacy with Christ due to past sin by entrusting my all to Him and believing fully in Him. Additionally, I know that Revelation 12:11 talks of overcoming the accuser through the words of our testimony. By what we declare and what we state can we be renewed and overcome his lies about us, God’s children.
Questions to Ponder
- In what ways do you struggle to take God fully at His word?
- What are some of your personal life experiences that hinder the development of a childlike faith in God the Father?
- How will knowing this truth of Christ now impact how you approach Him in faith?
Lord we thank you that you are eternal yet unchanging, that your word is true and that you can swear by none but yourself which further encourages our faith in you. Forgive me where I have doubted your word in how I have acted, thought or spoken. Help me always to trust in you ( in the following specific areas of my life ) and believe even when my old self wants to doubt. Teach me how to hold onto my faith unswerving and this way to bring glory and honour to you. I thank you that you are a good Father who gives good gifts to His children and who forgives us fully and does not hold our past sins against us.
It is quite funny how we can pick to do something and then later find that God had actually purposed for us to learn from that experience. Well, I picked James as I had just finished doing John and wanted something light for the BSF break. How very wrong I was as James turned out to be the very thing I needed to continue with the lessons learnt from the Book of John.
What character traits of God did I see?
- God as sovereign, ordering all my plans and in control of my future.
- God as Judge. Reading James 5, I learnt that the coming of Christ is imminent and that in all my plans I have to remember the eternal plan for mankind’s salvation.
- God as transformer who is able to change me from my fallen self through to the daughter that He would have me become.
What actions/thoughts do I need to stop?
- How I use my tongue.
- What wisdom do I rely on, Godly or earthly? (James 3: 13 – 17)
- Are my works an outer demonstration of the faith that I profess? ( James 2: 14 – 26)
How has the study encouraged me?
- I was encouraged by the fact that by abiding in Christ and remaining in His words and teachings, I will grow. This was brought out through the likening of God’s word to a mirror. (James 1: 22 – 25)
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
So be encouraged!!