2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.
Faith and Grace
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Faith is a measure of trust in the One true God. Faith is a gift; it is given to us by the Father of Lights in heaven to us so that we might be able to know Him more. He gave us faith to assure us that He exists, but also so that we can do the works that He has prepared for each of us.
Hebrews 11 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. God gives us faith to act upon, and He knows just how much faith we have, so when He asks us to do something, He knows firsthand that we have the faith to do it. It isn’t something impossible, and in fact, it is something that we are uniquely qualified to do. Whether that is talking to a friend, a stranger, going on a mission trip, or creating a blog, whatever God asks us to do, He has qualified us to do it. That means there are no excuses.
The great thing is that there’s grace as well. We aren’t able to do anything unless we abide in Christ, and when He asks us to do something, sometimes we get afraid of what others will think, or how we will look, or what the ramifications will be, and we act cowardly. It is then when regret takes root, and yet, because God is so kind and generous, He receives us back, forgives us, and gives us more opportunities.
And these opportunities are not just opportunities to serve, which they certainly are. They are so much more in fact. They are eternal destiny changing tasks. If God tells us to talk to someone, He has a plan on what to do with that interaction. He’ll even give you the words to say if you ask Him. But there’s more, the Bible talks about eternal rewards that believers will get on Judgement Day if we are faithful with what He has given us, including our faith.
So, each time God asks you to do something, be sure to remember that you are uniquely qualified, that God has given you the faith to do whatever He asks, and that He has a plan that is perfect and involves you. And as you listen and obey, you will be blessed with eternal rewards for ages to come.
It's been a while.
And what I know is that when you walk with the Lord, time flies.
I wanted to share this brief post because our testimonies are one of the most useful tools that we have to minister - as it is a personal witness to how Jesus has interceded on our behalf.
Revelation 12:11 KJV
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
For me, He not only saved me when I accepted Him as Savior, I also recognize that He was there with me all along the way, in my darkest moments, and even when I thought everything was simply A-OK.
Here's a link to a podcast called the Transformation Podcast, which I was interviewed on a few months back and shared the shocking goodness of God throughout my life. Enjoy!
In being a follower of Christ, I seek His word and guidance, through prayer, fellowship, and scripture. It is in these moments, I reencounter God’s grace, and see how limited I am in my own understanding. It is also through continual renewal of myself that I understand how He walked, and how He asks me to walk with Him.
Yesterday, I deepened my understanding of God’s grace. In seeking counsel on a relationship, I became judgmental, and sought to push my own understanding based on my journey onto another. But in counsel with another follower of Christ, I had insight into the ways that God works in the hearts of each and every one of us.
He knows His time. He knows what to say and how to say it and when to say it unto each of us so that we understand. In the trials and tribulations of the heart, He is there. In our everyday conveyances, He is there. In our sweat, passions, tears, and actions, He is there. Therefore, I must give it up to Him above that He understands how to talk to the hearts of everyone, more so than I do.
So, it was in this counsel that I was reminded that God’s grace is extended to each and every one of us, and that gift in Jesus Christ is such an amazing blessing that He would have each of us come to know it. He does not want me to be casting judgement on those who have yet to come to Him, as He is doing works in their hearts just as He has done in mine. It is on me to pray, to listen, to witness, to act, and to walk with Him as He would have me walk with Him.
In reading Acts (NKJV) after this counsel, I read about the exact type of encounter that Peter had in Chapter 11.
Peter Defends God’s Grace
11 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
4 But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6 When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ 10 Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11 At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”
18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
I awoke from a dream of reading scripture, Matthew 4 (NJKV). In the dream there was a sense of urgency, a completion of sorts. A perspective shift that needed to expand.
I turned on my light and opened to the scripture, which I had read before, but to which I had forgotten its detail until I laid eyes upon it. Then I understood:
Satan Tempts Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
I immediately understood these words, as they were the next step in my understanding. You see, yesterday I wrote about Faith from the Beginning, where God told Satan in the Garden of Eden of His Son to come, which took place at the very, very, very first instance of sin against God. The passage for today, which illustrates the next step, is that upon being baptized and having the Spirit of God descend like a dove and alight upon him (Matthew 3:16), he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
In other words, upon being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit, the very, very, very first thing that happens is the temptation is beset upon Him. And being the most righteous One, He of course resists, and in resisting shows us that the temptation to nourish himself of this world is fleeting and that the word of God is eternal and should be where we rest our hearts. Even in His rebuking, He instructs us.
Now, I could end this post there, but alas, God had an illustration for me. A dear friend of mine was in line at the ferry terminal this morning, some few hours after this dream. She called me, and we were talking, when a rental truck in front of her backed into her front bumper. She told me what happened, was clearly jarred, and abruptly ended the call.
I was concerned, and asked if she wanted my presence. She called back, flustered, asking what to do. Without thinking, a key phrase, I entered the habitual mind, thinking of the norms of this world, and without reflection I suggested to get his insurance information and even to call the police if the situation warranted. She then said he was uninsured, and offered her money. Again without thinking, I told her to call her insurance and to see if she had uninsured motorist coverage. These are suggestions that most often would make sense, but what I had failed to do is to seek God in the situation, to seek His guidance and His Word. Immediately upon recognizing this I sent her a message saying “You can also choose compassion if it’s not a big deal to you and let God sort it out.” She replied she had indeed did that. Upon getting on the ferry, she explained that the driver of the rental truck was lost, had thought he was taking a road to the city, and was frustrated to be in line to get on the ferry. He was trying to turn around, and accidentally ran into her car. He was clearly confused, was new to the area, and was trying to make the situation right by giving her money.
Upon hearing this I sought the Word, and was shown Micah 4:2 (NKJV)
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
She again called seeking advice. I shared this passage with her and suggested that she give the money back, wish him a good day, and say God bless him. To this end, she did these things, saying he received her well, and that his eyes were kind.
What I realized in this moment is that temptation sometimes even presents itself veiled in what is seemingly good, what will seemingly nourish us. I discovered through this experience that God asks us to truly seek love, to love our neighbor, and to move from a place of love in all our dealings, even in the situations that jolt us and make us enter into habitual mindsets. It is through doing this that we will find true nourishment and shall truly live.
Derrick Rhayn is a new Christian and seeks the will and Word of the Lord.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.