The Greatest Gift Ever Given!

Gift of faith

What is the greatest gift you ever received?

If you were asked what is the greatest gift that you ever received, what would be your answer? I am sure that there are a number of things that come to mind. Such as a car or maybe a baby would be your answer. How did you respond to the person who gave you that special present?

Well, we have been given the greatest gift ever given. It is a freely given. There are no strings attached. You can’t earn nor can you pay for it. Once received you cannot lose it. This special freely given treasure is referenced several times in the New Testament.Gift

What is it? You Ask.

It is the gift of faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

How do I know that it is Freely Given?

I find that answer in Romans.

Romans 3:23-25 ESV, 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Romans 5:15 ESV, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

Don’t you appreciate a free gift? We all do. But yet, this one is often rejected. This is sad but true.

Nevertheless, when someone receives something of great value as a present there is much excitement and they want to tell everyone about it.

So What are We to do About the Gift that We have Received?

We are to go tell others about it. After all, if you were forgiven a large debt, would you not want to shout it out from the mountaintop? This is what has been done for us through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should respond as the Apostle Paul did.

2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”[i]

 

 

[i] Scripture references: English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

 

 

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Three Scriptures to Pray When in Need of Peace

3 Scriptures on peace

My Go to Scriptures on Peace.

  1. Isaiah 26:3 ESV You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts inYou.

There have been many times that I have used this verse to get me through turmoil. God will and has kept me in perfect peace when my mind is/was focused on Him and I trusted Him. I often prayed to God that He would help me to keep my mind on Him. He was always faithful. It is not easy to keep one’s mind on God when in the midst of trouble. However, it is the only way to get to the other side. God is greater than any problem that I ever face.

  1. Romans 12:18 ESV If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

This verse speaks to me about my responsibility to others. I am to strive to live at peace with everyone and recognize when it is not possible. There will be times when I have to walk away and leave it in God’s hands. Again, I am responsible for my part in any relationship.

  1. Philippians 4:6-8 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In order to achieve the peace that passes all understanding, I am to pray to God when I am anxious. I am to make everything known to God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard my heart and mind. Therefore, when I am facing any hardship all I need to do is turn to God in prayer and give Him thanks for the answers. God will give me His peace that only He can give.

3 scriptures on peace

Final Thoughts

These scriptures are just a few of my go-to verses that have given me strength. God is the true source of everlasting peace. I pray that these will encourage you also. What verses do you use?

Related link: 5 Bible Verses on Grace.

 

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There is More Meaning to the Word Believe.

Believe

When I Say that I Believe in Jesus What am I Really Saying?

This is one of my favorite word studies, because there is so much more meaning to the word, believe. In the dictionary, it is defined as “to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.” Yet, in the Greek word, pisteuo, to believe, has more meaning to it than this.

We can all have confidence in something like our jobs, our families and even our cars. However, believing in Jesus is more than mere confidence. Pisteuo means to be persuaded of, to place confidence in, to trust, and reliance upon. I like to think of it this way. Picture yourself hanging on a rope. There is a knot tied at the end and you are hanging on for dear life. Jesus is that knot in the rope.

Furthermore, when I say that I believe in what Jesus did for me, I am saying that I am relying on Him, trusting in Him, adhering to Him and clinging to Him. Yes, I have confidence to but I am sold out and I know that He has me in His right hand. Therefore, I have assurance of eternal life and I can be reasonably happy in this life.

How do I know that I am right in believing? Good question. God’s Word tells me so. John chapter 3 clearly states it many times that whoever believes in Jesus will be saved and whoever does not believe is condemned (John 3:18, 36 ESV).

For Your Information.

The word believe/r/d/s is found 84 times in the book of John and 39 times in the book of Acts. The Apostle Paul made it quite clear to people in Antioch. He told them everyone who believes in Jesus is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the Law of Moses (Acts 13:39 ESV). So my question to you is “In whom do you rely upon, trust in and cling to?”

If you like word studies, check out this related link: Redeemed, Defined and Explained.

 

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Redeemed, Defined and Explained!

To Be Redeemed

Oh Joy! I am Redeemed!

This blog is inspired by another blog, “Don’t Be Perfect, Be Redeemed.” The word redeem/redeemed is found several times throughout the Bible. However, I want to focus on a couple of passages in the New Testament; Galatians 3:12-14 and Titus 2:13-15.

First let’s look at the meaning of the word redeem. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, The Greek word for redeem in Galatians 3:13 is exagorazo, a strengthened form of agorazo denoting “to buy.” It is used metaphorically. Jesus has delivered us from the Law and its curse. He did so with giving His life on the cross. Doesn’t that sound like He wanted us because He willingly paid the price?

Second, the Greek word for redeem in Titus 2:14 is lutroo. Here it means “to release on receipt of ransom.” It Redeemedis used in a spiritual sense. Jesus gave Himself to ransom us from all lawlessness. Not only did He set us free but He also did so to purify for Himself a people for His own possession. He desires for us to zealous for good works.

In summary, to be redeemed means that Jesus bought and/or ransomed me from the Law and its curse and all iniquity. He did not have to but did so out of love for me. Therefore, I am His and bought with a price. I am no longer slave to sin nor am I destined to pay the price for my sins. Yet, while we were sinners Christ paid your debts as well as mine.

Be Sure to Check Out Allie’s Blog

In the aforementioned blog, Allie reminds us that Jesus doesn’t want our perfect. He desires us and we are to remain open and vulnerable to Him. Thus rejoice! And shout I am redeemed! To God be the glory!

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Be Ready to Give a Reason for the Hope in You!

Reason for the Hope

Can You Give a Reason for the Hope in You?

In Sunday’s sermon, Pastor Ted outlined for us how we can take the gospel to others. He used 1 Peter 3:14-16. We are to be prepared to give a reason for the hope in us to anyone who asks.

Have you ever thought of how you might give a defense for the hope in you if you were asked? This is a really good question and one that needs some preparation and thought. Pastor Ted broke it down for us.

  1. First Honor Christ- Remember it is all about Him.
  2. Prepare a Defense- Answer when asked what Jesus means to you personally; tell them the reason for the hope that is in you.
  3. Do it with Gentleness and Respect- This is contrary to what the world does. Speak with kindness and with respect.
  4. Have a Good Conscience so that when you are slandered those who revile your good behavior will be put to shame.
  5. Sharing Jesus leads to joy.

Therefore, take some time and thoughtfully tell your story to yourself.

For me, I know that if it were not for my faith in Jesus I would not be where I am today. There have been too many things in my life that I am not proud to speak about. As well as situations that might have lead me to take the wrong course of action. For example, I was pregnant when I lost my first husband, I could have chosen to have an abortion or given my child up for adoption. Jesus gave me the strength to carry on and I now have a handsome young man as my son.

The Reason to Be Ready.

Furthermore, we all have a reason for the hope that is in us as believers and followers of Christ. The Holy Spirit will empower us with the right words at the right time. We just need to be ready. Because the world is hurting and they need to know that there is hope.

In closing, I leave you with this hymn, “Jesus, My Blood and Righteousness,” because it helps me be prepared. Here is a relate link, Hope.

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5 of My Favorite Bible Verses on Grace!

Bible verses

These Are Just a Few of My Favorite Verses.

Grace is defined as unmerited favor or as I have seen written out, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. I do believe that these five verses will reveal much about grace. For me, I often struggle to fully comprehend God’s grace and in return share it. Here is a link to the following verses.

 Two Verses Regarding God’s Gift of Grace.

  1. Ephesians 2:8-9

First and foremost is that it is by grace that we are saved through faith. This grace is a gift of God. Yes, you heard me right, a gift. It cannot be earned and is freely given. There is nothing we can boast about. The beauty here is that there is freedom from having to prove ourselves.

  1. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Theses verses reveal that Jesus has given us comfort and good hope through grace. There is a purpose to this grace that we have received.  We are now established to do every good work and word. Therefore, we have a mission. God empowers us by His amazing grace to carry it out.

Three More Verses about Our Responsibility to Live Out Grace.

  1. Colossians 4:6

Furthermore, we are to let our speech be seasoned with grace and seasoned with salt. This way we can give answer to anyone who questions us. Salt is used as a preservative. Thus, we ought to speak in a way that will preserve the relationship and bring glory to God our father.

  1. Hebrew 4:16

In addition to these, comes a verse that paints a wonderful word picture. Through Jesus, we now have confidence to approach the throne of grace in our time of need. And in doing so, we will receive mercy and find grace. Hence, we are not left defenseless. We can always turn to God in our time of need.

  1. Hebrews 12:15

Last but not least, we are encouraged not let anyone fail to obtain the grace of God. We are also not to let the root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble. This will only defile others.

In Summary

Most importantly, we are saved by grace through faith not by works. Jesus has given our hearts comfort and given us a good hope. Therefore, we are to be living examples of that grace both in word and in our actions. And when we need help we can always go to the throne of grace to find mercy.

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Share of God’s Grace in Your Life!

Share

I Am Called to Share of His Grace.

Well, Community Bible Study has come to an end of another great study in God’s word. Though I missed out on almost two months, God did not leave me void of something to take from it. My take home is His amazing grace and the need to share it with others. We closed out with Share day where we were invited to tell our story of God’s grace.

I was blessed by each woman’s story but especially by the young mothers who stepped up with their babies wrapped close to them. They, too, shared of God’s grace. One told of how she did not grow up with a mother or grandmother and was blessed by the older women in her core group. Another mother told of her 2 year old who was in the children’s program. Her two year old knows of Jesus and encourages her family to prayer before meals. Therefore, this blesses my heart to see young mother’s coming and bringing their children with them so that they will grow up knowing that Jesus is Lord.

Then the Lord inspired me to climb the mountain of stairs to the podium to share of His grace in my life. Our study in Titus has been so encouraging. The last lesson was titled Amazing Grace. I read our memory verses Titus 2:11-12. I spoke of how I was there by the grace of God following the injury to my back. However, the story of His grace in my life was how He transformed me to be able to have an improved relationship with my sister who was blessed with a beautiful little girl, Joanna, almost two years ago.

There is a lot to a Name.

Her name means God is gracious. Two years ago, I feared that I would not be able to connect with her. Yet, God is greater and has blessed me by helping me to reconnect me with my sister. Not only do I have a better relationship with her but my niece has stolen my heart. I am not sure when I will get my heart back. But that’s okay with me.

Yet, there is something more to this last lesson for me. God wants me to share of His grace in my life with others in a tangible way. I am not sure of how just yet but I pray that He will reveal it to me before CBS starts up again in the fall.

Is God calling you to share of His Grace with others?

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How, Lord, Am I to Be Patient in Affliction?

Affliction

What Does It Mean to be Patient in Affliction?

While reading Finding Purpose, Kelsey used Romans 12:11-13 as her verses for reference. What stuck out to me in verse 12 is the patient in affliction, which is defined as a state of pain, distress, or grief: misery. It can also be a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution.[2]

Therefore, I pose the question as to how can I be patient in my affliction? First, let’s define patient. Patient as an adjective is defined as bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.[3] Thus I am to endure my state of pain, distress or persecution with fortitude, calm, and without complaining, anger or the like.

However, I am a contradiction to this. I have not endured my pain and discomfort without complaint or anger. As time has progressed, I have gotten accustomed to my pain. Yet, last night, I sadly mistreated my family and I attributed it to my pain. So I want to know how I can refrain from using my pain as an excuse to be unkind and impatient with my family?

Be that as it may, there is hope because with Christ all things are possible. The key is being faithful in prayer. On my own, I am not able to bear my pain and misery with fortitude and calm. Yet, I am enabled to do so through fervent prayer. I don’t know how it happens but God is faithful and will hear me when I pray. Hence, He alone has the power to help me.

Here is My Prayer.

Dear Lord God, I come to You to ask for help in my affliction. On my own, I am not patient and I have been unkind to my family. Please forgive me and help me to be patient and to refrain from using my pain as an excuse. Lord have mercy. Hear my Prayer. Amen.

 

 

 

[2] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/affliction?s=t

[3] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/patient?s=t

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Help and Hope While You’re Healing

Help & Hope

I Give Thanks for the Help and Hope that I Found.

It has been more than a month now since I injured my back significantly. The first two weeks were the hardest for me. The pain was excruciating and debilitating. I had posted on Facebook my angst and Christine Carter offered to send me her book. Reading her book I, indeed, found much help and hope.

This healing journey would be depressing if I had not read her book. She has several helps. For example, in chapter 2 titled, ‘Preparing for the Pause,’ she addresses the areas of responsibility and provides worksheets. In Chapter five, she encouraged me to take this time to discover my passions. For me, it is blogging and connecting with other fellow bloggers.

But what really touched me was where she shared her own journey particularly in chapter 8. My heart was saddened by the loss she faced at the age of 43. So she is not just offering words of comfort without having been down this road. I appreciated how she found humor in midst of such troubling times. From it, she encourages women to own it, laugh a little and get out.

Furthermore, what was a big help for me and gave me hope was the reminder that this is temporary. She also inspired me to reach out to my friends for help. In doing so, I have been blessed by their time and companionship. This has helped me to overcome depressing thoughts. I am one prone to pity parties and feeling sorry for myself. Reading this book has been such a joy, help and has inspired hope.

Read It for Yourself

Therefore, I would highly recommend this book to any woman who is recovering from injury, surgery, and/or illness. You will not be disappointed. Here is a link to purchase a copy Help and Hope While You’re Healing. You can also check out her website, themomcafe.com. Thank you, Christine.

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Storms in Our Life Have a Purpose

Storms

Storms of Life: What Lessons Can We Learn?

As part of the Easter story, we heard of Peter’s denial but the part I think that is most often overlooked is that Jesus tells Peter that Satan has demanded to sift Peter like wheat. Jesus goes on to say that He has prayed that Peter’s faith may not fail. And when Peter has turned back, he is to strengthen his brothers. Therefore, this storm in Peter’s life had a purpose and so do the storms in our lives.

Yet, we often do not recognize our storms as having a purpose but they do. The Bible has many references to that fact. I, particularly, like what Jesus told Peter, And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers,” Luke 22:32b ESV*. There is the purpose right there. Though the storms in life are tough, there is purpose and that is to help others who are going through the same trail.

Another scripture that I think of is 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Here, I am instructed to comfort those who are afflicted with same comfort that I have received from God. For example, I was widowed 20+ years ago and have received God’s comfort, therefore, I can comfort someone who has recently been widowed. I had also been a single parent for 15 years before marrying my heart’s desire. There are a number of ways that I can extend God’s comfort.

Last but not least is Romans 8:28. I remember learning in Bible Study Fellowship that the good mentioned in this verse means building our character to be more like Jesus. God has a purpose in all the storms in our lives if we only look to Him to reveal it. Often they serve to smooth away the rough edges or help me change my perspective on something.

Riding Out the Storms with Jesus

It was in the study of the book John that I came to understand something new. When the storms come and they will, all I need to do is join Jesus in the boat and let Him take me to the destination of His choosing.

At the Women of Faith conference in 2011, I heard Patsy Clairmont speak. She said, “You are either in a storm, coming out of one, or are heading for one.” So how will you handle the next storm in your life?

 

 

 

*The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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