The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas

The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas
We are all like sea shells tossed about in rough waters and being re-shaped in wondrous ways. But have you ever contemplated the notion that sea shells have to complete their journey through the rough waters before they get to rest on the shore? Yeah, we are ALL like sea shells and Heaven is The Great Shore.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Remember to Give God The Credit

Greetings Everybody,
This morning I want to reflect on a Bible passage from the book of Acts and a story about a man named Herod.

This man had political power, he had connections, and apparently he was an effective orator.

Scripture indicates that when he spoke, people were impressed.

Take a look...
"On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died." 
Acts 12:21-23.

I believe that this passage offers us some guidance today. 

You could say that it "speaks" to us today.

I assure you that it speaks to me...because I too am a public speaker.

Each time I speak before a crowd, I always ask God to "give me the words".

As a side note...Because of my asthma condition, sometimes I also have to ask God, to "give me the BREATH to FORM the WORDS that I am asking Him to give me". LOL

And every time I have asked, HE has given.

And even as I was sitting down to TYPE the words you are reading right now, I asked God to supply the words that would bring Him glory.

I do that because I believe that it is important to acknowledge God's role in my daily life.

And I am writing this to you today, in order to share that belief with you.

It seems that the Need for Autonomy & the Pride of Self-Reliance are so prevalent in Americans. 
It's almost like those two items are in our our  very DNA. 

These two traits, Autonomy & Self-Reliance run bone-deep in many people.

Perhaps you have even heard the terms:
 "He is a self-made man!" 
 "He pulled himself up from his bootstraps!""

These are terms that indicate a sense of dedication and determination that is not based on fate, but rather on intense focus and grit.

And we as a nation, tend to applaud such thinking.

We applaud hard work.

We applaud accomplishment.

And we applaud "getting one's slice of the American Dream".

But such thinking does beg a few Questions,  
Such as...

Q1.  Getting a slice of WHAT?

Q2.  What is the American Dream?

Q3.  What is the difference between a Self-Made Accomplishment and a God-Given Blessing?

Perhaps the Answer to those questions is...

A1.  Getting a Slice of Blessings: Many people forget that every comfort we have is a actually a blessing. And frankly sometimes the things we DON'T have are blessings too.
See the following...
"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of  God." Matthew 19:24 

With riches come tempations and all sorts of other troubles. 

And some times we have no idea how blessed we are 
to NOT have everything we ever wished for.

   ( btw...Did you know that this scripture references a particular gate in Jerusalem known as "The Eye of The Needle" and not the eye of a sewing needle?  
Apparently it was very difficult for a camel to squeeze through this gate!)
Photo credit to Yahoo Image Search

A2.  The American Dream is of Being Blessed: Many people forget that the American Dream is based on living free and prospering...and that such freedom is based on Spiritual Freedom instead of Financial Freedom.
But living Free does not mean living without Debt.  

We owe our LIVES to Jesus Christ, because He died for us to redeem our souls, and then rose from the dead to show His power over death. 

He told us that He is going to prepare a place for us in heaven. 

We are called to live our lives in the service of Jesus as a response to the debt we owe. 

And we are called to do this out of love.  

We gladly pay the debt, and enjoy the benefits of being indebted to Jesus Christ. 

We rejoice in this debt.

Because the benefit of this indebtedness is 
eternal life in Heaven. 

"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."  
John 14:2

This blessing is not unique to is for the whole world. Americans tend to be hegemonic..believing that we are the only country who is entitled to God's Blessing. 

But God loves every person.
His Son, Jesus Christ, died for Every Person on Earth then and now.

The "American Dream" is not geographically bound to our national is a term used to define a way of living that is based on loving submission and open Acknowledgement of HIS Ultimate Power and our Genuine Love of Him.

A3.  The difference between a self-made accomplishment and a God-Given Blessing is that there IS no such thing as a self-made accomplishment.
We, In and of Ourselves,  can do nothing unless GOD wills it to be so.

Therefore in EVERY SINGLE THING THAT WE ACCOMPLISH, or WE PURCHASE or OR WE ARE PRAISED FOR...we ought to remember that GOD gets the glory...not us.

So today, as you go through your daily activities, let me encourage to you remember that God is the one who supplies us with what we need.

God, is the one positions those of us who HAVE to share with those of us who HAVE NOT.

I pray that in all things we thank God for our blessings and that we...

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1Thessalonians 5:15-18

In Him,


Rebecca said...

Sweet Grace...

First~thank you so much for your precious and uplifting comment on my blog today. I sooo needed it. God sent you directly to me to share His heart. I've been soo scared about reopening a booth space...those old "I'm not good enough" thoughts keep running through my head, you know? have blessed me and I want you to know it.

As I read your blog today I'm overcome with this one single thought....

God has given you a voice and the wisdom needed to impart His words. Such a calling you have on your life.

Love and thank you~


Grace said...

Oooohhh Rebecca,
I am sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for a friend who is on her way here to join me...and I have giant teardrops rolling down my face.
Thankfully my iPAD AND I are tucked in a corner, so maybe the other customers won't see me &think that something has gone wrong in my life.
Cause in reality, something just went VERY RIGHT.

I am humbled by your words to and so pleased that anything that I have to say gives glory to God.
ANYTIME, my posts help people or point others to is answered prayer for.

And aren't you the perceptive one to sense that I DO have a ministry going on with this blog. Bless you for sensing that.

My friend just walked in the door and I need to greet her.
Have a wonderful weekend & God Bless.


Christine said...

I also want to thank you for your comment on my blog today.

I has been such a comfort to read your post. I am in the process of making a HUGE, life changing decision. I plan on handing over my retirement letter to my boss/principal this next week. Money has been on my mind. I will be cutting our finincial income by 2/3.
Your words hit hard, "And sometime we have no idea how blessed we are to NOT have everything we ever wished for".
I'm finding comfort in reading your words and my decision to retire early.
Thank You!

Grace said...

Christine...thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Your words also touched my soul. And again, I am humbled that you saw God in my words, and I give HIM the credit.

This decision that you face is a huge one isn't! And it probably causes you to have fear, and anxiety.

You are probably way ahead of me in this thought process, cause I just read your post, but my very first thought of scripture to share with you is this.
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15

Call upon HIM and HE will lead you.

And while you are thinking about such matters, there are some Biblical folks who might be able to share their faith stories with you.

Have you considered Noah(who did what The Lord said to do,and built an ARK, even when everyone around him thought it was a stupid thing to do.) That's FAITH not FEAR.

And then there is Abraham, who left his home & got up and WENT when The Lord guided him to do so. That's FAITH not FEAR.

And what about those Disciples of Christ who left their jobs and their homes to follow Jesus & to learn from Him. Thats FAITH not FEAR.

Or what about the Apostle Paul,who had a really secure position within the Jewish community, but gave it up when Jesus spoke to him. Thats FAITH not FEAR.

Each of these Biblical characters faced uncertainty...

Each of them faced leaving the KNOWN and embracing THE UNKNOWN...trusting that GOD would take care of them.

Each of them demonstrated amazing FAITH.

It may OR may not be the right time for you to retire, thats between you, your husband, and YOUR GOD!

I am in no position to give you advice about that.

But what I AM in a position of being able to do is to share this:
- If you ASK God for HIS guidance, -And you put your FAITH completely in HIM.
-And you ask him to OPEN The Doors that he wants you to go through, and to close the doors that He DOES NOT want you to go through,
-He will guide you through whatever He has planned for you.

So there is it.

You do your part and I PROMISE you that GOD will do HIS.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:21

If you keep working or if you retire...both options require tremendous faith. Put is it HIS HANDS and let HIM Guide you.

May God Bless you and give you PEACE in this Matter.

Father, Please:
Protect her, Provide for her, Prepare her, Purpose her, and Position her to do work in YOUR KINGDOM!


In Him,

Christine said...

Thank you!
Thank you for caring enough to write your thoughts. This means a lot to me!

Yes, will will ask, have Faith.

I know I will come back to your comment several times.