Hi guys!!! Sorry I missed you all last week. I was dealing with the third round of a cold that turned into a sinus infection. Let me tell you this has been a rough cold season. Thank God that I am feeling better and I am back on the grind. Last week while I was recovering I had a chance to catch up on some reading with my First5 community. For those who do not know First5 is an online community developed by Proverbs31 Ministries. It is a community of women who study the bible and are committed to giving God the first 5 minutes of the day. Okay I had gotten behind so while I was home doctoring myself I watched the last weekend wrap up. The lesson was “God is a covenant keeping God” ohhhh how I needed to hear that on last week. She began to teach how God made a covenant with Abraham and was now fulfilling that promise in the book of Joshua. The one teaching said something that sparked my attention, she said that Israel received the inheritance but they had to drive out the enemy who still occupied the land but some did not. They allowed the enemy to stay, so ultimately they surrender part of the inheritance. I thought about what was said and it dawn on me how often do we give or surrender our inheritance to the devil? How many times have we given away what God has given? We surrender to the pressures of the world instead of ridding ourselves of the enemy. I believe that is time out for the believers living below the promises of God. We have to hold on tight to what the savior has given to us.
Sometimes if we are honest we do not truly understand what we have. Our minds have not fully connected to the fact that God has given us prime real estate. So we do not understand the value of what we possess if we did we would not give it away so easily. This month I am going do something a little different. February will be a series called “prime real estate.” As children of God we possess something far more valuable than money, cars, fancy clothes and idols. We have prime real estate that must be held onto. In this season we cannot afford to surrender what God has so graciously given to those whom believe. So I hope that you follow with me on this journey to understand what we truly possess. Once God reveals these truths my prayer is that we never surrender our inheritance ever again.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Recently an old insecurity showed it’s ugly head. I deal with this insecurity from time to time for the most part I handle it well but then there are those times when I fall prey and for a slight second or so it overtakes me. I have this insecurity of being rejected. Most people have this flaw because if we are honest no one likes being rejected. I experienced some things early in life that contributed to this insecurity. Those events caused me to build walls of protection, so that no one could get close to me. I did not allow people to become apart of my life in an intimate way because in my mind they would eventually reject me and leave. So I built these walls of defense around my heart. Slowly over the years God began to show me what I was doing and what I was dealing with. Soon I began to ask God to remove these barriers. I was flawed when it came to relationships and to a certain degree I still am. I am flawed in so many other ways but I have come to realize that even in my flaws God still loves me. He still wants to use me. God has a plan for my life flaws and all.
Many people deal with things but it does not negate God’s love for you. There is a scripture in Psalms that helps us to understand God’s love, it states. “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb” (Psalms 139:14-15). God understands the very essence of who we are because He made us. Every intricate detail God hand woven together while we were in the womb. He knows the very hair on our heads every detail that makes us who we are God knows about it. We are a complex people, we are not the same but we are unique and beautiful in our own way.
We are flawed people because of sin but that does not mean God cannot take what is flawed and use it for His glory. Every part of you is to be used for God’s glory. I know that society paints this picture of perfection but that is not realistic. We are not perfect people but we do serve a perfect God who is pleased with His creation. You are beautifully flawed and fit for the masters’ use. Remember you do not have to be anyone but you. You are good enough, you are more than enough and you are worth it all. Everyday we need God’s grace for our flaws, our imperfections and the great thing about God is that everyday He is waiting to give us the grace that we need to do what is needed in our lives. I want to encourage you to not focus on your flaws but focus on your potential. Concentrate on your strengths not your weakness God will take care of those. Remember when your weak God is strong.
Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do? Circumstances that should be one way but the results are such that you just cannot explain how it happened, whether good or bad. Have you ever had a Joseph experience where the enemy meant one thing but God turned it around for your good? Or when you look back over your life and you wonder God after all the things that I have done how can it be that you did not allow my past to overtake my future? Despite my mistakes God continues to bless me. The cultures standards say that because of my background I am not suppose to be in the place that I am today. When I reflect upon my past I am in awe of how God continues to amaze me.
We all have felt the weight of sin, the guilt and shame has made us feel that we are not worthy to lift our hands to the one who is Holy. Many people feel unworthy to serve God. I know I have felt this way, where the burden of not being perfect made me feel inadequate to serve God in the capacity in which He has called me to serve. My life story has not been perfect I have done some things that I am not proud of . Shame caused me not to own my past.
But here is some encouragement. God loves us unconditionally. He does not hold our past sin against us. When we come to Christ He forgives our sins to never remember them again. The great news about amazing grace is that you do not have to bear the weight of sin. God has taken the weight for us, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He took our sin to the Cross and now we are free from sin. Jesus pleaded our case, he righted our wrongs, and he broke the chains so that we could be free.
Why would he do that? Why would he give His life for ours? Love is the answer. God so loved us that He gave His Son for us. I want to encourage you today that you do not have to carry the burden of your past, when I look back at my life I have had to ask this questions many times and I sit in awe of my life now. Certain things that have happen in my life according to the world’s standards I am suppose to be a high school drop out, living in poverty but that is not my story. In recent years have gotten to a place where I own my past but understand that yes I was not perfect and I made some mistakes but my past does not negate who I am now. My past experiences have helped shape who I am today. Jesus justified me and made me righteous GRACE IS ALL HE SEES now.
Grace is your answer Jesus does not see your sin anymore, but He sees the Grace that He has poured over you. Do not be broken by the weight of your past let it go. Accept the free gift of GRACE. My prayer for you today is that you always stay in awe of God’s mercy never forget what He has done for you but don’t let your past guilt you out of what God wants to do for you now. “You are highly favored and blessed of God.”
“How Can this Be” Songwriters
INGRAM, JASON / MABURY, PAUL / JOHNSON, JEFF Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, MUSIC SERVICES, INC
Apriann Sutton is our guest blogger this week. I am so excited to share her voice with you today. She is a God fearing young lady whom I think you will enjoy. She has a gift to encourage young people and also adults. I will tell you a little bit about her for those of you who do not know her. She is a student at ECU, a minister at the Greater Church under the leadership of Dr. Moses O. Pitt. She is also a blogger you can follower her blog at apriannsutton.wix.com/apsthoughts. She is a busy young lady she just recently started an apparel line for kings and queens (kandqapparel.com). She also hosts the Pinky Promise of Goldsboro. I hope that you will be encouraged by these words of GRACE.
As believers we always find ourselves in a place where we tend to be desperate for more of God. Some of us experience times of our lives where we feel as if we’ve made the worst mistakes anyone could possibly make. Sad to say, sometimes those mistakes cause us to feel as if God no longer cares for us. Often times sin pushes us so far back up into a corner causing us to become intimidated of the very unmerited favor, better known as GRACE, of God. We feel like we can’t approach God with a sincere, forgiving heart because of the power of SIN. Sin often creates this false illusion that GRACE cannot cover it. Sin often makes us feel as though the sufferings, death, and even resurrection of Jesus fails to cover our worst mistake. The guilt of sin often causes us to lack the confidence within ourselves to approach God with a repenting mindset and heart. But, today I want to remind you that God’s grace is SUFFICIENT (2 Corinthians 12:9). The sufficiency of God’s grace is not limited by any means. It’s not limited to covering your worst mistake, but it is sufficient over all sin. To be sufficient simply means to be enough or to be adequate. I want to encourage you to always remember that it’s not by anything we do that causes God to forgive our sins, or to remain faithful to us after we repeatedly make the same mistakes, but it is the power of grace that keeps us close to Him (WOW! That’s love!). Romans 8:38-39 tells us that nothing could ever separate us from the love of God….not even what you think is your worst sin, mistake, or even thought. God’s grace covers it ALL!
I want to leave you encouraged with one of my favorite scriptures, but sometimes a challenging charge to complete. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.” I say, entering the throne of grace to obtain mercy and help, can be challenging because a lot of times as believers and sinful beings we sometimes feel ashamed to turn towards God when we sin. We feel as if we are unworthy to be forgiven, loved, graced, and cherished, but today I encourage you to RUN to Jesus every time you fall short of His glory (YOU WILL!). When you make a mistake immediately go boldly before the throne of grace. Jesus suffered, and like us was tempted in many ways, but what makes Him different from us is that fact that although He knew sin He did not sin. So, Jesus is able to relate to us concerning temptation. That is what qualifies us to be able to run to Him because He knows the exact strategies to overcome temptations, and He is able to guide us into making better decisions.
I hope that you were encouraged today to boldly return to Christ and ask for help in the time of need because of the power of grace! May God bless you, and remember that His grace covers your worst mistake!
How Can This Be !!!!
How can this be? We have all asked this question from one time or another. Whether faced with a circumstance and the results are such that you just cannot explain how it happened, whether good or bad. Some of us have had situations when it looked one way but the outcome was different and you say how can this be? How did this happen it wasn’t suppose to turn out this way. Have you ever had a Joseph experience where the enemy meant one thing but God turned it around for your good? Or when you look back over your life and you wander God after all the things that I have done how can it be that you did not allow my past to overtake my future? I Just recently heard a song by Lauren Daigle called you guest it “How Can this Be” the words to this song made me cry and reflect on the goodness of God. And how He continues to bless His people even when by the cultures standards we are not suppose to be in the place that we now find ourselves to be. The words begin like this.
“I am guilty Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become, these hands are dirty, I dare not lift them up to the Holy one.”
We all have felt the weight of our sin, the guilt and shame has made us feel that we are not worthy to life our hands to the one that is Holy. Sin has made us feel that we can give ourselves to God because we have to change in order to be saved. Many people feel unworthy to serve God. I know I have felt this way, where the burden of not being perfect made me feel inadequate to serve God in the capacity in which He has called me to serve. My life story has not been perfect I have done some things that I am not proud of so because of the shame I have been in the place of not owning my past. But here is some encouragement
“You plead my cause, You right my wrongs, You brake my chains You overcome
You gave Your life, To give me mine, You say that I am free, How can it be
How can it be”
You do not have to bear the weight of sin, how can this be? Because Jesus has already forgiven us of the sin. He has taken the weight from us, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He took our sin to the Cross and now we are free from sin. Jesus pleaded our case, he righted our wrongs, and he broke the chains so that we could be free. Why would he do that? Why would he give His life for ours? Love is the answer. God so loved us that He gave His Son for us. I want to encourage you today that you do not have to carry the burden of your past, when I look back at my life I have had to ask this questions many times and I sit in awe of my life now. Certain things that have happen in my life according to the world’s standards I am suppose to be a high school drop out, living in poverty but that is not my story. I have just in the recent years have gotten to a place where I own my past but understand that yes I was not perfect and I made some mistakes but my past does not negate who I am now. My past experiences have helped shape who I am today. Jesus justified me and made me righteous GRACE IS ALL HE SEES now.
I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You still love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now
How can this be? Grace is your answer Jesus does not see your sin anymore, but He sees the Grace that has been poured over you. Do not be broken by the weight of your past let it go and accept the free gift of GRACE. My prayer for you today is that you always stay in awe of God’s mercy never forget what He has done for you but don’t let your past guilt you out of what God wants to do for you now. Just like the angel Gabriel proclaimed to Mary the mother of Jesus, when she asked this same question how can this be? The answer that was given by the angel “you are highly favored and blessed of God.”
“How Can this Be” Songwriters
INGRAM, JASON / MABURY, PAUL / JOHNSON, JEFF Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, MUSIC SERVICES, INC
WIN, GROW, SEND
For the last 5 weeks I have been taking a discipleship class. This class is part of the seminary curriculum. Let me tell you I have learned so much in this class and I have come to the realization that I am personally falling short. This class is about disciples sharing the gospel with a purpose of multiplying disciples. This is not a class that is about church growth or how to have another program but it is about the church fulfilling the GREAT COMMISSION. Yes the Great Commission Jesus told the disciples before he left earth to ascend to heaven. Here are the words of Jesus.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I have read this verse many times before but it has not resonated to me like it has through this class. Jesus left us a job to do and I wonder I am the only one that has fallen short in this area. Am I the only one that wonders has the church lived up to its responsibility? I would guess to say that I am probably not the only one. For some time now I’ve had a feeling of ‘there has to be more than this’. I know that sounds a little ungrateful like what I have is not enough. What I mean by that statement is there has to be more in my Christian life than what I am doing or experiencing. Church has become more of a ritual than a spiritual experience. Sometimes we become so familiar with things and people that we do not appreciate it like we did at the beginning. I believe that is what has happen to me and so many others. Lately the feeling of wanting more than what I have been experiencing and now through this class I know why. My focus has not been where it should have been. I should be busy doing the will of the Father and that is sharing the gospel. Don’t get me wrong I preach the gospel and I will be transparent here, I have not had that intimate relationship where I have led someone to Christ without being in a church setting. Now before this class and writing this blog I would have been ashamed to say this but I think I have to be honest in order to help someone. I believe that God wants us to get out of our comfort zone and embrace the lost to reveal Christ to them. We are supposed to be ambassadors and display God’s glory in the earth in order to do that we must interact with sinners. When you look at Jesus he always interacted with people whom others frowned upon so it is our job today. Our goal is to win, grow and send out disciples. Win them to Christ, help them grow in spiritual disciplines, to help them become mature Christians and then send them out to make other disciples. The process is continuous, win, grow and send I believe this is what the church is missing. Sometimes we are so focused on our problems and what we want than what God has called us to do. Think about where you are spiritually and ask God what you can do to start winning people to Christ.