What’s So Amazing About God’s Grace?

WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GOD’S GRACE?

“Can We Really Do Whatever We Like?” –  Romans 6: 1

In 2008 recording artist Tip Harris better known as T.I. produced a song called Whatever You Like. It was released as the lead single (second overall) from his sixth studio album, Paper Trail (2008):

“Stacks on deck, Patron on ice and we can pop bottles all night. And baby you can have whatever you like. I said you could have whatever you like.”

The relative question for the Christian is, if God has freely given grace to overcome our sins why can’t we do whatever we like? The Apostle Paul addressed this question in Romans chapter 6 which is called “The Declaration of Emancipation” because it declares that we are no longer slaves to sin. The Apostle Paul senses a “Do whatever you like” understanding of God’s grace based upon interpretation of grace abounding over sin given in the previous chapter (Romans 5:21).

Romans chapter 6 captures the thoughts of the reader who would sarcastically think, “If grace abounds when there is sin, let’s really sin so that grace can really abound!” It is for that reason that Paul opens Romans chapter 6 with the question, “What then, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

Romans chapter 6 is a clear directive to every believer that grace does not allow us to do whatever we want as though God is ok with it. To live how you want, to do what you want without respect for God’s will, way, wishes and His Word and then lean on God’s grace as a means to support a sinful lifestyle is grace abuse.

Lewis Smede says, “Grace is not a ticket to Fantasy Island. Grace is not a potion to charm life to our liking. Grace does not cure all our cancers, transform all our kids into winners, or send us all soaring into the high skies of sex and success. Grace is the amazing power to look earthy reality full in the face, see its sad and tragic edges, feel its cruel cuts, join in the primeval chorus against its outrageous unfairness, and yet feel in your deepest being that it is good and right for you to be alive on God’s good earth.”

What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Grace Leads You to Commitment

Charles Spurgeon in a sermon titled, “The Obedience of Faith” said, “The more of faith in Him you have, the more of obedience to Him will you manifest.” Our faith should drive us to holy committed living.

Grace Lifts Your Consciousness

When one becomes aware that everything they have or have become is a result of God’s grace it is as if a bright light illumines ones spirituality.

Grace Lightens Your Convictions

When the Christian does sin there remains the assurance that grace is still working on their behalf. What it all boils down to is this; if your heart is not right you will never know the value of God’s Grace! Conviction of sin is necessary to appreciating grace.

In The Grip of Grace,

IMG_0309

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

Don’t Just Sit There!

Don’t Just Sit There!
2 Kings 7:3-10

Have you ever experienced a period in life when you didn’t know what to do? The easy way to respond to those periods is to do absolutely nothing and wait for time to unfold. However, doing nothing could possibly cause you to miss out on opportunities that await you if you were to press ahead. There are times when God places us in situations to develop our faith character. If you have ever been in a position where you didn’t know what to do then you will be able to identify with the four men in this bible story.

God uses adversity to stretch our faith. Israel was at war with the King of Syria. The King of Syria decided the best tactic of war was to starve Israel. The water was cut off to the Israeli camp and no food or commerce was allowed in the city. Eventually, a famine arose with catastrophic results. At the gate of the city lay four lepers that were forced out of the city because of their illness. Lepers could not have contact with those in society and when they encountered people they were required to announce themselves, “Unclean.” They were lying641 at the entrance of the gate sick, starving, separated and surrounded by the enemy when they decided to enter into a discussion with one another: “Why are we sitting here just waiting to die?” They began to weigh their options and discovered there were three options available.

Option #1: If they continued to sit at the gate they would surely die of hunger.

Option #2: If they went back into the city they would be rejected and still die of hunger.

Option #3: If they went to the enemies’ camp, they might receive pity and receive food. Even if the Syrians killed them, it was better to die quickly than to die slow from hunger.

What did they do? They decided not to sit and do nothing but they took a stance! They weighed their options. Death was the prospect for all three places; where they were at; where they came from; and where they thought about going. They became proactive, analytical and adventurous in their situation.

  • They were proactive: “Why sit we here until we die?” They thought to themselves; “What sense does this make sitting here waiting to die? If we are going to die at least lets die trying to live. Let’s not wait until death overtakes us.”
  • They were analytical: They began to analyze the situation. “If we say, we will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also.” ‘Let’s try to figure this thing out!”
  • They were adventurous: “Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”

Here is the outcome! They waited until sundown and headed to the enemies camp. As they approached the camp God gave them assistance and made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of a great army coming their way. The Syrians fled the camp and left all of their goods and food. The four men came into the empty city and were able to eat sumptuously then they said, “We just can’t keep it to ourselves!” They ran back into the city and shared the good news with the starving city of Samaria.

Here is the question. What do you do when life’s situations hems you in?

  1. Be Proactive to the Promises: For the Christian we understand that God promised us that all things are working for our good (Romans 8:28). God never gave promises for us to never activate. God gives us the opportunity to partner with Him for our good. However, many are not standing on the promises; we are just sitting on the premises. We sometimes wait on God to move first when God is waiting on us. When the men initialized moving towards the enemies camp God gave them assistance.
  2. Be Analytical In Your Adversity: These four lepers were in a situation but they gave some thought to what they were going to do next. Having faith does not mean to jump out without thinking but your thinking allows God to get involved in the process and inject His will and supply His wisdom. James 1:5 instructs the believer to ask for wisdom and God will liberally respond.
  3. Be Adventurous in Your Attitude: Just know that while you are in your situation God is assessing your attitude. These four men had an attitude of being adventurous. They came to a conclusion that if they did nothing; nothing would come their way. The Christian must embrace the attitude of the Apostle Paul when he said, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
  4. Be Triumphant in Your Testimony: The story is a fixed facsimile of 4 men whom the masses had concluded a write-off. Yet, these men discovered there is life even after others have counted you out. They could have kept the good news of discovering the food in the empty enemies camp to themselves but instead they decided to share the good news to those who counted them out. The lesson is clear to rise above small mindedness. When God brings you out of a bad situation your response to others should be the same response that he has had toward you. GRACE! 1 Peter 4:10 – “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Bust A Move!

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

dont just sit there

 

Hope For Hard Times

HOPE FOR HARD TIMES
Living With Certainty in an Uncertain World
Philippians 4:4-7

Talk about uncertainty… The Apostle Paul did not know what to expect from day to day… but he was at peace. While in prison and scheduled for execution Paul wrote this letter. Yet, he wrote it as though he did not have a worry in the world. What was his secret? How did he remain certain and peaceful when things seemed to unravel at the seems? In the following verses Paul gave us his secret for obtaining peace and being certain in times of uncertainty.

Verse 4
Make A Choice To Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice.” Life can be challenging and make us unhappy but the Word of God does not command us to be happy. There are several commands to rejoice. The apostle is so adamant about it that he says it twice. The believer is not to rejoice at “distant intervals” or during church worship but at every moment of our lives. What do we rejoice over? We must rejoice over the fact that God is in control of our lives no matter how out of control life may appear. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Therefore, our joy is enveloped in the exaltation that God is certain in an uncertain world and we can have joy in life’s painful and uncertain situations. What Paul has discovered is that your attitude will determine your altitude. Attitude is the eye of your soul. Your attitude determines how you view life. If your attitude is negative, you will see life negatively. If your attitude is positive, you will see life positively. If you have a thankful attitude, you will find something to be thankful for.

Verse 5
Show Some Will Power

          “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” There should be visible signs of joy in your life that others can see even in times of uncertainty. The word moderation means restraint on passions. It means that which is fit or suitable or to govern your appetite or refrain from excessive eating or drinking, it meant to restrain ones temper and to live a life that can be an example of what a Christian should look and live like. It takes will power to let others see that you are at peace and not pulling out your hair at the first sign of trouble. “For the Lord is at hand,” suggests that we should live as though God is coming back today. This phrase gives the idea that we should be on our best behavior because we don’t want the Lord Jesus to come and we are not prepared to stand before Him.

Verse 6
Pray About Everything With Thanksgiving

          “Be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The word “careful” means to be anxious. Some translations read, “Be anxious about nothing.” It does not mean that we should not be concerned about worldly matters or the things that are important to us, i.e., family, finances or health. It means don’t worry. The apostle says, “by prayer and supplication.” The word supplication is a stronger word than prayer. It is a mode of prayer that derives from a sense of need or want. It is when we say; “Lord I need you to do this for me!” The apostle said we should do it with thanksgiving. One can always find something to be thankful for when one prays. In other words, show some gratitude when you pray. Let your request be made known unto God. Tell Him what your wants and concerns are not as though you are telling Him something that He does not know. He requires that we come and express them to Him.

Verse 7
The Results

Here it is! Paul tells us the results of doing these three things in verse 7: “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” The peace Paul talks about is felt when we are not worrying. It is a peace that passeth all understanding. That is, man can’t conceive how you have obtained it. It is the peace of the highest possible kind. God has a peace which is nowhere else known. It’s crazy peace! It’s the kind of peace where people think you must be crazy. The kind of peace where people will look at you and know it’s nothing but God. It’s the kind of peace that makes you smile in the midst of the storm. It’s the kind of peace that keeps you smiling when other folk are crying. It’s the kind of peace that allows you to go home and sleep at night. IT shall keep your hearts and minds. The word “keep” is a military term, and means that the mind would be guarded as a camp or castle is. The text is saying that God’s peace will keep your hearts from heaviness and your minds from a meltdown!

Here is the clause in the contract: It is only found in Christ Jesus. This is why Jesus said in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Final Thought: “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you plenty to do but it doesn’t take you any where.”

Peace,

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

,black-woman-looking-out-HOPE

Know When To Hold Em – Know When To Fold Em

                      “Know When To Hold Em – Know When To Fold Em!”

Proverbs 22:24-25
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”

It was the summer of 1978 when Country Western singer Kenny Rogers’ album The Gambler soared to the top of country and pop charts. The song itself was about a warm summers evening on a train “bound to nowhere”. Rogers met an unamed old man that was a gambler. The old man apparently had wisdom gained throughout the years that allowed him to look into Rogers eyes and see that he was down on his luck. The gambler offered Rogers seasoned advice for his last swallow of whiskey. He took the shot down, lit a cigarette and began to speak: “You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, Know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you are sitting at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin when the dealing is done.” The gambler then shared that his secret to survival was knowing what to throw away and what to keep.

It would be outrageous, even supercilious, to limit God’s teachable moments to music that we hear in church. God can baptize the lips of a Country Western singer with a simple story line about a Gambler on a train bound to nowhere to convey biblical truths. The man on the train was a wise gambler bound to nowhere but the man in the text was a wise king whose words live on into eternity.

Solomon gives us wise advice on how to avoid friendship trains that are bound to nowhere. The truth is, many of us nurture and invest in relationships that have no virtue, no vision or no victory. Listen to Solomon’s words: “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” As we take a real look at our relationships there are 3 things to consider:

  1. Consider The Description of Caution: What relationships do you nurture with persons who are angry about life? Solomon described a person who is angry and furious. The word for “angry” is the Hebrew word “ap” and it means short-tempered. The Hebrew word for furious is “hema” and it describes a person who is constantly in a state of anger. Solomon says avoid them! They flare up at the drop of a dime so don’t take a walk with them, don’t do business with them, don’t go on vacation with them, don’t visit them, don’t seek their company or court their conversation, and for Christ’s sake don’t seek their advice! Wow! Harsh advice. Why Solomon?
  2. Consider The Devastating Corruption: Lest thou learn his ways:” If you continue this relationship it will corrupt you! Those whom we go with we are apt to grow like. Paul said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” What is the conclusion?
  3. Consider The Dangerous Conclusion: and get a snare to thy soul.” A snare metaphorically is something that allures one from his real purpose and then destroys him. Our souls are valuable to God and our relationships should strengthen the soul. Philia Ophelema Psukis are Greek words meaning, “Friendship is essential to the soul.” The wrong relationships can be detrimental to your soul and divert you from your destiny and place you on a friendship train bound to nowhere!

         Here it is! There is no human relationship worth sacrificing your soul and spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. When one accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, they establish the most important relationship their soul will ever know. What a friend we have in Jesus! At the end of the day, we must give careful consideration to the relationships that we nurture and make investments. We must be led by the Spirit of God as to what role we should play in our relationships with others and what role others play in their relationship with us. Friends, there are some relationships that come to last and others that come to pass. So, love hard! Laugh often! Live wisely in your relationships! Know when to hold em, and know when to fold em! Don’t get caught on a friendship train bound to nowhere!

On The Train Bound To Glory!

 Know when to hold em

Dr. Oscar T. Moses