WF: East to West

I think one of the things Christians, especially new Christians struggle the most is condemnation. We live in the world of “forgive and not forget” and we have the tendency to look at God in the same light.

I have said many times that understanding God’s mercy was hard for me. How could he forgive the things I had done when his Word said that those things were against his will? Then I discovered Grace. That favor that God gives us that covers all our sins. That which brings to life the sacrifice of the cross.

Even after salvation we are not perfect, and there are times when we life in this fear of when will be the day when he will say enough, you’ve crossed the line of unforgiveness. But lucky for us that day will not arrive. As long as we repent we will be covered once again by the blood of the lamb, because Jesus died for ALL our sins. The ones we did and the ones to be done.

 1 Peter 1:18-20

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Let’s Praise God for that!

Book Signing Lessons

036As some of you know this past Saturday was my first official book signing for Growth Lessons. Needless to say it was quite an experience. As a new author I didn’t know what to expect. The great thing was that most of my attendants were not only pleased with the event but admitted to have never attended a book signing before, so I guess that helped with their expectations.

The preparation for this event was quite interesting and challenging, but it reminded me every step of the way that I’m just part of the plan and that the King has it all under his control; therefore all I had to do was show up and string along. I can tell you about things being delivered at the last minute, while I was attempting to keep my shreds of sanity but what really happened that day is what it’s worth mentioning.

First of all I have to thank all of you who attended and made the day a special one. I kept hearing, “this day is about you”…it wasn’t, it was about each and every one of you and the things that God wanted to share with you through me, I hope it made a difference in your life. I do have to publicly thank Five Spot Frozen Yogurt for opening their doors to me and for being so 037accommodating. They are fabulous and have some great yogurt worth eating even if it’s 15 degrees outside, so if you’re anywhere close to NE Atlanta, go check it out. Also my four angels : Dora, Marion, Dee and Tonya who put up with my craziness ( I can be just a little neurotic when it comes to events…although I have to say I did very good this time) and for making it seems all so easy. God bless you.

Now to the good stuff. So what happened during the three hours where we were sitting there with yummy yogurt and chatting away. Here are some of the highlights…

  • Relationships were rebuilt. Yes, there were folks that had not seen or talk to each other in a long time and unknowingly found each other there and reconnected.
  • Relationships were built- There was such a camaraderie with people who never knew each other and started talking to each other and finding things in common and exchanging information.
  • God touched some hearts- I read a lesson from the book to those present. We all felt the presence of God in that place and later on, someone who has not been following the faith was asking me information about the church I attend and the time of the services because they felt a touch from the Lord.
  • Friendships grew– I had the most pleasant visit from my friend Author Tracy Ruckman and her husband Tim. Tracy and I met online through being authors of Grace and Faith, but had never seen each other face to face. When we saw each other was like embracing my best friend and like we had just not seen each other in a week. She’s not only an amazing woman, but don’t believe what you see in her pictures, she’s way more beautiful than that; inside and out. Smile
  • Love and laughter was everywhere– When the event was over I was so tired, but so happy. I received so many expressions of love, shared so many moments of laughter.

I want to share a small story that touched my heart. This little girl walked up 038to me with her mother as we were clearing our tables. She was attracted by the balloons I had. She saw the writing on the wall (literally) and asked me what was the occasion. I explained to her that I had written a book and had come to this place to share my book with other people. Her family, I discovered through the conversation are Christians, so I started a conversation with the mother about the book and Jesus. I gave the girl a balloon which was what had attracted her in the first place. The girl tells me, “ I sing in church”. I chuckled at her and said. “ I love praise and worship but baby that is not my gift”…she smiled back and said, “No, yours is to write books for Jesus” It just felt like validation from heaven.

I’m just grateful for whatever God is wanting to do with me and through me. I can’t deny that I enjoy writing, but even more if it’s for his Glory.

Many blessings!!

Did Jesus talk about Grace?

There was a recently heated discussion on twitter about Grace. The points of contention where the following:

  • One side argued that Grace was the invention of born again Christians, but that Jesus never spoke of Grace, therefore there was nothing to it.
  • The other side argued that although Jesus per se didn’t mention the word Grace, his action and other statements implied the concept of Grace.

I think we need to start by defining what is Grace to have a frame of reference. I looked in dictionary.com and it defines Grace as mercy, clemency and pardon. It also says that it’s a manifestation of favor especially by a superior.

Starting from this frame of mine, I think that both schools of thought would agree that we consider Jesus Christ our Superior and Higher Power. I found in John 1:14-17 the following scripture “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying,

“This is he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

Now if I’m understanding this correctly Jesus is the Word who became flesh. The scripture says he was full of grace and truth. It also says that the law was given to Moses, meaning all those rules about the things we needed to do to be able to obtain favor in the eyes of God, but that grace (meaning clemency and undeserving pardon) came through Jesus Christ.

Jesus actually said that he didn’t  come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;but to fulfill them. Truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (John 5:17-20)

So does that mean that the other parts of the bible are just as important as his literal words? I think so. Does he call us out of legalism when he says that we should do more than the Pharisees and teachers of the law? I think so too.

As someone who has sinned and have been recipient of the Grace of God, I’m very glad that it does exist. No, Grace is not a license to sin and relay in the Grace of God, which I think is the misconception that those who feel that Grace is not real believe is the interpretation of born again Christians. But I didn’t deserve forgiveness for the sins I committed and break the laws established by God and I have to be thankful to Jesus for redemption and Grace and giving me a new opportunity to start again.

Don’t forget to check out my new Devotional Growth Lessons, and obtain a 10% discount with the coupon code PN34W.

Be blessed.

Worship Friday 5/6/11

I think one of the things Christians, especially new Christians struggle the most is condemnation. We live in the world of “forgive and not forget” and we have the tendency to look at God in the same light.

I have said many times that understanding God’s mercy was hard for me. How could he forgive the things I had done when his Word said that those things were against his will? Then I discovered Grace. That favor that God gives us that covers all our sins. That which brings to life the sacrifice of the cross.

Even after salvation we are not perfect, and there are times when we life in this fear of when will be the day when he will say enough, you’ve crossed the line of unforgiveness. But lucky for us that day will not arrive. As long as we repent we will be covered once again by the blood of the lamb, because Jesus died for ALL our sins. The ones we did and the ones to be done.

 1 Peter 1:18-20

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Let’s Praise God for that!

If you had a time machine…

Time Machine Clockwork
Image by Pierre J. via Flickr

I’m sure that given the opportunity and if time machines existed, most of us would take the opportunity to go back and change some things from our past. When presented with the question, it’s kind of hard for me to precise the moment I would like to change. I guess that even when I’m not proud of all my choices and decisions, I’ve come to the conviction that I am the result of my experiences, positive and negative ones, and at this point in my life I’m pretty happy with who I am, so probably other than accept my first credit card, I may now have much to change.

When we live in the land of ifs we don’t learn to appreciate our experiences as learning, growing life lessons. Every bruise, scratch and praise formed us into who we are now. Sometimes I see people who have had what in my eyes was a more supportive and provided upbringing and I wonder if some of the things in my childhood would have been different, if my life would have been easier or different. At the same time, I think I wouldn’t have the life tools that I have if my past would have been different. I believe that we are born with an ordained mission, and without proper training and the necessary tools I would not be able to accomplish my purpose.

Life for us who believe should mean an honor, like in the military we were chosen for a purpose. Our purpose is battle against an enemy and we all have specialized services to accomplish in each mission. Our training is different depending on our position in the field. The difference is we’re never fired from our position, unless we chose to relinquish it.

Back to the time machine illustration and the things that we need to change, sometimes we make mistakes, we stray away from our mission, we act against our plan and you may say that even though those are still life lessons we want to change those out of our lives. It is there were the Grace of God covers our weakness and gives us the opportunity to start over, the only thing is that our new beginning finds us stronger and wiser from those same mistakes we would have wanted to avoid.

So then think again, given the opportunity to have a time machine, would you still change something?

Blessings