Abundant Grace

When the angel came into my bedroom twenty-eight years ago and declared to me that four-word statement, I automatically embraced the grace of God. For, I was on the road to nowhere land while God was doing everything possible to grab my attention to recognize His grace in Christ Jesus.

After living a life of all sorts of misery, sin, and spiritually impoverished, I was blind to the truth of the Gospel. I started drinking whiskey while I was not yet seven years old and got involved sexually around the same age. While I never conscientiously practiced it, but I observed many voodoo ceremonies. I didn’t know much about the spiritual aspect of it. I was only intrigued by the music, the dance, and the wardrobe. Similarly, as many Christians are fascinated by a preacher/prophet prophesying, I was also curious about the “lwa” (spirit) that would take control of mainly one of the service leaders and begin to speak secrets and warnings. However, I was deeply involved in promiscuity and excessive cigarettes and marijuana smoking.

Although I was dead spiritually, God’s love and grace came through for me and saved me. Paul writes to the Ephesians, saying:

“You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph. 2:1-5, WEB).

God hates sin, but He loves people. He is not out to punish and condemn us. That is not how the Lord acquire His glory. His splendor lies mainly in seeing His creation hunger and thirst for Him, that they would seek to please Him in all they do. Albeit, punishment and condemnation are reserved for the end of the age judgment. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He was the perfect and sinless man that lived on this earth about two thousand years ago. He fulfilled His mission of paying the debt humanity owed God for the original sin of Adam. Those who desire eternal life with God must receive and embrace His grace in Christ Jesus.

What is Grace

I have heard many preachers define grace as “unmerited favor.” The original Greek word is Charis. It has to do with graciousness, favor, gift, grace, pleasure, joy, and so on. In a sense, you might say that God saved you by and for His pleasure. He delights in redeeming you. He is overjoyed in your salvation. And He is equally pleased with you as you gratefully walk in the abundant grace of God to minister His love to others.

Before his eyes were opened to the grace of God in Christ Jesus, the apostle Paul used to persecute the Church. On his way to Damascus to arrest more believers, Jesus stopped him in his track, temporarily blinded him so that he could permanently see spiritually. Close to his dying days, Paul told Timothy, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12-14, NKJV).

I never dreamed I would be a follower of Jesus. Although I had great respect for those who follow Him, I had accepted what seemed to be my lot to live a dreary life in the world. But Father God wouldn’t have that. That is why you can be reading such an article right now because God pursued me until He caught me.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="16" max-font-size="72" height="80">You can read more in my newly published book, <strong><em>Relentlessly Pursued by God</em></strong>.You can read more in my newly published book, Relentlessly Pursued by God.

The Measure of Faith

Romans 12:3 (NKJV): “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Although many people don’t think about it, everybody has a measure of faith. Whenever someone leaves their home or one location for another, they naturally believe that they will return home at the appointed time and without harm.  Not that they think they are invincible, it is that by default, they expect things to go according to plans. That’s a universal faith. Whether they believe in God, trust in the unknown, or confidence in some transcendence power, this person has an implicit faith.

 You sit on the chair without thinking twice about whether it will crack down with you or not. You trust that the chair will uphold you and many more examples like driving, walking, and flying in airplanes. Those are general or universal faith.

The underlying meaning of faith is to believe in the unknown. But people with confidence do not merely believe in the unknown by chance. Because solid faith requires firm knowledge concerning the one in whom the person trusts. Some people believe in certain spirits and pay allegiance to them. Some people acquire knowledge about these spirits they serve directly from their ancestors, parents, neighbors, and relatives. As a result, they also pay allegiance to these same spirits knowingly or unknowingly.

Faith in the spirits

Growing up as a little boy in Haiti, I saw older folks pouring out coffee or whiskey on the ground before they drank it. Naturally, since that’s the environment I grew up in and seeing that they performed these rituals over and over, so, when I got coffee too, I did the same thing. I poured it out to the ground. The adults might have known why they did, but as for me, I just acted out what I saw they performed. It was not until I became a Christian, I learned that the pouring out of coffee, whiskey, or water on the ground is called “libation.” It is like giving first place to the one they poured out the drink. It’s a sort of honor giving to their ancestral spirits and others.  I did not understand the spiritual implications of my actions. Yet, I was pouring out a libation to spirits without knowing.

Offering of libations was part of the sets of sacrifices the Israelites had to offer to God in the Old Testament. The libation was a small portion of wine, oil, or water that was to be poured on the sacrifice. In His instruction to Moses of the sacrifices the Israelites had to offer, God told Moses, “These are the sacrifices you are to offer regularly on the altar. Each day, offer two lambs that are a year old, one in the morning and the other in the evening. With one of them, offer two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of pure oil pressed olives; also, offer one quart of wine as a liquid offering” (Exodus 29:38-40, NLT).

Since Jesus’s blood was offered as a sacrifice for all humanity, no such sacrifice is necessary any longer. Dr. Luke, the evangelist, writes, “After supper He took another cup of wine and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people–an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” (Luke 22:20). Jesus offered His blood as a satisfying sacrifice unto God the Father, so that we don’t have to that anymore. Jesus offered His life once for all (Heb. 10:10). Since no one else was qualified to die for our sins and resurrect on the third day apart from Jesus, that is why our faith for eternal life supposed to be on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Building your faith in God

To have faith in God requires Knowledge of God. In his letter to the believers in Rome, the apostle told them that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, ESV).  Even more convincing is God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Don’t let the wise boast in their power or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken” (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NLT).

The primary way to build your faith in God is to have a close-knit relationship with Christ through the reading, studying, and meditating on His words. Set aside a specific time each day to spend in God’s Word. Read and study it prayerfully. As you continue in that practice, you will begin to hear the Spirit of God speaking within you. You will gain practical wisdom in every circumstance in your life.

Give time to the Word of God every day, worship King Jesus always, and submit your heart to be transformed by the Holy Spirit nonstop. He will energize your faith and cause it to grow exponentially.

 Everybody has a general belief. That faith is being used every day unconsciously. It is used in daily life activities, while some use it to honor their ancestors’ spirits. But the follower of Christ has a measure of faith in God. He or she uses this faith to serve Christ and to live life victoriously on this earth. That measure will only grow as you make and spend time with God and His Word.

THE HIGH CALLING OF PROVING THE GOODNESS OF GOD’S WILL

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“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

This passage is a key passage for pleasing God and for destiny-fulfillment. There is a high call in the verse. It is a calling to prove in your life, in your family, in all that you do and to everyone that God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect.

When a person loves God and serving the Lord find himself or herself going through all types of difficulties, he or she might feel that he/she is not in God’s will. For, most people don’t think that there is suffering or hardship in God’s will.

In Peter’s first epistle, he wrote to his readers and to all Christians for all time, not to think it strange concerning certain fiery trial they would have to go through. In fact, Peter said we should rejoice that one would be so honored to share in Christ’s sufferings. Thus, if you suffer with Christ you will also glory with Him (1 Peter 4:12-19).

Effectively, as a covenantal child of God in Christ Jesus, you must first understand and believe that, no matter what hardship you might be going through, if it was not because of your wrongdoing, then God’s perfect will is being done in it.

Look to Jesus For Comfort

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The way to bear such and to rejoice while enduring it is to keep your eyes and your mind on the Lord constantly.

The author of Hebrews, after displaying the hall of faith of all the biblical characters that exercised great faith in the Lord, he now turn to us to gives the secret of enduring hardship by faith:

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

David said, “I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).

Isaiah said to the LORD, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

The key to pleasing God and to succeed in life, then, is to be a brand-new person by changing the way you think. You need a mind renewal

What is the Mind?

According to R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries, the mind is, “The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.

For a person to exercise their will, for a person to make a moral choice, that person has to be in a state of awareness. But to make a moral decision requires some kind of understanding of the moral issues or options involved, so that the mind is intimately engaged in our choices, so as human beings, we can’t assume that our ethical decisions are mindless acts; rather, our actions result from the choices that we make, which are informed by our thinking. That’s why Scripture exhorts us to renew our minds, so that we will begin to think in categories that please God so that our thinking will influence our choices in conformity to the law of God. The mind, then, is vital to the Christian life.”

This indicate that the mind is the basis for living.

It is Necessary to Renew the Mind?

Our minds have acquired the principles, the emotions, the attitude of the world. That is why at our present state we are more apt to act out of the sentiments that we have acquired from the world more than that of God. This is why the Apostle Paul tells in Galatians chapter five to walk by the spirit and not by the flesh. For walking in the flesh is synonymous with the manifestations of the ways of the world.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians and said, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

The Most Fundamental and Ordered Way to Renew the Mind

When God chose Joshua to take the Israelites across the Jordan River to go possess the Promised Land, God told Joshua that if he is to be successful in accomplishing that task, he would have to meditate His word day and night, keep it in his heart and declare it in his mouth (Joshua 1:8).

Then David exclaimed in Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law,  he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”

Abiding in God’s word enables you to be pleasing to God

In the same thought of renewing one’s mind in the Word of God, the Lord Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples (John 15:7-8 5).

Would you like to be pleasing to the Lord and succeed in life? Then, submit your body and mind to God for a mind-renewal. With the mind-renewal comes the transformation. This transformation will create a brand-new you that will take great delight in please the Lord your Creator in Christ Jesus. Therefore, Then, set your mind to be transformed from a worldly mindset to putting on the mind of Christ.