Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

Please check out this post and others on my blog “And Yet Still I Rise” athttps://andyetstillirise.wordpress.com/
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As the summer is winding down and we are moving full steam to the last quarter of the year 2015, the perceptive mind will reveal that now is the time of “back to.” For many students in the United States and in other parts of the world, August and September marks the dreaded end of summer break and the time of going “back to” school; for many on holiday, now is the time of going “back to” work; even this Sunday September 20th, 2015 marks the annual return of what has been dubbed as “Back to Church Sunday,” where churches across the nation make a concerted effort to draw those who have strayed away from or who do not know about the Christian faith into their open doors.
Yet, as I took an excellent course on biblical theology over this summer with Dr. Louis A. DeCaro Jr., I was reminded that in sharing our Christian faith we have to sometimes follow this “back to” theme. We have to look back in order to continue to progress forward. We have to be intentional about going “back to the basics!” So often we teach and preach the Gospel assuming that our audience understands common Christian terms and concepts. We throw out terms like grace, deliverance and redemption freely. Do people really, especially those new or early in the Christian faith, know what they mean? Do people even know what the Gospel is? Do people understand what the term means when we say it?
It’s time to get “back to basics!”

We share the truth that Jesus died as a living sacrifice for our sins so that we would have everlasting life and be restored in right standing with God. How many truly grasp and understand this concept? Has anyone taken the time to really explain the core meaning of salvation and the magnitude of its implications? Or are people left with unanswered questions like what is sin? What do I need to be saved from? Who cares if Jesus died—doesn’t every religion lead to God?
Beloved it’s time to revert “back to basics!”

How many people attend church week after week out of duty, ritual or family tradition, but have no true understanding of what we teach? How many Christians have a robotic connection with God, just going through the motions, while lacking a richly authentic and fulfilling relationship with the Creator? How many people fall away from the Christian faith when trials come because they were never properly anchored in the first place?
People of God we must heed the call to get back to the true foundation—we must run “back to the basics!”

So often we look to the Bible as an anecdote for life’s problems, a guide book of how to live, for encouragement and hope. Sure the Bible tells of us man’s origin, what the end will look like and insight into the character and nature of God. It gives us wisdom on a vast array of subjects including relationships, morality and social justice. No one can deny that the Bible is a strategic map to living your best life, the blueprint to understanding God and His ways and is the Word and declaration of God. Yes! The Bible is and does all of these things!

But despite all of these themes, Biblical Theology emphasizes that the primary theme or core concept of the Bible is that it is God’s story of love for what He created and how from a posture of love, He intentionally worked to save His creation (yes that includes you!). The Bible is the powerful and inspiring documentation of how God simply saved. Saved intentionally, step by-and-step and with unfathomable love.

Now despite all I have said, I realize that depending on the audience it is not always necessary to explain every basic concept when preaching or teaching on a large scale. It is assumed certain concepts are understood as people are more mature Christians. Of course, it is sometimes appropriate to focus on specific themes like victory, breakthrough, hope, faith, anointing, etc. as the Holy Spirit directs us. And small groups like Bible studies and other focused meetings are designed to teach and elaborate on the basics of Christianity especially for new believers. But especially when evangelizing (sharing with others about our Christian faith) and every now and again even from the pulpit, we must take the time to teach the simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the story of redemption.

Journey with me over the next few posts, as the Lord leads, as I attempt to just simply share what I have learned and understand about the Gospel and God’s story of redemption (will even explain this word in later posts). I humbly don’t profess to have every answer nor am I trying to do a comprehensive teaching about Christianity. But simply based on my own experiences and the teachings that I have accepted from a variety of sources on my Christian walk, I will share what I understand at this point to be the truth…..my truth. Please feel free to comment, correct or share your own understanding and experiences as we go along. If you can bring insight into a certain topic, please share. My prayer is that someone will be drawn to Jesus Christ, others will get further understanding of who He is and we will all be reminded, even those who know Him, that God indeed loves us with an unapolegtic, everlasting love!

A firm and basic foundation will always lift you higher….and yet still I rise.
With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,
Stillirise323

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“God is a divine orchestrator of things.”  In the world of Christiandom it is a fairly familiar saying.    Yet it was something the Lord made a point to drive home from the beginning of the weekend.  It all started Friday….

A good friend made an off-handed suggestion about a few of us going to the beach .  Someone I would say I have grown fairly close to.  I hadn’t  really hung out  recreationally on any grand scale with her and some of our other close friends in the recent past, although I see them pretty regularly at church.   I explained I could not go to the beach that day because I had other plans to support a church member, one of the evangelists, who was preaching at another church.   Needless to say I was a little taken aback  when I was accused of something to the effect of treating this particular group of friends “funny” or that I had been acting in some unfavorable way toward them.   This was shocking to me because I have had a slew of family visiting over the past couple weeks , which left little time for anything else.  My first thought was something along the lines of :  But wait!  A who dis gyal a chat to? (Jamaican patoisTranslation:  Wait a minute.  Who does this girl think she’s talking too?  Let’s just say my initial thoughts weren’t so holy.  Yeah, yeah…the Lord is working, but frankly folks I can admit I ain’t fully there yet.  Thank God for some measure of growth, because after the Holy Spirit warned me not to go there, instead of reacting with my mouth like I would have in the past,  I gently reminded her I had been busy with family and she retracted.

Fast forward a couple of days later and I attend that forum I mentioned to support this seasoned, awesome woman of God preaching.  Unbeknownst to me, it is this church’s missionary day service and celebration. And if I know nothing else, the Lord has undeniably called me to the mission field; my first journey being a little over 1 year ago to Haiti.  Not only was the service and message fantastic that day, but they called all missionaries, non-members and members of the church alike, up for prayer and to be annointed with oil.     As the woman prayed for me, I clearly heard the Lord say “new levels.”  Not only that, just  a few hours earlier in the wee hours of the morning I was just up talking to the Lord and crying out to him for strength to do all that He has for me to do.  It seems like so much and I need His strength.  What did the woman pray about at that service as she prayed with me? Giving me strength and endurance for my specific purpose and tasks. If I didn’t know better it was almost as if the woman had been in my bedroom sitting with me  the night before, to pray so accurately for my need.

My point?  Of course I would have loved to go to the beach.  That day the weather in NY was ideal for a beach outing.  I would have liked nothing more than to be frolicking in the sun and the sand.  But all I knew was that I was suppose to go to that event.  I wasn’t sure why  I was going—here I thought I was simply being an encouraging sister in Christ.  But God had something specific for me as well.  So much so that 2 other friends made plans to go as well and did not end up making it there.  Because God divinely orchestrated me to be where I was at that church and them to be wherever they were for their specific purposes at that time.  When the day was over, the Lord brought back to my remembrance that earlier conversation with my friend, laid out this whole lesson and here I am sharing it with you.

My prayer almost every day has been Lord delegate my day.  Take control of my life.  What assignments do you have for me to do today?  Orchestrate my steps.

I can’t ask God  every day to orchestrate my life and order my steps  and then purposely go against what He is telling me to do.  Regardless of what friends and otherwise have to say.  I know that in her way, I guess my friend was trying to express that she missed hanging with me.  I love her dearly.  But imagine if I had not gone to that service,  how I would have missed my blessing.

“…Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord”(2 Corinthians 6:17).   In the strict sense, that scripture is talking about Christian believers not mixing or succumbing to the ways, practices and sins of the world. To stand out and be different in that you are living holy and righteous, even when the societal norm says otherwise.  But it also means that sometimes the Lord is going to call you out of the “group”.  Doesn’t mean that group whether it be friends, family, church, work is necessarily inherently bad.  But God will not hesitate to pull us out at different times and at different points for His purpose.  It  may be for varied reasons:   your protection, to spend time alone with Him, in preparation for something,  to minister to someone, do a specific task or test your faith and obedience.  I can now look back at many times in college and at different points in my life when I wanted to hang with the group and I just was not allowed.  I never got to go to a Freaknic in Atlanta (some of you know what I’m talking about);  I missed when the Superbowl was in Miami around the time I was in college; I couldn’t go on some of those trips or social outings my girlfriends took.  And the Lord is saying to me, you were not suppose to be with the group at those times—I separated you for a reason.  I have called you out.  Now I won’t sit on my high horse and act all holier than thou as if I always  consult God about everything I do.  Like anybody else I often make decisions based on my mood or  my emotions, my preferences of what I want to do and whether I feel led in my spirit to do something–not based on what the group is doing.  That has never been my way.  It is now more and more that I try to seek God for specific direction in my life, in every area and no matter how small the details.  Something we should all do  and I certainly could do more.   I want God to be involved in something as grand as choosing my husband to something as miniscule as what outfit I should wear to work.  And He wants to be involved in every detail of our lives as well.  Every detail.

Maestro, latin for Master is the title given to : a master usually in an art; especially : an eminent composer, conductor, or teacher of music (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maestro). Isn’t  God  the ultimate Maestro in that He is Master of everything?  No one stands beside Him.  Nothing can compare to Him. Isn’t He the composer/creator of all life and things beautiful,  is sovereign in conducting all the affairs of the universe and in His hands He teaches us to live  harmoniously in tune and sync with His perfect will and with one another?

Lord, I say  direct the symphony of my life…..Maestro please!  Yes, I travel on  with the Master and yet still I rise….

With Peace and Blessings May You Continue to Rise Always,

Stillirise323