What is Gods Grace?

gods-grace

 

What is God’s Grace? Grace is when you get more than you deserve. Grace is God’s favor. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of grace is “the unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification”. Sanctification means to be made holy. Regeneration means to be made new.

 

It’s by God’s grace that we are saved. It’s a free gift, our works does not win it, and it’s available to all people. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” It’s also stated in Romans 3:24 that “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”. In just our simple belief in Christ God makes us whole. He saves, redeems, forgives, heals, delivers, protects and restores us. His Spirit gives us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control. This is God’s Grace.

 

In God’s holy word, the Bible, He gives us standards on how we should live our lives. He’s holy and he wants His children to be holy. These standards are set in place for our benefit; for our protection. How on earth are we suppose to live up to these standards? When a person confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and believes that He died for our sins, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells on the inside of that person. God’s seal is now on that person. That person now has the help of the Holy Spirit in trying to live up to God’s standards. This is God’s Grace. He knows that we’re human and we live in a sinful world. Instead of condemning us, He decides to help us. It’s God’s grace that He gives us when we fail to hit the mark. Through the blood of Jesus, we can openly come to the Father to ask for forgiveness.

 

Grace is when God gives you the power to do something that you wouldn’t be able to normally do on your own. Hebrews 4:16 states “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”.

Along with assistance in walking in God’s standards, He also helps when a challenge comes our way. (In a sense, it may be a challenge walking in God’s standards.) For example, if you’re transitioning your life, struggling with paying your bills or even just experienced death of a close loved one, God gives you his grace to get through it. He’s consistently regenerating you in the process; making you new.

 

In our human mind, it’s hard to comprehend this. The average human being finds it hard to give grace to another. How great is the God we serve that He does this for us? Let’s pray that God helps us to show grace to others.

 

Whitney Butler

Count it all joy

persecution

Jesus said “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11

As Christians we have to always be cautious when we address criticism and critique from non- believers.  I know first-hand how easy it is to become defensive and hurt when you hear and see others challenge and insult your belief system.  If you truly believe what the word says there is no reason to feel discouraged.

When Peter and his disciples entered Jerusalem to evangelize after the persecution of Jesus they were not only insulted but thrown and jail and flogged. Not only did they receive verbal insults but they suffered physical torture all because they believed in Jesus Christ as our lord and savior. Instead of reacting to this persecution they did something very different than what was expected. “Then the apostles left Sanhedrin REJOICING because they had had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name” Acts we get upset when people partake in cyber bullying and sarcasm.

When I read that verse I stopped dead in my tracks and asked God that I always think of any persecution that befalls me in that way. People that have the most to say about Christians are oftentimes confused or curious about our belief system. This is the reason why apologetics is so important because your reaction may be the difference between winning another person over for Christ or encouraging and enforcing stereotypes or otherwise taking part in arguments that are not only counterproductive but a misrepresentation of Christ and exactly the opposite of what you are supposed to do.

Christian persecution is not something that happened a long time ago and is no longer going on; Currently in 2016 there are Christians in North Korea, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and all over the world that are being beaten and killed all because they believe in Christ as our lord and savior.  I could only imagine if I had half the courage and strength that these people have. To praise and worship and serve God to the very death. To worship and revere him no matter the consequences.

I charge you men and women of God to never get into another argument about your faith no matter if you are on social media or with the people in your own household. I challenge you to submerge yourself in your belief, to seek the truth in all things and to find the answer to questions that may be asked of you so that you follow your word. Its written “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1st Peter 3:15 now go be fishers of men!

Somebody ought to give him thanks.

~cici

Overcoming a Spiritual Attack

warriour

We all have had those days, where it’s one thing after another. Murphy’s Law is everything that can go wrong will, right?

Wrong!

You just may be under a spiritual attack. The weapons of warfare are not carnal. “We do not battle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.” Ephesians 6:12. Here are some things you can do while you are under attack;

“Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”

Read Gods word! Sometimes the answer that you need may be somewhere in scripture and often times he will lead you to the specific scripture that you need.

The book of Ephesians speaks many times on how to cover yourself from daily spiritual attack.

Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, the breast plate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that come from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this take up the SHIELD OF FAITH with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one and take on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of
God.” Ephesians 6:10-17

Repent, sometimes you need to ask God to reveal to you any behavior past or present that would allow an open door to an attack. Sometimes a fast and consecration is in order just make sure that you only tell who it’s absolutely necessary to tell (fast in secret) so that you don’t receive your reward in full. What that means is that announcing that you are fasting can be a source of bragging or boasting. When you do that the whole purpose of the fast is taken away because God wants you to be humble.

One of my favorite defenses against a spiritual attack is complete and total praise. I cannot emphasize this to you enough; praise will bind, confuse and break the enemy. Your deliverance and healing is in your praise. When you praise God, you are focusing on him and letting it be known that you are not worried about a specific circumstance. You know that our heavenly father will get his glory out of it.

Many times we worry and stress ourselves out over things that God is already handling in the background. Jesus said “do not be anxious for tomorrow because tomorrow has enough anxiety on its own and by worrying are you able to allow one extra minute to your life?” God does not want you to doubt. You can find scriptures similar to  be not afraid 365 times in the bible. That’s a clear indication that he wants you to put your trust in him and operate your faith every single day.  By worrying you are allowing fear and doubt into your life and god has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. Worrying puts limitations on an all-powerful and limitless God.

Remember that the race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but the one who endures to the end.

Somebody ought to thank him

-Cici

Forgiveness Reloaded

 

Forgiveness

Yes we have spoken on this topic before but I felt the need to come back and speak on it again

From a different standpoint. Let’s talk about forgiving those people that hurt you that don’t know or don’t care enough to apologize, let’s speak on the hurt and pain of betrayal. Even Jesus felt hurt from his closest of friends Judas betrayed him with a kiss.

So how do we deal with individuals that hurt us?

The first step is to have compassion for that person. Yes in order to move forward from the hurt and disappointment you must try to see life from their perspective. What motivates people to do the things they do. It’s safe to say the people that hurt you the most are suffering from some type of internal battle; as the saying goes: Hurt people, Hurt people.

Once you begin to see that individuals are fighting their own struggle the next step would be to remember how truly blessed and favored you are by God.  Sometimes the person that hurts you may just feel inadequate or want something you have. Even if it is simply internal peace. You may not think you have much but sit back and really think about where you came from.  Often times, we start to internalize the hurt and pain we might feel from other people and it distracts us, we go over in our heads how we can get back at them, not speaking to them or how to hurt them back (the hurt cycle continues).

 

I too have been caught up in the throes of unforgiveness, waiting on apologies I will never receive, preparing on what I would say or do at our next encounter. That sinking feeling in your chest. Waking up with ill feelings instead of thanking or father for another day. I had to recognize that at the very least this is an attack from the enemy. This distraction will not only block your blessings, but consume your time and energy where it could be put to better use. Mark 11:25 ”

Here’s another valid point; how many times have you hurt others both intentionally and unintentionally. And how many times have you done things you weren’t proud of.  How many times have we asked for forgiveness for the things we have done to our heavenly father. “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgiveness the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not say angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19

Even still we are forgiven time and time again. And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins” It feels so much better to just let the pain go and allow God to handle each situation. Remember to stay on task and keep moving forward no matter what. You cannot put a price on peace of mind so do yourself a favor and let go of that pain and hurt.

Your heart will thank you for it.

Somebody ought to tell him thanks

-Cici

 

Series 3 Slavery and the Bible

slavery

Let’s get on to another topic that needs to be addressed right now because I feel that it is a big stumbling block for people who want to know about Christianity but believes that Christianity and the bible condones slavery. This will have to be further discussed in detail in upcoming project but for now we here at Faith Defense Ministries feel compelled to get a handle over all of the mis information that has been placed out there about slavery in the bible and the way that the 17th century slave masters corrupted the words of the bible in order to suit their own needs and build this country off the backs of our ancestors. Slave masters read certain texts of the bible out to slaves in order to push their own agenda but slaves were forbidden to read. Ironically enough, slaves were beaten and killed if they read certain books out of the bible that spoke specifically on how slaves should and should not be treated. Specifically, the book of Exodus. Understand that this is a serious offense and we see why the word of the lord is alive meaning we can apply it to our everyday life there are also many different warnings on corrupting or changing words in the bible to suit your own needs which is exactly what slave masters

“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2

I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. Revelation 22:28

The type of Slavery that was practiced on 17th century Africans was not the same slavery that was addressed in the bible. We are talking  biblical slavery, which refers to ancient Middle Easterners who could not provide a living for themselves. In ancient Israel, people who could not provide for themselves or their families sold them into slavery so they would not die of starvation or exposure. In this way, a person would receive food and housing in exchange for labor. Yes, in a sense slavery was like a job or an indentured servant. A job with a 7 year contract. Of which you are not to be mistreated and you were to be released after the 7th year or the year of jubilee which was every 50 years whichever came first. Slavery in biblical times was not based on race

According to Old Testament law, anyone caught selling another person into slavery was to be executed:

“He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:16)

So although there are rules in the bible about slavery, this does not in any way mean that God or the bible condones slavery. It was a very real practice during that time and these scriptures were strictly set up to protect the slave from torture and mistreatment.

“If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished.” (Exodus 21:20)

This is particularly why slaves, though given the bible were only allowed to know certain parts and those parts excluded the book of Exodus in fact if the people who used the bible actually followed the laws of slavery a lot of the tragedies that happened to our ancestors would not have happened according to the bible it was forbidden to Make slaves work on the Sabbath, return an escaped slave, “You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. (Deuteronomy 23:15) slander a slave, injuring and killing slaves was punishable up to death and you were to release your slave in 7 years or in the year of jubilee whichever came first.

People often times  will bring up these scriptures in Ephesians to say how the bible justified slavery :

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

But this is why you must get into the bible on your own and not cherry pick scriptures or regurgitate what has been spoken to you. Really get a comprehensive understanding of the word and read it in full context. What they don’t read is the very next scripture:

And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (Ephesians 6:9)

Do you see how if one was to stop reading at verse 8, there could be a big misunderstanding on the whole context of that section?

Another scripture that is often overlooked:

Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 4:1)

Many people that are not well versed in the bible will argue that one race was to be superior to another and therefore indebted to a life of servitude. Or that women are meant to serve men This is also a common misconception for it is written.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

If you don’t take anything else from this series, we at faith defense ministries want you to know that you must go out there and seek the truth and do your own research. Test the validity of the accusations and the information that you are receiving. Test that against the actual word of God and remember that the bible is over 3,400 years old and YouTube is 11 years old. For the living word is sharper than a double edged sword.

Somebody ought to give him thanks -cici

How did Jesus (Yeshua) really look?

 

In continuation to the previous series dispelling common misconceptions about Christianity lets go further into something else that has been a topic of discussion and a strain for African American Christians; White Jesus

Yes I did go there! now let’s explore. In the bible Jesus was described as having feet (skin) being like brass, burned in a furnace ( brown skin ) and hair like wool. So why do we see this blond haired blue eyed Jesus in all the pictures

Leonardo da Vinci painted an image of Jesus as white. The bad thing was, he based that image on Cesare Borgia, who was the son of Pope Alexander the 6th of Rome. Cesare Borgia was a very evil man.

Deception, yes its true the picture you see before you is not and could not possibly be Jesus. Common geography and etymology would tell you that Europeans were nowhere near the area during the time of Jesus’ birth.  In 2016 anyone with access to a computer or a smart phone and just a second’s worth of time could see that the oldest picture of Jesus is of a black Hebrew Israelite. They called him the beardless prophet.

Because of mistaken identity due to corruption that does not mean the person never existed there have been archaeological finds to this day that prove his life. Including the recent discovery of the shroud that they placed over his face that corroborates the story that Jesus clearly did not have European features.

Let’s talk about how that does not matter. Though yes representation matters. I don’t focus on his outward appearance because for one I refuse to allow myself to be sucked into arguments of superficial things.  When I view Jesus I like to imagine him with a face so bright I cannot see. Why? Haven’t you been taught it’s not what’s on the outside but what’s within that matters?

So to me it does not matter how he looked but the content and the depth of his message. I love Jesus’ sense of humor. Yes, I feel he had a sense of humor because he would ask questions to answers that he already knew to get the audience to think. He would also speak in a way that people would not understand Parables in order to get people to see how everything is relative.  Also we all know there was no letter J in the Hebrew library that is why his proper name was not Jesus but Yeshua. Again this is like a rose by any other name you know?

I’m only here to clear misconceptions as this is Faith Defense Ministries we want you to get an understanding of your faith and a resource to point those that use this as a means to discourage you from your beliefs to have a rebuttal and at all costs allowing the truth to make you free.

That’s not what you need to be taking away from his life sacrifice and death. What you need to take away from his life is that he lived his life taught us how to relate to one another, how to treat the church, how to be accepting of one another. His life also taught us that even up until your final moment of life if you repent and confess you will be saved. Jesus taught us how to behave in the church and how to rely on our heavenly father to provide for us and that we must pray every day and that temptation is always going to be there no matter how high and mighty you may be.  Jesus taught us that in his weakness even he felt abandoned by God that’s a very normal feeling but know that he will never leave us or forsake us .

-somebody ought to tell him thanks

cici