Monday, April 21, 2014

Received Grace

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ because I have RECEIVED GRACE. When God came into my life, He changed me. He changed my desires, wants, outlook, goals and perspective. He showed me that He loved me and had a plan for my life. I was an insecure child who never lived up to the expectations of those around me. It seems that there was no hope and that I would never please anybody or amount to anything. I understood myself to be stupid and unworthy. I was a complete disappointment to those who knew me. When I began to seek this God of hope, He came to me. He showed Himself to me. My friends and I used to wonder how He could find us in the hills of Tennessee, but He did! God helped me see that Jesus loved me and that with His help, I would always be received in the eyes of the Father. With His love, I would be received for ever and ever. Through the death of His Son Jesus, I received grace and am forever His! He is proud of me! Though the world many wonder why I'm here, God never wondered why He created me. He knew what He was doing and in fact, was pleased. How could one who has RECEIVED GRACE ever be ashamed of the gospel? I do not know!

Today, celebrate with me that I am not ashamed of the gospel because I have RECEIVED GRACE from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Not only is He risen, but He is risen in me!

I pray that you have RECEIVED GRACE as well. If not, His grace is available for you!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

lavished love

"I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever…I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majesty and Your wonderful works. They will proclaim the power of Your awe-inspiring acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness" (Psalm 144:1, 5-7). 

Last weekend, I was in a wedding of one of my best friends from college and her husband. One of my favorite moments was at the rehearsal dinner when people gave toasts to wish the couple well. This was especially neat, since my friend has the love language of words of affirmation. Her now husband gave the last speech, and it was neat to see how he could go on and on about his soon bride-to-be. The whole weekend, in fact, the couple could be found showering compliments on each other.

One thing that I want to do this Easter is seek this deeper relationship with God where I just overflow in praise to Him. I think there is something powerful in thanking Him not only for blessings like family and friends, but also for who He is. It reminds us of how great He is, and it also gives worship and honor to Him. It can also be a witness to others that His people are comforted in His presence.

Kelli Martin
Let the memories and praise of Him resonate within you. It can do something within us and also can be such a witness to others to see how our Savior comforts us and refreshes us like cool springs. He loves us not just in mind - He loves us in action, words and truth, as we see when we remember the cross He sacrificed on for us. Yes, He loves us directly.

What are some reasons you have found peace in Him? What do His names mean? Praise Him for who He is. If you are going through a tough time, praise Him in advance. Let this love spill out and let others see that our Savior is here through the tough times and the good. He is always here to speak to us.

Let's remember the love that He lavishes on us, and let's lavish our Savior in love. He is risen! He is risen indeed.

Check out this song by All Sons and Daughters on YouTube: "Hear the Sound"

Friday, April 11, 2014

Let Us Love One Another

“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-leased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” (I Thessalonians 2:7-8).

My parents did a good job making sure that my sisters and I were raised by making God and church a priority in our lives. However, in my high school years, I realized that I as just going through the motions of attending church and other activities, all the while thinking that I was a Christian. I was very willing to go to church, I was a pretty good person, did not get mad easily, and usually had a fairly good disposition. After all, that is what a Christian is….right??? WRONG!

During my high school years, I started babysitting regularly for a couple down the street from my house in Charlotte, North Carolina. As I babysat, every Wednesday night they would come home with joy and excitement about this new church they were helping to start. I was puzzled about the fact that they thought it was fun. They invited me numerous times to visit, and I finally decided to go. I was struck at once by the warmth and friendliness of the people at the little mission church (by the way, it was called Sharon Baptist Mission). I could see joy and genuine interest in God’s Word through the members. I went back a few times and then went to a very small Bible Study with the youth (which happened to be just two other people). They asked me if I had ever invited Christ to come into my life to forgive me for my sin and to be the Lord and Savior of my life. Though I had been through classes and had been to church, I never had made this personal decision. I prayed with them that night and then knew for certain that I was a Christian. I was filled with peace and also with a desire to read my Bible.

The friendliness, warmth and genuine concern that people had for me at that little church was what attracted me to go back to the church. Then the Lord used the teaching there and the personal interaction in Bible study to bring me into a relationship with Him.

Lord, help us to remember the fact that you love us and accept us unconditionally. Help us to do the same as we seek to love and accept those who come into our life. Help us point people to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sharon Beougher

Friday, April 4, 2014

HeartCall - A Helpful Tool to Seminary Student Wives

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and he Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).

Seminary Wives Institute is a program for student wives at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. Founded by the president's wife, Mrs. Mary Mohler, it is designed to equip ministers' wives to be better prepared when they leave seminary with their husbands to go to a place of ministry. The three year program consists of 4 six-week course segments of twelve instructional hours per year as well as opportunities for condensed classes. Courses vary from Discipleship, Old and New Testament Survey courses and Worldviews to courses in Hospitality, Marriage and Family, Parenting, etc.

One of the courses I have the privilege of teaching is Leaderhip I--which is actually women and evangelism. Over the years I have used HeartCall as part of the curriculum for this and was able to add Gifted2Go along with it this year. The feedback I got from the 35 students in it this term was that it was a simple method that gave them a tool to use in sharing the gospel. Many in the class had never memorized Scripture in their lives and said they were glad to have been trained in it, especially memorizing the verses to go along with Hope Believe Turn and Call!

The students memorized the verses to go along with the simple diagram, were given two HeartCall tracts to give away during the six weeks and were given a HeartCall Bible to give away as well. If you have not looked carefully at these materials, take a good look. This is one tool to help us all be obedient to carrying out the Great Commission!

Sharon Beougher