Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes Lord–Yes!!

“For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 8,9

When I have talked to people about the meaning of this verse, I have asked them, “What is a definition for faith?”   I have heard all kinds of answers: “Faith is trust”, “believing”, “acknowledging”,” hoping, not knowing, but hoping”.  

I usually follow up with the question, “What are we putting our faith in—in order to be saved?”  People respond: “God”, or “Jesus”, “Jesus’ work on the cross” or “I don’t know?”

I think the follow up question is really important—because people can have faith in so many things.  We have faith that when we sit down in a chair, it will hold us up.  If the object of our faith—the chair– is well made and we’ve sat down in it before and it has held us up—then that chair is a worthy object of our faith.

In fact—I would venture to say that the object of our faith is more important than our faith itself.

That is why in scripture, (Matthew 17:20) when it says—if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains, — it is really saying, it doesn’t matter, how big your faith is—it matters what you have put your faith into—if you have put it into God—the true God who made Heaven and Earth—and then came to earth to live and die for you and give you eternal life—then even if your faith is tiny—your God is not—He is the One Who will move the mountain.

Here’s the thing—This God loves you, this God wants to bless you, this God wants you to approach Him for impossible things—but this God will not always say “yes” to what you want or to what I want.  This God has a plan.  This God wants us to say “yes” to Him and His plan.

When I read through the 11th chapter of Hebrews—which lists many people who lived by faith here on this earth—I see a whole bunch of people who said “yes” to God’s plan, and acted out that “yes”.  Noah built the ark.  Abraham and Sarah left their home and traveled to the promised land.  They had a baby past the time they thought they could have one.  (I know what that feels like 🙂 ) 

If you look down that list—it is person after person, who said “yes” to God.  That is what faith is—that is all faith is—it is believing God exists, seeking God and saying “Yes” to God.

“Yes God, I accept what You did on the cross to pay for my sins, I accept the gift of salvation.”

“Yes God, I accept Your plan for my life, for this minute, this day—to love You first and foremost, and to love others.

“Yes God, I accept the power You give me by the Holy Spirit to live today in Your will.”

Yes God, I accept that I once again need Your forgiveness– I have blown it, and hurt others and hurt myself, and grieved You.”

Yes, Yes, Yes  — that is what faith is.  Taking God at His Word—knowing His Word.  “I have hidden Your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against thee.”   If you think of  faith as saying “yes” to God, sin is saying “no” to God, it is doing what we want –either because we do not know what God wants, or because we decide what we want is more important than what God wants.

This is why it is so important to spend time reading and studying God’s word.  It helps us to know what to say “yes” to, and what to say, “no” to.  God can speak to us through His Word.  2 Tim 3: 16 :  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

Hebrews 4:12: For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Maybe you are thinking—”I am a young mom, and I can’t even go to the bathroom without an audience—how am I going to spend time reading God’s word.”

Great, great question!!  I will give some thoughts of how to do this, in the comment section of this blog. 

I would like other moms to do the same.  How do you spend time with God in His Word, in the midst of a busy day?

In Hebrews 11:16, it says, …..Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God.”   I love that idea of God not being ashamed to be called my God.

Yesterday—I had one of those days –    it was not a “Yes” day for me.  I was angry, and upset, and had had it, and thought I was entitled to my anger.   I knew the “right” thing to do, but did not do it.  Needless to say, I had a lot of apologizing to do later that evening. 

When I went to the Lord to apologize—He was loving and gracious and kind, but I “felt” unworthy.  

Verses kept popping into my mind, “You are a new creature in Christ, the Old has passed away, New things have come.”

“As far as the East is from the west, so far has He removed our sins from us.

I knew that Faith was agreeing with God about what His word said, “Yes Lord—I do believe that—I am a New Creature!!! I have the power in Your Holy Spirit to live out My New Life!!”   

“Yes, Lord, you have removed my sins from me.   Yes Lord—I take you at Your Word.”

It is not the absence of sin that causes God not to be ashamed to be called our God, it is agreeing with Him about that sin and relying on Him to overcome it.  It is the ability to keep saying, “Yes”—to not give up on saying ,”Yes. This ability to say “yes” comes from Him!!”

If you are “feeling” discouraged or “unworthy”,  I am praying you will know—you are not alone, but I am also praying that you know the object of our faith is not in our changeable, unreliable feelings, the object of our faith is in our unchanging, always reliable God!!

So Be Encouraged!!

PS If you need reasons to believe God exists, or that He came to earth to live and die for us–I refer you to my blog, Peace, Baby, Peace!!

Thank you Grandmom!!

7 years ago, in the month of November, my 93-year-old Grandmother passed away.   My Grandmother’s life is fascinating to me.  Her mother was Irish and sought a new life in the new world by traveling on a ship when she was 18.  She must have been very brave to make the journey by herself, but I believe she was looking for a better life for herself and her future family. My Grandmother was eight years old when her mother died, and she was sent to live with a foster family.  I am so grateful to this family for opening up their doors to foster children, and so grateful to foster families and families that adopt. What a gift they are giving so many caught in tragic situations!!

My Grandmother married young and she and my Grandfather had 4 children, survived the depression and WWII, and they saw their only son fight in the Vietnam War.   They had 17 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren and so far– 26 great-great- grandchildren.

After 60 years of marriage my grandfather died, and my grandmother lived for another 15 years as a widow before she too died.

Not long before she died, I visited her, and we had a remarkable conversation.  We talked about a book I had read, called, “Heaven is for Real.”  I had seen the father and son interviewed by Katie Couric, and my Grandmother and I talked about this book and about Heaven.  My Grandmother said that God was telling her not to be afraid, that He would be with her helping her step from one life to the next.

I think that my Grandmother showed great bravery, just as her mother did when she left her home and crossed an ocean looking for a better life.

Sometimes, the ones who go before us show us what faith looks like, so that when we need to step out in faith, we know how to do so.   If my great-grandmother had not stepped out in faith, and left Ireland, the rest of her family would not be experiencing the great blessings of living in the New World. 

My Grandmother did not know what awaited her on the other side of this life, but she believed that she would see Jesus, that she would be in His presence, and she was clinging onto this belief and sharing this faith with me.

My Grandmother was a woman of strong opinions and a strong will.   However, she trusted in Jesus to save her and to forgive her.   Jesus isn’t expecting us to be perfect before He accepts us, loves us and forgives us.  Jesus accepts us, just as we are.  That’s what my Grandmother has shown me.  So, I celebrate her life—I’m thankful for her life.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

** Photo Courtesy of David Pizzoferrato