Tag Archives: faith

The Gift

My mom has always told me, “Faith is a gift”.

I remember her saying this when I was young and then thinking, “Why do some people get the gift and other people don’t?” It didn’t seem fair.

As I’ve gotten older I have begun to see what she means.  Faith is a gift.

St. Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works so one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God’s grace is a gift.  Everyone gets the gift… but not everyone accepts it.

Accept the gift.

It’s not for some of us.  It’s for all of us.  God doesn’t give His gift to certain groups only.  He doesn’t favor the wealthy or the learned. He doesn’t give His gift only to the Baptists or the Catholics.  He doesn’t give grace only to white people or people who live in the United States.  He doesn’t discriminate.  We do but He doesn’t.

This is good news.  God’s grace does not depend on what I look like or how much money I have or if I sit in the front pew of church.  I don’t have to light candles or say the Rosary or give thousands of dollars to the church.   It doesn’t depend on me.  Thank God.  (Literally.)  Because I would really mess it up.  He doesn’t keep a tally sheet and then hand over grace to the “good” people.

Can you imagine if you actually had to earn your way into heaven?  Please.  There is no way to earn it and we don’t have to.  We just have to believe.

I think we tend to make things more difficult than they are.  Of course, there is more to living a life in Christ than just believing in Him.  But that is the first step.  I think we look for transformation first and then we say we’ll believe in God’s promises as in, “I’ll believe it when I see it”.  We stand back and say “prove it”, “show me”, “give me a sign” but we aren’t ready.  We have to say “yes” first and then the transformation starts happening.  If you want it, it’s there for the taking.  You just have to accept the gift.

If you haven’t yet accepted God’s gift of grace, take another look.

Imagine this… it’s Easter morning and you are really looking forward to the Peeps and the Reese’s Easter eggs and piles of jelly means and peanut m&m’s.  You see the basket and you realize that in addition to all the yummy stuff you can’t wait to eat, there is another gift.  It’s the gift of God’s grace.

The basket is filled with all of the things God’s grace brings to us including love, peace, joy, hope, mercy, forgiveness, redemption, new life.  Our baskets are overflowing!

You stop, you hesitate, you think, “Wait a minute, nothing is free, what do I have to do to get all of this?”

You question, you worry, you think…”Why me?” You wonder, “What’s the catch?”

There is no catch.  God loves you and wants to free you from your fears and worries.  He wants to give you a solid foundation to build your life.  He wants you.  You as you are now…not the “you” that is twenty pounds lighter or a million dollars richer, not the “you” that learns to cook or keeps a perfectly clean house or volunteers more often.  He’s not looking for the “you” that you show the world.  He’s looking for the real you.  He wants all your flaws, all your fears, all your sins, all your doubts.  He is that strong and that loving.

He is offering you a gift.  All you have to do is accept it.

 

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
photo from: http://www.livingdevotionally.com.

Religion?

Honor the tradition but expand the understanding. That’s what religions must do right now if they hope to be helpful to humans in the years ahead.

Neale Donald Walsch
Tomorrow’s God

My kids are growing up. 

This means many things.  Based on our dinner conversation tonight, one of the things it means is that they are beginning to question.  They are questioning everything. 

I see this as a good thing.

I remember my childhood priest told me (when I was in a questioning phase) that it’s okay to ask questions.  It’s good.  He made a point of telling us that he does not want us to “check our brains at the door”.  That worked for me.  He told me I was okay for asking.  I was not only okay but on the right path. 

I want my kids to know they are okay for asking and that through the questions, we find ourselves and we find God. 

I found a video of a young man that is extremely intriguing to me.  I don’t agree with everything he says but he has a heart for Jesus.  It is called “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus”  If you have a minute, take a look at it, (click link below) it makes you think. 

Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus

I’ve also posted the Catholic response.  It too makes you think. 

Catholic response

I realize anyone with a camera can spout their beliefs on the internet.  I am not holding either of these videos up as the “end all, be all”.  I like the idea of the questioning.  I can relate. 

My daughter had some real questions about what she heard “Christians” think and stand for that didn’t sit well with her. 

Do not let others define what “Being a Christian” means to you. 

Seek Jesus. 

This isn’t about a church, a building, a philosophy, creeds, laws or big words you can’t pronounce.  This isn’t about politics.  This isn’t about shame or guilt or judgment or debt or death. 

This is about a relationship between you and Jesus.  This is about Love.  This is about Life.

Seek Jesus. 

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Tebow is in the flow

picture from
http://www.9news.com/news/article/235462/72/Tebowing-becomes-officially-recognized-as-a-word
 
Sorry but I can’t help myself.  I need to write about Tebow again.  I’m captivated!
 

Tebow is in the flow. (Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.)

This is his time.We don’t know how long it will last but it’s thrilling and fascinating and inspiring.  Just sit back and watch and enjoy.  His message is positive.  He is filled with optimism and gratitude and generosity of spirit.  Grab the kids, pop some popcorn and turn on the Broncos. 

He has everyone talking and writing about him.   Which means they are talking and writing about faith and Jesus and witnessing and evangelizing and praying.  This is a really good thing.  This conversation is important.  Even if you don’t agree with what he believes in, he is authentic and his faith is real and you can feel it. 

This is about Tebow from an article written by Frank Bruni of the New York Times:

He reminds us that strength comes in many forms and some people have what can be described only as a gift for winning, which isn’t synonymous with any spreadsheet inventory of what it supposedly takes to win.

This gift usually involves hope, confidence and a special composure, all of which keep a person in the game long enough, with enough energy and stability, so that a fickle entity known as luck might break his or her way. For Tebow that state of mind comes from his particular relationship with his chosen God and is a matter of religion. For someone else it might be understood and experienced as the power of positive thinking, and is a matter of psychology. Either way it boils down to stubborn optimism and bequeaths a spark. A swagger.  An edge.

Click here for a link to a video essay by Bob Costas about Tebow.  http://video.nbcsports.msnbc.com/nbc-sports/45636229#null

Watching Tebow after the game last night, I was most struck by his generosity and his gratitude (and his smile).  He said his receivers “make me look better than I am”.  He thanked Jesus and complimented all of his teammates and did not take the credit.  He literally smiled the entire time.  You can tell he is really enjoying this!

Isn’t that half the battle?  It makes me wonder…is he enjoying himself because he’s winning or is he winning because he’s enjoying himself? Either way, it’s fun to watch.   

The truth is that “It’s all good”.  Until you believe that, you will be clawing and fighting your way to “winning” which will remain out of your reach as long as you are clawing and fighting. 

 Be positive. Smile. Thank God.  Thank others. Praise others. Hope for the best. Imagine yourself succeeding.  Expect the best of yourself and others. Trust. Hope. Believe.

It’s not difficult to figure out what to do but it’s very difficult to do it.  That’s why we are so drawn to him.  He is different and we can feel it.  His unbridled enthusiasm and sincerity are rare.  He’s showing us what faith in action looks like with his charities and his leadership and his testimony and his being

Thanks for the reminder Tim. Keep it up!  The whole world is watching. 

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved