All posts filed under: Grace

One unusual way to get blessings from God

© Schulter Etyang 4 min read There are only two ways through which we receive blessings from God. The one way is to deserve the blessings, and the other is to not deserve (undeserved) the blessings. Deserved way Undeserved way The deserved way So, how do we try to deserve blessings from God?  Non-Christians try to earn their blessings from God through good works or living good moral lives. They work hard. They are honest individuals. They pay their taxes. They love their spouses and kids. They participate in community projects that uplift the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner and immigrant. They are good citizens. They obey the laws of the land. They are good people. Christians try to earn their blessings from God also by being good or in their case being spiritual. They fast and pray. They give their tithes. They go to Church. They love God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind, and love their neighbours as themselves. They participate in community projects that uplift the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner and immigrant. …

What happens when you offer your own “sacrifices” at the beginning of the year?

5 min read The answer to the question posed in the post’s title is—God shuts the heavens over you. God will not move on your behalf. Let me unpack this Israel was in decline. They had rebelled against Yahweh, his statutes and his prophets. Time and time again Yahweh sent prophets to warn them of impending doom but instead, they raised the middle finger to their God. Things got worse for them. They were struck with famines and droughts. They lost wars against enemies. They died from sickness and diseases. Yet despite their rebellion, God loved them, and when they turned to him he immediately turned their misfortunes into blessings. He healed them. He blessed them. He provided for them. He protected them. But as human nature loves to coil back to its default mode of sinning, they turned their backs against Yahweh time and time again.

Gird your New Year’s resolutions​ with grace

3 min read We cannot do without New Year’s resolutions. That’s the truth. Goal setting is as old as creation itself. After God created human beings, he set goals for them — be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue and have dominion. (Genesis 1:28) Adam Alter in his book Irresistible, writes, goals … are a biological imperative rather than a luxury or choice (Pg. 107) We are intrinsically goal-oriented beings.  Jenny and I make resolutions every New Year. We usually sit and write what we want to do in the coming year. We set goals and plans for the year ahead. We set goals as it concerns our health, spirituality, finances, friendships, in-laws, home, vacations, studies, career, ministry etc.

My experience​ at the TEDx Johannesburg 2018

Estimated Reading Time: 4 min, 32 sec On November 30th, 2018, I attended my first ever TEDx talk in Johannesburg. It had been a desire of mine for many years to attend the famed conference. When I got the opportunity, I took it. The TEDx is a meeting where great minds share their ideas on a specific theme. This year’s theme was Decoding Greatness. The theme was centered on Nelson Mandela and others like him. As you know, Nelson Mandela is an international icon who amongst others brought an end to apartheid. 18 speakers from diverse fields shared their own ideas on greatness using Nelson Mandela’s life as a prop. It was exciting, inspiring, and enlightening.

Into the throne of grace

Estimated Reading Time: 2 min, 42 sec Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) Jenny and I use Hebrews 4:16 often when we pray together. Most mornings before we leave the house we ask the Lord for grace. Just ten minutes of prayer and Holy Communion does it for us, and Hebrews 4:16 will undoubtedly be used in our prayers. Aren’t we spiritual people? Lol. Roll your eyes. A gospel purist would argue that New Covenant Christians are already (present tense) at the throne of grace, that we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places, that we are at the right hand of the Father, and Hebrews was written to Jews who needed instruction on the contrasts between the Old and New Covenant. I concede.  I had a look at the Greek word for to and saw something interesting. The Greek word for to is eis, which means to or into. To or into are prepositions and …

Grace starts small

© November 28, 2018 | Schulter Etyang There is an insatiable demand in life and for those of us in Christian ministry to do big things for God. The “big God, big dream” mantra is so alluring that everything less is deemed ungodly. This view has produced Charismatic Christians who refuse or are unwilling to start small. They will not sell themselves short. They might quote this scripture, “Do not despise these small beginnings,” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT) but it is just that, a quote. How they lead their lives tells a different narrative. I know of Charismatic Christians who will not pursue an opportunity they assume is insignificant for them. When you listen to their hopes and dreams, wow, you will want to crawl under your bed and hide. Their prayers are grandiose. The terminology employed to lay out the vision for their lives is preposterous. How is this varied from the world‘s way of doing things? The world, yes, does big things. Beyonce’s concerts, the Danube Island Festival, the IPO listing has to attract big money for the venture to …

Hey kid, you already know this, your parents are sinners too

© November 7, 2018 | Schulter Etyang Hey kid, Yesterday, I wrote a post advising your parents to view you through the lens of grace because you are a sinner. I’m hoping that by doing so, they’ll go easy on you, a tad easy. It’s not your fault you are a sinner. It’s Adam’s fault – Adam, the progenitor of humanity. We are in this mess because of him and his wife, Eve.  You are a sinner and you sin. You do you. Your parents, however, don’t get it. I alluded in yesterday’s post that they are dumbfounded, paralyzed, angry, and harsh towards you because they underestimate the strength of sin, and most forget they are sinners.  This post though is for you. And by you, I mean all of us. We all are kids. Most of us still have our parents around. Some, though, their parents have died yet have hangovers from their upbringing.

Christian parents (especially mothers), your kid is a sinner

© November 6, 2018 | Schulter Etyang I’ve been fortunate enough to associate well with older and younger people alike. Throughout the years, I’ve been privileged to lend an ear to parents and to their children within the same family. I get to hear both sides of the story. This happens often in spite of the fact that I have no children of my own. The same is true with Jenny. A father or mother would inform me what they think is wrong with their child, and when I listen to the child, the child gives me a different view of the same situation. Sometimes, those views are as varied as chalk and cheese.  Many children who come from families where the parents are Christians find it very difficult to relate to their parents. Christian parents are the most challenging to relate to because they are so blinded by their own spiritual experiences and jargon. These words are so familiar, “We didn’t raise this child like this, we taught them the right way, do they realize the sacrifices we‘ve made …

How grace helps us deal with competition in our marriage

© October 18, 2018 | Schulter Etyang When Jenny and I celebrated our seventh-year anniversary, I wrote a blog on some lessons that we had learned through the years. You can read the blog post here. One of the lessons we shared was this – we are on the same team. In this lesson, I indicated how early on in our marriage, we were highly competitive – competitive that we demeaned the other, subtly or at other times openly. A simple game of squash would end up with angry outbursts and simmering tension that would brew for days. When a friend of ours read the post, she remarked that I was being a bit touchy about the competitiveness and that she liked to compete. In the conversation, she spoke of how she played simple games with her daughter and loved the competition. What I didn’t tell her is that for us, a simple game of squash would bring out the competitive nature in us, and the ensuing tension would simmer for days. 

From death to life – the incredulity of grace

© October 12, 2018 | Schulter Etyang Jesus, in the book of John, introduced us to this symbiotic relationship that he had with his Father. (John 5:17-47 NKJV) The Greek word pater, is the equivalent to the Hebrew word Abba, for father. Jesus was, of course, speaking in Aramaic, and he would have used Abba in reference to his Father. The Jews heard this phrase and instinctively knew he was making himself equal with God and that made them mad. Mad is an understatement. They made plans to kill him.  Jesus, then, described this symbiotic relationship he had with his father. And in his long discourse, he made this shocking and improbable claim. John 5:25 (NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.