Adoption, Gifts and Rewards

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him (God) for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”

On October 13, I am going to be sharing my testimony and speaking on this verse at the Shine Ministries conference in St Louis. I am so excited.

In preparation, I have really been studying each word and that word REWARDS just keeps jumping out at me. I keep thinking, “So, if the wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23), if to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due (Romans 4:4), then how does this all fit together? How am I to be rewarded if I really deserve death?”

The way I see it is this – the adoption piece is what’s missing. Our adoption in as sons and daughters is a gift. Our faith is a gift. Becoming children of the very real God, that’s a gift.

And yet, after becoming His children, He rewards us.

There are several Greek words that are translated as ‘reward’ but let’s focus on “misthos“.

This word is used in 1 Corinthians 3:14 “If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward (misthos).”

Or how about Matthew 10:42, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward (misthos).”

And Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward (misthos) is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

One last one, 2 John 1:8, “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward (misthos).”

I pray I haven’t lost you already, but do you see that each of these verses are promising a heavenly reward for the work that we have done on earth? This word misthos is translated as a REWARD.

But get this, look with me again at that amazing verse Romans 4:4, “Now to the one works, his wages (misthos) are not counted as a gift (charis) but as his due.”

Misthos is not only translated as reward, it is also translated as wages. This got me thinking — what really is a reward? Is it a gift?

Suddenly, I understood. A reward is not a gift. A reward is actually something you earn. Something you merit. Something you deserve.

I’ve won my share of awards over the years, and been rewarded with my share of plaques. Whether in debate or art contests or science fairs or school competitions (no sporting events, mind you) but every single time I have earned those prizes. I wasn’t just a spectator in the audience who was chosen at random.

In fact, just last week we went on a tour of the Memphis Metal Museum and I won this cool hook.

20130906-073906.jpg

But this was my REWARD, my wages earned because the tour guide asked, “What are the three things a blacksmith needs?” And I shot my hand up in the air faster than anyone else and she chose me to answer and I got it right: a hammer, an anvil and a forge. And because of that work, I earned the reward of the very hook we had just watched the blacksmith create.

God is our good father who blesses His children with rewards for our deeds done in this life, in this body, but salvation is not one of those rewards. Salvation is a gift. Charis. Grace. Favor.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace (charis) you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift (doron) of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

I urge you to go grab your Bible right now and read Ephesians 2 in its entirety. You won’t be disappointed!

And if you’d like more on this topic, you might enjoy this article. (Click on that blue word. It’s a link.)

Maybe tomorrow we will dig into this new word, doron. Stay tuned.

TWIG

Thankful

20130901-222855.jpg

Thank you, God, for giving us Daniel.
Thank you, God, for giving us Daniel.
Thank you, God, for giving us Daniel.
Right where he is.

As my youngest child celebrates his sixth birthday, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God. I count myself blessed to have each one of my children and today I especially thank Him for this one. This little guy who steals my heart away every time he snuggles up to me for a hug or a kiss.

Thank you, God, for his sweet smile, his desire to please his mommy, for his quick ‘ok’ response to most any statement or question. Thank you, God, for his exuberant spirit, for his inquisitive nature, for his fascination in all things new and different.

Lord, he is so precious to me. Thank you for blessing me with him for these six years.

I ask You to bless him with a life full of love for You. Please, Father, bless him with a wife who supports and encourages him, who helps him to be more than he could be on his own. Bless him one day with a home full of children to continue the godly legacy of the Endraske name. Strengthen Daniel to be a man who leads his wife and children as he serves them and serves You with joy in his heart. I pray that You would be glorified in this child, both now and on into adulthood. Strengthen Bill and I to do the hard things, to train him up in the way he should go, to be godly examples for him.

Thank you, Lord. Thank You.

Amen

TWIG

Scripture Memory

1 Timothy 4:7b-8
“…Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

20130827-070529.jpg

So, I guess I’ll leave my Wages Due topic for a while to teach on a topic dear to my heart – Scripture Memory.

Truly, God’s Word is powerful in a way no other word is. It truly is living and active and we should be storing it in our hearts that we would not sin against our Heavenly Father.

Over the years, I have used many different methods to memorize scripture with my children. My kids and I have primarily memorized whole chapters (or almost whole chapters), including Matthew 7, Psalm 139, Ephesians 6, Titus 2 and Colossians 3.

Additionally, our children have been involved in the AWANA ministry off and on since our oldest daughter, Emily, was a 3 year old little Cubbie. In fact, the first verses I memorized intentionally would have been with her. I can still remember A is for All – all have sinned and C is for Christ – Christ died for us, because of AWANA Cubbies.

But, as a woman, I have struggled to maintain a personal commitment to scripture memory on my own apart from my children. This is where Sweet Journey by Teri Maxwell really helped me to see my own need to memorize for myself.

Then, my sister told me about a great website and iPhone app called Scripture Typer which has really, really blessed me. I have entered there many new verses to learn as well as many old ones I have memorized before so I can keep them fresh in my mind. Without consistent review, I do forget that stored up word. Yet, it is still in there and either way I am still so thankful for the verses I studied even 10 years ago because God truly does bring them to my mind when I need them.

This brings me to today. My younger daughter Noelle has been memorizing character trait definitions along with accompanying Bible verses with her class at church. The 1 Timothy 4 verse at the top is what she is to recite at church this Sunday morning. As we have been reviewing it together, I see all the more the need for discipline in my everyday life, including scripture memory.

I am teaching Sunday School right now and leading the students in a study of Psalm 139 including its memorization. When Noelle was not yet 5 years old, she (along with her older brother and sister) had memorized it and recited it at church. Here’s a link to the video. I pray it would bless you. (By the way, Noelle still remembers much of it even though we have rarely reviewed it over the last 5 years). Be encouraged.

Psalm 139 recitation at church

What are you working on memorizing?
Have you found any helpful methods or programs you’d like to share?

Wages Due, Part Four

Psalm 103:8-13
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

20130826-073112.jpg

This morning join me in praising God that He does not deal with me according to my sins. That His love is steadfast. That His steadfast love is as great as the heavens are high above the earth.
And yet He is as full of justice as He is love. So He sent His own Son to remove my transgressions from me. That by His Son my transgressions have been removed from me as far as the east is from the west.
Thank you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
TWIG