By Pastor E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
“It’s not the law of religion nor the principles of morality that define our highways and pathways to God; only by the Grace of God are we led and drawn, to God. It is His grace that conquers a multitude of flaws and in that grace, there is only favor. Favor is not achieved; favor is received.” ― C. Joy Bell
“Stop punishing yourself for things not accomplish yet in life. As long as there is life, there is hope. It is important for you to value who you are by the grace of God. Now, get set to improve that value!” ― Israelmore Ayivor
Acts 28:3-6 New International Version (NIV)
3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
Forward Thinkers, the snake should have killed Paul but grace had a plan for Paul’s life that didn’t include an early grave. Yes, Forward Thinkers grace has a plan for your future also, therefore; whatever it is you’re dealing with it, does not have the power to kill your divine destiny.
Forward Thinkers, before I travel deep into the text let me survey the reading audience. The key to being an effective author is to evaluate the audience and speak into their needs.
Forward Thinkers, the snake should have killed Paul and the snake probably had killed many other people before biting Paul but, grace saved Paul. Somebody reading the Houston Forward Times today is saying but Pastor Deckard what does that have to do with me.
Somebody reading this today went sip for sip the other night at happy hour and grace got them home safe while someone else at that same bar crashed, flipped, or caught a DWI. Forward Thinkers, the snake should have killed Paul.
Forward Thinkers, somebody reading this got caught up in a love triangle and is still here by grace but recent headlines across the county have read, “Man kills self after killing wife and her side lover”. Forward Thinkers, the snake should have killed Paul.
Forward Thinkers, somebody reading this article smoked something in college and still graduated by grace where as someone else smoked the same thing and their brain fried. Forward Thinkers, the snake should have killed Paul.
Divorced, fired from your job, sudden death of a love one, cancer, a negative experience took others out but grace birthed a testimony out of you. Forward Thinkers, the snake should have killed Paul.
Forward Thinkers, have I gotten to you yet? If you are “Straight Outta Grace” give God a shout of praise.
Let’s walk through the text:
The heat drove out the snake
Forward Thinkers, last year they acted like they didn’t know you but now that you’re hot they are all up on you. The work will cause the enemy to try to attach himself to you to kill you not to help you. Be careful of a sudden rush of new friends once you get hot.
The people didn’t run to help Paul but started running their mouths about Paul
3 Grace Stages of Life
- Your past will always be a topic of discussion but, you must understand if your past didn’t kill you back then it does have the power kill you now.
- Weak people can’t handle the fact grace brought you out.
- Never forget before Calvary, Jesus was straight outta Nazareth and many people missed their blessing because they were more focused on where Jesus had been rather than who Jesus was.
- When you got saved from you and became a new creature your whole life changed. Notice the people were afraid of Paul after he got saved. The people were still asking “Is that not Paul”.
- Can anybody here testify that grace became amazing when grace had the power to save you?
- Matter of fact is there anybody bold enough to shout thank God I’m not that person anymore.
- Forward Thinkers, please note neither the storm nor the snake could stop Paul because God’s grace was being manifested through Paul. Stay focused because at the manifestation stage the devil becomes real nervous about your future.
Paul shook the snake off
Forward Thinkers, it’s time to stand up and shake it off because, you have been holding on to it too long. Shake it right back into the fire it jumped out of.
Paul suffered no ill effects
As of Matter of fact, I’m boldly declaring, “You not getting worse but you are getting better”.
Forward Thinkers, the reverse effect is going to happen in your life and you are going higher, operating with a greater impact, and flowing with greater influence.
The people expected Paul to die
Forward Thinkers, tell your enemies sorry, but I can’t grant that request and also tell them to take a seat since they can’t stand to see you being blessed. Forward Thinkers, matter of fact tell them to take a lot of seats because the “best is still yet to come in your life”.
They waited a long time to see you fail but grace kept you strong
Forward Thinkers, don’t think everybody in your crowd is cheering for you; some are hanging around just to see you fail.
Forward Thinkers, God allowed you to go through all that so others could see his grace is real. In a world where people are turning away from the church, God let you go through something that would cause people to rethink their beliefs and run back to Him.
Forward Thinkers, as we conclude, notice after the snake bit Paul his anointing by God was to heal a town full of sick and dying people.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church now located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net