Master of Science in Leadership, graduate with honors Kristopher Phillips

December 11, 2021

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV)

My husband, Kris,  received his Master of Science in Leadership yesterday at the ripe old age of fifty-two.  I am beyond excited and so very proud of him.  He decided during the corona  shutdown to pursue his graduate degree.  He told me, “You study all the time.  I think I will, too.” Study, he did.  He was tirelessly committed to excelling and earning his Masters’ degree.

The difference between Kris and I is that I am blessed to rise early and study as long as I desire. 

He, on the other hand, worked full-time as Vice President of Advancement at Austin Peay State University. He hosted and attended a multitude of after-work events as necessitated by his occupation. Somehow, by the grace of God, he then found the strength and endurance  to write, write, write into the wee hours of the night, as required by his class load.  And, since he had nothing else to do, he worked out at Orange Theory five days a week and lost close to fifty pounds.  The man worked!!  He resolutely labored hard for everything he earned and attained.  I cannot cheer for him loud enough!!!

 I share his story to show the depth of commitment required to attain.  I AM SO THANKFUL that we do not have earn our salvation, nor do we have to pass a test to graduate or to garner our ticket to eternity.  No checklist has to be completed.  No work has to be done.  Jesus did it ALL for us on the cross.  He paid the price.  He worked tirelessly for the Father.  He sacrificed.  He was THE Sacrifice.  He, alone, earned our way into “forever.”  It was by grace that He saved  us through faith. It is not us!  We cannot do anything to earn salvation. We cannot do better, give more , nor work harder to gain entrance into the Father’s presence.  It is Jesus alone.  It is the gift of God.  It is not our works.

What a gift we were given! 

I enCOURAGE you to work hard.  It has its rewards.  More importantly, I enCOURAGE you to accept the gift of God, Jesus.   I could not share with you a greater present at Christmas than Jesus.  I couldn’t gift you a car, a Rolex, an island, or even pay off all your bills.  They all pale in comparison to the sacrificial gift God gave us.  His name is Jesus.  Accept God’s free gift.  Invite Him into every area of your life. 

Then…you can start working on your rewards.  Yes, God is a giving God.  We don’t have to work our way to Him, but what we do for Him and how we obey His word, He rewards.

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27 NKJV)

Now he who plants, and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:8 NKJV)

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.”(Jesus, Revelation 22:12 NKJV)

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