Posts tagged ‘Divine grace’

An Invitation

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come follow me”, Jesus said; “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.  

Matthew 4:18-20

memory lane

A couple of weeks ago Jim and I went to his home church to worship with his family. As the service began, the minister did his greeting and in his greeting he shared this thought: “When we invite someone to church, we are asking them to be part of God’s family and to join us on the journey to heaven.”   I loved this statement and it made my heart smile.

walking

Have you ever taken a trip with a group of friends? If you have, you probably experienced lots of laughter, fellowship, maybe a sing-a-long or two, and even some tears along the way. Yet, no matter the conditions, the ups and the downs, in the end, you would not trade that memory for anything in the world. You were glad you made the trip and may have even gotten to know someone a little better as you traveled together.  Not only did you get to know someone a little better but if your heart was opened, you probably learned a little more about yourself. You learned things of where you may need to ease up on or things you need to focus on more.

people

The spiritual journey is very much the same as taking a trip with a group of friends. In this journey, you fellowship with others, you laugh together, cry together, and even may get upset with one another from time to time. Yet, along the way you learn more about the person you are walking with and little more about yourself. Thus, the end result is you are day by day walking closer with the Lord.

walking with others

People are in different places in their spiritual journey and some have not even begun to plan for that journey. It is the responsibility as Christians that they not only keep walking daily with Christ in their journey but to be in tuned to those God places in their path’s and to meet them where they are at on their journey. If they are not even at the starting phase of their journey, people need to reach out a hand of grace and unconditional love and let the person know that no matter what they are welcomed on the journey. Then, just start walking with them from where they are at and before you know it they are walking along growing in their faith. As they grow, you grow, too.

There are also times when you are on your journey you may see someone who is a little further along than you.  Please know that is okay and that person will stop and come back  and meet you where you are at and will walk with along with you. In this stopping and going back to meet you where you are at, they are demonstrating all the more God’s grace and love. The end result is still the same. Faith gets a little stronger and everyone is still heading for the same destination.

journey

In the days ahead of walking on your journey, invite others to walk with you and journey with you through this world. Just remember, that our journey is much like a race, we don’t all get to the finish line at the same time but we can help one another along the way.  Invite someone on the journey. As the saying goes; “the more the merrier!”

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What’s Your Message?

English: Watching me watching you

“Shepherds of the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion by willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chef Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade.”  1 Peter 5:2-4

Back in the 1980’s, there was a song with the lyrics; “I always feel like somebody’s watching me.” No matter where this person in the song was, he felt as though someone was watching.  Yes, it was a fun and catchy song for the time but it had some truth in it as well.

How many of us like to people watch? I know my husband and I enjoy people watching especially when we are out-of-town. We watch and wonder where people are from and where they are going. We enjoy watching children at play and interacting with their families on vacation.

Though we enjoy people watching, do we realize that there are people watching us as Christians? In our every day walks of life, people are watching our actions and re-actions.  When they are watching us do they see the message we proclaim in action? Do they see us putting grace into action when we get into a pickle or someone upsets us?  Convicting isn’t it?

Today, I had a conviction of heart on how I stand on a certain issue. I had posted my stance on my timeline. As I did this, I sent a  text to my son, Drew regarding what I had done. Of course with him be the social media guru that he is, I knew he would probably send me his opinion/response as soon as he could. And, he did. I liked what he sent to me;I find it odd to make a public declaration when it’s just as easy to live it without words.”  In my postsWise Guy, I share how Drew can zing his dad and me from time to time. And, this text is an example of him zinging me. Those words he sent zinged my heart and really got me to thinking even more and deeper.

After receiving this text and texting him back on how right on he was, I took the stance on this particular issue off my timeline. I realized I not only can  say my stance through my actions, what I post, share on Facebook, through emails but it is  simply how I live each day. This statement made me realize that people are watching me as much as I am watching them.

Have you heard the saying; “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything?” It is so true.  Sometimes, we need to put what we believe in writing but it is not our writing, what we share on Facebook and through emails that are going to say to people where we stand on certain issues.  It is how we live and what we do in our every day actions. As Christians, we are a living testimony of what it means to be living in the Kingdom. Sometimes, we are the only bible a person may read.  In this walking and living testimony, we do need to take a stand for God and the rules/values that he expects us to live by. If we don’t take a stand for God and his values, we will begin to fall and believe that certain ways of the world are okay. And, people are watching for us even closer in these certain situations. There are those who would love nothing better than to see us fall.

Are we going to fall? Yes, we will fall at times. It is all a part of being human. Yet, as Christians, we know we can ask for grace/forgiveness, get up and dust ourselves off and move on towards  perfection.  We are not a perfect people but we are a forgiven people working and walking towards perfection each day to glorify God and his Kingdom.

So, do you feel like somebody is watching you?  My guess is that somebody is watching you.  Now, that you know they are watching, are you walking the talk, walking the stance you take on certain issues and are you showing how a Christian acts and re-acts in certain situations?  I know that these are convicting questions.  Before writing this post, I went through these very  questions of conviction in my heart and my life. And, boy! I have stumbled a few times! Yet, I know that I can ask for God’s grace and start anew at this very moment.

Maybe you have been walking differently from the way you have been talking. If so, stop and talk to God. Ask God for his forgiveness and grace.  After all, part of being a living testimony is people seeing us on our knees asking for God’s mercy and grace. Then, as they watch on, they see us rise up ready to move on walking in the light and grace of God.

Remember; “there IS always somebody watching you.” What’s your message?

 

Blessings

Emptying My Jar….Priceless!

2 Corinthians 4:7-17

New International Version (NIV)

 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[a] Since we have that same spirit of[b] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

Jars can contain many things. If you looked in my fridge right now, you would see many jars. One jar contains mayo, another pickles, another bread starter and the list would go on. These jars are jars with contents that the human eye can see and we paid a price for these jars that hold the various items we use in our daily lives. Yet, I want to share about another jar that I have in my life. This jar is priceless.

The jar I am talking about is me. I am merely a jar.  Inside this jar is a God shaped space that only Jesus can fill.  It is through my writings that I attempt to share my faith and the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ.  Each time I write, I ask God for His wonderful love to be revealed and seen through me.  I also ask God to give me the strength, the words and the power to convey what others are searching for in a chaotic world.

Is emptying my jar of my priceless contents always easy? No.  There are moments when I have no clue of what I need to write or share. It is in those times, I need to seek even more His presence, listen to His voice, and ask Him for guidance and direction.  Most times, the topics I write about are not the ones I thought I would write,  and I have written on topics I did not think I would touch. This happens when God pours His power and His contents into my jar.

There have been times where I have been criticized about what I have written. In every situation, there is always a critic. For a while, this bothered me but then I realized that God was placing them in my path for a reason. Not only in my writing have I encountered critics but I have encountered from time to time over the years in my Christian walk. It is through these critics and trials that I have walked through where I experienced God’s grace and presence all the more.  In this process, I learned more about myself, dug my heels in a little deeper in my faith, and faced the importance of accountability.  In my sharing faith, I am accountable to my readers, to God, and most of all to myself. Each evening, as I wash my face, I look in the mirror and ask; “did others see God in me today?” “Did others see the true contents of my jar?”

There have been times when I sit at the computer with a blank screen wondering how to word a thought God has placed in my heart, or feeling too tired or burned to write.  My summer was a good example of feeling too weary and overwhelmed to answer where I would muster up the energy to even write. “Who wants to hear from someone who is weary?” “Am I better just shutting off the computer and moving on in life?” Yet, as I asked myself these questions, God would supply what I needed. It was through the weariness, the trials, and constant running where I saw God’s blessings the most.  Thus, giving more contents to spill out of my jar to share with others. God showed me how my sufferings  were opening doors of opportunities to share God’s grace, love and peace.

Every day, God gives me a new day. He awakens me with a full jar of contents that He instructs me to pour out and share with others as I go through my day. Yes, there are days where the words and energy aren’t simply there. There are days with more trials than others. But, in the end, I still empty my contents to the best of my ability so that others will experience God’s wonderful presence, grace and learn of a wonderful eternal home.

How about you?  Do others see the contents of your jar?  I encourage you to invite God to fill the empty recesses of your jar with priceless contents. Then, as jar is filled, empty your jar for others to see the love of  God and is wonderful grace.  The results of emptying your contents are priceless!

Blessings

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Brain Freeze…How To Avoid Them

Ice Cream Dessert

Image via Wikipedia

How many times have you been eating ice cream, drinking a cold shake or drink a little too fast? Yes, the minute we slurp that cold item, it goes straight to our head causing a sharp momentarily headache. This headache is better known as brain freezeWe shake off the brain freeze and a few minutes later we do the same thing again! You would think we would learn  our lesson the first time. But, we soon forget and forge on to another brain freeze.

Now, think about the things you do in life. How many things do we do knowing that in the end result is not going to be good? We eat that big meal. Then, as we feel sleepy from eating and our pants feel a little too tight, we promise ourselves and those around us that we will not to that again! Yet,at  the next big family reunion, without remorse we over eat again! For some of us it may be shopping too much. We get the credit card paid off promising ourselves not to charge a thing again. Then, the next big sale or holiday, we are out there charging all over again and sometimes opening a new one just to receive that extra ten percent off. The list could go on of the things we do in life that aren’t good for us and yet we do them again and again. Yes, this is what I call brain freeze!

As humans, we are weak. When God created us, He knew that we would stumble at times and would experience the occasional brain freeze. Knowing that we would experience an brain freeze here and there, He sent us His Son, Jesus to show us that we can be healed from the momentary headache. It is through the messages of Christ that we are also told that God still loves us when we stumble. Brain freezes have taken place over the ages.

King David  experienced an occasional brain freeze. Look at the many times he messed up, confessed and then would mess up again. Yet, God loved David all the same. It is through the line of David we were given our redemption through Christ. Did you catch that word, redemption? Yes, once we confess our sin, we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. The key is to NOT repeat the same action again that caused that sharp headache in the first place.

Today, tomorrow, in the days ahead, we are going to be tempted by the very thing that gave us that brain freeze in the recent days. It is then when we need to give that temptation to God. Seek His grace and remember the ramifications of that particular brain freeze. If we have recently experienced that brain freeze and have not confessed it to our God, now is the time to do so. God already knows what we have done but he wants us to confess to Him. It is all a part of being in relationship with our Creator.

The next time you are drinking that chocolate shake or eating that bowl of ice cream, go about it slowly. Avoid that ugly headache. When you go about it slowly, you will savor the flavor all the more. May we walk slowly with caution with our God and be aware of His presence. Remember,  we can avoid those awful sharp headaches. Not only will we avoid the brain freeze, but we will be able to savor the blessings God gives us all the more.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”

Hebrews 4: 14-16 

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The Grace Card…don’t leave home without it!

Are You Living God’s Grace?

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The last few days,I have caught myself humming the lyrics to an old hymn written by Julia H. Johnston which are “Grace, grace God’s grace; Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.”  As I reflect on the meaning of these lyrics of this old familiar hymn, I think about all the times God’s grace has entered into situations in my life.  Then, I reflect on how I can demonstrate that same grace given to me to those around me.

Grace, grace, God’s grace” hums through my mind as I wait patiently for my order to be brought out at a restaurant. The service was not very quick this particular morning. But, I was having  wonderful conversation and fellowship with a dear friend. Our server kept assuring us that our order would be out soon. Now, I could have gotten upset, looked for the manager, complained and ruined a perfectly good visit. Instead, I chose to use the grace card.  You see, I only saw one side of the situation. There could have been a number of things going wrong in the kitchen to slow up the order. It was not for me to judge nor correct.  My task was to simply use my grace card.

There are times when I may be at a check out counter and the clerk is struggling to check me out. They apologize and again I tell them “it’s ok.” I have worked retail and I know what computers can do, when new sales are not put in and what it is like to have something going on personally making it hard to focus on the job. Again, the grace card is issued.

God issued each one of us a grace card. His grace card covers all with no interest.  As God extends His grace to us, it is our responsibility to extend His  grace to others.  Ephesians 4:32 says; “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,even as God in Christ forgave you.”  When we use our grace card, we are truly a witness for Christ.  Our using the grace card can make what could be a potentially tense and bad situation a situation that is bearable as well making someone’s bad day a little better.

We all have a busy week ahead. As we prepare to leave the house, we will make sure we have our cell phone, blackberry, wallet, purse, keys and such. But, as we collect these items to journey out for the day, let’s  be sure we have our  grace card…we  don’t want to leave home without it!”

Blessings,

“We never cry out to God and receive a returned check stamped ‘Insufficient Grace.’ “

Are You Prepared?

Tsunami Evacuation Platform in Yaizu, Shizuoka...

Image via Wikipedia

For the last several days our eyes have stayed glued to the news and the happenings in Japan.  They have suffered not only one disaster but three disasters. First, the earthquake, then tsunami and now the nuclear power plants are experiencing critical cooling problems. As most of us watch, we shake our heads in bewilderment, we send up a prayer for these victims and most of us will give to a cause that will help these people recover from such disasters. Of all developed countries, Japan was probably the most prepared and safety conscious country.  If they had not been prepared, there would probably be even more loss of life and destruction.

When such disasters happen as they have recently in Japan, there are  thoughts of wonder if we are in the end of times. Yet,  it is not for us to know or question.  Jesus, Himself does not know when He is to return. He will return when His father tells Him that it is time. The important thing we need to be concerned with is are we prepared?

When disasters hit such as what has happened in Japan, it wakes us all  up. It causes us to go through our check list of preparedness. Do we have bottled water? Do we have plenty of food stocked up, batteries, flashlights, and first aid items? Just as disaster reminds us to update our preparedness for potential disaster, we also need to stayed prepared for when Christ does come.

How do we stay prepared? First, we must accept Jesus as our Saviour and establish a relationship with Him.  Jesus tells us in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  We must have the Scriptures written on our hearts. Be in constant communication with God through our relationship with Christ. Confess our sins and seek forgiveness.   Everyday, demonstrate God’s grace, love and forgiveness. 

Not only are we to be prepared, but, we are to help others be prepared for His coming back.  Acts 1:8 tells us,  you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  Are we preparing others? Are we witnessing for Christ?

Jesus’ return may or may not happen in our lifetime. But, when He does return, it is my prayer that there will be many  people who  will be knocked off their feet by the splendor and awesomeness of His presence and not because they weren’t prepared.  In the days ahead, go through your check list of preparedness for Christ’s return. Are you prepared? Are  you helping others to prepare?

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Matthew 24:36 

Blessings

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