His “Grace-filled” Marriage Proposal

The bride is beautiful.  The groom lovingly gazes at her walking down the aisle.  The Love is felt by all in the room.  This is what dreams are made of.  All walk away realizing this was more than a day of gowns, cumberbunds and dancing.  This day was filled with a promise!

So what does this have to do with grace.   I know Jesus pursued me.  I was running away from Him, but He never gave up.  He loved me so much. 

For I have espoused (betrothed, promised) you to ONE husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2 b

I didn’t deserve it.  I never will deserve it, but He wanted me anyway.  Jesus is just like a groom, who loves his bride and will stand in front of the entire world, and proclaim his love for her!!  The earthly groom humbles his pride, spends his few dimes on a ring, and vows to love her, “for better or worse”! 

In the same way, Jesus, Our Groom,  humbled himself, came down from His Home in Heaven to an uncivilized earth (without technology, cars, or modern conveniences-a little off track, but this floors me!), and spent all His precious blood, and vows to love us, “for better or worse”. 

This is sometimes where we stop our definition of grace.  He loves us…so that’s IT, we aren’t to lift a finger.  Are we serious?? 

You’re now part of Christ’s body & are dead to the Law’s power. You’re free to BELONG to Christ, raised to life so we could serve God. Romans 7:4

What if we saw a wife being unfaithful to her husband.  I mean, it was blatant.  Not just speculation.  We caught her “in the act.”  So, we do the right thing and confront her.  Her response, “It’s okay, my husband loves me!”  Would we walk away saying, “that is true love.”?

I believe Grace is a two-sided coin.   First, Jesus frees us from the death that we knew and freed us to Himself, the Life-giver, we always wanted!  He makes us His Bride when we accept Him.   He saves us, protects us, fills us with His Spirit.  He lavishes us with His Love and Amazing Grace!

So you say, that’s it!  There is no second part to grace.  We don’ have to do a thing.  Grace is grace.  True, we have this unmerited favor! 

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?Romans 6:1

So now, we have freedom to what?  To do and say as we please?  To drag His Name we carry in the dirt?  No, a person who has truly received Grace knows it is precious.  It is an exquisite and costly honor.  We esteem that Grace by remaining  true to Him & never looking back! 

Do we recieve a family heirloom or beautiful piece of jewelry and throw it outside in the dirt or do we handle it with care? 

What do you think?  Is there a responsibility that comes with receiving Grace? 

What if accepting Christ is accepting His Marriage Proposal?

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Thank the Lord, I’m 40!

I am 40!!  I thank the Lord that I have had 40 years to live, so far.  I believe that if you are still  breathing, it means God has more in store for you to do. 

I praise God for my life.  I have gone through  difficult experiences, some I brought on myself and some just seemed to come out of nowhere.  But through the good and bad times, I have seen His faithfulness and Love to me. 

I think I can definitely say, the greatest lesson in life I have learned is “Forgiveness” .  Forgiveness only makes sense when we understand our relationship with God.  The longer I live,the more I realize we strive to be like Christ, but we constantly need His forgiveness, because we aren’t flawless.  Yet!

When we are humble and remember this, we can forgive a little easier.  We are not to live isolated from others.  We have to interact with the world.  Jesus said, “Go into all the world and make disciples”(Mark 28:19). Parents or a teacher get a message across best by living it out in front of another.   That means we have to communicate with others.  Guess what?  This means you will have occasion to get your “feelings” hurt.  You will be slighted.  You will be used.  You will have conflict. 

I have tapped into promises scripture outlines for those who love and forgive. 

“All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” Prov 15:15

 I don’t have to worry about my next meal as long as I don’t let the things around me bog me down.  People may not say what I would like to hear and things might not go according to plan, but God will take care of me.  His joy keeps me!

“A joyful heart is good medicine,
   but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Not only am I fed, but I have strength, healing, and energy.  I can rise above with His Word and His Joy even when facing a crisis.

“Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:31-32

Not only am I fed, strengthened, and healed, but I can emulate the One who forgave me!  He helps me forgive, because He keeps forgiving me and I know that if He can keep loving me, I have no right to hold a grudge toward anyone!

Also, one of my favorite promises, He gives us a beauty secret.  He tells us how we can keep looking good, at any age!

“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but with a heartache comes depression.” Prov.15:13

So I have been blessed to have 40 years, but I am happy to say that regardless of hard times I have faced, I can rejoice and thank God for His forgiving me and helping me forgive!  I might not see with my physical eye the good that God is working, especially when another does or says something hurtful, but I definitely have seen God use those circumstances in my past to show His glory.   How about you? 

“And we have known that to those loving God all things do work together for good, to those who are called according to purpose.” Romans 8:28 

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Your LOT in life

I love to hear stories about people who beat the insurmountable odds.  You know, the student with conviction rising above peer pressure or the underdog athlete who defeats the best of the best, and especially the team with little to no winnings beating out the all-star team. 

If there is one movie that can bring a tear to my manly husband’s eye, it is “Rudy”.  Overcoming hardship.  Shocking the naysayers.  Rising above the status quo!! In a movie or a book, it is inspiring.  Right?  

Although every great storyline purposefully has someone facing  tragedy, tough times, or failure; it seems when life doesn’t give us “ready-made” lemonade,  many sink into depression, withdrawal, or become the slighted victims of circumstance. 

I am not going to write a whole blog about enjoying suffering or savoring each moment of woe, because that would never be the true “me” and not only that, but I know God wants great things for our lives.  He made beautiful, that which was ugly.  He gave us life, when we were headed for death.  He is not a giant puppeteer amused by our missteps or waiting for our lives to be ravaged by evil.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

God’s Word promises that in this world we would have trouble.  Even Jesus, who was perfect, was affected by a fallen world, but never fell to “self-pity” or depression.  He definitely had every right to complain as He handled every situation perfectly.  His mouth didn’t get in the way, like mine, sometimes, does.  He did and spoke all He heard God, the Father speak. 

God’s Word speaks over and over to never give up and to encourage other believers that hard times are inevitable. 

“strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.”Acts 14:22

I know that certain situations are devastating.  Some situations,  I have never dealt with and can’t truly say I can be completely empathetic. I have never lost my parents, yet my husband lost his mom last year.  It was difficult to find words of comfort, but it seemed like my husband grew so much through that experience.  Her last days, he read the word to her and we sang worship choruses while my husband played the guitar.  We rejoiced in the “hope” of seeing “momma” again and having her “picture perfect” biscuits and desserts. 

I don’t know what you are going through.  I only know that God promised to make you “more than a conqueror”, not just “more than a victim”!  He promised that He was greater than what you’re facing!!

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

“Dear children, you belong to God. So you have won the victory over these people, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

You have got to know, your story is not over.  This might just be the hurdle you have to jump.  Every great story has the “CRUX”!  Do you know what the Merriam~Webster Dictionary says that is?  A puzzling or difficult problem.  Do you know where this word originated? Latin cruc-, crux cross, torture  

CROSS!  It came from what Jesus was nailed to and what we gain victory through!!  My heart wants to shout it out!  This is the “crux” of your story. 

Don’t allow the devil to lie and tell you this is “Your lot in life” or you never win or you should just give up.  The antagonist in a story always belittles and puts down his greatest threat!  Think about it!  You are “highly favored”.  You are on this earth for a purpose!  Not because you can do it, but because God can do it through you!

“God wanted His people throughout the world to know the glorious riches of this mystery-which is Christ living in you, giving you the Hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

 

Now, allow God to take your adversity and the circumstances you are facing.  He is able to  bring you out Victorious!!    He knows how to solve the puzzle of your life.   He is not in a quandary about how to bring you through.  If He can part a Red Sea, He can see you through, if you trust in HIM!

You have a “LOT IN THIS LIFE”  He still wants to do!!

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Everything I Ever Hoped For

Have you ever been disappointed by someone? Someone close.  Someone you admired and loved.  Someone with whom you shared your insecurities and strengths. They got you, understood you, and then, BOOM! Without warning, you felt the carpet pulled out from underneath you.  If you are anything like me, something drives you to do a full-fledged investigation as to THE person’s motive.  Then, like a current that comes back in to shore, thoughts of what I did wash over my mind.  Many times, motive or blame are as intangible as the tides. 

A few months ago, I disappointed someone.  They absolutely did “Nothing” to cause my actions.  I truly never wanted to hurt them ever, but guess what? I did. 

Ugh.  That is the worst, because I’d rather be disappointed than disappoint, you know?

If you have been in either position, I want to tell you.  We are all flawed.  We all have areas we are weak in and thankfully areas we are growing stronger in. 

Therefore, when a person thinks, `I am strong; I can stand,’ let that person be careful, or he will fall.1 Cor.10:12

We can’t ever think we are perfect,or that faulty board we think we are firmly standing on, might come up and hit us , smack-dab, right between the eyes.

Thankfully, the person I disappointed, didn’t abandon our friendship and actually the whole experience proved to me, their utmost  value.  I still want to kick myself when I think about hurting them, but they became “heroic” in my eyes! 

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

So, guess what?

Before time began, someone loved You!

God’s love actually started before you or I  had even been born. He loved us, before we even knew He existed.  Before we made one step towards Him, He loved us; even when “on purpose” we abandoned anything that had to do with Him!

We all want a love that “will not let us go”.  We want a “Love for a lifetime”.  Don’t you know the only “perfect” Love is found in Jesus?! If you think for one second, that there is a better love down here on earth, I might just inform you, disappointment is inevitable.  You will see that human love is flimsy and fragile.  We need something a little better than our Elmer’s glue love, right?  We need something that holds through all circumstances.  All the good times as well as all the bad times.  Something “Supernatural”!   Gratefully, just as a child traces an image out of a book, we have the “Original” and He is there to help us “get close” to His Image! 

But he said to me, “My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.”

   So I am very happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ’s power can rest on me. 2 Cor.12:9

I personally think the more disappointments we experience, makes us realize we need Him.  Jesus said we would inevitably be hurt and disappointed. 

Jesus told his disciples, “Situations that cause people to lose their faith are certain to arise. But how horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith! It would be best for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large stone hung around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to lose his faith. So watch yourselves! Luke 17:1-2

If a glimmer of this love was seen in us, people around us, even Christians :), would see a little bit of Heaven on Earth.  There was a reason, Jesus said,

The greatest of these is Love.1 Cor.13:13

I choose to love.  I might not be an exact Original of the Master’s Love, but I know if I let Him show me and mold me, I can get closer.  

His Love is Everything I ever hoped for and nothing I ever deserved!   I guess that is why we can’t wrap our minds around it.  It has mesmerized millions, but remains unchanging through the ages.  Lord, let us love like you loved us!  Others need to know that kind of Love does exist!

 

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“Totalled”

What if our life was  like a car? 

What if sin was like a “head-on collision”? 

I guess this whole imagery was made real to me, because I found myself going down a road that seemed innocent enough and then, “Bam!”  My world was rocked by a poor decision that led to another, until I saw clearly.  I was headed right into dangerous territory. 

It seems we make excuses for certain “sins”, while condemning others for the sins  we have no problem avoiding.  I might never be faced with “stealing”, but have I ever taken the phone call of one  “bearing  false witness against a neighbor”?  How many times have we made the Bible like a Sports Play Book.  We overanalyze sin until it isn’t “technically” sin.  We would never “commit adultery”, but do we mentally wonder what it would be like to be married to “Him” or “Her”?  Or do we “covet” our neighbor’s car or house, but  secretly, so we can’t be accused of it. 

I found myself letting myself off “on a technicality”, but where could I back this defense for my sin?  I found the only scripture that applied to me was

“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one”.”Romans 3:10

So does that mean I am “totalled”? If I fail the test and sin, does that make me of no use to the kingdom of God?  No, it is still part of my amazing walk with Christ.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:18

I constantly have to humble myself.  Daily, I must realize I need Him and His Spirit to reveal to me that I haven’t arrived. 

But the path of righteous people is like the light of dawn
      that becomes brighter and brighter until it reaches midday.Proverbs 4:18

He helps me to see  I have sins that need to be dealt with, in order for me to be closer to Christ’s image.

“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and…put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” Ephesians 4:23-24

Why do we hate this? Pride. We hate to admit we blew it. We hate to be viewed as deficient.  We want to take the keys and the controls, but we know who should be in the Driver seat.  It is an awful place to have to repent, but it is an awfully freeing place, too. 

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret 2 Corinthians 7:10a

The  beauty of the word, “Totalled” is although commonly used for a car crash in which the car is of no value.  It also means total or complete and to the one  insuring that vehicle usually means a check or vehicle of the same value is warranted. 

When we come to God with our “totalled” lives,  He redeems us.  Great thing is, He definitely sees more value in us and we are given a brand new life!  He sees what we will be! 

Knowing this, daily letting Him have the wheel of our lives definitely makes better sense!

 My dear friends, we are already God’s children, though what we will be hasn’t yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. 1John 3:2

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God of all comfort and of all, us, Comforters

What separates the masses? 

Is it really personality, style, race, religion, or creed?  I have been in situations where I have seen a rich man cry over the breakup of his marriage. I have seen a poor woman’s frustration concerning a child, who has left home to make a name for themself and they rarely call home.  As a teacher, I have held hands with children that look nothing like me physically, but wanted the love of a parent.   We all want love and acceptance. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.2Corinthians 1:3-5

We aren’t too different. We all long for acceptance and reassurance. I know there will be some that say, I am not needy.  I could manage without a “pat on the back”, but there have been several studies that shows human encouragement are the building blocks to a healthy state of mind.

One of Maslow’s levels of needs is the achievement of self-esteem *(Maslow, 1954).  One aspect of this is the esteem we receive from others **(Rowan, 1998).  People develop a need to be respected by those they respect.  Maslow suggests that satisfying this need leads to feelings of self-confidence, worth, strength, and of being useful and necessary in the world (Rowan, 1998).  However, Maslow (1987) also indicates that not satisfying this need produces feelings of inferiority, weakness and helplessness.

Here’s a little analogy with some real truth in it:

One day, the devil was auctioning off his tools. That is, all but one tool. It was such a high price, no one could afford it. When someone asked why, he said, “That’s my favorite tool. It’s the tool of discouragement. I use it to pry open a life and when I get inside, I can do all kinds of damage with my other tools of hatred, lust, envy, jealousy, and pride.”~Adrian Rogers

I guess sometimes as we go along in our day, we look at the differences in those around us, and it blocks us from being the representative of “The God of All Comfort”.  I am not saying advocating and encouraging sin or approving unGodly lifestyles; but if we are open to Christ’s heart of compassion, we’ll see many, along the way, who need an encouraging word. 

Are you a comforting person?  Are you an encourager or are you one who discourages?  You could be the difference in a person’s healthy perception of who God has made them to be.  Many who have given themselves to unhealthy or addictive behaviours have allowed what others say about them control their behaviour or affect their self-image.  

Contrary to the well-known saying, words CAN hurt us, affecting our self-esteem and level of confidence, causing us stress and unhappiness and this is especially true when we consider what words we use when we describe ourselves.-Kristin Hutchings

So, because we have a relationship with the God of all comfort, let’s be the Comforters we are called to be!  Go!

*Maslow, A. H. (1954).  Motivation and personality.  New York:  Harper & Row.
**Rowan, J. (1998).  Maslow amended.  Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 38, 81-92.
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If You Were a Product, What Would Be Your Slogan?

I love quotes. 

I could sit for hours, reading, to find one  nugget of truth or “googling” quotes by history changers.  Just a few that hold my attention are C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer , and  Leonard Ravenhill.  Anyone that reads their writings can tell what occupied their thoughts and motivated them to greatness.

This is why I write.  I don’t assume my writing is on par with these theologians, but I do think that what a person dwells on and writes about is a  testament to  “who” they are.

A slogan is defined as,  “A phrase expressing the aims or nature of an enterprise, organization, or candidate; a motto,” The Free Dictionary. What phrase that you use, would people say expresses who you are?

If someone were to look over your life or things you wrote down, what would they find?  Did you seem positive, negative, indifferent, wishy-washy? 

The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Prov. 21:23

I think as Christians, we have to watch what we say.  I know we say “actions speak louder than words”, and this is true; but if we say something, it is the “building blocks”  of our actions.

As a child, a few phrases stick out to me.  Names people called me.  Praise I received. Verses I learned.  I can recall the people who said them and those words are the time capsule (in my mind) of the person who spoke them.  What did Jesus say about our words and the quotes people will remember us to have said?

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” Matt.12:36

We all say things.  We all have said some things we don’t mean.  Jesus reminded us how words would affect us. 

  “By your words you will be declared innocent, or by your words you will be declared guilty.”Matt. 12:37

I have to say, I have not always been proud of things I have spoken.  If I am quoted, let it be powerful words that catapult people towards Christ.  May the destructive words that hurt or broke someone’s heart, hopefully be forgiven and forgotten.

People will remember you.  Most likely that will include something you have spoken. 

If you were a product, what would be your slogan?

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