Tag Archives: righteous person

Discernment

8 Aug

As a Christian we are given many gifts. The Holy Spirit,  our intercessor and helper, is an important gift.  The Word of God is also His precious gift. In the pages of His amazing book, chapter after chapter, God shows Himself to us fully. He speaks to us. He directs our steps. He gives us the gift of discernment.

Discernment is something we as women are not very good at when it comes to our heart. We tend to lead with our hearts. He tells us to put our faith and trust in Him, yet we can discount discernment for fear of not being loved or liked. Fear of upsetting someone.

We are to love people, and trust God.  Why does He tell us this? He tells us this to protect us. Not because we are weaker, or because we a gullible, but because we all fall short. When we place our trust in God, and not in the words man tells us, when we seek Him first, seek discernment, He protects us. Whether or not we listen to Him, He is trying to protect us.

Broken people do what ever they need to do, to not have discomfort.  I have ignored God’s voice, the Holy Spirit, when He has been cautioning me.  I  have defended people, even when I found them in lies. I have been unconsciously unwilling to really hear God, worse, unwilling to trust Him fully instead. I have ended up with mighty painful lessons.

In the end, what they choose isn’t about us. It is about their battle. What we choose is. We absolutely may suffer, we may be collateral damage, and it can be painful, but in the end, all sin is vertical. Theirs is, and ours is. Everything we do, praise, obedience, sin, is between us and God. We hide nothing from God. Not one thing we do is ever a surprise to Him. If we are not living according to His word, we sin and all of us sin, daily.

But God, But Grace.

The beauty of our relationship to Christ, when we are believers, is though we are not kept from the consequences of our sin, we are still loved and not condemned. The gift is the conviction so we can bring our sin to Him as soon as it is revealed.  God loves us and washes us clean and we don’t live under the weight of sin.   Repentance is freedom. Lies are prison.

Brokenness in people is like the poisoned water’s surrounding Florida.  Suddenly there is a crisis. There has been damage being done, for years, lots of history of it. We all see it, but we just don’t do anything about it because we think something will be done by someone else. One day, the damage is too far reaching, there is too much harm. Lies are like that. People stuck in sin are like that.

We don’t hate people caught in sin, we hate Satan’s hold on a person, that causes the damage, we hate the fallout. God allows things, over time, but when those lies do damage to His Glory and His purposes, He says, we are at crisis, be a warrior for me now.

God says to live in peace with everyone. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for peace and a time for war.  Sometimes, even as a woman, God says, I need you to stand on truth. I need you strong and I need you to go to battle.  Ephesians gives us the Armor to stand firm against the attacks from the darkness. For me, peace is the obvious option, I fear even though God has made me very strong.

I learned recently, sometimes God calls us up, arms us to do battle. He will arm His people to stand firm.  Sometimes it is to be still. Sometimes it is to speak the truth. Our reputation in this world truly doesn’t matter in the big picture, that is God’s protection for us. All that matters in the end is God’s purposes,  God’s glory. Discernment is vital for our walk and our well-being.  We must be close to Him to be able to hear when He says go or stay. Not our own voices or our own offense. We only have one enemy. We do battle with Satan, His lies.   If we stand on truth, refute the lies, and then let God do the work;   The truth will always set us free. God hates lies more than anything. Lies are the greatest tool of darkness. We do not fight to win a war, we simply battle for truth.

In the end, we are here for a breathe. When we answer His call, when we are working for the Kingdom of God, our purpose is to be His hands and feet, to bring light where there is dark. To shine Him in all we do. Satan knows he cannot change our salvation. He isn’t trying to steal our redemption, He knows when we are chosen and answering the call. What He is doing is trying to steal our influence, our ability to touch the lost.  He will use anything to do that.  Even when we are afraid to stand against the enemy, God will fight for us. Sometimes, we have to go to war for that.  Sometimes, Peace at all costs is not peace at all.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Proverbs 28:26  (NIV)

26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
    but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

Psalm 119  (MSG)

119 1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;

 

 

 

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Finding Light in the Dark

9 Jun

As we hear about so many suicides, I think about all that I have walked in the nearly 8 years since my overwhelming experience with God; The night that changed everything.  July 9,2010.

What if?  What if I had not decided to go to Friday night church. What if I hadn’t told Pastor Jeff my plan. The plan I made earlier that week. What if Sue and Jeff hadn’t spent the evening talking with me, and praying with me? What if God had not intervened.

What I understand is the blackness. I understand the desire to not feel so much pain any longer, to not feel like a burden or invisible. To not feel so wrong and out of place. To not feel plastic in a plastic world. To not feel discardable. (is that a word?). I understand the isolation of being strong and not telling. No one knew.

What I found was an eye opening, amazing love from and for a God I finally believed was real. Everything crashed down around me and I had nothing left. I was at rock bottom. What I found there was Him. In all His sweetness and love, I found the beginning of a love for a creation He called Beckie. I found a purpose.

What I found was a peace that settle so completely on my soul that night. By morning I was walking on sunshine; From the pit of despair to pure joy. Free.

What felt like a bottomless black, a pain-filled nothingness; morphed instantly into a joy beyond measure. I found my redemption, my forgiveness, the promises of true forever. Hope.

God breathed new life into my weary soul.  I am one of the blessed ones. Blessed to be a blessing.

My sweet friend committed suicide when we were 19. I loved Julie and it broke my heart when she left us. I  still talk to her, still think of her so often. My friend Ron, just took his life 4 years ago this summer. My son, who loves Jesus deeply, through his own journey with coming to terms with his homosexuality, walked a depressed and difficult path. He didn’t come to terms with his own path until he was 31 and it has cost him much in this world. He once told me “if you knew who I was, you would hate me”.  He had his attempts, and many trials. This world is sure unkind to those that don’t fit the world’s view of “acceptable”, those who’s sin is obvious. Especially the saved only by Grace,from their own ugly sin” Christian world.

As christian’s, there is a disparity between being the judgmental harm-doer’s and walking as the truth tellers, not so much in word but in action. If our judgement is keeping someone from seeing God, then we are not walking in truth, nor with Him. I don’t want to be known by the rules I keep, I want to be known by The One that keeps me. Period!

God gave us a perfect savior; A hope despite this broken world. He makes us righteous. I really can’t even make it a day without sin. Sin is between God and I and in the end, all sin is equal. It all drives a wedge between us and Him, but at the end of the day, He loves us anyways. Submission isn’t free from sin, it is an act of surrendering your pride and self sufficiency and acknowledging that “I can’t achieve Heaven without you Lord. Embracing Christ and His death as your only hope.” Hard and easy to do all at once. But He is very helpful. Yes. He is.

Scripture states that we are saved when we proclaim and believe that we are set free by the blood of Christ. Once saved, always saved. It is a very dangerous place to dwell, inside a kind of “judge and jury” of other’s. I choose to take a more humble approach and know that even strong people, even excellent people stumble. Every day.

We have to stop with the right’s and wrong’s and get back to truth. Christians need to LIVE The Word of God in “transparent, less than perfect, need a savior  every single day of my life -because I stink at achieving perfect sin-less-ness without Him” Spending time in The Word, being transparent with God and allowing Him to change us. For His glory!

We need to look beyond the pointed fingers to see the need. To see sorrow in eyes that are haunted. To see anger in eyes that are weary, sick of how hard this world is. See into the eyes that can’t look at us, Eyes that are afraid or ashamed.  We need to be so apparent in our humble (not of our own making) loving kindness (because He has loved us so much) that people are willing to share with us. Willing to trust us.

This world is out of control in many ways, Our world is spinning so fast now. Pain and suffering all around us.

Seriously,  Be a light. Be hope for those that are grasping for a reason to hope.

Be the one that saves the one, like me. God leaves the 99 for the 1. Because the 99 already have a future with Him. He already has the 99 beheld. The one that wanders is more passionately desired and pursued by God than those of us already in His loving Grace.

When you sit in a judgement filled world, trying to protect the values you say you believe in, while you use your words as weapons, as unleashed punishment and sit on a bit of a higher plane, thinking you have this Christianity right, just know that I pray in earnest for you. For you to find the truth.

We need be truth tellers, absolutely. Mostly in our actions. Our tongue is too unpredictable.
God says: Ask, Seek and Knock!

Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. Matthew 7:7-8 

He loves us. He loves us so much. He loves us in our broken down yuck. He loves us in our prideful state. He loves us regardless of how far off the path we have gotten. That is the God I found at the pit of despair. A loving, kind, strong, protective, never-ending presence, pursuing, giant of a God.

Blessings are not financial, they are Him. His peace. Grace and Mercy. Remember…”If it isn’t true for the believer that has to beg for food, or seek to find water for her child, then it isn’t true.” That is the God that is truth. The God that is beyond our circumstances, beyond what is here and now. He is every present, ever knowing, ever loving, always.  He doesn’t change. Not ever.

I don’t know why we reject Him. I know I sure did!  I think it’s partly because we think God makes life rosy, ( His own son suffered terribly, so no, that isn’t truth) I believe it’s because people have really messed up the image of Him. People have done horrible things in His name. But that isn’t God. That isn’t Christ. That is just additional people that need Him, need to really understand who He really is.
Being self reliant lead me down a dark path. Eventually, I had to come to the place where I knew I needed Him, being made whole has changed my world.  It is still changing me. I am still growing and learning and becoming a better Christ follower. But don’t look at me, look at Him. He is the model. I am the one running all over the place!
If you are that one, the one that is hurting and thinking that the way out is death, please seek Him first. Please see that it’s all lies. The idea that it will never get better, that you can’t get through this, that this is too hard. Please talk to me or someone like me. Try God!

“Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door Matthew 7:7-8 TPT.

[a]Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock andkeep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 AMP.

 

The Human Condition

21 Apr

There are times that I sit in total awe of God and His power, trusting fully in Him, humbled, peaceful, knowing He is in charge.  There are also times that I wonder at His [perfect] wisdom in giving us free will, knowing that we would spend our entire relationship with Him in battle over it. Our struggle to be close to Him will be daily working to overcome our human condition and free will.

As we seek to stay in obedience, we will struggle with our thoughts, our emotions, our pride, our ego, our fears , and all of our sin nature. So much to overcome! But, He shows us how simple it really is, when we are humbled, in awe of Him.

We will walk a constant battle between trying to be mini-Gods, thinking we are part of God and the humbling truth that we are merely His creation, meant to submit and walk the path He planned for us, for His Glory and not just for our good but the good of His chosen people.

God shows us in 1 Samuel 25 the perfect example of the human condition with the story of David, Nabel and Abigail.

Nabel  in his time of excess, refused and mocked David and his army for asking for provisions. This is the world and the people we come across every day. This is the one that is rude or selfish, the one that hurts, harms, or attacks us. This is the consequences of our own choices or the consequences from other’s free will; the one that lies about us, or simply cuts us off in traffic.

David, the man after God’s heart, shows his heart also had the human condition. He reacted with “righteous”, justifiable anger with plans to kill Nabel and his family.  David was going to make things right, on his own terms.

Abigail (Nabel’s wife) upon hearing of her husband’s foolish arrogance, responds immediately with wisdom. She showed strength in her response. Her faith becomes obvious as she plans to face head on, the leader of an army that plans to kill her and her family.

She sends ahead of her the provisions and gifts David had requested of Nabel.  As she faces her enemy, she shows great courage and humility, taking the full blame for Nabel’s foolishness and begs for mercy. She acknowledges righteousness and God and that David is surely a man that also knows and loves God.

Nabel displays the selfish, cruel world we live in. David showed our weakness in his human struggles with his temper and emotional reaction. Was it justified and righteous? David thought so in that moment. The world would probably agree. Abigail shows the humility and strength that comes from trusting in God’s righteousness.

Abigail’s obedience and truth convicted David. He realized his folly; pride had caused him to stumble and take matters into his own hands. He reacted to the rejection and who would argue? He was justified by human standards, but God intervened. Abigail knew the greatness of God and faced her enemy with the courage of faith, humility and strength.  The call to retaliate was an emotional reaction that was all David’s, not God’s, plan. Abigail’s obedience and humility in turn humbled David and softened his response. He realized his own foolishness.

When we walk with God, no matter how closely, we must remain aware of our human condition to take matters into our own hands. We must remind ourselves constantly to humble ourselves, to seek God’s plan for each day.

In adversity, when we have our emotional reactions,no matter how obvious right and wrong are, we absolutely need to humble ourselves, stand before Him and seek His will. We can’t be mini-God’s, acting on our own, no matter how justifiable we or the world, thinks we are.

All too often I put on God’s shoes ,all too often I react and respond from my own limited human condition.
Learning to submit all matters to His hands before I take them into my own hands is a learning process and a building, maturing faith. Seeing all people and circumstances including the enemy through God’s eyes, diminishes our reactions and reminds us not of how small we are, but how big He is.

We are not God and we are certainly not God-less.

From Redpath “If you begin with God, your enemies grow small. If you begin with the enemy, you many never reach God. “

Father help me seek your ways long before I think or speak from my human condition, remembering in humility, that my ways are not your ways, and Your way is always good, always right. Help me to be like your humble servant Abigail with righteous response to all circumstances

Amen

33 “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. 34 Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” Matthew 6:33

Harbor

5 Apr

No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

I am sitting in meditation after my morning readings. I am completely blown away that God still even wants us. These Israelites are so evil. As I walk through Judges, it consists of these cycles of breakthrough, strength and redemptive faith, restoring what was promised only to fall away to sin and worship other God’s again. It cycles over and over. God never wearies, and we never stop messing up!

As I look at my own life, the choices I have made, and will continue to make; the times I have been so devoted to seeking truth and wisdom, rather than thinking I had the answers, to the times that even within minutes my mind (my heart) betrays me.
Isaiah 6 starts out with Isaiah standing in the presence of God himself. He is overwhelmed with his own dark heart,

5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5

God doesn’t just hear what we say outloud, he is aware of your heart and intentions even before your words are ever spoken, even if you never speak a word.

4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD. Psalm 139:4

 

Our hearts are full of corners and closets. Like Isaiah, we will stand before the King one day. What is in our hearts will be revealed to us for all that it is. Sometimes I get a glimpse, when I am feeling close to God, when I feel I am being obedient, I get that glimpse of the dark that still hides in every corner. This is why we need our precious Jesus. These things are not a surprise to God.

45 People are known in this same way. Out of the virtue stored in their hearts, good and upright people will produce good fruit. But out of the evil hidden in their hearts, evil ones will produce what is evil. For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words. Luke 6:45 (TPT)

We can’t fool God. He knows if we are being lead by right or wrong motives; jealousy, encouragement, judgement, love or hate, lies or truth, peace or war. He sees it all.

He knows before we say a word if we intend to honor, respect, guide, or build others up and He knows when our heart wants to harm, derail, disrespect, undermine or hurt others. Even if our words are unspoken, even if we never act on these things.

“Harbor in your heart” means you keep it safe within your heart. What do you shelter in the corners? He tells us to ask Him to show us:

Psalm 19:14  (TPT)
14 So may the words of my mouth, my meditation-thoughts,
and every movement of my heart be always pure and pleasing,
acceptable before your eyes,
my only Redeemer, my Protector-God.

The promise is given to us, from Him, Ask and you shall receive: Matthew 7:7. We can ask for God to show us everything that lies in our hearts and to help us remove it. But I warn you, it is not always pleasant, but always, so very worth it, so redemptive, so healing.

Christ takes away the sins power to grow and fester inside of us.  Like with Isaiah We will never have to fight this battle alone. We just have to spend time before Him, honest with ourselves that He already knows every single thought dwelling in our hearts. Standing before Him with complete willingness to change and be transformed. Humility like that is hard! Because from that request comes truth and it can be painful as He pulls the rooted weeds from deep inside of you.

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”

Isaiah 6:6-7

Reminder of Love

11 Feb

This is huge!! God has suddenly shown me and is giving me huge understanding. All 3 of my studies have collided today. It is so powerful.
I’m reading –
the Bible and today is Exodus 19-20
-the sermon on the mount
-Hosea
None like him by Jen Wilkin

The law is/was about love. His love for us. He wanted us to focus on Him, to love Him and in turn to love others.
His love never stopped. These Israelites were so unfaithful, so unruly. They would not stop focusing on the problem of the moment to sit in wonder and peace of all God was doing. They were so unworthy of the promised land. Truly so shortsighted about their own selfish wants and desires.

He gave us the law, Exodus 20+ and then His Son to be that perfect love for us, Matthew 5-7- because that is who HE is. Not because of us but because of Him. It’s about His love.
The law is Love. His love. If you obey him and seek him and love him, you become holy through Him…And then you can love His people.
That is the purpose of love. To become holy. To love Him and to love others.
Honestly -that is why God hates lies and gossip, judgement of others. His law says stop looking at others, stop looking at what you don’t have. Stop thinking you are the one that deserves something- honestly – That is why God hates divorce. ..because we are to love each other, and to seek to help each other become Holy. Marriage is holy- It is the same covenant promises that He made with us that we make in return to Him and each other. To love Him and to love each other.
Because we are like the Israelites- so selfish, so quick to defend ourselves and our rights, but we are not worthy. But when we Love God, He gives us that love. He makes us whole. He makes us holy. We become like Him, He works through us. Not because of us but because of Him.
Don’t think for a moment he wants you to be happy while you live in sin- that’s a very destructive lie. He wants you to obey Him, so He can be loved by you. When others break our hearts or don’t love us, love them anyways because that’s the sum of the law.

He isn’t loved by us when we seek our own satisfaction. !!! This world is so fallen and our flesh is so weak but the love of God is as powerful today as it was when He came down the mountain and declared His law to the Israelites.
We make our own rules up to justify our sin. To set ourselves apart as more deserving of His Love. Ha! Fools. We are all sinners. He loves us not because we follow the law to the letter. He loves us because HE IS LOVE.
Wow. Pray for those that don’t know this. That harm us,that hurt others. They don’t know God. 💔

“Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬
““Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:36-40‬ ‭NLT‬‬
““Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NLT‬
“‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭19:4‬ ‭HCSB‬‬
“We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“I will plant my people in the land. Those who are not loved I will call my loved ones. Those who are not my people I will call my people. Then they will say, ‘You are our God!’ ”” Hosea‬ ‭2:23‬ ‭GW

Other Gods

2 Dec

“If God isn’t enough, more than enough, no one and nothing ever will be”  

I have repeated this thought, that came from prayer time, several times lately; To myself and to the way too many discarded or left behind people I have come to know.

When we are faced with being alone (it can feel pretty awful, right?) it shows our faith by who or what we fill that space with.

Do you fill it with God, or do you fill with something else? Another person/relationship, or do you drink more, or maybe you fill it with busyness.

Maybe you have been brave or like me, simply kept apart. In that time of loneliness, of being set apart; did you rekindle the love you first had with the one Who loved you first? Did you seek to fill that empty space with your perfect Creator, Father, and with his Son, the Bridegroom?  Did you allow Him to minister to your heart, He whose promises never break, He who’s greatest desire is to know you intimately.

As you sought the distraction of anything, of others, instead of Him, who is enough, did you pray about something? As you ignored His request of you, did you petition your own requests of Him?

If you keep trying to fill the place He is trying to fill – you’re missing out on so much. He is enough. He loves us beyond measure.

Just a couple of His love letters to us:

Jeremiah 31:3

 The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying: 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. 

Psalm 91:14-16 (MSG)

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”

When you spend time in the hurt and loneliness with Him, you gain the perfect comfort of Him, the lasting confidence in Him, you heal and grow in His unfailing, abiding love and from there – He brings you “THE people” the ones to walk beside you, and the ones to share His light with.

Beloved, you must guard your fears as much as your heart. Trust in Him with your fear. Tell Him you are lonely, tell Him it isn’t fair, tell Him you are afraid. He minister’s to your obedience with peace.  You are His and you were bought for a high price. All He wants in return is your whole heart.  From that intimate relationship, He can bless you to be the blessing you are called to be.

When you can’t be alone it simply means that God is not enough for you. It may not feel great at first, but it is the most obedient, healing, protected place you can be. If you fill that gap, You are worshiping another God, You have an idol and a faith issue with Him.

What you chase after is your God.

The beauty of this amazing, perfect, loving God? As soon as you put Him back on the throne of your desires and seek Him again, you are right back in His perfect path. Welcomed with loving arms.

Psalm 23 (TPT)  

The Good Shepherd

 David’s poetic praise to God[a]
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.[b]
    I always have more than enough.
 He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.[c]
    His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life.[d]
    He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure
    and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness[e]
    so that I can bring honor to his name.
 Lord, even when your path takes me through
    the valley of deepest darkness,
    fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
    You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
    Your authority is my strength and my peace.[f]
    The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
    I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
 You become my delicious feast
    even when my enemies dare to fight.
    You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;[g]
    you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.
So why would I fear the future?
    For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.
    Then afterward, when my life is through,
    I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!

Time For Grace

3 Jul

The Beatitudes:

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God. ~Jesus

The past year for me, like most, has been extremes of trials and blessings, but for me,  the lessons of grace and mercy have taken my heart captive.

I have such strong feelings when I feel my fellow believers are being religious, legalistic, unkind or in my opinion, standing in the way of true evangelism. Yet, as soon as I think that way, The Holy Spirit convicts me and shows me my own sin. My own pride. My own legalism in my judgement.

We are supposed to love God, love our fellow Christians and mostly, love our neighbor. This is the fulfillment of the law.

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:4-14 

Loving your neighbor doesn’t just mean those that are in your inner circle but rather this includes those that are different from you- the atheist, homosexual, abortionist, muslim. This also includes the guy who disagrees with you, or the guy that just cut you off on the freeway, the girl that was rude to you, the boss that screams at you. It also includes your husband when he is unloving or your wife when she is disrespectful. This is agape love. This is grace. This is where I sin most.

Grace is essential in every single aspect of our journey to become Christ like. Without grace, you truly are not aligned with Christ and your faith is not evident.  If we seek it, we need to give it. Your walk should embrace grace and be evident.  Jesus warned us about Spiritual pride. 4″ Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4, 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” Luke 17:10 

So before we can walk in grace, we absolutely must humble ourselves. God teaches us in His own way, in His own time, and The Living Word breathes truth into us, over and over again, we grow, we soften, we learn, as that knowledge is shown to us, by the Father.

Humility is essential to growth, to love, to grace, to salvation. Without it, we can’t possibly understand how to love as Christ loves us; Our ego fights this, our free will fights this.

We are sinners. If we are judging the sin in other’s, we take a step away from humility,  from grace and from Christ. Before you hate the sin in other’s you must first hate your own sin and your own sin nature. Ask forgiveness for your own sins. Let Him walk you through your own refinement. This is faith. This is how God can begin to change the world, first within us. Then through us.

After all, He loved us first. All of us.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

I have recently had my own major lessons and convicted misteps in grace. Being hurt by family and/or family of believers,  I being shocked by the dishonor, blatent unkindness and later, the untruth and slander that was exposed. responded with protective anger. Especially at the cruelty that crushed the spirit of someone I care about.  There is a hurt that goes so deep when the hurt comes from family and/or our family of believers. It is more unexpected in some way. We walk more transparently with our fellow believers, or we should anyhow.

But Christ himself walked everything before us and he expects us to stay focused on him and on grace.

39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:39

He teaches us how to stay focused on what truly matters in our journey to eternity. We can’t care about what others think of us. God has a different expectation. His approval is all we truly need.

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26  

As with all scripture, you must read the whole in which the context is taken Jesus didn’t mean to “hate” your family but rather this is a warning that walking a Christian life is difficult. We must love God first and be willing to lose all the rest, in the end, for that love. Jesus loved the law, including to honor your mother and father. but He was very clear:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

In the end, humble, forgiving grace is essential to our journey. Grace doesn’t approve of, enable or minimize sin. Grace doesn’t decide forgiveness of sin, Jesus did that on the cross for us. It is not our job to convict, nor judge. That is the Holy Spirits job. Justice is not ours. Humility says, if justice were served, I would be unworthy to receive the mercy and grace of our Lord’s crucifixion.

When our fellow Christian sins, (not the unsaved), like we do ourselves…we must help them back to God’s truth, even if it is our spouse. We submit to God first. If our fellow believer, whether friend, child or spouse is hurtful or walking away from alignment in Christ  we lovingly speak truth, sometimes it is a must, but it also must include acknowledgement of forgiveness, and our own need for forgiveness and grace.  Ultimately, it can cost rejection, but if it is in line with Christ, it is worth it.

When the world walks in sin, like we do ourselves, we must step out of discipleship and into evangelism. Jesus was a revolutionary teacher of peace and of LOVE in a time of arrogant legalism and religious politics. Truth be told, times were very politically extreme like it is today. If we aren’t perfect, like He was, which we are not, we can’t have the same righteous anger. If we aren’t transparent and humble, walking in grace and love, then we are not following the words of Christ. Our words and actions at all times are our evangelism. If they aren’t in line with scripture, we have too much work to do on ourselves before we put ourselves in a role of leadership. Period.

In the end, Grace wins.  I think The Message version sums it up best.

43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”