Tag Archives: saved

Shift Change

3 Sep

 

It took many years for me to understand who Jesus is, who He said He is.  Surrender was difficult and honestly only happened from despair.  Religion had clouded the truth of the cross so completely,  it became about how we appear to the world, not the simple (yet so difficult) act of a sinner accepting Jesus as her savior.

I didn’t understand that Grace is Grace, that I don’t have to earn my salvation. My blessings are not earned. He doesn’t punish me, nor remove His blessings. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and for ever.“ Hebrews 13:8 

He already won the war I was still fighting. How many of us are trying to be good enough?  That belief didn’t do anything but frustrate me, because it meant my imperfection and sin kept me from salvation. I also had this hole, this place of loneliness, of not being enough, of anger at not being able to find joy, or peace. Happiness was fickle.

Until the night I surrendered the heartbreaking, defeating strive to earn His love, to being good enough, to just believing Him when He said, “My Grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 9).

He spent the next few years slowly healing me.  I had to spend that time with Him as well,  but I wanted to. I loved hearing the word in church, but also talking to Him. Learning to just sit and feel His love was healing all in itself. I suddenly began to not feel so alone.

I read the Jesus Calling devotional. It became my daily time to read, to meditate and to look up scripture.  Slowly, I began to be transformed. Slowly, I grew in understanding. Sin fell away as I went deeper. Lies became truths, resentments healed, forgiveness became necessary, and peace settled on my heart. I stopped reacting to the world and began seeking His calm when I didn’t have any, His hope when I felt hopeless, His love when I was feeling unloved.  I wanted to know Him more, I wanted to understand more.

As He healed my broken insides, there came the desire to share this amazing Hope. The hope from Grace is like none other. It became less about me, more about Him. The transformation continued. Even this sharing was still about me and my journey.
Slowly, that stopped being enough, purpose began to come to the surface. My time here on this earth, this time of grace and understanding wasn’t about me. My war had been won. My major transformation time evolved to my purpose here. I felt the need to share my testimony, what he did for me, my journey with Him, in the hopes that those caught between faith and doubt would understand what took me so long to learn and truly unlearn.

There is nothing you can do to earn it, there is nothing you can do to lose it. You are never too far gone to be saved. Never too perfect  to not need Christ to enter Heaven. Religion isn’t Faith. Religion tends to be about doctrine and laws. Christ fulfilled the Law. What the law does is create more sin, our world will show you just how much religion can get in the way of who Christ is.  If you believe in Him, you are saved. But! my gosh!… there is a rich and beautiful calling on your life. Not financial, not health, not perfect. Purpose. Healing. Hope. Joy. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Forgiveness.

What the total surrender to and acceptance of Grace creates is a place for Him to begin His work in you; the Holy Spirit enters and dwells upon your heart and you are never alone again. My cup overflows with the Joy of the Lord just writing this.  You have that calling, if you listen. That longing, that need. That is God. He is waiting on the steps, watching for his prodigal son/daughter to appear on the road a long way off… coming towards Him. He will run to you and embrace you from there.

You do have to surrender to Him. You must grasp that He truly died for you and because He did that, by your faith in the power of the cross, builds the bridge for what you can’t do for your self. Be sinless enough.

“Turning a car on but staying park, doesn’t get you anywhere. You have to put it into gear in order to move forward”. (heard on JoyFM)

John 3:16-20 (NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

Romans 3:20-24 (NLT)

20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Christ Took Our Punishment

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

 

 

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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.”

 

What Guilt Could Not Do

3 Apr

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

~Tenth Avenue North – By Your Side

Easter has always been my favorite time of year. It symbolizes the transformation from winter to spring, with the promise of summer. The days are longer, the sun shines brighter and the coats get put away.

I have always felt this newness to everything.

As I have grown in my faith, I realize that the hope and newness was exactly what Easter is about. I just didn’t quite grasp the full measure…yet.

My catholic upbringing made me aware of God and Jesus. I loved and accepted Jesus my whole life. But the religion of it clouded what He taught and what his death meant for me, what Grace was and that hope of salvation for me.

I learned guilt and shame in my faith walk. I learned that I was never going to be good enough for heaven and probably would just barely make purgatory. I couldn’t stop sinning. No matter how hard I tried to be perfect, I could not be. When I would be judged, it went very deep within my shame.

As I became a mother, I was keenly aware of God. He kept me safe and strong in times of need. I sought Him constantly. Trying so hard to find Him in my life. What I still did not understand was His love for me, His desire for me.

I was in awe of His creation and His Holiness, I just could never seem to connect the dots, to “get it”. I was trying so hard to be good, to be perfect, to earn my way. I worked so hard at being a “good person”, to be a “good christian”.

In the blink of an eye, everything came crashing down at once. I was humbled by the sheer loss of it all; Beautifully shattered.

From that place of humility and rawness, God slowly showed me what Grace was. He taught me so methodically, it is only in the hindsight that I see His plan unveiled.

What guilt could not do, complete failure and sorrow did. Suddenly, at the end of me, from my dark and hopeless place…I gave up on me; I quit. In that moment of I can’t do this anymore, there was nothing left. I had no fight, no pride, no ego, no hope left.
Finally, I was able to look up and be saved. I was the veil that stood between me and Grace.

In my moment of despair, I surrendered.

The peace that settled on my heart that day is the joy and light in me that people comment on all the time.

The lyrics to the song (above) remind me…Heaven has been won, not by me, but by Jesus. I can’t earn it.

Grace and Mercy are ours for the asking. Being saved is the beginning of a journey. Easter is now about new life, new hope. I am in awe of the sacrifice for me and how much He Loves me to suffer so greatly for me. When you truly surrender, you allow God to guide your life, transform your thoughts and you begin to see your purpose here and to love people from His eyes. The best feeling in the world is looking at you and loving the you He created.

His Mercy, His Love and His unending Grace…are ours for the asking.

If you want to know that love and grace…If you understand that you are a sinner and long to know hope…accept Him. Pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart.

“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior”.

Then let Him guide your heart. (A bible based church is so helpful and important in sustaining that journey)

This is what Paul said about religion vs. faith:

Galatians 2:17-21 MSG

17-18 Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Amen.

What In The World

18 Nov

“Love leaves legacy. How you treated other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth.”

– Rick Warren

This world is a place where self becomes so important, where money becomes the driver of life, and character is swept under the rug of apathy.

Honor and respect have shifted gears to what other’s do, rather than what we do. Blame, pride and a need to be right takes precedence over righteousness.

Love is given with condition and hope is contingent on us getting our way. We want to matter, to count, to be seen and heard. We want to be important.

Power belongs to those that have the most money and success.

The desire for more, always more and not appreciating what we have, leads to such discontent.

What we find out eventually…There is never enough.

Not enough money, not enough love, not enough success to fill that void.

Here is the truth. God doesn’t care if we are rich, educated, successful, or if we are loved by the people of this world.

His love is enough and His provision is more than enough.

True power is Christ in us; True honor and respect is what we give, not what we receive. We are called to be humble.

Character is who we are at all times.In the private areas of our thoughts, our alone times. When we are faced with temptation, what we choose.

We are not called to be loved, we are called to love. We are called to love our enemies as much as we love our children.

When we harm one, we harm God. As Christians, we are called to become Holy, to seek the wisdom of God and to walk like Christ. Do we?

He fulfills our needs, and gives us the desires of our hearts.

This world will hurt us, we will know disappointment and sorrows, we will be betrayed. Jesus was as well. This is a fact of life, whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not. Suffering is part of life.

No one life is free from disappointment. No one life is without blessings.

Do you love the unlovable? Do you forgive freely, because you know you are forgiven? How about that void? How do you fill that?

The void is there because we are built to worship and it is ONLY a relationship with God, with the Holy Spirit and the Son that sacrificed it all for your sins, that can fill it. The fulfilling hope and joy that only comes from knowing that you are forgiven. You are saved. You are going to enter Heaven. It is hard to love without knowing you are completely loved. It is hard to forgive unless you understand Grace and Mercy.

The bible is clear. Not everyone will get in. God will give you chance after chance to choose Salvation. He never gives up on us. Even as we continue to turn our back on Him.

He wants us all with Him. He loves us all, He pursues us all, but we are not all saved, by our own free will… Our own choices.

If He wasn’t who He said He was, then that would make him a liar, not a prophet.


Ephesians 3:16-19(MSG) “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”

Psalm 118:6 ESV “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Romans 8:31 ESV “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Isaiah 41:10 ESV “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand

Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Romans 8:35-39 ESV “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 John 4:16 ESV “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

No More Frogs!

13 Oct

Matthew West says:
These are the voices, these are the lies
And I have believed them, for the very last time
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free

My take away from the Women of Faith conference 2014: We cannot walk with purpose, our purpose, without reconciling who we are in Christ over who we think or have been told we are. Do not doubt for one second that you are perfectly molded and created by loving hands, to be loved and worth more than rubies!Inspite of whom the devil would rather you believe you are.

Romans 9: 20-33 Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right?

“If God gives us new Mercy every single day,why are we not giving that away? Especially mercy to ourselves?”

“God gives us a little bit, then He gives us a little more, then He gives us much.”
For those of you trying to read the bible, keep reading it… God didn’t ask you to “get”it.. he asked you to obey it! It isn’t what you know, it’s what you internalize through your brokenness. His thoughts and words will permeate if you start just doing it, rather than reading it.

It takes courage to own your own issues. When you take steps to please God He moves you in your broken places
If you are sin focused (Religion) you are missing the point of Jesus: He is the antidote to sin. It isn’t about getting it right it’s about being set free.

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

You have no control but what is in your head! “We are so good at arranging a life that doesn’t require faith”. Faith says differently than the familiar tape we play to hang on tight to what actually has not worked out in the past.

God doesn’t just want us to survive, he wants to set us free. When Jesus fed the thousands, he essentially asked you the same of you … what do you have? When we give our not enough to God it is more than enough.

Exodus 8:9-11
9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Certainly. Set the time. When do you want the frogs out of here, away from your servants and people and out of your houses? You’ll be rid of frogs except for those in the Nile.”
10-11 “Make it tomorrow.
Moses said, “Tomorrow it is—so you’ll realize that there is no God like our God. The frogs will be gone.

First…. What are your frogs? Secondly, do you operate from tomorrow? We cannot step into our purpose with our frogs.
Jesus set us free! We settle for the comfortable, we have grown so used to our frogs when we could be free. Not tomorrow. Today.
The blood of Jesus set us free:

John 10:10 (AMP)
10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).

Decide today that you are not going to let yesterdays frogs keep you from stepping with hope and confidence in your tomorrow.
Lift your head up high for who you are in Christ!

You are created by God, For God. Jesus is the connector, Jesus is the freedom. You are set free.


God gives you a little, then more, then much… You cannot jump to full wisdom, though you can seek it. He will allow you to walk your purpose, when He sees fit. Be transparent and be generous with your Hope. Your purpose will find you, when you are fully His.

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

The Word is Love

9 Feb

Dear World,

Do not judge my Father or my Savior by the sins of man, we are all broken sinners, Christ followers or not. Read my Father’s words, to know Him. Talk to Him. He will show you who you are and who He is. He will give you the people you need, He will guide you. He is there and you can feel Him near. He will never stop pursuing you, because He loves you. You don’t need me to tell you these things. You need Him.

It doesn’t matter who we are, unbeliever’s, Pastor, child, newly saved or saved our whole lives; We all sin. We are, none of us, without fault worthy of judgement. God will find you exactly where you are. There is not one of us unworthy in God’s eyes.

“Jesus Loves me this I know!” You are loved, and He will find you where you are. And we are called to walk in that same Love.To walk in Love means you walk with the same Love, Grace, Mercy and Forbearance that He shows us every day.

One of the greatest mistakes we make as Christians, is to put a human unkindness to God’s words. If we warped God’s word to hurt others, are we not actually doing Satan’s work? If we sit in judgement of someone that is different from us, we can even quote scripture to prove our point, but so can satan. Scripture is meant to guide me, to teach me, with gentle reproach, with loving encouragement and hope,to validate God, not to reject, hurt or belittle.

He has pursued me with a beautiful relationship, given me scripture for me to grow in my faith, to find wisdom I don’t possess on my own,surrounded me with friendships to support me, given me Shepherds to guide me and convict me; All to help me walk in the world in a way that honors Him and shows gratitude for all I have received. Growing in faith and His Light slowly removes that ego little by little;Less of you, more of Him.

1 Corinthians 13(VOICE)
(Gifts of the Spirit, which are intended to strengthen the church body, often divide the body because members of the church elevate those who possess the more visible gifts over those whose gifts function in the background. In fact, this is the very problem facing the Corinthians. So while talking about the importance and function of these gifts in chapters 12 and 14, Paul shifts his focus to the central role love plays in a believer’s life in chapter 13. Love is essential for the body to be unified and for members to work together. Members of the body that are very different, with little in common, are able to appreciate and even enjoy others because of the love that comes when a life is submitted to God.)

13 What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal. 2 What if I have the gift of prophecy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. 3 I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts.

(Paul boils it all down for the believers in Corinth. Religious people often spend their time practicing rituals, projecting dogma, and going through routines that might look like Christianity on the outside but that lack the essential ingredient that brings all of it together—love! It is a loving God who birthed creation and now pursues a broken people in the most spectacular way. That same love must guide believers, so faith doesn’t appear to be meaningless noise.)

4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; 5 it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs 6 or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! 7 Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. 8 Love will never become obsolete. Now as for the prophetic gifts, they will not last; unknown languages will become silent, and the gift of knowledge will no longer be needed. 9 Gifts of knowledge and prophecy are partial at best, at least for now, 10 but when the perfection and fullness of God’s kingdom arrive, all the parts will end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind. 12 For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.