Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Charity From The Heart & Soul



Today I decided to read my old favorite scripture passage, I Corin 13. I think it is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. It opens like a great play or an outstanding opera, a magnificent pronouncement that swiftly reprimands and then immediately elevates. I can't read it without feeling lofty and so uplifted and inspired, with a new desire to feel and exude God's type of love towards self and others.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I give all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.

Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes in all things, endures all things. Charity never fails: but where there are prophecies, they shall fail; where there are tongues, they shall cease; where there is knowledge, it shall vanish away.

We think of charity as the cutesy little song "Have faith, hope and charity. That's the way you live successfully. How do I know the Bible tells me so, the Bible tells me so!" Then we learn that charity means love. Maybe that is why organizations that help those in need are called charities. How can you reach out and give to others of yourself, your time and your money without having love for the recipients?


The Merriam-Webster online dictionary  shows the well-known meanings of charity:
  • generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering,
  • aid given to those in need,
  • benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity.
The definition shown there that I think is most significant, and upon which the others are able to operate, is this:
  • lenient judgment of others.
In order to reach out and give to others we begin by choosing to think favorably upon their situations, their behaviors and their lives. We develop a considerate and forgiving spirit towards any offenses from them. We choose to believe that no matter who they are, what they are or how they arrived at where they are, they are worthy of our ministrations. They may not have taken our routes in life or think and believe like us, but they are worthy of our charity.

We should do better at remembering ourselves, as well. Often we strive to learn to love others unconditionally, but forget about ourselves. We should remember that true, pure, God-centered love is an outpouring of what is inside and a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. That other well-known saying that most of us have grown up on is charity begins at home.

Our first home is our heart and soul, that inner dwelling from which all thoughts and actions originate. We are worthy of our own charity, first of all. When we work with God to turn charity inwards, what we give will be untainted by unreliable, fleshly origins. It will be pure, true and long-lasting, and overflow and spill over to all in our paths, like rivers of living waters.

If you would like to give to yourself the greatest charity that exists, which is to be sure that you are Saved, say this simple prayer:

Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God, and the only Savior. Come into my heart, and save me. I was born in sin and you died for me so that I can know God and not be blamed anymore. Thank you for my new life. Show me the way to understand and turn away from bad things. I don't have to fear death anymore, and thank you for Eternal Life. Amen 







Sources:
Bible scriptures: KJV paraphrased (old English endings on words have been dropped)
Word definitions:  Merriam-Webster online dictionary


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Remember To Pray For Those In Prison



Was watching a program on the Justice Network, and thinking so many prisons, so many people in prisons everywhere, always a chance for work related to prisons. It is unfortunate, but he truth is that jobs in the prison industry have a bright future. Bright future jobs are industries where job stability and growth are guaranteed, because of the increasing need of the products and services.

Behind that thought, I began to think about the brutality of prison life, and how depending on where the prisoner is sent, he/she will be treated like a
human being, or like an animal. Then I thought of the many prisoners who are incarcerated for crimes that they did not commit. I can only imagine how it must feel to live in such a horrible, unjust situation.

I am asking you to remember prisoners when you pray. Pray for those who have committed crimes, and especially those who did not. Don't forget about the incarcerated, when you petition God.


 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sister Betty Jo On Receiving & Giving Blessings

"So the blessings that you receive, let me tell you they are all from God, and with no strings attached."


 Receive Your Blessings, And Give Them As Well

Praise the Lord everyone!! You are a blessing whether you know it are not. There are many who do not know that they are blessings to people. They didn’t even think they could be. This title came to me in a positive way, Receive Your Blessings, And Give Them As Well. I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful and grateful for (all) my blessings; and knowing that the blessings that I have received during my journey, have been a teaching given from Jesus Christ Himself.

When I sit and think about John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life, I realize that I have read that scripture just as I have read many others, over and over again. This time, I went so deep into it that I said to myself, This God has done something that no other would have done for me.

He gave me a blessing, and I didn’t even know that was what it was. I asked myself why would He do such? Did He not know that I didn’t love Him, or how I was living, and how I cared only to please others? The answers to these questions that I was asking were a mystery. He came back with the answer in John 3:17, For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

He wanted me to know that I was blessed by a gift called Salvation. And He wanted me to take this Word of blessing, and give it to others. Whether they accepted the blessing or rejected it was not to concern me. You still keep sharing it, is what He said.

So the blessings that you receive, let me tell you they are all from God, and with no strings attached.

He does what he does because He Loves us (all). You may hate Him…He still Loves you…You may use His name in vain…He still Loves you…You may be ashamed to speak of Him to your friends…He still Loves you. You may try to stop Him, but you can’t…He still Loves You.

His blessings are still spreading, and spreading. And those who are receiving them, are spreading and spreading them to people who do not know that they are to become blessings also. That man, that woman, that boy and girl do not yet know that they are to become blessings in return. Praise the LORD!!

So, receive your blessings, and give them as well. Those of you who have testimonies of what Jesus Christ has done in your life, tell It! Keep it real! Don’t allow the devil to stop you…his a liar, deceitful, and a hater. There is no love in him.

Jesus Christ Is Agape, A Blessing!



Sister Betty Jo is a strong woman of God who loves sharing her relationship with The Father, and what Christ has done for her. She lives in TX, and enjoys spending time with her daughter and granddaughters. She is a crafter and folk art painter, and likes cooking, especially trying new recipes.

This is what she has to say about her relationship with the Lord,

" My Life Has Not Been The Same since I Was Diagnosed With Lupus Some Years Ago. My Life Has Changed Quite A Bit, But Lupus Does Not Define Who I Am. I'm Blessed To Have Jesus Christ as my Savior. Also Loved One's & Friends Are My Blessings.

I Am A Bible Believing Christian. I don't like religion. I'm in love with Jesus Christ, whom I have a relationship with. I will Follow Jesus Christ, and not man. He will direct my feet into the right path. It isn't about how good I think I am, or what I think I can do for Him. I cannot work my way to Heaven, nor pay Him to take me. I'm blessed through SURRENDERING my all to Him. He has forgiven me of my nasty Sins.  

I am in a Intimate Relationship with a man who gave His life for me. He loved me that much that He laid His life on a cross that was put together by man. My life has not been the same after I gave Him my heart, and my life. That is True and Honest Love.


No matter what I looked like, or the life-style that I was living that wasn't pleasing to Him, He still accepted me with open arms. He said to me at that moment..."your sins have been forgiven." That was a Promise that He has kept ever since. Halleujah!! My first and Only Love!! His name by the way is Jesus Christ. Amen!! Don't Give Up! Push On! Amen!! "

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Draw Nigh To  Hope

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Let Us Say Grace For This Meal


Dear Lord:

We thank you for this food, and all of the blessings that you have given us.

Protect our systems from any hurt, harm or damage,

through any poisons, toxins or impurities

that may be present in this food.

 

 

We thank you for all of the things that you are doing for us,

and the ways that you have helped us when we were unaware.

 

Help us to have better diets,

and teach us the things that we need to do to be healthy. 

 

 In Jesus' name.

Amen.

 

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Images: Pixabay.com Free Images

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

WHY Am I Blamed For What Adam And Eve Did?

What Adam and Eve did was not my fault, so why should I be judged because of it?
When I was a teen, and didn't want to have anything to do with the things of God, it began to infuriate me when I heard the story of Adam and Eve. "Why am I being judged for something that two people did eons ago," I thought angrily! "What they did was just not my fault!" I felt an unfair, unjust burden hanging over my head.

Because I was repeatedly warned about sin from the standpoint of The Ten Commandments, and how Hell would be my eternal home if I made any slip-ups, I felt hounded and blamed for something that I did not do. I would ponder with disgust, "Is that ALL that this Jesus and God stuff gave me? Is that all that the Bible gave me to look forward to was eternal punishment for someone else's wrong turn? 

My adult life took damaging twists and destructive turns, and having no one else to help me, I turned to that God that I'd learned about. Why I turned to someone whom I did not trust, and through whom I felt condemned is a whole 'nother story.

So I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart. I wanted to be saved, to live as a Christian. As I grew in the Lord, I began to understand more about what Jesus did for us at Calvary. You see, it is true that the failure of Adam and Eve is not our fault. It has just not been explained that way. It is that exact reason that God provided a way out of the unfair condemnation. No matter how much we hate it, and don't want it to be that way, it is a sentence passed on to us through the continuance of human life. 

What that errant couple, who possessed free wills, did when they made poor choices, horrendously affects our lives today, and in the afterlife. God loves his creation, us, so much that he determined in his heart that this will not stand. The human life that he created must go on, but the evil that influenced the downfall will not.

In his love for us, he provided a plan of redemption, a way to restore the connection to him that Adam and Eve's choices severed. Because it is not your fault, nor my fault, he provided a way out of the sentence that no one likes to hear about. He sent a Savior, someone to right the wrong done by evil influence. That Savior is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Through the bloodline of Adam, we all inherited death, or separation from God. So Sacred Blood had to be given to restore our inheritance of life, or connection to God.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and what God offers through his Son, is not provided to take away anything we have, other than that unfair condemnation that we inherited by being born into this world. We all are descended from that tainted bloodline of that original, fallen couple. Alternatively, we each have the equal opportunity to have our bloodlines restored to purity by receiving God's provision for redemption. It's as simple as that. 

God is a good Father, and a wonderful God! What loving father would let his children die for something that is not their fault, if he could in any way prevent it? God is the ultimate loving Father. He recognizes our unfair condition. Afterall, he is the owner of creation. He is the Most High God, the Only Wise God and the One True God. He asks for one thing from any who wants the unfair judgment lifted. Confess that we are born into sin and can't help ourselves, accept that we need to be saved, and accept that his Son is the only Savior.

So the condition that we find ourselves in when we learn about God is certainly unfair. God in his love, however, has provided a way out. Adam and Eve, who had free wills, had a choice, and they made theirs. You, who have a free will, have a choice, but you don't have to stay with theirs. You don't have to stay with the deception that you were born with. Do what they didn't do. Choose life. One day God is going to restore it back to the way it was meant to be on Earth. It's there in the Bible! Read it! There will be no more evil influence either. Don't you want to be there?

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not die
but have eternal life.
John 3:16 GNT

 But God put his love on the line for us
by offering his Son in sacrificial death
while we were of no use whatever to him.
Romans 5:8 TMB


If you would like to be sure that you are Saved, say this simple prayer:


Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God, and the only Savior. Come into my heart, and save me. I was born in sin and you died for me so that I can know God and not be blamed anymore. Thank you for my new life. Show me the way to turn away from bad things and help me to understand. I don't have to fear death anymore, and thank you for Eternal Life. 

Scriptures: BibleStudyTools.com
Image: Pixabay.com

Sunday, July 31, 2016

FOR THE CHRIST-CURIOUS: God Loves And Keeps His Word

At God's timing, we will know the reason for it all.

God loves us, no matter what is happening all around us, and to us.

There is a reason for all of it, and one day, when it is time for God to abolish evil, we will know the reasons. I thank Him that when that time comes, it won't matter to me and many others all the reasons why. We will be ecstatic that the New Heaven and the New Earth have come, and we can live in the presence of God forever and ever.

In the Bible, the story of Noah and The Ark says that he was faithful for decades in warning people that God's plan would be carried out. God had made a promise that he would wipe the face of the earth clean, but he gave all people a chance to escape the terrifying event.



The people who did not believe God continued with their unGodly lives,...


laughing at Noah, secure in their belief that it was all a myth. They were strengthened in their unbelief, because so much time passed with nothing happening. Noah continued to hold fast to his belief, and just as God had promised, in the end he and those who chose to believe with him were saved. Unfortunately, only his children and their spouses believed.

Today, many, many people, possibly the majority of peoples, believe that the story of Noah, and the Bible itself are myths. They believe that all that Christians like me say are myths, delusions and fantastical fiction.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 NKJV


If you would like to be sure that you are Saved, say this simple prayer:

Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God, and the only Savior as it says in The Bible. Come into my heart, and save me now. I confess all of my sins to you and believe that you died for me so that I can come to know God. I believe and I receive all that you have for me. Thank you for my new life. Show me the way and help me to understand. Thank you that I don't have to fear death anymore, and that I have eternal life in you. 
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Image: Pixabay.com Free Images
Scripture: BibleStudyTools 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Christian Non-Biased Thoughts On Racial Misunderstandings

This graphic and the serious social questions that it poses was posted at Facebook by Domenic Colangelo of Phoenix, AZ.




I read it at least 3 times because it sounded so important. It sounds like 3 groups or 3 opposed factions are locking horns in the monologue, though it is all about race relations. Realizing that we all have strong convictions, I wanted to respond from as non-biased of a position as possible. So I decided to put aside my convictions, annoyances and frustrations and speak in a way that will help ALL people. That meant that I had to retreat into my Christian re-born spirit, and speak from a Godly viewpoint, rather than from a fleshly, worldly one.  This is my answer to his questions, and to a hurting world:

A lot of them are coming from people who covertly and overtly don't want to change from their attitude against others. No matter how much it is explained, they don't WANT to understand.

From my Christian viewpoint, most of us can pray that Good will overcome in all situations; but we know from God's Word that the world is on a downward track, and that there WILL be a final, preordained end to every bit of it. Until then, we each should think GOOD and do GOOD, and not allow ourselves to be drawn into divisions and warring factions.


Remain neutral in all things and spread the Love of God, which is impartial. Most of all, allow ourselves to be more used of the Spirit to present the question of SALVATION to others. The time is fast approaching, no matter how long the world has already been going on, for God to wrap it up. Until then, a lot more worse things are to happen more rapidly, whether you and I are here, or not. We can always do GOOD, but the world can do nothing but become worse. God does not lie. He has no need to. His Word tells us what to expect.


We should be leaving a legacy of Jesus Christ everywhere that we can, so that if we should leave before Jesus comes, we will have left something for those who are still here to grab hold of. Our younger relatives should have our legacy of hope in Jesus Christ to remember when we are gone. The younger we are, the more people we can touch, as the Lord leads, because naturally we have more time.


We can continue to think GOOD and do GOOD, to be lights in this dying world, but we cannot make this world into a Utopia. That task is reserved for God, by God; and he will do that at the end of time, when time is no more, when he has sent Jesus back again, and he has put an end to evil and everything and every being associated with it.


Pray without ceasing.


 
Image Graphic Credit: Domenic Colangelo, Phoenix, AZ.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Grab Hold To Courage Today


Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

(Psalm 31:24 KJV)

Just ask The Lord God for courage to face what is before you. Courage is yours for the asking and receiving. We often don't have it in ourselves to face with strength the trials, sorrows, disappointments, requirements, tribulations, unfairness, rejections, horrors and struggles in this earthly life. God, in his mercy, that is not always evident, has provided help for us. He has opened the door for us to come to him at any time of the day or night, in our minds. Our minds are often very weak, and we just don't feel like coming to God's open door, even if it's just a thought away. The thoughts of this life and what many of us face every day overwhelm us. As long as we know, without a doubt, that we trust in the Lord, we know that we have help in any time of need. It may not seem like it at times, but our faith requires that we believe it. With that ever present belief will come change.
  

Ask him for courage today, and receive your strength. You may not feel it, but it will rise up and enforce in your circumstance God's power, and the power of all of his angels in Heaven, who encamp around you, because you have a Holy fear or reverence and appreciation of the Most High God, the Only Wise God, and the One True God.


Have You Made Jesus Christ your Savior? Have you wondered about it? Longed for it? Played around with the idea of becoming a Christian? Have you wondered if God could and would really ever help you? God the Father has made it possible for you to come to him and be saved forever in only one way, through accepting his only Son, Jesus Christ, as your Savior, and the only Savior of mankind. Choose to believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, so that you can be safe in God's kingdom, safe in his loving arms. That's it. No matter what all of the different denominations and Christian organizations call it, it is the same. Say with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead for you, for each of us who choose to believe, and you shall be saved. Then you can go confidently before God at any time, and know that he hears your prayers and will always answer, according to his will, because you acknowledged his Son. You will never again have to fear death, because Jesus conquered it at God's request.

Image: Pixabay.com free images

Sunday, August 30, 2015

True Peace Is Possible For You



The Law is certainly a hard taskmaster, and the devil uses it to browbeat Christians. Most Christians struggle with the insidiousness of this oppression. We're born under The Law, and rather than being left behind when we step over from the flesh-based life to the Spirit-based walk, it (The Law) usually piggy-backs on our re-birthing. It tags along as we begin our journey with God.

Christians become confused by scriptures that state faith without works is dead, we are our brother's keeper, avoid the very appearance of evil, if you keep my commandments and but be ye doers of the word and not hearers only. Because of this, we often actively help with the erroneous integration of the doing of The Law into our lives.The admonishments and encouragements mentioned above are Biblical, good, true and totally possible, but the realization of them in our lives is not Law-based.

Dealing with these guidelines and instructions through the spirit of man ~versus~ through the Holy Spirit of God produce opposite results. These results, which correlate with holiness, are not obtained by working to do The Law. These are Holy Spirit-based results that instill true peace, rather than creating a false peace resulting from us continuously searching for it, as in trying to do The Law.

When we are at peace, we know that we have allowed the Holy Spirit to create holiness in us, thereby fulfilling the law, so that we can live in the freedom of not having to strive to fulfill it ourselves.


Holy Spirit-based holiness also reduces the incidence of Christian judging of others. The Law judges. If we live by The Law (which means we would always be in a state of attempting to, because we can never fulfill it), then in addition to having a judgmental spirit about others, we also constantly judge ourselves. This is one of the ways in which the peace of God eludes us when we try to do The Law to make ourselves righteous and without spot or wrinkle. True and everlasting peace cannot develop and thrive under these conditions.

Peace flees when we are constantly aware of the faults of others, and judging and condemning them. Peace is repelled when we carry the burden of our own faults, struggling to correct them and make them line up with The Law. Peace is annihilated when we strive to do The Law, rather than doing the work of believing Christ.  When we arrive at true peace, we know that we have allowed the Holy Spirit to create holiness in us, thereby fulfilling the law, so that we can live in the freedom of not having to strive to fulfill it ourselves.

REMEMBER 

Man + The Law = no peace or false peace.

Man + Christ's Atonement = TRUE PEACE.

 
Image from Pixabay Free Images

Monday, March 30, 2015

Bible 3+5 Week: More Power From On High

Read the Bible 3 times a day this week.

JOIN ME for a week of reading the Bible 3 times a day for the next 5 days; Monday through Friday. Some of you already do this. Some do it occasionally. Jump on whenever you read this, even if a day or two later.

Easiest times are morning, around noon-time, and before bed. Adjust as needed, as close together or as far apart as necessary, but not running all together. Should be 3 distinctive times in each 24-hour period. I'm reading in my current book of Luke, and I added 1 John to read mid-day. May return to Luke tonight, or something new.

GOD BLESS YOU RICHLY
as you seek His face and
worship Him in spirit and in truth!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jesus Prayed For You: Did You Know That?

Jesus Christ prayed for us.

Did you know that before he was led away to be crucified, Jesus prayed to his father for you and me? It was after he prayed for his disciples, who had the enormous and monumental task of remaining committed to their calling, that Jesus then prayed for us. His disciples were to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ on a speaking circuit that could have no other ending than that of a painful and humiliating death. Whom else did Jesus go on to think of as he finished his supplications for those who were fingered by God to wear the great mantle of propagating the Gospel? He thought of the ones who would take to heart the words that his disciples would speak.

He thought of you and I, knowing that the world would continue on for an undetermined length of time. He did not know when he would be returning to launch the reestablishment of the new heaven and the new earth. He had no idea of the appointed time to begin the abolishing of the regime of Satan and his army of fallen angels. Only his father knew the appointed day and time. He knew that we would need all of the grace and help from his father that we could receive. His compassion, foreknowledge and wisdom led him to stand in the gap for you and me, to serve as a proxy in prayer at the throne of God, to for a moment not think of what he was about to endure, but to pray for our strength in a corrupt and dying world.

These are the words, that John recorded, that Jesus spoke to God the Father on our behalf:

20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;

21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.


22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:


23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.


24 Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.


25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.


26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."


(John 17:20-26 NKJV-New King James Version)

The Jesus Christ then is the same Christ that we honor today.
We may be far removed from the timeline of these events, but that Jesus is the same Jesus that we honor today. He loves us because we were given to him by his father. He has never ceased to pray for us. He is even now at the right hand of his father, interceding on our behalf. Let's strive always to remind ourselves of how much he loves us, and always will. Those of us who choose to believe and hold on will be with him throughout eternity, enjoying God's everlasting love.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Scripture References: BibleStudyTools

Images:
  1. "Jesus Christ prayed for us," Pixabay Free Images
  2.  "The Jesus Christ then is the same Christ that we honor today," ©SJHolland, acrylic and collage painting

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why Won't God Take Bad Memories Away?



Have you ever asked yourself this poignant question? Have you ever struggled to forget a devastating memory about your own behavior, or that of someone else that affected you? Has it been difficult to move on because you keep hoping that the memory will die, or that God will remove it? I have felt this way many times. The truth is that God chooses to erase memories for some, according to his perfect plan. For others, the hateful memories continue to afflict. Why?
_________________________☼_________________________

God chooses to erase memories for some, according to his perfect plan. For others, the hateful memories continue to afflict. Why?
__________________________________________________

I believe that if my distressing memories are not erased in this world, I still have hope for enduring them. While I suffer them, I remember that Christ also suffered for me, and he suffered much more than I ever will.  I am actually suffering a little, along with him.

I have often wondered about this scripture, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:17 NKJV). I have learned that whatever memories God doesn't see fit to remove, I carry as my cross. I also have learned through God's word and His direction to channel bad memories and emotions.  They can be used, just as everything can be used, because nothing is without usefulness within the Kingdom of God.

The scripture in Romans 8:13 tells us how. "...but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." To mortify is to be ashamed, embarrassed and regretful. As we consciously endure, rather than fight the shame and sorrow of our bad memories, we are dying with Christ, and living with Him. In being forced to remember, we are not being charged with our failures and condemned for our hurts, but these are being used to elevate us.
_________________________☼_________________________

In being forced to remember, we are not being charged with our failures, but our failures are being used to elevate us.
__________________________________________________

God knows how to elevate each of us. Even those who have been delivered from some memories are given circumstances to endure, in order to suffer with Christ. I may carry a thorn(s) in the flesh, and bear a cross(es) in this life, but it WILL one day all be over. If I continue in faith, I'll reap rewards, not only in the world hereafter, but here and now. Most of all, my light will shine brighter and brighter, until in the end when it will be engulfed forever by the light of God.



_________________________☼_________________________ 

Through the thorns of bad memories shines the hope of present and future renewal.
 __________________________________________________

Through the thorns of bad memories shines the hope of present and future renewal. Press on through power from The Word. If God does not see fit to deliver you from those dreaded memories, endure and be recharged. See those memories as God sees them. Your painful memories are nothing but energy. Energy for living. Energy for life through Christ.

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Image: Bare Branches- Artsy Craftery Studio
Image: Apple Tree- Pixabay Free Images
Scriptures Taken From: Bible Study Tools
Word Definitions Source: http://surl.me/49ek5

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Paul's Letter Of No Condemnation

Paul grabbed hold to the essence of his salvation.

Because of his past persecution of Christians, Paul elaborates in Romans on the great state of grace that we are under. This grace that we are free to receive was bought for us through Jesus Christ's sacrifice. Paul's agenda can be seen as an ultimate sin by some, to harass, persecute and murder those who choose to accept The Christ as Savior. Paul must have felt a great burden when his past came to mind. I believe it came to mind often.  How could so infamous of a past not torment the perpetrator. Through his torment and his desire for relief, Paul was able to quickly grasp hold to the spiritual truth of salvation.

Paul's ministry, after he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus, is a large part of the story in Acts. However, though the bulk of Paul's life figures heavily in Acts, he did not write it. At times as we read, we would think that he had. Luke penned Acts, which some feel should have been named The Acts of Paul. If you have read Acts, you may have felt a natural flow to proceed into Romans. This is because Paul wrote Romans, which is actually a letter to friends in Rome. This letter is full to overflowing of the wonderful fact that we are saved by grace, not works. Scripture upon scripture reminds us of this, and is there for whomever will drink of The Living Water of The Word.

Paul grabbed hold to the essence of his salvation. Because of that he was able to obey God and to hold on until the end. God infused him with power and might. The only thing that mattered to Paul was to be able to preach and teach the gospel, whether bond or free, in Jerusalem or Rome, in a jail or hired house, before kings or peasants. He was on a mission on which he could have never conceptualized that he would be. Never would he have dreamed that he would endure a burning and driving desire to speak on behalf of God. He advanced to instant faith, as in scripture, Acts 28:3-6, and he practiced the laying on of hands. He ran headlong into the conflicts which God presented to him with determination and consistency. He never tried to save himself.

Grab hold to the real essence of your salvation, that you therefore do not have to live with a feeling of condemnation about your past, because you are in Christ Jesus. Since you choose to live by the Spirit of God and not according to your fleshly existence, you enjoy freedom from guilt about your past actions, whether they were yesterday, last week or 10 years ago. When those evil memories surface, cast them down with The Word in Romans. Paul  wrote it so that you could live free, just as he did.

Dear Father: Bless this reader with a dynamic understanding of your words of freedom in Romans, and in other places in your Word. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. 
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Image Credit: vincenthteh

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Praying For Thieves

I found myself in front of the church gazing at the roses, which led me to think about the stolen rose bushes. Someone(s) had pilfered three new rose bushes from a street side median. They had been placed there to beautify the old, eclectic neighborhood, and now that spot of arid dirt was once again barren. I can't understand how someone could plant stolen rose bushes in their yard and look at them with appreciation everyday. Maybe they were stolen and sold. Roses are so beautiful and stand for so many beautiful things.

My thoughts drifted to the consistent theft that I experienced while working in a department store. The same group of family and friends, in various numbers or singly, would regularly steal throughout the store. They would shop each holiday, sports event and season, stealing housewares, clothing, children's items, costumes and anything else they could conceal. They stole at Easter, and they stole for Harvest/Halloween. They stole before game day, and at Christmastime. I can't imagine how it feels to laugh and play and enjoy life in a home filled with stolen items, and to care for children whose every item of apparel has been stolen.

We know that there are many types of theft in many different circumstances. When we pray for thieves, we are praying for ourselves as well. We can be stealing, pilfering, pinching, cheating, misrepresenting and misappropriating, and not recognize it, denying it, hiding from it, justifying it and whitewashing it. It is not so much the act as the tiny thought in the heart.  We know about the heart of man, don't we? (Jeremiah 17:9)

So let's pray for thieves and most of all, for the thoughts that lead to chronic and acute thieving and dishonesty. Let's pray for the healing of hearts with a propensity towards stealing. Pray for thieves, and let us pray for each other, while we're at it.
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Image Credit: Eric K Washington, flickr

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Don't Hate, Just Pray

While walking to the store this morning I was solicited by a guy loitering out front.  As I walked through the convenience store parking lot, he stood up from where he was leaning against the wall behind the trash can.  Hey baby, he called.  You wanna jump on me?  I looked to the left at him with a scowl.  I was on my way to the grocery store next door, and didn't break stride as I said I don't know what that means, and kept stepping.

As I crossed over into the supermarket parking lot, I thought with annoyance how people do this sort of thing.  They are always bothering people and getting on the nerves of others.  As I walked and thought, my frown began to smooth out, and I thought that God can help him.  I silently rebuked myself for my train of thought.  Don't hate, just pray I told myself.  God knows why he's doing what he's doing. God knows what he needs that is beyond what he's doing.  I began to pray for him as I approached the glass doors of the store.

Don't hate, just pray is not about being jealous of the possessions, blessings or traits of someone else.  It's about re-directing our train of thought from being angry at the activities of others, to feeling compassion for them, and then praying a heartfelt prayer on their behalf.  We can hate what they do, but it's more beneficial, for us and them, to arrest our train of thought from hating the person.

We don't like it when we are approached by certain types of characters.  We don't want to rub shoulders with certain types of people.  When we encounter this, our thoughts can rapidly degrade, and become useless, if we are not aware of it.

When I left the store the 'fella was still loafing outside the convenience store.  He yelled out a similar invitation to another man, as he left the store.  That person said I don't know man, and kept walking, never turning around to look at the loafer.  Using my wisdom as a woman walking alone, I gave a wide berth to the front of the store where the man loitered.  As I made my way on towards home, I smiled and thought, Give grace to the graceless, and don't hate, just pray.  I did not doubt that God loves that man.

I desire therefore that the men in every place pray,
lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
(I Timothy 2:8 World English Bible)

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Image Credit: lovette<3 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Grace, Restraint & Peacemaking

Responding with grace and diplomacy is always the best policy.  It is a lesson that builds upon the saying if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all.  It is a lesson that I use when my response has the potential to be too heated, too emotional, unfair or belligerent.  When debating and contesting may not increase knowledge, or foster friendly relationships, I choose this tact.  Thinking like this helps me to defuse situations and to also practice good conflict resolution.

Many years ago, I bought an electronic typewriter that began to have problems shortly after purchase.  I contacted the company, but was not able to resolve the issue to my satisfaction.  Though I was disappointed, angry and dissatisfied, the customer service manager was graceful in her formal letters to me.

Unfortunately, their service plan never served me well, so I never purchased an item with that brand name again.  I had always liked that company and they lost a customer.  However, I never forgot the consistent grace with which that person used to communicate with me.  Despite my angry and aggressive approach, she did not allow herself to respond in kind.  It did not cause me to remain loyal to her company, but it worked to diffuse my anger.  It prevented the situation from escalating, which was very helpful to me, emotionally and socially.

As you can see I am still impressed, after almost 20 years, by that manager's skill in the practice of restraint.  I choose to use the lesson of responding with grace and diplomacy in all of my interactions, and you know what? It always works.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

(Matthew 5:9 New International Version)

By a soft answer wrath is turned away, but a bitter word

is a cause of angry feelings.

(Proverbs 15:1 Bible in Basic English)

Whoever loves pure thoughts and kind words will have even the king as a friend.

(Proverbs 22:11 New Century Version)  
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Image Credit: OCVA