Tag Archives: grace

We Need To Get Over Ourselves

26 Mar

I read something recently that left me feeling uneasy. The article contained some controversial material, but what really bothered me was the way Christians were fighting with each other. It grieved my heart. There is a world watching us, and when we fight amongst ourselves, tear each other down, what does that tell the greater population? Now, I’m not saying believers should ever water down the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not saying to compromise core values and beliefs. What I am saying is that, as Christ followers, in many circumstances we need to get over ourselves. We are not, nor have we ever been, perfect. Sinners…..each of us, deserving of Hell.

I am a sinner…saved only by the unmerited grace of a living and loving God. I never deserved Christ’s forgiveness and I sure couldn’t earn it. In fact scripture reminds me that, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6  NIV   In other words, none of us are perfect and even when we try to do “the right thing”, we can never meet the standards of a Holy and Just God. That is the whole reason Christ came to this broken, sin cursed world. He came to save us. We needed Him to stand in the gap between us and God. When God looks at me, He no longer sees Dawn covered in her sin, but He instead looks at me in the shadow of His perfect and righteous Son. Jesus has me covered.

Instead of arguing and condemning, maybe we need not be so scared to extend grace to others. The more we, as individuals, realize how lost we were before Christ found us, the more likely we will be to give a hand to others who are desperately in need of Him.

 

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Live In Grace

5 Feb

It is Wednesday, dead in the middle of winter. This season of cold and snow has wrapped the Mid-west in its white blanket. I’m not feeling all that great today. I hope it is just a passing thing and not real sickness that has come for a visit. I have felt well enough to read some blogs and status’ this morning. One friend wrote something about her life, something I did not know. She was brave to write the words from her heart. While reading her words I was reminded about how much we are all loved by The Word, Jesus Christ.

My memory verse from last week, for the Jesus Project, is from John 1:16.  “Because He was full of grace and truth, from Him we all received one gift after another.”  He gives us His grace. So many times we hear that word, we know that word, but we find it difficult to live in that word.

Instead of writing an entire post today, I chose to pull up one of my favorites that I wrote awhile ago.

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It’s All Grace

I had just returned  from an early morning walk.

I was struck by the beauty of this scene…a  scene right in my front yard.

I’m so glad I took the time to snap the picture.

My peaceful morning picture.

I enjoy looking at it. Over and over again.

Saturday night I was completely awestruck by the beauty of the “super” moon. The moon was huge. And perfect.

The light it cast was reflecting on the winter lake across the road. Out here, in rural America we have “winter water lakes” .  The lakes are not real lakes. In our case, the farmer across the road has a low spot in his field. The rain and snow melt cause a lake to form. It doesn’t last forever but, for now the geese and ducks love it….and so do I.

The moonlight rippled across the water. The black silhouette of a still bare tree. The moon. The beautiful moon.

I had a difficult time pulling my gaze away from the scene.

I could hear frogs croaking in the darkness, along with the shrill sound of a killdeer.

I attempted to take a picture. I wanted to capture the beauty of the moment. Alas, my camera was unable to accurately copy the night time scene. My picture was dark.  I wonder if  catching moonlight is even possible?  I ended up with a dark picture with a white spot in the middle…which was the moon. No aura. No still beauty. No moonlight.

I wanted to savor the moment so I grabbed my Eurcharisteo journal…and I gave thanks.

#281  bright moon, close to Earth

#282  cool night air

#283  silhouette of bare tree under moonlight

#284  moon mirrored in the winter lake, in the field

#285   enjoying the beauty of God

#286   afternoon nap

#287  snuggling

#288  breath taking views

#289  pink

#290  the awe in the Almighty

#291  warm sweater

#292  smooth hair

#293  my tall son

#294  blue tennis shoes

# 295  Jeremiah 31:9

#296 comfortable clothes

#297  early morning quiet

#298 breakfast

#299 sunlight on the barn

#300 the mail van stopping at my house

It’s all by His grace. Every bit of it.

As I’ve been writing down in my notebook…. filling it with eucharisteo, I have become more and more aware of this fact.

If you are interested in reading more, click on the Multitudes on Mondays graphic in the right hand column.

We Are All In Need Of God’s Amazing Grace

20 Jan

Yesterday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.  Sanctity…the quality or state of being holy, very important, or valuable.

It is a special time to think about that which is important. Lives should be valued. Cherished. Respected.

Life should always be valuable, because it is valuable to God. The Creator, Himself, tells us of those moments before we even took our first breath in this world.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139 NIV

newborn-baby-picture-photo

His wrinkled skin and a thatch of dark hair, a loud cry escaped as his lungs were introduced to the strange new air of this world. I counted fingers and toes, stared into those eyes for the very first time, and worshiped God who made this life possible. A sense of awe and responsibility washed over me as never before.

It pains me to hear the media of today vehemently preaching that life doesn’t begin until the baby is born. Some officials have even given interviews stating that babies aren’t really people until they are close to two years old. What? I don’t understand their reasoning. They say that unborn babies are just a mass of cells and tissue. They attempt to make the living baby, impersonal and not human. That line of thought makes it easier to soothe a seared conscience.  Those words are dark, and  straight from the father of lies.

If we don’t value life, be it an unborn child, an elderly person, the disabled, or those trapped in earthly horrors such as abuse or human trafficking, then what does that say about us as a country?

The slope becomes slippery. What is right becomes unclear.

If we don’t stand up for life, then we all fall.

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I have many readers of my blog, people from all over the world. Some of you reading this post might be in pain right now. You might be pregnant and scared and confused, considering your options. You might be a woman that daily lives with the consequences of a choice you made to have an abortion. You might be a man who feels guilt over pushing abortion to get “it” taken care of so you could “get on with your life”. I don’t take your feelings lightly. My heart aches for you. The decisions you made weigh heavy.

You are desperately in need of God’s grace…not just to know the word, but to live in it. Grace is God’s love and mercy to each of us, not because we have done anything to deserve it, but because He chooses to give it to us.

We are all in need of God’s amazing grace.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Opening Up A New Year

1 Jan

I wrote this post a few years ago, but it truly does sum up how I feel about the new year……

One of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite books….

“I don’t really want more time;

I just want enough time.

Time to breathe deep & time to see real & time to laugh long, time to give You glory & rest deep & sing joy…

I just want time to do my one life well.           —-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

What better goal could I have for this new year, all fresh and open to possibility?

I long to live my one life well.

Yes, that is it.

As this day unwraps a new year, may you become more aware of God’s miraculous, redemptive, love-filled…

amazing grace.

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Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  John 17:3 NIV

Nothing Is Impossible

22 Nov

This afternoon the gray sky is moist. I feel the drops on my face as I rush to unload the groceries. IMG_0718

The wind is biting, and my thick sweater is not enough to protect against the late Fall temperatures.

I hurry to get inside to the warmth. The kitchen lights leave puddles on the counter top, as I quickly put groceries away.

Life is a blur, but I want to slow it down.

It’s Friday. November 22nd. 2013. This day will soon be gone, and there will never be another just like it……

Oh, how I wish I could live each day remembering this fact.

When the merry-go-round goes wild and the moments make me dizzy….

Slow down.

Yesterday, while making dinner I watched Ann Voskamp and Liz Curtis Higgs, “Christmas at the Farm”. (If you too,would like to see the Webcast, go here. ) These two ladies are inspiring. They gave me a gift. They took my hand, frazzled and worn, and led me to the Savior. Towards the end of the visit, Liz spoke of Luke 1:37. “Nothing is impossible with God.” That happens to be my very favorite Bible verse and I just knew she was talking to me personally.

Nothing. Not anything. Nothing big. Nothing small. N-O-T-H-I-N-G is impossible with God.

How many of us need to hear that today? At this very moment? Every day, a reminder?

The darkness is creeping around the edges of the late afternoon sky. 4:30 seems much later….almost time to start dinner.

But, even as the darkness descends, and the temperature plummets, I know this…

My moments are here and now, and God sees them and feels them all.

I can rest in the knowledge that there is no such thing as impossible with Him.

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37  KJV

 

 

Saying Grace

21 Nov

The world is soft gray, as the daylight winds down at only 3:30 in the afternoon.

Soft light filtering through the panes of glass.

Autumn clings, not yet ready to give up… winter only a short month away.

I gaze out my kitchen window. The fields surrounding my house are brown.

Dead or dying. Brittle.

Leafless trees…but, not lifeless.

I see their barren limbs silhouetted against the late November sky.

The air is crisp, and I breathe it in.

The faint smell of someone’s wood stove, working hard to shake the chill.

This time of the year is a favorite.

The world seems quieter at this time.cropped-img_0160.jpg

Thanksgiving, next week.  All the blessings acknowledged. Heads and hearts bowed.

Saying grace.

Needing grace.

Living grace.

Amazing grace.

 

Grace

1 Nov

The word prompt for Five Minute Friday is:

 

GRACE

 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Ephesians 2:8 NIV

Life changing. Altering. So undeserved.

A gift.

And on most days I don’t even realize it, or even see it.

Blinded to just how blessed I am.

Thank you, Lord.

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Life Is Not Fair

4 Sep

 

I’ve been dealing with some things lately.                                                                         Rusted-apya-007

Hard things.

Anger and resentment are deep.

The feelings hurt and my heart is hardened. Apathy strangles.

 

Life is not fair sometimes. Life is not fair most of the time.

I see each brick. I’ve memorized them. They build a wall.

My heart is so wrapped in bitterness that I have forgotten.

Forgotten what grace is…

I needed to read again, what I had written before.

I had to be reminded about grace…

His amazing grace to me, and how I need to extend grace to others.

Grace is needed the most, when it is deserved the least.

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Saved By His Amazing Grace


“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

 

That saved a wretch like me.

 

I once was lost, but now am found

 

Was blind, but now I see……..”

 

Webster’s tells us that grace is an act of favor, kindness, or mercy. Grace is given to those that deserve it the least. It is given to those that could never pay the price for it…because it costs too much. More than I could ever afford or even begin to be able to pay back. Grace is a gift.

 

Years ago, when my story first began……I was spiritually dead. My heart was as dark as the sin that it held. My desire to please myself was great. It was all about me. If I had not met Jesus along the way, the road that I was on, most certainly would have  taken me to Hell. Yes, Hell. I thank God for His amazing grace. A grace that I did not deserve. A grace that I did not earn. A gift that He offered me. Thank God, I accepted the gift.

 

Some people don’t believe in Hell. They think it is just a metaphor for badness, or sadness. A philosophical place, so to speak. Not a real place. Other’s think that Hell is a place that is going to be one raucous party and that all their friends will be there, participating in all the other worldly vices. Sadly, that is what Lucifer would have them believe–that it isn’t all that bad, come join the party. Who needs the Lord? Who needs self sacrifice? Who needs the Bible? That isn’t any fun. It is too constricting. Do what you want, when you want, how you want.  After all this life is all about you!! Satan’s lies echo in the ears of those that live for their own self gratification.  Empty lies that claim to offer the world…but, instead lead to death.

 

Hell is real. It is a place.  I believe the saddest and most painful part of it, for those who find themselves there, is the isolation. What makes Hell, hell is that God is not there. There is no love, no compassion, no forgiveness, no hope, no joy, no friendship, no fairness, no understanding…..no more grace. These things are not there…because the God who possesses these qualities is not there. That is what Hell will be. I think there will be people in Hell that will have a deep and profound sadness because they will know that their eternity didn’t have to end up this way. It was their choice. They chose this for themselves. When people tried to tell them about God, they scoffed at them…calling them crazy, or weird, or other harsh names. When they were invited to attend church, they laughed that a church is the last place they’d ever go! When God quietly knocked at the door of their heart, they slammed it in His face. Denying their need for Him. Apathy sets in. Hearts harden. Minds are set. And days slip by.

 

I was a sinner in need of a Savior.  I’m grateful I realized this at a fairly young age. It saved me a lot of grief. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not claiming perfection. Lord knows, and so do a lot of other people, that I went through some bad times in my life. Sometimes I’d wonder to myself how I allowed this to happen? What was I thinking? This stuff hurts! What a mess I made. Stupid decisions. The pain at times, was great. In the midst of all this I knew that Christ was still there. He never left me. I was His child. I had accepted His gift of grace and salvation years earlier….and I was His. Much like a parent looks at his/her wayward child and their heart breaks, God looked at me. He didn’t leave me there in the slime and dirt of my own life….bogged down in the morass of my own decisions. He brought me out of that. He set me on a rock. Sturdy. Secure. Strong.

 

My story is not one of all rainbows and roses. Life is gritty…..and we are all human. We make mistakes. We makes reckless decisions. We have regret. In the midst of all this, Jesus is there. Regardless of what you’ve done, or not done in your own life, He loves you.  He wants to give you the gift of His amazing grace. Will you accept it?

Just Give Me Jesus

2 Jan

Today at A Holy Experience we are writing about: The Practice of New Habits

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Jesus

This is the time of the year when I, like so many others, think about habits. Resolutions. Disciplines. What will my priorities be for 2013? It can all seem so overwhelming. By nature, I tend to be an organized person. I make lists and I try to accomplish all the things that are on those lists, but to do lists are easier to complete than habits, or more so, change.

Change. I’m not sure how I feel about that word. It is uncomfortable, it makes me worry.  What if I make a mess of things? Worse yet, what if I fail?

So, with those thoughts in mind, I set out to see what God says about habits.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV My strength comes not from me. I know myself all too well. I give up, become frustrated, throw in the towel. My strength in life comes from the One who never tires, who is a wonderful encourager and knows my faults yet still loves me.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2 ESV –There are times when I feel guilty because I don’t spend enough time meditating on God’s word. I need to not only read more, but truly think about what I read, after all this Word is God’s letter to me.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galations 6:9 ESV– Don’t give up doing the right thing. Not the easiest thing…not the most available thing…but, the right thing. How do I know what is right and good? Go back to God’s word (previous verse). What would please Him? How can I do things with, and in, my life that would glorify Him and edify others?

 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 ESV–Grow in grace. Grace, that amazing grace. It is a wonderful thing. Each day, as a believer in Christ Jesus, I live in that grace. What a privilege to be able to grow in that grace and knowledge of Jesus. I forget that sometimes. It is easy to do, take it for granted, not fully comprehend. A grace filled life, does not mean perfection, nor does it mean a perfect life…but, it is a humbling experience.

I want to live my days in thankfulness to the One that knows no bounds.

My desire this year, is to grow closer to Him.

Just give me Jesus.






Stoning

24 Apr

Stones

Last Saturday I attended a women’s conference. One of the speakers talked about throwing stones, as she carried a large rock onto the stage with her.  It was not the kind of rock one skips across a lake, but one that is thrown at others.

Her illustration made me think.

What a horrible way to die. Slowly. Each blow from a rock, leading to bruising. Breaking. Pain. Until mercifully, it was over. In times past, and still in some countries today, stoning is for those that have broken the law. Committed an unpardonable sin. Those that throw the stones are sure that they are right. That they are above this sin. That punishment is due.

And, the stones are heavy and cold in their hands.

As I listened to the woman speaking, I was reminded of something.

I have been like that woman. The lost. The sinful. The one who made mistakes. My wrongs were not always known to others, but, still there….marking me….as the one that was (and is) covered in the grime of sin.

And, I also must admit that I’ve picked up the stones. I have been the one holding the rocks, to bash them against another. To break them. Holding on to the belief that they deserve what they get.

And the tears fell.

Aren’t the ones casting the stones just as needing of forgiveness, as the one who cowers in the midst of the the angry circle?

We have all sinned, and we are all helpless to save ourselves………

that is where His grace comes in. Amazing grace.

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

   9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  John 8  NIV

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For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… Romans 3:23  NIV

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV

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