I BELIEVE In Mercy and Grace (Thank GOD!!)

I BELIEVE In Mercy and Grace (Thank GOD!!)

“As for [me], [I was] dead in [my] transgressions and sins, in which [I] used to live when [ I] followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit [Satan] who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Emphasis is mine – Instead of pointing to ‘you’, I admit my complicity in these charges laid out to the church in Ephesus by the apostle Paul.)

“But because of His Great LOVE for us, GOD, Who is rich in Mercy, made us alive with CHRIST even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by Grace you have been saved. And GOD raised us up with CHRIST and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in CHRIST JESUS, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His Grace, expressed in His kindness to us in CHRIST JESUS. For it is by Grace you have been saved, through Faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the Gift of GOD – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are GOD’s handiwork, created in CHRIST JESUS to do good works, which GOD prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:2‭-‬10 NIV

Have you heard “This I Believe (The Creed)” by Hillsong Worship?” It begins like this:

Our Father everlasting
The all creating One
God Almighty

Through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son
Jesus our Savior

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

Knowing that I am a sinner, and that I am only saved from an eternity of pain and suffering because of JESUS CHRIST and His Love for me – for me – (even though I deserve His wrath!), makes me incredibly thankful for GOD’s Mercy!

There are no coincidences in life – as I began writing this morning, this beautiful song by Hillsong came on the radio, and a little later Lauren Dagle’s song “Trust In You” began. I need those reminders to help me look beyond my own troubles and focus my eyes back on the LORD and His Mercies.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the LORD JESUS has given me – the task of testifying to the Good News of GOD’s Grace.” – Acts 20:24 NIV

What is your life worth to you? Do you believe that this wondrous, incredibly complex being that is you, this creation of the Almighty GOD of the Universe, is just going to turn to dust when you die? Do you believe you will be reborn in karma, or just cease to exist altogether? I don’t understand those views. Intellectually, maybe, but in my heart? No…. we are too intricate, our bodies too intriguing, to have come from nothing without the guiding Hand of the Creator. Come to JESUS and the cross where He has already died for your sins. GOD’s Mercy and Grace awaits you!

Image credit: LCC Daily Devotions

Fix My Eyes

Have you ever come across a verse in the Bible that makes your eyes pop open, because it is so relevant to you in that instant that it’s as though GOD Himself just spoke it out loud to you? I love it when it happens to me!

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my Light.” – Micah 7:8 NIV

BOOM. Take THAT, Satan! So much of the time, we are so overwhelmed by the circumstances we are in that we become totally focused on putting one foot in front of the other. As we are trying desperately to see the next step, and hoping it is solid enough to hold us, we forget to lift our eyes enough to see the hand stretched out to assist us. We act like we’re blind, feeling our way through the flood or fire or rain of our situation, tap tap tapping the path, hoping for a clear way. Why are we so determined that we have to do it on our own – like a 2 year old, “I do it!”; that we have to assert our independence, when the LORD of the Universe is waiting right beside us, ready to help??? Is it such a bad thing to accept help?

Miss Independence. If I were in a pageant, that would be me. I can do it. I grew up trying hard to be accepted by my big brother, and I knew I had to be strong and not a “girly-girl” to be one of the guys. When I went into the workforce, I found a job in a builder’s supply, the heart of ‘man-world’. If I couldn’t prove my independence, my ‘I can do it’ attitude, I wouldn’t survive in that atmosphere….. so that’s what I did. The men learned that if I was told I couldn’t do something (implied was ‘because you’re a girl‘), then I would do everything in my power to do that thing. Whether it was determining the difference between a framing hammer and a finish hammer, or stocking 50# boxes of nails and screws; learning to drive a forklift and unloading (and loading) trucks, I did it. Presented with a challenge, my attitude became “I will do it …. on my own, and I don’t want your help.” Those years, and all of those jobs would have been so much easier, so much more pleasant, with someone at my side helping. After years of the struggle, I met and married a man who was truly a partner to me. He didn’t challenge me; he worked alongside me and we learned from each other.

That’s the relationship we can have with JESUS! He doesn’t dominate the relationship, He doesn’t ‘boss’ us, He is there, beside us, to carry our burdens so that we aren’t staggering under them. We may still stumble and fall, and the enemy will still come at us with his arrows and throw obstacles in our path, but with JESUS at our side, we have the help we need to go on. Keeping our eyes fixed on JESUS, we aren’t focused on the ugliness of the enemy….. and trust me, he is UUUUG-LY. Worry, anxiety, frustrations, hurts and hatefulness, bullying, gossip – these are ways the enemy gets us to gradually look away from JESUS, until we are immersed in them and we’ve completely lost sight of the LORD. That’s his goal! Don’t let him win.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with GOD’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with CHRIST JESUS Himself as the Chief Cornerstone. In HIM the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the LORD. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which GOD lives by His SPIRIT.” – Ephesians 2:19‭-‬22 NIV

I pray today that my eyes will stay fixed on my LORD, and off of the frustrating circumstances. I’ve read the back of the Book, devil, and you LOSE, dude.

Listen to Fix My Eyes by King and Country ☝️

He Is MORE Than Able!

Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His Power that is at work within us, to Him be Glory in the church and in CHRIST JESUS throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 NIV

I love these verses! We used to sing them to a simple melody in the little church we were a part of …. beautiful, and Absolute Truth.

You may have missed my blogs the past few days. I have been without my tablet/computer, and I was beginning to feel bereft! It wasn’t because it was lost or stolen or anything bad; I’ve been really busy and everything has taken a back seat to a rather momentous occasion. 😎 My sweet Mama (she’ll turn 92 in a couple of months!!) just moved back to Oklahoma after spending the past 36-37 years in Tucson, AZ to be closer to more of her kids. I had the privilege of going out to her home in Arizona for several weeks to pack her things in preparation for the move, and now we get to help her settle into her new place here. It’s been a real blessing to work with my sisters and my Mom as we see an apartment turn into a cozy home, with the bonus that she’s now 35 miles from me, rather than 1000! It’s much easier to visit now!

My prayer is that I will be able to move even closer, so that I am more readily available for her…. would you pray for me? My income is severely limited and I need two things: a part-time job close too her, and a small house (also closer) within my budget. On my own, looking at my finances, this is an insurmountable task – especially considering that I’ve spent the majority of the last 2 1/2 years looking for a position! – but then I remember Ephesians 3:20-21 and all of the crazy, overwhelming challenges I have been faced with in my life, and I know I have to turn it over to my LORD. These verses that Paul wrote resonate in my heart as well:

And my GOD will meet all your needs according to the riches of His GLORY in CHRIST JESUS. To our GOD and FATHER be Glory for ever and ever. Amen.” – Philippians 4:19‭-‬20 NIV

GOD Loves me, He will provide. Listen to the beautiful new hymn, Living Hope, sung by Phil Wickham:

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb

JESUS CHRIST, my Living HOPE!

Amen!

I’m Asking …. I’m ASKING, LORD and I’m Listening

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your FATHER in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them – this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:7‭-‬12 HCSB

“Therefore I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for – believe that you have received them, and you will have them.” – Mark 11:24 HCSB

What are you asking for? Is it to be recognized in your field, or to make lots of money; that you get a bigger, more impressive house or car/truck? Is your prayer, your ‘ask’, that you succeed as an entrepreneur or business person? Is your ‘ask’ that your sports team or favorite athletes win? Is it wrong to pray for these things? I don’t have an answer to that question. Like others, I have prayed for and worked towards all those things, and my LORD has provided me with countless blessings throughout my life.

Now, my prayer is just to have enough. I don’t want, or need, a big house or a fancy automobile. Right now I’m caught, stuck, in the web of my own making, a big one. I can’t see a way out, but my GOD sees the bigger picture, and because He loves me, He hears my prayer. Like the father of the boy who was possessed cried out to JESUS, I also cry out to my LORD, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.” – Mark 9:24 HCSB

Just enough, LORD, just enough. I do believe, and I’m listening!

Jesus Christ, My Living Hope

Sung by Phil Wickham, this song is a beautiful anthem, a praise hymn, and a glorious tribute to the HOPE that is only found in JESUS CHRIST.

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my Living Hope

“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest? ” {JESUS} said to {the Pharisee}, “Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the Greatest and most important Command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” – Matthew 22:36‭-‬40 HCSB

How can we not love and worship the LORD? He left heaven and His Throne to live a life of hardships here on earth; to be tortured for nothing more than being Himself, and to die a horrific death on the cross for each and every human who will ever live. He came as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins; to give us unlimited Love and Forgiveness and Mercy and Grace. There is the beauty of it all! Would you be willing; would you volunteer, to be tortured, mocked and spit on, and then nailed to a cross until you died, in physical agony the whole time, for the neighbor you barely know? The coworkers who gossip behind your back? JESUS did that and more, and He did it willingly, even knowing that He would be rejected by millions. I don’t have that kind of mercy or grace! I have a difficult time just being civil to some people, and to die for them? I don’t think so.

What tender Mercies our LORD pours over us! Jesus Christ, my Living Hope, Sustainer of my life, SAVIOUR and Redeemer. Amen!

Yes, I know it’s a shameless plug for Phil Wickham! But….. just listen to that song!!!

Perfect People

Do you know any perfect people? I don’t! I know people who think they are perfect, and I admit to having had that attitude in the past. I know a lot about certain subjects, and I know a little about a lot of subjects, and I am easily frustrated when I know the answer but no one wants to hear it. My word is my bond, but I’m not sure I always keep my promises, especially when it hurts. I try not to gossip, and I won’t speak evil of a friend…. but I do when it comes to people I don’t like. Lending money isn’t something I do. If someone needs it, and I have it, I’d rather just give it to them. Can you relate?

“Who may worship in Your Sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter Your Presence on Your Holy Hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.” – Psalms 15:1‭-‬5 NLT

If we just read these verses, and then we look at professing Christians, we can pronounce without a doubt that no one (and we should include ourselves!!) should be worshipping in the Sanctuary of our LORD. So what are we supposed to do? If we don’t qualify to worship in His Sanctuary, where, then? Thank GOD that HE doesn’t require perfection! Looking back at the premise and initial question, we should remember that there is, in fact, ONE perfect person. One Who was everything that we should aspire to be like; never gossipy or cruel, One Who could not be bribed, One Who lived a perfect life. That One is JESUS, Son of the Most High GOD, the second part of the Triune GOD, the One Who sacrificed Himself so that we could worship in the Sanctuary of the LORD.

See? I was wrong to suggest I didn’t know a perfect person, because I know the single perfect person who has or will ever live on this earth. I have a real relationship with JESUS. I will never be like HIM, but because of His Love for me and His Sacrifice for me, I am washed and cleansed by His Blood, and I can worship in the Father’s Sanctuary. I’m still not perfect, I will never be perfect, and I will always be a hypocrite…. but through JESUS CHRIST, I am now imperfectly perfect, and hopefully the Light of my LORD shines out through the cracks.

Have a Fabulously Blessed day, my friends! Let His Light shine through your cracks!

Photo credit: Pinterest.

The LORD Your GOD Is With You

Wherever I go, whatever I do, I am assured that even if I am physically alone, I will never be alone. Does that confuse you?

I just spent the past month with my Mom, helping her prepare for a big move: 1000 miles, downsizing to a smaller apartment, closer to more family, and a much smaller community with help available as needed. It’s a good thing, although difficult, and a new adventure. I’m excited, because she’ll be 30 miles from me instead of 1000. I’m sad, too, because my baby sister and her family are still 1000 miles away….. (sounds like a good excuse to go back to the desert southwest for a visit!) My Mom has an abiding faith in our LORD, and she has learned to be content wherever she is. I loved being able to spend the time with her, because it helped me to see her contentment in the situation, even though it is stressful and difficult. The verse for the day encourages me to be like her:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:8‭-‬9 NRSV

The word “prosperous” jumps out at me. Growing up in the home of a small town Baptist preacher, we were anything but prosperous buy the definition of the world. There were many occassions when food and clothes were lacking, yet we were always fed, clean, and clothed. In spite of the small paychecks, my parents were faithful with their tithe and offerings of time. My Dad made sure that Mom was provided for when he passed on, too. I know it was hard on them both, being the pastor and the pastor’s wife meant they gave up major chunks of their lives in serving the LORD, but I saw – and still see – the truth of this verse in them: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go.No matter where you are, how you feel, whatever your circumstance, hold on to this. Never alone! Amen.