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Grace To GO

stone of grace

We don’t have to look for evil.  It’s all around us, and for some, unfortunately, evil has taken residence in their hearts.   When they get hurt, they hurt back and don’t feel any remorse in doing so.  They operate off of their intellect and feelings.  The conscience can’t be pricked, and no alarm can be sounded when sin engulfs an individual.

Matthew 24:12 tells us, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”  True love is absent when the heart is filled with evil.  A person who doesn’t know God is a desperate one.  He or she searches for a way to feel whole and complete, but of course, those of us anchored in Christ know that they’re on a fruitless journey.  There is no hope, joy, love and peace apart from Jesus Christ.  Nothing can take the place of a real relationship with our creator, maker of heaven and earth.

So, how do we respond when we encounter people who plot evil schemes and devise plans for our destruction?  I’ll be the first to admit that my flesh causes me to want to get even, but thank God that I am not governed by flesh but by His spirit.  (I have to remind myself often. 🙂  To respond in a way that’s pleasing to God, I have to access Him through His Word and prayer.  He lets us know that the battle is not ours to fight, but His.

When others do wrong to us, it’s easy to spend days, weeks, and some even spend months and years in agony, fretting over how someone or something has ruined their lives.  However, if we use the painful experiences we go through to allow God to show us ourselves, (really show us our need for the Savior), we can use these experiences to catapult us into a new level of spiritual maturity.  We see how much we are in need of God’s grace and mercy.  Recognizing our own need for His grace can open our hearts to forgive, get over it, and move on.

I was blessed to hear an anointed message by a phenomenal woman of God this past weekend at my church.  Dr. Joyce Woods reminded us of something very important by saying, “The spirit that you feed within you is the one that will grow.”  Do we want bitterness, revenge, and sadness to fill your life?  I’d venture to say that nobody sane desires this.  We want to have peace, joy, and love, so we have to sow these things, and we can’t give these things without right relationship with Christ.  We have to discipline ourselves by meditating and studying His Word and by spending time in prayer.  Of course, we can’t do good works to earn His grace, but he extends it to us freely, but there are things that we must do to build and nurture our spirit.

His grace does more for us than I can write here, but one thing it does for us is it give us the ability to go forward.  We can’t measure His grace because it extends to infinity and beyond.  There is nothing that is too hard to Him, and His grace covers all who are in need and ask for it.  Nobody is above needing His grace, no matter how long we’ve been saved or in the church.  Some people think that they’ve earned brownie points in heaven for the number of generations their family has been in the church or how many scriptures they can recite.

It’s very easy to identify people who are in right relationship with Jesus.  They don’t condemn, retaliate, or ostracize.  They show compassion, love, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead them.  As Christians, we shouldn’t look down on anyone, but we should always point others to Him.  Ephesians 2:8 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—no by any works, so that no man can boast.”  When we understand that it’s only by His grace, we have nothing to act superior about or hold over anyone’s head.

Whatever we are going through—because we’re all going through something—we need to zero in on Him.  He loved us enough to sacrifice His life for us.  We are important to Him, and He wants us to depend on Him for everything.  If there is someone that we need to forgive, God can give us forgiveness to go forward in Him.  When we consider the grace that has covered us, we can forgive others more easily and love through whatever trials and difficulties come.

I’m praying that His grace gives you the power to grow and to GO!

 

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What Keeps You Going?

keep going

Sometimes, we get bursts of inspiration from outward sources, and they motivate us to push past the pain, difficulty, or challenges that lie before us. Other times, however, it can feel like there is no help or encouragement in sight.

What keeps you going when things look bleak, hopeless, or stagnant? What happens when a trite expression, word of encouragement, or even a scripture doesn’t seem to be enough to propel you forward in the right direction? I know how it feels, and it can be a scary place to be unless you stop, seek, listen and obey what the Spirit of the Lord says.

I’ve realized that a lot of times, listening to the voice of the “crowd” can be enough to stifle self-doubt, criticism, and the prospect of failure—that is, when the “crowd” is applauding. When people are pleased with us and praising our efforts, it’s usually easy to keep going. We can become energized by the good feeling we get from being accepted and highly esteemed.

Usually, it’s pretty easy to glide through life when we don’t have any major problems or setbacks. It’s when we have to face major setbacks and disappointments that we really see what we’re made of. When your health isn’t perfect, or you have no title to attach to your name, how do you keep going? When you find yourself unemployed or doing something you dislike, how can you function? Have you ever experienced the “crowd” turning on you? Maybe you once were in, but for whatever reason, suddenly, you’re out. Through situations like these, you have to know who you are, not based on people’s perceptions or expectations. You have to know who you are in Him.

I’ve had to really examine my motives, especially in the past year. In spite of all of my noble intentions, I, too, have been a victim at times of trying to please people. As I’ve been working on book three, I’ve rewritten things to try to people please, and it’s been a mess. I’ve gotten frustrated, stuck, and confused. Lately though, as I’ve really begun to lay it all at His feet, I’ve begun to feel charged, focused, and clear. My worries about what will sell, who will read, and when it will happen, all quiet by spending time with Him. Surrendering everything to Him is the only way.

Maybe you’re not working on a story, but you might be facing a health issue, job-related problem, or relationship crisis. It may be that you’re not where you think you should or could be at this point in your life. Knowing which way to turn isn’t something that we can get, based on other people’s experiences, feelings, or opinions. We have to seek Him with our whole heart, which means that we have to let go of the bondage of a bad report, unhealthy relationship, or fear of failure.

When things seem hopeless, we don’t need to motivate ourselves with superficial fixes. Instead, we have to remember to turn every big and small situation over to Him in prayer, commitment, and obedience, trusting Him to make a way. Block out everything and everybody except Him every day. Talk to Him. Read His Word. He is our source. Because He is our source, we don’t need to worry about pleasing people. We don’t need to panic if the doctor gives us unfavorable news. We don’t need to worry if what we have doesn’t seem to be enough in the opinion of those in the world.

He searches our hearts, and He is the One who really knows us, inside and out. Our focus should be to please Him, and He is faithful to deliver, lead, and bless us.
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14