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Pieces of Grace

Grace is the foundation of our faith and daily strength.  What then, does it mean to “live in grace”?

For me, it is to be like-minded with Christ, to want what He wants for me, not the other way around.  It’s so easy for us to let time slip, days pass without opening our Bible, reading something encouraging, sharing with our Heavenly Father, the hopes and fears we have.  Something draws us back, and I believe it the work of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps you’ve gone stagnant, still a believer, grounded in your faith, attending church regularly and bible study, but maybe your light has disappeared. That “still small voice” that guides our comings and goings.  That voice that is your Father

It’s easy to get back in touch, whether your distance has been a few weeks, or perhaps many years.  Jesus is always here for us.  He wants to reconnect, no matter how long its been.  He nudges softly, reminding us that He never left, it was us who stepped further and further away.

Your conversation doesn’t have to be complicated.  Ask God for what you need, be mindful that you are the presence of the Holiest One.  And He wants you back in the fold.  He has missed you.  Let Him provide the grace necessary to live in His word.

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Pieces to Remember

My 88 year old MIL passed away a few weeks ago.  It’s been so hard.  Even knowing she was called home to be with Jesus and is sitting with her Heavenly Father, reunited with family, friends and pets – doesn’t make it easier on this end.

That’s the irony of death.  They’ve moved on and we are stuck here to grieve.

It IS unfair.

But just as we live on earth, we are to continue on until we are called to live in eternity with God.  And so, we need to remember all of the good pieces that our loved one brought to our life.

Memories, laughter, silliness, joy.  Honor your love for them this way.

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The Greatest Love

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
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The journey of cancer has made me very reflective.  I am free, healing, solemn and a garden-variety-of-words that face me each day.
Prior to cancer I was a “talk radio” person, I rarely listened to music, preferring a jarring conversation about what is wrong with the world today, or what is right (God)!
In the “dark nights of the soul” I found some unbelievably heavy-hearted, beautiful soul cleansing music.  To this day I am still deeply moved by the lyrics.  My favorite is:
Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
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Pieces of Truth

When we were little kids, we often had to “fess up” for something we said or did that wasn’t right or nice.  Our parents usually instigated the apology or retribution.

Our Heavenly Father does this with His grown up kids too.  He pushes on our conscience until we know what has to be done.  We ultimately need to confess and/or apologize to another grown up for the wrong we committed.  Perhaps we were very judgemental, spewing our opinions on another, or we did or didn’t do something that really hurt that person.

Not very Christian.  And not very human.

I’ve heard countless stories about little kids who stole a candy bar and ended back at the store with tears in their eyes and a big apology to “never steal again.”

It’s not quite that effective when we are adults and have harmed someone with words or actions.  Because we are sinners, we will likely do again; and again.  Not to the same person hopefully, but we will hurt another person whom we love and after awhile it creates a cycle of shame.

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But God doesn’t intend to shame us, or use the shame to straighten us out.  He loves us.  No.  Matter.  What.  We.  Do.

But He wants us to learn.

How do we learn?  By apologizing first.  Praying forgiveness.  Learning not to continue the sin.  We often bang our heads against the wall for years.  Why can’t we stop hurting people?  Why do we have to be so self righteous?  Why can’t we see the sin?  Why can’t we learn from it?

Because we are attempting to heal a hurt with a human solution.

We need God’s solution.  It’s called TRUTH. 

Webster defines truth as:

a (1) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality
(2) : the state of being the case : fact
(3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true

We know what is true in our own lives.  We know even truer when God is the center.

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Comparing Sin

I believe, as human beings, it’s easier for us to compare sin than deal with our own.  You may think the sin of another is far worse than yours; after all, you didn’t have to do jail time or go through an ugly divorce.  All you did was A, B or C.

In my own life, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made some whopper mistakes (i.e. “sin.”), it’s easier to call them mistakes, isn’t it?  Or to downplay the seriousness of the sin.  “I only ate an entire bag of licorice,” or “I’ve told quite a few small white lies, but they don’t really hurt anyone.”

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Sin is sin is sin.  God sees them all the same size, way and type.  God judges us equally.

Psalm 51:4
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Romans 7:18
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
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In your daily life, attempt to avoid sin, ask for forgiveness as it rears its ugly head (and it will, no one is devoid of sin), be mindful of the sin in your life, purge it, pray for yourself, ask for prayer, relearn the bad habits, get right with God.
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2014 Pieces

I found my first “Pieces Journal,” dated January 22, 2014.  It seems so long ago, but it also shows me the walk I’ve taken along Jesus; is just a moment a time, and my faith has continued to grow; year after year.  I’d like to share with you some of the earlier “scraps of paper, devotions and musings” from my journal.  May you find your own special “pieces.”

It’s in the act of faith that courage becomes reality and the Lord’s grace rushes in to supply divine power.

Dear God, I want to be gracious and lovely in Your sight.  Open to receiving.  Take me away from the things that waste my time and rob me of meditative time with You.

I am encouraged by the mighty works of God.  “Prayer” has become a powerful word in my vocabulary, and one that gives meaning to my life.  I pray for HOPE, what a beautiful gift; and, it is free!!!  He walks with me in the garden of my life.  We talk, I learn, I am blessed to know Him as my Father, and Friend.

Keep your defense strong, trust in God.  Pray when anxiety seeps in.

Take it to God.  When you are low or upset, even when it feels contrary to do so; tell Him, share your heart.

I see so many parallels in my past and current life; except now I am grateful for all of it – the hard, hurtful times along with the peaceful.  I believe it’s more than ‘equal parts,’ rather how Jesus wants to live in me; “Grateful for all of the pieces.”  In this way, everything is a subject for witnessing.

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Impossible situations are opportunities for the Lord to teach us valuable lessons that we’d never learn any other way.

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Forgiveness

Much is written and talked about regarding “forgiveness.”  It’s a difficult concept for the human being to comprehend, all situations that need forgiveness are difficult.  It’s AS hard to forgive, as it is to be forgiven.

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My Christian walk had been littered with plenty of unforgiveness, until through bible study and my own personal devotion, did I realize what I was saying to God.  “I’m expecting/asking/hoping you will forgive me for everything I do wrong on a daily basis, because Your Son gave His life for mine, but I’m unwilling to forgive “A, B and C” because they don’t deserve my forgiveness.  What they’ve done is WAY worse than you can imagine.”  OH THE GALL (of me)!

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Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.