Saturday, September 26, 2015

Grace Vs. Excuses

Time has settle my schedule and I find myself wanting to write.  To kick start this I wanted to repost this list from Living Well Spending Less

Grace vs. Excuses
  • Grace says ‘mistakes aren’t fatal’; excuses use mistakes as a reason to quit.
  • Grace realizes that progress is more important than perfection; excuses use perfection as a reason to procrastinate.
  • Grace says ‘I am not my mess’; excuses let the mess define them.
  • Grace understands the bigger picture; excuses fixate on the small details.
  • Grace recognizes that people aren’t perfect and offers forgiveness; excuses use the failure as a reason to write someone off.
  • Grace is big; excuses are small.
  • Grace offers courage; excuses propagate fear.
  • Grace brings hope; excuses make you feel hopeless.
  • Grace gives you the ability to try again tomorrow; excuses allow you to give up.
How does this change your thinking? 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Future failure?

To follow up on the previous post, I wanted to share a concept I hadn't considered until I was asked.

What if your greatest failure is yet to happen?

This question isn't to cause you to live in fear, but to warn you, we could all falter at anytime.  If you study the Bible long, you'll see those who failed the greatest often thought they were doing the right thing.  Eve, Jacob, Saul, Judas, Saul/Paul, to name a few, all thought they knew best, some God redeemed, others He did not.

It's a warning to keep you on your knees, seeking God's grace to live for Him, to understand His Scripture that you are studying diligently.

When I look at my past, I couldn't imagine my greatest failure to be future, I've messed up so much.  But there's a chance, even greater if I become confident in myself, slack off in my pursuit of God and His word and lose the awe I have of Jesus.  This is where having fellow Christians that you live in community with are helpful to pull you back on track if they see you going astray. 

Take warning, love God, humble yourself before Him.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Back to where I failed

It's a scary thought - to go back to a place where I failed so greatly.  I knew it would probably happened and it did.  I will serve as a leader next year where I failed four years ago.  God has matured me greatly in the past four years, for that I am thankful.  Godly courage isn't the absence of fear, it is the willingness to trust God, obey Him in the face of fear.

In studying the Life of Moses, I got to look at how Moses too was called back to where He had failed.  He probably sensed God's calling for Him to lead the Israelites, but he went about it in the wrong way (murder.)  After the humbling experience of the desert, God calls Moses back to where he failed.  I learned that God focuses on our present faith and not our past failures.

In taking that to heart I know if I rely on God (which I should do!), there will be victory.  God is giving my a second chance.  He is a good God!

With that, God has shown me how those I lead before have grown closer to Him.  Perhaps it wasn't just me that failed that year and was motivated to seek God. 

During that year, I saw CV come out of her shell and talk openly.

JM went on to leadership within two years and now works full time in ministry.

CC, as quiet as she is, is beginning leadership, stepping out of her comfort zone in a big way.

I know the other ladies went on to continue in the Lord.  I'm not saying that I had a great influence in their lives, but I was a direct part of it for a year.  God took that failure and in His normal godly way, turned it into BEAUTY!

So if failure is looming over you, don't let it get you down.  Turn to God, return to Him and He will lift you up.  Look at the beauty of the Cross and the victory of the Risen Christ.  Once you get to the other side of a trial, you are at Victory!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What to do?

I have this compulsive side that likes to know.  I want to plan, I want to have it all aligned.  Of course, it is completely differently to what faith is about and trusting God**.  Just another example of me needing to lay my life down to follow God.  He calls His people to a land of the unknown (Abraham), He calls us to battle with few resources (Gideon) and uses us in ways we couldn't imagine (Mary, but just about everyone who ever loved God.)

In this God is working great things in me so I can die to self.  When I want to plan and make decisions on my own on how things should be, I am focused on self.  I don't take into account others, nor do I really consider God. 

In Bible study, I was reminded of a time when I used the following verse to remain focused on work, not on the pain of my foot (see this post.)

so I sent messengers to them with this reply: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?" Neh 6:3.

And of course it applied to what I was doing with my self-focused planning.  I was allowing it to be a distraction - which is what the men addressing Nehemiah wanted - to stop the Lord's work.  As I reviewed the verse again, placed it above my kitchen sink again, the awe of the verse spoke to me.  I challenged my planning and I called the distractions what they were - attempts to get me to stop working on the great project before me - God's Kingdom.

What is distracting you?  What is consuming your thoughts?  Fight with your husband?  Fantasies of the perfect life?  Food?  Weight?  The worldly storyline of your favorite show?  

**(And I know all planning isn't out of God's will or sin for God wants His people to be prespared - I'm saying my self-focused planning was!)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Time of Deficiency

In studying Leviticus 25, God instructs on the Sabbatical years, along with the year a Jubilee. 

" I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years." Lev 25:21

God promises to give an abundance.  But what if what God calls abundant is not what we call abundant?  This passage describes what God means, you will still have leftovers when you get to harvest your crops three years later.

It's all on faith.  Will it really last?  What if mold or rodents invade the store houses?  What if what God calls abundant isn't what I call abundant?  Sadly, the Israelites never practice this concept (as far as we have recorded.)

Scripture states that God gives and takes away.  His purpose is for us to rely on Him.  A deep reliance that is above our physical needs.  So a time of deficiencies of physical supply could be an abundance of Spiritual supply.  A time to grow faith, trust and to experience the kindness of God's people. 

One thing is clear - God gives us what we need - either blessing or discipline.  As Jesus did many times in His ministry - He didn't always answer the question asked, but He went straight to the heart. 

"What if" is worry - and Jesus directs in Matthew 6:34  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Who's in Control?

God revealed something in me that I was surprised by...well I shouldn't be but was. 

I dreaded having to spend time with the people - not just any people, but a certain set of people, who they are isn't important.  On this particular week I was scheduled to spend potentially three days with the people.  That naturally lead me to a big debate could I endure three settings?  Could I do so with a good attitude...I didn't think I could.  And if I couldn't do it with a good attitude, wouldn't I hurt my witness to Jesus?  So not to damage His reputation, I was better off NOT going the "elected" day - which happened to be the middle day of the visits.

Then I began reading my the next book on my list:  When People Are Big and God Is Small by Ed Welch.  This quote made me look at the circumstances in a new light - Thank you God for setting my heart up to hear the message.

"Do you avoid people?  If so, even though you might not say that you need people, you are still controlled by them.  Isn't a hermit dominated by the fear of man?"

God labeled my temptation not to go as avoidance and said that I'm controlled by them.  It was hard for me to wrap my head around at first.

What I wanted to avoid more wasn't the people, it was the ugliness that came out of me while around them.  I would be easily frustrated, lacked compassion, became was self-centered.  I scratched out became because all this ugliness lurked within my heart.  It's as if I checked the Holy Spirit at the door around the people and allowed my sinful nature to take over.  Yea, that sinful nature that is dead and whose habits I want gone from my life.  I was indulging it every time.

Thank you Papa for answered prayer.  Thank you for revealing what was really happening around the people, that it isn't their fault (oh how my dead sinful nature loves to blame others!)  Now that You've shown me, I can offer it up as a sacrifice.  It's no longer OK for me to avoid my ugliness by avoiding the people.  I submit to the Holy Spirit's leading.  I want and desire to follow.  You give me the strength to follow.  Thank you as well that You've already proven it true, You already helped me have a better attitude, one of love.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Whole Heart Search - Jer 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

It was verse 11 that I was instructed to look at, but I couldn't help but to read on since verse 11 was so encouraging.

This verse struck to the middle of my heart.  I will find God when I seek with my whole heart.  What does that mean?  God is teaching me.  He's shown me other verses that speak on the same thing.  God wants us to find Him.  He enables us to do so. 

So I go boldly into this journey to find out what it means to seek God wholeheartedly.  To surrender all of me.  To study what is happening when God says "Come, follow Me," and the many ways in which He does:
Delight yourself in the Lord, Diligently seek Me, Allow me to learn from You are just some of the ways.

The journey is moving along - it will have no end until I'm basking in the glow of the Glory of Jesus.

God planned to prosper the Israelites.  After the 70 years of exile, God planned to return His people to the land He gave their forefathers.  The Israelites were His chosen people, a priesthood that would be a shining light unto the world (Ex 19:3-6.)  They didn't keep God's covenant, nor did they observe the Sabbath rest.  The seventy years of exile were the Sabbath rest that the Israelites did not observe. 

We see God's plan for the Isralites was just a shadow of things to come.  The Israelites went their own way, they did not rely on God's grace to keep His commandments.  Now, as a follower of Christ, I am woven into His church, a member of His Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2,) by God's mercy - not by my own doing.  All because He choose me to seek Him.  What a wonderful gift it is. 

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