Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

Grace-filled eyes

Posted: August 21, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Grace

Grace is not a created substance….At least that’s what Wikipedia says… (yeah, I know, cause THAT’s the authority on life)

But isn’t that how we treat grace? Day in and day out, we strive to please God when the simple truth is, we cannot even get close.

We open car doors, help little old ladies across the street and give our $1.00 to the peddler on the side of the road.  We offer a smile to the lonely, care for the sick and pick up the pieces of a broken heart…all in His name.  The fact is, we cannot please God with our works because grace isn’t a substance that can be created…it just simply IS.

I’ve struggled with this concept – very recently.  I’ve somehow attached my “godliness” to my works, meaning if I’m not walking “godly”, I must not be… but grace isn’t something that is created.  Somehow this unmerited favor has made it’s way into my mind’s eye which says “My works must earn His good graces.”

It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that no matter what I do or don’t do, He can never love me more than He does right now.  Whether I am a sinner knocking on gates of hell or a saint walking towards light, He loves me the same.  In my humanness, I don’t understand this concept.  We love conditionally – whether we admit it or not.  Some people we like and others we tolerate.  We profess “love” when in fact, it’s very different from the love of the Father.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s try something…  I will give you two names.  Think on these names and figure out what emotions they invoke in you…

Mother Teresa…….  Charles Manson

Two people, complete opposite sides of the spectrum.  Now I can profess that I love each of them, because they are God’s children but my view is distorted through my human eyes.  In all honesty, I would love Mother Teresa more than Charles Manson, for obvious reasons…. But the Agape kind of love that God pours out on us shows unconditional love to both- the same love to both. 

So we have established that our human love is conditional….so is our grace.  We give grace to people every day- unmerited favor in our day to day lives. That man you allowed to go in front of you at the grocery store- you showed grace. Or that smile you gave to a lonely heart- grace was attached. Have you noticed the people we don’t give our grace to? The less attractive or downtrodden…. Someone who doesn’t look like us or act like us. 

Earlier I told you that I was struggling with the concept of grace in my life- not only the Father’s grace to me but my showing grace to others. I recently found out one of the precious ladies that we go in to minister to committed a horrendous crime to bring her to her current state- something that absolutely makes me sick to my stomach to even think about.  I’ve loved on her. Prayed for her. Cried with her….but now due to my recent knowledge, my grace isn’t sufficient for her- it seems my humanness says “off with her head” while God is saying “but My grace is sufficient…. Why isn’t yours?”

My humanness and His spirit are conflicted…..  I see Charles Manson but God sees neither Charles nor Teresa- just a soul in need of a Savior.  Offering grace seems difficult on my part but I am reminded: grace isn’t something that is created, it just is.  When I go back in the jail, I don’t want to see her in human eyes, but through grace-filled eyes.

In my struggle, I want to remind you: grace is something that is not created. We cannot earn or lose the grace that God has bestowed on us- we cannot gain or lose something that exists no matter what situation surrounds it.  Today as you go about your busy life, remember grace. When you encounter someone who isn’t like you, show grace. When you find a difficult situation, show grace.  (I wonder how different the world would be if we gave unconditional grace?)

Most importantly, remember that He loves you- not because of what you have or haven’t done, but simply because you are His.  

  

~sharingHispeace~

A tragic accident claimed the lives of a mother and her son leaving behind a fractured family consisting of now just a father, John, and his 8-year-old daughter, Isabella. Everything happened so fast and by the time they knew it, they were sitting graveside, watching their lives shatter all the more. When evening came Isabella crawled into bed with her daddy as she was too heart broke to sleep alone. John turned out the lights, let out a deep sigh and hugged his little girl tightly.

Out of the silence, Isabella whispered, “Daddy, are you there?”
John wearily said, “Yes sweetie I am here.”
“Daddy, its SO dark… Why is it so much darker than the night before? I can’t see anything. I can’t even see you…. Daddy, is your face towards me?”
John kissed her on the forehead and said, “Yes, my face is towards you.”
“Ok daddy, I’m going to bed now. I will see you in the morning.”
(Based on excerpt from Adrian Rogers)

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Treasures in the dark.  Could it be possible that at your darkest hour, there is a treasure waiting to be found?

I have to tell you, I’m scared of the dark.  Actually, the more fitting word is that I “HATE” the dark.  Yes, this 32-year-old woman will not go into a dark room…ever!  (Well, unless Gabriel is in there but that’s a whole different blog.)   I absolutely do not want to be anywhere outside at night unless I have a light to see around me and even then, it’s iffy. A few years ago, I started realizing that it wasn’t the darkness that had me tied in knots… but the unknown that was cloaked in darkness.  But what if the unknowns in life held the greatest treasures of life?  Treasures in the dark.

Let’s get back to the aforementioned story.  I caught the tail end of a sermon by Adrian Rogers and he shared this intriguing story of John and his daughter Isabella.  Have you ever been where John and Isabella are?  Maybe you haven’t lost half your life but even “simple” things such as losing a job or a pet or bills piling up.  The circumstance doesn’t matter.  I have a good friend always tell me, “I hate telling you my problems because your problems seem MUCH bigger.”  Darkness is darkness, no matter what the circumstance.

It always seems the straw that broke the camels back is the heaviest piece in the whole stack.  It always seems that as the problems pile up, they are “manageable” until that last one overflows the whole pile.  We, as humans, can deal with a lot.  We can deal with the abuse of loved ones.  We can deal with a marriage gone wrong.  We can deal with rogue kids/family.  We can even deal with losing the closest ones around us.  But what happens when everything begins to pile up and the light of the Son begins to fade away….  It’s always darkest just before dawn.

Have you ever been like little Isabella?  Asking her daddy why it’s SO much darker than the night before?  Her world shattered within a few days and the impact it made caused the light of hope to grow dim.  She was scared, confused, hurt…angry.  How could she move past the darkness in her life?   It made her feel so alone and helpless.   Has life made you feel that way?  Has the darkness began to soak up the Son in your life?

“Daddy are you there?”  O, what we can learn from little children!  Isabella was SO scared and alone.  She knew her daddy was in the room and even knew he was in the bed with her.  In fact, I can say that she felt his arms around her but yet she still asked if he was there.  Why?  Sometimes we need re-assurance that the darkness hasn’t completely overtaken us.  Even in darkness, warm arms turn cold.

“Daddy, is your face towards me?”  Daddy…. Can you see me?  Are you going to help me through this?  I need your attention because I am wounded by life.  I need your face to turn towards me for a minute so I can see past the darkness.  She couldn’t see that his face was toward her from the get go.  Why?  Because that night was darker than all the others.  She was so scared of the unknown that it made her lose focus of what was right before her:  Her daddy’s face.

“Ok Daddy.  I’m going to sleep now.”  Darkness makes for sleepless nights.  When I was going through my darkest hour to date, I didn’t sleep a wink.  In fact, even now, if it’s totally dark in my room, I can’t sleep.  (Yes, I still sleep with a night-light.)  But when my husband and I slept in the same bed, I was okay to sleep in the darkness.  Why?  Because I knew that he would take care of the darkness had it reared its ugly head.  There’s something about sleeping through the darkness.  Sweet Isabella allowed herself to go on to sleep because she trusted in her daddy’s ability to see past the darkness.

“I’ll see you in the morning.”  In the darkness, morning seems so far away but if you will allow yourself to trust your Daddy in the darkness, morning WILL come.  Isabella said that she will “see” in the morning.  She knew that once morning was here, darkness would no longer rule her life and her sight would be restored.   I’ve come to tell you to HOLD ON!  Just wait…Morning is coming.  Darkness will fade away and the Son will shine again.  Remember, it’s darkest just before dawn.

Are you in your darkest hour?   Morning IS coming!   Are you waiting for your breakthrough?  Get ready, it’s coming.  Morning is awakening.  Are you waiting for your healing?  Get ready, morning is on the horizon.  Trust your Daddy through the darkness and find that there truly are treasures in the dark!

“Ok Daddy, I’m going to bed now. I’ll see you in the morning.”

Man waking young girl in bed smiling

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”  Ps 30:5

#SharingHispeace

Hulk aaaannngry

Posted: February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I’m a big superhero fan.  It might be just because I like to think that there are still people on this planet who has a heart for humanity.  Who will selflessly enter dangerous places for the sake of the helpless.  I like to think there is still hope.  I own almost every superhero movie that has been made and was ecstatic when they released the Avengers – for a geek like me, I was in “hog heaven.”

So ask me, who is my favorite superhero?  Yes, you guessed it, the big green mean fighting machine that is Hulk.  The actors who have played Hulk throughout the years have never been constant so when I saw that Mark Ruffalo was playing him, I was thrilled.  He is one of my favorite actors and with Hulk being my favorite superhero, history was definitely in the making.

So there is a scene towards the end of the movie that I want to shed light on today.  Eminent doom is upon the world and the Avengers are saving the day.  Hulk finally arrives on the scene and another Avenger tells him to “suit up” because the fight is coming to him.  If you know anything about the big green guy, you know that anger is what fuels his power so another Avenger says, “Now’s a good time for you to get angry.”  He replies, “That’s my secret Capt’…. I’m always angry.”  Turns around, transforms into Hulk and does what he does best: HULK SMASH!

Avengers-images-hulk-smash

(Please keep reading, I’m going somewhere with this.)

During the whole movie, everyone is trying to keep Hulk from getting angry.  They are always concerned about his state of mind because, as previously stated, when Hulk gets angry, Hulk smashes.  It seems as though he teeters between pandemonium and peace and the balances of life keep pushing away from the latter.  But with that one sentence, the perception changes.  What we perceive as instability, he regards as controlled chaos.  This whole time, he was not unpredictable but just carefully calculating his moves.

“That’s my secret Capt’…. I’m always angry.”

You know me, I’m going to stay real with you.  There are times in my life where I could have easily turned into a big green beast and smashed up everything around me.  In fact, there was a time when although I didn’t actually turn green, I definitely hulked out.  The life I had acquired around me kept pushing me towards pandemonium and, in fact, I snapped.  Let’s just say that my peace drowned in a sea of destruction.

But honestly, we all have an anger issue.  Where we differ is what buttons actually manifest the storm roaring deep down.  For some, frustration leads to anger.  For others, it could be pressures of work or the stress of unpaid bills.  If you are like me, my buttons are family.  Hurt my son and see if mama bear doesn’t come in full force.  No matter what the circumstance, the outcome is the same:  ANGER.

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When God began to deliver me from… me, He gave me three distinct “categories” that I needed to focus on:  sin, desires and anger.  When I turned my attention towards anger, He began to show me about controlled chaos.   Is controlled chaos even possible?   I think so.  Why else would Paul say “Be angry but sin not” (Eph 4:26).  The chaos comes in being angry but the controlled anger comes in sinning not.  Does God expect us not to be angry?  No but He does expect us to control it and, like Hulk, only let it out when it is beneficial.

So that leads me to another question… Is anger EVER beneficial and if so, when?   I would like to turn your attention to Jesus and His anger in cleansing the temple.  (John 2:12-22)  At that moment, His chaos button was pushed because people were making His house a marketplace.  (Rabbit trail:  They were selling doves.  Be careful of people trying to “sell” you peace through an oily cloth or piece of jewelry… Jesus is the only one who can bring peace.)   Anger is ONLY beneficial when you can keep focus on your target.  Had Hulk not harnessed his anger and focused on the enemy, he would have just been an uncontrollable wrecking ball.

We all have a “Hulk” on the inside trying to bust free and cause destruction in our lives.  At some point in our lives, we all have been to the point of breaking.  If you haven’t been there, just wait because it will happen.   We, as men and women of God, have NO clue just how detrimental we are to the devil.  We do not understand the  authority we have over him.  With just one SMASH, his world crumbles.  But somehow we have lost the focus and just allowed chaos to blindly lead.  When your “Hulk” begins to get angry, focus on the enemy and bring the fight to him.  Harness your chaos by keeping your focus where it belongs.  When anger is NOT beneficial, calm it inside yourself by focusing not on the enemy but on the One who calms the storm. 

Peace!%20Be%20still!

The next time the devil is all over you and you cannot seem to flee from his presence, turn around and “Hulk out” on him.  Watch him tuck tail and run!   When your anger gets the best of you, find the controlled chaos within you by looking to the heavens and feeling God’s peace overflow you. 

“A self-confident fool utters all his anger,
but a wise man holds it back and stills it.”
Prov 29:11 (AMP)

#SharingHisPeace