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Entries in Grace (9)


Shut my mouth!

You know sometimes the things I think about other people are just wrong.  Then, there are those times when I open my mouth and actually share my wrong thoughts with someone else.  So, here are some things I've thought, I've said or I've had said to me.

  • That is not her color!
  • Muffin top is showing.
  • That is not in context so I'm not listening to them anymore.
  • They watch what?
  • Yep, they have gone the way of the world!
  • Where will that tattoo be when they are 80?
  • That voice is like running fingernails across a chalkboard.
  • They should not be in leadership.
  • Our personalities clash.
  • That is so not flattering on her.
  • Can you believe how much weight she has gained?  Bless her heart.

So, here's where the Lord has me this morning.  These thoughts or comments are not edifying - meaning they do not build up that person - in fact, they tear that person down. Some things - many things should never be said. I'm a verbal processor but even in my processing, what gives me the right to think it's okay to say something about another person that does not bring edification? Oh how sad that I cross that line so easily and so often. I'm not talking about speaking the truth in love.  I get there are times when I need to speak honestly but even then it is to be with grace and the best interest of the person in my heart.

I cannot even imagine God and Jesus sitting up in heaven saying things like the above. Even on my worse day, I can't imagine Jesus sitting before the Father saying some of the things I've said or that are said to me about others. Oh Jesus, shut my mouth!  When non edifying thoughts come to my mind, please point them out and cause me to confess before You that these thoughts are wrong thinking toward others. Sure, I know we all do it.  Sure, I know it's the battle of the flesh.  I just don't want it to be the pattern of my life. Wrong is wrong and I don't want to make excuses for myself anymore. Lord, please...shut my mouth!


Danger, danger!

This past weekend I traveled to CA, attended various meetings & gatherings and to assist Miss Kay. On Friday night and Saturday morning, she spoke at a conference hosted by Friends Church where over 1200 women (and a few men) attended. Right from the get go, she challenged us by asking: "Do you really want God to speak to you or do you want to bury your head in the sand?" Then, went right into the idiom of the ostrich burying its head in the sand...making its very large back side a very large target! Oh yeah....I've definitely resembled that remark!

Yes, I did really want God to speak and speak He did. Our handout was Chapters 1-4, 11 & 12 of Hebrews and boy did I learn alot. I was also reminded in a fresh and powerful way of why studying the Bible inductively is the ONLY way to study! I have "read" Hebrews so many times. While doing other inductive studies, I've even studied certain chapters in Hebrews. But, it's only in CAREFULLY observing the WHOLE book did I get the WHOLE picture.

For instance, as I read through Hebrews, I circled every reference to you which made the details about the people being written to JUMP OFF THE PAGE. You know what I found out from doing this? These folks were:
...Working for the Lord
...Ministering to the saints (6:10)
...Had endured a great conflict of suffering (10:32)
...Been made a public spectacle through reproaches & tribulation (10:33)
...Been imprisioned
...Shown sympathy to prisioners
...Had their property seized (10:34)

BUT, I also learned they were in danger! They were in danger of:
...Drifting away (2:1)
...Falling away from the living God (3:12)

Boy, did that ever get my attention. How is this possible? Well, asking the 5 W's & H questions once again showed me. They
...Had become dull of hearing (5:11)
...Ought to be teachers/mature but needed milk; couldn't handle solid food (5:12-14)
...Had need of endurance (10:36)

Wow - details so easily missed. Had I not been reading asking who are these people and how are they were described, I'm absolutely convinced that once again I would have missed these very important facts.

Now, I really get Hebrews 11 - the faith chapter. Because they were in danger, they needed to be encouraged to keep the faith and to hold fast until the end. Now, I understand why the author went into such detail about Jesus as our high priest. They needed to be reminded that not only did Jesus understand but He symphatized. AND, they could draw near with confidence to the throne of grace and mercy and find help in their time of need.

Oh my - listen to this....because their attention was no longer on Jesus but on their situations and circumstances, they weren't growing spiritually. They were in danger of falling away. If that happened, it would prove that the word they had heard (the gospel) had not been united by faith. That's just plain scary.

It was REALLY interesting and attention getting to note that the author kept reminding them of what they had heard, were hearing and the importance of what they did with what they heard - how they responded to what they had heard. HERE'S THE BOTTOM LINE:

They heard the word. Week after week I hear the word. They....me....will respond in one of two ways.

...Harden my heart (do not believe by faith)
...Accept by faith = live by faith

These truths became so clear to me. So simple. So black and white. And, they cut right to my heart! Just like the author of Hebrews says...."the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hurts so good!

You know what? If they were in danger then I am too. Fixing my eyes on Jesus...

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross..." Hebrews 12:1-2


Painting pictures of Eqypt

I don't want you to think that I obsess about "playing the harlot" 365 days a year. But, I'm still studying the book of Hosea so what can I say? The truths from this precious book leave me scratching my head. How could God's people EVER want to return to Eygpt? How could they turn and keep turning from a God who loves them so much and went to such great lenghts to save them? Why would they want what Egypt has to offer when the Almighty God has promised them so very much? The truths from Hosea also hit home. I know I have done and am capable of doing the very same thing. I can quickly and easily begin to "paint picture of Egypt in my mind." Reminds me of a song by Sara Groves (see below).

Maybe it's not such a bad thing to remember the days (actually years) I played the harlot. Maybe in remembering, I'll never return to Egypt (so to speak). Oh, God forbid. As I read through chapter 11 of Hosea today, I was struck with the emotions expressed by the Almighty God. He says things like..."I took them in My arms, I bent down, How can I give you up, How can I surrender you, My heart is turned over within Me, my compassions are kindled." He says all of this in the context of their turning from Him and to Egypt. WOW. My human mind has a hard time grasping God's love. But, the truths from Hosea assure me that God's covenant of love with me will NEVER let me go. Double WOW.

Jeremiah 31:3 is true and I CAN personalize it. So can you! "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness."


Just because

I love the snow and Friday it snowed most of the day. Big beautiful flakes! At times it was snowing so hard you couldn't see very far into the distance at all. Although I was working most of the day, I took time to stop, look out and marvel. During these times, itwas almost as though I could hear God speaking into my heart: Look child, this snow came from My storehouses. This day, I have said to the snow - fall on the earth! (Job 37:6; 38:22). And, I could hear my own spirit responding: You are my Father God and only You alone can do such things. These are WOW moments. Times to marvel at His awesomeness, majesty, splendor, power and might. And, breathe in the TRUTH that God is my Father. He, the Almighty God, loves me. He planned for me, created me, saved me and even now is transforming me into the image of His Son, Jesus. Why? Ephesians 1:5 says that my Father God adopted me "according to the kind intention of His will." In other words, just because He wanted to! It's amazing.

Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet,They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool."(Isaiah 1:18)


The spirit is willing but the flesh got overwhelmed!

Was it only 5 days ago that 37 precious women came to Christ? Boy, it seems like a long time since last Tuesday! Did I mention I caught a cold while on my way to Kenosha? Praise be to God, He kept me from coughing or having to blow my nose while sharing the gospel but the trip home the next day was miserable. And, I crawled into my own bed that night with a 101 fever. As they say though - no rest for the weary. There was work to get caught up on, wash to be done, mail to sort and meals to cook (or pizza delivered). Do you see me headed for a pity party? Oh yes! And, let me just add that I miss my husband terribly and the housing market is all but dead. Careful, all this makes one vulnerable and easy prey.

On the night before His death, Jesus went to the garden to pray and He took the disciples with Him. He went to pray and came back to find them asleep. They couldn't even stay alert for one hour! And, I'm reminded of what Jesus said to them..."Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). But, they fell asleep again...and again.

I kind of feel like that's what happened to me this week. I fell asleep on Jesus. I couldn't stay alert for even one hour! There's nothing like falling asleep to remind you of just how weak you are in the flesh and why it is so very important it is to stay alert, keep watch and pray...or be prey! I'm not sure I will ever truly comprehend why God bothers with me. Truth is, He not only bothers with me, but He lavishes me with His grace. And, it is in His grace that I stand.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:7-8(a))