Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Power of One Word...Grace

I want to share a quote with you from a book I am currently reading. But before I do, I want to make an admission. OK, maybe we can just call it a "confession". And that would be that since I started blogging my reading has been almost non existent.  I used to devour books: I'm talking Christian books. I'd spend hours in them, then looking up scripture and taking notes.

I love to study the scriptures, and to "dig" in the rich and fertile soil of God's Word. Now I wouldn't just read anything, I'd pray first for God's direction in leading me to what He wanted me to read and study. Sometimes it would be a new release by a popular Christian author, then sometimes it would be a book by an author that has been in Glory for years. Prayer for direction is the key. I don't want to waste my time on reading something that isn't "Truth". Just because it's by a Christian author doesn't mean its scriptural. Does that sound harsh? Let me explain. There have been several blockbuster books written by Christian pastors and authors that the Holy Spirit would not give me permission to read. Books that sounded good on the outside, but deep down were not God's heart; they missed the mark. Literally hundreds of thousands of books sold to hungry Christians that in reality were only one man's opinion, and that opinion was limiting of who God really is. And if there's something that I've learned in the last 15 years, it is that we cannot limit God. Not in His powerful love for us or His ability to work on our behalf. When at a later time I read those books, I felt like a black cloud was hanging over me. God was minimized, and "standardized".

So that brings me to the quote from the book I'm reading. Relentless by John Bevere.

"Grace is God's empowering presence that gives us the ability 
to do what we otherwise couldn't do in our own ability."

Such a simple statement, but one that can completely change our way of thinking about living our life.

Most of us think of Grace as God's free gift of salvation. Salvation that He gives us that is not earned or merited, but that is given to every believer in Jesus Christ. That understanding will get you into heaven, but what if the word "Grace" is more than just that one "gift". What if it is a deep well of knowledge and understanding; a place that has limitless possibilities for us in our Christian walk. Who wouldn't want to go to that well each day and dip out the "Grace" needed for what is ahead. The Bible says that Jesus is our "Living Water". He is the embodiment of God the Father's grace to us.

(Google Images)

So today I just want to leave you with this. First of all "PRAY" for God's direction daily. Ask for what He wants to share with you, and be open to act upon those daily revelations. And then just as important, to seek Him in His "fullness", without limiting who He is and what He can accomplish. If we know Jesus Christ as our Savior, there is unlimited favor for us. There is Living Water to refresh us each day. Then, be open, be brave, be expectant.

Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.

to be continued...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Don't Give Up

I'm not sure how to get started with this post other than to just jump in. The last time I posted it was July. Six months ago. I knew when I posted last time that that would be "it" for awhile. My husband was ill, and he's been my focus for this last year. I didn't want to be a broken record about how bad he was feeling, or how life was changing, so God sort of gave me a break. But I've known that once the New Year rolled around I would need to find my way back to this blog.

He has been ill for over a year with vertigo attacks that became more and more frequent until they were an everyday occurrence. I'm not going to go back through all that, if you'd like to catch up please read the post before this. We did everything we could do to combat this illness by changing our diets. Limiting salt and processed food helped tremendously, but after a while even that wasn't enough. We finally found a specialist, that is located out of town to get the help that he needed. He was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease back in October and since then has been on different treatments that are helping, and he is feeling much better; not 100%, but enough better that he has been able to feel more confident about the future; which is a big deal in our lives. Being sick and feeling like things will never improve is just about the bottom of the barrel so to speak.

Back in July I talked about not giving up. Specifically, not giving up on God. Trusting Him for His timing, wisdom, contacts, favor...the list is a mile long. Basically, don't give up on believing that God has the answers to all our needs. Key word...ALL..our needs. My husband felt so beaten down with this illness that he entertained thoughts that were defeating. Thoughts like he would always be sick, that he wouldn't be able to continue working, that he was old and washed up...feel free to insert any other pitiful thoughts that we come up with when we are struggling through some sort of lengthy situation. I would listen to all this for awhile, because I realize that some days you just need to vent; to get all of it out to whomever it is that will listen. It makes us feel better when we can just unload some of our frustration. So I would listen. I love him, so I listened. But finally I realized that this wasn't getting him anywhere fast and he had to get past all of the negativity, otherwise we were both heading for a downhill slide.

I've said so many times before how important it is to be in God's Word each day. Even if you don't feel like reading...even if you're so sick and depressed that you don't feel like picking it up or looking at it. Distancing ourselves from Our Heavenly Father is the worst thing we can do in times of trouble and upset. Even if we feel like God isn't around, I can guarantee that He is. I'd noticed that my husband wasn't reading his Bible anymore. I hadn't seen it out of his bedside drawer in weeks, maybe months. I waited and I prayed that God would speak to his heart and encourage him. Finally, I had an opportunity to ask him about it; not preachy or judgmental or condescending, I just encouraged him to get it out, open it up, and let God speak to his heart.

I've been through this so I know what I'm saying. Ignoring God because we aren't seeing things go our way is so easy. We feel hurt and alone and like He doesn't care. Why should we beat our head against the wall if God won't help us. Been there?

I believe there are answers in God's Word; inspired scripture that God shares with us. Words that He downloads into our hearts and spirit. Words that wake us up, encourage us, and give us direction. They inspire faith to manifest, that in turn gives us confidence in Him.

Are you going through something that has you worn out? Do you feel defeated and like things will never change? God has the Word for you. Come before Him with an open heart, open up your Bible, grab a pen and paper, then pray for wisdom and guidance. I guarantee that He will show up.
I promise that it won't be another 6 months before I'm back...promise.

love in Jesus,