Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

Are Those Gifts Mine? Can’t Be..

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What if you got up this morning and saw all of these gifts in your living room? Would you open them? Or would you ignore them, figuring they weren’t for you? Would you walk away and forget them? Would you get mad and call them clutter? Would you be angry because they were small boxes? Or wrapped with red paper instead of green paper? Or because you thought your neighbor’s gifts were prettier?

The Lord’s piled up the blessings in your life waaaaay higher and wider than the stack in this picture. When will you start opening them?

Receive them, enjoy them! You know..you don’t have to deserve, or be good enough, for gifts. Gifts are just another word for blessings. Gifts and blessings both involve grace. His grace is a gift. His blessings are a gift. His love is a gift. They’re yours, always. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You can let them pile up if you want. You can ignore them. You can determine to believe they aren’t yours. It’s completely up to you.

I encourage you to stop and look around today. Are there gifts you’ve left unopened? Are there any gifts you’ve refused to accept because you didn’t feel worthy?

Change that today!

You have been accepted into the family of Grace. Your name is allllll over those gifts, friend! So reach out, grab them, open them, claim them as yours, and give thanks!

He loves you! Don’t leave His gifts for you, His precious child, unopened anymore.

Blessings,

Sarah

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YOU are Wanted!

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Have you heard this song? It’s great, so are you!

Enjoy :0)

– Sarah

Wanted
Dara Maclean

Lyrics:

From the day you were born
And took your first breath
You opened your eyes and in came the light
He was watching you
But all of your life you couldn’t shake the lies in your head
Saying you’re a mistake
Oh but you were made
By a God who knows your name
He doesn’t make mistakes

CHORUS
You are wanted
To every broken heart, He stands with open arms
You are wanted
To every searching soul, look to the rising sun
If you’re lonely, hurting, gone too far
To the outcast you come as you are
For you, you are wanted, you, you are wanted
You, you are wanted, you, you are wanted

Let this be the day that joy takes the place
Of all of the years that shame tried to steal away
He is calling you
Lift your eyes to see His face
Come run into the arms of grace

CHORUS

You, you have been marked
You’re set apart
And He calls you His
So you don’t have to search
Don’t have to look for where you belong

You are wanted

CHORUS

Pursuing The Ways Of The Kingdom

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As you know, I quit swearing a few days back. So far it’s going well! I must admit, I imagined quitting swearing would be cut and dry like everything else I quit. I am an all or nothing type person. I’m not a dabbler. So, you can imagine my frustration over the handful of times I’ve I slipped and sworn. But, I have to be thankful for the improvement. Usually even if I don’t swear out loud, I still think the words in my head. But yesterday, I noticed I hadn’t been thinking the words either! So I’m making progress. It’s really huge progress, but with my all or nothing mentality, I have to fight off feelings of total failure when even just one word slips (another thing I’m working on!). Anyway, that’s the update there! And it fits in with today’s overall thought…ridding ourselves of things that don’t benefit the kingdom.

Have you ever witnessed someone trying to be compassionate and caring, but it’s clear there is underlying judgement or anger beneath the compassion? I know I’ve experienced it, and I know that – at times – I’ve also been that person.

These verses remind me that we need to get rid of the anger, bitterness, etc., and instead FULLY embrace forgiveness, kindness, and compassion. It’s a black and white issue. All or nothing.

The first person we need to be forgiving, kind, and compassionate to is ourselves. If we can’t feel these things for ourselves, we can’t possibly hope to be genuine in these things towards others.

Bottom line: If Christ felt you were good enough to die for, and save, you are. So stop implying He is wrong by hating yourself. Give yourself the gift of grace. Your a wonderful human being, start acting like it! And before you know it, you’ll see you are treating others better as well.

I couldn’t decide which version I liked best, so I’m giving you my top 3 faves. 🙂

Ephesians 4:31-32
The Voice (VOICE)
31 Banish bitterness, rage and anger, shouting and slander, and any and all malicious thoughts—these are poison. 32 Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King.

Ephesians 4:31-32
New King James Version (NKJV)
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).
32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

Make it a fantastic day – be genuinely kind!

– Sarah

Sluggards are Annoying. And I’m One of Them.

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Sometimes we want more for others than they want for themselves. And that’s pretty frustrating. Right? Right.

We are currently trying to “help” our daughter break into the working world. She filled out a whopping 2 applications today. I remember filling out 20+ apps in one day when I was job hunting! To me, filling out 2 applications (after being forced to) doesn’t scream, “I want a job!” She, on the other hand, feels she’s really outdone herself.

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I think The Lord can identify with my feelings. He knows the level at which we can succeed, if we fully apply ourselves instead of doubting or being lazy. He knows what He did in order to fulfill His calling, and our “works” pale in comparison. It might be hard for Him to sit back and watch us wander when He has told us exactly how to succeed.

But here’s the difference between Him and me.

He lovingly waits for me. He guides me, patiently. Whereas I, in my human nature, start visualizing duct taping her hand to the pen, and forcing her to fill out every application she can get her hands on. My grace walk fails when compared to His. Big surprise!

A scripture comes to mind..

Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Another one comes to mind..

Psalm 86:15
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

I will be meditating on these scriptures today..trying to be less like the sluggard in my own life, and more like Him when presented with other sluggards. 🙂

Have a beautiful day everyone! Get out there and accomplish something you’ve been putting off!

Blessings,

Sarah

Die, Flesh, Die!

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Are we willing to walk the walk, or are we satisfied just talking the talk?

I’m currently in a situation (an email war of sorts) where my “flesh man” wants to take over. I have to constantly (and I do mean CONSTANTLY) choose whether or not I will allow the “flesh man” to choose my words for me, or if I will let my “Spirit man” speak.

I find myself writing sentences that make my flesh feel good (REAL GOOD! In a “Take THAT!” Sort of way.). But they make my spirit hurt. As a result, the backspace button gets it’s workout! Delete, delete, delete!

It’s not always easy to submit to the “Spirit man”. But, when we do, we find peace. A fleshly response/action may feel good on a pride level, but a spiritual response will feel good on a much deeper level, if we allow it.

Where the enemy (flesh) brings temporary satisfaction, The Lord (Spirit) brings lasting fulfillment.

Lets put on our Spirit shoes today, and leave the Flesh shoes to rot.

Blessings,

Sarah

————–

Today’s devo selection:

Empty Shoes
By: Patricia Day

In church yesterday, a little boy fidgeted in his seat. He wanted to move to another place rather than sit quietly in his seat. As minutes ticked by he gave up his efforts and resolved instead to remove his shoes. I suppose he thought if he couldn’t walk then why keep them on?

So off the shoes came and he curled up in his chair eyeing all who were around him instead. The shoes sat empty on the floor – he had no use for them if he couldn’t get down and move around. He chose to give up – which in this instance was probably a good thing; he could have been distracting as he did things his way.

Jesus longs for us to follow Him in all His ways. He asks us to walk in His shoes! He wants us to walk His way because it will lead us to a better place and yet, so many of us choose not to. We want to walk on our own chosen path in life, whether it is comfortable or not! We won’t persevere in doing things His way because we feel it would be too hard for us. We prefer to remain in our unfulfilling lives, in other words we give up!

The shoes that Jesus gives us are always a good fit, the trouble is we won’t know it unless we try them on and walk in them. Just as the little lad discarded his shoes because he no longer felt a need for them, we do the same to Jesus as we decide to go it alone and do things our way.

Proverbs 10:9 He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known. (NKJV)

Prayer: Abba, we don’t want to remain empty and unused. We want our lives to be meaningful and worthwhile. We choose to follow You and we choose Jesus to lead us to the path designated for us alone. In His mighty Name, Amen!

I Have to Love Them, Too? Ew.

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1 Timothy 2:4, 8 MSG

He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.

Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.

—–

With all of the horrible things going on in this world, I hear a lot of, “They’re gonna burn in hell.” Or, “There’s a special place in hell for monsters like that.”

I used to say the same things frequently..but then I had a revelation. We all deserve hell as our final destination, and there is a “special” place there for all of us.

Just because our sins may seem prettier, or are more socially acceptable, they’re still equally hideous in His sight. But! We believers have hope. Because we are saved by grace. And the non-believers have hope, too, because they can also receive Christ and experience grace.

If we spend all of our time condemning “the sinners”, who’s gonna lead them to Jesus?

If we refuse to have anything to do with “them”, how will they ever see that there is hope, love, and forgiveness for them, too?

Christians need to stop acting as if this is some elite group that only some sinners can be accepted into.

Would the world be different if we reached out to these “monsters” and “horrible sinners” – the rejects of the world – the most hated – and told them that they too can be forgiven? That it’s not too late? That even their sins/crimes can be forgiven? That Jesus came died for them, too? What if we got really crazy and said, “I forgive you.” ?

If there is one thing I know, love and forgiveness change everything. They change everything, because love and forgiveness were being offered at the cross..and they’re still being offered today. They transform sinners into believers. They bring hope to the hopeless.

If we are to be like Christ, then we must also offer love and forgiveness to those who have committed the most heinous of sins/crimes. The only way to do that is by realizing how we have also received the same degree of love and forgiveness.

We cannot continue to place pride on our personal brand of sin, seeing our sin as superior. Our sin is filthy, just like everyone else’s.

Let’s work on trying to heal the world, instead of trying to constantly condemn and put the last nail in the coffin. Jesus wants EVERYONE to be in Heaven with Him. None of us deserve to go, but He was willing to die for us anyway. All of us. So that we could be with Him forever.

People need to know they are wanted, loved, and forgiven. Try to see beyond the sin, and into the heart of the person. There are reasons people have become who they are. There are deep hurts, and scars.

What’s one thing people often say to reporters after someone they know does a horrible thing? They say, “I didn’t see it coming. This isn’t the ….. I knew. He/she always seemed happy. He/she was quiet, and kept to himself/herself.”

This proves, most people never take the time to look beyond the surface of a person. People who feel alone and hurt get desperate. They want to be heard.

Will you be a person today who chooses to look past the outward appearance, and the sins, into the heart of a person? Even if you’ve never met them. You can offer love. A simple smile. A kind hello. A sincere, “How are you?” When you read a news article about yet another horrible thing that’s happened, will you stop and offer up a prayer for that person?

Will you show the unbiased love of God today? No one deserves it, but everyone needs it.

Jesus came to save the sinners. We are all sinners. As it says in The Word, He wants NO ONE to perish, but He wants EVERYONE to enjoy everlasting life.

Love like Jesus loves. 🙂

Blessings to you as we continue on this journey together,

Sarah

Wheat or Tares? Who Could Really Judge..

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Happy Monday, friends! Be blessed today as you make the purposeful decision to show love to those who may not share in the same sin as you.

-Sarah
—————-

Today’s devo selection:

Be Careful of Who You Judge
By Calvary Chapel Boise/Bob Caldwell

Today’s Reading: Matthew 13:24-30, Matthew 13:36-43

Key Verse: “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.” –Matthew 13:38-40

It is critical for each of us to understand how the Kingdom of God operates in this age of rebellion against God. It is common for believers to try to separate themselves from the “world” in a way that at times can be counter-productive. In this parable of the sower, there is a reference to tares. They look similar to wheat and, in this parable, are growing among the wheat the sower planted. The wheat represents the people who belong to the Kingdom of God and the tares represent those who belong to the Kingdom of Darkness. Jesus warns us not to try to separate the tares, lest the wheat be uprooted as well.

Yet often well-meaning believers do just the opposite. We sometimes try to use our limited ability to judge the true nature of a person and then try to “weed them out” of the Kingdom of God. “Who are the wheat? Who are the tares?” become the questions we want answered. Yet if we pursue this process we often see genuine believers uprooted and deeply hurt. Conversely, we may honor some people who may in fact be “tares.” Humility requires us to defer to Christ as the only true judge. Of course, this doesn’t mean we compromise truth. Obviously some people by their own words and deeds make their status as “wheat” or “tares” very obvious. But often a person’s heart condition—in relationship to truth—may not be as easy to determine as we think.

By God’s grace, His “wheat seeds” are sown throughout the world to bring revelation of the knowledge of Him. As this occurs, Satan will inevitably sow among us “tares.” These are people who try to appear to be believers but in fact are not. Over time it’s impossible for many of these counterfeit believers to hide who they really are. But we must let this process play out without our interference for two very important reasons. First, if we deal graciously with all people, some of these counterfeit Christians will become sincere followers of Christ. Authentic believers who live a genuinely Spirit-filled life of faith may influence them. The contrast between the life of the Spirit and the life of the flesh can often cause hypocrites to repent of their life of self-deception. Secondly, this careful approach protects new believers who are babes in Christ. In certain areas of life, these immature believers may appear to be nonbelievers. If we judge them as “tares,” they can become overwhelmed with discouragement. They may conclude that their baby steps are not enough for them to belong to the family of God.

Therefore, let us not pretend to be God. We’re not Him! Only God knows the true heart condition of each of us. God will in His own time separate the wheat and the tares, at the Second Coming of Christ.

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