Tag Archive | Christianity

Grace…and Paying it Forward

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Just over a month ago (December 14, 2012), the holidays were fast approaching, and I was looking forward to several things. For instance, all of my kids would be home for Christmas, I was about to turn 50, and some much needed time off from work.  On that particular day, the word grace had been on my mind.  I was thinking about how “Grace” is God‘s unmerited favor.  I don’t deserve His grace, and I definitely didn’t earn His grace.  God gives me grace despite my weaknesses.

The morning of the 14th, I posted a simple picture about grace. It was only the definition.

Grace, n.: undeserved, unmerited, unearned, favor.

On the afternoon of the 14th, when I got home from school, I drove up to my house to find my son, my husband, my youngest daughter & her best friend, my mom, and the police…all outside of our house.  I remember driving up and thinking that something was not right.  As I got out, I was met by many, to say that there was a break in and we had probably been burglarized.

The two police officers, one off duty (Officer Prichard) who heard the call and responded first, and the reporting officer both entered the back of the house to see if it were safe to enter.  The front door had been jammed so that no one could enter during the burglary. The burglars actually used our grill accessory to crash through the glass of the back door.

Upon announcing that the house was safe to enter, the officers asked if one of us would come inside with them to scan and make an initial report of what was taken.  I volunteered, and as I was scanning the house…it seemed so surreal.  While the officers were asking questions and taking pictures, I realized that things could have been so much worse.  You see, my youngest has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and sometimes stays home with the pain.  She is a high school freshman, and my mom lives across the street; therefore, I feel okay with her staying home if she needs to.  Needless to say, her room was one of the rooms burglarized.

In fact, the downstairs bedrooms were pretty much the only rooms hit.  Again, it could have been so much worse.  The burglars only went for things that could possibly be put in a backpack and/or carry out with straps.  The burglars pretty much took all the good jewelry I have ever owned…that I had collected over the last 35+ years.  Some were heirlooms, and some semi-precious items.  They took two laptops (one with our family photos), our family video camera, and some music and gaming devices.  There were some other things; but, I was thankful that it wasn’t worse.

I need to make a side note here before I go any further.  The last few years have been a big learning curve for our family.  We have experienced many ups and downs…with different family members moving out and some returning home (that’s another story).  The reason why I’m bringing this up, is that my youngest writes poetry (one which is on this site called “Beauty Is…”).  She also writes stories (with great details), and creates art.  She’s extremely talented, and yes…I’m biased.  Anyway, her laptop was extremely important to her.  Her inner most thoughts, trials & tribulations, and dreams were on that computer.  It was also a way to stay in touch with her best friends that moved to Alabama, and her older sister that had gone off to college. It was really like a safe haven for her.

Once we made the initial report, I returned outside to talk to the others.  Glancing to the side, I noticed that Jess had a metal pole in her hand.  It’s used to turn the water off at the street, in case of emergency.  I was talking with one of the officers, and my son and husband, when I heard this blood curdling scream.  My first thought was that Jess had fallen on this metal pole, and it stabbed her.

It was probably one of the worst feelings that has ever come over me…except from a bad dream.  After I realized she was not physically injured, I went over to her to see what was wrong.  That was when Officer Prichard had told me that he had told Jess the rooms that had gotten burglarized, and that the laptops had been taken.

That blood curdling scream was the agony she felt by someone invading her space, and just snatching up her very intimate thoughts.  I was just thankful that our cats were okay, or that would have just added to the injury.

I have never heard her say anything really bad.  If you read her poem (‘Beauty Is…”), you will have a better understanding of where her heart truly lies.  But, on this day she screamed a cry of disgust.  She asked, “Why would someone do such a thing?”  I thought I don’t know.  I’m sure they were in need of some quick cash before the holidays; but, no one really knows the burglar’s heart (except for God).  Maybe they needed money for something really important.

I remember that it was hard to console Jess.  It’s hard to say you understand, and sorry to something like that, unless you have really experienced something like that.  She’s young, and there is nothing I could immediately compare it too.  We all felt a little helpless.  She looked like an empty shell of a person.  She left the house to go stay at her friend’s house, because we were missing most of the back door…and frankly it’s a little scary.  You begin to wonder if the burglars might return for the rest of the items they left behind.

I realize some of you may be thinking that maybe she was being a little silly, and very dramatic; but, don’t judge her if you haven’t been in that situation.

I posted later that night about the coincidence of posting about grace earlier that day, and how humbling it was for me.  That I, in turn, should show grace toward these burglars.  I was thankful that no one, or cats, were hurt.  I had to accept that things were going to be okay, and that God was good!

Now to the paying it forward part…Officer Prichard, the first officer to respond came over the next day to see how we were faring.  What I’m about to tell you is so awesome.  He told me that he had fought in Afghanistan for eight years and had seen homicides while being an officer; but, he told me that the yell of Jess’ pain and the grief she felt, really touched him.  Officer Prichard went home and contacted some wonderful people. He told them about Jess’ story.  He told them that she was a good student.  He told them that she had experienced some ups and downs over the past year (some emotional and some physical).  He told them about her laptop, and then many of those kind people he contacted, responded to his story of Jess.

With the Christmas season approaching, Officer Prichard, and another officer, came to our house a few nights before Christmas.  Officer Prichard, being the Christian man he is, wanted to make a difference and remind Jess that yes there is bad in the world; but, that there is a lot of good, too.  He emphasized the reason for the season was Christ, and how Jesus gave us the best gift of all.  He died so that we could live.  His grace covers our sins…and even the sins of the burglars.

After reminding us that grace covers much in us that is not deserved, he also said that it’s important to make a difference with our talents that God has given us.  This is where he brought out a new laptop for Jess.  He also presented her with a backpack to carry it in, a jump drive so that she could back up her talent, and a card to upgrade Microsoft office so that she could excel at her school work as well. He also presented me with a laptop, and a printer for the family.

Wow!  I wish I had a camera to capture the look of our amazed astonishment on our faces as when we received our gifts.  God had used this officer’s talent to respond to the cry of one of His children.  He contacted others on her behalf, and others responded.  What a blessing, and for many reasons.  I will actually write  more about this at a later time.

Now, it’s time to use our talents and pay it forward.  Jess has continued to write and create art.  I’m beginning to write again, and we are currently housing a young boy who needed a safe place to live.  It is the least we could do, for what others had done for us…especially God.

So much about God’s love was learned this season.

“Let love be genuine.  Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” ~Romans 12:9-10

God’s love is genuine!  Hold fast to what is good.  Show affection to others.  God’s grace covers us all despite our weaknesses.  God has shown/given unmerited favor to us.  None of us are deserving, yet He gave His grace to us freely.  He gave us His Son.

I know this isn’t much; but, at this time I want to personally thank those that were involved in paying forward and making a difference in our lives this season.  There were some that didn’t want to be personally acknowledged for their charitable acts, and I respect that; but, know that we appreciate your gift, and we are most thankful.  I know that God is adding jewels to your crown in Heaven.  A big thank you goes to Officer Prichard, Patty, Cat, Susan & Jack, Al, Terry & Carolyn, and to the many others that responded and helped Officer Prichard make a difference in restoring a young girl’s faith.  I also would like to thank the sweet teacher at my school who anonymously donated a grocery gift card to my family, and my Special Ed department at my school who bought each kid a gift card to help make their Christmas brighter.  God bless you all.  

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“The Crownless Again Shall Be King”

There is a  poem that I love that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in the “Lord of the Rings”.  My favorite line is the last line, “The crownless again shall be king.”  

Of course, the king Tolkien was talking about in his book was the Ranger Strider who later becomes King Aragorn.  There is much symbolism made in Tolkien’s books that refer to Christianity.  I love it!  Today, I’m going to share my twist of this last line of the poem.

We know that Christ touched many lives (figuratively and literally). I think most people thought that there was nothing special about Him. I have often thought about how Christ did not much look like a King during His reign on Earth; in fact, he probably had similarities to that of a ranger.

Through God‘s words, the Gospel in the Holy Bible, we know that Christ is the truth we should all seek.  We also know that while He lived on Earth… few really “knew” Him.  Of the few that knew Him…some  betrayed Him.  In fact He suffered greatly at their hands.  In the end, He wore a crown of thorns.

Why was Christ crucified?

The Apostle Paul explains very well for us. Paul says that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . We are now justified by his blood.”; thus the crucifixion began.  Christ endured many painful experiences for us so we could live our lives…the lives we often choose for our self.

As humans, we often choose the life we want to live for ourselves.  Although, there are times that we experience pain as a result of those that choose to live their life for them self; such as, physically, spiritually, verbally, emotionally abusing others. This is not always the case; but, it does happen more than we care to know…often times go unnoticed by our self, or others.

…Anyway, in dealing with our painful experiences we must understand that a deep healing can take place, if we allow it. We must desire for this deep healing to take place.  We can not begin to understand how this deep healing works, unless we understand His grace and mercy…of dying for us.

We must learn, and try to understand, that there is hope in healing, and His hope leads to freedom.  Freedom will come when we have faith to trust in Him.  Truth is our hope is found in Christ; but, lack of faith can stand in the way of our passion to heal. Like our doubt, faith must be learned.

How do we learn to have faith? 

Having faith is learning His truth.  Ultimately the truth is that it is not within our power to heal ourselves. We will fail alone–every one of us. That is why we need the “Author and Finisher” of our faith.  The One who is able to keep us from falling. Christ can lift us up.  As Casting Crowns song “Who Am I” says, “He lifts me up not because of who I am or what I’ve done; but, because of who He is…the One who cares to know my pain.”

Christ endured great pain on the cross.  He died for our sins so that we could live.  Christ fulfilled what we could not do.

If the Gospel brings about true freedom, then His message brings us hope.  Not just for today, but for the future of His Kingdom.  One of my Pastors told me that, “God’s grace gives us freedom from despair and pride.”  Truth is, that we can have hope to “carry on”, if we let His grace free us of our idols of our sinful nature…or from our past of painful experiences.

I want to share  parts of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s poem.  It is as follows:

“…Not all those who wander are lost;

…A light from the shadows shall spring;

…The crownless again shall be king.”

Again, the only crown Jesus wore was a crown of thorns.  But through the Gospel we find hope.  We learn that the truth of God’s mercy, grace, and justice sets us free.  Knowing all of these things, we should be able to have faith that His Kingdom is very real.  He has Risen!  Yes, the Lord has risen indeed!  He is risen in a kingdom where the crownless again shall be King…of all Kings.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  ~ Galatians 2:20

Lenten Special

I would like to have the Lenten Special, please.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ~ Psalm 73:25-26

The season of Lent precedes Easter, which is known as the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.  Lent is a 40 day period prior to Easter day.

Traditionally people “give up” certain things during the Lent period.  Usually a person will “give up” something they really like.  It usually is a habit of some sort, and it really depends on the person.  I really have a sweet tooth; but, have to have something salty to get the sweet taste out of my mouth…hahahaha!

Lent is not about a deprivation of our selfish habits…the ones we mostly partake for our personal gratification. Lent is a season of self-examination. During this period of self-examination we are called as Christians to examine how we “nourish” our bodies…as members of the body of Christ.  It’s about how we nourish our hearts.  It’s about how we focus on Jesus, who gives us strength.

My pastor said, “It’s like a spiritual test of where your heart is.  Your heart is where your treasure is.  Is it focused on “me” [self], or is it focused on Jesus?”

It’s human nature to want to focus on ourselves.  I’m extremely guilty of this.  In fact, I tend to focus on things that I may have regretted doing wrong or I may focus on good things that I feel have gone unnoticed.  Either way, my focus is on “me”, and not Him.  I focus on things that don’t give me true life.

There are also some who may focus on the things I’ve done wrong, and are really good at pointing them out to me, and sometimes to others.  It’s not like I live in a box.  I know I’m a sinner!  Most of the time, I actually regret doing a lot of the things I do.  But, something that I tend to forget, and need constant reminding of, is that there is no condemnation in Christ!  Only others, or my miserable self, may accuse of past, or present things.

Lent can also be a time to be a part of community; to be a part of others–who have a commonality of fixing their eyes on Jesus.

That’s really the goal isn’t it?  To fix our eyes on Jesus.  To understand that this beautiful gift from God, His only Son, is not just for ourselves but to be shared with others…with no strings attached.

Lent is a time to extend ourselves to others.  Extending not to just those who are impoverished, but, those that are older in age, those that may need comforting (for whatever reason), and to the sick and weary.   We should extend ourselves to those in our broken world; to be His messengers of love and mercy.  Our extension of ourselves should bear the very image of God.

Giving of oneself can be tough; but, there is a high return on the satisfaction odometer. Giving of oneself can be like a ripple effect.  Those that take His Light out into the world of others–do so because they take delight in this action, not because it’s “dutiful”.  It becomes a celebration that ripples out into the world.

I know that there is a lot more to Lent.  I could write pages on Lent.  Lent is not only about self-examination, it’s a plethora of  practicality of sorts.  Some of it’s about focusing on our faults; some of it’s about repenting;  some of it’s about extending ourselves to others; but, it’s mainly about keeping our eye on the prize of Christ Jesus.  He is the Author & Creator–the Finisher of the story of our lives.

During this season, what will you be serving up for your Lenten Special?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith; and this is not from ourselves, it is a gift of God…”  Ephesians 2:8


Strong Enough

Who determines if one is strong or not?  No one should determine other’s strengths or weaknesses. We have our own strengths and weaknesses, knowing that God has a plan for us.  Every struggle in your life shapes you into the person you are today.  Be thankful for the hard times; they can only make you stronger…strong enough!  

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13

Many of us have felt great guilt from the brokenness of our past, and present, struggles. We feel, or have felt, that we just have to live under a dark cloud. Through Christ, He became our answer for our brokenness. It was His sacrificial love for us that gives us strength to carry on past our struggles.

For some of us, the healing and restoration from life’s struggles are needed to rightly see God. This kind of healing is available through the power of God who makes us stronger. It may take some time to let those old idols go; but, one may consider the work of the Holy Spirit to heal those wounds—if we let him.

Despite our struggles in life, we can have confidence in knowing that Jesus suffered and died for us.  We can now find restoration and resurrection through him…and all from the hand of God.

We all know that our struggles can wreak havoc within us. They often leave us feeling like we are living in a world of tangled hangers.  Sometimes it’s hard to straighten them out without some kind of help.  While straightening up the “hangers” in our life, they may allow us to find support and comfort from others. Instead of regretting all of our struggles, we should be thankful when God puts others into our lives to help us.

One important question we may have is…does God care that we suffer? Does He enjoy watching us as we fall down? Of course not.

God knows that we suffer.  On our worst day, we are never alone.  Jesus is by our side. Our faith declares that God, our Father, sent His only Son to suffer at the hand of others.  He came into our world to deliver us from evil and give us a future and a hope.

How then does Jesus know about our path of  struggles? Within our faith we have learned how the only Son of the living God encountered real temptations. We know that Jesus overcame those temptations by using His Father’s words…scriptures.  We have read where Jesus suffered at the hands of family and friends. We know that His suffering became worse the closer he got to achieving His goal—to save our souls.

God knows that we are weak and He urges us to pray to Him, dare I say cry out to Him, so that we would be better equipped not to succumb to temptation.  Something happens to us when we take our struggles to the Father. He transforms us, and gives us strength and courage to do things we never thought possible. Even in the midst of our struggles, we can rise up to most challenges.  God would not bring us to our struggles, if He could not bring us through our struggles.  Don’t get off the beaten path, take the path to Jesus… often times the path less traveled.

Finally, I’m reminded of a song by Matthew West, that got him a Grammy award nomination.  It’s called “Strong Enough” and parts of it is as follows:

“You must think I’m strong…
To give me what I’m going through…
Forgive me if I’m wrong; but this looks like more than I can do on my own.

…Maybe that’s the point; to reach the point of giving up.
Cause when I’m finallyat rock bottom.
That’s when I start looking up and reaching out.

Cause I’m broken down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to one thing
You are God and you are strong when
I am weak

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,
and i don’t have to be strong enough

I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up.  I’m not strong enough.
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me.
Lord right now I’m asking you to be…Strong enough.”

God does know that we suffer and that we needed someone to give meaning and hope beyond our suffering. Jesus Christ was sent to enter into our world to deliver us from evil.  He gives us hope when we draw near to Him. Jesus’ suffering lasts beyond the cross to the wonder and glory of the resurrection. He is the Suffering Christ whose grace and mercy has saved us from our struggles today!  He makes us strong enough to carry on.

God’s Valentine Promises to Us

There is no better gift to get for Valentines than receiving, and knowing, God’s Valentine promises to us. God’s Love for us is greater than anything we can imagine.  His sacrificial gift to us was His son, Christ.  God is love!

     “…nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  ~ Romans 8:39

I saw the Hallmark Valentine commercial.  I have to admit, I’m a sap for romantic gestures, especially this time of year…ok, I’m pretty much a romanticist all year.  I love the idea of someone telling me I’m beautiful.  I want someone to tell me they want to grow old with me.  Who wouldn’t want to have a super hero rescue them?  And, I never grow weary of someone saying they need me, or love me.

After watching the commercial, I realized that God is constantly trying to send me His own “Hallmark” greeting. God tells me He delights in me.  I ask Him to never let me go, so He promises to hold on to me.  He comforts me.  God wants to be my “Super Hero“, if I would let Him.

God has also told me that He loved me so much that He sent His only Son to give me hope by dying on the cross…so I could live.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever  believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

His promise doesn’t end there.  You see…I was sexually abused as a child.  I have harbored lots of pain, shame, and guilt.  It took years (almost 30 years to be exact) before I understood that God did not condemn me for what happened.  People may condemn me; but, He never does.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” ~ John 3:17

We all have struggles.  It’s nice to know that we have hope in the midst of our struggles.  There is hope in the very lives we live.  Christ’s love is our hope.

There were times I wondered where God was in the midst of my suffering…literally suffering at the hands of others..

My pastor reminded me that God had been beside me every time I have suffered.  In fact, He is present in the suffering and struggles of the world today.  He controls the suffering, and guides it for His purpose.

God’s promises don’t stop there. Oh no they don’t!

Another of God’s promises totally sweeps me off my feet when I think about it.  He tells me that He has plans for me.  He says in the midst of my struggles, He has plans for me to prosper.  God is molding me to be in the image of Christ. He is not finished with me.  He wants me to invite others into His kingdom, so that they may prosper.

I know you are thinking, “What you talking bout?”

I’m talking about what my pastor (Tom Gibbs) said, “We are all walking the road with our elder brother…Christ.  The path can and will lead us to glory.  Our present sufferings are identified with the struggles of Christ.  While we are walking with Him (during our struggles) we are being formed in the image of Christ. We are no longer subjected to the bondage of this world.  God comforts us in this world even when we have lost our way.  The world offers us meaningless and randomness sufferings; but, God is in control of the suffering.  Our sufferings guide us for His purpose in the end.”

So in all of this suffering in our world…there is hope. Hope in the love of Christ.

As Valentine approaches, remember that even during our struggles–God is wining and dining us.  He is the true lover of our soul.  We should take the time to express that “we love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

This Valentines Day my prayer is that we will remember that God’s valentine promises to us are very real and present in our lives …today and everyday.  God is near.  God is Love!

Adopted by God

Even though I was far from being an orphan as a child, I understood loneliness at times.  I was an only child…for real.  I was abused by my step father.  I alienated myself from others.

As an adult, I have experienced loneliness. I have alienated myself  in a very different way.  I imagined I was what my pastor describes as being “spiritually  orphaned“. But something has changed over the last couple of years. I’ve been adopted…adopted by God.

There was a time that the only father I knew about was one I was trying to forget about.  With the help of a few spiritual leaders at my church and counseling, I began to learn otherwise. I learned that God is my true Father.  I understand that He is my Father.  He chose me.  He had plans for me, even before I was born.  God adopted me to be a part of His family.

Because of my past, even my present, I have carried a lot of shame and guilt.  It has laid heavy in my heart.  I tried to keep it suppressed; but, thankfully things are different now.

There is a song called, “You Love Me Anyway” by Sidewalk Prophets.  It reminds me of how I feel I acted toward Jesus for all of my life.  Part of the song is as follows:

“I am the thorn in your crown; but, You love me anyway.
I am the sweat from Your brow; but, You love me anyway.
I am the nail in Your wrist; but, You love me anyway.
I am Judas’ kiss; but, You love me anyway.

See now I am the [wo] man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart, tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still call out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life!

It’s like nothing in life
That I’ve ever known
Yes You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me.”

You see, my sins pinned His exposed and naked body on the cross. Despite what I did to Him, He sought me out in the crowd and said, I love you anyway.  I delight in you.  I have adopted you for my own.  You are mine.”

I’m so glad to know that I am loved.  I’m not afraid to follow Jesus, or be with Him. In fact, I look forward to the day I will spend eternity with Him.  I’m secure in knowing that Jesus loves me.  He has adopted me for His very own.  He understands my fears.  He forgives me of my sins.  He gives me strength.

It’s people who don’t understand.  It goes back to the disconnectedness I have mentioned before.  It’s people who choose to disconnect.  Yes, there are some other circumstances; but, people make time for what they want to do. I know, because I’m a human being who does that very thing…chooses to do what I want to do.

I think that God would like for us to slow down and be a community…to try and reconnect with one another.  Last fall I had a friend from middle school who reconnected with me, and it was great seeing her.  To share our different journeys with each other.  We shared so much, and it meant so much to me to be able to catch up with her.  I have to admit that I have also connected with several through Facebook as well.  It’s been great reconnecting with so many.

It seems so many have trouble reconnecting.  Maybe something happened within the relationship.  Sometimes things may have happened intentional, maybe on accident without knowing, or maybe time just slipped away.  It’s not easy to reconnect.  It takes time and energy.   There are some who encourage you to do one thing, and then same people hold it against you for doing the very thing they encouraged you to do.  It’s so frustrating, and talk about disconnecting.

There is another type of reconnecting…a reconnecting with God.  God desires us to connect with Him. If God had not given me the strength and courage to depend on Him, then I think I would have ceased to exist. It’s because of Him that I’m capable of so much more.  I’ve been made new.

God chose me to be a part of His family. God adopted me. I don’t mind being in a single family relationship with God.  A community would be nice; but if some can’t accept me for me then there is no reason to be a part of community.  Jesus loves me anyway…no matter what secrets I may have from my past, or the person I am now.  He chose me.  I’m adopted by God.  He is the best head of family anyone could ever want.  Praise His glorious name!

…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from…strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace,…For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,…~ Ephesians 2:12-14, 18-19

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I have often wondered, at various times in my life, if I was made for more than the ways of this world.  As a child I had been sexually abused.  I’ve lived through things that I never would thought I was capable of, and I’m much less afraid than I used to be.  I’ve realized there is a strength within, a reason worth fighting for.  I realized I am fearfully and wonderfully made, by Him, for so much more.

The word ‘fearfully’ means heart-felt interest and respect. The word ‘wonderfully’ means to be unique, and set apart. There is a great love and concern that goes into our uniqueness and being individually created in His image. According to Scripture, we are of great importance!  We all have a purpose.

I’m just an ordinary person with wanting a heart to try and focus on God.  The last couple of years I’ve been desiring to seek His purpose for me so that I may be used for Him. I feel God wants me to grasp the wonder of His love and grace.  To know how real His  involvement in my life is, even when I think He is not near, so that I may do this task that is set before me.

It clearly states in Philippians that God works in us for His pleasure.  The Word of God tells us that we have been given favor from the Lord, it’s our inheritance as a child of God (Psalm 5:12).

I know that I’ve been guilty of not always putting Him first…even before my own family.  At one time, I  placed many on a pedestal above Him; but, no longer.  I now know that I’m indebted to Him, that He has forgiven my debts, and that He has brought me into a new life with Him.  I have become part of His family…the family of God.

My church had a conference this past fall about the family.  Skip Ryan was the speaker. He said that the family becomes a place where we learn the purpose of our lives.  It becomes the first place where we learn of who we are.  He was referring of being a part of God’s family.  The key to all we are and to be understood is within the family.

Of course, we learn a lot from our biological families as well.  I’m thankful to have met a man that I married and began a family with.  I have been blessed in many ways; but, especially with my three  children.  They are all three very unique with many God-given qualities and talents.  They have taught me so much about life, and how very thankful I am for the opportunity to be called, “Mom”.

I’m thankful that I’m a part of the family of God, as well as my own family.  We are joint heirs with Jesus. Admittedly, I’m not always close to either families; but, I’m thankful to be a part of both.

Within our families each of us has been given a unique and individual purpose that cannot fail if we will cast off fear and stop listening to the lies of failure, doom and gloom and all the negativity that the devil has been beating us up with. Regardless of our past and our shortcomings!  Why? Because it is God ordained – that’s why. And besides that, Romans 11:29 tells us: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” He’s given this to us and He will never take it back.

There is no difference who you are.  Grace is for everyone in the family.

One thing that I’ve learned is that within our families, there is hope!  Jesus is our hope!  Jesus is God’s gift to sinners!  The plans and purposes of God are set in motion for a reason…to give us a future and a hope, so that we can be a blessing to our families, or others.

Despite the complexity of families, we should invest time in her members…not taking for granted how much time God has fashioned us to be individuals that have been created for His purpose.  We are all unique and bring a different gift to the family. God would not go to the trouble of creating us, if He did not have a purpose for the family. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made to be individuals within the family of God to do His purpose.  Praise His wonderful name!

For you formed my inward parts;  you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!” ~ Psalm 139: 13-17

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