30 Days of Gratitude – Day 28 God’s Unmerited Favor

Today I’m grateful for the unmerited favor the God has shown to me.  I’ve been living in a dark whole for many months and though I know that God was with me in that whole, today the light was visible.  It  was like I was lost in a dark forest, unable to find my way out and today finally the light shown thorough the branches of the trees.

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Where there was once despair there is now hope.  I’m back in God’s Word, after being away for more than four months, which has filled me with such joy, hope, inspiration, a kick in the butt (greatly needed), grace, and blessings beyond measure.   Today’s readings have not only reminded me of God’s grace, and hope but the truth that He is always there and so is His Word and the richness there of.

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During my times of depression when it was all I could do to get up watch TV, figure something out to eat and take care of my dog, there were times when I knew God was with me.  Most of the time I had to take that as a step of faith, that God was still there no matter how alone I felt, occasionally and these where rare but I’m oh so grateful for them, there were times when I could actually feel His embrace.  It was in those times that my faith was faltering that God was so kind as to shore up my faith and bless my wounded heart with the warmth of His embrace.  It is something I will never forget or take for granted.  Maybe it’s a sign of my own weakness that He came to me in such a physical way but weakness or not He knew what I needed at that very moment.  I was all alone and desperate and needed to feel loved.  I’m not saying that I’m anyone special because of that embrace, honestly more likely I’m someone less special.  I would love to say that my faith is so strong that I don’t doubt or cry out to God to show Himself, but sadly that is not the case.

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In this area and in many other areas God is molding me and making me into the Christian that He would have me be.  Some days I’m a more willing piece of clay than others and because of that I’m so grateful for His grace.  I would love to say that I meet my trials with courage, fortitude and a strong faith, but more often than not I fail, fall to the ground, stay there a while and then figure it out to call on God to help me out.

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This piece of clay is not only hard, so it needs a lot of water and pressure from the Potter, it also has far too dry parts that need to be removed completely in order to work the clay properly.  The more the Potter works with this clay the more evident the hard dried out pieces become and the painful process of removal must take place.  Thankfully even with these pieces the Potter has not given up on this piece of clay.

If you’re like me and have your off days as well as your on fire days.  Take hope in the fact that God’s grace (unmerited favor) is limitless.  His love is unconditional as long as you are His child.  So, if you haven’t accepted what Christ did for you on the cross, which was paying the penalty for all our sins and that penalty is death, ask forgiveness of your sins (anything short of perfection), accept what Christ did on the cross for you and ask Him to come into your life and help you life the kind of life He wants you to live.  It’s as easy as that to become a child of God.

Who’s In The Driver Seat of Your Car of Life?

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This quote is Psalm 31:14-15a.  It is good for us to trust in God and to remember our place.  We are not in the driver seat, not if we want to have an abundant life, a fulfilling life, a life blessed by God and a life according to His will.

He is God.  The one and only true God.  He is the Alpha Omega, the beginning and the end.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords He is I AM!  There is nothing greater than Him, He is the Creator of the universe.   Before anything was He was.  Before time He was.  Before light He was and always will be.

Anytime we put ourselves in the driver seat of our lives we not only act with outlandish pride, but foolhardy folly!   How dare we think that we have any advantage over God in the direction that our lives should take!  I’m speaking this as harshly to myself as anyone who is reading this.

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We all at times take turns at grabbing the steering wheel out of the LORD’s hands and being the gentleman that He is He won’t force it.  He wants to direct our paths and have control of the steering wheel but it’s our’s to give to Him and sometimes we have to surrender control on a daily if not hourly or moment by moment basis.  But that is how love works, it doesn’t control you.  God loves us enough to wait until we are ready to surrender our lives to him be that the submission of salvation or the submission of daily obedience to His loving guidance.

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It is equally not wise for us to sit in the backseat and do any backseat driving.  You know what I mean, like the times we like to try and tell God how best to do His job.  “Lord if you just…”, “Lord, I just need you to…”, “Lord, I know you said to, but…”, “Lord if we could just go this way.”.   These are all statements of pride because we think that we can do it better than the I AM.

He’s the same yesterday, today and forever He will always be looking to you for relationship but He wants love and love is never forced so He waits.  Whether it’s your first step to salvation or your 10,177 step in obedience, He’s looking for us to open the door to Him.

Our time is in His hands and it only makes sense to go to the Creator of you and me for everything in our lives.  He should be the first thing that we think of each morning and the first One we greet and the last thing on our mind each night, falling asleep with thoughts or communication to/of Him.  Please don’t get me wrong my spiritual life is no where near this but the cry of my heart tells me this is how I would prefer it to be.  Maybe I’ll never attain it this side of heaven but it is my desire to come as close to this as possible.

Incase you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, all you need to do is confess your sins to God and ask His forgiveness for those sins (sin is anything other than absolute perfection to the laws of God-which you know because the Bible says they are written on man’s heart, so look to your heart openly and honestly and see how truly good you are-you can ask God to help you with this).  You can receive the forgiveness of those sins if you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross paying the penalty for your and all the world’s sins, accept God’s grace of what His Son did for you and ask God to accept you into His family & the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Turn away from your old sinful life and strive to live your new life like Christ that you may be a reflection of what has been done inside you, not that your works will make any difference whether you get into heaven or not that is a free gift to anyone how believes, your works just show the change in your heart and life.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude Day 4

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  –  1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

Today I’m grateful to God for…”Living By Faith Blog” and his post “Are You Misdiagnosing Your Sin?” By Steve Fuller.  He helped me to realize that what I thought was an issue of laziness when it came to reading the Word of God was actually a sin of unbelief.

Thanks to his blog I have repented of that sin and pray that the Holy Spirit work in my heart.  I also have started praying along with him …over Scriptures showing God as my Treasure and the Word as the way to experience Him.”  The scriptures I’ve started praying over are; “God promises to provide the Spirit as we hear His Word with faith (Gal 3:5John 7:38).” and “So I prayed over Scriptures like Psalm 4:6-7Psalm 16:11Psalm 19:10Psalm 119:722Cor 4:6Phil 3:8-9.”  My prayer is like his heart mine will change.

It may take time.  But I’m grateful to be made aware of the sin so that I can do something about it and become more of the woman of God that He wants me to be.  So even if it is a painful lesson, I think of it as a blessing because I want to be all that my Lord wants of me.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Who Is Your Identity?

Who are you?  Are you identifying yourself by your profession?  Perhaps you are identifying yourself as a husband or wife and putting everything you have into that relationship.  Perhaps your a mom and you are identifying yourself as a mom or in how your children behave or have matured and grown up?  Are you a student and identify yourself as such? Do you allow your grades to speak for who you are?  If you are identifying yourself in any of these ways or any other way other than in respect to Christ that is not your true identity.

I have mistakenly looked for my identity in nearly all of these except for mom, since God never blessed me with children.  When I was put on disability and lost my identity of a professional and it was very difficult when asked what I do to answer the question.  You see here I was (if I remember correctly) in my early 30’s and out of the workforce.  What was to be my identity?

I have had and continue to have the identity of daughter and sister but that never seemed enough.

When I went into early retirement as was suggested to call it by some, I became a student and although I love learning and am fairly good at it.  This too was not enough.

Actually being put on disability was a blessing because I had been so busy with work that I hadn’t realized how empty I was.  It was sometime after that and not without heartache and dealing with my pride that I came to realize that my identity comes from Christ and being in Christ.

Galatians 3:26-29 says this about our identity;

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior your identity belongs to Christ.  As you can see in Galatians 3:26-29 we who have been baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ.  It is Christ in us that the world must see and who we must identify ourselves with.

As the scripture says there is no distinguishing among us. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.”  In today’s terms: Their is neither Baptist nor Methodist nor Lutheran nor Evangelical nor Charismatic nor Catholic, poor nor rich, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  There also isn’t doctor nor plumber, teacher nor homemaker, wife nor aunt, student nor retired.  There are followers of Christ which have clothed themselves in Christ Jesus.

The above list of denominations and non-denominational churches is incomplete I just listed what came to mind and am sure given time I could think of a number of other to add to this list.  Most importantly, instead of the different denominations and non-demominationals waring of non-fundamentals of the faith, let us do as the Bible teaches us and find our common ground and be united in that.  We are letting these insignificant things (in comparison to the fundamentals of our faith) to be used by the enemy to pull the Church (followers of Jesus) apart rather than being unified.  This is exactly what he wants because it destroys our witness to the world.  Church wake up!  It is time we take back what the enemy has cunningly got us to let go of.  There should be unity in love of the Church this is what will attract unbelievers to us.

When you find your true identity – either a follower of Christ or not.  One of three things will happen.

  1. Knowing your identity in Christ as a believer and follower that place in your heart that you were trying to fill with other identities will find peace and wholeness.
  2. If you are not a believer or follower of Christ but you heed the tugging in your heart that this could be the answer to that whole you feel – pray this simple prayer: Lord I see myself as the sinner I am and ask You to forgive me of all my sins.  I accept what Jesus did on the cross as a sacrifice for me so that I might have forgiveness of my sins and fellowship with you.  Lord help me to live the new life that I’ve just begun and bring believers around me to help me grow in You. Amen!
  3. If you are not a believer nor follower of Christ and you choose not to say the above pray and let Christ into your life, you can look through every profession, toy, relationship, or book other than the Bible and you will never fill that God shaped whole you feel.  You know the emptiness that nothing seems to fill.  It’s there for a reason.  God put it there so you would choose Him.  He also gave you free choice so you can run from Him all you want, He’s a gentleman He won’t force Himself on you.  But let me worn you the longer you run the harder your heart becomes.  The harder your heart becomes the less likely you are to turn to Him.  The reason I mention this is that hell is a very real place and if you don’t like things here on earth you have no idea what awaits you separated eternally from a loving and holy God.  It scares me to think that anyone I know would be sent to such a horrible place.  So please reconsider God’s gracious gift of forgiveness.  We’ve all sinned and fallen short of what God in His righteousness requires which is perfection.  Only one man ever walked the earth and did not sin, and that man is our Lord and Savior  Jesus Christ.

So let’s stop looking in all the wrong places and seek out Christ in the Bible and learn about Him so that we have a better understanding of our true identity.

Joy – A Fellow  Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!