The reality of GRACE. Last night I taught the lesson on Grace for our Celebrate Recovery group. There was so much I needed to learn about this Spiritual Gift God has given to each one of us. I use to equate Grace to Kindness. Grace is kind, but one can be kind simply because he is a kind person. An infant can be treated with kindness which has nothing to do with Grace. If one doesn’t know sin, one cannot understand Grace. If one is in denial of their sin/s, they still don’t know Grace. Grace comes to life in our personal understanding when we begin to realize God has removed the punishment we deserve and replaced it with love and acceptance. We get GRACE instead of judgment.
I lived in denial most of my life of my own sins. I measured my sins against those done to me by my brother and my dad. There is no grace in this. Satan had me believing lies rather than my seeing the beauty of God’s forgiveness and His Grace. There is no freedom found in comparing one’s sins with another one. My own sins came before me as I recognized my struggle with porn. Even more, I recognized this battle when I began the counseling which followed the first year of Celebrate Recovery. My sins were mine. I realized God’s work with dad, God’s work with Rich, God’s work with me–all due to GRACE and FORGIVENESS. This model He wants us to learn with His Holy Spirit’s help who lives within us.
God is kind. But kindness is taken to an extreme level when Grace engulfs it through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the sacrifice our Father God gave us through Him.
Give thanks with a grateful heart! “I will free you when you give Me thanks.” This line was part of my devotional message this morning. I had while journaling, just minutes before, asked God for strength to stand up to a challenge I face and then I read this line in the first paragraph of my devotional reading. Trusting God with everything in our lives is such a shift. In my humanness I tend to only take to God what I battle and then lose–or fear losing. Then and only then do I bring it to God. There was a time in my life when I thought that this is the right way to live. However, the older I get the more I awaken to the truth that God wants to be the center of all my life and living. He wants me to bring all things to Him–big or small for He is interested in my entire being.
Trusting God ahead of His Work is such a huge step of Faith. It is one I still need to learn for each day’s living. Today, I trust!
Can you picture with me the following? Here is a man who is filled with the Power of Mercy–The Holy Spirit given to him by Jesus Christ Himself. Secondly, this same man who is filled with the Power of Mercy, also is covered with a Mantle of Holiness. As I began to realize that a mantle is a covering, I better understood the phrase’s meaning. My word–God has filled us with the Power of Mercy and covered us with the Mantle of Holiness!
Not so long ago I would have taken this rather lightly. I would laugh and say something like, “isn’t that a nice thought”. Today, God is pressing in the genuine truth of His Work in me. When He says we are a new creation because of His Gift to us–His Only Son Jesus Christ–He is not kidding and it isn’t just a nice thought. It is genuine.
As I began my bible reading this morning in the Passion Bible, I started the book of Romans. The preface of the book says in part, “When you receive the grace of God by faith, righteousness is birthed within your life.” The key to this line is FAITH. To receive grace and righteousness I must have faith believing it is true and real. This is finally happening for me. The roots of faith are beginning to take hold. It is such a humbling and powerful reality all at the same time. And, it is for me–just like all of this is for you!
Today’s devotion has a statement in it which leaves me wondering about its depth of meaning. In part, it reads, “I have not called you to judge with a critical heart, but to love–to treat others with the same respect and honor you would like to be treated with…. Ask for my perspective. Seek my heart for those walking in deception. I long for intercessors who carry both the power of mercy and the mantle of holiness.”
I believe I understand the power of mercy but I do not know the depth of meaning for the bolded phrase–mantle of holiness. If a reader has a grasp on this I’d sure like to hear what you’d have to say.
I know that we are not ever called to judge others. Scripture makes that very clear. I know too that we are to show mercy as mercy is shown to us by God our Father. I am perplexed with this one statement that I know must have significance I’m not grasping. The scripture reference for this devotion is Luke 1: 77-78. As I read it I still don’t find the clarity. Today’s journey is starting with me asking for help which I sense God is wanting me to do.
The party for our friend was a very touching time. She has been a warrior for God’s Kingdom work for many years. She is also one who is very human and not afraid to laugh at her “humanness”. There was a good deal of this taking place while God was being glorified.
The day ended with a quartet practice. One of our members has a son facing some very difficult days. I won’t go into the details of it, however, our evening ended with a prayer time for this son and his dad. Satan is attempting to do his evil bringing forth what could be truth, but very contrary to Christ’s teachings about Trust and Faith–those Spiritual anchors Satan knows about but wants us to keep them in the mystery realm where there is little to anchor into.
The devotional our quartet is using for this year is presently talking about God’s miracles and mysteries. It is written as though God is talking directly to you. These past few day has focused on scriptures which help describe why we think God is mysterious. In the Spiritual World where Faith and Trust are commonly seen and applied, nothing looks miraculous or mysterious for they are not mysterious there. We can only see this if we disallow ourselves to doubt, and instead, TRUST. I am having my own awakening into this as I live the life of a new creation which is our opportunity to live spiritually while still human.
God uses all of our human crises as lessons and this is one I’m needing to spend a good deal more time. I’m so glad God is a God of Patience!
We got home without a hitch. The flights were on time and all is well. Julia’s graduation party was astounding. So many people came which was a wonderful support for her. She will be rooming in college with the daughter of her dad’s roommate when he was in college. It is cute to see them together. Both of them have fabulous voices and into drama. It will be fun to see how God uses this combination as their college years begin.
Later today Kathy and I will be attending the 80th birthday party for a dear friend. Jan is the person who helps those in need in capital letters–HELP. It is a regular occurrence for her to stop along the road, in a parking lot, in the store itself, to give help to someone only she notices is in distress. She listens well to God’s Holy Spirit and is always ready to take the step to offer words of encouragement, finances, a helping hand, a ride, a bed to rest in, whatever one needs at the moment. With all of this no one walks away without hearing that God loves them and wants to call them His. She is amazing!
It is good to be home. I’m feeling just a little rummy at the moment, but God and Folgers will take care of that!
Today the journey to Oklahoma will come to an end. In a few hours the party for our granddaughter, Julia will take place. Following the party, we will soon head to the airport and say our goodbyes. What a good time it has been. I thank God for this time with the kids and grandkids here.
It has been good to have my mind focused on things needing my help while here and having my mind only sometimes drift to the counseling which is to take place back home. I am ready to go back and wrap up the work with schools which will take the next 3+ weeks, then delve fully into the preparation for the counseling’s start.
God is so good and He never leaves any detail untouched. I am truly growing into this fullness of understanding.
There is an amazing thing about God I never knew or understood in my younger years–His GRACE. I’m sure my handle on it today is only a minor portion of its depth and width, but what I do know today far surpasses what I misunderstood earlier in my life.
There was a point in my life when I hated God knowing He would take my brother to heaven and leave me here to suffer the consequences of his sin to me. What did Grace have to do with this? Grace forgave my brother and took him to heaven when he drowned, but where was Grace for me? Little did I understand that the entrance for Grace began when I started to open up about the secrets I held within. Satan had me believing his lies rather than believing God’s word where we are told to confess one to another (James 5:16).
There is so much about abuse and children that I would like to change and stop. God, on the other hand, gave man free will and abuse sits right in the middle of “free will”. Yes, man has the ability to punish abuse once it is known, but to remove the effects of it on the abused is something only God’s Grace does. Knowing that the poison put into a child by the abuser can one day be used as a medicine for some other victim is a perfect example of GRACE. GRACE removes the stigma of secrets and turns it into a passion to share. WOW, GOD IS AMAZING!
It is so good to be here in Oklahoma for this week. It is amazing to watch your grandkids grow into adulthood day by day and moment by moment. The decisions being made and the struggle with living committed to Jesus rather than to self. This is truly a human characteristic that doesn’t fade as life goes on. Even our grandson here has gone through the voice changing. He will be a freshman in high school this next year. It is a joy to come and just be with them for this period of time.
God is amazingly at work everywhere. It is me who gets locked into “my world” thinking God needs to do this or that. Then, I go someplace like Oklahoma to see how much He is working here and to hear folks say God needs to do this or that. We humans do have a narrow focus which God is always broadening to help us see what He sees. Joining Him in this broadening world is forever His goal and mine too. I just need to keep the blinders removed as best as possible.
It was such a privilege to get to be part of the cheering section for my granddaughter’s graduation yesterday evening. She is part of a huge class of seniors with something like 750 students in the class. She was chosen to sing the national anthem for the ceremony. She does have a magnificent voice! Grandpa is very proud.
The last two days have been major yardwork days helping my daughter with the remake of flower beds both redesigning and planting. Some major mowing needed to be done but almost all of it is now done. Today will finish a few more details. The neighbor walked over and said that the graduate should be out helping since all of this work is being done in her honor. My daughter assured her that the timing of this work being done at graduation only coincided with our trip. All of this work is being done only because of her–she loves yardwork just like I do and was waiting for our arrival to do it.
God is continuously good–what more can I say!