As I return to my writing, I thought it would be encouraging to speak about the magnitude of what Jesus has done for us. January started with reading the Bible in a year. There are several reading plans available that include the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, etc. I just like to start at the beginning in Genesis and read through Revelation. I could read it like this all the time. What I most like is the story of Israel and God’s relationship as it unfolds. Most important and why I deemed the name of this post “grasp the magnitude” is the struggle we as humans have in giving it all to God, truly not fully appreciating and understanding the true depth of His love for us.
The Israelites really did struggle and Judges shows the return of evil again and again in the sight of God. The evil is truly turning your back on Him and choosing other “gods”, whatever they may be. Only you know what you have given your heart to. As I read, I reflect on what Jesus truly did for us. Between the burnt offerings, sin offerings, and feasts as well as the cleanliness protocols, I tend to flinch. I am not sure that I would have been okay. But what Jesus did when He died for us and rose again is give us the option to choose Him and let Him do the rest. Can you imagine giving your child everything he may want for Christmas and then act like you did nothing? The attitude of insignificance and no big deal would drive us nuts.
Grasping the resurrection and us receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit in us as a real deposit for eternal life is magnificent. All God wants us to do is worship Him and He promised to provide all of our needs. That includes physical, emotional and spiritual. How awesome is that! Simple, but not easy. We are so easily distracted by the world and things that we forget that He created the world and things through us. We make the thing created more important than the Creator.
Each time I start reading the Bible from the beginning, it moves my heart more towards God. Not saying I am always diligent in keeping it that way, but I do love God and desire to worship Him only. I have experienced God changing my heart on things I was holding to and found difficult letting go. Grasping the wrong things instead of His heart about those things. Intangible objects can do nothing. It is our heart towards those things that make us move to do what we do not desire to do. Paul really did have a clue. Grasping that we have the power within us, the Holy Spirit, to change that is just the tip of the iceberg. Is it so impossible to fathom that we have a God that loves us so much that He cared for us and loved us in and through our mess to give us not just a more abundant life here on earth but eternal life as well?
Can you grasp that?
One addiction has been conquered and another rises to the service. When things begin to drop off – when you start dropping the baggage in your walk with Christ – what remains rises to the service. The pinching begins as God calls us to raise our standard to the way of life he has ordained for us as believers. It is a call to draw you even closer to Him and to walk worthy of the calling.
Ephesians 4 – “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Things become more challenging as He calls us back to making Him the center and the first priority again. It is amazing to me how many layers are uncovered as I strive to give everything to God. The flesh will always rise to contend with your spirit to glorify God. This is a very real and true aspect of the spiritual battle that we face every day. You have to resolve in your heart and mind to put God first. I haven’t always been successful in this area, however, I will never give up but continue to strive to fight the good fight of faith.
Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Eternity, eternal life with Jesus and our heavenly Father, is certainly worth it. He has already given us everything we need. The victory was won on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus died on the cross.
Going from glory to glory in the Lord is our life on earth, though definitely not our permanent home.
2nd Corinthians 3:11 – “For if what was brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.”
As I write, I find that the focus needs to change from self to the Lord. Not our circumstances or what is going on around us, but what the will of the Father is for us. Jesus came to do the will of His Father, God the creator of heaven and earth. Can we not strive to be obedient to Christ because He was obedient unto death?
First and foremost, God bless and “Happy New Year!” God has been very busy with me; had to keep my eyes on Him. With all the things that were experienced last year, I have become even more rooted and grounded keeping my eyes on Him. There is a new level of peace that came with the challenges and growth of last year. A new beginning that is certainly welcome with a better understanding of living with the peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) No matter what the circumstances are, God will bring you through.
Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I have re-focused and am back to writing. God has sincerely blessed. As a grandmother of another baby girl, I am very excited about being able to be hands-on with her; already seeing God move as I was lifting her in prayer before she arrived on the scene and she did come with pomp and circumstance. It has been a blessing to see the smile from the angels on her face. With a new place to live, a full-time job, a new car and becoming roommates with my sister, God has truly blessed. He is also bringing me to another place to serve Him. Becoming part of the leadership team at my church, I am moving forward in God’s purpose for my life. I did learn quite a bit more about patience, for myself and others. And that peace is so sweet! We get so much negativity from the world, we don’t realize how ingrained it becomes.
His peace is bringing forth my creativity again and that makes my heart glad. Truly rejoicing in what He desires for my life. Of course, my time has changed quite a bit and exercising time management is key to staying focused on Him. Not allowing distractions to make me lose sight of what’s important. I will say that I have missed the sharing and connection that I experienced on the WordPress blogs. Once again, I put my pen to paper to share my journey with you. Looking forward to excitement, growth and new things for us all. Be encouraged and stay the path with the Lord. He is worthy to be trusted and praised.
What’s in my heart at this point is to encourage you in your journey. Do not allow distractions to take your focus off of God and what He has for you. We all know the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. This is even when he knows you cannot be separated from the love of God. He will still try to distract you to keep you from ministering to those God has called you to. Remember, it’s not just you the enemy is after, but those God has given you to influence and draw into the Kingdom.
God is faithful. We must be as well. The more we lean on and seek His face, the more we will trust. The more we trust Him with our lives, direction, and path, the more triumphs we experience. There is nothing more important than your relationship with Him, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I looked up grace and there were so many definitions. The focus of this grace though is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. It is defined as “the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.” It is a virtue or excellence of divine origin. It is also defined as moral strength. Now, I can truly say that God’s grace was with me as I endured the many challenges of the past year. But, more than anything, God’s grace has truly drawn me closer to Him. By His grace, I am here today.
I know that His mercy is the foundation of me still being here. I am saved because God had mercy on me. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. How much more though is the grace that carries us forward. I see quite a few people challenged by life events. Some are pushing forward and others seem to be drowning. But for the grace of God, there go I. Not sure I can quite put into words the wonder of God’s grace. His favor on our lives, to give blessings and yet to deter destruction.
The true love of God is shown to us in the nature of grace. He loves us and desires to give us not only an abundant life through His Son Jesus Christ, a powerful life through the Holy Spirit thanks to the resurrection of Jesus, but eternal life because of Jesus. If I may say so, the grace of God encompasses all that I am because I am nothing without Him.
There is such a sweetness in my spirit today for God’s faithfulness. I have become employed full-time and as I adjust to the time requirements for this, I have to adjust my writing time. I will be posting three times a week. My first priority is to God, of course. Then, attention to the job. However, my call to write and be an encouragement to others is still also a priority. As He continues to move in my life, I adjust accordingly. That said, I would like to say that God keeps His promises. Sometimes we don’t know the difference between “no” and “wait” because waiting does look like a “no” on the surface. However, when we trust Him, we see things play out. Waiting is hard because of this. Not sure, keep trusting. Can’t see, keep trusting. When He then begins to show His moves, you see things happen.
There are other changes coming. There is something to be said for His grace. His grace is sufficient. Always has been, but when you come to know that you know that, it is such a sweet place to be. I have been changed through all the things that I have gone experienced. Strength in Him is the anchor to my soul. I have found a church home and am excited about that as well. I must say that the time I did not have that church home, I was still focused on God. We must have that solid personal relationship with Him so that when He shows us our direction, we obey. Obedience is necessary if we want all that God has for us. Fulfilling His purpose and call for our lives is the goal. Eternity with Him is the destination.
This wasn’t her. Walking through the park looking at the faceless souls, aliases lost in the chaos of life. “Hi, how are you doing today?” The greeting was done in an effort to feel again. “Fine,” the stranger solemnly said. The stranger’s face never looked up. The response seemed to be contrived from the deep feelings of the stranger who would rather keep them to herself. She could relate. Sometimes you needed to say something to make sure you were alive and breathing. But exposing the alias was not an option. Facelessness was in control today.
“Where is she?” Allia thought to herself, almost speaking aloud. Although it would not have been strange since most in the park did the same. She had not seen Christine for quite a while. She looked around the group in the park. Allia did not even see Dane, Christine’s significant other. The faces were familiar but the faces she had become familiar with showed the aliases covering the details of these circumstances. Or, did the circumstances bring the aliases?
Allia knew there were a few in the park here by choice. They had given up on trying to make sense of the events they had been thrown in life. Kinda like the baseball game when the last ball is thrown. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, two strikes and three balls and a runner on third. The score is 3-2. The crowd is silent but excited with grand expectation awaiting the move from the pitcher and the batter. The batter is focused on hitting the ball out of the park so his team can win the game. The runner on third anticipating the base hit or home run that would bring him home. The pitcher winds up to throw the ball. Here it comes. Fast and swift. Right over the plate and the swing is a second too late. Strike three, you’re out!
The batter is visibly upset. Throws the bat. Half the crowd cheers, half the crowd oohs and aahs. Feeling the disappointment of the batter and the runner on third, the crowd has intensified the moment. Coming back from the nostalgia of enjoying her favorite sport, she scans the park one more time in order to make sure she didn’t miss Christine. Allia never thought she would truly understand the plight of the homeless, the faceless-aliases of people who were either thrown into or chose to be in this situation of living on the street. Sleeping where they could. Eating where and when they could. Every once in a while the good Samaritan would show up making a big difference for that day, but only that day. The next day, the apparent facelessness would continue. Today she understood this plight.
Allia was one of the faceless-aliases in the park today. Her search for Christina was futile at this point. She didn’t imagine any dire circumstances. She would just return tomorrow to see if her search would be fruitful. She only wanted to enjoy a moment with someone who could understand. Someone who would be able to see her, and not the alias of circumstances now out of her control? Allia’s alias moved forward through the park being one of the faceless in the group today.
Ephesians 6:14-17 – “14) So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15) and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16) Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Amplified)
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He’s chasing me. The pursuit is relentless. Haven’t been able to rest for the energy to keep running. He’s been chasing me for years. Why won’t He stop? Relentless. What’s the word? Neverending. Where can I run to? Left? Right? Straight ahead? Closer and closer He gets. I cannot outrun Him. What can I do? Where can I go? Where can I run?
Straight into the arms of His everlasting love. I could have walked into His arms many years ago instead of being chased. He pursues us with an everlasting love to give us His love everlasting.
When thinking about surrender to the Lord, it is easy to surrender today. Give everything to the Lord. Next day comes, lo and behold, the habit of taking things on yourself is right back at you. The hope is that when you surrender, it is a done deal. But, the flesh is weak. In continuing the theme that the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, this need to surrender daily comes to light. The flesh is not going to let the Spirit take control. You have to give control to the Spirit.
Mark 14:37-38 – 37)“And He came back and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Were you unable to keep watch for one? 38) Keep [actively] watching and praying so that you do not come into temptation, the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Amplified)
Part of this revelation is apparent when we look at the Psalms. David prayed that God would renew a right spirit within him. (Psalm 51). If there was no need to surrender often, this prayer would not be unnecessary. The flesh, the world, and the enemy bring about the need to stay before the Lord and continually surrender. Life events and other elements seem to come forth out of nowhere. This is the reason we are called to be sober, keep watch. This spiritual journey cannot be taken lightly. It is also revealed in other parts of Scripture that we need to forgive one another, sometimes even seventy times seven. The flesh is not relenting easily. Neither is the world and definitely not the enemy.
Note the Scripture that says the enemy roams about seeking whom he may destroy. When awareness of the spiritual realm becomes a real priority, the process of surrender becomes much more desired. There is no way to walk in spiritual authority without surrendering. There is power in surrendering. You don’t have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Christ must be sought with your whole heart, mind, and soul. From there, you can share the Good News. Here comes immerse. Immerse yourself in the Word of God.
It is necessary to take the plunge and get into God. Surrendering empties ourselves of ourselves. We can then immerse to develop the most important relationship of our lives, the relationship with God through Christ Jesus our Lord. The true love we desire to give others flows from this relationship. We cannot get to know God if we don’t get to know God. Surrendering is a daily process along with immersing ourselves in His Word. Falling asleep is not just literal. We fall asleep in our busyness and in our lives. That is letting the call to “be sober and keep watch” fall by the wayside. When we put God first, He will make the way for the rest that is needed. Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven.