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.
As I continue to sit before the Lord, the title of this post is what keeps coming to my mind and heart. It is important to understand what this really means. While the heart can sincerely be driven to seek the Lord, the flesh is always there to distract, get in the way, make seeking the Lord challenging.
Power over the flesh is definitely possible because all things are possible to him who believes. This does not mean that it is easy. Even Paul was aware of how difficult this could be. The things he hated, he did and the things he wanted to do, he didn’t practice. (Romans 7:15). Knowledge of Paul’s dedication and commitment to the Lord is well known. Even he struggled with the challenge in his position. What is the point, you ask?
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Desire is a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment. What are your desires? This is such a strong word. It seems to delve deep into the soul for me. My desire is for the fullness of the Lord. This is the time of Lent. During this time, I will be seeking to get to know God more than ever. I have spent the last year praying for my needs to be met. I have come to realize that I already have what I need the most, Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My desires have changed quite a bit. Believing the Word of God, my physical needs have been met. He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider. That said, the focus of my needs is on Jesus. His Word says to delight in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. The things you desire change as the relationship with the Lord deepens. I believe this is a critical factor because God desires that we worship Him and not anything else.
What do you desire? From where does the root of your desires stem? Is it the flesh, the world or Jesus Christ?
It has been an interesting journey. I have been missing in action from posting because I have been spending time with God. The challenges I have faced have been through the God I serve. The realization that through these circumstances I have come closer to Him in a way that I otherwise would not have is encouraging, uplifting and enlightening.
I will re-enter the blogosphere consistently again real soon here. I have to say that I am endeared to those who have let me know that they felt my absence. God knows as well that there were some things that had to be dealt with on my behalf. It fills my heart to know that He blesses me with those who have prayed for me during my absence. Your prayers have been felt.
The whole of the matter is that the gifts He gives us so generously are for building up the body of Christ. I am ever so grateful for the building blocks for which Jesus is the cornerstone. Praise Him! We are to speak the Good News to draw others into the Kingdom. However, we are not to forget the body that is an integral part of the Kingdom. Know that as you give, it shall be given back to you in good measure, pressed down and running over that you will not have room enough to receive it. We serve an amazing God. We cannot out give God.
We are to help the poor, the needy, the hurting, etc. Remember though, some of these people in need are in the body of Christ. If you were required to help a family member, you would do what you could to help, for the most part. As a believer, your family is extended beyond the physical building that you inhabit. There are times when money is not the only requirement. Prayer is also needed. Communication is needed. The love we so desperately seek requires us to give it. Sometimes it is all you have to give.
Laura, I thank you for letting me know that while I may have been absent on the blogosphere, I was not absent in your heart. My heart is so much more tender than ever. Of course, a thank you goes out to everyone who has considered me in their prayers. As I continue to trust God for meeting my needs, I will have my computer back soon and will realign myself with writing consistently again.