Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Grace Area

1 Peter 4:10
New English Translation


... serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.

If the reader has perused the previous post, then you know that I am a self-confessed "all in or all out", "black and white" sort of person.  I identify this as a human struggle because the basic result of this is some intolerance and, lets just admit it, sometimes stubbornness. 

Well, not surprisingly, God has once again spoken to me in a clear and special way.  As I was chit-chatting with a friend recently, I was explaining my struggle with the "black and white" perspective on life, and bemoaning the fact that it is hard for me to see the "grey area".  I recognized that it is basic human nature and ultimately, I want to see things more the way God sees them....and that was when God helped me out. 

The words came out of my mouth almost before I had time to think about it.  Grace area.  If I replace the "grey area" with a "grace area", it makes so much more sense to my spirit.  My heart leaped for joy a little as I realized that God had shown me what the problem was.  Right is still right and wrong is still wrong.  I still have my opinions about things (and people), but grace can replace the grey and that causes the discomfort of differences to fade significantly. 

So, I think I will no longer claim to be a "black or white", "all in or all out" sort of person.  I think I will work on just being a "grace area" sort of person.   

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Psalm 51:10

Psalm 51:10
KJV

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

God has been dealing with me regarding the idea of myself having a clean and right heart and spirit.  You see, I'm no different than anyone else.  I struggle with situations and circumstances that don't measure up to what I think they should.  On top of that my personality is such that I tend to see things in black and white, not a whole lot of grey areas.  And I'm either all in or all out.  Not much middle ground. 

When I do some self-reflecting, I realize my struggle is basic human nature.  Human nature is to look out for "nĂºmero uno."  We deal with people and things according to how we think.  Because, obviously, that is what makes the most sense. 

Until we remember that once given to God, our life is not our own.  His way is very much different than mine.  So, if I sincerely pray this Psalm, I have to also let go of my own ideas and assessments, and let His Word guide my thoughts and actions. 

Honestly, some days it seems too hard.  It is literally taking one's own personality and letting it be shaped by someone else...it can certainly be uncomfortable, if not painful, at times.  But the peace that comes with surrendering one's own will to His, is indescribable....it's worth it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

God's Kaleidoscope

1 Corinthians 12:12
The Voice

12 Just as a body is one whole made up of many different parts, and all the different parts comprise the one body, so it is with the Anointed One.

A couple interesting thoughts have been roaming around my brain for a few weeks.  I got to thinking about a childhood toy I used to be fascinated with, the kaleidoscope.  Do you remember those tubes you would shake, then look through the little peephole and see all the different patterns of colors and shapes and sizes?  Then you would shake it again and there would be a new pattern.  You could do this indefinitely, it seemed like, there would always be a new color combo with new shapes and sizes.

It came to me that we, as children of God, are very much like a kaleidoscope.  According to 1 Corinthians, we are all the different parts of the Body of Christ.  If you read further into Chapter 12, you will find that it is compared to our human body.  Our body needs each member, each toe, each finger, etc.  If any of us were missing any part of our body, no matter how small or how unimportant, we would notice! 

So, as in the Body of Christ.  We might look around and think that someone is not so important to the Body.  Or maybe we look at ourselves and think that.  Maybe some days you feel like the pinky toe, seemingly not all that important or useful.  However, just as in our physical body, the Body of Christ would be hurting and incomplete without each and every member, no matter which member it is. 

Not only is each member important, but do we even know which member we are?  Think again about the kaleidoscope.  The different colors, shapes, and sizes - all put together and fitting just right.  Think about God looking at us as a kaleidoscope.  His pattern is not by chance.  And the way it looks from His view, may not be the way we view each other.  We might look at someone and think they don't have much to contribute to the Body, He may see them as a color and size that is shining through more brightly than our own.  You might think your own spot in His kaleidoscope is insignificant, but maybe He sees you as the bright spot.  Maybe He shakes it up now and then to keep us fresh and growing.  (And just think about what He sees when we try to take the control out of His hands!)

Personally, I like the thought of being part of God's Kaleidoscope.  It doesn't matter to me what color, shape or size He sees, I just want to be part of the One. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Don't Laugh

Micah 7:8
New Century Version
 
Enemy, don’t laugh at me.
    I have fallen, but I will get up again.
I sit in the shadow of trouble now,
    but the Lord will be a light for me.
 
I literally just directed somebody else's attention to this scripture as an encouragement, and immediately I felt my own spirit jump up in recognition.  Recently, I have been discouraged with myself over some things, and I am the best at knocking myself around.
 
I fall down.  I mess up.  I do and say things that I wish I could take back.  Why?  Because I'm human.  Sometimes my legs are shaky and my feet stumble. 
 
I always think of the "enemy" as Satan, and while yes, he certainly is, sometimes I am my own worst enemy.  I beat myself up, I "laugh" at myself because of what I see as my own folly. 
 
Enemy........Self - don't laugh - get up!  The light of the Lord shines on, His light is never dimmed, the shadows disappear in His love. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Isaiah 53:5
The Voice
 
But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so.
    Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
    The injuries he suffered became our healing.

When one has a physical wound one has to take care of it, medicate it, and sometimes baby it.  Our emotional, mental, and spiritual wounds are no different.  When we come to God with it, the initial examination diagnoses - and just like with a physical wound, we feel some relief just knowing what is wrong.  But, also just like a physical wound, then the healing process begins.  This can be painful as usually the damage has to be undone before the solution is applied. 

Jesus provided the initial washing of all of our wounds on the cross.  His sacrifice already has healed our wounds.  In the process of healing us individually, we need to let that washing repeat, for however long it takes, until the healing is complete in us.  It doesn't do much good to go to the doctor and find out what is wrong, and then not go back for the treatment. 

Get a check up with God.  Let Him diagnose you.  Then go back for another dose of His cleansing blood.  Rinse your wound with your tears....and go to Him again and let Him continue to wash your wound.  His supply is unending, and He will take as long as you need Him to.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

God's Eyes

Psalm 103:8-14
Living Bible

He is merciful and tender toward those who don’t deserve it; he is slow to get angry and full of kindness and love. He never bears a grudge, nor remains angry forever. 10 He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, 11 for his mercy toward those who fear and honor him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. 13 He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic to those who reverence him. 14 For he knows we are but dust.

I saw something recently that made me realize once again how much I don't understand God and who He is.  Yes, even in spite of my personal heritage and current role in life. 

How many reading this post has ever beat yourself up over past mistakes?  Have you ever felt unlovable?  How about that sense of self-worth...have any?  Most of us have struggled with these things for one reason or another.  Myself included.  I can look back, even into my childhood, and see things that may have hindered my understanding of God. 

I write today and freely admit that even as I have read the scripture passage above many times, and many others like it, I have had a really hard time applying them to myself.  I'm too aware of my shortcomings and failures to see how that could possibly apply to me. 

Interestingly enough though, just this morning in my prayer time, I asked God to let me see myself through His eyes.  This afternoon I was led to Psalms 103. 

The reader must agree that God purposefully showed me how He feels.  You are also seen through the lens of scripture.  His love and mercy is extended to me, you, and everyone else.  How can we be so sure?  Re-read Verse 8 - it's for everyone who does not deserve it.   

As God has once again proved His love to me, I trust someone else reading this also has a clearer picture of who they are in His eyes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Am Weak

2 Corinthians 12:9-11
New Life Version

He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me. 10 I receive joy when I am weak. I receive joy when people talk against me and make it hard for me and try to hurt me and make trouble for me. I receive joy when all these things come to me because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It has been a while since I have posted on this blog.  While there has been the familiar urge every now and then, I have refrained.  The reason being that I have felt so weak at times.  And only a strong person should have something to say, right?   

Well, a thought that has been circling my brain for a couple months, just plopped itself right down and made itself at home this afternoon...

I know that everyone must feel weak and worn down and out at times.  In fact, my whole blog is about acknowledging the ups and downs of life.  The ups generally are never hard to handle.  The downs almost always are.  So, as I have struggled with my own sense of weakness, I have noticed strength in others.  There are particular people in my life in whom I see enormous strength.  I have often sat back and just thought "wow."  How do they do it?  Where do they find that strength? 

If I were to tell each of these people how strong they appear to me, I'm betting they would look very surprised.  Maybe they would think I didn't notice the difficulties they have faced, or the hard times they are going through. 

Of course, I have already given it away by mentioning 2 Corinthians 12:9.  There is definitely some strength going on.  But it is not our own.  I find it very interesting when one claims to be strong, without admitting weakness, that makes it sound like one is strong all on their own. 

I realize, of course, that my weakness is no weaker than anyone else's weakness.  The power of Christ in me is just as strong in me as I see it in others.  I am weak.  All of me needs all of Jesus.  I don't want someone to see strength in me without seeing weakness in me.  The strength is not my own - He is all I need.