Tag Archives: God’s Love

The Grace and Mercy of God

What Is Grace and Mercy

The Grace and Mercy of God.  What a topic.  To think of what Grace actually is blows my mind.  This is a long post but stick with it til the end.  It has a great ending!  Here’s the actual Definition of both Grace and Mercy:

Grace. The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

I also found a blog (“Better Than I Deserve”) that describes it as this: (this is what I have always heard)

“Maybe you’ve heard this definition of grace before. Grace is what we get which we do not deserve.”

ephesians-2_8-grace-2

 “Perhaps you have heard this definition of mercy before and I think its spot on. Mercy is where we don’t get what we truly do deserve.”

I think that is pretty incredible.  Grace.  The Grace of God is far beyond my comprehension.  Really.  He gives us His Grace instead of His judgment.  However, there is a catch.  Ah Ha, you say…. Yes, there is always a catch.  God will only impart His Grace to us … IF … we believe on His Son Jesus Christ and believe that His Son’s death on the cross was for the remission of our sins.  Yes, Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross for our sins.  Then He rose again on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father.  He did all of that so we could be with Him forever.  So, Grace… Grace is what He gives us instead of the judgment that we deserve.

God Is God And We Are Not

You see, if God didn’t give us His Grace, we would have to pay the penalty for our sins and we could never be “good enough” to measure up to God’s Holiness. You say… “But I am a good person.  I don’t cheat, steal, lie or kill.  So, I am good enough.  I don’t sin.”   Well, God doesn’t look at it that way.  He is the creator of everything.  He set the standard of “sin” and “holiness” and we DO NOT measure up to His standard.  We may think we don’t sin but we do.  There are many things that happen or that we do or dwell on thoughts during the day that God may consider “not holy”.  Remember… God is God and we are not!  He set the standard.  Not man!

He knew we could never measure up to His standard because He created us.  You see, to be able to be forgiven for your sins, you have to offer a spotless sacrifice.  The Bible has a lot of examples of what sacrifice is acceptable for what sin.  In the beginning, people would sacrifice a bull, goat, lamb or even a dove or pigeon, without defect – spotless.  There were many ways and reasons people would bring these animals to be sacrificed.  However, all were required to be without defect.  This link will explain why humans must or had to bring sacrifices to God.  The title of the article is Why did God require animal sacrifices in the Old Testament?

The website that I got the answers from is GotQuestions.org.  It has great information about sin offerings and all the various aspects of each type.  Click the link and read more about that topic here.

The Spotless Sacrifice

We, as humans, needed a spotless, perfect sacrifice to cleanse us from our sins – or to have our sins forgiven.  Jesus came to earth to be that spotless sacrifice.  Jesus agreed to be the spotless lamb, the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  He left Heaven and became a tiny baby.  Lived among the common man and lived perfectly, never sinning.  Then He died on that cross, I mentioned earlier, for us.

Picture3The Grace He bestowed towards us at the Cross of Calvary is so beyond my comprehension.  I guess I don’t have to be able to comprehend it to accept it.  Good thing.  I do accept God’s gracious gift of Jesus Christ for my sins.  If I accept that grace through Jesus Christ then I need to live like it.  I want to live like it.  I want to live every second knowing that because of God’s Grace I will see His face and live in His wonderful presence forever in Heaven.

I found a quote when I was perusing my files that stopped me in my tracks.  I had to read and re-read it and ask myself.  “Self, do you really want to be established in God’s Grace?  Do you want it to manifest itself in your character?  Do you want it to be your habit and regular life?”  Here is the quote:

“To taste of the grace of God is one thing; to be established in it and manifest it in character, habit, and regular life, is another.”

The Taste of Grace

To me that says this.  We taste the Grace of God when we first accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  We feel almost like we are walking on a cloud.  It is a high that is indescribable.  If you truly take Jesus as your Lord and Savior you will experience a feeling that is unlike any other you have ever or will ever experience.  You may go for a while and live off of this first excitement of a new life.  However, I have learned that human nature (me – I am) is like this… we begin to slip back into “the way we were” before me met Jesus – to a point.   As we walk through our daily life we realize one day that we really aren’t living as Christ.  We have just tasted the Grace of God but are not really “living” the Grace of God.  That is … like the quote says … “to be established in it and manifest it in character, habit, and regular life…”

To Be Established

So, what does it really mean to be established in God’s Grace and manifest God’s Grace in character, habit and regular life?  Well, let me see if I can explain it the way God showed me.

Picture2If you read my blog at all you will see that I don’t usually sound “preachy” or pushy.  I use every day things that relate to my walk with God and relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  So, this one is not any different.  As I am sitting here in my chair and look up at the reflection in the glass of a picture on the wall of my beautiful Shumard Oak tree in the back yard, I hear that ever so familiar voice. “How is your oak tree established?”  I begin to immediately think back about this time seven years ago – when we moved in to our home in May of 2009.

The Shumard Oak Tree

We moved in to our home on May 2, 2009.  After a few little things that had to be done in the back yard, I was making my rounds and I found a little scrawny oak tree up next to the house in a flower bed.  It was about a foot from the house and about a foot tall.  I knew that I had to either dig it up and get rid of it or transplant it.  If it had stayed that close to the house it would never be the oak tree that it was meant to be.  It also would have messed up the house and the foundation of the house with its root system.  So, before I uprooted this little tree I had to find the “perfect” spot for it.  We have quite a large back yard and it is a hot one in the summer time because there was no tree to shade most of the yard in the hot afternoons.  There is the neighbor’s tree on the East side – that didn’t help the afternoon sun at all though.  There was a wide open spot between the house and dad’s shed that was in the direct sun and would be perfect for a shade tree.

Transplanting the Oak

Although this little tree was barely big enough to cast a shadow, I knew that someday it would be a nice, proud Oak tree with abundant shade.  So, I took my sharp shooter (shovel) and dug a hole and then went to the little tree and carefully dug around

Shumard Oak 1it being careful not to damage any of the roots it may have produced in its small state.  I remembered there is a tap root, I thought, that I really had to be careful not to snap.  A Tap Root is the main root that goes down from the middle of the tree and stabilizes it and the root system branches off of that.  So, I carefully dug and dug and loosened and dug and loosened.  Finally I had it loose and only broke the very tip of the Tap Root off.

I prayed that it would not affect the little tree.  I took it to the new location that I had prepared with some good dirt – which I call Cow Poop Dirt – that is a very good, rich in nutrition dirt for a newly planted tree or anything else for that matter.  This stuff will make hair grow on a bowling ball!  It is good stuff.

Anyway, I planted it and waited.  That Fall it was still alive and seemed to be thriving in its new location.  There were about 5 leaves on the tree and they turned a beautiful red, orange and yellow.  I was so excited because if it is that pretty as a youngster how much more beautiful is it going to be as it grows and gets bigger?

Blessings

OAK TREE 3Well, God has certainly blessed me with the growth of that little, scrawny tree.  It is now about 25’ – 30’ tall (in 7 years) and throws a beautiful shade.  Zuckie (my dachshund) and I sit in the grass in the shade of the Oak tree, on a warm evening and are very comfortable.  One because of the shade and two because of the lovely, thick St. Augustine grass that is beneath our feet.   The tree shade and the grass seem to work in harmony to produce a beautiful place to relax.  Needless to say, the Oak tree LOVES the location I chose.

Let’s Think

OK, let’s just think a minute about how this parallels with my walk with God.  Or anyone’s walk with God for that matter.  Let’s also revisit that quote above.

“To taste of the grace of God is one thing; to be established in it and manifest it in character, habit, and regular life, is another.”

The little, scrawny tree, growing up next to the house was tasting life – the Grace of God.  But it was not ever going to be able to be established in good soil and a good location to be able to grow and thrive at its present location.  It would be stunted because it was too close to the house.  It would never be able to spread its limbs and soak up the warm sunshine and produce a beautiful shade for us to enjoy.  It would be cramped and uncomfortable.  Its limbs, if they ever grew, would be rubbing the brick on the house and never have the freedom to sway in the breeze.  If the tree ever grew tall enough, it would run right into the eave of the house and be stunted.  It may grow around the eave but then it would be crooked and possibly break because of the crookedness of the limbs.  Not to mention the root system.  It would run into the house foundation and cause all sorts of problems for the house and the tree itself.

A Broad Space

OAK TREE 4So, let’s face it.  It was a horrible place for the little tree.  Then I came along and took that little, scrawny tree from its place where it had begun its life.  I moved it to a place with a broad space where it could grow and stretch its limbs and grow its roots deep and wide without being encumbered by anything.  It could grow tall and taller and taller and display its beautiful colors in the Fall and the beautiful fresh green leaves in the Spring.  It can now throw a shade that is quite nice.  The shape of the tree is perfect too.  Broad at the base of the limbs and gradually narrows to the peak of the tallest leaf that reaches for the sky.  It is one of my pride and joys in my yard.  I love to look at the stately Oak.  It is only 7 years old now but in years to come it will grow taller and fuller and its roots will go deeper and wider, making it more and more established in the soil beneath its leaves and limbs.

Me and God’s Grace

So you may have forgotten that I was talking about the Grace and Mercy of God.  Well, I believe the Grace and Mercy of God is displayed – in a way – in my Oak tree.  Let’s revisit those definitions:

“…Grace is what we get which we do not deserve.”

“… Mercy is where we don’t get what we truly do deserve.”

Let me compare my Oak tree to myself and my walk with God.  I was in a place that was not a good place for me to be in.  I was too close to things that would keep me from growing (spiritually) – spreading my branches.  I was in a place that would stunt my growth (spiritually) and cause me to grow very crooked and unable to thrive – as God had intended for me (as He does for every one of His children).  My root system was growing into hard places and being redirected to a path that was not good for stability and to be firmly established in Him.  Everything was simply a mess beneath the surface.  If left to my own devices, I would have kept going down a path that was not what God had intended and it was not how it should have been.

God’s Grace

God in His infinite Grace and Mercy, picked me up and moved me to a place He chose so I could become established in Him.  Sending my roots down deep into the nutrient rich soil of His Mercy.  Allowing me to learn to spread my branches and display the beautiful colors of His love in my life.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Please DO NOT THINK THAT I AM SAYING that I have “arrived”!  As Paul says in Romans 6, “By no means.”   Please understand that I know this is all a process.  I have been moved, yes, but the establishing and sending my roots down and spreading my branches… that is a day by day and sometime minute by minute process.  But I am growing.  I have been growing more in the last three or four years than I think I have in my lifetime.  I want to grow so others can see Jesus in me without having to go on a search and find mission.  Honoring_Jesus_link_buttonI want Jesus to be honored and glorified in my daily life.  I can tell you that sometimes… more times than not, He is not.  I try, but I am human and He knows it.  That is where the wonderful Grace and Mercy comes in again.

Thank You Lord

Thank You Lord, for the Grace and Mercy that You have bestowed upon me in my lifetime.  Thank You for giving me what I don’t deserve and not giving me what I do deserve.  I don’t understand it but I accept it.

You know you can experience this Grace and Mercy too!  Jesus wants to give you the opportunity to grow and spread your branches and be established in Him.    Here is a link to a website that will explain how that can happen and what it means to become a Christ follower.

He loves you so much.  After all, He calls you His beloved.
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If you would like to comment on this post, please scroll all the way until you see “Comment”.  Otherwise you can contact me on the form immediately following this text.  Thank you for reading my post and I pray that you were blessed.

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BEING FED BY OTHERS

Hello everyone.  It has been so long since I have been able to just sit down for a couple of hours… maybe three… and just write what God has laid on my heart. I have had a lot laid on my heart lately but not things to share with the world – at least not yet. Just stuff that has happened to me in my personal life that has been … well, let’s just say not your normal, run of the mill stuff.

The title of this post is BEING FED BY OTHERS because I truly have been. Whether it is through my church and Sunday School – Life Groups is what they call it now… I have trouble not saying Sunday School though. I have called it that for many, many years… anyway, I digress. So, whether it has been through church, or friends or family. It has been a wonderful time of learning… and let me add work has provided some of that feeding as well. 0e1274645_merciful

Work is awesome but consuming and my manager is more awesome and so gracious and forgiving. She is one special lady. Now, don’t get me wrong. You walk on the wrong side and disrupt the good flow of things, she will let you know it. She has it in her to say things that cut to the core. However, that is … that it “cuts to the core” because it’s true and you know it. On the other hand, she is the most gracious and merciful manager I have ever encountered and, well, that is pretty awesome to me. So there are some things at work that have happened that have been less than perfect and then there have been things that have been perfect. I know… sounds contradictory. It is but it’s all good! I am learning and trying to be the biggest sponge you have ever seen. My limits are being stretched every day and I like that.. sometimes… I Love that! Then there are days that I just want to scream! But I keep going because I don’t like to quit. I like to learn and I like doing what I do. You see I am an Applications Instructor. That means that I learn EVERY DAY! Yep, I have to “know it” but I also learn it.. meaning “stuff” … over and over again. From my students, from myself and others. It’s a pretty cool thing. However, that is not what I wanted to write about, necessarily.mercy-grace

I wanted to say how much I have experienced grace, mercy and kindness. Today it was from a wonderful bunch of students in my class that kinda had some technical issues. Now usually when there are tech issues, the scores that the students give are usually low. Today, not so. They totally surprised me! I think this is the first time that I have experienced, since being at my current job, that the scores were up there even with MAJOR tech issues. I think it was a combination of things… but I don’t want to analyze it too deep right now. That will come later with my manager… which will be a good thing. However, I do want to acknowledge that the students in this class (10 of them) were a very interactive and happy class. They enjoyed learning and were most forgiving of the circumstances that we encountered today! Yep, it was a refreshing outcome… and one that I am so appreciative of. Gracious and merciful students. Nice!

The other thing I want to recognize is actually from a pastor in San Antonio. I received a message from my website the other day. It was from this pastor in San Antonio and he was asking about one of the pictures I used some time back on a post. He was just asking if he could use the picture for theirencounter “new” church’s logo. The picture is just one I got off of the internet when I Googled a topic. The post was ENCOUNTERING GOD ALMIGHTY. The picture is quite good and he believes it would be a perfect logo for the new church that he is wanting to start on October 24, 2015. Of course I told him I had just Googled it also, same as him, and he could certainly use it and I attached it to the email.

One of the things I wanted to do with this post is include one of his posts. You see he writes a blog also. He has held this blog for 12 years, he says, and it is quite good. Please give him the graciousness to read his blog post on THE BLESSING OF MERCY.

I mainly wanted to introduce you to him and ask you to read his post on The Blessing of Mercy. It is truly a blessing to encounter Mercy from any source. The best is the Mercy that our Savior gave us. Please read on and comment, if you want, on any encounters with mercy and grace you have had lately or ever. Here is his post:

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God morning, beloved.  It is written.  "It is more blessed to give than to receive."  (Acts 20:35)  Jesus lived and died by that truth.  He "gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age."  (Galatians 1:4).  "In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope."  (1 Peter 1:3).

Mercy is love expressed.  When Christians practice mercy, they place the needs of others above their own, in much the same way that Jesus placed our need for forgiveness and salvation first, allowing Himself to be insulted, abused, and finally crucified in order to procure that salvation for us.  God so loved that He gave.  Calvary is the proof of God's mercy.

To be merciful is to act out of love and compassion for others, to try to see with their eyes, think with their minds, and feel with their hearts.  God's Son did just that when he took on human flesh and blood to experience life's struggles just as we do, though without sin.  He offered His life in our place as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.

As we display mercy in Christ's name, we become more like our Lord.  By His grace we will obtain the ultimate mercy:  entrance into God's heavenly sanctuary, to abide with Him forever. Amen.

Worship with me.  Lord Have Mercy.

Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.<a href="https://youtu.be/eDpp_YdXnqs" target="_blank">
https://youtu.be/eDpp_YdXnqs</a>

Remember to be in prayer for Encountering GOD church…We launch this church plant on Saturday October 24th 2015.  You are invited to our home for a night of worship and hear what God and Jesus have to say about His church.  Email me for more details or send me a Facebook message.  oxox

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing
Pastor Eric Hughes
Lead Pastor Encountering GOD Church &
Behavioral Health Specialist

A Behavioral Health Specialist is a person that covers the needs of individuals, couples and families dealing with challenges in their everyday lives. I work with people of all ages to find productive solutions for their problems.

Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

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Thank you for reading my blog and his too.  May God richly bless and keep each of you in His tender care.  God loves you so much, after all, He calls you His beloved!

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SINCERE SEEKER?

Hello all. It has been quite a while since I have written anything. Today, I received the email below and the Spirit strongly encouraged me to share with you today. This is from the website Reasonable Faith and it is the Question of the Week. The author of the answer is Dr. Craig and he welcomes any questions you may have about Christianity, etc. Below the answer I have included a link to his website and the link to submit a question.

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What about the Sincere Seeker?

Hello Sir,

I have read a big deal of your work and I am really inspired by you and your work.

But there is this one question that greatly troubles me; I always had it in mind since I was very young but having solved a lot of questions, I am concerned about this simple question that I am not able to solve or find a satisfactory answer from a scholar.

I need your views on why God will send people to hell on the basis of their Religious beliefs. A person who sincerely researches on Religion and Theology trying to find if a God exists and if so, what Religion and fails to identify the right Religion, why is he to be punished? A person arrogantly denying the right Religion while knowing the truth might deserve to be punished somehow but what about the one trying his best but failing.

You might say that its natural for one to find the right Religion if pursued honestly … but there need to be stronger arguments supporting this idea; because it doesn’t sound like all the people moving away from Religion were dishonest.

How would you respond to a hypothetical condition of a person sincerely failing?

Thanks in advance.

Muhammad
Pakistan

Dr. Craig responds:

Your question is a good one, Muhammad, and I’ve addressed it in a number of places, most recently in my Defenders lectures “Excursus on Natural Theology,” parts 1-4. I’d really encourage you to listen to or to read those lectures, since they will fully explain my perspective.

The problem with your question is that it assumes a purely humanistic, and perhaps even naturalistic, point of view with respect to finding the knowledge of God. It takes for granted that it’s basically up to us to figure out which religion is true. But whatever other religions may teach, this is not the point of view of Christianity. If God were to abandon us to our own intelligence and ingenuity to work out whether or not He exists, He would be a very cruel God indeed. As one of the students in my Defenders class remarked, getting into heaven should not be like getting into Harvard! But God has not abandoned us. The Bible teaches that God loves us and so by His Holy Spirit seeks to draw people to Himself. The self-authenticating witness of God’s Spirit will enable, not only believers, but also sincere seekers to come to a knowledge of God.

Therefore, if a person ultimately fails to come to faith in Christ, it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties with the faith. At root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God’s Holy Spirit on his heart. Now this convicting power and drawing of the Holy Spirit may take time. It may take years in order for the unbeliever to finally come to Christ. Nevertheless, no one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments or evidence; he fails to become a Christian because he rejects God. But anyone who does respond to the drawing of God’s Spirit with an open mind and an open heart can know with assurance that Christianity is true, because God’s Spirit will convict him that it is true.

Look at the words of Jesus in John 7:16-17:

My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me; if any man’s will is to do His will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.
Here Jesus says that if anyone is truly seeking God, if his will is to do God’s will, then he will know that Jesus’ teaching is from God rather than just his personal opinion. Jesus is affirming here that if anyone truly wants God’s will – is truly seeking God – then he will come to know that Jesus’ teaching truly is from God.

So in answer to your questions: “A person who sincerely researches on Religion and Theology trying to find if a God exists and if so, what Religion” will come to find the true God and the right religion, just as Jesus promised, because the Holy Spirit of God will guide his search and draw him to Himself. Only the person who resists the convicting power of the Holy Spirit will remain in unbelief. Such a person willfully thrusts the grace of God from him and so separates himself from God. It’s not that God “will send people to hell on the basis of their Religious beliefs.” Their false beliefs are, rather, symptomatic of their estrangement from God. God wants to save them and tries to draw them to repentance and faith, but they refuse to come and so find themselves wandering in error. So I deny your “hypothetical condition of a person sincerely failing.” If Christianity is true, then there is no ultimate (lifelong), nonculpable unbelief.

You respond, “You might say that its natural for one to find the right Religion if pursued honestly … but there need to be stronger arguments supporting this idea; because it doesn’t sound like all the people moving away from Religion were dishonest.” You seem to be saying that there is ultimate (lifelong), nonculpable unbelief, and so one needs stronger arguments to support the truth of Christianity.

Now I don’t think we’re in a good position to say with any confidence that there is ultimate (lifelong), nonculpable unbelief, Muhammad. First, as I say, God’s drawing of a person may take time, years even, so that we can’t say of someone who is moving away from God that that’s where he’ll end up. (Read the many testimonials we receive from ex-unbelievers who for many years were moving away from God.) It is particularly the case that many Muslims go through a phase of atheism after shedding Islam before they come to Christ.

Moreover, we’re not really in a position to read a person’s heart or deepest motivations. Sin is incredibly deceitful, and we have an amazing ability to rationalize things so as to justify our behavior. Read C. S. Lewis’ provocative The Great Divorce about the self-justifying rationalizations of people in hell. If we can convince ourselves that our obstacles to faith are intellectual rather than moral or emotional that makes our unbelief respectable in our own eyes and in the eyes of others. How do you know what lies in the heart of a person who resists the drawing and conviction of the Holy Spirit until the end of his life?

Furthermore, I do think that we have good reasons for supposing that Christianity is true. First, there is the witness of the Holy Spirit. It can be an intrinsic defeater of the defeaters brought against it. Second, there are good evidences for the truth of Christianity, particularly for the historicity of the radical personal claims and resurrection of Jesus, whereby God vindicated those claims.

You did not disclose, Muhammad, whether you are one of these sincere seekers after the true faith. If you are, then here’s what I would encourage you to do. Begin to read the Gospels and ask yourself whether Jesus of Nazareth could really be who he claimed to be. In your prayers, ask God, whoever He is, to show you the truth about Jesus, whether he spoke the truth from God or was just giving his own opinion. Look at the work of Christian philosophers and biblical scholars, such as you will find at this website. Watch on YouTube some of the debates which I have had with both Muslim scholars and unbelievers and ask yourself which way the evidence points. If you are truly seeking God, then I believe you will come to know the truth.
Have a Question for Dr. Craig? Submit it here.
To read more questions / answers, visit the Q & A Archive.

 

May God Richly bless and keep you all in His tender care.  After all, He does call you His beloved!

The Song – God So Loved The World – Charles Billingsley

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LIFE IS NOT SHORT IT IS ETERNAL

Before I begin to complete this post ” LIFE IS NOT SHORT IT IS ETERNAL”, I want to tell you something. I had a title or topic to use for this post and then didn’t finish the post a week ago. I have been mulling it over time and again over the past week. I didn’t feel any urgency to write, finish and post this last week. Today, I opened it up and began to type some more. God kept giving me words and thoughts and before long, the title and whole look of the post had changed. God is so good… He smiles down and gives me words and phrases and paragraphs to share with you.

This post may seem a bit convoluted but I think it comes together nicely at the end. I hope you can follow along and not get lost in the words and thoughts God and I are trying to convey. Thank you for reading. Enjoy!

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Please know that Life Is Not Short It Is Eternal!! As I sit here and wonder what I am going to type and how I am going to expand on this topic, I remember… God is the One who gives me the topics and the expansion on each. I stop and ask, “Lord, what do you want me to share for this topic?” He just simply says “Type and I will give you the words”. So I type…

I know each of you may understand deleting emails that were not meant to be deleted and recovering them from the trash. Sometimes actual good emails even end up in the spam folder. I have quit going through my spam to see if any of them are good ones… that is, those that are meant to go to my inbox. It takes too much time and I just finally came to the conclusion that if I was meant to get it in my inbox it will be there and anything else will just have to be deleted from the spam folder. As I said, I know you all understand that part of it and when you delete it fromimages your spam or trash folder, you know it’s gone for good, never to be recovered.

Sometimes life is kind of like the spam folder. It catches so much “stuff” and it gets so full of that stuff that you are actually weighted down with stuff and don’t know what to do with it all. So you just delete it. That is you must cut relationships, stop bad habits, stop going places that are not good to go to, stop allowing “trash” to come out of your mouth, stop bad attitudes, and stop “trash” from entering your eyes that goes directly into your thoughts and heart, etc. You get the point.

Luke 6:45

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart[a] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Philippians 4:8 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

What about the one or two emails that were noSPAMt meant to go to the spam folder but are deleted and never to be recovered? Well, I just have to wait to hear from the person that sent you the email in the first place then I can “watch” for it again and then retrieve it from the spam folder and move to my inbox.

Now stopping or quitting some of these damaging or detrimental ways is very difficult sometimes and sometimes you cut things out of your life that maybe shouldn’t have really been cut. When you cut or delete the good things from your life it is difficult, at best, to retrieve them sometimes. But when you try to retrieve them and work at it, you can do it. Things such as prayer time, praise and worship of the Creator of it all, fellowship with other believers, serving in your church or community, etc. You get the picture. These are important and really shouldn’t be cut from your life. These will give you balance and a good foundation to build on with the other things in your life.

OK, you are saying… “Where is she going with this?” Well, quite frankly, I have thought the same thing… but read on and it will all come together.3.13.WhenGodSpeaksYou_945133362

God speaks to my heart so many times during the day that I just don’t get all of the things down that He tells me to share. I struggle with this and I also struggle with the time to sit and write. I miss writing and write as often as I can and sometimes that is just not enough, as far as I am concerned, but God has blocked me from writing at times. This is one thing that that has been deleted from my life that really wasn’t meant to be deleted forever, just for certain times. Maybe modified but not deleted. So I am in the process of finding a balance with my job – which takes a tremendous amount of brain power right now – and other things in my life. God is helping me find that balance.

So, with that convoluted mess of words above, hopefully, God can use me to wrap this up in a nice neat bow.

I think what God wants to warn about is that sometimes we allow “trash” to enter our lives, whether it is through reading, watching or listening or even saying. These are areas we can control. We just have to make the choice to not allow those things that tear down, destroy, mess up or otherwise… our relationship with God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit. The “world” is so messed up with varying beliefs and ways of doing things that it can be so confusing sometimes. People tell us that… “Sure it’s ok to do this or that. It feels good, right? Then it’s ok.” I lov782877._SX540_SY540_e this one… “Life is short. Enjoy yourself.” My pastor used this example some time back in church. He reminded us that life is not short it is eternalSo whatever you do today will have to be accounted for, eventually, in the presence of the HOLY GOD! If you know His Son Jesus, then God not only sees you through His Son’s eyes but your name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life and never to be blotted out. You will live forever with Jesus in the Heaven that He has prepared for us. If you do not know Jesus, then you will not be “deleted” from existence, you don’t just cease to exist… but will spend eternal life in Hell with unending torment. (see this website for answers and scriptures on this subject – GotQuestions.org).11385132_726661137480542_1265580307_n

This is a disputed topic and one that you really need to know about so you can ensure that you will be in Heaven with the Creator, Savior, King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Jesus for eternity and not hell! God’s Word tells us how to be sure and His Word is True!

Luke 16:19-31

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[a] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

If you are interested in knowing this Jesus and knowing what He has for you, or just have questions, please see this website for what it means to believe and follow Jesus Christ (Bible.org). Our God is such a good God and loves you so very much! After all, He calls you His beloved!

The Song – God So Loved The World – Charles Billingsley

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EXTEND GRACE

Have you ever come across a situation that God is telling you to “Extend Grace”? Whether it be a work life, personal life or otherwise, there are many times in life that we need to hear from God and extend grace … His grace that can come through us. God is a Good God and loves His children and doesn’t want any to suffer or have pain that is not quenchable. He provides ways to extend grace through His instruments here on earth… us. His children that walk around on this big, blue, revolving globe called earth that He created. We are His instruments of grace and love and if we call ourselves a Christian, a Christ follower, then we need to learn more and more how to extend grace to our brothers and sisters that share our space and time. That also calls for extending grace to some that may not be believers. Sometimes… just maybe, God has placed some folks in your path that are not believers. More than likely He has – because He wants us to share our grace that He has given us.grace-of-god-550x320

I have not written in quite a while due to my work being pretty consuming at this time in my life. I have begun a new job and it is a wonderful one. I love my job, the people I work with and my manager, who is one of a kind. I know some of you may say you like your manager as well, but I think God has triple blessed me with a job I love, work that I love and a manager that knows Him and lets Him lead her in her daily walk. Yes, she is human and yes, sometimes she has to regroup and say, “I was wrong” but overall, my days are filled with joy, new knowledge, stretching, learning, stretching, more joy, some pain and stress along the way and so much intrigue and most of all … Grace! This job takes a lot of my time and energy and I know the longer I am there the better it will get because I will learn and grow. I just feel so blessed to have the job I have, the manager I have and the opportunities I have before me.Picture3

Recently, I have been confronted with the need for me to extend grace upon grace to a certain situation in my work life. It has me a bit confounded. Not that I don’t want to extend this grace to this particular situation … albeit one that I need to learn from, it seems to allude me how to do this … well, with grace. Part of my personality is a very assertive and “get it done” type and the other is a tender, compassionate and caring type. Sometimes they struggle with each other. This situation screams at my compassionate, caring side and I find myself needing to slow down and listen to God and sometimes God’s voice comes through my manager. She is a wonderful instrument of peace in my life.hqdefault

You see, I believe everyone is on a journey to find peace and tranquility in their life. As a believer, that peace and tranquility for me is knowing my Savior, Jesus Christ. He calms my spirit and eases my confusion all the time. When there is turmoil, He calms the storm. Where there is confusion He clears my head. When I feel lonely He is there to remind me He is my friend and always will be. He is my daily companion and partner through all of life’s situations. However, I still find it hard, sometimes, to quiet the “ME” and listen to His still, small voice that says, “this situation needs grace. Remember, the marvelous grace you have been given.” When reminded, either by Him or by someone else, it stops me in my tracks and I break down and weep. I am overwhelmed by His goodness and I can’t help but just weep with thankfulness.  I do this quite often lately.

Grace, Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace, Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin.

I love that old hymn.

Grace means to get something that you do not deserve; unmerited favor. God’s Word also talks about and teaches us to extend grace.

The best and most significant example of grace in the history of the world is the wonderful grace extended by our Father in Heaven when He gave His Only Son to the world as an example for us to live by.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 1:14-17

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

There are so many wonderful scriptures on grace. I would fill 10 pages or more if I listed them all. I mostly want you to think where in your life can you extend grace? To a co-worker, family member, neighbor or to a particular situation that you are faced with. There is grace from the Savior readily available for you to be filled with His grace to extend grace to whatever situation and whomever might need it.

Jesus, laying down His life, gave us the most extravagant gift of grace and mercy when He allowed Himself to be placed on the cross to die for our sins. He didn’t have to and yet He did because He loves us so much! Again Grace is unmerited favor – not getting what we deserve and mercy … is getting something that we do not deserve – which is His forgiveness for our sins. Check out the broader explanation on GotQuestions.org.

I never like to leave that story at that ending though. Yes, Jesus laid Himself on that cross to die for our sins, but… oh it doesn’t end there! OH NO IT DOESN’T! After giving His life for our sins… on the third day, HE AROSE!

Luke 24

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them,[a] came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly[b] perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”…

So, if there is someone or a situation that seems to need God’s grace extended through you and your abilities, listen to that still, small voice and ask God for the ability to extend that grace in whatever way He leads you to do so. I promise it will be a wonderful blessing in your day. Sometimes that blessing will be continued throughout your days, weeks, months and years to come. Extend Grace and see what happens. God is such a good God and loves you so much! He wants you to be blessed! After all, He calls you His beloved.

Another wonderful song by the Martins

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PROVE IT

Have you ever been asked to “Prove It”. I am sure you have in some way or another. There have been a few instances in my recent past that I have run across, that I have or I have read about those who were expected to prove it in some way. Read on…

I have a fairly new job and was asked to provide a transcript of my high school since I did not attend college. I only have previous technical certifications so my new employer wanted proof – for me to prove – that I actually attended a school where I had a diploma of some sort.image.axd

I requested this document about 2-3 weeks ago and finally received this yesterday. I was not sure what I was going to find when I opened the envelope. I guess I had never seen a “transcript” from a high school before. So, I opened the envelope to find two pages of what looked like a copy from a microfiche. It was a very poor copy and it wasn’t until I took a picture of it with my phone and then enlarged it that I could read it clearly enough to see what it said. Not to mention that my eyes are not the greatest. Anyway, I received it and it proves that I did, in fact, graduate and from that school and how many credits I had when I did graduate. It was a very nostalgic feeling. It has been several, no many, years since then and I remember the time there. It is a good memory and it brought back memories that I miss. Nonetheless, this post is not about memories or even nostalgic feelings. It is about proving you have done something or are something so, let me continue down this road that God has whispered to my heart to share with you all.

The other instance that has been brought to my attention about this topic of “Prove It” is in a newsletter from a relative of mine that is a missionary. He and his family are missionaries to Peru and Chile. DOUG AND AYMEThey go and “plant” churches, which is simply starting churches and building them up to function on their own. Then they move to the next place that God guides them to and do the same thing. This is a labor of love for sure. They absolutely love working for the Lord and seeing others come to Christ. In his newsletter, he mentioned that they have had 12 people come regularly (and that is a crowd) and every Sunday they have had at least one visitor and sometimes more. This is an exciting thing for a missionary to see. He also shared a prayer request for 5-6 people. He said that these people had said that they were Christians and had accepted the Lord. However, he also told how some of these folks had shown no “proof” of being a Christian. You see, as you know… if you are a Christian, when you know the Lord Jesus Christ, your life is different, or at least it should be. If you walk with Jesus every day and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you in your daily walk, it WILL be different. So, for someone to say they are a “Christian” and they do not show any “proof” of it, you begin to wonder if they have truly had a life changing experience with the Savior, Jesus Christ. So we will pray for those folks for sure to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and have Him change their lives.

The other instance of this particular topic of “Prove It” came to me when I was listening to my Bible on the way to work. Oh, and by the way, you may not have heard me say this in a long time… but The You Version Bible is awesome. I love listening to God’s Word! It is so powerful to hear the Word of God. Anyway, I was listening to my Bible and it was in Nehemiah 7:61. This talked about the time Nehemiah had gone back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall … well, here is the scripture. I will let It speak for Itself.Nehemiah_rebuild_wall_C-315

Nehemiah 7

Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

And I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.”

Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt. Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it:

These[a] are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city.

Those who came with Zerubbabel were Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth,[b] Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.

Now this is the beginning of this chapter and story. The main thing I wanted to share was verse 61 – 64 but I wanted to give you a little background first. Now Nehemiah, while tasked with taking a census – so-to-speak – had some folks come up and say they were of the House of Israel but could not “prove it”. Here is the scripture:

61 And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon,[p] and Immer, but they could not identify their father’s house nor their lineage, whether they were of Israel: 62 the sons of Delaiah,

the sons of Tobiah,

the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and forty-two;

63 and of the priests: the sons of Habaiah,

the sons of Koz,[q]

the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name.

64 These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but it was not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. 65 And the governor[r] said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.

So, here is a group of folks, more than 600 folks, came up and said that they were to be counted among Israel. However, they had no way of proving that they truly belonged there or their ancestors were from the Israelites. So, without being able to prove it, Nehemiah turned them away.

Jesus told His disciples this very simple, but powerful statement.

John 13:35

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The story in Nehemiah is a foreshadowing, I believe, of what is to come. If you say you are a Christian and are truly not, on the day when Jesus returns to take us home – those of us that are Christians – those of us who have asked Jesus into our hearts and lives and claim Him as our Savior, then if you are not a Christ follower, you will be turned away. If you cannot prove it. Yes, that is a bit harsh, but Jesus died for the entire world. If only a few accept Him as their Lord and Savior, then only a few will live with Him for eternity in Heaven. If many, then many.

So, you see… being able to “prove it” means eternal life or death when it comes to claiming your faith and allegiance to God. Please hear me now… God loves you and wants a relationship with you. He sent His son, Jesus, to be born of a virgin, live for 33 sinless years on this earth as our example and die on the cross for our sins. BUT… the story doesn’t end there! He rose on the 3rd day and ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father awaiting the time when God says “Son, go get My children.” The Angel Gabriel will sound his trumpet and the Lord will descend riding a white horse and He will take us Christ followers home to be with Him forever.Jesus riding7

Now that may sound pretty far fetched to you – if you are not a Christ follower. But, if you cannot prove your citizenship into Heaven, you will be turned away just as the 600 plus folks were back in Nehemiah’s time.

If you are interested in knowing more about what it means to become a Christ follower, click this link. It will take you to a website that will explain what it means and explain how Christ died for you and your sins as well. Please know that God loves you so much, after all He calls you His beloved.

The Song – Midnight Cry – Clay Crosse

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HUMBLED BY HIS GRACE

I know some of you out there can relate instantly by the title of this post – Humbled By His Grace. Some of you just haven’t gotten there yet and I suppose you will eventually. The sooner the better though. God is a wonderful and magnificent God. His Grace and Mercy is overwhelmingly humbling to me. The Big Picture God is a God of Wonder and Majesty and a lot of the time He is shrouded in Mystery. He allows us to see only a glimpse of Him in this life. However, He loves us so very much He wants to let us in on bits and pieces of the Big Picture from time to time. You say “Why not let us see it all now?” Well, for one thing, I don’t believe we could actually take the entire Big Picture at one time. If so we might get puffed up and too sure of ourselves with some things or… we might see things that were disturbing and frightening. I am not sure which would be worse. To be so proud that we quit relying on God for our every step, or being so afraid of what is about to happen that we are afraid to trust Him for the outcome.

I get an email every morning from Our Daily Bread, which is a daily devotional. I enjoy reading this because there are many, many times I read it and it hits me right where it needs to that particular day. Some time back, there was one entitled “Feeling Insignificant?” Here are the first two paragraphs of that particular daily devotional.UNIVERSE

“We are among seven billion people who coexist on a tiny planet that resides in a small section of a rather insignificant solar system. Our earth, in reality, is just one miniscule blue dot among millions of celestial bodies that God created. On the gigantic canvas that is our universe, our beautiful, majestic Earth appears as a tiny speck of dust.

That could make us feel extremely unimportant and inconsequential. However, God’s Word suggests that just the opposite is true. Our great God, who “measured the waters in the hollow of His hand” (Isa. 40:12), has singled out each person on this planet as supremely important, for we are made in His image.”

This particular daily devotional humbled me to a point when I read it, as it always does, when I think of how BIG God is and how minute we are (and yes, that word, minute, is spelled correctly but not meaning a measure of time but VERY, VERY small). On that same train of thought… I have been given a wonderful opportunity to view a particular part of my life with the rose colored glasses removed – if only for a brief moment in time. This doesn’t happen very often, if ever, in a person’s life and I am so humbled and brought to a feeling of awe and amazement in my God.

You see, I met someone that shared with me a dream they had. In that dream, they met a woman and was told by God that this woman would be “the one” and would do great things. Then this person saw me at a distance shortly after that dream (a few days) and “knew” that I was the woman in their dream. We had never met and didn’t know anyone that knew each other… you know… the Six Degrees of Separation thing. At least we haven’t found that out yet. Now you may be wondering about who this person is. Well, let me just say that this is a very special person and will be in my life for some time to come. I don’t know how long and I am not sure they even know. I do know one thing though… when this person was relaying all the particulars to this dream and happenings around this dream, I began to see puzzle pieces being placed together and “snapped” into place. The puzzle pieces from years ago! Not just recently, but at least 3 years ago or more.4916213896_d919133936_b

Now, I believe “All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose”. Romans 8:28. I have believed it with every fiber of my being before and if it’s possible, I believe it even more this very moment. God allowed me to see a glimpse of where He has brought me from and the path He has set my foot to now. He has given me the assurance to know that I know that I know that I am in the exact place that I am supposed to be. That is very humbling to me. It shows me that our God is not a God of mystery in a bad sense of the word. He is a God that loves His children and simply cannot share every detail of our life to preserve us, not to confuse or hurt us. I am telling you… to know the information that I have learned is such a wonderful thing and yet I guard it with my very soul. Why? Because it is precious and wonderful to me. So, you may ask… “Why are you spreading it all over the world, then, on this post?” Well, there are many more details that I am not sharing because it is just not right. However, God laid it on my heart to share what I have shared so far because He wants all of His children to know He loves them and He has a plan for each and every one. He loves you, the person that is reading this post, right now. He loves you so much! He wants you to know, as I wrote in an earlier post – “Beauty for Ashes”.

“Holy is the Lord our God. Almighty, Omnipotent Majesty. The Most High God. This same God that fashioned the universe and called the world into being, knows you by name. He has ordained this time in your life. This very minute. This exact second. The Father is concerned with all that concerns you. He knows your heart. He knows your struggles. He has seen you in the times of incredible victory and He has been there in the times when you have been overwhelmingly defeated. Calling you by name… crying out to you to cast your cares upon Him. He calls out to you now with a still small voice. Come to me… all who are tired and weary with cares. Find rest in my arms. Come home.”humbled-751386[1].1

This particular paragraph speaks to my life so much. You see, He was there when I was overwhelmingly defeated when I was in an abusive marriage that I didn’t know how to get out of.  Also, He was there when I was literally “walking on the mountain tops” when I had the opportunity, years ago, to attend an event called “Christian Artists Seminar in the Rockies”. I can see, a little more now, how every step has led me to this point in my life. Do I see all that is before me? NO! Never! I do know that as long as I rely on my God He will direct my paths and it will be ALL FOR GOOD!

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I am not sure who this post will speak to. I do know this, this post is speaking to someone right now. It is speaking to your heart and it is speaking volumes to you. God is NOT through with you yet. It has been a long row to hoe but I tell you this… keep trusting that He has a plan. The perfect plan for your life. Trust His heart when you can’t see His hand and know that He loves you so very much! After all, He calls you His beloved.

The Video – You Are Amazing God – Chris Tomlin

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MISMATCHED IDEAS

I was in church the other day and the choir was practicing before the service in the sanctuary. The worship pastor’s button fell off of his blazer and he couldn’t find anyone with a needle and thread, so he went without. OH, MY!  Just before church too!  No biggie, right? Right.  If he found a button somewhere and put it on his coat it would be mismatched.  That would not look very good and I believe it is a mismatched idea that someone would think that looked OK.  So, now you know where I am going with this?  Keep reading.

After the worship part of the service, the choir came down into the sanctuary and before the pastor began preaching, God whispered something to my heart. “Leah, you know how Garth wouldn’t want to mismatch the buttons on his coat when he puts a new button on…? Well, make sure and tell people that there shouldn’t be any mismatched of ideas in their Christian walk either.  Some things do not go together and shouldn’t be together.  Whether it is a mismatched button on a coat or mismatched ideas about Me and their Christian walk with Me.”

I sat there in amazement. I haven’t really heard God speak to my heart like that … that clearly … in a while. I just smiled. Yep. That is how God speaks to my heart. He just lays it out there and uses some every day event to compare with my walk – or your walk – with Him. I love it! I get so excited when God whispers to my heart like that. Sometimes, it has taken a little bit more than a whisper though. He does know how to get my attention in a much stronger way, if He has to. This time, He didn’t have to. I made my notes before the service started and waited until now to write about it. I miss writing every night for y’all. It usually does me much more good than it does you, probably. Sometimes, life has just gotten in the way in the last few months but hopefully things will begin to level off and I can do this again more often.

So… the Christian walk. The mismatched ideas in the Christian walk. I wrote about one the other day in the post “SO MANY ARE MISLEAD”. If you would like to read that, click the title and it will take you right to the post. What aindexre some mismatched ideas of our Christian walk? Let’s see… how about

  1. I can be married to a non-Christian person and be OK (This is where I personally have some experience). This does not work. You must be matched in that you believe the same things about the foundational things. Foundational things are:
    1. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit = the Trinity.
    2. God created the entire Universe and all that is within it.
    3. God created man and all that in on the earth.
    4. God Was and Is and Is to Come! He has no beginning and He has no end. He was before and will always will be.
    5. The Bible is the Inspired Word of God. It is true and living. The things of the Bible are applicable today as they were since it was written.
    6. The Bible was written by common men inspired by the Holy Spirit called to do uncommon things. You cannot take parts of the Bible and believe and the other parts discard as not true. It is to be read and accepted completely as the Word of God.
    7. Jesus was born of a Virgin (who was Mary) and was raised by her and His earthly father Joseph.
    8. When Jesus walked on the earth He was fully God and fully man.
    9. Jesus lived a sinless 33 years on the face of this earth.
    10. Jesus chose 12 disciples from the common men to be His companions and to teach them about Himself and Heaven and all that He was sent here to do.
    11. Jesus was sent from Heaven to be our example.
    12. Jesus was crucified on the Cross and died to save the world from their sins.
    13. Jesus rose again on the 3rd day and is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
    14. Jesus was seen by over 500 people before His ascension into Heaven.
    15. Jesus will come again to take us home to live with Him when God the Father tells Him “Son, go get My children”.
    16. When Jesus comes to take us to our Heavenly home, the people that did not believe in Him or accept Him as Savior and Lord will be left on the earth and not go to Heaven with us.

I have probably left out some things, but that’s a good start. Understand me here … that if you do not have the fundamental belief things in place, therecolumns28984800f will always be an issue between the two of you. Now, I am not here to give marital advice by any means, it’s just that I have lived this kind of turmoil and it is a destroyer of a “happy marriage”. I promise you. That is why God’s Word says this:

Luke 11:16-23

16 Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. 22 But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. 23 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

And this scripture

2 Corinthians 6:14

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

I have written in red the main part of that scripture. Now, I know you may think your marriage is a kingdom, and it may very well be, but this mention of “Every kingdom divide against itself…” is not necessarily talking about a kingdom with a king like used to rule the land when Jesus was alive. But it is appropriate. The kingdom of God is the church and the “church” is the people that believe in Christ. So, if you are a Christian and you are married to a non-Christian, then your “kingdom” is divided against itself.

Now, like I said, I am not trying to be a marriage counselor here and give advice. I am strictly stating what the Word of God says. Yes, there are marriages that survive when one person is a Christian and one is not. However, is surviving all God calls us to? You decide.

Now on to another topic…

  1. Science and Christianity … yep, they actually complement each other and do not confscience-and-scripturelict with one another. There is a great book that I read entitled “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist” and in that book it talks about the wonders of Science and it goes hand in hand with Christianity and the beliefs that Christians believe. The first few chapters are a challenge to get through, well, at least it was for me, but it is a phenomenal book and every Christian ought to read it so they can see why they believe what they believe. It explains it very clearly and succinctly. I recommend it. That is the 2nd conflicting or mismatched idea… that Science and Christianity cannot and do not belong together. They do! As I said, they complement each other!
  2. You have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved not… “I can be a good person, doing good, helping the poor, giving to charities, living a clean life and not rob, steal, or cheat and still go to Heaven.”Quotation-Johnny-Damon-good-Meetville-Quotes-47323 This is a belief that will get a person in trouble quickly. Some believe that they are a Christian because of what they “DO” which is totally incorrect. In Ephesians Paul tells us that a person cannot be saved by what they “do”. Here is the scripture:

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

I found a very interesting website to go along with this belief. The first link will take you to a quick little question and answer test. Easy to do and be totally honest. After you answer honestly, all the questions, listen to the video also. It is VERY compelling and it just might change your life.  Here is the link to “The Good Person Test”. Next, please watch the video below the test. If you like, here is the link to that as well – WhatStandard.com.

These three things – conflicts or mismatched ideas – that I have listed above are just a small – a very small part – of a much longer list. For time sake I will not continue this post but may continue it on another post. However, you see how important having matched ideas are if you are a Christian? If you claim to be a Christian, and you have mismatched ideas, I suggest that you pray about them, consult with your pastor, a Christian friend or someone whom you know is a Christian and be totally honest with them about your beliefs. Then wait and see what God can do in your life.

God loves you so much and doesn’t want you to be confused, have mismatched ideas or anything that will keep you from living in eternity with Him. He sent His Son Jesus to save you from yourself and all your sins. He is the only one that can do that. John 3:16 says…

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but shall have everlasting life. And also this one…

John 11:25

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

So, you see, God loves you so much! He doesn’t want you or anyone else to go to Hell and not live with Him in eternity. After all, He calls you His beloved.

The Song – He Will Rescue Us – Greg Sykes

The Video – He Will Rescue Us – Greg Sykes

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THE NEW HOUSE

Well, I made a discovery today that made me very sad and angry at the same time. As I stood at the kitchen window looking out at the little birdhouse that hangs in the tree directly in front of my kitchen window, I noticed it was sitting kind of funny. I thought I better go inspect the situation. As I approached the little house, I heard the Daddy Sparrow, up in the tree, above me just chirping and chirping. I immediately saw why too! The floor of the house was coming off and there were ants swarming everywhere. I immediately took that old house down and sprayed it completely to kill all the ants. I found a new house that I had on the front porch that I had made a few years back. When I picked it up I noticed that the tin roof had come unglued. I decided to drill holes and screw it to the house instead of gluing. The time sitting on the porch probably was enough in these hot summers here to melt the glue. I learned a lesson about what NOT to use in building my little bird houses.  Any new house will have it screwed in securely instead of glued on.

So, I worked as quickly as I could. I felt so bad for the Daddy Sparrow. No wonder his two potential Momma Sparrows that came to visit didn’t stay around with all those ants. Poor fella. I think, in his way, he was trying to tell me but I wasn’t listening. I was just standing in the kitchen saying prayers but they didn’t have feet to them. I realized I should have gone out and made sure the house was sound and ready for a family.IMG_1385

I made a trip to Lowe’s and got some ant bait and placed them in the crook of the tree hoping to rid the area of those despicable ants. Now, I just realized… hummm… will the squirrels try to eat that and get sick and die too? Oh, my… I will have to research that tomorrow. Anyway, as I worked feverishly getting the new house up, that little Daddy Sparrow was just a fussin’ up in the tree. I think he was telling me … “See, you should have listened!  You should have come to check on the house more often. Now will you?” Oh, well, I guess live and learn – no I know I do! Now I think, probably, all the Momma Sparrows are already taking care of their first brood and there won’t be a Momma Sparrow for my Daddy Sparrow. Also, there is another little gIMG_1393uy at the back birdhouse that is just chirping and chirping all day long. I guess he is without a Momma Sparrow as well. Oh my… I think “The Sparrow Project” has taken its toll here around the Adams’ abode. If you remember reading my last post “The Daddy Sparrow”, you will recall that there was a so-called “project” to rid the US (rid may be a harsher term than necessary) of the House Sparrow. They indicated in their article “Managing House Sparrows and European Starlings” that the House Sparrow, along with the European Starling, has been the reason for the decline in Song Birds and they cause the Song Birds grief at the feeders, etc. As I said in that post, I have been a “Bird Watcher” for more than 15 years and I have never witnessed that kind of aggressiveness from my House Sparrows. So, their “project” may be taking its toll on the number of female (Momma) Sparrows in my neighborhood. Usually there are plenty to go around. Anyway … Daddy Sparrow has a new house to build his nest in and he seems happy with it too. I got a couple of pictures of him today on the porch and he hopped inside the house. I guess he approves. Now “we will just have to wait and see”, as my grandmother used to say.Picture1

Now, I bet you are wondering … “How in the world is she going to compare this to her Christian walk with the Lord?” Well, I have asked God that same question all day, since I discovered the little house was in shambles with intruders to boot!

And so you will not be disappointed, I will share with you how God has spoken to my heart in more than one way. He has told me that listening to the Holy Spirit is very important. When you suspect something might be wrong … in any area … always check it out. If that is a birdhouse that looks wrong or, if you suspect something is wrong with your actions, words, attitude, or geographical location. Always check with God… the Holy Spirit… He will never lead you wrong. He will answer you. You can always count on His direction and guidance. Just like I should have listened to … “Something must be wrong with that house. You might want to check it out to make sure it’s ok.” Instead of just standing in the house peering out at the little Daddy Sparrow and praying for him to find a mate… or that God would provide a mate.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct[a] your paths

There were two Momma Sparrows that came and went… because of the ants… and the ants were there because I didn’t pay more attention. Now it seems there are no more Momma Sparrows for the poor little thing. I am sad that there may not be any baby Sparrows in the little birdhouse this year… but the year is not over yet. Maybe there will be a Momma Sparrow come along before long. However, the poor little Daddy Sparrow has not even begun to build a nest in this new house. Not one stitch of grass or straw of any kind. He just sits there on the porch or hops inside and peers out the little hole and chirps. He needs to get a nest started … just in case. Anyway…22JanP22JE800x500

You may be saying, “Why would God or the Holy Spirit take the time to care about a birdhouse with ants in it?” Well, I believe the Lord, God, The Holy Spirit, is concerned with all that concerns us. Every detail, down to the very smallest thing… that is, what we think is the smallest thing. If it concerns us, it concerns Him!

1 Peter 5:6-7

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

So… listen to the Holy Spirit. He cares for us. He wants us to listen to His guidance. He wants us to understand that He is there to help us.

Also, this may not be this particular little Daddy Sparrow’s year to have a family. He seems a bit unknowing and apparently doesn’t know that he is to build part of the nest and the Momma Sparrow finishes it off. One of the little Momma Sparrows that I saw the other day (a third one) landed on the porch of the new house and he was there too. She jumped into the new house and so did he. She jumped out of the new house almost as quickly as she jumped in. He jumped out after her and then she took off. Well, he took off after her. I haven’t seen her since, either. I think this particular little Daddy Sparrow is just a young Sparrow and may not be a daddy this year. They live 3 years or so and maybe next year he will have it together more. I hope so for his sake. So, the take-away on this particular train of thought is this… We may not be mature enough yet, in our walk with the Lord, to take on that “task” or idea we have or had. We may believe it is from the Holy Spirit, and it may very well be, but it just may not be time yet. We can think it is supposed to happen now, just because we think we have received a message from God, when in fact it might just be that we have received the message or direction. That does not mean that it is to happen now. God may be growing us for it to happen later.timing For example… I read a story about a young lady that wanted a baby so badly. She and her husband prayed and prayed for a baby. She believed that she heard from God that she would have a baby in September. She spent a lot of time and energy, emotions and money on the test strips to see if she was pregnant, but to her dismay every time, she was not. They tried and tried and finally … they were led to believe they were to adopt. Come to find out there was a precious child in Africa that had been born at the time the vision was given to the young lady – in September, however, God’s timing was not the young lady’s timing. God meant it in a different way than her heart thought. Truly the child was hers in September, just not physically hers until a few Septembers later. So… your timing is probably not God’s timing. You may have to wait a year or two or more for God’s vision to come to fruition. Just wait upon the Lord, and He will renew your strength and help you understand.

Isaiah 40:31

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

I still pray for the little Daddy Sparrow but I also go out and check out the birdhouse to make sure the new house has NO ANTS in it! I also have come to realize that it just may not be his year for a family. That’s OK. God is in control of His creation, not me. THANK GOODNESS! He loves His creation very much! He also loves you very much! After all, He calls you His beloved!

The Song – Someone Who Cares – David Phelps

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THE DADDY SPARROW

If you know me at all, or have read some of my posts, you know I LOVE God’s creation … from the tiniest Lady Bug crawling on my blade of St. Augustine grass in the front yard to the Majestic Mount Rainer in Washington State and everything in between. Also, you don’t have to be around me very long to know I also love birds. I feed the wild birds in my yard and love to watch them flitting around and singing and just doing what birds do. I have around 21 different types of birds that visit my yard every year and this year I saw my first Eastern Blue Bird. It was beautiful.

One of the things I prIMG_1220ovide for my feathered friends, other than bird seed and suet, are a few bird houses scattered around for the little guys and gals to nest and raise their babies in. My favorite bird house is one that hangs in the tree directly in front of my kitchen window. It has housed numbers of clutches over the six years that we have lived here. Sometimes four a summer – starting around April until late Summer. It is an absolute joy for my folks and me to watch the progression of these babies. I get pictures of the eggs, then the tiny, little ugly things, then they grow so fast and before you know it the little ones are poking their head out for that morsel that the mommy or the daddy sparrow has brought. They are silent as can be until their mommy or daddy sparrow shows up on the porch of the house and then they become a noisy and boisterous bunch. DSCN0181They scramble over each other to get to the tasty bug first. It is the greatest thing to watch the drama in front of my kitchen window. Then, when it’s time to leave the nest it is even more fun! I have helped the little ones across the street into the row of shrubs that grow along my neighbor’s house – not picking them up but escorting them by shushing them with my arms and stopping traffic if I have to – until they are safe and sound with mommy and daddy sparrow that are waiting for them and chirping wildly until they are safe and sound. That hedgerow of bushes is the “safe” place for the little ones with their parents after they have fledged and leave the bird house. I guess all the babies from the surrounding nests go there because there is always a bunch of chirping and a flurry of activity going on in those bushes. I just love my little Sparrows and their chirp. No… they don’t have a beautiful song that lilts through the air like the House Wren or the beautiful, crisp song of the Northern Cardinal, but they chirp, chirp, chirp and I love them!

Some time back, I found a bird group on the internet entitled “The Sparrow Project”. I clicked join and I was in hopes that this “project” or group would help me learn more about my beloved House Sparrows. I just love those little guys. So, as I received the first email after joining this group I began to read the guidelines and what is expected of me as a member. It appalled me! The information was instructing me to take the eggs out of the nest when I find House Sparrow eggs. I read on… it said that they were trying to diminish the population of House Sparrows because they are having an adverse effect on the Song Bird population.sparrow I thought “how in the world would that be?” After replying to the email I was informed that there are reported cases of the House Sparrows actually being aggressive with the Song Birds in someone’s area and not allowing them to feed at the feeders. This is a link to the article about “Managing House Sparrows and European Starlings”.   Well, I have been a “bird-watcher” for at least 15 years and I can say, without a doubt, I have NEVER seen any House Sparrow attack or keep another species of bird from feeding at my feeders! All 21 varieties of birds get along just fine together. I offer several feeders for various sizes of birds from the big Grackle to the tiniest Tufted Titmouse. However, yesterday I did witness a Starling shoo away a Red Bellied Woodpecker from a suet cake. I was shocked. I was certain that the Red Bellied Woodpecker would be higher up on the food chain and therefore have seniority over the feeder with a Starling. Oh well… that was the first and only time I have ever seen anything like that. Actually the Starling didn’t shoo him away, the Woodpecker just backed off until the Starling left.

Well, this post isn’t really all about birds, or just about birds. I do have a comparison with the Daddy Sparrow  at the bird house that is hanging in a tree directly in front of my kitchen window … and the recent turn of events in my life though. Read on to find out how I bring it all together… well, actually, how God brings it all together with my fingers doing the work as to what He tells me to type.

You see, I need to tell you about the daddy Sparrow that sits on the porch of the bird house that is hanging in the tree directly in front of my kitchen window. The normal routine every spring is a daddy sparrow begins to build the nest. He brings in all sorts of materials to build this nest that will be home to him, his mommy sparrow and their babies (usually 1-3 babies in a clutch). So the daddy sparrow builds the nest almost entirely on his own. In the meantime, he sits and chirps on the porch of the bird house. IMG_1220He is chirping for a momma sparrow. He sits and chirps, and chirps, and chirps, and chirps. All day long – literally! All Day … until a momma sparrow finds him attractive and the nest meets her approval and then she decides this is the place to be. So they consummate the relationship and it all begins. The consummation is usually a quick 5-6 times on the porch and then she hops inside the house and begins to take up building the nest to suit her needs. You see, he begins the nest building but she puts the “momma sparrow” touch to it. Usually stuffing it with much more grass and straw and anything she can find to make it a nice soft nesting place for her babies to call “home”.

Now, this happens for every clutch that is laid and hatches. This same routine of consummating the relationship and then all else is downhill from there. I am not sure if it is the same momma and daddy sparrow throughout the summer, but they seem to know the lay of the land and just keep having babies all summer long. They are very prolific little ones.

This Spring has been a bit different, though. I had taken the house down over the winter and cleaned it out and put it back up just before Spring. Finally, in mid-April, a daddy sparrow begins to build and chirp, build and chirp, build and chirp. It is fascinating to watch him drag things into the little house. Then he hops out on the porch and chirps and chirps and chirps, in hopes that very special momma sparrow will come to be his momma sparrow. Day in and day out, he sits there and chirps and chirps. I actually know for a fact that he sat there for at least 3-4 days straight and chirped all day long! Very seldom leaving. This worried me … probably more than it should… you see, I pray for the little guy every day that God will bring him a momma sparrow. I know… some folks thinks it is a silly thing to do, but I do it anyway.

Then one day… I stepped to the front door. The inside door was open so I could see through the storm door. I looked over to the birdhouse and saw a momma sparrow on the porch with the daddy sparrow. I got as excited as the little daddy sparrow. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen. He hopped and danced all over that front porch. She would bow and flutter her wings and then he hopped on her and then off and danced around some more. She would bow and flutter her wings again and then he would hop on her again. This went on for about a minute. He must have consummated at least 5-6 times. I have never witnessed a bird being so excited. After all, he had sat and chirped for 3 weeks solid. He was lonely and was so excited to finally have a momma sparrow to have a family with!

Then it happened! As quickly as the momma sparrow was there she was G-O-N-E! She flew off and left him sitting there on the front porch! He sat there and chirped and chirped in hopes that she would come back! DSCN0171Heck, she left without even checking out the nest he built. The poor little thing was confused. He looked around and back and forth and was chirping trying to find his newly found momma sparrow to no avail!   She left and he nor I have seen her since! He had chirped so hard and long for a momma, he found her and then in less than two minutes, she was there and then she vanished! I have never witnessed that either.

I have said ALL of that to say this… when I saw his distress and confusion in the whole ordeal, I instantly heard a message from God… ok, I know you are probably thinking I have lost my mind. No, I haven’t! I just know what I heard and then I knew what comparison there was to draw from this.  It was clear as can be.

Hold On … you may be surprised at my comparison…

I likened this to my job that I just lost. The job that I was so excited to have after such a long time. A job that I had prayed about and waited and waited and waited some more. I had a Training job finally and then … almost in the blink of an eye… it was gone! In 64 days I went from being elated to totally blindsided and in total confusion and dismay at being let go. The job was no-where to be found. It vanished almost as quickly as it appeared! I was in so much pain and misery and when I saw the confusion on the little daddy sparrow’s face (yes – there was confusion!) I related to that. confusionHe had waited for something for so long, it was finally here and then it was gone as fast as it had arrived! It made absolutely NO SENSE to him or me why that momma bird took off so quickly and never came back! It was something I had NEVER seen happen. It also made NO SENSE to me why the job I loved was no longer there. I have never had that happen in all my years of working. I was so confused and so distraught for days.

Then I heard that sweet, still, small voice that I love! It spoke reassurance and peace and hope into my soul. “You are much more important than this sparrow or a million sparrows. I have the perfect plan for you, Leah. Just hang on and trust Me.” Now, unlike me, that little daddy sparrow has no idea why momma sparrow left nor does he have that still, small voice whispering to his soul… “It will be alright.” At least I don’t know that he does. I do, however, know God’s Word says He has a plan for my life and it is the perfect plan. I am not sure about a “plan” for that little sparrow’s life. I don’t know, but I do now my God will never leave me nor forsake me. He may keep me waiting for a while, but He will never forsake. After all, He calls me His beloved! There is bound to be a reason all of that happened. It may have been for someone else and not for me. I don’t know but I do know this…

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

And I love God with all my heart, soul and mind… I also know this..

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[b] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Because I know this about my God, I know I will be OK… better than OK. I will be great because God has me on His mind. He loves me and I am His! I have a hope and I know He holds my future in His hand.  After all He calls me His beloved!

He loves you just as He loves me. If you know this God of mine, wonderful! If you do not know Him, click this link. This will take you to a website called Bible.org. This article will explain what it means to follow Christ Jesus.  It will explain some things that may have been questions in your mind before. Never forget that God loves you and you are always on His mind.  After all, He calls you His beloved too!

I am including a song that I have recently used, but because it is about the Sparrow… I want to include it again.

The Song – His Eye Is On The Sparrow – Sandi Patty

The Song – I Know The Plans (Audrey’s Song) Damaris

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