Tag Archives: mercy

Return America, Return

Return America, Return

America.  Land of the Free, Because of the Brave!   Return to your Roots! Return to the One who gave us this great land we call America!  Return America, Return.

Red, White and True RED WHITE AND TRUE BLUE, Return America, Return!Blue is a musical play by some local artists.  It was held at the Artisan Theater in Hurst, Texas.  I was invited to attend with my brother and sister-in-law last night.  It was absolutely wonderful!  The local talent was impressive.  Ages from 10 (Jonathan – who made his debut last night) to around 70ish?  It was so heartwarming and such a wonderful reminder that we live in a fantastic, phenomenal and special land.  We need to remember – those of us that can – and those that cannot, need to read and study how it was and why it was.  So many younger folks just don’t “get it”.  How it used to be… not that I want to go back to every way of living in the 50’s but the attitude and the standards and the state of mind was so different than it is now.  Women were modest, men were gentlemen, and businesses had integrity and government … well, for the most part, was better.

This play was a mix of young men and women and a few students and some older men and women.  Many different walks of life and very excited to tell us, the audience, how excited they were to live in America!  Reminding us through narration and song that God Blessed America and shed His Grace on us.  We were so blessed with many things and now… well, now, it seems that many of those blessings are waning.  A lot of the reason is because some folks in America have chosen to turn a blind eye to things happening in America.  Others have just stuck their head in the sand and have no clue … and furthermore … don’t want to have a clue.  They just want the world to drift by and they can stay in their little bubble with their head in the sand.  WAKE UP AMERICA!   Wake up and Return To Your Roots!  Our Roots!  Our Roots being God.  The founders of our nation were rooted in God!  God will not always bless us if we don’t bless Him.  I found this scripture reference and comments on Timberline Baptist Church homepage.  I think this states it quite clearly.

Jeremiah 18:7-10

“- Our opening text from Jeremiah 18 teaches us there is hope for backslidden America.  Look at verses 7-10, “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”

– Notice what these verses said in that God says “at what instant” a nation decides to repent, that nation can be restored by God.

– This is a very powerful passage, and it shows that God’s grace and blessings can be poured out on a wicked nation that returns to Him.  A nation, who has denied God and murdered her innocent unborn and promoted Godlessness and immorality, can be restored in an instant if only that nation will repent and return to God.”

However, if …

2 Chronicles 7:14

“14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

I could say a lot about the play last night.  I could elaborate on all of the messages and songs that they brought to us.  However, that is really not what I want to tell you.  My brother has a blog also and his blog said it so good and his words were quite on target.  I feel led to refer you to his blog.  It is a fantastic bunch of information that a lot of you may not know.  I didn’t know some of it either.

Please read his blog and learn about the “Roots” of America.  Return America!  Return!  So if you will allow me… this is my brother’s post from yesterday.  I know you will love it too!

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Independence Day

By John Adams

Flag, Return America, Return!“Independence Day is the day that America sets aside to remember its beginning; the beginning of the greatest experiment in personal freedom that history has ever known. “Give me liberty, or give me death,” was the heart-felt cry of the forefathers that secured that freedom. With that tenacious attitude, they would affix their names to the Declaration of Independence; the document that affirmed their steadfastness and unity in mission. This action placed them, their families and their very subsistence in jeopardy in the face of the ruling nation, England.

Ben Franklin said it best at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Theirs was a resolve to break from tyrannical bonds and provide life, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness for every citizen, no matter the cost. They understood that to take this stand for truth and demand fairness and equity in government meant the possibility of paying for their decision with their lives and well-being. Their decision would take its toll on the signers.

Independence Day, Return America, Return!As a result of signing the Declaration, there was a heavy price exacted on these fifty-six men of freedom:

. 7 lost their lives

. 2 lost their health

. 5 were taken prisoners of war

. 4 lost their wives

. 17 lost entire fortunes

. 5 experienced huge debt resulting from financing the war effort

. 4 lost children

The Crown sent twenty-five thousand troops to track down and kill these fifty-six rebels. Abraham Clarke, a lawyer and surveyor, could not be found. The British found and captured his two sons and put them on the prison ship Jersey, referred to as the “Hell Hole Jersey”, a death camp from which no one ever returned alive. Then the offer came to Clarke that his sons would be released if he would surrender and recant his signature. Abraham Clarke refused to go back on his words of pledge to the cause of freedom alongside his companions.

These brave men were not professional politicians, but representatives from the thirteen colonies from every walk of life. This body was made up of two of the wealthiest men in America, Charles Carrolton (merchant and plantation owner) and Robert Morris (plantation owner) as well as one of the poorest, Samuel Adams, a merchant from Boston. (When Sam Adams was elected to Congress he did not own a suit. His neighbors took up a collection to purchase a suit of clothes for him to wear to Congress.) These were land owners, lawyers, physicians, ministers and merchants of every sort.

Independence Day, Return America, Return!You will predominantly hear that all these men were deists, atheists or agnostics in their religious beliefs. Jefferson, Franklin and James Wilson, a Pennsylvania lawyer, are the only ones that are known to be deists.

The truth is, however, that the majority were men committed to the Christian faith. A few examples and facts include:

. 29 of them held seminary or Bible school degrees

. Dr John Witherspoon was one of the best known Gospel evangelists of that day, was a long time member of Congress, serving on 100 committees.

. Sam Adams, known as the Father of the American Revolution – “I rely on the merits of Jesus Christ for the pardon of all my sins.”

. Dr Benjamin Rush, physician, Presbyterian – considered 1 of 3 most notable of the Founding Fathers, started the first Sunday school and Bible society in America.

. Roger Sherman, lawyer, Congregationalist – He was the only one of the signers to sign all 4 founding documents – Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Articles of Federation, Anti-Federalist Papers.

“God has promised to bestow eternal blessings on all those who are willing to accept Him on the terms of the Gospel that is in the way of free grace in the Atonement,” Sherman declared.

. John Adams was well known as a strong Christian leader. He wrote to Abigail of the first meeting of the Continental Congress and explained how powerful it was to begin with a three-hour prayer service and Bible study from Psalm 35.

. Lyman Hall was a minister from Georgia.

John Adams would relate to his wife that all the prayers of these leaders were being answered after a fifteen-day time of prayer and fasting. He said they were witnessing the “direct intervention of God.”

Of course, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the odds heavily favored the British, especially on the water. The largest naval deployment to that date in New York Harbor was in 1776, when the British war ships’ masts were reported to “look like a forest in the harbor.” This was the most powerful navy in the world. The British Man-O-War was feared by rival navies on the high seas. They were undefeated for 300 years.

Inpendence Day, Return America, Return!Enter the fledgling US Patriot Navy armed with small gunboats and the prayers of righteous men, pleading for their country. These small ships were no physical match for these powerful ships and experienced crews. But as the Congress worked and prayed they would realize the capture of 600 British ships. The US Navy began to take control and in 1778 John Paul Jones became a well-known naval hero as he captured the HMS Drake. The hand of God was with these dedicated patriots.

Sadly, how far we have drifted, as a nation, from our earliest moorings. We have weighed anchor and left the harbor of security and guidance from The Almighty and are attempting to prove that we can go it alone now. “Thanks for your help, God, but we can handle it from here.” This is a dangerous, dreadful and disastrous path to travel.

President Woodrow Wilson said, “The nation that does not remember what is was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do.” It seems that we are adrift now and we are told that we must trust people, who we know that we cannot trust, to guide us into the future.

In our current malaise of uncertainty, immorality and violence it is only logical to encourage our nation, leaders and citizens, to return to our safe harbor before all is lost and the death knell sounds for freedom and goodness. As President George Washington made his farewell address, September 17, 1796, he explained the foundations of America’s greatness. Thirty percent of his speech was laden with strong Christian admonition. He said, “Of all the habits and dispositions that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” We must return to our foundations and make them strong again.

Independence Day, Return America, ReturnHow long can all the madness continue? How long can the freedoms we have enjoyed all our lives continue? Will the next generation understand what we are saying and why we are sounding alarms? Alexander Solzhenitsyn, writer, activist and critic of the Soviet Union, was imprisoned from 1945 to 1953 for speaking against the Russian government. Later in life, he spoke at Harvard University to the student body. He remembered the days of his youth under Communist control and oppression and he recounted hearing his grandfather and father speak of why the great Russian society had come to this dreariness. He remembered his grandfather commenting that it was because they had forgotten God. Solzhenitsyn then compared our situation and made the statement that we are experiencing these times because, “we have forgotten God.” He was promptly booed in masse by the Harvard student body.

America was founded on sound principles of freedom and righteousness and it has prospered for over 200 years as the greatest nation in history. The American experiment has been a success and it certainly could continue to succeed. All indications are that it will not. The alarm is sounding and the general attitude is to hit the snooze button and roll over, back in a deep slumber of apathy and self-indulgence.

But if the Church, the true people of God wake up and decide to pray and get serious again about what is true and important, America can return to the safe harbor and continue to stand as the light of freedom the world desperately needs. People still are risking everything to come to America to escape oppression and misery because of its open arms and promise of liberty and safe haven. If this ideal is lost, it will not be because God is unfaithful, but because America will have forgotten its moorings and safety in the God of blessing.

Independence Day, Return America, Return!Are we ready, as our forefathers were, to take a stand for truth and our American way of life and freedom? I pray that we are and that a new army of rebels will be raised up to sound the alarm louder and encourage this country to return to the God of our fathers.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is The Lord.” Psalm 33:12″

 

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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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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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HAPPY NEW YEAR

Wishing you HAPPY NEW YEAR for 2015!

This past year – 2014 – has been quite a proving ground for me in many areas.  I have felt stretched and blessed in so many ways.  This blog that you are reading has been such a blessing to me and I hope you as well. meaningful-christian-happy-new-year-greetings-2 I have learned a ton of great information through my studying and digging for information for my posts.  The Bible is such a wonderful Love Story from our Heavenly Father.  I feel so blessed to have it to study and learn from.

I do hope this upcoming year is one of blessings and showers of Mercy and Grace from God above.  This short post is to wish you HAPPY NEW YEAR and the best New Year that you have ever had and I pray that you will continue to be blessed by the posts here on Abiding In The Vine.

May God Bless and Keep you in His tender care.  He loves you so much… He calls you His beloved.Happy New Year 2015 Hot Colors On Black Backgrounds

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VICTORY OVER THE ENEMY

In this day and age, we are bombarded with many attacks from the enemy!  We, as Christians, MUST claim victory over the enemy – Satan!

I have experienced, first hand, the enemy and his unhappiness at my activity to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  He is not happy when we try to help those folks around us to see that God is NOT DEAD! And that He loves each individual on the planet.  God does not wish that any should perish but have everlasting life! 2_peter_3.9_nkjv_wallpaper

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[b] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Dear friends, when you share God’s wonderful Word with others and try to explain to them that God is a good God and He loves them, some will NOT understand or WANT to understand.  You have done your part, you must leave the results to God.  That is the hardest thing I think I have ever done.  I see these folks and want to share eternity with them.  I want them to know the Saving Grace and Mercy of Jesus Christ and His love for them.  I want them to experience the love and acceptance and  forgiveness that I have experienced.  However, not everyone is willing or able.  They have closed their minds and hearts and there is nothing that you can do to change that.  God has to do His work.  Some will come around eventually and some will not.  Unfortunately the lord of this world – Satan – has blinded the eyes and hearts of those folks.

2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,[a] we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice[b] cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 03656f84907a5730e9c838b8037e5cd2In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[c] for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

So, with that said, all we can do is pray and seek God ourselves. Pray for safety from the evil one and pray for those that are mislead and unbelieving. That is where the Armor of God has to be put into place.

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Whole Armor of Godorigin_Uguns-36

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Be strong in the faith, pray, tell others and leave the rest to God. When you have been silenced by the unbelievers, just pray for them.  Never give up!  God is Alive!

The Video – I Still Believe – Russ Taff  (lyrics are below)

The Song – I Still Believe – Russ Taff

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I STILL BELIEVE (Lyrics)

I’ve been out in a cave for forty days
With only a spark to light my way
I want to give out I want to give in
This is our crime and this is our sin
But I still believe, I still believe
Through the pain and through the grief
Through the lies and through the storms
Through the cries and through the wars
Oh, I still believe
Oh, I still believe
Wow, love, love, love

Flat on my back out at sea
I’m a hoping these waves don’t cover me
I’m turned and tossed upon the waves
When the darkness comes I feel the grave
But I still believe, I still believe
Through the cold and through the heat
Through the rain and through the tears
Through the crowds and through the cheers
Oh, I still believe
You can’t take that away from me
No! I believe
Wow, love, love, love

I’ll march this road and I’ll climb this hill
Upon my knees if I have to
I’ll take my place upon this stage
I’ll wait till the end of time for You
I do believe, I believe
You can’t take that away from me
Oh, I still believe

For people like us in places like this
We need all the hope that we can get
I believe, I believe
Through the shame and the grief
Through the heartache, through the tears
Through the waiting and all the years
I still believe, I must believe
Oh, I still believe
Oh, love, love, love
I still believe!>

WORK OF ART

I pulled out my drawing tablet and began to sketch.  I was working on a picture of grapevines and the scripture John 15:5  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  I would draw and erase, draw and erase.  It took me quite a while to do this because mostly I was working on it at work between calls and on breaks.  I love to draw, I just can’t seem to find the time to do it here at home… I guess I am too busy “dashing about”.  Anyway, this drawing of mine was taking shape, but still, after weeks, it was still not finished.  I would see something I needed to touch up or change and that would just lengthen the time.  But I knew that if I would ever finish it that it would be a pretty nice piece.  Now, I am by no means a professional but I do like to draw and create things from wood or other medium.  I would say this drawing took me maybe a couple or three months to complete.  It was a veI AM THE VINEry detailed drawing and understand that I only worked on it at work and then only between calls or on break.  So, it took a while.  When I finally completed it I was so very proud of it!  I have always loved grape vines and the wonderful connotation they have in reference to what Jesus said.   I gave it to a dear friend and they loved it!

The comparison here is this.  Just like my drawing is my work of art, we are God’s works of art. – His Masterpiece.  We were made in His image.  Ephesians 2:10  says For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  One thing about us though, we will not be “finished” until we see His face!  Every twist, turn and bump in the road of life, every tear that falls, every ring of laughHIS MASTERPIECEter, is making us into who we are becoming.  So just as the eraser happens on the drawing tablet and the different direction of the brush stroke on a painting changes things on that “work of art” so does life change us.
However, if we are His and we have faith that our steps are not without purpose, God can use each second of our lives, every step, every tear, every twist, turn or bump to make us into such a beautiful work of art – IF we allow Him to guide us.

Trusting and turning your life totally over to His control is probably the hardest thing for some.  Myself included.  I am a very strong willed and stubborn womaBE ENCOURAGEDn … or I used to be … God has softened (or is in the process of softening) some of those sharp and rough edges with His love, forgiveness, mercy, grace and goodness.  I have said this before, the more I know Him the more I want to know!  I am so grateful for all the mishaps in my life.  I have learned – sometimes the very hardest way – that those are what make me who I am and who I am becoming.

We serve a mighty and wonderful God!  One that loves us and wants us to live abundantly!  He wants us to know that we are a priceless work of art!  So much so that He sent Jesus to earth to live as our example to follow.  Jesus lived 33 years of a sinless life and chose to die on the cross to save us from our sins.  Then HE ROSE AGAIN on the 3rd day so that we would not have to taste death and to ensure that we will live with Him in Heaven for eternity! EVERLASTING LOVE

If you haven’t experienced the saving power of Jesus Christ, talk to God today about how you can know Him.  You can click on this link to see the plan of salvation.  Get with a Christian friend, or call your church (or a church) to speak to someone about this.  God would love to hear from you… Actually, He is waiting to hear from you.  After all … you are His beloved.

The Song – How Great Is Our God – The Singing Men of North Central Texas (my brother sings with this group)

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