Monday, December 9, 2013

A Prayer for Grace

I never claim to be a poet but it's just the outpouring of my heart to my Lord. So no judging allowed. 

O, Lord how I desire your grace,
So that I may rest in your steadfast love.
I want be confident in your abundant grace,
Your grace that is overflowing and plentiful to me,
But do I allow it to penetrate my list of who I think I must be?
I begin the day thinking that I can achieve it by the efforts of my ways,
But as the day progresses I fall to my knees,
My list cannot hold  the weight of my expectations
Of how this picture of my life should be.
But Lord you are the artist who is painting the picture,
My struggle is I want to be the one that paints it instead of Thee.
My prayer is that I may rest in your grace,
That I may enable you to be the Painter of the masterpiece,
A life story that radiates your grace and overflowing love,
That is the gift of grace you've given me.
A life reflective of resting in your abundant grace,
That is my prayer...because that's exactly where you want me to be.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Letter from Jesus Christ

About a year ago I bought the book,  A Praying Life, by Paul E. Miller with the hopes of reading it right away.  I picked it up several times but it just didn't pull me in.  I had one of those "glass half empty days."  You know the one, right? Everything irritates you. You decide its best to just keep quite because nothing will come out of your mouth that will edify anyone around you.  It was one of those days that I needed to fill my mind and heart with truth.  I needed to turn on the water facuet on full blast and leave it on to flood out the lies that kept repeating in my mind.  I picked up the book once again and the Lord met me there. 

A Letter from Jesus Christ

"I know those moods when you sit there utterly alone, pining, eaten up with unhappiness, in a pure state of grief.  You don't move towards me but desperately imagine that everything you have ever done has been utterly lost & forgotten.  This near-despair and self-pity are actually a form of pride.  What you think was a state of absolute security from which you've fallen was really trusting too much in your own strength and ability....what really ails you is that things simply haven't happened as you expected and wanted.
In fact I don't want you to rely on your own strength and abilities and plans, but to distrust them and to distrust yourself, and to trust me and no one and nothing else.  As long as you rely entirely on yourself, you are bound to come to grief.  You still have a most important lesson to learn: your own strength will no more help you stand upright than propping yourself on a broken reed.  You must not despair of me.  You may hope and trust in be absolutely.  My mercy is infinite."  John of Landsburg

Where I need to be is in the arms of Jesus.  On my knees praying and relying on Him for all my needs.  Nothing will satisfy my soul like the love and grace of Christ.   The lover of my soul who died to set me free- my Eternal Groom - Jesus.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Strength & Dignity Are Her Clothing; She Smiles at the Future

I will be honest with you, I've been wanting to blog for a few weeks now but it goes without saying  the Lord continues to work in my heart.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine shared  the Pinterest website with me.  I will tell you I've been hooked ever since.  I love the new recipes, DIY projects and home decor shared on that site, but one day I came across this the posting of Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed in strength & dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."  I began to really think about what that meant in my life.  Do I reflect that attitude in my heart? To be frankly honest with you, I came up short. I was struggling with being a woman who "laughs without fear of the future."  New American Standard translates it, "she smiles at the future." English Standard Version translates it, "she laughs at the time to come."
I began a word study on "strength" & "dignity" in the Scriptures and I was digging away and looking up verses. 
Prov 118:14 "The Lord is my strength and song"

Psalm 18:32 "The God who girds me with strength & makes my way blameless"

Psalm 37:39 "But salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in time of trouble.."

Psalm 84:5 " How blessed is the man who strength is in You,
in whose heart are highways to Zion"

Psalm 73:26 "But God is the strength of my heart & portion forever"

Dignity; Dignified means "quality or state of worthy of"
"esteem or respect"

I Tim 3:11 "Women must likewise be dignified"
Titus 2:3 "Older women likewise are to be reverent ( also means dignified) in their behavior"
I will be honest... it has been hard to smile or even laugh at the future lately.  Doesn't take much to start to worry.  Listen to talk radio.  Watch the nightly news and it will put you in a complete outrage of what's happening to this country or the world we live in. For some all you have to do is look at your bank account when your monthly bills are due and "smiling at the future" isn't the emotion that stirs up inside of you. 
How do I become this woman who is filled with "strength and dignity" and "smiles at the future." Do I conjure up this strength from my own might? How do I begin to be dignified? These qualities are not anything I can produce. I can try but you will come up short.  These qualities are given to me by faith and by the grace of God who works in my heart and in my life.  I am strong because Christ gives me His strength.  I am dignified because HE gives me the desire to be dignified and the wisdom of His words.  I am nothing without Christ.  It's His righteousness that I am clothed with not with anything I can produce or fabricate.  The main ingredient of this Proverbs 31 woman is that she trusts in her Eternal Groom. She can trust Him because He is Sovereign and He is good.  No matter what the balance is in my checking account, whether my children believe or my loved one has cancer doesn't change the character of my good and caring God who is for my good and His glory.  I am clothed with HIS STRENGH and I am drenched in HIS DIGNITY so that I can SMILE AT THE FUTURE and rest in His grace.

"I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."
Isaiah 61:10

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Evangelist or Discipler

Last month I had the great privilege of going to the NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors) conference in Walnut Creek, California.  When you plan to go to a conference you have many expectations of what its going to be like and what you are expecting to get out of it.  What always amazes me is that God has a plan for you and your expectations and plans don't always meet up with His.  Truly I didn't have a direct agenda or goals in going to this conference but I sat back and saw how God was in the details of it all and was showing me what He wanted me to get out of the conference. It was exactly what I needed to hear to the utmost detail.  Again I didn't put much planning on the classes I was attending and it changed as I went along BUT GOD and His Sovereignty shines through all of this through and through.
I've been spending time with a young woman (counseling) who I am not sure if she is saved so I decided at the last minute to attend Stuart Scott's class on "Sharing the Gospel with an Unconverted Counselee."  I was familiar with Stuart Scott because he came to my old church to head up the Biblical Counseling Department, but my husband & I were in the process of selling our business and moving to Northern California so we hadn't had the opportunity to be involved in his ministry or hear him speak much.  As the session began a story unfolded that was so unexpected for me.  He began to share about his children and the concerns and struggles him and his wife had in particular with their daughter.  He talked about how as parents our children make professions of faith at young ages and then as parents we embark on disciplining them when in reality they don't completely understand  or come to a saving knowledge of Christ.  Our children are "Christianized Pagans." They talk the talk but they don't walk the walk.  They have no desire or interest to be in God's Word.  They love going to church but that's because they're friends are there.  They know the truths of the Scripture and can repeat them to you but its apparent that they haven't placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He said, "You can't disciple the lost!" Stuart shared that his daughter at the age of sixteen came to him sobbing with the confession that she couldn't live the lie anymore and that she wasn't a Christian.  He said, "I was so thankful that she knew who she was."  That sentence plays back in my thoughts so much since I've heard them.  The deep faith and trust in Christ that it takes to say those words.  Can I say that when it comes to my own children's salvation?  He had to leave the position that he held at the church and so this confession from his daughter had a huge impact on them as a family.  Two years later his daughter was headed off to college and he asked her if he could share the gospel with her one last time and she agreed, which leads to the thorough gospel presentation that he put together that he uses with all his counselees and went over with all of us in his NANC class.  He talked about how some Christians teach how the outcome of their children's salvation is the parent's responsibility.  He said, "what kind of theology is that? SALVATION IS OF THE LORD! God has called some parents to be evangelist their whole lives or God has called them to be evangelist and then disciplers.  There are many Christian parents with huge guilt trips because they think they're children's salvation depended on them." 

So I ask you, are you an Evangelist or a Discipler?  I ask myself, "am I a evangelist or a discipler?"  God confirmed for me again that my role in my children's life is to be an example of Christ's work in me and that my life is to reflect His grace, love and redemptive work in me.  To be living it out in profound ways.  I need to be preaching the gospel to myself, to them and to others.  God does the work in their hearts and lives in them just like He does in me and continues to do the work.  There are many who are preaching a different message when it comes to parenting.  Others are preaching a method that leads to "works righteousness" and that it ALL depends on what I am doing. This is not what the Bible teaches, nor is it the gospel. Some are even going to the lengths to say that as parents of non-believing children you did not have enough faith in the promises of God and that is the reason your children aren't believers.   Yes God calls us to love and lead our children to Christ BUT the lie is the doing on our part of any shape or form is a guarantee to produce godly children.  God never guarantees us godly children by raising them a certain way.  There are no recipes out there that create godly children.  SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!

"God doesn't promise our children's salvation in response to our obedience, because He never
encourages self-reliance.  It would be against God's character to give us a promise that our children will be saved if we raise them in a certain way.  That would mean that He was telling us to trust in something other than Christ and His grace & mercy.  He would be encouraging us to trust in ourselves, and God never does that.  The way of the Lord is always a way of faith - faith in His goodness, mercy and love.  Our faith is to be in Him, not in ourselves."
 (Give Them Grace pg.62)

I did plan on going to Elyse Fitzpatrick's teaching session which was after Stuart Scott's.  And the exact words came out of her mouth, "SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!!"  Thank you Jesus for being in the details of my everyday life.  After the NANC conference is when I began to read "Give Them Grace" and highly recommend every parent no matter if you're an Evangelist or a Discipler to read it.  

I have one more book to give away on November 27th, 2011 7pm PST.  Same rules applied follow blog, FB or Twitter.  Repost and/or retweet and receive more entries in the giveaway.  I've saved everyone who entered last week as well so you all still have a chance to win as well.  Let me know how you've entered in my comments.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

2 Winners for "Give Them Grace" Book Giveaway

Drumroll please! Thank you for all the entries, follows, tweets & reposts of the giveaway.  The winners for tonight is:
Sarah Harrison Woodward
Jessica Thommarson

Congrats ladies! I messaged you via Facebook to send me your addresses so I can email you your "Give Them Grace" books.  So very excited for you!