Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How do I hope when I am surrounded on all sides? When the darkness comes in and clouds my mind. I am tempted to succumb to my weakness and lack rather than rising in His strength. How do I overcome? It is not by might, but by His spirit. It is connecting to Him in Spirit by praise and worship. It is in surrender, for in losing my old self, He clothes me with new life. And so…
When HOPE and EXPECTATION rise in my spirit fear, anger, hurt, insecurity and all forms of darkness are shaken out of my sites. Joy and peace become my covering.
Trusting in the Lord is the key to my hope.
I will sing of His wondrous love that saved me from my self.
I will rejoice in His overwhelming grace that covers all my shortcomings.
I praise Him in the morning, His mercies are new each day.
I take my eyes off of my moment and look to my helper, my comfort, my strength.
My moment will pass, but He is ever constant, faithful with every breath I take.
A keeper of promises.
A healer of disease.
Mighty fortress in times of trouble.
Provider for my needs.
The Hope will rise and overflow from my soul.
For the God of all Hope has said it will be so.
What is this thing called Grace? I have heard songs sing of His Grace. I have read the word declaring the Grace of God. I now ask what is this thing called Grace?
The Spirit rises in me as He shows me, Grace: Unfailing love, a love that takes my place.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Nothing earned, just received.
Grace is a reflection of his unconditional love for me.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. What does Grace sound like? What does unconditional love sound like?
Grace, the sound of one weeping with great surrender.
Grace, the sound of the very breath escaping, that moment we receive the Father’s touch in our lives.
Grace, the sound of laughter that bubbles forth in Joy, despite the trials and grieving.
Grace, the sound of dancing feet slapping the ground from the song that rises in the soul declaring His goodness.
Grace, the sound of the heavens opening up, His presence pouring on His people.
Grace, the sound of a new morning reflection, How great is your love for me.
My soul sings. My heart leaps. You find great delight and favor in me. I will not take that favor for granted. Amazing Grace, how sweet that sound!
John 1:4 The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, The glory of the one and only Son, who came from the father, full of Grace and Truth.
I am aware the background to this message may sound like I am a tad bit spoiled. Trust me when I say that I know I have been. Here is a glimpse of that spoiled child in me anyway. 🙂
We live right next to a highway. On that noisy highway, are the neighbors, a gas station and a restaurant.
We blissfully slept in our new home the first few months, then one night when we clicked off the lights there was still so much light in the room we could see the expressions on each others faces from across the room. There was now a flood of bright white light pouring in. Our neighbors so graciously bought floodlights for their parking lot and pointed them straight at our bedroom window. Previously we lived on a quiet 22 acres in the country that was stark black at night, this was a drastic change.
It could have been broad daylight it was so bright in the room. We had no money for curtains, so for a few weeks we slept (or tried to) in the light. Payday came and we found some discounted black curtains on clearance and it was blissfully dark in the room again, with only a little light seeping through the edges of the curtain.
Thinking on this light and the fact that it wasn’t very pleasant, still makes me think about how light works and how it pierces the darkness and changes a room.
A dark room with a few carefully placed lit candles becomes warm and friendly.
Reflecting on light and how bright and persistent it can be, reminds me of my desire to be that kind of light. One that changes an atmosphere and continues to shine, just because I am there. I want to lighten a room (in a GOOD way) by bringing joy and a hope.
One of the definitions of light in the dictionary is : The radiance or illumination from a particular source.
I WANT to be that particular source. I so desire to radiate with the love of God, with HIS light. I do not want to bring darkness to a room with my grumbling, gossiping, worrying, complaining, sad self. I want to be SO full with the joy of the Lord that it can not help but spill out and onto others around me.
I want the surroundings about me to brighten with joy and animation because I am there and the Spirit of the Lord is a part of me.
One way to be the full light the Lord has for me to be, is to dig into the word and allow Him to work in me. Spending my days in prayer and worshiping the Lord in Spirit and truth continually and asking Him to always have His way in me. It is so important that I change the focus of my world around me and circumstances to a focus of Him and a love for His people. Taking steps towards being a light and letting go of the things that darken me is the only way I will be a light that penetrates the atmosphere!
Challenge this day my friends: Decide to be a light, and go for it.
Let me know the things you have done to be a light to others. Let’s share our ideas and experiences so we can grow together.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.
I remember playing games when I was younger. There were times that the dice didn’t roll the way I wanted it to or a play didn’t quite go the way that was planned, and I would ask, “Can I have a do over?”
I don’t know how many times in the last twenty years I had asked God that question. My prayers have often included, ” Lord if only I could take that back!” or ” Please let me try that again, I will do better next time.” After the question leaves my mind or lips, I always had to face the reality that there was no do over.
All those opportunities that I either had taken for granted or thrown away, I can not grab those same opportunities back. I find that no matter how big my regret of my mistakes, and the mess that they made, I can not erase the consequences of something I did.
One thing I can do, is pursue from this moment on a life full of joy and promise. I would rather have a life filled with joy and a hope for my future than looking back and always wishing I could have done things differently.
Living a life full of joy is an action involved journey. I can not live in joy if I am constantly walking in regret. I can take those moments that I messed up and say, “Well, I hope not to do THAT again!” and move on.
There is a season of growing and learning from these past wrong doings, mistakes, or foolishness, but I am not to allow it to hold me down or hold me back. When I have repented and done what I can do to make a situation right in His eyes, the Lord forgives us from our sins and our past mistakes, the slate is wiped clean. I do not have to keep rewriting the mess out over and over again. I too can let it go as the Lord has.
When I am walking in the question, “Can I have a do over…..PLEASE!” I am walking in condemnation. I am not walking in victory. If I have taken my issues to the Lord and asked for forgiveness, then I am forgiven. The Lord does not want us bogged down by regret and shame, constantly looking back at, “what if” and “if only I had”.
If I have missed an opportunity because of foolishness, I can trust my God is good enough to bring new opportunities my way. It is important I learn, grow and then let go.
Walking in a life with Jesus, I don’t have to ask ” Can I have a do over?”, because He already finished the game and gave the victory to me ! I just need to stop and remember to accept it.
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Tonight was a whirlwind for my husband. Our friends were visiting from Idaho. They moved away five months ago and we were SO blessed to have a real hug in person, to visit and to sit at a meal together.
There was sharing and laughter and good eats. Then the guys decided to take our friends Subaru for a drive. Our friend had bought it six months ago, just before his move. My boys LOVE Subaru’s and everyone was excited to check it out. The first ride was a run with my sons in the car. They took it to back roads and on a gravel road did some showing off.
Then the guys brought the boys back and went out by themselves. Dan was driving our friends car. There was a little playing with the car on a straight away back road, but Dan had slowed down and was driving normal when a curve was coming up, that he knew was there.
Dan had not driven a stick in ages and this car had power. Dan slowed down before the curve and somewhere somehow, that is when things changed quickly. He describes the moment as slow motion. The car left the road and rolled. There was no guard rail, there was no skidding, there was no wreckless driving, just a ditch to meet and it totalled the car.
The men were trapped, upside down. They unbuckled and dropped and had to break out the window to get out of the car. There is so much that was happening in their minds and in the process, I was not there, so I can not fully comprehend or relay the experience. But what I can relay is the reaction of a Godly friend.
Dan was panicked in that car. He is claustrophobic in normal situations, there was a moment he was trapped. The car had smoke coming in, our friend had a bloody nose, the airbags had went off, they were buckled in and it took breaking a window to get out of the car.
Our friend talked Dan through the panic and kept a level head.
Dan was beside himself to have destroyed a friends beautiful car. Our friend assured him over and over that this possession was not more important than Dan. He was thankful to be with Dan. He was full of grace and kindness and forgiveness. There was nothing but assurance and an example of love.
This reminds me how the Lord is with His children. He is full of grace, full of love, full of assurance. He knows His children’s hearts and when we come to Him with a contrite heart, asking for forgiveness, our God offers it. Just in this way. No strings attached.
God also showed favor and grace in another way. Our finances are a mess. But we have enough set aside for the deductible of the accident. We were saving it for moving when the home is taken away, but we know that there will be a different provision if and when that time comes. Our God IS a supplier and full of mercy and grace.
There was no ticket, the police officer found no fault with Dan’s spotless driving record, and stated. ” usually, there would be a ticket, but I see no sign of reckless driving and a ticket will not help your situation so I am not going to give you one.” Again this is a sign of how unmerited grace works. We did not deserve that favor, it was just given.
Our friend Don (Best friends dad) was over for dinner as well and happened to not go on that drive . He received the call and went to them. He did not give us women details to worry us, he went with a calm. He was saved from the experience of the wreck and I am so thankful for that. He was there to be a calm and a hand to aid the guys at the site. He was an encouraging and solid voice and I am SO blessed he was there. Another example of God’s grace!
My husband and our friend…. WALKED from the car. The fireman said they were extremely lucky to have no injuries. Again, this is a sign of grace.
Dan was angry at his fault at wrecking a friends car, he was furious, he felt bad, he felt foolish, we have a thousand different ways we would have rather this day have gone, but we have experienced grace in a way we never had before.
This friend, never once raised his voice or blamed Dan in the situation, but assured him and encouraged him instead. The wife (my best friend) was with me when we got the news and she was teary eyed, not over the vehicle or the disappointing concerns of what to do to fix it all, but she was teary eyed over knowing how bad my husband would feel. She was concerned for us and our finances. She was concerned for us and not themselves.
What have I learned from this example? Think twice where I would find fault with another, even if fault is theirs, I can find that as an opportunity to extend grace! I can show love regardless of a situation. There are far more important things than what my small mind may see.
Thank you dear friends for being a living example on being a child of God that gives unmerited favor to others…. grace is an amazing gift to receive!!!
Challenge this day friends: Recognize areas in your life where you have experienced grace. Extend grace in new ways to others in your life. Be a living example of Jesus.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Thank you Lord for keeping your children safe in their time of need!!!!
In my family, perception (understanding), has many angles even when we are on the same line of a topic, we see things completely different. We live in a house with three teenagers and constant energy. I can ask someone to do something and watch them take action and do completely the opposite of what I had meant. I can get very frustrated in these moments and have decided to try and stop and get a clear view of how I came across or put myself in their place for a bit.
People are so unique in their thinking process and life experiences. We can all look at a glass and truly see it many ways; half full, half empty, or who cares give me a drink. No two people are exactly alike and there is room to be misunderstood or not have a full understanding of what people mean on the best of days. Adding the stress of life, work, family and friends and your perception can be completely blurred by your situations.
When people do not understand you, it can be a great stress in your life if you let it. I have had to step back on many occasions and let the Lord do His work in my heart because I have gotten bitter when others have not understood me, or what I considered, not listened to me.
One area that I am finding that leads to joy in my life, is when I lay things down and try to look at them through God’s perception. When someone is hurting me, arguing with me, not listening to me or perceiving life differently than me, I have made a conscious choice to look at them as Jesus would. More often than not I truly fail at this. But daily I am trying to look at those in my life with true love and extend grace in areas that drive me crazy, and pray they do the same for me.
This also leads me to one more thought tonight; I don’t know how many times I walked through my life having people push their perception of the gospel on me. There are a hundred different varieties of the way Christians believe. I can not possibly make everyone happy and seek the Kingdom of God at the same time. I must push in and read the bible for myself.
I must look at my situations not as my flesh wants to look at them, but rather, what exactly does the word of God say about my own situation?
Most often, I can not look at someone else’s situation with a completely clear view. My own life experiences and beliefs can muddle it up. I have a completely different perspective than any one else may have.
My prayer when I write this blog is that my perception is not pushed on anyone. I desire that the heart of joy is shared and lead to bless your day, not bog you down with my perception of joy.
I hope to leave a nugget of hope and joy, not a burden that you can never attain it, or that all is well and good for me but your life is far messier than mine and I don’t understand. I am expressing through these blogs what has worked FOR me and sending a challenge for you my friends to try these tidbits out and see if they can work for you too.
Fullness of joy can make a heart sing when you circumstances say you shouldn’t. Joy can spread from your life to another when they feel hopeless. Joy can be contagious. Sometimes joy starts when we change our perception of things.
Challenge this day my friend: Be mindful and conscious of how you are perceiving others. Are we taking offense when there is none intended? Are we allowing our understanding of what we think someone means, to steal our joy of the day. Ask yourself, “how would Jesus view this, and handle it?”
Proverbs 3:5 – 6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths.