Not by Works

I am and always have been a person who seeks the approval of others. I want people to like me, to appreciate what I have done and to notice that I am helping. I don’t think that I am alone in this desire, but I do know that this need to work towards acceptance isn’t necessary with my relationship with God.

I have read these verses, memorized them, taken notes from numerous sermons about them. But they are now settling into my heart. I spent years trying to please my mother, but there was nothing I could do to make her happy with me. I just was never good enough. I had straight A’s on my report card, but my mom brought up the fact that I had gotten a C on a test recently. I was just not good enough. I knew from a young age that my mother cried when she had me, stated repeatedly that she never wanted me and even refused to name me. (My dad names me, ironically, for my mother.) In spite of a less than welcoming childhood and all kinds of physical problems, I grew and matured and at the age of twenty-one, I became a Christian. I didn’t have to do anything special for God to love me. I just had to be me…a sinner saved by grace. There was and is absolutely nothing I can do to make myself more acceptable to God. He loves me just the way I am. That has been a freeing truth in my life. I still like to please people, but if I don’t, I’m not totally devastated. I just keep trying to please God instead by serving others. Not because He requires it, but because He doesn’t require anything of me except for me to believe and accept Him as my Lord and Savior. I have been changed from the inside out and it’s freeing to know that I can’t earn grace!

May you, too, find the freedom that comes only from accepting God’s free gift of salvation. And may your day be blessed with finding others to tell about His love, mercy and grace!

Just As I Am-The Vagle Brothers

Our Amazing God

After the man who was paralyzed was healed, the people’s reaction was amazement. Daily, God walked among them because Jesus came to earth as a man. But when miracles began to happen, they were amazed. Should we not be constantly amazed at what God has done and is doing? All we have to do is look around us at all He has already created for us to enjoy, look at our own health and well-being and the blessings of family He has given us. We see remarkable things daily, if we just open our eyes.

No one is like our God, the God who sees us, hears us and answers us. He is holy and is to be praised, not just for performing miracles, but for who He is and always has been.

God speaks and things happen. I have difficulty getting my grandchildren to even hear me when I speak because they are so attentive to their television shows. Yet, God spoke and the whole earth was created. Amazing God!

Indescribable-Chris Tomlin

The Mother of the Savior

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary, Did You Know?” I think that is because I am a mother and I can only imagine how hard it must have been to be pregnant as a teen, giving birth to God’s Son and knowing that His mission on earth would be a short one since His destiny was to be the Messiah for all mankind. I recall when I was pregnant with my children, all the imaginings and hopes and wishes I had for each child. I cherished the moments with them when they were growing up, watching carefully to see the choices each would make and allowing them more freedom as they matured. What must it have been like for Mary, the woman who knew she was giving birth to the One who would sacrifice His life for all of us?

This verse gives us insight into Mary’s character as a mom. She, like many of us, treasure our children’s childhood, knowing that one day they will grow up, leave home and establish a life for themselves apart from us. Mary was a human mother who had all of the love of a regular mother for her beloved son, and like most mothers, she treasured the preciousness of her time with her child.

Unlike most mothers, though, Mary received a prophecy from Simeon when she and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to be consecrated to the Lord. The prophecy included the fact that she would one day suffer tremendous sorrow because her firstborn son would die. It is not the “natural way” of things that a child should predecease a parent, but that was part of Jesus’s destiny and God’s plan of salvation. How much did Mary know? Enough. But she still was willing to be obedient and give birth to the Messiah. She didn’t cower and say, “No, not me. Choose someone else to do this hard thing.” Knowing that the road ahead would be hard, she chose to be the mother to the Man who was also God, the One who would one day die on a cross with her watching beneath it. I admire Mary’s sacrifice and fortitude, but I don’t worship her because she is not God. She was a human whom God chose to use to fulfill His plan for all of mankind and her willingness is to be remembered by us all as the ultimate sacrifice of a loving mother and obedient servant of the Most High God.

Mary, Did You Know by Pentatonix

Have a blessed day as you ponder the real meaning of the season and the sacrifice that Jesus and Mary knew that He was going to make.

Overcomer

I am an overcomer, and so are you if you are a Christian. Following in the path that the Lord has prepared for us, we cannot always expect the way to be easy. But we can know without a doubt that Jesus goes before us. Since He overcame all that life on earth and Satan threw at Him, we can, too. It takes faith, perseverance and steadfastness, but we can do it!

Overcomer-Mandisa

Have a blessed and glorious day in the Lord!

We Are Dust

The Lord who created us knows that we are but dust from the earth and one day our human bodies will return to the ground from which it was created. But our breath, our soul, the inner part of us came from the very breath of God. That is why I believe that life is sacred and not to be dismissed as not valuable. Today, mankind is generally led around by the current beliefs, whatever they may be. The current term is a being ”woke” but I actually think that the people of the earth are more asleep to the mighty power of God and His judgment that is coming than they have ever been.

Like dust, we are blown around by the winds of change, the opinions of man mattering more to many of us than the truth of God’s Word. My prayer and hope is that there will be a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit that blows into each life of each Christian. If I must be blown around, God grant that it will be with the wind of the Holy Spirit and not the hot air that man produces with his own ideas of right and wrong.

What settles dust blowing around? Rain! The refreshing rain of the Word of God that showers us with His truth about His love, grace, mercy and, yes, the judgment to come. I desire to be refreshed daily so I spend time in God’s Word allowing Him to speak to me. It’s amazing to me that some people never spend time with God and yet they think they have all of the answers to life’s problems. It’s not a possibility for them to have answers since they don’t even know what the questions are. Who made us? God. To whom do we owe everything we are and all that we have? God. Who decides our ultimate fate for eternity? God. I am praying that God will intervene in the sinfulness of our world and send His wind and His rain. But, whether he chooses to continue to strive with mankind or not, I do know that my life in Him is secure and I can trust Him to send His Holy Spirit to guide me and His rain to teach me.

It’s Beginning to Rain by The Gaither Trio

In Everything Give Thanks

No matter what the circumstance is, there is always something to be thankful for. Notice that the Scripture says IN every situation, not after you have made it through to the other side. I am facing a mountain right now and God spoke clearly to me this morning to give thanks to Him. After all, I have spent the last few weeks with posts about thankfulness and then a challenge comes around and I started whining and thinking of all of the negatives. It seems that my husband and I came to Maryland to visit family for Thanksgiving, but he will be leaving to go home without me because my son needs me to care for the youngest as I did last year. That was a vague possibility in the back of my mind since his normal caregiver is a family member who lives here in Maryland, and just as she did last year, she took another job. And, of course, gave the family no notice about her plans. Just a text that said, “On my way home from my new job.” I was angry at first at the numerous hardships this causes me, the inconvenience of not having enough warm clothes here or all of my extra meds. But I quickly calmed down, got my husband to pick up my OTC meds that I don’t have here and have become resigned to the fact that I will be here for most of the next two months. That may not seem like a mountain to most people, but the little one is now a very active toddler, and I am a very slow-moving Nanna who stays in pain from arthritis. That being said, God is always full of mercy and loving kindness and had helped me to make it through the days so far that I have been caring for him this week. God even put this verse into my mind this morning first thing when I awakened and emphasized the word “in” for me as His Spirit whispered soft words of encouragement for me. So, I’m facing a mountain but I won’t be alone because God is there. He knows my physical shortcomings and He promises to strengthen me and to keep me (and the little one) safe. I need to look at it as an opportunity to be a good witness and to be helpful during my aged years. Inconvenient? Yes, but a lot of opportunities are.

Give Thanks by Don Moen

Since today is Thanksgiving, I will cease my current theme unless the Lord leads me in this direction more. I just want to say to each of you that I am thankful for your taking the time to read, to comment and to share my blog. You are nameless and faceless friends, but you are important to me and you matter a great deal to the Lord.

May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with blessings that overflow from your heart to the hearts of those you love. Be blessed to be a blessing!

Thankful for Joy

First of all, I had to get over the idea that joy is simply happiness and a smile on my face. According to the site http://www.biblestudytools.com, joy is “extreme happiness as the believer contemplates salvation and the bliss of of the afterlife.” It is described as rejoicing over unexpected benefits. And very importantly, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. So, I am thankful for joy and for the discovery that it’s not just a feeling but it is so much more. It is a constant sense of knowing that you belong to the Father and therein lies great joy. I have discovered in my aged wisdom that joy comes from within. Things, people and places don’t give me joy. It resides deep in my heart and is indeed a special gift from God. I may fleetingly be happy but I can always have joy if I choose to acknowledge that it’s a gift from God and not just a feeling. Joy bubbles up inside me at the most unexpected times. I may be thinking about a friend who has passed away or a circumstance that seems overwhelming. And suddenly, there is the joy bubbling around inside me as I contemplate the good times I had with my friend or the fact that circumstances change but God doesn’t.

Crying and weeping are a part of the natural order of things in life. We get sad due to circumstances beyond our control or due to our own poor choices. But joy is there, always waiting for us to recognize that it never left us; we just had it on “simmer” for a season. I look forward to the day when there is no more sorrow or weeping, but until that day, I am thankful for joy and the fact that I can acknowledge that God gives me joy just as He gave me His Son as my Savior and His Spirit to guide me.

May your day be blessed with joy!

Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory

Thankful for the Hard Times

When things get hard, I get closer to the Lord. I push in and almost try to become a part of Him as I pray, sing, whatever I have to do to get as close as possible to the only one that I know can help me.

This morning, I read the testimony of a young woman who went to be with the Lord in February. Her dream was to sing for a wide audience and sing she did, with all of her heart, on an American show on which she was a favorite. She never got to win the final prize or record in a big studio or become famous because she died. But it is her testimony of how she faced the hard times of cancer, and a husband who left her in the midst of her illness, that has stayed with people and crossed the internet repeatedly. I share that with you today just to ponder if you, too, think that you should be thankful in the hard times.

God Is On the Bathroom Floor

The testimony is not perfectly written, but it is heart-wrenching and a true testament of turning to God when things get hard. I cannot imagine what this lovely soul went through, but I know that she went through it with God.

It has always been easier to be thankful when things are going well, when the sky is blue, the weather is perfect, the kids are all healthy and other relationships are in the right place. But that is when I have found that sometimes I forget to be thankful, just because everything is so good. Then, along comes something difficult: a lost job, a staggering economy with high prices, illness, or any number of other things. At those times, I don’t hesitate to go before the Lord and thank Him for His guidance, provision and love. So, why am I (and probably you) so accustomed to going to God readily in the hard times? Because we know that He is our shelter, the only real refuge we have from the onslaught that is life.

I have never suffered as Nightbirde did, but I have faced hard times. And I know that the only answer is finding and holding on to faith in God, no matter whether you find Him in the bathroom, your bedroom or out walking around in the woods. In a world that is spinning out of control, I am thankful that God is stable and holds out His hand to each of us to keep us stable, too. God holds us up if we just call on Him. Our call starts with thanksgiving for His loving presence, in the good times, in the hard times, at all times.

“Hold On To Me “ by Lauren Daigle

Nothing Too Hard

Have you ever tried to do something and before you even started, you were feeling defeated, like you just couldn’t do it? Maybe it was a chore that you dreaded and had put off so long that the task itself seemed to multiply before you. Maybe it was a difficult conversation you knew that you needed to have with someone. Or maybe it was believing for a miracle from God in your situation. God is a good God, all the time and He always wants what is best for you. Be encouraged by the Scripture today and know that if God can bring Israel back from captivity in Babylon, He can also take care of whatever you are facing today.

The same God who created all of the earth and the heavens is watching over you and waiting for you to call on His name in faith, believing that nothing is too hard for Him.

Ah, Lord God-Don Moen

Have a blessed day filled with the possibilities of what God can do!