Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another Chance

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

If there is one thing that is indisputable about everyone one of us, it’s that we all have the endless capacity to mess up! Every day we try to do our best, but so often we slip up. And if there was ever a message that every one of us needed to hear again and again, it would be that God is a God of another chance!

…a new day

                              …a clean slate

                                       …the chance to do better

                                                 …an opportunity to start over

The grace of God means that even when we blow it He gives us every chance in the world to acknowledge our mistakes and ask for His forgiveness; His steadfast love and mercy are greater than any sin, and He promises His loving grace. Grace is more than just second chances and undeserved gifts. It is manifested in human failure, mistakes, weakness, and flaws, and God’s grace does not give up!

“But because of Hid great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Time after time, our gracious Lord gives us another chance; He is the God of new beginnings. He creates new days and gives us a fresh start…He extends GRACE!


R-Redeemed us

A-Adopted us

C-Changed us


God doesn’t give up on us as quickly as we give up on ourselves; He gives us better chances to get it right the next time. We may wonder how He can love us when we constantly mess up and fail to follow His word, but God the great forgiver grips each of us in our darkest mishaps! His love and grace is not based on our performance, but rather because we surrender our heart to Him and challenge ourselves to try harder. God continually reaches out to people like you and me that need another chance, and the more grace we receive, the more power we have over sin! It is this grace that speaks into our lives and forms our character and keeps us moving forward. God believes in us even when we don’t believe in ourselves, and we have to cling to the miracle of His grace. Every new day there is a fresh supply and the God of second chances gives us a lifetime of opportunity!

“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.” (Romans 15:13)

Linking up this week with Spiritual Sundays, Winsome Wednesdays, Rich Faith Rising, and A Sheltering Tree

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Children of Light

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Putting off the old self…

Change isn’t an easy thing, and even as Christians we tend to be stubborn and return to our old ways of thinking and behaving when we are feeling vulnerable or pressure is building up. We are all trapped in the flesh, and even though we have been saved, our new nature is in constant conflict with our old nature in search of pleasing God. Putting off the old and putting on the new is a daily conscious commitment that comes as a result of the desire to live close to Jesus and have His life rub off on us so that we can experience qualities of love, joy, peace, and patience when we are tempted. Because of Jesus, our thinking has changed and the thoughts and deceptive desires that seep into our heart have been made new! We must put on the new nature, head in a new direction, and experience a new way of thinking!

“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your creator and become like Him” (Colossians 3:10)

Putting on the new self…

Regardless of circumstances that get in our way, we only need to think about how turning on a light can bring change to the attitude of our minds in any miserable situation. We need to open our eyes and make necessary changes in our hearts to allow God’s light to brightly shine. He said that we are the light of the world, so we better keep our attitudes and words in check and do our best to make sure our light is shining! As Christians, our purpose in life is to put on our new self and push back the darkness around us by allowing God’s light to brilliantly shine through us. Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, and a large part of the transformational experience means that we have to replace our old attitudes with new attitudes that are based upon His word. We must choose joy over depression, love over bitterness and light over darkness. God gives us His light freely, and His light shines through our approaches, words, and deeds. Our responsibility as Christians is to have lives so transformed by His presence that everyone can see His light shining through our acts of kindness, patience, understanding and love.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)

Our old way of life is completely in the past, and we have the possibility of doing something entirely different and living a different kind of life because we have been renewed by the attitudes of our minds. Our new self is in the likeness of God, and we should put on our new nature and let it brightly shine for everyone to see!

Linking up this week with Spiritual Sundays, Winsome Wednesday, and A Sheltering Tree

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stand Out!

“Authenticity occurs when real people say real things about real issues with real feelings. When you’re authentic you live what you are.” (Charles Swindoll)

Are you living who you were created to be or who society told you to be? I think that many of us are afraid of being “different” and not being accepted by those around us; we are more comfortable blending in rather than standing out. We would rather fit in than dare to be different and unique; we live our lives as the world tells us to live by following the media on how to dress, what to eat, where to go, and who to associate with. We are subject to a lot of peer pressure from the minute we are born starting with our families and friends, then school, government, church, and our work place. I often wonder why so many of us spend our lives denying who we really are, hiding our differences so we can fit in with the crowd? I think the trouble with living our lives as society dictates is that we lose our identity and authenticity and just become like everyone else!

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

To dare to be different means to stand out! Rather than following what society believes us to be, we need to make it a point to live our lives as the bible directs and look to Jesus as our role model. We all have a different personal will from God which He created Himself, and He didn’t anoint us to be anyone other than who we are. Going along with the crowd when we feel like God is leading us in a different direction will drain us of the energy we need to pursue the things that are important and significant to us. We are simply wearing a mask when we pretend to be someone that we really aren’t. Having a strong self-image allows us to be the type of person God planned us to be; He planned in each of us a unique and special personality to fulfill His purpose for our life. When we see ourselves the way God does we learn to embrace who we are and stand out in the crowd with our own personal characteristics that build up other people and benefit God’s kingdom.

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (Ephesians 4:7)

We need to respond to the grace that we have been given and react to our calling by being authentic and becoming aware of the deep need to follow our hearts and stop living by other people’s rules. We have to realize and embrace our distinctive set of personal characteristics and become all God created us to be. Now is the time to go forward and stop trying to be someone we’re not; God is proud of who He made us to be. Rather than “fitting in”, we need to dare to be different and stand out!

“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” (Psalm 119:73)

Linking up this week with Spiritual Sundays, Sharing His Beauty, Winsome Wednesday, and A Sheltering Tree

Beauty in His Grip Button

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Take a Break!

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31)

How often do you give yourself permission to take a break? Believe it or not, some of us need to actually schedule downtime and lay down some rules to rest and relax! Going, going, and going all the time will not get you where you truly desire to be! Life gets so busy these days and I think we often forget that it is okay to treat ourselves to a nice break and a little relaxation. Life doesn’t stop; there’s always plenty to do, places to go, and people to see. But in the midst of all these things, we need to give our body and our thoughts the rest they need to restore and recover. Whatever length of time we allow ourselves to be inactive and recuperate will restore our energy and our focus, and we’ll actually be more productive and maintain better balance. After all, when we take a break and unclutter our minds, we become more available to be still and rest in God’s presence.

“The promise of ‘arrival’ and ‘rest’ is still there for God’s people. God Himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:9-11 MSG)

As adults, we constantly ignore our body’s signals to slow down, and then wonder why we can’t focus or get more done; we often resist the urge to fill every second with activities. We’ll actually spend time doing things, but we won’t necessarily  be accomplishing more since our focus and endurance suffers when we don’t give ourselves enough time to rest and unwind. And it’s so east for our daily agenda to become over-scheduled, which makes our bodies and minds scream for rest and downtime! It is when we continue to place high demands on ourselves that we become stressed and may even break under pressure, because the demands on our bodies have become so great. The most productive thing we can do is to allow ourselves to rest and find quiet time with God throughout the day. We know that He rested upon the seventh day as a sign to us that we should take time to rest; likewise, Jesus would separate Himself from His disciples and followers in order to rest and pray.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus gives us His supernatural rest by filling our hearts with peace that is beyond understanding. He wants to silence our thoughts so that we will take more notice of Him, and what’s going on around us and inside of us. Quiet times can keep us from squandering our lives away on the unimportant and needless distractions and give us time to refocus our attention on what really matters. We all need to take a rest if we’ve been putting forth to much effort and hard work to accomplish everything we think we have to. Once we have rested for a while, we can get up and get going again. Life is a cycle of effort and rest. Both effort and rest will serve to energize us, as long as we keep them in balance.

Linking up on Spiritual Sunday and Sharing His Beauty