It's All Grace

Amazing things can happen when you allow the Lord to work in your life.

Glass tongues

“If ONLY our tongues were made of glass . . . how much more careful would we be when we speak”?  by Shaun Shane

Our tongues are the strongest muscle in the body, proportionally speaking, so we can lift the spirits of our families and friends. What will you do with that which is in your mouth?  Bridle it or unleash it?  They both make a long lasting impact. Which will you choose?

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”.  Ephesians 4:29

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue:  and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Proverbs 18:21

 

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How will you run, & will you conquer?

Hebrews 12:1-2   “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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A race implies an exact distance, a measured course, a starting place and finish line.  It is not a continuous loop that we can repeat over and over until we get it right.  Once the race has started, you cannot start over, go back and erase.  You must keep pressing forward.

The Christian life is also a race, one to endure.  It is not a sprint, it is more like a marathon, and similar to conquering the gauntlet.  There will be those who will not reap benefits, because they won’t run with patience (meaning to persevere & endure).

Many marriages won’t make it because they won’t stay together through the hard times.  The world says, “enjoy NOW” and God says “WAIT NOW & enjoy later”.  Marriage brings with it many obstacles, wounds, and weights even when there is rough terrain that may leave scars and hurts.  Stick it out.  Keep running, laying aside your weights that beset you.

Recently, I participated in an event with friends and family, knowing in advance I would be tested, stretched, left physically exhausted with possible bruises and cuts from trauma to my physical body.  I not only participated, but I had to register and pay a fee that would allow me to endure such things I did not know I would encounter.

Conquer the Gauntlet is an extreme 4 mile run/race/event with 30 + obstacles on grueling terrain, fire, barbed wire, walls to climb over, mud pits, etc., that will challenge you in every area that you can imagine, just as the Christian walk will do.

To endure and succeed in such an event, you must have determination, purpose and will-power.  Qualities required are honesty, courage, integrity and the like.  You will have to overcome or surmount physical, mental or moral force to be victorious, just as you do in your daily life as a Christian.

On this 154 minute journey (for me) in 96 degree temps, to “conquer the gauntlet”, I realized just how deceitful the heart can be.  Your mind and your body are not always in agreement when you are faced with an obstacle you must overcome, by going over, under or through it.  Going AROUND the obstacle that was provided to stretch you, only means you did NOT endure.  Your mind says you can do it and yet your body begins to argue, or vice-versa.

As we set out to run and conquer the gauntlet, we endured and encountered many things that I would like to share, but too many to write in one post, so I hope that you will check in and read the posts to follow.

How will you run the race, and will you finish well?  Will you finish the race standing up or will you be carried out on a gurney needing oxygen to help you breathe, etc?  Will you see it as an accomplishment or a regret and never run again?  How we view what is ahead, is in direct relation to how well we will finish.

Stay tuned as I will be writing about obstacles, weights, accountability, encouragement, thoughts, enduring & persevering, wounds, and even humor!

Conquering the Gauntlet was a journey I gained so much from . . . too much not to share!

One thing is for sure:  We look much different at the starting line, than we do the finish line, when we choose to overcome and conquer!

 

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Losing vs. Winning

Something to chew on:  Perspective is everything!

As your life unfolds much differently than you anticipated, remember that there are some things in life you can learn from losing . . . that you may never be able to learn from winning!

God already knows the end of the story no matter how surprised we find ourselves.

Psalm 34:8 “O taste and see that the Lord is good:  blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

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What’s tucked in your backpack?

On this journey through life, we get banged up, broken bones and hearts, accumulate scratches, marring & scars, bodies altered, cut, and lose limbs, become deeply wounded, experience death and disease, etc.  All, which come in the categories of emotional, spiritual and physical.

Some of that may come from our own doings, and some from the choices others.  ALL, which we have NO CONTROL over.  Nonetheless, God has allowed these circumstances for a greater purpose than what we realize in the moment as well as enduring our suffering.

1) to bring him glory in our weaknesses, hurts and failures

2) to establish a platform of victories, that we might reach out and help others find victory through defeat

Satan hopes our horrible experiences will cause us to live in the past.  No way!!!  This pilgrim is moving forward, but I DO keep my experiences tucked in my backpack.  It serves me along the way to be of help to another soldier in battle.

LOOK today for those in need of encouragement, as the Lord has given each one of us a platform to be HIS hands and feet!

Hebrews 3:13  “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today . . .”

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Flow through me

Lord I want to be Your witness of what I’m living here below

but words cannot express the feelings deep within my soul

so Jesus take my life today and somehow let it be

that when somebody looks at me, Your love is all they see.

 

FLOW THROUGH ME like a beautiful melody

shine though me like a lighthouse by the sea

Lord let my life reflect Your life like a mirror polished clean

Jesus . . . live through me!

 

IF I could have but one request I know what it would be

that I could show the whole wide world the picture that I see

cause if they saw You Jesus, dying on that cruel tree

I know they couldn’t help but love You if only they could see.

Forgive me for the things I do that often bring You shame

and change me into someone that brings honor to Your name

Take away all of me and fill me full of You

this is what I ask today I’m pleading NOW with You.

 

FLOW THROUGH ME like a beautiful melody

shine though me like a lighthouse by the sea

Lord let my life reflect Your life like a mirror polished clean

Jesus . . . live through me!

 

The lyrics to this song has been running through my heart and mind all day long.  I desire to have a life that reflects my Lord and Savior.  However, I am a work in progress and know that he is faithful to complete the work he has begun in me!  Let your life be a witness of what he has done and is currently doing in you!  Allow Christ to flow through you.

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Unexpected Places

Sometimes God will take us to unexpected places. But we can rest assured, based on his promises, that in every situation that presents itself, he will provide beyond what we can imagine and so much more than we can fathom!

When we completely trust in him, our faith will begin to go through the roof and we will find ourselves trusting in ways we never knew were possible, walking in ways we didn’t know existed!

It is IN those unexpected places that we learn more about his character and his love for us!

When you find yourself in “unexpected territory”, step forward in faith and trust him . . . COMPLETELY!

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Can you successfully hide your deceit?

Obedience brings blessings . . . Disobedience brings curse.   Deuteronomy 28

How will your life play out based on the choices you make as well as the motives behind what you do?

You cannot make a good choice with an impure motive and come away smelling like roses or sneak by the hand of God.  Consequences DO come.  Some will be immediate, while some are far reaching.  Nonetheless, consequences will not escape those who choose to deceive.

In Genesis 27, Jacob is given instructions by his mother to deceive his father for a blessing.  Jacob is aware that he will be deceiving his father, yet follows through with his mothers instruction.

Jacob, in his younger years (whose name means deceiver, heel grabber) experienced the receiving end of deception.  He was manipulated and deceived by Laban, his father-in-law, (his mother’s brother).  Jacob purposed to honor what he said he would do, yet his father-in-law deceived Jacob by not giving him the woman he asked & worked seven years to gain.  As a result, Jacob had to work an additional seven years (totaling 14 years) to obtain the woman he intended to take as his wife.

It wasn’t until years later, Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32, that Jacob chose to “grab” onto God.  God achieved a firm hold onto Jacob causing him to quit deceiving and rely upon God.  God is capable of getting our attention.

Are you like the young Jacob causing God to track you down in your own deceit?

Can you think of a time where God has made himself known to you as he did to Jacob?

At that point of change Jacob walked much differently purposing no longer to deceive.  That day, Jacob saw God face to face and his name was changed to Israel.

Numbers 32:23  . . . be sure your sin will find you out.”

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Present your body

         “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye PRESENT your bodies a LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”.  Romans 12:1

Once we have given our hearts to Jesus Christ, we are beseeched (ask, implore, plead, beg) to present our bodies to the Lord.  It is the least we could do, when we consider what he gave for us.  When we present our bodies, we willingly lay it in the hands of our Lord.  HOWEVER, it is not fully presented until we take our hands completely off of it!  Picture yourself laying lifeless in the arms of Jesus Christ.  That is what  our lives should look like when our bodies are presented.

A LIVING SACRIFICE means that I die completely so that Christ can live.  We need to quit trying and start dying, because the best that we can do is not good enough.

God wants more than just our hearts, he wants our bodies also.  Let Christ live in you daily as you fully & completely present your body a living sacrifice for him!

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Happiness is tied in “nots”

Did you know that unsaved people can enjoy blessings, just like saved people can?

    “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”.    Psalm 1:1-3

This word blessed means – happy with a glow.  This is more about how he lives, than what he has.  It’s based on what he does “not” do.  This man is happy because he has some “nots” in his life. In the verse above, we see a digression; not walk, not stand, not sit.  How do you end up a scorner?  You don’t have any “nots” tied into your life.

Something to think about: If we go through life, and ALL WE HAVE are positives, and no negatives, there will never be any real charge to get things done.  For example:  If you try to jump start a vehicle with only a positive charge, it won’t help much.  You need the negative side to complete the charge!  The “NOTS” in your life complete the charge.

Tie a “not” today in your life concerning friendships.  When you leave the presence of your friends, are you more excited about your relationship with God, or less excited?

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”      Proverbs 13:20

What are your “nots”?  Tie some “nots” into your life and you will be blessed!

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Will you walk, fall or fly?

What are you hanging onto, trying to accomplish in your own strength?

Many times the Lord is just waiting for us to let go, fall down, open our clenched fists and completely surrender, so that his strength can be made known in our weakness.

When God leads you to (what feels like) the edge of the cliff, trust him fully and let go!  Only one of two things will happen.  Either he will catch you when you fall . . . or he will teach you how to fly!

Whatever it is for you:  Step into the water, step out of the boat, step into the river Jordan, or just move to the edge of your cliff and walk, fall or fly by faith . . . either way you win!

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