It's All Grace

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

Full Circle

We know we’re coming full circle with God when we stand at a very similar crossroad where we made such a mess of life before, but this time we take a different road!

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What Are You Housing?

THE wagon

God loves Roy Ratliff!  I love sharing our lives with you and all that the Lord allows us to be a part of.

One afternoon, as we passed Texanna Rd Fire Department, the kids yelled, “hey look!”  They saw something that DID NOT look like modern transportation!  A wagon with horses and a bearded man unharnessing his horses.  They wanted to stop and see, but I was on a mission to get Olivia to her piano lesson, while dropping Brady off at the ranch with dad on the way.

Barry and Brady drove back by the fire department on the way home and saw the wagon and horses, turned around and stopped to visit with the man for about an hour and took the opportunity to share the gospel of Christ.  His name was Roy and had been traveling this way for about the last 10 years and gone through 5 teams of horses exclaiming, “JUST CUZ he wanted to!

“Roy’s Stage Lines” houses a team of horses, 2 chickens, 1 dog, a solar panel for electricity, small flat screen tv, a laptop, a sock hanging on the wall to hold his “mouse”, 3 large barrels on the roof to hold his water, outdoor shower and an old seat bolted in the front for driving the team!  He explained to my husband as he opened up one of the feed drawers underneath, that about a week prior, one of his chickens were inside feasting, and much to his surprise, the opening of the drawer cut off the chickens head!  Oops!  The rear view of the wagon displayed approx 10-12 car tags.  Olivia noticed a sign on the front of the wagon that said, “redneck wind sock” that was screwed to an old white sock.  What a unique collection for all to SEE!

I had to ask myself, that just as this mans wagon was his home and a picture of what was important to him, how much more does what I possess, how I chose to live my life and what I allow others to SEE, affect the Kingdom of God?

During my family’s visit with Roy, he said he wasn’t a “religious” man, just an old country boy that doesn’t know nothing! Barry shared his testimony, his life and about his dads salvation (who was just another old country boy who didn’t “know nothing”), etc. and left him with information to seek out the scriptures.  Roy DID SAY that he had a Bible he reads every night!

The next morning we were headed out to a funeral and the kids wanted to stop and say “good-bye”.  Roy gave the kids a shirt and a cap with his name on it!

I just LOVE the things God allows into our lives for HIS GOOD PLEASURE!

Please pray for Roy Ratliff and his salvation, as God loves him too!

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It’s All Grace!

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As I reflect back over the ones who’ve had the greatest impact on my life, I remember my precious Grandma Grace.  Her life began to make the greatest difference AFTER she died.  It was THEN that I realized JUST HOW MUCH she loved the Lord.  Not only did I see HIM in the things she did and said each day, but moreso in the things she DID NOT SAY, OR COULD HAVE SAID.

Grandma Grace set up a memorial stone for me and the generations to come.  Joshua 4 explains exactly what she did for me!  I know the Lord “was well pleased with HIS good and faithful servant”.

Soon after she died, I begged God to make me 1/2 the woman my Grandma was.  Through that request HE began to turn up the heat.  Life seemed more difficult than it had ever been. What The Lord showed me through my trials, was that my Grandma didn’t get to where she was by traveling the easy road, yet it was the difficulties that REFINED her AND made her to look more like HIM.

I had asked my dad about my Grandma Grace (his mother-in-law) and how she affected his life.  After he told me that it was my grandma who led him to Christ, he said this thought provoking statement that I have never forgotten.  “When you met Grace . . . you never forgot her.”  I realized that this is exactly how it is with God’s grace.  His grace has grown more precious to me each passing day on this journey.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  II Corinthians 12:9

So, when you’re struggling and going through adversities, remember that what you’ve asked God for sometimes may not look like the way YOU THOUGHT it ought to look.  My Grandmothers life AND death were significant in my walk with Christ.  Her legacy lives on!

Does your life honor God in such a way, that you would never be forgotten?  What kind of Memorial Stones are you leaving behind for others to learn from?

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It’s the End that Counts!

This devotion is TOO GOOD and too true not to share.  God said HIS word will divide (Matthew 10:34-39) and cut like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 12:4) , cutting as it goes in and comes out.  We are seeing many “fall away” from the truth and it saddens me, as there are many who will claim the name of Christ, yet HE does not KNOW them (Matthew 7:21-23).  The end is nearer than it’s ever been.  Praying that you continue to run the race AND finish well – enduring to the end!

“And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” 
—Mark 13:10-13

This passage presents Jesus’ realistic appraisal of how things will unfold on earth as the end approaches. Not only will the gospel be proclaimed to all nations, but those who proclaim it will also bear the cost. Some will be brought to trial, some betrayed by siblings, parents and children, and some will give their lives. Those associated with Jesus’ name will be hated by all. Then He adds, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Jesus’ closing thought ought to concern you. He was stating a condition to salvation that is both easy to miss and easy to misunderstand.

Here’s the part we miss: He who endures “to the end will be saved”—not the one who starts well, but the one who finishes well.  Although the context indicates that Jesus was speaking about the close of history, His words also apply to the course of our lives. Unless Christ returns during our lifetime, you and I will have a final breath. The point isn’t when, but how we will get to the end of life. Will we cross the finish line enduring or not?

And here’s the part that is easy to misunderstand: Jesus is not saying you are saved by enduring. He is saying that those who are truly saved do endure.

This is reinforced in 1 John 2:19, as the apostle John writes of those who claimed to be believers, but who didn’t endure and didn’t persevere. John said, “They went out from us because they were not of us. If they had of been of us, they would have remained with us, but they went out from us so that it might be manifested that they were in fact never really of us.” 

That’s not talking about local church membership. John was not describing people who leave a church; he was talking about people who leave the Church—people who depart from faith in Christ. People who backslide and never return make it very clear they never really had saving faith.

The longer you follow Christ, the clearer you can see how easy it is to pray a prayer of confession, to walk an aisle, or to confess faith in Christ in a safe and loving environment. But the steps of Jesus don’t take us the easy way; they take us the way of endurance. It takes perseverance to keep on following Christ—even when it’s hard, when the pressure is on.

He who endures to the end will be saved. Let Jesus’ words guide you as you examine yourself. Do you see evidence of your salvation? Then you can rest and rejoice, because when you are truly saved, God will give you everything you need to endure—to the very end.

Taken from Pastor James MacDonald

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Conquering the Guantlet of Life!

IMG_0278  6 foot slanted wall  IMG_0456  IMG_0499  IMG_0523  IMG_0515  IMG_0508     IMG_0562
Three friends started on a journey together.  All smiles, looking pretty with a great outlook on the road ahead.  The road of life brings with it many obstacles that we must jump over, crawl under, go through in the dark, some laced with barbed wire, while some  you will be on your hands and knees with one eye open, battling the mud that someone has thrown at you!
This past weekend, our 15 year old daughter and two of her friends decided and purposed they would attempt to “Conquer the Guantlet”. . . AND THEY DID!  However, I must say, they looked and felt quite different when crossing the finish line, than they did on the starting line.  In the end, they were much dirtier and covered with mud, exhausted, fatigued, marred with cuts and bruises, thirsting for water and nutrition and not near as excited in the end as they were in the beginning.  This trio was relieved to cross the finish line standing up and breathing, yet ready to get cleaned up, lay down and rest.   *Psalm 23:2
Olivia, Megan and Kayla headed out together on a 4 mile journey along rough terrain that encompassed potholes and thick stobs – not exactly fit for running!  90 degree temps with high humidity only added to the difficulty of this event.  There were over 25 of the largest, most unique and challenging obstacles along this 4 mile stretch.  It was this 2 hour and 15 minute journey, that stretched these girls and pushed them to their limits, trying their physical, mental and spiritual ability like never before!
The further into the trails they went, each one began to realize just how important it is to “not go it alone”.   We need friends on this journey through life.  Not just “friends” but the friends that will encourage you and push you to keep running — not ones who will give up and encourage you to quit!  *Proverbs 17:17
They also began to verbalize what things they would lay aside next time, that were a (bothersome) “weight” for them.  For example:  their tu-tu’s – cute and fun, but not needed for such a race.  How many things do we carry through life that is not needed or just an added weight?  *Hebrews 12:1
It was neat to listen to them encourage each other.  As one began to grow weary, not sure she could press on or challenge the next obstacle, the other two would pipe up exclaiming, “YOU CAN DO IT” while pulling or pushing the other one up or over the obstacle.  The obstacles on this course were optional.  You could take the challenge or go around, watching others push themselves above and beyond what they “thought” they could do!  *Galatians 6:9
I was informed by my husband just minutes AFTER the starting gun went off, that I could go along the course and take pictures if I wanted to.  This meant I had to hurry and catch up!  I was able to follow along (tongue hanging, tail dragging and sweat pouring down between my spectacles) taking pictures while cheering them on!  I definitely was NOT equipped in the best attire or shoes to travel this journey with them, alongside them or even behind them, as I did not attend this event prepared for the same journey.
There were several different walls they were challenged to climb over.  Some were approximately 15 feet tall with different length ropes to run and grab, pulling yourself over then climbing down the other side.  Some were 8 feet tall straight up and down, some were 6 feet tall and slanted for you to run up as far as you could and climb over.  As I watched the girls on the 6 foot slanted wall, it was difficult for them to make it over.  So, two of them would get at the top (leaning from opposite side) while the other would run up the wall.  The two girls would grab her hands helping to pull her over.  They had great difficulty and tried several things to beat this obstacle. I was immediately reminded of how it is in life, when others will pull us down easier than we can pull them up.
**We don’t know what life’s journey holds, but the Lord does.  May we be prepared and equipped with God’s Word and great friends to embark on this journey through life that brings with it, rough terrain, obstacles, marred flesh, etc.  There is so much spiritual application to this event.  Hope you enjoyed the snippit of their journey to Conquer the Guantlet.
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Spiritually Barefoot

Our testimony gives the Spirit of God leverage in our lives. Hold fast the profession of your salvation. The more we share our testimony, the more sure we are of what took place, leaving NO ROOM for doubt.

There is NOTHING wrong with sharing your testimony from 20 years ago . . . But don’t forget the powerful things that God is doing in your life TODAY! It is time to “update your resume”!

Get out and run in your testimony. Don’t put it away like a new pair of shoes that you don’t want to get dirty! If you can’t share the gospel, you may find that you are “spiritually barefoot”.

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A little note about me and my blog

Of all the attributes of Christ . . . It is HIS GRACE that I love the most!  Why?  Without HIS GRACE, I would be toast!

My hearts desire “through this blog” is that I would bring God glory in all that is posted onto this blog – speaking truth, sharing life experiences, daily lessons, quoting scripture, shining light into a dark place, bringing comfort to those who are hurting, providing answers & encouragement to those who may feel spiritually paralyzed, and maybe a breath of fresh air to just get up and start running the race of life again.

I do not claim to know it all, nor do I have it altogether . . . just ask my family.  However, I DO KNOW the ONE in control and HE has saved my soul from hell, burned a desire DEEP WITHIN my heart to serve HIM all the days of my life regardless of the rubble I must crawl through, shed HIS ahhmazing grace upon my life as I still keep making a mess of things, given me a platform and a gift to encourage others, while setting my feet on a path to be HIS hands and feet to share the Good News!

 

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Spiritual Growth or Death?

I have been so grieved lately as I’ve watched those I love and care for, and those I have discipled and mentored, fall away from the road of truth. Scriptures speak of those who want their ears tickled, and then there are those who have quit because the battle has grown too fierce.  Salvation is not a “get out of hell free card”.  I have personally visited with those who have a #2 Bible – erasing things they don’t like or agree with in the Word.  Yet Revelation 22:19 speaks clearly to this activity, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”. Scripture also speaks of the “falling away in the last days”.  May we stand strong, feet planted and shod with the gospel of peace.  Wherever our feet take us, the rest of our body WILL FOLLOW.

I want to share an article I just read this morning that speaks to this very subject:

We’ve become a people who embrace the “let’s-just-quit” mentality. Dieting requires discipline, so we stay fat. Working through conflict is wearying, so we divorce. Sticking with an occupation is tough, so we resign. It isn’t long before apathy sets in.

It’s no different with spiritual matters. So many Christians start like lightning—hot, fast, and dazzling. But how many continue the course with sustained enthusiasm and vigor? Oh, there are some, but why so few?

Our problem isn’t that we’re ignorant of God’s expectations. His standard stretches from Genesis to Revelation. His command is clear: “Be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). God calls us to live holy lives, and most of us know it . . . but we don’t know how. Holiness is tough to attain, so we quit.

I love the metaphor about how a farmer plows his field, plants his seed, and waters his crop, even though God is the One who causes the germination, the growth, and finally, the harvest. The farmer cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what the farmer should do.

Holiness requires cooperation. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness, but He has given us the responsibility of walking.  There’s no such thing as accidental holiness. It takes deliberate, daily decisions for singles to remain pure . . . for parents to keep training their children . . . for all of us to continue pursuing godly living.

 

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Measured Perfectly

God has appointed to each of us a season of adversity. What God allows into your life, He allows At the right time, IN the right measure, FOR the right duration, IN the right amount! You are NOT going through more than you can handle! That is a lie from the enemy! You are still here! You can handle more than you THINK you can handle ONLY with God’s strength!

Just think: What if it is “THIS GENERATION” who is raising the next generation of martyrs? If so, we have a tough job ahead of us that requires staying in the battle, no baling out, if our children are gonna go through greater fires than even those we think are more than we can bare!

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