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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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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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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Decide Today

What kind of woman do you want to be?  Decide NOW . . .  regardless of your age, because life is not going to get any easier, regardless of where you live.

Where do we get our views of womanhood?  Do we get our view of life from the culture and magazine covers?  Do we allow ourselves to be taught and tutored directly by the worldly woman?  Have we reduced man to nothing more than the price of a loaf of bread as spoken of in Proverbs?

Proverbs 14:1 speaks of the wise woman who BUILDS her house.

As a woman, YOU have a powerful influence where you live – a greater influence than you know!  On your husband, on your children, on your church and on your community, your influence will be for good, evil or nothingness!  You decide.

Are you going to remain neutral, not taking a stand for anything, calling sin – sin, because you want people to love you and to be accepted?  Or do you want to be a woman who has raised her children according to I Timothy 2:15, to walk in faith and in love and restrain themselves to have disciplined lives?

As women, we play a pivotal role in the future of a nation as well.  The Lord has entrusted us with so much, yet we believe the lie, that we are nothing, OR that we are greater than men.  The truth is we are equal in creation yet different in our roles and authority.

Womanhood pivoted in the 1960’s as the feminist movement began and this has drastically changed our homes and world for the worse.

Decide today if you will build your house by doing that which is hard, or if you will plucketh it down with your hands contributing to the downward spiral of disaster.

If you are going to be a woman of God, then the Bible must be your daily bread.  Remember . . . there is no retirement in the middle of war!

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Wasn’t it smart of God to . . .

…make our digestive tract 29.5 feet in length, which means we really can have our cake…and our friend’s cake…and eat it too!

…make us with two thumbs for gripping, and to stick up to show double approval to our kids for jobs well done!

…make us incapable of sneezing with our eyes open, sparing us from seeing the stranger next to us roll his eyes in disgust while wiping his face because we didn’t grab a Kleenex in time.

…enclose the sea so we don’t have to swim all the time.

…let hearing loss generally happen in our later years so we don’t have to listen to our aging friends complain about joint pain, bowel issues, memory loss, etc.

Take time today to laugh, enjoying life and all that God has blessed you with.

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What to Do When You’re Going Under

A much needed reminder as we tend to forget from one day to the next, what the Lord desires of us, and where we are to keep our eyes.
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” —Matthew 14:28-31
Whether you are four or forty, there’s nothing like a familiar and confident voice in the dark saying, “I’m here. There’s no reason to be scared.” Regardless of how many times you’ve been in a dark and unpredictable situation, hearing that voice can be the difference between sinking and safety.
Matthew 14:22-33 describes a night crossing on the Sea of Galilee when the disciples got caught in a storm. Jesus had sent them out in the boat alone. Interestingly, about half of the disciples were fishermen. They knew how dangerous the lake could be. It’s hard to know who was more afraid, those who knew what could happen or those who were wondering what would happen. Either way, there was a boatload of nervous men on the water that night.
As the wind and the waves threatened to take them under, Jesus walked by—on the water! Without a flashlight on board, all they could see was a dim figure making His way through the swells toward the boat. Their fear of the storm may have paled in comparison totheir terror over seeing a ghost! The disciples “cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid’” (vv.26–27).
Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (v.28). He apparently concluded, If Jesus says I can walk on water, I can walk on water. As usual, Peter’s mouth and actions were about ten seconds ahead of his brain. But Jesus said, “Come,” and over the side of the boat Peter went. Imagine his wonder when the water held him up—like a kid playing on a waterbed.
Peter was doing so well, “but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me’” (vv.29–30). What went wrong? He took his eyes off the Lord. He forgot the reason he could walk among the waves. And when he did, fear entered his heart, and he started to go under.
Has that ever happen to you? When your eyes were on the Lord, life was good no matter what was going on around you. But the moment you changed your focus to the wind and waves, you began to sink.
Where are your eyes today?
If you’re going under, it may be because you are looking at the waves (of your health or the pitch and roll of your retirement funds). Maybe you’ve been listening to the howling wind (like the voices of doom and gloom constantly heard in our society). Possibly you have been taking your cues from what others are saying and doing instead of keeping your mind stayed on Christ (Isaiah 26:3).
But you can do better. Like Peter, if you get distracted and start to sink, it’s time to call out, “Lord, save me!”
What storms, winds, and waves in your life are distracting you from looking at Jesus?
What’s usually your first clue that you’ve taken your eyes off the Lord?
Lord, I don’t want every storm to feel like my first time out on the water. Help me remember all the times You have been faithful. Forgive me when I forget the constant demonstrations of Your care. Forgive the way I’m prone to wander. Forgive me when I am easily distracted. Thank You for being as patient with me as You are faithful to me. Continue to guide me toward greater faithfulness on my part. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Pastor James MacDonald
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