It's All Grace

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

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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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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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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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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Who Is He . . . Really?

There is a natural tendency within us to try and make God who we think He is or who we think He ought to be.

If all is well in our world, our view of God is unchallenged.  He is good.  He is loving.  He is fair.  But when things start to go awry, that is when our true view of God is revealed.

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