GOT Grace?

If I only relied on myself, I’d be in bad shape.  I constantly face decisions that are big and life-changing or seemingly small and insignificant.  But since even those “small and insignificant” things can impact my life negatively, depending on God’s grace makes it all work out for good.

I do my best, but there are bound to be aspects of every situation that I don’t see until it’s too late.  Realistically, I know that everyone makes mistakes, and what may seem like a good idea at the time may come back to haunt me months or even years later.  The results may not be catastrophic, yet I’ve had those moments of “I could kick myself for that” regret.

However, there is comfort in the fact that God doesn’t want me to condemn myself for mistakes He knew I’d make.  Even when I sense God warning me in advance and I ignore His voice, He still forgives me for all the silly things I do.  The best thing for me to do is forgive myself.  Chalk it up to a learning experience, and move on.  Honestly admitting my mistakes to God frees me from any shame concerning what I did or didn’t do in the past.

Letting grace influence my decisions makes a radical difference in avoiding future regrets in life.  From God’s perspective, He can see things I can’t and wants nothing but blessings for me.  God is looking for any opportunity I give Him to shower me with abundant favor.  I’ve learned that when I face a decision, listening to God puts me in a win-win situation, regardless of the way it seems at the time.

The Truth About Worry – Part Three

Last week we talked about Peter, the storm and walking on water. We saw that when we mix fear with faith, faith ceases to work. The contamination is so strong, faith can’t do its job.

This is why the habit of worry is so detrimental. Worry is the tormenting of oneself with wrong thoughts. When you continually envision the loss of a job, a devastating illness, or overwhelming financial problems, you are actually helping these fears come to pass.

As a believer, you have the ability to get rid of fear and worry.  Remember the story of Jairus in Luke 8:41-55? Jairus had gone to ask Jesus to come to his home to heal his daughter, who was dying.  Jairus believed in Jesus’ ability to heal.  However, on the way to his house, Jesus encountered the woman with the issue of blood.  Jairus just stood there and watched as Jesus took care of the needs of the woman.  Don’t you think the devil was taunting him as he stood there waiting. The devil was probably telling him: Doesn’t Jesus care your daughter is dying?  How long is this going to take?

Jairus just kept quiet.  He didn’t give into fear.  He listened to the WORDS of Jesus as He spoke to the woman. And, since faith comes by hearing the WORD of God, his faith became stronger and steadfast.

But then a messenger came telling Jairus his daughter had died (Verse 49).  Can you imagine how difficult it was to hear those devastating words?  “But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” (Verse 50) Jairus obeyed Jesus.  He refused to fear.  In the verses that follow, we learn his daughter is alive and well.

The power to stop fear is in the WORD of God!  Nothing else has the power to stop fear.  This is why hearing the Word is so important.  Only through hearing and putting your faith in the Word, will you connect to that kind of power.

Now, you may say, “I CAN’T stop worrying!” or “That’s not realistic!”

Yes, you can.  Jairus proved it.  And, it’s not because he was in the presence of Jesus.  There are many born again, Spirit filled Christians, who have Jesus within them all the time and have made a career out of worrying.  Jesus’ presence is not the clincher.  It’s the WORD!  Everything Jesus said to Jairus, He says to every believer.  “Fear not, only believe!” (Luke 8:50).  Jesus commanded it, so we CAN do it.  Jesus would not command us to do something we could not obey.  That would be unjust.  Anything He tells us to do He EMPOWERS us to do by giving us His WORD.  Believe!

The Truth About Worry – Part Two

To understand the evilness of fear and worry, let’s look at the greatest sacrifice God made for us.

To set us free from fear and worry God sacrificed His Son.  Galatians 3:13 tells us “for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree’.” As He hung on the cross, Jesus willingly took upon Himself every sin, of every person past, present, and future.  Through this one act of love, we were redeemed.  Jesus re-established our covenant with the Father allowing anyone the opportunity to become a member of God’s family and heir to His Kingdom.

Unfortunately, when we allow fear into our relationships, finances, health, etc., we make this supreme sacrifice of no effect in those areas.  Fear disconnects us from God’s grace.  Grace is God’s overpowering desire to treat us as if we had never sinned. When we choose to worry or doubt we defeat that desire. Fear will cut off access to God’s Blessings here on earth.

Remember when Peter walked on water?  Peter and the disciples were in their boat in an awful storm.  Fear had overtaken them. The disciples thought Jesus was a ghost when they saw Him walking on the water. But the Lord said, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid. Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” (Matthew 14:27-29).  At that moment, faith – the POWER of God’s Word – overcame Peter’s fear. His trust in God’s Word come, allowed him to walk on water!

If only his eyes had stayed on Jesus!

The Word tells us Peter allowed his eyes to cause his focus on Jesus to shift to the roaring seas.  He let fear of his surroundings take over and he started to sink.  He chose FEAR, not FAITH. This decision disconnected him from the power of the Word.  FEAR and FAITH cannot occupy the same space at the same time, choose FAITH!

The Truth About Worry, Part One

I once heard a saying, “What would we do without good, old worry?”

Actually, if you are a born-again child of God, worry is a deadly habit. Worry is the chain around your life preventing you from living.  The act of worry steals from you the abundant life that belongs to you through Jesus. It’s also a sin. Romans 14:23 (Amplified Bible) states “The man who has doubts (misgivings, and uneasy conscience) about eating, and then eats … stands condemned [before God], because he is not true to his convictions and he does not act from faith. For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without conviction if its approval by God is sin].”

WOW!  Did you get that?  Whatever does not originate from faith is sin.  That means all doubt, all unbelief, and all worry is sin.

Now you might ask, “I can’t worry about anything?” And, I would say you could, but it’s a sin.  Just as faith comes from hearing and meditating on the WORD of God, fear comes from meditating on satan’s lies.  It walks hand and hand with unbelief and the Bible calls it evil.

Remember the story of the ten spies in Number 14:27?  Moses sent them to check out the Promise Land. When they returned they gave what was called an “evil report.”  Their report was evil because it was based on fear, not faith.  Their report could have told the Israelites they could conquer the land and it was full of the goodness God said they would find. However, the spies stated “Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong and the cities are fortified and very large; moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak (giants) there.”  Verse 33 states “… and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

When you worry, you are taking that same position. When it comes to operating by faith or fear there is no in between.  This is the reason it’s impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).  Faith is what connects us to God and enables us to receive His blessings.  Fear disconnects us from God and connects us to the devil.

Actually, what we call fear was originally Adam’s faith.  When Adam sinned, that powerful spiritual force became perverted or twisted opposite to the way God created it.  As soon as fear showed up it separated Adam from God.

However, God loved us to much to let these conditions remain.  So He implemented the plan He had made before the foundation of the world.  He made a blood covenant with Abraham.  God promised, “If you’ll walk with Me by faith, I’LL BLESS you and your seed and make you a BLESSING to all the families of the earth.  I’ll make you heir of the whole world” (Genesis 12:2 and Romans 4:13).  As a result of what Jesus did through the cross and the resurrection, He extended that same covenant promise to all who believe on Him.

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith…For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,… And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise (Romans 4:13, 16; Galatians 3:29).

Strength

Lately, several of my friends and family have been dealing with issues that require more strength than they have at the moment.  Whenever we are faced with this situation, it’s important to remember God is ALWAYS there for us.  So I’m sending out these Bible verses on strength.  God wants to show Himself strong on your behalf.  It is His power and strength that carries us on no matter what trials we face.  As Christians we need to surrender to the strength God provides.  As you read through these scripture quotes about strength be encouraged. It is not your strength that is needed but the strength that God willingly supplies.

Isaiah 40:28-31: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 41:10: “…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

1 Chronicles 16:11: “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Exodus 15:2: “The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Psalm 18:32-34: “… the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”

1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Psalm 119:23: “Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes.”