Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grace-Filled People

''In Him the whole building is joined together...'' photo (c) 2013, Sharon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
"Grace is not a reward, it's a gift."
Continuing on with the subject of grace I would like to grace-fully approach being grace-filled people.

Sin management occurs when we get scared of being free. Is grace and freedom really that hard?

Church rules-don't do this, don't go there, don't be seen with them-enslave us and put us in bondage.
***

But what if?

What if we did the unimaginable and welcomed people from different backgrounds, color, class?

What if there was no longer a dividing line between us and them. 

Grace, it's not a reward for keeping all of your sins neat and tidy and for following all the rules. We can NEVER follow all the rules that's the beauty of grace.

It's so crazy and undeserved.

Whom among any of us would be called good enough?

What if we dared to follow grace and love instead of rules that have become our master?

What kind of radical love can you show someone today that is hurting or in a rough spot in their life?

Do you know of someone going through a divorce? Could you be the person that listens without judgement?

Do you think it will ever be possible for women to love and accept THEMSELVES enough to truly LOVE and accept other women, flaws and all?

God says we can't fully love others unless we love ourselves. And loving ourselves starts with Him. (1John 4:19, 1 John 4:7-8, John 13:34,35)

Being grace-filled means being love-filled.

Until then there will always be jealousy, gossip, bitterness, and envy.

There will be a part of us that is  happy when another woman falters and fails because in some weird unknowingly way it makes us feel better about ourselves.

Are we happy because our sin is still hidden, tucked away safe and secure?

In the Christian churches we make bubbles. We don't mean to they just happen. We make friends, close friends, because we have found people that value the same things that we do. It gets real easy to polish up the outside and "look"like we have it all together.

I want to issue you a challenge. A challenge to make friends outside of your normal circles. With people that aren't christians, with people that left the church because the church hurt them in some way.

With people that look absolutely nothing like you!

A challenge to walk and talk like Jesus. To eat with the "sinners"the lowly and poor among us.

We were all outcasts before Jesus. Only because of him are we now accepted.

"The church is the place where outsiders are no longer strangers but friends, where all are welcomed and everyone finds connection. There, the lowly are lifted up and the destitute given plenty. And those who have been pushed aside find themselves pulled right up to a prime seat at the King's table." (Excerpt from In Touch)

There is no room for judgement or favoritism, not in God's kingdom and surely not in His church.

Today let's choose to be so full of crazy grace that others can't help but be changed by it!




Linking with: Three Word Wed#TellHisStory, Thought Provoking Thursday

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Secret No One Tells You


Can I tell you something? One of my love languages is gifts.  I’m like a child at Christmas when someone brings me something to open, even if it’s just a card (the above picture is of the flowers my husband brought home one day just because).
Do you know what’s even better?
The opportunity to give a gift.  I excitedly anticipate the look on someone’s face when they have opened what I have given them.
Want to know what I think? I think God’s love language is gifts too!
Continue reading the rest at God-sized Dreams.com
And then link up a post of your own or join us in the comments. (warning: we are a wild and crazy bunch over there! You've been warned ;) )






Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grace-Filled Church

Over the next little while I'm going to explore some Grace filled topics. Ways that we can show grace in areas of our life to live differently than the rest of the world.


The first one I'm going to touch is a Grace-filled church.

"You are the LIGHT"(Matt 5:14)

What does the inside of your church look like? Can you look around and see a room of sinners or saints?

For so long I played the church game well. I put on my best clothes, makeup and smile and showed up every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wed night. It was exhausting. But I did it.

I bought in that if we weren't there every time the doors were open I was doing a disservice to my kids and not raising them in the way they should go.

And the rules? They just kept getting longer...

Modesty? check

Cuss Words? check (got that, mostly, under control when Keeli was little and she repeated something I said in front of our neighbors...it was embarrassing to say the least)

Early morning bible study?

Submissive wife?

Do not drink, at all, not even one, in public or at home-lest you want to make others stumble                                                                                                
check

check

check

The list goes on.
(these are all good things put in the right biblical perspective)

And then I started to notice something. If my church teaches love and grace and freedom through Jesus Christ, but doesn't live this out, is this really the place I want to be?

I wanted to be a part of a church that reaches out to someone that is hurting, not turn their backs and whisper, "they shouldn't have done this or that, and it wouldn't have happened."

I want a church that talks the talk and walks the walk. That doesn't have dress codes and a list of rules that they say is "biblical" but is really meant to keep the members in line so they don't embarrass the church.

Life and people aren't  black and white. People are different. Sometimes the church doesn't alway like different because how are they going to explain it?

If Jesus really came to set us free, then why do we try to chain ourselves back up to the law and claim it's freedom? 

"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"?
These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."( Col 2:20-23)

It's not and we are only fooling ourselves. It's ok to laugh and dance and have fun . When you're at church throw your hands up in wild abandon and don't care who sees (I'm personally still working on this one).

You're not dead yet!!!

Jesus came to give us life, an ABUNDANT life, a good life without fear.


The hurt need our love and our arms of grace to circle round and tell them it's ok.

Jesus came for the sick, poor, broken hearted and lowly; not the healthy, wealthy, and wise.

The church is made up of ugly hurtful sinners that have been saved, REDEEMED. But we are no better and no less than others.

People are hurting and as Christians we are called and have an obligation to serve/love them. We are all the least of these. May God forgive us for holding on so tight to our rules and fake facades.

The Grace-filled church is the Jesus-filled Church. It's the one that welcomes in the dirty, the cast out, the forgotten. It says, "I don't care what others think or what you've done, let me help you, let me be your friend."

The lost need our love not our sermons.

The Grace-filled church welcomes outsiders in and offers them a drink, even wine or a beer. There is no guilt here, there is no shame.

"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving."(1Tim 4:4)
The grace-filled church is one that welcomes the different because they are different too, but only by the blood of Christ. 

It's one I want my children to grow up in-not in a religious culture-but a come one come all we need you and you need us and we all need God!


God forgive me for all the times I've let other people's opinions matter more than what you've called me to be and do for the sake of others

At times I've cared more what the church thought than You.

My heart has been torn open and my eyes see what you see now. I can't go back. I won't. And if I can't find a grace-filled church, let me be church to those around me.

 Let me be grace-filled and runneth over.

Amen.

***The church is a much needed place for the lost and the found. It's not perfect and sometimes in error does more harm than good.  But, I  refuse to give up on the church, I need it too much. When done right the church is a place to go to be encouraged, nurtured, and be refilled with truth. There's no family like your church family. We need each other, we need YOU!
***

We've all had different experiences within the church some great some hurtful. Would you share about yours?

"Be the difference you want to see in the world."Ghandi






Linking bravely with Three Word Wed, #TellHisStory,Thought Provoking Thursday

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What Is My Dream?



For so long I've wandered through the ho hum of life not really sure what I was made for. I remember asking the question even as a child.

"God why am I here!?

I'm wondering now if the seeds of doubt were planted by the enemy to make me doubt my worth from an early age and live in the fear of being made for nothing.

The devil attacks the young. He knows if he can throw them off course early they will be thrown into confusion that could last a lifetime.

God found me though. And told me that I was made to set prisoners like myself free. How, I wondered, could I do anything like that?

What did that mean?

And if so many others had the same dream how was mine any different or special? Surely they could do a better job than me.

I'm not a writer, not really.

But the day I obeyed and created this blog and started to write I surprised myself.

All the things that I had been pondering and keeping inside came pouring out.

I had no idea I had so many words in my head or heart.

But God did.

For a long while the only ones that knew about this place were the ones that stumbled across from a link- up I would bravely join.

I'm brave in the anonymity.

And if you (are lucky enough to ;) ) know me in real life, you won't hear me ever tell you I write and have a blog. We'll become Facebook friends and one day you will notice an update, There's Something Different has shared a link.

You will click over and sometime later I will get a message that goes something like, "I didn't know you write, wow you are really good!"(ok I may have added that last part in) :)

I'm someone that longs to be seen without being seen or really known. I guess it's the middle child in me. Yearning for attention and will get it one way or the other.

I still don't know where this space will lead, it's definitely opened up new opportunities and new friendships. I get glimpses here and there, but nothing concrete. So, for now I'm not going to worry about the future too much. I'm going to enjoy the now and do whatever God lays in my lap for each day.

What about you? Do you know what your dream is? I'm sharing with some other awesome dreamers today for the 2nd link up at God Sized Dreams.com

You can join in too!! Meet you there!

Also joining Soli Deo Gloria



















Monday, January 13, 2014

Recover the Inner Dreamer


Blossom Bunkhouse



I used to be a dreamer, daydreamer that is. It would get me into all sorts of trouble with my teachers. They would tell my mom, "Alecia doesn't pay attention in class, all she does is daydream."

Boy were they right! I would have rather been anywhere than in that school classroom. Life was waiting to be lived and I knew it wouldn't happen as long as I was sitting in a desk learning how to divide (looking back now, I wish I would have paid attention more, kids stay in school!)

As I grew older dreaming became a thing of the past, real life awaited and in it there was no time for dreams.

Or so I thought....


Today I'm over at God Sized Dreams talking about those lost dreams. Will you join me? <----Click here

I'll meet you over there!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Word-Believe





I Believe the plans he has for me are good. I believe that I am a redeemed, chosen, royal daughter of the King.

In 2014 I choose to believe that He sees me and has not forgotten or forsaken me and never will. That the plans He has for my life, He will see them through to completion and won't get impatient, mad, and give up.

In 2014 I want to Believe and read the Bible and know that is applies to me as well.

I will choose to Believe and see the good in people and choose to see their hearts instead of the hurtful words or actions.

Believe in 2014 to me, means that I will take hold of  what God says about me and Believe that it is true.

I'm really good at encouraging and speaking truth into others lives, but not so much at believing it for myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm the exclusion, have you ever felt that way?

Last year I tackled my fears, now I'm ready to tackle the lies behind them. The root of the fears. I will choose to trust and believe that when I move forward with my plans (dreams) He is there every step of the way, especially when I want to give up because things are getting hard.

There are so many things that I want to Believe in for the New Year, but most of all I want to fully believe in myself and stop doubting my god-given abilities.

I have the feeling God is going to blow this word wide open for me, I'm bracing myself, because I don't think I've even scratched the surface of what God has planned for me this year.

*******
There were so many words that kept circulating in my head for word of the year, but I kept coming back to Believe. I'm excited to see how this word is going to play out in 2014.


"I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"(Mark 9:24)

Do you have a word or verse that you want to focus on for the new year? I'd love to know what it is!



I'm linking up with Beth for her Three Word Wed prompt and with Elise at Circles of Faith, Compassion International

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