Grow… in Grace

Lately, God has placed it on my heart that I really need to grow in the area of GRACE.
 
Romans 8:5 says – But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
 
His love is UNconditiional. What else in this world can you think of as “unconditional?” We can’t earn His grace. It’s given. It is the most precious of gifts.
 
I feel like I struggle with the same things over and over. 
One of the things I wrestle with is being gracious… When I look back on my life and relationships, I have a pretty good track record of being hurt by someone, and holding a grudge, or giving up and turning away from that person.
You got it – that is NOT grace.
 
God wants us to grow strong in grace. To live by His example of grace to us.
 

Colossians 3:13 – “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

And…
 
The opposite is may be true as well. Sometimes when we’re being apologized to we say, “It’s ok.” When it’s really not. If someone is apologizing to us, something happened that needed apologizing for. And, it’s actually NOT ok. But, that is where forgiveness, and grace comes in. Jesus showed us His perfect example of grace and forgiveness. When He died on the cross for our sins, He wasn’t just saying “it’s fine.” He was saying, “I forgive you. I love you. I am wiping the slate clean.” For ALL time…
 
And now He asks us, “Will you accept my forgiveness? Will you accept my grace? Will you humble yourself to offer the same to others?”
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Before you answer an enthusiastic “YES! Yes of course!” Take a moment to really think about your yes… My yes, and your yes comes with responsibility. Growing in grace is serious business, not to be taken lightly. Accepting and extending grace is something we grow in. Something we strive for, and must live out probably daily… 
 
When we fail to grow in grace, we face lost relationships, and opportunities. And the one who hurts the most in this – is ourselves. When we allow the root of bitterness to grow, it doesn’t destroy the other person – it destroys us.
 
Here’s the GOOD news (I have to keep reminding myself!): It’s not impossible to grow in grace! We have to remember, and constantly remind ourselves that Christ forgave us – and we must forgive others in the same way. If we are intentional in growing in grace, we will. God will be faithful in our pursuit. He will give us strength and guidance in that area.
 
The stakes are high! We can choose grace, or choose heartbreak.
 
My prayer is that you, and I – choose well…
 
God bless us all!
~Allison

Shhh!!!

“The tongue is but a small, soft flesh. Yet it is capable of breaking the strongest bonds and destroying the most powerful of relationships.”
“The tongue has no bones but it is strong enough to break a heart.”
The tongue. Small, but powerful. The power to build up, and tear down. Words are on the ‘tip of our tongue’, or words ‘roll off our tongue,’
This morning I read James chapter 3 which talks about taming the tongue!
James 3:9-10 – With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers (sisters) these things ought not to be so.
God’s timing is always so perfect isn’t it? I’ve been struggling with a situation and relationship in my life over the past few days. I’ve thought, and even said some unkind things in my hurt, and bitterness. Proud of it? Nope. Not at all. The last few days I’ve been actually quite bummede about the situation.
So this morning, when I read those verses, they just hit me like a ton of bricks. All people are made in God’s likeness. That puts us all on the same playing field, right? There are mean people, there are kind people, there are selfish people, there are sweet people. We were all made in God’s image. We are no different. That fact is sobering to me and it changed my perspective on that current relationship I’m struggling with, as well as all of my relationships with people.
Being people who love God, and called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), we are called to a higher standard. A Godly standard. We are called to consistency. Being contradictory in what we profess to believe, and how we behave is not living a Godly life. I truly believe that out of the depths of our hearts our tongues speak. So, what we harbor deep within us, is eventually what comes out. Whoa.
If you want to understand “who” someone is, listen to how they talk. It’s quite telling. And I confess, over the past few days some of the words I’ve spoken have been ugly. I was hurt, frustrated and confused – and… in a place of weakness, I allowed those feelings to be more powerful over me, than my love and devotion to Christ. Yuck! Double yuck.
Through my time in His Word this morning, God softened my heart toward this person, and showed me where I needed to change. It was made very clear to me, that perhaps the situation won’t change, but my attitude about the situation has the option to change. That’s HUGE. BIG stuff. Life altering, really.
I realized in that moment that my bitterness had absolutely zero impact on that person – but 100% impact on ME.
I was the one struggling and feeling bad about the situation, not the person I was upset with. My attitude affected me, and only me. {Well, and maybe my husband who had to listen to me vent.}
Once I realized that it was indeed ME who needed to change, a flood of peace fell over me. The other day, I wrote about God’s covenant of peace with us. His unshakeable promise of unfailing love and peace freely given.
Isaiah 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of PEACE be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Isn’t it beautiful how God weaves His Word together with the circumstances of our lives? How he shapes and molds us? Oh how I needed to be redirected this morning. God gently reminded me that I can always switch my sail, turn my rudder, or change the address on my GPS when I’m going in the wrong direction.
Thank God He speaks so clearly and boldly through His Word and His Holy Spirit! He knew this morning, that I needed some major tweaking in my attitude, and my heart. When I hear people say the Bible is not relevant to today I know those people have not read it lately. It is powerful, it’s alive, and unchanging. The Word of God is like no other. Cling to it. Make time for it. Be open and willing to listen, and act upon it. It’s truly life changing!
We often overlook the power of the tongue. So, if your tongue occasionally gets you into trouble, like it does to me… Pray for control over it – God hears our prayers, and will answer it.
God bless us all in the journey… He is with us every step of the way, guiding, helping to change our course, and encouraging along the way. If we listen, and obey – we live lives of peace, joy and freedom from the sins that so entangle us.
Live free today friends!
Allison 😊

His Covenant of Peace

I’ve quit watching the news. I don’t miss it, frankly. My husband and I used to watch the 6am news together in the morning’s while drinking our coffee and waking up to the day. But, it’s been several months now that we decided to just shut it off. It probably coincides with election season. Enough said.
 
Although it’s important to be informed, and aware of what’s going on around us, I found that being filled with the news first thing in the morningt robbed me of peace. The news is so often unsettling, negative, and disturbing. I do believe it is vitally important to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and to use that knowledge to PRAY.
So I do get my news, I just don’t start my day with it.
 
But, having said that, we have made the choice to start our day more peacefully. Have you noticed it doesn’t take much to drain our souls of peace? Some of us start our day off running the moment our feet hit the floor. And some, like me prefer to start out slowly with a half pot of coffee, and quiet music.
 
Once we move on with our day and go about our work at home, or away from home – little by little we deplete ourselves. We give to our kids and spouses, we give to our jobs, we give to our co-workers and friends.
 
Giving is all good. But if we give without taking the time to receive – we will find ourselves depleted and empty. Running on ‘fumes.’
 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t function well (at all) feeling depleted. When my reserves run low, everything, and everyone suffers for it.
 
But here’s a beautiful promise from the book of Isaiah 54:10 –
Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of PEACE be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
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Ahhh… take a moment… breathe in the promises of that verse. Let it soak in. Memorize it. Write it down on a sticky note. Highlight it. Circle the words that stand out to you. ❤
 
Though our lives or our world around us be shaken, His unfailing love CANNOT be. His promise of peace CANNOT be removed from us. When we put our full faith and trust -confidence and hope in the person of Jesus, we are unable to be robbed of the peace that only comes from Him. The world around us may offer a temporary peace or sense of well being – but it is so often fleeting and completely dependent on circumstances. But the peace of God that transcends all human understanding is eternal. It lasts and cannot be removed.
 
Claim it today. Own it. Trust in it. CLING to it. I know I have had to tighten my grip on MANY occasions in my life and struggles. But even in the darkest of days, I never doubted His love. I may have held Him at arms length at times, but I always knew to the deepest of my core that He loved me.
 
Do you ever feel robbed or depleted of peace? By looking honestly at where or from whom we seek peace, we may find that we are seeking in the wrong places. It’s ok – we can change course so easily. I have had to switch course many times… Our God is so very patient with us, isn’t He?
 
Today, I am wishing each one of us peace and the assurance that He loves us with an everlasting, unfailing love that will not, and cannot be shaken.
 
Blessing’s on your day, friends!
 
Allison

Roots

Good morning!

True confession time folks: I indulged in something last night. I watched not only 1 but 2 episodes of a reality show on TLC. Have you ever heard of “My 600 lb. Life”? You guys. I got sucked in. Like big time sucked in. Even with my husband’s eye rolls, and side comments, I couldn’t stop watching it.

I can’t tell you how sad that show made me. Every person on the 2 episodes I watched was in pain, had horrible trauma as a child, and was so very, deeply unhappy.

As I went to bed pretty heart broken for these people, yet; embarassed that I watched the show… A few thoughts kept whirling around in my head.

Every person on the show had deep roots of pain in their lives which, probably combined with some genetics, led to their massive weight gain.

Roots. I have watched my husband cut down countless trees at our cabin, and our home. Chain saw in hand, buzzing down those big trees. But when that part is done – the roots remain. And those of you who have cut down trees will attest to the fact that the trunk and roots are a HUGE pain to get rid of. There’s no easy way…

As I thought about the roots of pain in my life, and how those roots manifested themselves in disappointments and choices. God just flooded my thoughts with words of hope and encouragement.

The hope we have in Christ creates new roots in our lives. Roots that grow deep and spread wide. They are firm, and hold strong. Through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, we have spiritual roots. Roots that will withstand even the strongest storms.

Think of Jesus as that strong ax or chain saw cutting through the painful roots to give space for new roots in Him, When we cut away the roots of our past pain we create a big hole that can be filled with new, healthy roots of faith. The Holy Spirit of God fertilizes and enriches the soil around those roots, and the growth is beautiful and unlimited. We are ALIVE.

Colossians 2:6-10 – Alive in Christ
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

May we allow Him to cut through those rotted and pained roots in our lives. May we be mindful of new growth enriched by the Spirit of our Living God. May we dig deeper, and grow wider in our knowledge and faith in He who brings life abundantly. May we be kind and non-judgemental. May we see through Spiritual eyes and not worldly ones. May we lend encouragement and hope to those we meet. May we be bold in sharing the life changing faith we have in Jesus. May we pray for those who are hurting. May we find the peace that surpasses all human understanding through Christ alone.

Be so very blessed today. 

Allison 🙂

Count to 10

1 Corinthians 13:5… love is not become easily angered

As a child I bet we all learned to “count to 10” before we respond to something or someone who wronged us. Back then, I probably rolled my eyes a few times when being reminded to count to 10. But oh how wise is the wisdom of that skill! It’s just enough time to catch your breath, think twice, and make a better choice… If only we always chose well!

In the last couple weeks, we’ve delved into the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians. Breaking down these verses of scripture has opened my eyes to so many areas of my heart that I need to surrender to God.

Love isn’t easily angered. In other versions of this verse it says love is not: “touchy, irritable, quick-tempered, quick to take offence, doesn’t fly off the handle.”

In other words: Love counts to 10.

So much easier said than done, right?

Anger in and of itself isn’t sinful. The issue with anger is that it so often leads to sin. God allows us to feel and express emotions. The emotion of anger can lead us down the long, dark road of regret. Have you traveled that road? I know I have.

anger can lead us down the road of regret.Add heading

My husband is so very good at the skill of counting to 10. He’s cool, calm, and collected. I just love how God pairs us with our exact opposites! Where I am up and down, he is steady and focused. There have been times where he has literally taken my phone away so I don’t respond to someone in a moment of high emotion. He is self-controlled, and wise. I love that about him. ❤

As I reflect on moments of anger in my past, I see things that accompany almost every encounter with anger. For me, they are: hurt and rejection. Anger has been a defense mechanism that God has been steadily chipping away at my heart for some time. Our God is the Great Healer of all our hurts and whatever ills us –  He is able to soften us, and change us from the inside out!

Jehovah Rapha

I’ve learned that my feelings of rejection have probably come due to my being adopted. The pattern of hurt and anger in my life has been partially due to my fear of rejection from people in my life. Being ultra sensitive to rejection has led me to make some very poor choices that I’ve regretted greatly.

My “Fight or Flight” response is very sstrong. I’ve had times in my life when I have felt rejected, or feared that rejection was coming. I could feel it in the air. My reaction many times was to sabotage the relationship or friendship and  be the one to leave (flight response) first.

I used anger as a way to flee rejection in so many relationships.

Responding this way led to loneliness, despair, guilt, and so much more.

If you fear rejection,  instead of running away – run TO Him. He will never reject you!

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. ~Proverbs 18:10

Maybe you respond with anger for different reasons as me. But regardless of how we get to the point of anger, God does not want us to dwell there. When life doesn’t go our way, or we feel rejected or hurt, He begs us to respond in LOVE.  Anger divides, but love unites.

As much as I’d love to control what others do, and how they treat me, I can’t. None of us can. But, what we can control is how we respond. By allowing God to take control of our attitude, our emotions, and our reactions to whatever life throws at us.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ~ Galations 5:25

We allow God to move in our lives by:

  • Grounding ourselves in His Word
  • Living a lifestyle of prayer
  • By surrounding ourselves with Godly people who will hold us accountable, and encouraging us to dwell with Him.

His Holy Spirit is ever present and powerful IF we allow it to be. When His Spirit moves within us, there’s no denying it. When His Spirit moves and stirs us to love – when we may not feel like it – we need to then take a big step of obedience, and act upon His leading.

With God’s help, we can overcome anger with love. Jesus calls us to bring our anger, our hurts, and our fears to the cross.

Climb that hill, kneel before the cross of Christ, and lay your burden down.

When you feel rejected, know that He accepts you. Just as you are. But, He doesn’t want you to stay that way! He longs to change each one of us from the inside out.

-To The Cross-Where can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there my shameYou have washed awayWhere can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there You gaveUp Your life for meYou gave Yo

In Him we have no fear of rejection.

Run, don’t walk to Him. His love is enough. Through Him we have the opportunity to live in freedom, and joy, wihtout regret.

He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17

God bless you!

Daily His,

Allison

Knock Before Entering

1 Corinthians 13:5 – Love is not rude.

In his book “A Love Worth Giving” Max Lucado writes,

“Jesus always knocks before entering. He doesn’t have to. He owns your heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But He doesn’t. That gentle tap you hear? It’s Christ. “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” {Revelations 3:20}. And when you answer, He awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.”

Behold I stand at the door and knock.

Let’s just sit on that for a bit… Our Savior Jesus, is no steam roller! He certainly could come rushing in, but he doesn’t. He quietly, gently knocks and awaits our answer. He knows that we are much more willing to answer the door when it’s a gentle tap, rather than a loud and forceful pound.

The Greek word for rude means: shameful or disgraceful behavior. I don’t know about you, but those two words are not words I’d like to be referred to as. Shameful. Disgraceful. They are powerfully descriptive words aren’t they? Sometime throughout our lifetime, I bet we’ve all used either of those 2 words. What memories are conjured up when you read them? Probably not very pleasant ones.

Years ago, when I was preparing for an over-seas mission trip, part of my training involved cultural sensitivity training. As visitors to a foreign country, we were essentially going to be ambassadors for the United States, and as missionaries, we were also ambassadors and representatives of Jesus Christ. The lessons I learned in that training have stayed with me throughout my life, and have helped me in many ways. Having cultural sensitivity is an asset when traveling in a foreign country, but it also applies right here in my every day life.

Recently, I was having major technology and computer software issues at my business. I was beyond frustrated, and frazzled. I had spent hours and hours on the phone with tech support, on hold, and being transferred multiple times from tech to tech, and department to department. To say I was at my wits end was an understatement.

Only by the grace of God was I able to stay calm. But, let me tell you, when I made a conscious effort to be kind, patient, and friendly, the level of customer service went up, and up, and UP. Being kind is so worth it! I not only got help with my computer problems, but I was even able to share my faith with a tech support woman in the Philippines!

God opens doors when we are open and willing.  Because I was kind, and respectful, this gal who was patiently helping me was willing to listen to me share my faith in Jesus. It was brief, but she was open.

My kindness in that instance didn’t mean that I wasn’t frustrated with my situation. I was definitely frustrated. But by not allowing myself to take out that frustration on someone else, it provided me with an opportunity to allow the light of Jesus to shine, and encourage her that day. Only God will ever know how that brief conversation impacted her life. But I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity. It taught me a very important lesson on how to treat people. Even strangers I will never meet in person, or see.

Being kind is so much better than being rude. Rudeness is not how we should represent ourselves, or our faith in a loving God.

We are ambassadorsfor Christ!

As Christians, we have the added responsibility and privilege of representing Jesus to others, rudeness cuts off any form of witness we could possibly hope to have. If we treat someone rudely and then expect them to be open to what we have to share about Jesus with them, the only thing that person will absorb is the fact that we are a hypocrite. I don’t know about you – but that word is not something I want attached to my name.

God calls us to a much higher standard than that.

Colossians 4:5-6 says: Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.”

When we are kind, walls and barriers are torn down, and hearts are softened.  Kindness puts the other person as a priority over ourselves. Isn’t that just what God asks us to do? To humble ourselves before Him, and others, so that we can serve with pure motives and a joyful heart?

There aren’t many things in this life that we can control. But one thing we can is our attitude. Maybe we’re not perfect at it all of the time. But overall; we have control over how we treat others in our lives. Strangers or friends alike.

Romans 12:8 says: Do your best to live in peace with everyone.

Let’s just commit to doing our very best. Let’s be willing to allow God’s BEST to flow in and through our lives. He’s standing at the door of our hearts gently knocking.

What will your answer be?

Daily His,

Allison