Guest Post: Never Say Never

This post is a guest post from my cousin Amanda.  On January 6, 2010 her precious daughter Layla Rae went to be with the Lord after 34 minutes of life on earth.  Her story can be found at:  Thanks again Amanda for sharing your story.

So I have to be really honest. I have really learned so much from these past few months. Especially when it comes to talking about children and absolutes!!

A young couple came looking for an apartment along with their 2 year old son. To me he was behaving very well while his parents asked questions and looked at some apartments. Later on in the office the little boy was trying to sneak a glass of water from our water dispenser. The mom quickly snapped at him and then very frustrated said to me “never have kids!”

At that moment I wanted to say…I would give anything to have my daughter back!

She did not know that just 6 weeks ago I had to say good bye to my beautiful and perfect Layla.

At that moment I realized how quick we are to wish that our current situation would somehow be different than what it is now.

She wished that she didn’t have to ‘mess’ with her son.

While I was wishing I could just hold her for one more minute!!

Have you ever caught yourself saying that about your children?
Wishing that they would stop making so much noise,
stop asking so many questions or just needing too much attention from you?

Can you imagine coming home to a house where it was one child quieter,
where there were no more questions being asked, or no one begging
you to ‘come see this mom/dad!!’

I know sometimes we say stuff in haste, but just be mindful of those
(like us) who have lost their child or even those who can never have children!!!


4 Special Ladies

I'm still on my season of rest but I wanted to republish this post that I wrote last year.  It has been slightly revised and you will find out why if you make it to the end:

This week (10/09) in my Breaking Free study we were looking back at generational strongholds. This passage was based on Exodus 20:5-6:

for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God,
punishing the children for the sin of the fathers
to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
but showing love to a thousand {generations}
of those who love me and keep my commandments.

While the study was primarily focused on the negative aspects it did also address the second half of the verse of showing love to a thousand generations. I personally have had a lot more blessing in my life from my generations than negative and it is because of 4 incredible women in my family heritage. So this is something I've wanted to do for awhile and so today on one of my special lady's birthday I want to say thank you for my godly heritage!

Special Lady One: My Grandma Bernadine

My Grandma had sparkly eyes, a strong spirit and a happy smile. She always looked old to me with lots of wrinkles on her face and white hair. She was the best. As I've learned more about her story I appreciate so much more who she was and what she overcame to show us the love of God.

Grandma had 6 children, which the last 2 were twins! That in itself is a lot, but she raised all of her children primarily on her own as her first husband was abusive and divorced her when the children were young. My Grandma raised 6 children as a single mother and she worked as a teacher. During one period of her life she worked an hour away from home so her work days were a minimum of 10 hours a day, plus 6 children to take care of by herself. But my Grandma knew who her God was and she served Him all the days of her life. She couldn't sing a note in tune, but she was in her church choir and faithfully attended church. My Grandma was a prayer warrior and I know she prayed for each of us by name, and I know I am still receiving the blessings from her prayers.

To give you an idea of the strength of my Grandma she died of lung cancer 2 and a half weeks after being diagnosed because she didn't go to the doctor for being sick. The only reason we probably found out she had cancer was because she visited us for Thanksgiving and when my mom heard the way she was breathing she took her to the doctor. I remember visiting her in the hospital a week and a half before she died and she wanted to prove to the doctor she was strong enough to go home. She literally jumped out of bed (at age 85, and only about 4 feet 10 inches) and was pushing on the doctors hand to show how strong she was (even though she was having great trouble breathing). During that visit she talked about how she was teaching Hebrews to her Bible study and had been studying the Matthew Henry Concordance in preparation (it's a huge book). Finally, being the last time I would see her concious, she sang to me: "He's still working on me, to make me what He wants me to be..." She was an amazing, strong Christian woman and I feel very humbled to have her in my family line.

Special Lady Number 2: Aunt Ethel

Aunt Ethel was my Grandma Bernadine's sister (so she's technically my great aunt). She died last month (8/09) at the ripe old age of 100 just days after her 100th birthday. She too was an incredible woman of God whose eyes shined of a daughter who knew who she was even after all she had been through. Now I can't find my fact sheet so I might be a little off on numbers because I'm going off of memory but my great aunt had an incredibly hard life. She was married on her 18th birthday because her father wouldn't let her get married a day before that and she didn't want to wait a day after that! She had a beautiful first son and everything was fine. But after that tragedy began to strike. My great aunt was RH-negative before the doctors knew what RH-negative was. She subsequently lost 9 children shortly after childbirth because of it. Only one of her other children, Jane survived and she was mentally handicapped. Aunt Ethel told me how she tried drinking horse urine during one of her pregnancies because she was told that would help her with the babies. During her last pregnancy, they were starting to figure out RH-negative but they babies were not given the help they needed in time. My Great Aunt lived through the death of all those babies, Jane died of cancer in her 40's, her husband died with health problems and she also endured the death of my Grandma (her baby sister by 11 years). However, whenever I would see her she would always have a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. She lived many days on earth and lost so much but lived with a confidence that was so evident that she knew who she belonged to and where she was going.

Special Lady Number 3: My Mom (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!)

My mom too went through a lot. She grew up in a broken home and had a mom that had to be gone more than present just to keep the family afloat. She married her high school sweetheart right out of high school and proceeded to have 3 children over the next 7 years. She was pregnant with me (the 3rd child) and going to law school when she received a call that my biological father had been killed in a motorcycle accident. This was on August 7, 1978 a month and a day before I was born. She too ended up being a single mom, having 3 kids and finishing law school. She has lost much during her life but she has also given much and loved much. She is my mom and I know I can always call her prayer support and she will pray. I just talked to her a couple days ago and she shared two incredible stories of how the Lord has been using her to minister His love and grace to those around her.  They were amazing stories and she grows more and more beautiful to me as each day goes by.  I love you Mom.  Happy Birthday!

Special Lady Number 4: My Cousin

So if you made it this far, this is the addition since last year.  I wrote this post last year on 10/08/09 and literally while I was writing it, another story was unfolding in my family heritage.  On this date last year, my sweet cousin Amanda was having a routine 20 week ultrasound.  During that ultrasound she found out that her unborn daughter, who would later be named Layla Rae, had Potter's syndrome and if she survived in the womb, her life outside of the womb would be extremely short.  I heard the news hours after I wrote this post and I literally lost it (Layla Rae's diagnosis and birth date lined up month wise exactly with Nevaeh Rae's diagnosis and birth date; for me it felt like I was literally walking through the story again. Thank God for good friends, my friend Correna came and prayed with me for a couple hours that day).  Over the past year I have watched my cousin walk humbly, honestly and confidently before the Lord.  She has been a complete inspiration to my soul.  She has graciously given me permission to share one of her posts with you, so that will be coming up in a couple days.  But I wanted you to learn a little something about her precious life and precious daugther before I shared.

People have characterized me as strong. But as I look at my godly heritage and I see my family line and I know much of my strength has come from watching these 4 women who have gone through so much, lost so much yet kept their eyes on the King of glory. He is the one who has been their strength and He is my strength. I pray my daughter has the same blessing of knowing His strength and His love in such a way that it brings her through any trials life throws her way.

In Christ,

The Winner Is...

Sharon Kirby is the winner of my contest for Fatal Convictions.  Please e-mail your address to by Friday, September 10 to receive a coupon for a free copy of this book or another reader will be selected.

Also, a reminder for all: I am on a season of rest right now.  However, I wanted to let you know that my site is always available and there are 175 posts for you to read if you are missing me:)  Two ways to effectively use my site are:
  1. The Search this blog function: this feature available in my sidebar allows you to type in any word you want to know about and it will pull up any of my posts that contain that word. 
  2. All my blogs are filtered by topics.  There is a list of all the topics on my sidebar.  If you select a topic any blogs I wrote that contain that topic will be pulled up.  My posts are slotted between 38 topics which include: Freedom, Love, Holy Spirit, Strategies of the Enemy, etc.
So if you need a little extra encouragement on a day, feel free to stop at this site for a little pick me up.

Missing you all,

A Season of Rest

Dear readers,

The Lord has invited me to a season of rest from intentional ministry to others. This decision effects two personal areas in my life, one is my Women's Group and the other is this blog. As many of you know 16 months ago, my niece, Nevaeh Rae Wallace, died suddenly from a known heart defect. Since that day, I have not taken an intentional time to focus on my grief and to rest and mourn. Since her passing, my personal ministry to others continued and grew in many ways. But as time has gone on, I realize that my heart broke in many different ways that day and because of that I need to take time for myself and to just rest in Him, without worrying about taking care of others.

The Lord has given me an analogy that I think brings clarity to my decision. Runners (which I am not one) love to run. But if they have a stress fracture in their leg, they need to stop running, to rest and allow it heal properly. If they keep running due to their love and ignore the pain things will only get worse. They need to take time to heal so that in the future they can return to what they love. That for me helps show where I am at. I love ministering to women, I love to pray for others and I love to write on this blog. But for many months the pain associated with doing those things has only increased. Even though in many ways I'd love to hold on and keep pressing through, I know that for a time, I cannot.  I made my decision two days ago and last night the Lord faithfully confirmed it to my heart through a post I read that was written by someone else.

There have been many writers that have encouraged and inspired me over the past year and a half. I've invited several of them to do guest posts on my behalf while I am resting, so hopefully you will still receive things from For His Glory just not written by me. As always, I appreciate your readership and many of you, your personal friendship. I hope you will be here when I return. Thanks for your understanding.

Love in Christ,

Book Review: Fatal Convictions & Giveaway

I recently had the opportunity to review Fatal Convictions by Randy Singer.  I also have the privilege to participate in a blog tour on the book and will be giving away a copy of the book, so be sure to read to the end.

Here is the synopsis from the book:
Alexander Madison is part lawyer, part pastor, and part con artist. When a Muslim imam is accused of instigating honor killings, Alex must decide whether to take the case that every other lawyer in town is running away from. He doesn’t realize until it’s too late that defending the imam may cost him the one thing in life he cares about most. Fatal Convictions is the story of a lawyer willing to risk it all and the women who must choose between faith and love.

I usually don't read fiction books because I love to read non-fiction books. However, the description captured me so I decided to give it a try. The author himself is also a lawyer and a pastor so I was more inclined to read a book where the author had real life experience and knowledge with the topics.

The book was extremely well-written.  Each chapter was only 2-4 pages long, so it was easy to pick up and read when I only had a couple of minutes.  However, there was enough catch at the end of each chapter that it kept me reading.  I ended up having to finish the book from 9pm-midnight one night because I couldn't put it down.  I think this book would make an excellent movie and I enjoyed the read.

My only issue with the book was that Alex, who was a lawyer and a pastor, never gave a hint that he cared about the souls of his clients.  In other areas of his life, he often crossed the line client/lawyer line but he never did in regards to religion.  The book also went into a lot of depth about the Muslim religion and treated it with great respect.  Reading the book alone, it wasn't clear to me how the author felt about Islam as a religion and whether he felt it just provided a different way to God.

My final analysis is for entertainment purposes alone this was an excellently written book that will keep you guessing until the end.

Giveaway:  The winner of this giveaway will receive a certificate from Tyndale Publishers to use at a local bookstore to purchase the book Fatal Convictions.  If for some reason, the book is unavailable at your local bookstore you will be able to redeem it directly through Tyndale. 

To enter:
Leave a comment on this post, I want to win.
You can receive additional entries by becoming a google reader or subscribing to my e-mail subscription.  If you are already a subscriber you just have to let me know and that will count.  As a way to say thank you to my new readers from the last month, they will automatically entered once.
Contest ends Sept 3, 2010.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a Q&A with Randy.

Thanks and good luck,

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers.  All views expressed are my opinion alone; and I was not paid to write this post.

Meditation on Psalm 85

Since I mentioned Bonhoeffer yesterday, I thought I'd let you know the biggest thing I took away from reading about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He emphasized the importance of reading and literally praying the Psalms EVERYDAY.  It really struck me as I read the book and it is something I have been doing since I read the book.

I've been meditating on Psalm 85 for the last week and a half.  I wanted to share it with you.  I've read it in several different versions so I'm going to share the passage with two versions combined.

Psalm 85:8-13 (NCV & Amplified)
I will listen [with expectancy] to God the Lord.
He has ordered peace for those who worship him.
Don't let them go back to [self-confident] folly.
God will soon save those who respect him,
and his glory will be seen in our land.
 Love and truth belong to God's people;
goodness and peace will be theirs.
 On earth people will be loyal to God,
and God's goodness will shine down from heaven.
 The Lord will give his goodness,
and the land will give its crops.
Righteousness shall go before God 
and shall make His footsteps a way in which to walk.

I will share the things that have stood out to me in these verses; first of all, the listening with expectancy to hear the Lord.  The idea that the Lord speaks into our lives and wants to direct the paths of our individual lives is an idea that is debated in the Christian community and within myself at times.  Meditating on this Psalm has confirmed in my heart that He does speak and I need and want to take the time to listen.

God has ordered peace for those who worship Him.  This has been powerful.  I want to be on the receiving end of something that God has ORDERED, especially when the order is for peace.  This verse shows the safest place to be is in the place of worship.  I am often tempted to do what the next verse says not to do, return to self-confident folly to fix my problems.  These two verses are reminding me to go back to the place of worshipping the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and to wait on His plans instead of doing it my own way.

Love and truth belong to God's people.  This concept has blown me away too.  My husband and I watch American Pickers a show where two guys travel around America going into people's barns and buying their treasures from them.  Sometimes, it is astounding to see the treasures people own and you would never believe it by the outside of their lives.  Often times, the people live in small run down houses and they look very poor but then you open up their garages and they have treasures worth thousands and thousands of dollars stuffed in their garages.  They will literally have garbage and treasure sitting side by side.  This verse showed me that I own two treasures in my life, love and truth belong to me.  Yet so often I walk around like I don't even possess them. I allow the garbage in my life to overwhelm and hide the fact that I own these two treasures.  The beauty of American Pickers is that it shows the value of an item is still there even if it is hidden beneath garbage.  It just needs to be pulled out and shown for what it is worth.  If people would look at your life would they know you posses these two great treasures or would they only see the junk?  It is time to go pull out what you own and display it for people to see.

Righteousness shall go before God and make HIS footsteps a path to walk in.  The final part on my series about grace talked about how we have been given the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ.  This verse states that concept in one incredible sentence.  Jesus says I AM THE WAY (John 14:6).  He goes before us showing us the way to walk in.  The question is, are we looking to follow?

My prayer is that you too will be blessed through meditating on Psalm 85.  It is a beautiful reminder that God wants to lead and guide you in your life and that Love, Truth, peace and goodness are all part of the package.

In Christ,

Emerging Butterfly

If you have a couple of minutes you can watch this video I recorded of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.  My kids voices are whispering in the background; I personally think it is adorable.

If you took time to watch the video you will see 4 stages of a butterfly's life represented in the video: a caterpillar, a chrysalis, a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, and a butterfly with wings fully open and ready to fly.  It is pretty incredible.

I've been reading through the life of Joseph and as I thought about the butterfly, I saw the similarities of the  between their processes.  When Joseph was 17 years old he had a dream.  He was like that caterpillar seeing the end product of the butterfly but not being anywhere close to doing it.  It wasn't time for the dream to happen but he was able to see it.  However, his dreams came crashing down when he was captured and sent off to Egypt and even in Egypt things got worse when he was put into prison.  That stage was like the chrysalis.  He had no idea what was happening.  Then there is the emerging out of the chrysalis to become what he was always supposed to be.  This happened when he explained the dream to the king.  And finally, the big beautiful butterfly, with his wings extended was when he became second in command to Pharaoh.

The thing that I realized while watching the butterfly is that the butterfly had to go through that process to become a butterfly.  There isn't one stage of the process that is more right than the other stage (although some look more enjoyable than others).  All stages are needed. 

I know in my personal Christian walk I've experienced the process of going through the different stages.  Currently, I feel like the emerging butterfly.  I feel like I am struggling against the things that have begun to close me in.  But in the struggle, I am trying to hold onto the dreams that I had in early stages of my life.  What has been the consistent message to my heart over the last month, is that the process is part of my journey, a part of making me who I am becoming and to keep holding on for the day I will get to fly. 

Lessons from my children 4: Doing something great

This morning my kids decided to make a picture together as a present for their Dad and I.  "Sshhh" at the time it was a secret.  I overheard them working together,
"I'll make the ears.  I'm good at making the ears." 
"Okay."  And then they were patiently taking turns with one another.

Wow, that puts a smile in a parent's heart.  As they were doing it, I was already thinking about how it will go in the memory box with a note that they came up with an idea to make something together and they pulled it off.  The beauty of the moment was shattered by high pitch screaming and crying by my daughter Mercea.  The intensity of the cry would make you think that she had sliced her finger off, but the cry was not due to an injury but rather it was from a disagreement about the color of the next body part.

The cry resulted in me sending them to their rooms for a "creativity break" and after a couple of minutes I sat and talked first to Mercea and then the two of them together.  The gist of the conversation was, that what will make this project special to Mommy and Daddy is the fact that they are doing it together.  The picture will be beautiful, but what will make it extra special is the fact that they did it together in love.  We talked about the need for compromise and cooperation.  They returned to their project and happily finished their grand surprise.

Many Christians want to do some "great" project for God.  Do you know what often gets in the way of doing something "great" for God?  People, especially those closest to us.  It is much easier to do a project then it is to love people.  I have tons of art pictures by my kids, they shoot them out at about 5-10 pieces a day.  Why then was I going to choose to treasure and store this particular picture?  Because they did it together, in love.  And I thought about God.  Throughout the course of a day, much more the course of human history, there are many people doing "things" in honor of God.  But in God's Word, He didn't command us to do 30 great things for Him over the course of the lifetime.  Yet that's what we so often strive after.  We as humans still tend to focus on outward projects.  We forget that He tells us that God does not look at the outward appearance, but He looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7).

What did He ask us to do with our hearts?  He has asked us to love one another and yet this single command remains one of the hardest challenges of our lives.  Here is just a taste of the numerous requests:
John 13:34
A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Romans 13:8
Let no debt remain outstanding,
 except the continuing debt to love one another,
for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
I Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselves
by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers,
love one another deeply, from the heart.
I John 4:12
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

If you want to do something great for God, love your sisters and brothers in Christ.  I know as a parent, there is nothing that excites my heart more than seeing my two children working together in love.  I believe that seeing us love one another brings joy to God's heart.

In Christ,

Book Review: The Jesus You Can't Ignore

The following is a book review for John MacArthur's book The Jesus You Can't Ignore.   The following is the description on the back of the book:  Best-selling author John MacArthur gives readers a fresh look at how Jesus addressed attacks against the truth.  Meek and mild. Politically correct. A great teacher. These are the popular depictions of Jesus. But they aren't the complete picture. Maybe because it's uncomfortable, or maybe because it's inconvenient, Christians and non-Christians alike are overlooking the fierceness of the Savior, His passionate mission to make the Gospel clear and bring people into the Kingdom of God. A mission that required he sometimes raise his voice and sometimes raise a whip.
I have great respect for John MacArthur as I'm sure many others do, and that was precisely why I chose to read this book.  I have also learned a lot from him in other books that I've read by him.  However, this book did not sit well with me and there were many points where I disagreed with him.  While I do agree, Jesus has a fierceness and passion for the truth I disagreed with John on the motivation that was driving that firceness.  I felt that the book was written with a personal agenda to attack targeted styles of Christianity.  I felt that this personal agenda caused him to read "between the lines" of Scripture and add more than what was there in order to prove his points.  The only positive from the book for me was that it produced many lengthy and in-depth conversations with my husband about what we believe and why.  I personally do not recommend the book.

In Christ,

I received this book from Booksneeze.  This is my own personal opinion and I was not paid.

Thoughts from today

My kids and I started school this week.  We use Sonlight as our core curriculum because it is literature based and if you haven't gotten the hint yet, I like to read:)  Anyway, we are currently reading
Red Sails to Capri , (which I have never read before) and two things from today's chapter really stuck with me so I'm going to share them with you.

The main character Michele is out on a walk with a painter.  The two thoughts come from conversations that the two of them are having.  The first conversation is discussing people that they know:

I look for a bit of beauty no matter where I go, and Monsieur Jacques is forever searching for adventure.  And we find it, Michele.  I think some way or other most people find the things they look for.  Perhaps your friend Angelo is searching for gaiety, Michele.  He must find something to laugh about, something to make others laugh.  When he doesn't find it he makes it up. That's his way of finding what's important to him. 

Well, I've either lost you by now, or your still hanging with me.  For some reason this really stuck with me.  It made me think about my personality and other people's personality.  I guess, I related to Angelo.  I do search for gaiety.  I like life to be lighthearted and fun.  When I don't see people laughing, I desire to bring a smile to their face.  It's not like I didn't know that about myself before, but for some reason, this passage made me really reflect on it and see the value in it.  I would love it if you would indulge me with your response of what you "search for in life."  What do you search for in life, that you need to see brought forth?  How do you bring it forth when it cannot be found?

The second part that stood out to me was this:  the chapter was titled "The Most Beautiful Spot" the painter (a visitor to the island) was having Michele (a native) take him to the most beautiful spot on the island so the painter could paint it.  On the way to the spot they have to walk up stairs, Michele states that he hates the stairs, he describes them as a "great scar on the side of the mountain."  The artist spends the day painting and Michele doesn't know what he is painting, but he assumes the painter is painting the sky, the sea and the mountainside.  At the end of the day, the artist shows Michele the picture.  The painter chose to paint the steps.  Here is the conversation:
"Why did you go to the most beautiful spot on Capri and then paint something else?" 
"Your spot was too beautiful Michele."
"Too beautiful?"
"Yes.  I don't believe there is enough paint in the world to paint a picture of that spot as it should be painted.  You don't need an artist to show you the beauty of a place like that.  But your ugly steps - if I have made you see a bit of beauty in them, Michele, I am very happy."

Perhaps I have had one to many chocolate chip cookies today, but that scene almost took my breath away and I haven't been able to shake it all day.  Perhaps it is related to a blog brewing in my heart, that I'm not ready to write yet, but it has to do with what God does with our scars.  When I read that the steps were a great scar on the side of the mountain I cringed.  Then I read this part:
"I never thought they were beautiful at all.  I thought they were ugly."
"Perhaps you have never looked at them before."
"Looked at them? I have looked at them a thousand times."
"Sometimes we never look at the things we see most often."

We all have ugly areas in our lives.  Great scars that we see all the time but we prefer to hide them and have them disappear.  Yet in the hands of a great artist even that which is ugly can be made beautiful. 
"Those colors in the rocks-are they really there?"
"I saw them there."
"And the steps-do they loop and turn like that?"
"Exactly like that."
"You have made them look like a stairway to heaven!"

When we step back and see through His eyes, that is when the beauty shines through.  I guess I have a couple scars that I've been doing my darnedest to get rid of.  I'd rather forget that they are there.  After today's reading I'm thinking He is saying, "Let's look at them again, under My light and I will show you how they are a stairway to Me."  So I am sure there will be at least one more post on this topic.  In the meantime, reflect on giving the Great Artist a chance to create beauty out of your scars.

In Christ,

Lessons from my children: 3 Letting Go

I currently am teaching Mercea how to play the piano.  The other day, she initiated practice and we went to play.  She was completely excited, sitting straight up, giddy, perfect attention!  I was excited too.  Then the phone rang.  I answered the phone, and Mercea went off to play while I took care of the phone call.  By the time I got off, Mercea had come up with a whole new idea of what she wanted to do.  I said, that we couldn't do it; the task would make a mess (surprise) and that we were going to resume playing piano.  She was none to happy about it.

She returned to the piano but her attitude was completely different.  She was slouched down, hair over her eyes, and lip sticking out.  Remember, 5 minutes earlier I had a perfectly happy, delighted little girl that wanted to play the piano?  Now, because of an event, completely unrelated to the piano, she no longer was in the place where she could participate in playing the piano.

The conversation I had on the phone between this transition was about the book Journey of Desire.  My co-leader was asking me if I had read the chapter yet called, "Letting Go."  I had not read it at that time.  However, after the conversation, I had a pretty good visual representation of the topic of that chapter.

Because, Mercea, was hanging on to her disappointment it was completely effecting the task she was supposed to be doing.  She was not able to participate wholeheartedly because she was still hanging on to the disappointment from not getting her way.  Even though the 2 events were completely unrelated it was still connected because of the way it was influencing her attitude. 

So yes, it was a right on visual for me.  I can completely relate.  Disappointment has become an underlying attitude for me.  I know the Lord has asked me to continue in some things, but I am only joining in half-hearted because I haven't and frankly don't want to let go of my disappointment.  Of course that chapter, in Journey of Desire, was about God bringing John to the realization that he needed to let go and God had another path for him to walk on.  But unlike I assumed, that God wanted me to suck it up and move on, it is becoming very clear that He wants to hear all about it and then He is inviting me to trust him.

So I want to share some quotes from the chapter "Letting Go" that shows the process that I am walking through:
  • Being content is not pretending that everything is the way you wish it would be; it is not acting as though you have no wishes.  Rather, it is no longer being ruled by your desires (180).
  • "I want to predict what the Lord is going to do, so that it doesn't hurt so bad when it happens." we grasp onto perfectionism to avoid pain and disappointment.  It only makes matters worse.  So what do we do?  How do we live with desire we cannot take care of and heartache we cannot prevent?  We groan and wait (Romans 8:22-25)  (184)
    • To wait is to learn the spiritual grace of detachment, the freedom of desire.  Not the absence of desire, but desire at rest (185).
  • The paradox of grief is that it is healing; it somehow restores our souls, when all the while we thought it would leave us in despair (188).
  • The time has come for us to quit playing chess with God over our lives.  There are two kinds of losses in our lives, the kind that comes to everyone that we have no say in and chosen loss.  Chosen loss is when we give our lives to the only One who can truly keep them.  Spiritual surrender is not resignation.  It is not choosing to care no longer.  Nor is it Eastern mysticism, an attempt to get beyond the suffering of this life by going completely numb.  It is surrender with desire, in desire. (192-193)
  • True surrender is not an easy out, calling it quits early in the game.  This kind of surrender comes only after the night of wrestling.  It comes only after we open our hearts to care deeply.  Then we choose to surrender, or give over our hearts, our deepest desires to God.  And with them we give our hearts, our deepest selves.  (194)
Thanks for reading where I am in process.

In Christ,

The Butterfly Circus

If you have 20 minutes I highly recommend you taking the time to watch this short film.  It is a beautifully written, directed and acted film.  This short story poignantly demonstrates how God can turn ashes to beauty.

If you receive this through google reader or e-mail you will have to click through to my blog to view it.

Recommended Book: Journey of Desire

Twice a month, I co-lead a Women's Group in my home.  This summer we had the privilege of going through the book Journey of Desire by John Eldredge.  It was an amazing time and I think I can fairly say that all of us ladies received a lot from it and are still reveling in the beauty of the truths.

Journey of Desire was written by John the year after his best friend Brent tragically died in a rock climbing accident.  Beautifully interwoven throughout the book is the journey that John went through in his thought processes during that year.  The book discusses how God has given us desires and how to keep desire alive in the process of life and all the hardships life throws our way.  It acknowledges that sometimes it is way easier to curl up and stop caring.  But it also tenderly speaks to the truth of who God is and what He desires for our lives and while acknowledging the pain it challenges us to keep going.  Unlike the book I read earlier this year Why is God Ignoring Me?, I truly believe this book acknowledges and is comfortable with the depth of pain that people can be in and tenderly calls us forth to life again.

I believe this book is a tool of the ministry of Jesus described in Matthew 12:20:
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.

Finally, I believe this book is a great book to do with a friend or a group.  There is so much in it, that I believe for you to receive the fullness of it, you should be discussing it with others as you go through.

In Christ,

Lessons from my children: 2 Why we have relationship

You would think after my last talk with my children, they would stop picking on each other, right?:)   Not so. 

Lesson 2: Why do we have relationship?

I heard my son, James, yelling at his sister, Mercea the other day.  For the first time, it didn't seem like my daughter was actively participating in annoying him.  I asked him if he was being cranky with his sister or if they were just pretending (sometimes it is hard to tell) and he said he was cranky so I sent him to his room for a time out.  Then I called my daughter in to see if she was being an instigator and she said she wasn't.  After his timeout I had him come to me so we could talk.  I asked him what was wrong.  James said his sister was being silly.  Was she interfering with what you were building?  No.  Was she touching your stuff or getting in your way?  No, she was just being silly. 

I had to chuckle to myself when James said this.  In order for the rest of this post to make sense you need to know that  my son and daughter have 2 very different personalities.  James is the oldest and has a serious streak to his personality.  He pays great attention to detail and needs to do things the "right way."  Mercea, on the other hand, is very carefree.  We call her "Messy Missy" because she cannot make it through a meal without creating something, and it usually is a mess.  She is very artistic.  And silly, well that is one of her main character qualities.  Of course, it is obvious to see why these 2 different personalities could cause constant conflict, but it is also easy to see why these 2 personalities need each other.

So back to our conversation.

"So your sister was being herself, and that was bothering you?"  "Yes."

So we called Mercea in and we had a chat about the purpose of relationship.

If there was only seriousness and order everyday how would the colors of life shine through?  However, if there was only a carefree, messy life, how would anything productive be done?  We talked about how often my son enjoys his sister's silliness and how often it makes him laugh.  We also talked about the need to not always be silly all the time and how to be sensitive to what the other person is feeling.

We need relationships with others because they bring beauty and color to our life.  If we choose to let the times their personalities challenge ours and annoy us define who they are to us we will soon view them as  "annoying" and disassociate ourselves with them.  Then we are the ones who will lose.  So instead of cutting people out of our lives or trying to change their personalities we need to look at the many ways they enhance our lives.  And those few times (which we tend to exaggerate to be all the time) their personalities rub us the wrong way, we need to give them the grace to be themselves.

Relationships are challenging but they are worth fighting for.  Sometimes we need to evaluate what lies are beginning to dominate our relationships with others and challenge those lies.  As adults, we don't have our parents to sit us down and help us talk it through, but that doesn't mean that sometimes we don't need to give ourselves a timeout and work through why this relationship is becoming a problem.  If you have a relationship that is being defined more by conflict than peace I would encourage you to step aside with the Lord and allow Him to speak His truth over it. 

In Christ,

Lessons from my children: 1 Valuing Relationships

Have you ever been in the midst of teaching your children a life lesson and felt like God was holding up a big mirror in front of your face?   The words that were coming out of your mouth were flying right back at you like they are coming out of a megaphone?  Maybe you should be the one being talked to?  The next 3 blog posts will contain a snipet of the lessons that I am currently learning as I am simulatenously teaching them to my children.

Lesson 1: Valuing Relationships

Have you ever sat and listened to your kids fight?  It's not much fun to listen to, is it?  Often times their fights are well, pointless.  They often times are fighting about something that in our minds' eye is shall we say, infantile.

My kids, for the most part, are very good friends.  They enjoy each other's company and are kind to one another.  But in the past couple of weeks, they have started to pick at one another on a more consistent basis.  It is little, nitpicking back and forth and it not only gets under each others' skin it also gets under their mother's skin.

So the other day, I took them aside to have a little chat together.  During that chat, I said, that they need to work on valuing their relationship with one another more than they value getting their own way.  We talked about how Mommy and Daddy like different things, but because we like each other more than those things, we are willing to set aside our personal desires and take turns doing what the other person likes in order to make the other person happy.  Again why?  Because we value our relationships more than we value our personal desires.

Of course, as I was talking I felt more like I was listening to the Holy Spirit than talking out of my own wisdom.  And I began applying what I was saying to my own adult life.  I wondered to myself, how many times the Lord looks down at our adult fights and feels that the arguments are pointless.  That often times we are more interested in getting our own way and being right instead of valuing our relationships and making the changes necessary to show that the relationship is more important than getting my way done for the moment.

Galatians 5:13-15
You, my brothers, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature;
rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command:
"Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other,
watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I encourage you to take time to pause and consider what you are valuing right now in your relationships.  Are you taking the way of love and service to one another or are you choosing your way.  What is more valuable?

(Hint: The only things that are eternal are relationships.)

In Christ,

Journey to Understand Grace Part 5: The Beauty of His Grace

Here has been the journey thus far:
1. Jesus hates sin.
2.Christians still sin.
3.God is Holy and before the cross sin caused a separation between us and God.
4. Because of point 2 we often try to resolve what we see as a problem caused by the truths of 1 &3 by living according to our own righteousness.  The result is frustration and condemnation.

Which brings us to today.  The beauty of God's grace!! So remember the sermon that sparked this journey?  The definition of grace discussed in that sermon (Applied Grace by Sam Dharam on 11/1//09) was this:  the enabling power of God.  

Think of that in light of the journey we have been on.  We know that sin is dangerous and deadly.  We know that by our own strength and power we cannot overcome sin.  We know that God is a Holy God.  Often times people conclude that God's grace is the answer.  However, their definition of that grace is simply a "get out of jail free" card, so whenever you do something wrong you don't have to feel bad about it that in  fact you can just keep doing it over and over again.  This understanding of grace just covers the problem of sin but it doesn't provide a solution to sin.  I strongly believe that grace is bigger than that and rather than erasing the conflict between God's Holiness and His hatred of sin, it allows the beauty of all of His character to light and the result is freedom for His children. Grace provides us access to the throne room of God, where God sits in Holiness and where Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Father.  Jesus has defeated the curse of the law of sin and death.  He has set you free and His grace ENABLES you by the power of God to be FREE.  It is a beautiful thing.

We talked last time of how we still try to walk according to our righteousness.  If we walk out our faith by trying to walk on a tightrope of perfection, we end up failing (daily) and being miserable!  However if you pay attention to the verses I've shared and will continue to share with you, you will see that because of God's grace we don't do it according to OUR righteousness, rather we are invited to live out our lives THROUGH Him.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Again, if we could succeed through our own righteousness then Jesus didn't need to die.  Don't set aside God's grace, it is the key to living in His righteousness.

Romans 5:20
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Because of God's grace we get to live through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  If you've been following my blog for a while you know that I am a strong advocate of putting your armor on daily.  Why?  One reason is because it is a great reminder of the truth of God's word, including the part: putting on the breastplate of righteousness.  Whose righteousness?  Not ours, His. 

Last time we started looking at Romans 8.  Here are some more beautiful verses that we all know but I think in this journey of grace they shine even brighter:
 8:9,10, 13-17
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit,
if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ,
he does not belong to Christ.
But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin,
yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
 but you received the Spirit of sonship.
And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

8:26, 27
...the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

What, then, shall we say in response to this?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—
how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
It is God who justifies.
Who is he that condemns?
Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I hope you will take time to read all those Scriptures and meditate on them.  Do you see the beauty of His grace?  Sin was a barrier and before the cross it kept us from being able to even survive in the presence of God.  However, now because of the death of Jesus Christ, sin no longer keeps us from the presence of God.  Instead, we have full access to the THRONE of GRACE and we can approach with confidence.  Better yet, at His throne we are given His righteousness through His grace, which is God's enabling power to OVERCOME sin.  He still is a Holy God and when we come into His presence, He is still an all consuming fire, now however that fire consumes only sin and it no longer consumes us.  It is by being in His presence and living through the grace of Jesus Christ that we walk in freedom.  We don't need to be slaves to sin anymore.  We don't have to live out of our own righteousness.  We can live through Him.  And did you see in Romans 8, you have incredible support.  You have the Holy Spirit interceding to God on our behalf and you have Jesus Christ interceding.  The beauty of grace is that because of the cross sin is no longer an issue for God.  He has cast our sin as far as the east is from the west.  Sin no longer has the power to prevent us from access to God.  Because of Jesus we have full confidence that God is for us

Hebrews 12:18-28
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire;
to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words
that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them,
because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned."  The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,
to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,
to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape
when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we,
if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth,
but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."
The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things
—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."

This is how I've been applying this knowledge of grace. 
1.  I still put on my armor daily.  It reminds me that I am saved by grace and I can only walk in this life through His righteousness. 
2.  When I sin, which I do, I bring my heart in confident expectation to the throne of grace.  I no longer cower away from God in shame and guilt, or try to fix  my darkness by being "a better person."  Rather, I say, "Lord, here is my heart, here is my sin.  Please show me how to overcome this by your grace."  I realize that He wants to set me free and that any exposure He brings to my sin is an invitation from the Father to be free.  What a beautiful place to be, in the presence of God, the all consuming fire, who is able to consume the remains of our sin and set us free.

So thank you for reading my journey to understand grace.  As I said, it is a journey and by no means am I perfect at it.  But I'm living by God's grace, His enabling power, and I'm walking with much more confidence knowing that I have a loving Father, Son and Holy Spirit cheering me on and inviting me to rest in their arms when I fail.

Living Through Christ,

Journey to Understand Grace: Part 4 Our righteousness

If you've been following along in this series Journey to Understand Grace, you will remember that we have already established that:
1. Jesus hates sin
2. God is Holy

(Wow, it seemed so much more profound when I was writing about it:) 

Because of these 2 facts, Christians often manage to override grace and come up with their own solution to living with these truths about God.  The solution: RIGHTEOUSNESS.  It goes something like this:

We know we are forgiven.  We know we serve a holy God.  We know that we still sin.  We feel like Jesus paid such a big price that now He is now tapping His toes in heaven because He is waiting for us to pay Him back.  That something we owe Him is a holy life.  We can do that no problem!  So we jump head first into "being good Christians" by our own merit.

The apostle Paul describes this type of living in Romans 7:15-24:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 
And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Can you relate to Paul's description?  When you live according to your righteousness you will find that there is a great war within you, one that you always lose.  Paul sums it up, "What a wretched man I am!"  How often do we walk away from situations in our lives feeling exactly like this?  But Paul ends this frustrating passage of Scripture with a question, "who will rescue me from this body of death?"

The answer, Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

Do you know what follows Romans 7:25?  Romans 8:1!!  And do you realize what popular verse opens Romans 8?

Romans 8:1
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Here's the real shocker: we don't have to live in the description Paul described in Romans 7.  We end up in that predicament when we try to live out our Christianity according to our own righteousness.  Do you know what the Bible describes our righteousness as? 

Isaiah 64:6
all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.

I don't think many of us would walk around handing out filthy rags as something valuable.  However, we still think that now attaining righteousness by our own merit will get us somewhere.  It does; that somewhere is the land of confusion, frustration and condemnation.

But God has a better way for us to live and it is to live according to His grace!!!!  However, you'll have to wait for the next post to read about it!

In Christ,

Sanctified Together: In His Arms

I had the opportunity to write for Sanctified Together's publication again.  The topic of discussion this time was The Measure of a Woman my article is called In His Arms.  I hope you have a minute to stop by and read mine and check out the articles written by the other ladies.  There are some great articles such as 5 lbs of Grace, Dot, Dot, Dot, A Mother's Adoption story, Who's Kids are these and why are they calling me Mom, etc...!

Here is the teaser for mine:
As I considered writing for Sanctified Together Publication's June topic, The Measure of a Woman, I have to admit that I was intimidated by the subject. I have been involved in ministering to women for the last 6 years and the overwhelming similarity that I have seen between women is that they have the same common fear: they are not good enough and they do not measure up.

I believe a large percentage of American women walk around with an inferiority complex, always measuring themselves against the woman next to them. Are they pretty enough, skinny enough, a good enough wife, mother, friend, etc? All the while wishing they were somebody else not realizing that the "somebody" else they want to be is also wishing to be "someone" else.

You can finish reading it by clicking here.


Journey to Understand Grace Part 3: A Holy God

Last time, I wrote how Jesus feels about sin, that sin is DANGEROUS.  I'm not at the end of discussing grace and I'm sure some of you are very nervous about where this is going.  Please be patient, we will get there, but not today!

Another one of the problems people have in accepting grace is that they have a dilemma of how they could be in the presence of God if they are also in sin.  Part of this problem comes from the idea that because God is a Holy God, sin cannot be in His presence.  The general idea that many people walk away with is that sin is God's kryptonite and that He cannot be in the presence of sin.  However, I would like to present several Scriptures that show that this is not a completely accurate understanding.

1.  When Adam and Eve sinned, God came into the garden and spoke to them.  Sin had taken place but God still came to them.  If God was not able to be in the presence of sin, He would have sent an angel to talk to Adam and Eve. 
2. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden because the tree of life was planted there and God did not want them to be able to live forever in their state of sin (Genesis 3:22) thus they were not kicked out to be removed from His presence.
3.  If you read the account of Cain, before He murdered Abel God came and talked to Him telling Him that sin was trying to overtake him and that he must overcome it (Genesis 4:6-7). 
4.  Man didn't begin praying to God until the life of Enosh (Genesis 4:26).  Seeing how God talked to Cain it is plausible that God continued commune with men on an individual basis for a time.
5.  Satan does come into the presence of God.  "One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. (Job 1:6)."  "For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10)."
6.  While Jesus was on earth, He was 100% man and 100% God.  We know for a fact that while on earth He was surrounded by sin. 
Therefore, the idea that we are separated from God, because God cannot be in the presence of sin is not a completely accurate picture.  Sin is not above God, more powerful than Him, or His kryptonite.  A more accurate picture I believe is that because of God's Holiness, sin cannot last in His presence. 
All the Israelites were invited to come to God when He presented the 10 commandments, but they chose to send Moses in their stead (Exodus 20:10).  There was a purification process that did need to take place because death would overtake them if they were not purified.  We also learn in Deuteronomy 4:24 God is a consuming fire.  We see throughout the OT that the people could not be in the presence of God and they had to be separated from the Holy of Holies.  In order for the priests to enter the Holy of Holies they had to go through a purification process or else they would die.  That is because it is sin that cannot survive in the presence of God.  If a sinful man would come into God's presence all by himself, he would die.  The problem of sin is on our end and before the death of Jesus, God set up the veil as a separation for the protection of our lives.
Isaiah 59:1-2 is a verse that many use to justify the idea that God separates Himself from us as a punishment for our sin:
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.

Our sin did cause a separation between us and God.  In verse 1 it says His ear is not to dull to hear, but in verse 2 it says he will not hear because of our sins.  However, if we read earlier in verse 2 it talks about how our iniquities have separated us from God and His face is hidden from you.  Sin causes a separation but it is on our end.  Sin blinds us from understanding His heart.  To justify that this passage isn't saying He keeps Himself separate from us because He is waiting for us to be sinless we can see that in the exact same chapter of Isaiah that God's heart is for us and He no longer wants sin to cause a separation between us:

Isaiah 59:16-17
He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm worked salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.
He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

Sin did not cause such a separation from God that He didn't want to come to rescue us.  He decided to come down and save us from ourselves.

Why is this important?  If you believe that sin is God's hang-up then every time you sin now, as a Christian, you will still think that your sin causes God to separate Himself from you.  You will think that because of His Holiness, He has to remove Himself from you until you get your act back together.  In addition, you will think that the security of your salvation depends on what you do and don't do and therefore you will not feel at peace in His presence.  But if you understand that sin is our issue, that it blinds us from the heart of God and that God Himself chose to overcome the barrier in such a way that sin is no longer even an issue in regards to Him.... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Just know that salvation comes to us in the form of Jesus Christ and as we will continue to see, grace will be one of the beautiful blessings that is attached to His beautiful salvation.

In Christ,

Journey to Understand Grace Part 2: Sin

One of the main dilemmas in understanding grace is the problem of sin.  Sin as we all know still plays a role in our lives, but as a Christian what does it mean that we sin?  Does sin matter and if so how? 
I think a good place to start answering these questions is to look at the very words of Jesus:

Matthew 5:29-30
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Jesus HATES sin.  He believes sin is DANGEROUS and it needs to be dealt with seriously.  However, in our Christianity today we so often embrace sin and we like to downplay it. Instead we label it a "struggle" so that we can continue to hold onto it and don't have to confront it.

So again, we need to step back and look at Jesus.  How did He deal with sin in the temple:

Matthew 21:12-13
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers."
The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

Jesus boldly confronted sin in the temple of God.  He didn't gently ask the moneychangers if they could leave at the end of the day and not come back tomorrow.  He came in with zeal, drove them out, and then did the work of God in its place; he healed the lame and blind.  Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

I Corinthians 6:18-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your body.

To think that somehow now because of grace Jesus feels differently about sin in His temple I think is a misrepresentation of His heart.  To think that He rearranges furniture in your heart to make room for your pet sins, or that He has a room called grace so that you can comfortably keep your sin is a lie.  Hopefully, by the end of this series you will see that it is precisely because of God's grace that we can call sin, sin, evil, evil and we do not need to be afraid to confront it head on.

Daily Prayer

Disqus for For His Glory Alone


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