Perfected Grace

This life will not be free of stress, worry, pain or loss (sorry).  However, Christ tells us that his grace is sufficient and perfected in our weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).  So I like Paul, will boast of my weaknesses because it is only through Christ that I breathe. It is through Him that I live, move and have my being (Acts 17:28). Only my omnipresent, omniscient Father knows where I would be without Him.  However, I believe I would most certainly be dead.

Living for God does not mean to be perfect. We are human. We will sin. Period. However, we are to fight continually for our salvation.  We are to continually pursue and chase after Him. We are to keep getting up every time we fall.  We are not to give up.  We are to move forward putting the Kingdom first regardless of our situations. Which, to be honest, isn’t always easy right?

So how do we keep from getting caught up in our situations? Well can avoid many of life’s difficulties by following Christ. Life however still happens, so what can we do?  I’ve learned it’s all about perspective.  How we choose to see things directly affects how we react to them. Changing our perspective can greatly decrease emotional stress, worry, pain and our reaction to loss.

How can you go about changing your perspective? 

  • Be intentional in your thoughts about a situation.
  • Remember we have unknown biases instilled in us from birth. 
  • We have our cultures and society telling us what to believe and why to believe it.
  • We have our own experiences and buried issues that can taint our perspective.·
  • Think critically about options and decisions and most importantly, take your personal feelings out of the equation. 

As you work on changing your perspective, ask God to guide you in this process. Some of my prayers have included requests to open my eyes to see things with a kingdom focus and to soften my heart so that I am better able to love others the way Christ loves me.

 

For Every Action

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s Newton’s third law of motion I learned in high school Physics. I failed Physics so I don’t know why Newton’s third law of motion has stuck with me over the years. While I know there is no way I can understand all that God is, how God thinks or why God does what God does, I have taken refuge in knowing that natural law was created by the Creator. So while Newton may get the credit, God gets the glory. That’s a totally different topic so let me stick to what I was going to share.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction…

What does Physics have to do with how I relate to my health and wellbeing?  Well, on my darkest days, when breathing was the last thing on my mind, when I cried so much that there were no more tears just heaving shoulders hugging a pillow, there would always come a point where I would remember that for every action, there was an equal and opposite reaction. For every tear, there is a smile.  For every hurt there is a happiness.  For every devastating ending there is an equally joyous beginning.  That is the natural law.  How much greater is restoration by God? For all of my losses combined, there is one complete and total victory in Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:57).

Take refuge in the Lord.  Find your rest in Him (Psalms 37:7).

A letter home

How do you talk to God?  Some people make it seem so difficult with rules, regulations and suggestions. Fold your hands, say it this way, get in position, don’t forget to do this and say that, and on and on. Have you been there?  Sometimes I just want to talk to God like I would the loving parent I know Him to be. Having a conversation just like you would a loving parent. Sometimes I find it helps me relate to all that God is by taking the time to just “write home” as a child would be to their parent. Maybe it will help you too. Here’s one of my letters to my Father, my brother the Son, and my Comforter the Holy Spirit.

Hey Dad,

I just wanted to say thank you for loving me. You’re the best father ever! I hear people I know talking about their parents and stuff but they don’t have it like me and my brothers and sisters do. I keep trying to tell them they’re adopted like us and you’re their dad too but they don’t want to listen. What’s a girl to do but to keep trying. OH, thanks for all of the care packages!! You’re so amazing.  You know just what I need when I need it. Everything is always delivered on time. I don’t know how you do it but you never cease to amaze me.

Jesus you there?  You are amazing. Perfect in every way. You’re the best big brother a girl could ask for.  There is none like you. You should see how everyone starts acting right when they think you’re watching.  I mean, you’re always watching but they forget. I do too... I wish I could be just like you. But I’m ok being me. I try and do things just the way you would.  I’m so far from getting it right. But I’m going to keep trying anyways. I just want to make you and daddy happy.

Holy Spirit?  Where are you?  Oh there you are! Thank you for living with me.  For putting up with my boundary issues. I know I keep saying all of you and none of me and I really do mean it. I keep slipping… putting me first, I’m working on it though. Just keep moving me in the right direction. I’d be lost without you so please don’t go.

Well, I love you guys so much. Thank you all for being so patient with me.  So kind and gentle. I’m not sure how long it will be before I come home. I’m working dad’s plan for me. It feels so good to know that when it’s time, I have a loving home to come to. Please tell everyone I said hello. I know not everyone makes it but I’m spreading the Gospel of salvation and of the kingdom so as many people know about you as possible!!! I guess I just want to make you proud and hear you say “Job well done”.

Love,

Your Child through Christ

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How to Prepare for the Storm

How do We Prepare for the Storm?

Jesus, the Master Teacher and the one who has all power over the storms of life warns us of the specific building code that must be followed for our house to weather the storm. As we examine this parable we see that there’s one major difference between the wise man’s house and the foolish man’s house, foundation.

The wise man built his house on the rock. The foolish man built his house on sand. When the rain came, and the streams rose and the wind blew beating on the house, the wise man’s foundation was strong and sturdy, able to survive the storm. The foolish man’s house was built on a weak foundation, it collapsed and was destroyed by the storm.

The two houses compared in this parable can represent the mental, emotional, physical, financial, relational, or spiritual houses of our lives. We see from the parable that the most important feature of every house is the foundation. Ask yourself, what kind of foundation are the houses of your life built on? Are they built on the Rock or the sand? Can your houses withstand the storm or will they come crashing down on you in the midst, of a storm? Are you prepared for the storm? A storm is coming!

Jesus makes crystal clear, three key points in this parable. One, a storm is coming. That’s a fact! It’s our responsibility to be properly prepared for the storm. Two, everyone has an opportunity to be prepared for the storm. No one need be overtaken by the storm. Lastly, to be properly prepared for the storm, we must follow the exact building code given by Jesus Christ. Jesus gives clear, simple instructions on how to build a house that survives the storm. According to Matthew 7, those who hear His words and practice His words will build a house able to withstand the storms but, warns us that those who hear His words and do not practice them will build a house that will coming crashing down during the storm. What kind of foundation is your house built on? Is it built to last or will it come crashing down when faced with the storm? Are you prepared for the storm? A storm is coming!

Let us pray. Dear God, please help us to build a house that is strong enough to withstand the storms of life. We ask for the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding necessary to build our house like the wise man. Also give us the strength and self-discipline to be doers of your word as well as hearers. In Jesus Name, we thank you that have heard and already answered our prayers. We will be certain to give you all the honor and glory. Amen!

Don’t be like the foolish man who lost his house. Build your house upon the Word of God.

Minister Sylvia is a teacher and leader at Impacting Love Global Ministries, Inc.  She uses her life as an open testimony to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ

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Do You Know a Storm is Coming?

One of my mottos in life is: “A prepared person is a happy person.” I’m always my best self when I am organized and properly prepared for whatever I might face in life. We may often face life crises or, the “storms of life”, and if we are not properly prepared for the storm we can become overwhelmed and even overtaken by it. Are you prepared for the storm? A storm is coming!

You might be asking, what is a storm of life and how can I be prepared? A storm of life can be any seemingly, never-ending battle with one life crisis after another. Perhaps you are in the midst of a terrible a storm now, or you might be entering a storm, or even coming out of a storm, and all hope has seemed to vanish. I would like to encourage you not to worry but, to place your hope in Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus gave us a fail proof plan on how to be properly prepared for the storms of life. In this parable Jesus makes it crystal clear that no one, absolutely no one need be overtaken by the storms of life. Are you prepared for the storm? A storm is coming!

According to Matthew, Jesus tells a parable contrasting and comparing a wise man and a foolish man. Notice both men have built their own houses, but the wise man build’s a house that withstands the storm while, the foolish man build’s a house that comes crashing down during the storm. Again, I ask, are you prepared for the storm? A storm is coming!

This story is not just for the architects, carpenters and contractors. This story is for you and me. Jesus warns us that a storm is coming. He never says "if" the rain comes, or the floods "might" come, or "maybe" the winds will beat on the house. No, Jesus keeps it 100 with us. He lets us know in no uncertain terms that a storm is coming. The problem is we don’t know when it’s coming, where it's coming from, or what form it's coming in but, we can be absolutely, certain that a storm is heading our way. Our job is to be prepared. Are you prepared for the storm?

 

Learn how to prepare for the storm HERE.

Minister Sylvia is a teacher and leader at Impacting Love Global Ministries, Inc.  She uses her life as an open testimony to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Do Not be Anxious About Anything

There are times when I’m physically ill. I get sick to my stomach doubled over in pain wondering what it is that I may have eaten to turn my stomach upside down. As I begin to examine what I ate and drank or if I was around anyone with a bug, it usually hits me: “you’re having an anxiety attack”.  Within minutes, the pain subsides (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) at least enough to focus on the task at hand.  The task is always to determine what’s triggering the anxiety.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 to not be anxious and allow the peace of God to protect our hearts and minds. The NIV translation states:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.

Often times well-meaning people will say things like “the Word says ‘don’t be anxious’’ or “God will grant you ‘peace that surpasses all understanding’ if you’re faithful”. In order to get that peace, there are about 30 other words with some pretty clear directions from that passage that usually get left out.  

I worked through the passage to gain a better understanding of God’s word because I needed peace!  Let me share my experience with you:

Paul: Do not be anxious about anything,

Me: Sounds good!

Paul: but in every situation,

Me: Oh there’s more?  Ok, um, every situation? Like, every every?

Paul: by prayer and petition,

Me:  Note to self, look up what a petition is.

Paul: with thanksgiving,

Me: I’m totally thankful! Put your hands up!!!

Paul: present your requests to God.  

Me: Got it, check, will do!

Paul: And the peace of God,

Me: Ooooh I can’t wait. What’s that like?

Paul: which transcends all understanding,

Me: It does????

Paul: will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.

Me: ahhhh.  

The Word doesn’t say to just bring my occasional anxiety attacks to God through Jesus Christ.  It say to bring every situation. This is a prescription for long term success, not overnight satisfaction wouldn’t you say? Now, I have no doubt in my mind that God can heal faster than we can blink.  I also know that the Bible is our guidebook given to us by the Father not just to work out our own salvation and spread the Gospel, but for living a better life day by day.

Anxiety is a psychological reaction to our situations and surroundings that can manifest in many different physical ways. Paul outlines in Philippians 4:6-7, a practice for combating anxiety that may work for you. Some of us may need help to put the practice in motion and keep it going. Therapists, psychologist, psychiatrists and peer-support specialists are trained individuals that can help you along your journey towards peace. Talking to someone can be very beneficial.

For more information on anxiety feel free to visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website at https://www.nami.org/

If you are having a mental health crisis please seek immediate medical attention or call 911.

Kelly Marie is a writer, speaker and advocate for mental health and sexual assault awareness.

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