Position Secure

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

I remember back to my very first week on the job with the State of VA .  There were so many codes, laws, and details to learn for my new position.  The government set extremely high standards for its employees.  However, there was one co-worker who took me under her wing and coached me carefully.  I did quite well in some areas, but not so well in others.

When Vern would review my logs, she pointed out my errors and suggested different strategies. Even with all her critique, there were times I felt overwhelmed. I would leave feeling defeated.  Sometimes believing ….I’m in over my head.  How will I ever learn all of this stuff! Especially every time I looked at the shelves filled with all of those code and law books.

Then one day Vern took  me aside. “Look,” she said, “you’re learning. Just keep going. You’ll start winning. Meanwhile, “your position is secure”. You’re one of us.” Those words were exactly what I needed to hear.

Have you ever experienced this kind of compassion when you were feeling hopeless? If we’re believers, we have. The Lord has taken us aside and said, “Yeah, you’ve made some mistakes, but don’t worry — your position is secure.

Know that God has provided your security today. Rest assured in Him — and be sure to convey that same kind of compassion to struggling siblings in the faith. All of us need to be reassured once in a while.

Meeting Grace

I can be a little bit shy about meeting people for the first time. Until the ice is broken and a relationship established, I don’t jump in with both feet – unlike some more “social” types. There is one close friend that I’m SO glad I got introduced to awhile ago.

We have a mutual friend and he was the one who opened the door to our deep friendship. It was Jesus and He introduced me to “Grace”. Romans 5:1-2 says; “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand.”

With Grace in the room there is freedom from guilt. That’s a good thing because I was really guilty of bunches. I still am as I go day to day but Grace is always standing by to relieve me. Grace keeps reminding me that the total price of my sin was paid in full on the cross. Grace prompts me to pass forgiveness on. Each time I do I’m spreading Grace’s much deserved popularity.

As far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t like to go anywhere without Grace. We have been inseparable since the first day Jesus brought us together. Have you yet met? First you have to know Jesus and then he will introduce you. I promise you a warm rich lifelong friendship.

If you are shy, don’t be about this introduction.  Want to meet? You’ll always treasure that day of meeting Grace for the first time.

Grace and Mercy

Do you count yourself as a righteous woman (or man)? If so Proverbs has a nugget for you. “For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16)

There it is – one of the promises we don’t particularly want to know about: even the righteous falls. Being righteous does not mean we are impervious to sin, problems, disasters, adversities, etc. Most of us know the truth of this as we struggle through sickness, financial problems, broken relationships, offenses, loss and much more.

There is hope. When we are in the middle of a fall, we shouldn’t give up. It’s easy to think that “this is it; it’s all over now.” So not true.  We “always” rise up again. That’s just as much of a promise as the first part.

This scripture is comforting in my estimation because it truthfully allows for troubles but provides for triumph. God is on our side and he will lift us back to our feet again. That is not the case for the wicked – those who are bent on evil from the very depth of their heart. They stumble over their fall and have no help to rise up again.

As we go through the ups and downs of life,  we should continue to reach out for the hand of God.  He is full of Mercy and Grace.  He will lift us back up. We will rise again!

Others

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

 Romans 1:11-12  ESV

We were not created to live in this world alone, and as many of us already know we need the encouragement of other Christians as we travel this journey called life.  We should have a desire to spend time with people, to develop relationships with people, and to then be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

We need to take steps to genuinely get to know one another and discover the faith and spiritual gifts that others have. In the above stated scripture, we can learn from Paul and seek out other individuals, or maybe a group of people to meet with to be encouraged by their faith.

As we gain encouragement from others, we must be mindful to also give encouragement.

We weren’t called to live the Christian life alone.

Do you know of anyone that may need encouragement today? 

Do it Right

I like the show on the Animal Planet channel called “Growing up Baby.” One day they had one about growing up a baby elephant. One of the unique things the zoo handlers needed to consider with this elephant was his eventual size. Even as a baby the little guy they featured was several hundred pounds but eventually he would be several thousand. Unless early training established the handler’s authority, the elephant would become too big to control. That could be a recipe for disaster.

I pondered why some parent’s don’t take this kind of thing into consideration when their children are just toddlers. If children are out of control when they are one or two years old, what can we expect when they reach 17 or 18? I remember watching some time ago in dismay a news story where a five year old girl was so out of control at her school that the principal had to call the police.  If something isn’t done right then, what will become of her when she is an adult?

Proverbs 22:6 says; “Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Establishing the lines of authority with fair discipline from the earliest days in a child’s life is one of the best gifts a parent can give to a child. The time will come when any possibility of control will have slipped away. The child will have to walk as an adult with whatever character equipment the parents provided early. How much more successful they will be if they grow up…disciplined.

Black Hole

I know of  a very encouraging story and wanted to share it with you my friends.

Christina’s experience might be a help to you if you have been going through a tough time with a decision made in your life and don’t know what to make of it.

A year ago Christina felt very strongly that God was indicating she make a career change, one that would require a great sacrifice. After much prayer and discussion with her husband she decided it was time to go for it.   She knew that it was going to be difficult but Christina knew she was in God’s will and looked forward to the change.

Finally in the summer she made the choice to move and was ready to apply for a job that required her to pass a certification of sorts. This was no big deal; she would walk it out in complete faith as she had done on numerous ocassions before;  feeling confident she would pass the test.  However, after taking the test she felt this knawing feeling that she may have made the wrong decision. And she kept playing this over and over in her head. Christina was devastated and confused.  Though not given to depression, she found herself in a black hole for weeks.

The questions kept coming. “Are you here in all this Lord?” “I thought you told me to make this career change – did I not hear your voice?” “How could you have let me fail this test?” “How am I supposed to understand this?” “Now what do I do and how do I tell my family my decision may have been wrong?”

A not so close family member who knew very little of what had happened one day called her with a word of revelation to say that she was right where she needed to be….and to be encouraged.  Taking a deep breath, she told her husband that she was finally feeling a little better with the decision to make the career change.

God is faithful and trustworthy even when she asked questions and went through what appeared to be a dark place. God always brings a good result in His timing.

Have you ever felt like Christina? Do you feel that way now?  Many times we don’t have all of the details in front of us and there may appear to be quite a bit of missing information too.  But isn’t that why we trust GOD and have faith in His plan for our lives?  He WILL bring a good result in the end.  Just continue to walk it out and Trust Him.

“For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Readily Available

The Christian way of life is a pretty high calling. Truth is, dying to ourselves so we can serve other people like Jesus taught us to is near impossible  by human standards. But God calls us so there must be a way.

What would it be like to be over-qualified for ministry rather than always running on empty? I’ve heard people talk about ministering to others out of the saucer rather than the cup. Imagine a coffee cup so full that is spills over into the saucer. As long as that’s the case there will always be enough to share.

Scripturally, I think I found a passage to back that up. It gives me hope that we can all fulfill our highest call.

2 Corinthians 9:8 says: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”

ALL GRACE. We all know that’s what we need. Grace when we don’t feel like it. Grace when we’re too tired. Grace when our money is funny. Grace that overlooks the ugly. Grace to give Grace instead of judgment or criticism.  Oh yes, Grace, Grace, and even more Grace!

We often seek God’s grace because it is what we need and want for ourself. But many have never before realized WHY grace is promised to be so readily available. It isn’t there so our lives will be more comfortable though we must admit that’s often our real motivation for wanting it.

We shouldn’t hesitate to request grace from God; not only for ourselves but for others too.

Open hands

There is an expression; being “tight fisted”?  I personally don’t know where it originally came from but I know what it implys when I hear it. Someone who is tight fisted is stingy; grasping their possessions closely to themselves. We picture a miser, pinching pennies – someone sort of like Ebenezer Scrooge.

In scripture Psalm 145 we are told by God; “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” After picturing a tight fist, now picture open hands. God has open hands which continuously give, not begrudgingly but with warmth and love. Think of the magnitude of satisfying the desire of EVERY living thing. Only the one who created it all is capable of managing it all and managing it in a way that brings satisfaction to the creation.

What do you need to be satisfied? Not just a crumb or two and not just enough to scrape by but what do you need to be deeply satisfied? God not only has it to give but he desires to give it. We often think of God like he has a quota system. We think we can ask for only so many blessings, so many miracles, and so much satisfaction.

It must grieve God’s heart when he sees us trying to trudge through life with such low expectations of him. His hands are always full and open. Have you seen your heavenly Father as the wonderful God with the open hands? Look up now. Open your hand and reach out to his. Expect him to fill you because he will. He satisfies the desire of every living thing.

Two Copper coins

What if we unassumingly went about our daily business and one day down the road opened a book from the bestseller list to find an incident from our life accurately recounted for everyone to see? How surprising to us that the author had been observing us and we never realized it.

That’s pretty much what happened to a certain widow that Jesus observed placing her gift of two small copper coins in the treasury of the temple. It’s a famous incident but she never knew anyone saw her ‘ no doubt until eternity. The bestseller is the Bible and her story has been told hundreds of thousands of times.

Jesus honors this woman by saying of her “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” (Luke 21:3)

What the woman did was truly remarkable. Giving everything she had is the biggest act of trust imaginable. Then she walked out of the temple never knowing that the God she served sat only a few feet away watching and commenting to his disciples. She may have been poor on earth but think of her treasures right now in heaven.

Now to you and I.  Do we really think it is possible that we are going about our daily lives unobserved? Do we really believe that we are inconspicuous from anyone important?  Think again.

Expect It…..

When you pray, do you EXPECT an answer? Maybe that sounds like a silly question……because why would you pray if you didn’t? And yet, I’m aware that there are some who call up prayers to Heaven with very little expectation of receiving an answer.

Well, there are those who treat prayer like one more option to “cover all the bases” just in case God is in the mood to drop down an answer.  If not they say, at least I tried. That’s no way to pray! How does one ever get into such faulty thinking?

Psalm 5:3 says; “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Now that’s the ticket. We are to wait in expectation. Expectation assumes that we have been heard. Expectation assumes that God WILL answer. Expectation means faith is at work.

Yes, sometimes we have to wait. In our “drive-through, vending machine, microwave it” culture that doesn’t sit well with us.  Maybe we would rather not expect too much than to chance disappointment. But that is not faith and God tells us that without faith it is impossible to please him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Let’s get in the habit of believing that God hears every prayer when asked according to His will for our lives. Not only that, God delights in answering and He will answer. He doesn’t have to be in the mood – He’s always in the mood because we are his beloved children. If there is any waiting involved, that’s to make the answer even better. Expect it!