Category Archives: God’s love

What if There Were No Laws?

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S – “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

O – Judges is hard to read. All the ugly violence and despicable acts are disturbing.  The last verse in the book explains why. When everyone does what is right in their own eyes, the result is chaos, pain, and war.

A – We seem to be leaning to this philosophy in present day. Everyone wants to be free to do what they think is right, what feels good but that does not work! As Judges shows, that philosophy ends in violence, immorality, war, rape, and destruction. To the point it is not safe to walk in the street at night. God have mercy!

Jesus paid a high price to redeem me. I want to live in a way that glorifies Him. Please help me Lord!

P – Father, you always know what is best. We may not be under the law for salvation but your laws are there for a reason. They protect us and guide us. We need boundaries. Please guide our nation. Guide our leaders. Help us to walk in submission to you and not to our own desires. You bought us with your life. Help us to walk in a way that glorifies You.

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Filed under Bible Study, God's love, God's purposes, Obedience

Fiction That Gives Hope

Jennifer Slattery writes fiction that’s entertaining and keeps me turning the pages but at the same time manages to teach me about God’s grace and challenges me to reach out to those around me who are hurting.

    Restoring Love is a follow-up to Jennifer’s first novel, Beyond I Do. Restoring Love shows us what happens to Ainsley’s mom, Angela several years after the events in the first book. Angela is a woman who has made lots of mistakes in her life and had stopped believing her own life could be redeemed until she sees the grace and forgiveness her daughter shows her. As Angela moves on to find a new start, God opens doors for her to show that same grace to Bianca, a struggling mom who lives across the street. With her husband in jail, a rebellious teenage daughter and two challenging young sons, her life is in crisis.

Will Angela be able to give Bianca the same kind of help she herself once desperately needed? And what about Mitch? Why has God allowed this man into her life? Why would any decent man be interested in her ever again? With her history of promiscuity, abortion and manipulation of others, she feels unworthy of love. This story makes me wonder how many people around me are hurting in ways I can’t imagine and who around me needs a word of encouragement or for someone to be willing to give sacrificially. Restoring Love is a love story, a redemption story, a story of hope, a challenge to forgive and a picture of what Jesus meant when He said others would know His followers by their love.

If you want a book that goes beyond being escapist fiction and has the potential to change lives, I highly recommend Restoring Love.

And don’t forget to read Ainsley’s story in Beyond I Do!

Find more about Jennifer Slattery and her other books here:

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Jennifer on Amazon

 

 

 

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Pure Light

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There is NO darkness in God!

I love this verse and the picture it paints. God is pure light. There is no darkness, no hidden deceit, no malicious intent, and no evil in the LORD God. we can TRUST Him even when things look dark and scary. Even when we face painful trials. we can trust He will make all things right in the end.

I believe in you Father! I believe you are good and your ways are holy. I know you are trustworthy and your loving-kindness never fails. Thank you that there is no darkness in you. Help me to walk in the light always. Help me to walk with you as you are the light.

 

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Free Forever

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Heavenly Father,

Before you created the world, you knew I would exist and you loved me!

When you knit me together in my mother’s womb you knew I would choose sin yet you loved me.

Thank you Jesus that you died for me knowing someday I would be selfish, unkind, unloving, willful and stubborn. You knew I would have a prideful, self-focused heart yet you chose to die for me so that I could live. You chose to take my sin and give me your righteousness.

What an astounding gift!

I could meditate on your grace forever and never fully grasp its wonder. Thank you that this incredible gift is there for anyone who will believe Jesus died for him or her.

Undeserved grace.

Life everlasting.

The guilty forgiven.

Ransom paid freely.

Free

Believe

Receive

A gift impossible to earn or deserve.

I am guilty.

I deserve death. I don’t deserve to spend eternity with you. Yet, that is what you offered me. I believed. I do believe and you will never leave me or forsake me.

Anyone who believes can have this gift of grace. Just as they are.

Praise your holy name!

Jesus, open our eyes to see your hand reaching out. Help us to believe.

What does grace mean to you?

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Eternity, Faith, forgiveness, God, God's character, God's love, Grace, hope, Jesus, salvation

Being Judged Hurts

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Regret crushed my heart! I had unknowingly hurt a loved one with my judgmental attitude. She was brave enough to confront me and share her pain. I was shocked and defended myself but soon concluded that even if I didn’t remember that instance there were plenty of other times I had been disapproving and critical. God has been gradually opening my eyes for years to how judgmental and self-righteous I have been in my life especially when I was younger.

When I was young it was easy to take on a few “rules” I knew I could keep and make that my measure of what kind of Christian I was. I chose certain rules (which were emphasized in my teaching) and hid behind them. Rules like don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t dance, stay a virgin till you’re married and go to church every week. I found I could manage these handpicked rules and got pretty good at keeping them.

Soon I was proud of the fact I kept these rules and judged those who didn’t. All the while I was blind to what Jesus Himself said were the MOST important commandments:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

I overlooked or ignored teaching such as:

“If I…do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2

“Love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1

“…Who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12b

“There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10

I hid behind these outward acts and “appeared” good while inside I was filled with fear, impatience, selfishness, pride, greed, and judging others.

God has patiently been pruning me and teaching me for years to show me a better way and He will continue to do so until I die. But I have to be on guard against being judgmental (I am very much aware how my righteousness is like filthy rags before God). I am realizing how people have been hurt by my judging attitude.

As I was considering how ugly my sin has been and pondered on instances when I hurt others, I started to get bogged down in feeling “unworthy”. Unworthy to teach, write or serve Him. But self-focus for any reason is not a good place to be.

God set me free with this Scripture, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

I am not sufficient, competent, qualified or adequate in myself and I never have been. My sufficiency, adequacy, competence, or qualification comes from God and God alone. He has made me sufficient to serve Him. He has enabled me to be a minister of the new covenant. NOT because of the letter (which kills), not because I can keep the law which I can’t BUT because of the Spirit who gives life. Trying to live by the letter of the law is futile and ultimately if one is not trusting in Christ, it leads to eternal death. If a believer tries to live by the letter of the law, it leads to frustration, self-condemnation, sometimes depression and most often not being real with others.

It makes me sad that I have hurt others but God’s grace covers even that. His grace forgives the self-righteous Pharisee as well as the one whose sin is known by all. His grace covers anyone who comes to Jesus believing.

Thank you Jesus! Because of you and you alone, I am qualified to serve you! You are my sufficiency! You are my competence. You make me qualified. Dear Lord please love and serve through me. Use me in spite of my weakness. Use my weakness for your glory. I love you so much!

Originally published as “A Pointing Finger, A Fiery Tongue” at Internet Cafe Devotions

Photo courtesy of succo at Pixabay.com

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Singing in the Storm

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S – “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me…My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!” Psalm 57:2,7 (ESV)

O – David wrote these words while hiding in a cave as King Saul with 3,000 men looked for him to kill him. A powerful king hated him and wanted him to die. In this Psalm he trusts himself to God. He knew His Father would fulfill His purpose for him. In spite of the danger, the fear, and seemingly overwhelming odds, his heart was steadfast and immovable in trusting God. He was singing and making melody to God even as he ran for his life.

A – Can I have such faith that trusts God no matter what is happening? Is my heart steadfast, immovable in trusting God?

Shouts and name-calling zing from our government leaders like bullets. Earthquakes shake our world. Hunger threatens. Gloom fills the news. Friends report cancer. Young people turn from faith. Life moves at lightening speed. I can surrender to fear and live in anxiety or I can make the choices David made:

My soul takes refuge in the shadow of your wings. (v.1)

I cry out to God Most High. (v.2)

My heart is steadfast. (v.7)

I will sing and make melody! (v.7)

I will awake the dawn! (With music-v.8))

I will give thanks to you, O Lord. (v.9)

I will sing praises to you. (v.9)

All choices David made. Choices I can make.

We can choose during times of destruction and turmoil to take refuge in God until the storm passes. We can trust Him or we can surrender to fear.

P – Father, I will praise your holy name. I will give thanks to you. You and you alone keep me safe and guide my path. I will sing praises to you. You are my hiding place. My Rock. My Fortress. Praise your holy name!

Click on SOAP for more information on this Bible Study method.

 

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Photo at top courtesy of cgcowboy at Pixabay

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Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, God, God's love, God's purposes, praising God, SOAP, struggles, trials, trouble, worshipping God

When My Ugly is Showing

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My selfish attitude slapped me in the face.

I was in a situation where I realized my attitude was ugly, stingy and self-focused. And this was concerning my eighty-six year old mother! Wow, way to go self.

As I thought back over the choices I’d made throughout the day I realized how self-focused I’d been. I felt helpless in the face of my own weak nature. My inability to be a good person. I’m not a good person by nature. When I operate in my own strength, I always default to selfishness.

It’s only as I yield to Jesus and trust Him by faith to work through me that I can live and love as He wants me to. Words aren’t enough to express what His grace means. Amazing, astounding, glorious. How can words express thanks for such a gift?

I had missed my prayer and Bible reading for 5 or 6 days before this instance and had been operating in my own strength. I was “doing” the right things but harboring a selfish attitude.

Then I remembered: run to Jesus!

He was right there loving me. He died so that I could come to Him aware of my own failure and sin. I cried out to Him and confessed my sin. I confessed my weakness and remembered how He loves me. How He has always been there to love and forgive, Running to Jesus is always the answer.

When sin grips my heart, I run to Jesus.

When problems rise like mountains, I run to Jesus.

When that voice in my head says I’m a failure, I run to Jesus.

When I realize I’m weak, incapable of loving my neighbor as myself, I run to Jesus.

When regret threatens to crush me, I run to Jesus.

When I do it right, I run to Jesus.

The LIE is that I’m not worthy and I should just give up.

The TRUTH is Jesus says, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 So when I am weak, He is strong.

My flesh rebels at the idea that I have to have connection to Him everyday. That I need time in prayer and scripture every day. That I have no strength apart from Him. But it’s true, I don’t. When I am walking with Jesus and He’s working through me, loving through me, I can make the mistake of thinking “I” am good. “I” am doing something. I can’t take credit for anything. I breath because He lives. If I’m able to love sacrificially, it’s because He first loved me.

It’s all grace.

Praise His holy name!

Thank you Jesus that you can take all my weakness, all my mess, all my brokenness and use it to your glory. Thank you that nothing is wasted. Thank you that every good thing in my life is a gift from you. I thank you that you use even the hard things to draw my heart to you. I love you Lord!

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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