Tag Archives: Salvation

Shout It

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinithians 8:9 (NIV)

Concept: God

Photography: Unsplash

Design: (c)2018 E.V.A. Lambert for RapturePractice! Pub.

I do not own the All the Poor and Powerless All Sons & Daughters with Lyrics video music, images nor have any rights to profit from worshiping God.

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Hide and Seek

I’m very careful of myself in public – in fact, leaving the ranch can sometimes be so overwhelming I will avoid it altogether. Leaving the routine, the comfort and safety of the ranch – my hideaway – to face people, to be seen or worse, to be judged can sometimes feel like too much.

‘Fact is, over the years humans hurt me so that occasionally I avoided the species entirely. I’m glad to say those few seasons were short. And the older I get they become farther between.

Truth: I actually enjoy people as much as I adore my feather and fur friends.

Over these long winter nights I came to realize that this reluctance to leave, the instinct to hide is about my secrets:

  • I desperately want to belong
  • Sometimes shame seems to choke me
  • My beloved family is a big, hot mess
  • I’m broken
  • I’m vulnerable

More important than anything else I may feel is what the Bible tells me:

“All y’alls messed up somehow. Ain’t nobody’s perfect. Nobody.” *  Paraphrase mine.

The pivotal point here being All.

Some flaws are more visible than others is all. The strongest, most organized, confident and fashionable people are messed up somehow. That includes me! So my secrets are no more offensive to God than anyone else’s. “All” is everything Jesus took to the cross. All includes every single mistake, ill deed, every bad knee-jerk response, intentional or otherwise, victim and perpetrator. Every. Single. One.

More importantly, “..now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”**

So, compared to God’s opinion of me nobody else’s matters. What’s more, I can dismiss my worst feelings and opinions of myself. When God looks at me, all He sees is Jesus. I can now focus on seeing myself the same way.

Sure, I realize this is a process. I’d been seeking out hiding places longer than I can remember. I still have so far to go to get an edge on seeking God’s truth first, but when I make Scripture my focal point and not my fears or feelings the sky’s the limit. My friends can vouch for that.

Do you ever get to feeling weighed down, tired of trying or reluctant to try again? Come on by Our Place and let God’s peace help you.

* “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.’ Romans 3:23, 24 (NLT)

** Romans 8:1 (NLT)

Images (except for chickens) courtesy Pixabay

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Our Place

Over a particularly fast-paced phase of my life, for my boys and me every facet was remarkably intense.

How I remember my boys and me on most school/work day mornings.

I gave my life to Jesus at the peak of that tiger-woman, super-ambitious, take-no-prisoners season. I did so realizing I would have to read the Bible and learn everything to know about God. I had no idea when I’d find time, but I believed I could do it. I had no idea I could actually know Him.

I remember doing my best to make a place for prayer wherever I happened to be. At first whenever all my wheels completely stopped moving, I’d close my eyes and focus my thoughts on Jesus for whatever moments we could steal – traffic signals, school pick-up zones… That worked for me.

Until it didn’t.

Jobs, kids, and more responsibilities than one working, single mom should bear made my prayer-on-the-run kind of belief system seem necessary. Soon the church became a second home. I took on yet another job in the church office. I began understanding some Scriptures and became more religious than I never imagined I would ever be. I soaked it all up like a sponge.

Essentially, I blended in to Church World. Though I felt as tired and worn as ever, people told me Jesus was doing something amazing in me. Secretly I had no idea what.

In reality I was broken, the pieces had begun falling apart. Soon I couldn’t find my mental prayer places anymore.

God changed my circumstances. My mind and my spirit began healing, but not before a heart attack forced me to either stop running or stop living. I laid down and gave God all the pieces of my heart.

As I recuperated I came to appreciate making a designated place to pray, be quiet and listen for God. At times that was a corner of a closet or a chair next to a window in the garage. Wherever it was that place became my sanctuary.

Eventually my boys accepted the new me wasn’t going away. They became comfortable with my occasional pauses, my long talks to God deep in the nights and my occasional far-away gaze (imagining the happy, carefree world I kept hearing about). Before long they stopped wondering about my new, mostly quiet demeanor and eventually they too would visit my prayer place.

The boys made homes and families of their own long ago. And that prayer place now takes up my entire home. It’s Our Place – mine and God’s where everyone’s welcome.

Are you feeling shattered? Is your life too intense?

“I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”

Ephesians 3:15 – 17 (NLT)

 

Tiger image courtesy Imgaram

Breaking woman image courtesy Pixabay

Featured Image courtesy Pixabay

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Nothing But Love

rustic angel heart
This week is all about love.

Sdale 1981 001

In my life I’ve experienced tremendous, extravagant love. Coming from a large, close family of origin and then raising four humans, least to mention the friends and fur kids that enhance our experiences, that’s easy for me to say.

Sdale 1981 001The flip side of that coin is I’ve also experienced innumerable disappointments, tragedies, more pain and heartache than most everyone I’ve known along my way. Whether measured, like on a Richter Scale, counting the scars on my body and my mind or by the number of incidents, the figures are staggering. Experts have told me more than once, “you’re a miracle, even if only by surviving.”

Unlike flipping a coin, in my life love wins every time.

For a long time, any form of love barely stood a chance with me. Out of fear and ignorance I couldn’t trust that goodness actually existed in the world. But God sent the right people at the perfect times to break through my fortress before I self-destructed.

Even now I can’t boast about my checking account balance, properties or an 800+ credit score. Writing about the unfortunate, cruel and some nefarious events I survived would shock most people, disgust many and enrage some. I suspect a new list of such things would cause many readers to miss the greatness I’ve experienced, the joys, the heroes in my life, and especially the love.

2014 Galveston

Much like scores of survivors, those before me and those to come, I’d be pretty arrogant to consider myself more than any other human. Some of the moments of my life that I wish I could do over all happened when I felt most alone and deprived. And who wants to relive that? While I did the best I could, that doesn’t make a great person. It makes us humble, and I’m real good with that.

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Of all creatures humans are an amazingly complicated species. We are profoundly affected by elements like weather and toxins, with variables from our gene pools, our histories, present experiences, pain, comfort, affluence and more. Combine all that with circumstances, each and every person is absolutely unpredictable from moment to moment.

I’m also convinced an unmistakable distinction in people is in their response to the presence of God’s Spirit.

Now, I am certainly no Joan D’Arc, Corrie Ten Boom or Mother Theresa. Nobody would mistake my work for that of Anne Graham Lotz, Joyce Meyer or Beth Moore – yet. Not your average, everyday Christian either, I’ve narrowed my bio to that of a loving, seasoned over-comer, a grandmother and a yet-obscure writer/blogger. But I’ve learned one thing above all else is most important. Just one:

Love is a choice.

Once we get Love firmly planted in our souls, nurturing it, feeding it more of God’s love from the Source, His Word, it takes over in the most marvelous ways; forgiveness flows, envy ebbs, offenses lose their grip on us and we stop taking ourselves too seriously. We learn to love God, so we can love ourselves and better love others. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I’m living proof love wins.

 

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)

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