Oh taste and see

I just have one question for y’all this evening…it’s something that has been growing within my heart the last few weeks.

Have you tasted Who the Lord is?

tasteandsee

I’m sure you’ve heard the Truth many, many times that God is good. Do you know this as merely a fact about God, or have you tasted it, have you experienced His goodness?

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8

Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious (1Pet. 2:3), awesome, loving, true, and real?

Do you really know the Lord for yourself? Meaning, have you learned Who God is by a first-hand relationship, or simply by what you have read or others have taught you?

Who is God to you? What aspects about Him can you say you know because you have spent time with Him? Perhaps He is just God to you right now. Perhaps He is your Savior or Strength. Perhaps He is your Truest Friend, or the Husband of your soul.

Wherever you are in your relationship with Him, I encourage you to press on to know Him better. To really know Him for yourself, not just what others have told you about Him. To know God deeply and intimately. To know His heart.

And when you know His heart, you will know how He feels about sin, you will know what to pray, and I promise, you will be changed.

Like Paul, may we count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. And may we never get to a place where we stop getting to know God.

In Christ,

Grace

Inside the womb

This was also written for my brother’s writing prompts.

——————-

This place, this wonderful place is where I’ve always been. It is dark and warm. It is safe. This is my world. These nine weeks I’ve been alive have been so wonderful, Mommy dearest. Any moment now and you’ll awake; I wonder what we will do today!

 Ah, you awake and I wiggle with excitement. You get ready for the day oblivious to your little fan club. Oh Mommy, you are the best person in the whole world—I love you!

 Where are we going, Mommy? If it’s with you, than I want to go too. I can’t wait until the day we meet face to face. Did you know I have your eyes, your hair and laugh? I only hope that someday I may be just like you.

 This is a new place, Mommy; what are we here for? I don’t think I’ve seen these people in the green clothes before. Why are you lying down? Is it nap time already?

 Mommy, what’s happening? What is intruding my sanctuary? Oh Mommy, I feel something sucking at my arm! What is this pain I feel? Oh Mommy, I promise I’ll be good—I promise I’ll do anything you ask—please just make them stop! You must protect me; you can’t let them do this to me! Mommy they’re ripping me apart, I can feel it…

 So this is the end of my world. Remember Mommy, I love you.

I’m just a little babe that was within your womb,
Who could have guessed that this would be my tomb?

 

In Christ,

Grace

Gal. 2:20, Ps. 16:11

A little girl and a loving God

SAM_2575

There have been many moments in my life that have greatly impacted me. But this one stands out among them all, for without this one, all those other things would not have impacted me the same way. I wrote this today as a writing project my brother started this month. So without further ado, I give you one of my fondest memories, whether you care or not. : )

It was more waiting than my five year old heart could endure. Why wasn’t Dad back from work yet? What could be taking so long? Didn’t he know how important this was?

My mind wandered over the last day and a half; so much to think about. It started the night before as I lay in bed listening to Richard and Melody talk in the bathroom. Their nightly custom, as I recall, was to talk while getting ready for bed; in my mind these conversations were sacred, and a privilege of highest degree to listen to. This night the subject was on Eternity, Heaven, and Hell.

Fear stole into my heart as I listened and realized with a horror never experienced—I am not ready to die.

Belief in God is one thing, but asking Him to cleanse you of your sins and live inside of you is another thing entirely. Yes, I believed in God, but I knew that if I died that night I would not be ready to meet my Creator.

Tearfully, I called out to one I esteemed as knowing everything. “Richard…Richard…”
Like a knight, my older brother came to my aid. Upon listening to my distress, he advised me to go speak with Dad, and assured me that he wouldn’t be upset that I had gotten up from bed. So I quietly crept down the stairs and entered my Dad’s office.

The colors of the room appeared in dull blues and grays with the only light in the room coming from a computer monitor. “Daddy–” my pathetic voice whimpered. “I w-want to g-go to heaven.” I climbed in my father’s lap and we began to talk. I asked questions, he answered them, then he asked questions to see if I understood. We talked of our sinfulness and need for a Savoir, about God’s love in sending His Son to die, and how He took the full punishment of our sins. After a good while, he prayed with me and sent me to bed, promising that we would talk more in the morning.

Like a hound dog, I ran downstairs first thing in the morning to find my father. I spotted him. There he was in the kitchen juicing carrots! With his hands still orange from the carrots we sat down on the couch to talk. We revisited the same things we talked about the night before. Enough talk. After all, I was five—which was so much older than four— wasn’t I big enough to understand everything? I just wanted to pray already! He left for work with another promise that we would continue this when he came home.

Anxiously, I awaited my father’s return; the day could not have seemed longer. The new information played through my mind again and again as I contemplated it all. This was a matter of utmost importance, and I knew my life was about to change forever. What was that? My heart skipped a beat. The door opened; a familiar voice. Yes–it was him! Still a few minutes passed until we both went to his office. In the quiet of that room he led me in a prayer.

I repeated each phrase slowly with great reverence meaning each word I said. “Dear God, please forgive me of my sins, and cleanse my heart. I believe in You and that You sent Your only Son, Jesus, to die in my place. Please come and live inside my heart and make me your child. I want to be your disciple.” Memory fails me of the exact words, but they don’t really matter. It is not the prayer that saves you; it is only God that can save you.

Joy washed over me as the love of Christ penetrated my little believing heart. Yes, I was overwhelmed with indescribable love and joy–pure joy—more than a five year old could contain. I would never be the same again. Never. My feet were swift as I ran to tell all in the household this great news. So much more special than any gift or toy, I had a relationship with God and I knew I would spend the rest of my life serving and loving Him.

More important than service…

I realize that it has been a few months since I posted on my poor little blog… Summer has been busy and full–but it has been a good summer.

Lately because of my brother’s recommendation, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Gospels. Yesterday I was in Luke 10, and revisited a familiar story.

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10: 38-42

After I read it, I realized something dreadful.

I’ve become Martha.

Every time I’ve read that story, I’ve judged Martha and thought, “She had Jesus right there in her house–what was she doing not basking in His presence?!” But I realize, that’s what I’ve done. This summer I’ve had a lot of opportunity for ministry, all of which has blessed me so much. I’ve been to a few different seminars/conferences and learned a lot. It’s all been good.

But…

I’ve become so busy in service and ministry that I haven’t made the time to just sit at the feet of Jesus and worship Him. Just to sit in awe of Him and listen to what He has to say. I feel I’ve done a lot of talking to Him lately, but how much listening have I done lately?

“Grace, Grace, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

That’s what I want, to be a Mary again. To be one that sits at the feet of God and just listens. One whose  focus is steadfast on the Master…one whose heart is full of worship.

“Be still,” He calls, “and know that I am God.”

“Be still, my little “Martha-Grace”…be still. Sit at My feet and listen.”

Well friend, that’s all for now… By God’s grace, this coming week will be much different. Don’t be a Martha, take time, real time (more than 5 minutes) to just bask in the presence of our Lord. He has so much He longs to show and teach us, and He will fill you up so that He may pour you out in service to others. And trust me, your service will have a far greater impact when you worship first.

Are you a Martha, or a Mary?

Crucified with Christ,

Grace

Gal. 2:20, Ps. 16:11

Five Minute Friday: Identity

          

           A girl walked in the quiet of the morning, woods behind her and a trickling stream at her side. A song in her heart, a book in her hand, and a word on her lips—Yeshua.

           A stranger approached–perhaps you, and said, “Excuse me lass, but why do you walk alone so early in the morning?”

           The girl turned round greeting the stranger with a rich smile. “Oh no, you are mistaken, I never walk alone. You see, my Jesus is always with me.”

           With a tone of perplexity and awe the stranger asked, “Who are you?”

           “Who am I?” Her smile deepened. “I am a sinner saved by grace, a daughter of the King. I am beloved of my Lord, so much so that He died to save me. I am the light of the world, the salt earth.
           “I am not Destitute, Depressed, or Alone. I am one with unspeakable Joy in my heart, never to be termed Forsaken. I am Loved, Cherished, Chosen, and Desired. I am in Christ, and crucified with Him. I am a temple—a dwelling place—for God. I am covered with the blood of Jesus, and spotless in God’s sight.
           “This is my identity, I am a Christian.”

           And with that, she smiled, curtsied, and went on, singing as she went.

 Who are you?

Drawn by my brother in Christ, Jeremy

 

extreme willingness

For Christmas, my parents gave me the book Extreme Devotional from Voice of the Martyrs. That’s a little like dumping oil onto a fire…it’s just a little dangerous to put a book into the hands of Grace that includes the stories of suffering Christians on each page. I just wanted to share this one with y’all that touched my heart. (And yes, it’s ok to cry)

“My dress,” the young girl murmured, her words slurred through swollen lips. “Please give me my dress. I want to hold it.”

The Christians surrounding the girl’s bed were sad. Because of her extensive internal injuries, doctors could do nothing for her. Weeks ago, the believers had bought her a white dress to celebrate her new life and pure heart in Christ Jesus.

Her father had not been pleased with his daughter’s decision to follow Christ. One night, in a drunken rage, he attacked his daughter, beating and kicking her. He left her lying in the muddy street to die.

When she did not show up for church, her Christian friends went looking for her. They found the girl unconscious, lying in a heap, her formerly snow-white dress now covered in blood and mud. She was brought to a doctor, but her injuries were severe.

Now she was asking for her dress.

“The dress is ruined,” her friends told her. They tried to talk her out of it, thinking that seeing the ruined dress would break down the girl’s spirit.

With the simple faith of a ten-year-old, she whispered, “Please, I want to show the dress to Jesus. He was willing to bleed for me. I just want Jesus to know that I was willing to bleed for Him.”

Shortly afterwards, the young girl died.

 I don’t have much to say, I’ll let the story stand on it’s own. There’s something so strangly beautiful about this story that grabs at my heart. I just love her willingness to bleed and die for Christ. Oh how much more should we be willing when it’s only our reputation, time, future and etc. that is on the line.

Remember this promise, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12

May we be willing.

In Christ,

Grace

Gal. 2:20, Psalm 16:11

A Warrior Princess: Restored

The Warrior Princess lie in mud in a cloudy darkness and had been there for about a week, although she couldn’t really remember how long. She groaned as pain pulsed through her bruised body. Weak and head throbbing, she slowly pulled herself up from the ground to a sitting position. She was covered in dry blood and mud.  Running her fingers through her mud-caked hair she tried to recall what had happened.

“Where’s my armor?” Horror filled her heart as she realized she didn’t know where it was. Squinting her eyes she could make out the outline of her armor strewn in the darkness around her. It all came back now.

It started when she took her eyes off the cross. She hadn’t meant to, she just became unintentional about her focus. After she had traveled on for awhile she put her sword in her sheath thinking that it was getting rather wearisome to hold out all the time. Plus, she saw no signs of the enemy, surely they wouldn’t attack. On she walked oblivious to the fact that her enemies’ greatest desire was for her to put her sword in her sheath.

 She continued her way unaware that it slowly grew darker. Soon, she was lost in a thick dark cloud and instead of crying out for help she stumbled on. Her shield of faith slipped out of her hand and dropped with a slow, dramatic thud to the ground.

All of a sudden, she found herself surrounded by the enemy. Frantically, she looked for her shield, but it was too dark. In her nervousness she couldn’t manage to pull her sword out of her sheath. There she was, trapped and defenseless. Her enemies mocked and laughed at her as they danced around in glee. They were all there–Flesh, Pride, Emptiness, Failure, Depression, Loneliness and others.

In the darkness they spoke lies to her and tormented her. Fear filled her soul and she felt as if she’d never experience joy again. For as they danced round her, one would knock her down, another would throw a rock at her, another would slap her cheek, and so on. It was utter distress and agony for she could not see her attackers, nor what they would do next.

She felt so ashamed. “How could this happen?” “Will I ever live in victory?!” She wept, and groaned, and pleaded with them to stop. But it was of no avail, the enemies’ attacks didn’t let up—if anything, they increased.

“Look what you did! You failed again!” “You’ll never be like your precious Shepherd King—never!” “Just give up!” They called out in torment.

My Shepherd! Oh how I long to walk in fellowship with Him again! She lifted up her eyes and screamed out with all the strength she had. “Shepherd! Shepherd! My precious Yeshua! Come seek me out and deliver me from this miserable dark and cloudy day! Come quick–” Her request was cut short from a well aimed rock to the head. Everything went black and she sunk limp to the ground.

As she sat there remembering these things tears sprang to her eyes. Her tormenters appeared to be gone—at least for the moment. And it seemed to be a little brighter—maybe? But where, oh where was her Shepherd?!

She wiped her tearful eyes on her sleeve. Just then she saw with dismay the state of her garment, and it made her all the more sorrowful. Her beautiful white dress with the pale blue trim was torn and caked in mud—it was a very sorry sight. Had it been one of her other garments she wouldn’t have minded so much; but this is the one that He had given her. She thought back to the time when Yeshua had given it to her…

He was beaming with delight that morning when He surprised her with it. It was so funny to watch Him try to suppress His joy as He held a parcel behind His back, trying not to look suspicious. It ended in one big goofy grin and lots of laughter. When she opened it she gasped at the beauty of the garment. The Shepherd smiled with pleasure at her reaction. He said, “It is called the Garment of Praise, dear one. It is a gift for you.” “Oh thank you!” she stuttered to find words to thank Him, never quite finishing a sentence when He snatched her up in His arms and they embraced.

She smiled as remembered; “Thank You, Yeshua.” She whispered. With that the cloud lifted a bit. Is there a connection? She thought. But I don’t feel like praising…Guess it couldn’t hurt to try though.

“My Shepherd, You are good. You have done so much for me; I praise Your name.” The cloud started rising and her heart started pounding with excitement. “You made the heavens, and they declare Your glory!” She stood up on her shaky legs and continued, growing louder, “Your love is so great, so wonderful, more than I can comprehend!” Growing even louder and stretching forth a hand she said, “Your merices are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness!” With the cloud almost lifted she stretched both arms as high as she could reach and looking into heaven praised Him at the top of her lungs. “You have conquered death and the grave! O death, where is the victory? O grave, where is thy sting?! You are the Victor! I praise You, oh I praise You!”

She pulled her gaze down from heaven, and there was her Shepherd in front of her. She fell down at His feet worshiping and asking for forgiveness. He reached down with His nail pierced hand and pulled her up saying, “I have already forgiven you, precious.” Then He scooped her up in His arms and took her to the still waters.

There He washed her, fed her, and bound up her wounds. There, beside the still waters, He restored her soul. He taught her once again to abide and rest in Him, and how to let Him reign in her life. And He restored to her the garment of praise.

For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. Ezekiel 34:11, 12

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3

 

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed by Your greatness. Overwhelmed by Your love. I see Your hand, Your artistry in people’s lives. You are the Master at taking something lost, ugly, broken, and defiled and turning it into something beautiful.

I find myself in awe of You, asking why.

Why do You love us? Why do You heal us? I don’t understand, Lord…I don’t understand. You are altogether wonderful, beautiful…words cease…You are good.

I pray, You answer, and lives are transformed. You are good.

The God of this universe actually delights in me…how wonderful is that?? I was created for His pleasure! (Rev. 4:11) These are truths that I can scarcely comprehend or bring myself to believe. This truth brought me so much freedom… I don’t have to try to be like someone else, or measure up to the worlds standards. It gives God upmost pleasure when I be just exactly whom God created me to be.

I love this passage in Psalm 139:17-18:

How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee.

God’s thoughts toward me number more than the sand? If so, then God is constantly thinking about me. I find myself in awe not really knowing how to respond or what to say.

This holy, holy, holy God is in-love with this sinner. He wants to spend time with me. He holds my hand. He carries me. He feeds me. He constantly gives me good gifts. He takes pleasure in me, and is always thinks of me.

Even after I murdered His Son.

I can’t begin to fathom this kind of love…I find myself speechless. He is so great and powerful, yet so gentle, so loving. He truly is beyond my comprehension. I’m glad I serve a God that can’t fit inside my mind.

Even in the midst of struggles this past week He has been so faithful bringing me encouragement just when I need it. Like on Wednesday I had but just said “Lord, I feel so alone” when in walked two vessels to encourage me. He’s been doing a lot of things like that lately. I am truly overwhelmed with His goodness. Oh praise the Lord, for He is good.

More than anything I want to know God; I want to be close to His heart.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye. Being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19

I want that. Mmm…Abba, teach me Your love so that I may be filled with You.

There’s so much on my heart right now, more than I know how to articulate. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a post or not…this may not make any sense to anyone but me. Oh well… may you find yourself in-love, in-awe, and overwhelmed with God, friend.

Our God is great. Selah.

In His love and by His blood,

Grace

Five Minute Friday: Empty

~Start~

Empty.

That word may very well bring tears to my eyes…not because I’m a “the glass is half empty” kind of person, no, I’m an optimist, my glass is always half full. In fact, my cup overflows.

But emptiness is what I see in my neighbor’s eyes…his heart, his soul, is well, empty. He doesn’t know Christ…and I pray for him, and shed more tears. How many tears do I have to shed and prayers do I have to utter before he comes to Christ? Sometimes I’d like to know…

For a time I followed the world’s “fulfillment”, but it left empty–destitute. So when I look in my neighbor’s eyes I see the emptiness I used to have, and it breaks my heart. Oh, and don’t you know it breaks God’s heart too?

Empty, lost souls…they’re everywhere. Though they may appear to be silent, they scream out for something to fill them. They try to fill their empty God-shaped void with many things, but it only leaves them emptier before. Who will tell them of the Great Fulfiller?

Let your heart be stirred even today, and go share with some empty, lost soul true fulfillment that they be no more empty.

~Stop~

Five Minute Friday: Ache

Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & leave an encouraging comment.

 

~Start~

Ache.

This word seems so familiar… I think everyone can identify. So much pain goes on—so many people I wish I could hold and heal…

But for me personally, what is this ache I’m feeling? I described an ache within my soul over the past few weeks in my journal.

It’s the ache to know God.

This yearning, this ache, this longing…this hunger to know God. How could it even be possible for us to know God? Just that fact overwhelms me. We serve an awesome God that is knowable.

Ah Lord, cause me to know You! Draw me near to Yourself, and fill this ache within my heart.

This aching for You.

~Stop~

Still not much for 5 minutes…: ) There’s just so much for me to think about there, that I can hardly write.

Have a lovely weekend, friend, and may you grow in Him.

In Christ,

Grace