Fed and forgiven

This is just a raw journal entry from today. Because not everyday is perfect.

Tuesday
Jan 14th, 2014

How can I be so foolish as to not fill my life with the Words of God? How can I afford not to be memorizing and meditating on God’s Word daily?

There is no victory to the unfed, malnourished warrior.

These past few days as I have been struggling, I have asked God why it is so hard to follow Him. Why when He proclaimed “my yoke is easy and my burden is light?”

God as a loving Father sets a plate of rich food before us– His Word, His very presence. But instead of being still, of feeding on the food He has provided, I foolishly hop up and run out into the battle very near starvation. And I wonder why I fail.

It’s be strong in the Lord and int the power of His might.

Not mine.

And yet I push and push in my own strength until I collapse, too weak to move on.

I begin to wonder where He’s been. I am frustrated with myself for failing again. And in one black moment I believe that victory in the Christian life doesn’t exists.

He approaches me so tenderly. Tears fill His eyes as He sees His beloved weak and beaten in a state of delirium.

And He draws me back to His side.

He forgives me.
He loves me.
He feeds me.

And today I choose to thank God for what I most detest in life–failure. Because failing always ends up bringing me back to Jesus’ side.

Oh Abba, how prone to wander, prone to fail I am. Teach me to feed on Your Word and dwell in Your presence! I praise You for being so faithful to me and always–ALWAYS drawing me back to Yourself. Your mercies are renewed EVERY morning. Great is Your faithfulness. Selah.

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A silent denial

willwedeny

A thought hit me as I prayed this morning: “have I also denied my Lord?”

In my mind’s eye I saw a dark, cold dungeon. The air was filled with the putrid stench of rotting flesh and rats. In the corner of one cell sat a large figure hunched over, eyes closed and lips moving in prayer. His body bore wounds that told of many beatings, some fresh and some reopened.

He sat there and prayed for his persecutors, his family, his church, and begging God for strength to endure to the end. His persecutors had beaten him time and again telling him that he had but only renounce his faith and he could be set free. They told him he could even continue to worship his God if he only said the words of denial and would no more preach. To merely let him go would mean he would be free to share his faith and many would believe as before. And whenever they killed the “Christ followers” twenty more would spring up in his place because of his martyrdom. But if he relented, if he gave in and denied his faith then no one would believe or respect him after that.

However this man was unwavering in his devotion to God. He would not be silent. He would not be ashamed or afraid of what man would do to him. He would continue to share the Gospel with all those he came in contact with. He would never deny his Lord.

But it got me thinking… I wonder… Have we done that which we would never dream? Have we–have I denied my Lord?

I imagine often of persecution, imprisonment, and even death for the sake of Christ. Something much like someone holding a gun to my head and asking “Will you say you deny Christ and never evangelize again?” I look them in the eye and say with a resolute passion, “no, I could never and will never deny my Lord.” (and then they pull the trigger…? I just hope that if persecution does break out here in America that I will be seen as a threat).

But perhaps our culture has already played the part of the persecutor and has beaten and threatened us until we no more share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re scared. We’re ashamed. It’s uncomfortable. I myself succumb to those lies and fears.

We’ve never verbally denied our Lord, but just the same we’ve kept our faith secret and silent, content to just blend into this world. Silently we have called the things of this world our lord and forsaken our First Love. If the world or the culture can get us to be silent and blend in then they’ve won – to them it is better then just killing us off because we will only seem weak and ineffective. And the truth is, that if we Christians are living according to God’s Word then either the culture will change or crosses will be erected.

I guess what I’m trying to communicate here is that our silence is denial. Denial of our Lord, denial of the Great Commission He has given us to fulfill.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.      Matthew 28:18-20

My heart aches to know that within the past few weeks I’ve been in conversations where it led to planting seeds about the Lord, but I chose not to because I simply wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t looking for ways that I could plant Gospel seeds, and when the situation arose I found it more convenient to remain silent on the topic. I don’t want to live as one that has denied the Lord. I want to live boldly and to lovingly proclaim the Gospel to others. I will not hide my light under a bushel, but put it on a candlestick.

Come Christian, you are called to be a light to the world – not to imitate the darkness. To shine forth with the radiant Gospel of Jesus Christ. Oh let us not deny Him in spirit! Let us call Jesus Lord and let our walk be self-evident to that fact.

~Grace Elizabeth

To do him good…

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It was after church services a few weeks ago and I found myself holding a precious little treasure in my arms. This treasure was about 4 months old and he owned a pair of blue eyes that I’m sure could steal anyone’s heart. In my conversation with one of the moms, I mentioned just how much I desired to be a mother of my own precious little treasures one day.

She began to reply, and I was sure she was going to give me the “contentment speech.” You know, “be happy and serve God where He has placed you and in His time He will bring along ‘Mr. Right’.” Thing is, I am truly happy with my life; I feel full. I only want the next phase when God says it’s time. Overall, I am content. But she surprised me–she didn’t discredit that desire, instead she encouraged me. She told me that those were God given desires and she truly believed He would fulfill them. It was neat to hear that. It was so different for that desire to be affirmed.

Like any girl, I’ve carried big dreams about my knight in shining armor. I’ve known some girls to write very extensive lists on what they want their husbands to be. Oh sure, it’d be nice if he could sing and play instruments well, if he were a good writer, spoke several languages, was romantic, and was really athletic–the list could go on and on. But what my heart has craved and my prayers have echoed is that he would be a passionate lover of God; that he would have a dynamic relationship with the Lord.

For if a man loves God–truly loves and follows after Him and has a humble and teachable spirit, then everything else will fall into place. No, he won’t be perfect, he will fail just as much as I do. We won’t be perfect, but we will grow and learn together. That’s part of the beauty of it.

Occasionally I put myself in the place of the kind of man I would like to marry and make a list of the kind of woman he would want to marry and then I work on those things. Do you desire a man of prayer? Become a woman of prayer. Do you desire a man that meditates on God’s Word? Start meditating! What about a man that is involved in ministry? Become a woman that serves and ministers to those around her. (I’m writing as a girl to girls, but it works the same way reversed).

We can daydream, we can wish about our Knight in Shining Armor. But would we be the kind of woman he is looking for?

And this doesn’t only apply to our “spiritual side.” Wouldn’t the man of your dreams appreciate an organized house and a well-cooked meal?

It really boils down to this: become the kind of person you’d like to marry.

No, we won’t be perfect–we’ll fail. I can promise you that. But this season of singleness is so precious. We are given such a precious gift from God. We have time to prepare, time to develop our walk with the Lord, time to reach out to others… If you’d like somewhere to get started, Proverbs 31:10-31 has some great pointers. *smile

Verses 10-12 says:

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Will we do our husbands good all the days of our lives? Even before we know his name? Are we preparing for him, being faithful to him, and building a foundation of trust now?

That’s where I’m at right now. That’s a little of what I’ve been learning this year–to become the woman my Knight would be seeking for. Time is so short, and I’ve already wasted so much of it. And truly, if we are living fully for Jesus now, obeying Him, seeking His face, loving Him and allowing Him to change us, then we will become the person our spouse needs. As we focus on Christ and lose ourselves in Him, I believe everything else will fall into place.

Today I purpose to do my husband good as I follow after Christ.

 

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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

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 New Year’s prayer

Ah, it is 11:49 PM, almost the New Year…what a year this has been. The Lord has brought me so far. So far. And as I look at the new year ahead, I see that I have so far to go. So far.

This song describes what I want for the New Year; this is one of the things that if I could write poetry, I would have written this.

A Passion For Thee

Set my heart, O dear Father,
On Thee, and Thee only,
Give me a thirst for Thy presence divine.
Lord, keep my focus on loving Thee wholly,
Purge me from earth; Turn my heart after Thine.

A passion for Thee;
O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.

Father fill with Thy Spirit, and fit me for service,
Let love for Christ every motive inspire,
Teach me to follow in selfless submission,
Be Thou my joy and my soul’s one desire.

A passion for Thee;
O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.

This song is definitely my prayer for this coming year–I want my heart to burn with an all-consuming passion to know and love God. I want to serve Him with a motive of love, and not of pride. I want Jesus to be my true joy and my soul’s one desire.

O Lord, I thank you so much for this year; it’s been wonderful. In fact, it’s been the best year of my life. After last year I didn’t think life could get any better…but oh! Every year walking by Your side gets sweeter still.
 Abba, don’t let me stray, please draw me closer to You. This year You have taught me much…You have taught me how to die daily, how to be a leader, how show others Your love, and how in Your presence is fullness of joy…You have held my hand, guided me, and carried me…You have been so patient with me gently teaching me truths over and over again untill I realize that You’re trying to teach me.
It gives me so much joy to know that You continue to hold my hand and guide me in this new year. May I grow to love you more. Oh make me a vessel of Your glory! May people see You and not me.

Well I’ve had a wonderful evening, and a wonderful year; but I’m ready–bring on the new year!

Hello twenty-twelve!

11:56 PM

Lord, may You be glorified in every aspect of my life this coming year.

-Grace
Psalm 16:11, Galatians 2:20

And my sisters and I start the countdown….

Bits and pieces~

My heart is so full of joy right now. So full. Mmm…Jesus, I love you. Thank You for leading me closer to You today, and being so patient with me, even through tears and the desperation I felt today.

 This evening I got to errands with my Dad; we had a wonderful time. Daddy, you are so wise, and have such a heart for God. Everyday I marvel at how I ever got you for a dad; God is so good to me. Please know that I pray for you everyday as you lead our family. Talking of spiritual things with you is the best.

 On another note, we got to try our first batch of homemade sauerkraut today! Can you say “yum?” J

 

This quote from Charles Spurgeon literally stopped me in my tracts when I read it the other day:

 “If you never have sleepless hours, if you never have weeping eyes, if your hearts never swell as if they would burst, you need not anticipate that you will be called zealous. You do not know the beginning of true zeal, for the foundation of Christian zeal likes in the heart. The heart must be heavy with grief and yet must beat high with holy ardor. The heart must be vehement in desire, panting continually for God’s glory, or else we shall never attain to anything like the zeal which God would have us know.”

 I want to be this kind Christian. I long to be dynamic, radical, zealous…I want to be a true follower of Christ. May I be the kind of Christian, who, when knees tire in prayer, fall flat on their face before their King and keep on praying. May I be a real Christian ready to give up all comfort for the sake of Christ, and not shy from persecution. Oh, may all of my life glorify Him.

 

Also, this video clip I watched the other day really encouraged me so I thought I’d share it. I can not tell you how encouraging it is to see young people zealously living for Christ, and willing to give all to Him. Even if that means giving up seemingly fun things like dating just for the sake of being in a relationship. Relational purity is so important, and is something that I don’t think is stressed enough. Anyway, had I more time, eloquence, and wisdom I would write more about this; but for now I’ll leave it at that for now.

 

One last thing and I’ll be done. This verse has been popping up in my mind recently:

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6:8

 I realize I have so much more than food and clothes, and yet, so often I am discontent. Right now though, I am perfectly content. God provides well beyond my needs; I am so blessed! That said, it would still be pretty neat to get this for Christmas. *smile*

Well that’s it; please excuse me for the randomness of this post! Have a wonderful weekend; and “whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

In Christ,

Grace

Psalm 16:11