thru Grace with Faith

not just for sunday

Romans 4:13-25

Notes from today’s sermon on the above passage. Hoping these words follow me through into the moments, hours and days ahead and don’t just convict on Sunday.

A promise is only as good as the character and ability of the One making the promise.

God promised Abraham a multitude of offspring and that he would be an heir of the world to come

We cannot make ourselves acceptable to God, we CANNOT DO anything to save ourselves

Our ONLY hope is GRACE thru FAITH (Eph 2:8-10) ‘By GRACE you have been SAVED thru FAITH’

Our belief is a gift of grace from God to us, received by faith.

Christ did what I could never do for myself, He gave Himself that I might live, He died so that I might be set free.

Your salvation rests on the grace of God and His grace never changes.

My faith often wavers but His grace never changes. Salvation doesn’t depend on how strong our faith is or the amount of faith that we have. It is about what God has done, not what I have done.

‘The core issue of your faith is the object of your faith’ D.A. Carson

We can put our faith in the One who gives life to the dead (Abraham’s body, Sarah’s womb)

God is the One who calls into existence the things that do not exist. He IS the God of the Impossible!

vs 18 ‘in hope he believed against hope’ believed when completely impossible

Will you trust the promises of God not to harm you but to make you holy? 

He is at work for your good and His glory.

Our faith is far from perfect, but our faith is in a perfect God

Heb 11:13 He was ‘fully convinced’ despite never seeing it come to fruition. Not everyone will see the promises given them fulfilled in this lifetime

I am declared holy and righteous because of what HE HAS DONE!

 

 

 

dream of j

My dreams have always been quite vivid. I’m not sure why. But there are days when my dreams are so real that when I wake up I have trouble telling them from the reality that is life.

There have been nightmares recently. Not things that I wake up screaming about, but things that I’m glad haven’t actually happened. and interestingly, some of them have revealed things that I’ve gone back to ponder about the people in the dreams.

this morning though, I woke up with a sob on my lips. The tears didn’t fall outwardly, but they were inwardly.

He was in my dream.

for some reason he was parked in my driveway at home. there was a man driving a van, he was in the left side of the car and we were chatting quickly because I knew he had to go. And I don’t remember what we talked about. There was a girl sitting next to him, that ended up being his wife, though I’ve seen real life pictures and it wasn’t the same person. and I remembered that they were fostering a young girl and I asked about her. they told me a couple stories about the journey they were having in raising her.

somehow i ended up in the van with them. and he passed me cookies that he had brought as a gift. and as he passed them to me he squeezed my hand…and then lingered in holding it and it was at that moment that my heart broke and that i began to internally weep.

Because i knew that He still loved me.

not in a way that was something that was forever, he already had that. But in the way that we used to be. Pretty close to being  best friends for those years that we grew our friendship.(and now the tears are coursing down my cheeks)

Its all changed now. I knew it would. from that day that we realized that we couldn’t date it wasn’t meant to be…we were better as just friends. perhaps we had expectations of what it was supposed to look like that maybe it seem stranger then it might have been. Ultimately though i see how our paths have gone different ways, and I know its in His plan. But how my heart continues to ache for what might have been.

that lingered hand hold told me that he still cared, and even though it was in a dream it meant volumes to me…opened my heart to so many hurts and left tears now streaming down my cheeks. the what ifs will never be. i wll always have those memories of our time growing our friendship and the struggles of trying to figure each other out and whether this relationship should be pursued.

 

 

drinking in words

I’m a reader. A voracious reader you might say. And I am a collector. A collector of thoughts, of ideas, of phrases, words, thoughts, feelings, moments.

And lately I have been unable to get my thoughts, my words down on the page. I’m not sure whats stopping up my voice, my words this time. its just all building up inside.

but in the midst of this inability to express myself…there are words. words that others have written. words that others have spoken. and these words. they quicken my heart. They cause me to have trouble to breathing. but that’s not a bad thing. because i am choking up because they are saying what i’m not able to…and i know this feeling and there is such breathe in knowing you’re not alone.

my breathe catches as i read. and I know its gone soul deep. That when i’m cut off from community (a cutting off at my own hands) that there are words, that there are people who have gone before, that I’m not alone in this moment, that there are voices to speak truth, that there are words to speak truth, and He’s directing me to this truth…even when i’m faltering. when i’m silent outwardly but the voices inwardly can’t seem to leave me alone.

silencing my own voice

I couldn’t believe I had heard her right.

I stopped breathing for what seemed like forever, but it was only a couple seconds I’m sure.

I was thankful for her vulnerability. For her desire to share her story.

But those words from her mouth, seemed to catch in my own throat.

I wanted to whisper, ‘me too’, in fact, i wanted to shout it. But i kept my mouth closed. I didn’t say a word. I just kept listening to her share.

and my own story filled my veins. And my own pain. And my own attempted reaction to control it.

And the interesting thing is. She isn’t the only one. While her words were exactly mine that I couldn’t voice, another friend had texted me several weeks earlier also sharing her heart.

And my soul ached to read what she’d written. And i was full of answers and good advice. But the thing was, the exact same words she had written to me were what I am struggling with, but don’t like to share with anyone. Because I don’t’ want to be convicted. Because I don’t want anyone to tell me I’m wrong. Because I don’t’ want to admit that this is an area that I definitely can’t control myself.

and so I write her back. And I encourage her. and the girl who spoke those words that seemed to speak my story, i think about what she said over and over again, but don’t say a think to her. To encourage her, to say me to. I just let those words hang out in the open. And wish that I could bring myself to share those wounds as well.

Perhaps it seems easier being silent. Being the one with the answers, but the stopped up mouth when it comes to sharing my own struggles or my own pain.

Crashing Pedestals

pedestalThe thing with putting people on a pedestal is that you forget that they are human, or you choose to disregard that point. And I’m not sure what causes us to elevate people to this status when we know that we are all fallible, and yet I know that there are people in my life that I look up to, that I think aren’t possible of some of the things that they have done. I guess in some way that it think that the version that I see of them on the outside reflects what is going on in their lives internally.

I can’t remember how old I was, I just remember staring in shock at the television. right before dinner I had turned on the local news, and as usual they had a summary of some of the items that they would be covering on the news. When I saw his face and the cops arresting him, my mouth dropped open…tears started pouring down my face, and I called my mom urgently. It was devastating for our church. He went to jail to pay for what he had done, when he was released on day passes he attended church with a guard, and eventually he was restored to community. but for the longest time, after he returned I couldn’t look at him without remembering what he had done. how he had betrayed who we thought he was. and I realized that I had put a mere human on a pedestal that no one deserves to be put on. People will let us down. People have things going on in life that we can’t even begin to fathom until they are revealed or sometimes we never know.

Several months ago a friend shared with some information that I wasn’t supposed to be privy to. it was devastating. it was about someone who I had known for quite some time who had been asked to leave the church as a result of some of the choices he refused to acknowledge as ungodly and detrimental to his personal and familial health. My heart-felt like it was shattered. we had been in small group together. I had looked up to him, I had interacted with his kids.

It hasn’t been on my mind the past couple of weeks but today it was brought back in devastating clarity when it was announced on Facebook that he was now engaged to someone else formerly from our church. His family had been shattered into pieces, he had walked away from truth, and I realized that the person who he was now engaged to began to be missing from our church about the same time he was asked to leave. I don’t know anymore details…but my heart broke again and my first reaction was words that I didn’t want to have spread around Facebook….I reacted and in a vague way, but the tears began to course down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe it..and then I thought why not? he’s human. she’s human. they aren’t ever worthy of the pedestal I’d placed them on.

And as I drove to do some errands it kept resonating in my head, putting people on pedestals always results in a fall. it depends on how high the pedestal is, how big the fall will be, but really there isn’t ever a reason to put anyone on that pedestal. We never know what’s going on in other people’s lives. No one will be perfect. No one will ever live up to our expectations. I mean I don’t even live up to my desire for perfection or my expectations. But I have been reminded once again that anytime you put someone in a place they don’t believe, that you choose to believe they are above and beyond the faltering of this world…one day those things you thought will be proven false. and not always in devastating ways, but in ways that continue to remind that one never knows what is truly going on behind the face that people put forward every day. I have had many conversations through my life that have taught me that. that have shown me how much I’ve judged without even knowing, how I’ve made opinions and really had no idea. and yet i continue to do so. And I guess I’ve been reminded today. This world is fallen. This fallen-ness will always affect us until redemption is complete..and we are removed from this world, removed from this curse of sin.

sliver of hope

image

this image and it’s title inspired me today

She stands
the air
stardust surrounding
and breathes in
hope
glory
the ray of light
piercing darkness
and the stars
they twinkle and sing
and her voice
begins to rise up
and she begins
to hum along
as a tear trickles
the sliver of light
sliver of hope
beckons her home
there IS hope.

by Janel Andrews written May2/2015

Impossibilities

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as WE are. – Anais Nin

When Asheritah asked if anyone was interested in joining vlogging with her, it was deifnitely something that I’d never considered doing. But when a dear sweet sister is stepping out on a branch and offering you the chance to do it too…a branch that has been proven to hold of course, I offered to step out too (along with several other sisters).

When i heard that the theme that we’d be sharing on was impossibilities I was stumped. I couldn’t even begin to form any thought process on what to speak on. And then as I listened to Asheritah and my other dear sisters sharing their thoughts on our God and the idea of impossibilities, I found myself weeping with the knowledge that much of what they spoke of seeking to overcome through Him was a struggle in my own life. Even after hearing their words and reading their posts I was still stumped as to what I was given to speak on.

It wasn’t until this past week when I had a strong visceral reaction to someone and I felt a little nudging in my soul that I realized what a large impossibility seems to be in my life…loving others as God loves them.

Its so easy for me (as I work in retail and see people constantly all day) to classify them instantly in my head and to treat them as I deem them, without knowing a blessed thing about them. There are times when I’ve forgoten to remember that people are going through things too and aren’t always going to reflect a smile my way or interact with my little slice of conversation that I’m offering.

The person who I reacted so strongly to however, is not one of these unknown people. Well I do not KNOW him in the sense that I have really any knowledge past what I’ve observed and heard in the past several years, but my reaction to him is firmly ingrained. I have a severe dislike for him, to the point of even uttering the words one day to someone ‘I have no use for him’.

Upon uttering those words, I felt a little stirring of something in my gut. Something that said, ‘that’s not right’ and I realized that though he gets right under my skin and I can’t stand the way that he treats people, that He is loved by His Creator God who wants to be known by him. And my heart is chastised because in my actions and my words the last thing that I’ve ever done is begin to let him know about this love in any form, or that I’m striving to be a reflection of it in my own life.

Several verses rotated through my mind as I pondered this. First of all, when Christ was going against all cultural norms and had gone to spend time with Zaccheaus at his house. Spending time with Christ wrought a difference in Zaccheaus life. Upon his proclamation that He would give back what had taken and make restitution Christ declares “Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:9-10) 

And I find that I am reminded that sometimes my self-righteousness gets in the way of what God wants to do through me. That I start thinking perhaps there is something that I’ve done to deserve what I’ve received and that I should receive a gold star for staying away from sin and not being like these other people that I so quickly judge. And yet upon the examining of my heart, I find that I’m right there with them. I’m not sure where the thought that some things are worse then others, some actions or words are considered worse sins then others…its all sinful and all repulsive before our Holy God, and only not constantly because of Christ’s shed blood covering these offenses. And I am reminded that “t is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) And while my sins are covered by the blood of Christ, that does not exempt from being considered a sinner in need of CONSTANT grace that is being poured out on me.

So the impossibility I saw in my life is this…I’m unable to love people, as Christ loves them, without Him. And when I seek to interact with people on my own terms, I so often get it wrong and fail to reflect who He is. However, my Lord is bigger then all my failings and fallings and He loves these people and shows Himself to these people in ways that don’t always just include me (And I”m so thankful for that). But i’m also thankful for a GOd that impossibly loves me inspite of me and who uses me despite the things i’ve said and done. I’m thankful that what often seems impossible to me, is made possible through Him.