Faith over Fear

Faith Having a firm faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and acting on it! Our faithfulness to Christ and to others will cause us to shine as bright lights in this dark world. The opposite is a doubting, distrustful and untrustworthy spirit.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  II Timothy 1:7

Thanks for joining me as I continue in my series on the Fruit of the Spirit. So far, we have covered the first three, the “inward” – within our soul, characteristics that manifest the Holy Spirit’s indwelling — Love, Joy, and Peace. And then we talked about the second three, “outward” – toward others, characteristics—Longsuffering, Gentleness, and Goodness. And now, we begin the last three, the upward – towards God, characteristics— Faith, Meekness, and Temperance.

Some say that the fruit of the Spirit called FAITH really means “faithfulness “, or being a faithful servant of the Lord in the local Church, and that may be part of it. But, as I thought about it and studied it, I realized that “faith” IS a fruit of the Spirit, a gift from the Spirit, and it’s much more than just being faithful — it’s being “faith-full”, or filled with faith in our good and great God.

FAITH is what God gives us as we have exercised our inward and outward fruits in His strength, and have discovered that God’s promises are true! HE is the One who is faithful, and so, based on His unchanging, everlasting Sovereignty and love, we can do His good and perfect will KNOWING that He will bring the right results. When we have His Love, Joy, and Peace in our souls, and then exercise them by treating others around us with Patience, Kindness, and Goodness —something amazing happens!! We see that every promise in the Bible is true, that we can abound with all spiritual blessings when we do things God’s way. The Peace, Love, and Joy keep increasing, and God gives us a stronger Faith as we exercise it, just like the muscles in our body.

Of course, He gave us the Faith to believe in Jesus in the first place — our salvation is through Faith, by His Grace:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Notice the Grace and the Faith are gifts from God, so we can’t brag on how big our faith is, only how great our Savior is!

Have you seen this acrostic?

Forsaking   All   I    Trust  Him

Now, that’s FAITH — not trusting in anything but God Himself to get us through whatever life slings at us – Forsaking self, money, possessions, health, comfort, the approval of man, or anything else, in favor of trusting God! So we need not fear anything!

God highly commends those who show faith in Him — even faith as small as a mustard seed (.) Faith that He is sovereign, and that He is good. Faith that He has a plan, and that His way is perfect, even (especially) when we don’t understand what He is doing, we can trust that He is working all things together for our good, and for His glory (Romans 8:28). When we have that kind of faith, there is no place for fear in our hearts! When we trust that He is with us all the time, that He will strengthen us and help us, we should not fear (Isaiah 41:10), rather we should be “faith-full”

The 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews (the Faith Chapter) starts out like this in the KJV:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.”

and the Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. For by this [kind of] faith the men of old gained [divine] approval.”

…and then the chapter goes on to give example after example of our heroes of the Faith who pleased God by seeking His will and obeying it. They were not perfect people, they did not have perfect, stress-free, trouble-free lives —in fact many of them endured circumstances far worse than anything we will ever face—but God commends them for their Faith!! And verse 39 & 40 tell us that they “…received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us” —they didn’t have the Holy Spirit indwelling them, as we born-again Believers do, so we have some better thing—through the Lord Jesus Christ we have access to the powerful faith that the disciples tapped into and “turned the world upside down”! (Acts 17:6) (If you don’t understand what a born-again believer is, I hope you will visit my page – “Good News! A Free Gift”!)

I hope that I will draw on that kind of faith when I hit trials!

As Elisabeth Elliot, one of my favorite authors, puts it:

Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”

Faithfully yours,

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Faith is not getting what we want, but accepting what God gives”

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Goodness NOT Falseness

FoxglovesGoodness – Just doing what is right and good, as Jesus “… went about doing good”. God’s indwelling love will help us to sacrifice and do good even to those who are not good to us. It is enough to know that God saw and smiled. The opposite is a selfish, worldly, sinful, and retaliatory spirit.

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” (Romans 15:14)

Welcome to my sixth post on the Fruit of the Spirit – “Goodness”, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed meditating and studying about it.

Last month I studied Gentleness, or kindness — Goodness and kindness are closely related — You have to be kind in order to be considered a good person, and you usually do good works to others to be considered kind. They both are produced by God’s love, and our good deeds are to be done, not to be seen by others because then we have our reward, but to please our Heavenly Father — who sees what is done in secret and will one day reward us openly (Matthew 6:4,6,18). Goodness is also genuine, it is not fake, not manufactured, it is a result of being attached to the Vine – the Holy Spirit’s working in and through a person.

What is popular is not always good and what is good is not always popular.

We try to be good parents. We try to be kind to our kids. Meet their needs, and some of their wants. Sometimes we may see one of our kids going in a wrong direction. They may like it, it may seem pleasant and fun. But in our parental wisdom, we know it is not in their best interest. So we say, “NO!” Our child may think we’re being unkind by not letting them have what they want, but we know that it is the good and right thing for them.

God is good. We know that. At least I hope we know that. He is a good God. As a good God, He sees all and knows all, and knows what is best for us. He may see us going down a wrong path. We may like that path, it may seem pleasant to us, and fun! But God knows it is not profitable to us, so He says, “No!” We may think He’s being unkind by not giving us what we want, but actually He is being kind and good because He knows His good and perfect will for us, and He knows it is best! That is a good God!

See what I mean?

So, goodness is doing the right thing out of a genuinely Spirit-led desire to love God and love others — the two commands that Jesus said sum up ALL the law!

I often wonder what a “good Christian” looks like. I came to the conclusion that a good Christian will be the same regardless of time (200 years ago, 1,000 years ago, or 2,000 years ago), regardless of place (America, UK, China, Africa, or Papua New Guinea), and regardless of ethnicity or age. Because, “…the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart”(1 Samuel 16:7).  What did Jesus say a true, good Christian should look like? Here’s a few things I came up with, I’m sure there’s much more:

1. A strong, dependent relationship on our Heavenly Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ: In Acts 11:23-26, the disciples were called “Christians” first in Antioch —because Barnabus had exhorted them to purpose in their heart that they would cleave unto the Lord. And, of course, because they had trusted in Christ as their Savior.

2. A hunger for God’s Word and a desire to read it and hear it preached often. (Matthew 5:6) To a true Christian, God’s Word is the source of all guidance and Truth. Through it, God speaks to His children. We should love to read and hear it taught.

3. Genuine love for fellow believers: In John 13:35, Jesus said that his disciples would be known because of their love for one another. This means not only the other Christians in our Church that we see every Sunday, but also other believers all over the world, whether or not they worship and act exactly the same as our version of Christianity.

4. Genuine compassion for unbelievers shown by a concern for their salvation. A true Christian will see unbelievers as Christ saw them, as “sheep not having a shepherd” (Mark 6:34), and then introduce them to The Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14). We understand that without Christ they are not only oblivious to the Truth, but because of that, they are condemned to an eternity of torment in hell (John 3:18) unless we share the Truth with them.

5. A compassionate generosity towards the poor, needy and suffering. Dorcas, or Tabitha was a woman “full of good works and almsdeeds”, and her death brought such sorrow to those she had ministered to that Peter brought her back to life (Acts 9:36-42). Through her resurrection, many came to know Christ as Savior, I wonder if when I die there will be that many people that miss me! The early Church also appointed men to take care of the widows and fatherless, because it was of high importance (Acts 6:1-6, also James 1:27). Jesus said, “…It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), and by giving generously we give blessing, but we also receive abundant blessings and joy!

6. Lives for the most part under the control of the Holy Spirit. That means our tongues, our passions, our temper, our desires, our appetites are held in check by the Holy Spirit, and so we don’t get carried away(James 1:26). Notice that the indwelling Holy Spirit is vital to being a “good Christian”, and “goodness” is part of the fruit of the Spirit? It’s His power that enables us to do God’s will. We have come full circle then. You can’t fake it. Well, you can try, and some people may be fooled, but God isn’t. He knows that “good Christians” are those who humbly allow themselves to be vessels, or channels, that God can use to do His work.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Channels only, Blessed Master, but with all they wondrous power Flowing through us, Thou canst use us Every day and ev’ry hour.” – Mary Maxwell

Gentleness NOT Harshness

KindnessThe Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying , Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” Colossians 3:12

Gentleness – Jesus always responded with kindness and compassion, He understood that human beings are valuable and fragile, and need to be handled with care. When we yield to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and show kindness to others, we are doing it to our Lord. The opposite is a selfish, unkind, insensitive, and rude spirit.

Welcome to the fifth in my series on the fruit of the spirit, June has already gone by, along with Father’s Day, graduations,  and weddings, and I was studying Gentleness, or Kindness.

One of my favorite words in the Old Testament is “lovingkindness” — it always evokes a warm feeling in my heart. It makes me think of God’s love, grace, mercy, favor, compassion, concern, blessings and tender care for His children.

The fruit of the spirit gentleness has that same implication —it means to show kindness, compassion, and forbearance toward another, especially someone who has perhaps not treated you in that manner. Most versions of the Bible other than the King James translate the Greek word chréstotés as “kindness”, I think both words work, so I will use both in this blog post.

First, we have the example of Christ’s kindness. The Lord has shown us such kindness and compassion, He chose to give His life for us to pay the ransom for our sins while we were still His enemies (Romans 5:10), so we should extend that kindness to others. I know I find it easy to be kind and gentle to people who are kind to me, if someone is harsh towards me my first reaction is to be rude and harsh back to them. But, as Christians, Jesus calls us to a higher road:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you… For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others ? do not even the publicans so?” Matthew 5:44, 46, 47

Wow! I stand rebuked! We are to treat others the way we want to be treated (Luke 6:31)— and, don’t we all want to be treated with gentleness? Don’t we all want people to understand that we’ve had a tough day and we just want to be handled gently?  And, the kindest thing we can do for someone is to share the Gospel with them. Jesus was moved with compassion when He looked upon lost, helpless people, and we should have that same attitude of compassion — NOT harsh judgementalism. Aren’t you glad someone shared the Gospel with you when you were still an enemy of God?

Second, we are to be genuine — people can spot a fake! We should be genuinely gentle, and willing to go the extra mile. Kindness will cost you something, it will take some self-sacrifice. But, because of the kindness Jesus showed to us when we were foolish enemies of God, we should gratefully make the effort to pass on that kindness to others, so He is glorified.

For we ourselves also were sometimes [once] foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared…according to his mercy he saved us…through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Titus 3:3-6

Oh how much better this world would be if we would all just show genuine gentleness to one another!  Glen Campbell sang a song back in 1970 called “Try a Little Kindness”, there was a lot of truth to that song:

“You got to try a little kindness, Yes show a little kindness, Just shine your light for everyone to see…”

Now, I don’t know what he meant by it specifically, but when we show kindness to others, it is a shining light for Jesus, as He told us in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Finally, we’re commanded to be kind. When Jesus was asked by a lawyer, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25-37), the answer was basically — love God and love your neighbor! Jesus then went on to share the story of the Good Samaritan:

A Samaritan man came upon a Jewish man (his “enemy”) who had been treated harshly, he had been robbed, beaten and wounded and left to die. The Samaritan (unlike a priest and Levite who had already passed by and ignored him) stopped and had compassion on the poor man, treated him with kindness, bound up his wounds, and paid whatever it cost to return him to health and life. Wow! That sounds like what Jesus did for us! And do you know what Jesus said after that?? He said, “Go, and do thou likewise.”

I recently came upon a man who had been beaten down by this harsh world, and had become so overwhelmed by the burdens he carried that he took his own life. I felt such sorrow for him! I still do! I wonder if he could have been restored to health if someone had shown him compassion and kindness?

LORD, help me to shine your gentle light on others so that You will be glorified!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Kindness dispels darkness, lifts loads, speaks peace, and inspires the downhearted.” – Phillip Keller

Longsuffering NOT Shortsuffering

ImpatiensI therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.”(Ephesians 4:1-2)   

   *        *       *       *       *       *

Longsuffering:  When we realize how patient and forgiving our loving Lord has been with us, we can extend the same to others. Patience is accepting a trial in our lives, and waiting for God to work, without giving him a deadline to remove it. The opposite is selfishness, impatience, and an unforgiving, bitter spirit.

Well, May is almost over, so here’s the fourth post in my Fruit of the Spirit series. This month, we are studying “longsuffering”, or patience.

The King James Version of the Bible uses the word “longsuffering” for what most other versions call “patience” – which is a good word, but I think “longsuffering” is more descriptive of what this fruit of the Spirit entails. Remember the nine-fold Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) is the fruit, or evidence, of the Holy Spirit’s residing in our hearts, and as we yield to the Holy Spirit our inner man becomes more like Christ and less like the sinful, fleshy, natural man of our heart. Longsuffering builds on the first three fruits – Love, Joy, and Peace – which are the “inward” fruit, the ones that affect our heart and soul, our inner being. When we are filled with God’s love, joy and peace, then He will enable us to “suffer long” (1 Corinthians 13:4) with difficult people and circumstances. Longsuffering, Gentleness, and Goodness are the three “outward” fruits, the ones that affect our attitudes and behaviors toward the people and situations around us. The Chinese Symbol for patience is this:

Chinese patience

The characters, as you can see, represent a heart with a knife in it, and together are interpreted as “going on with a knife in your heart”, or, patience! Wow! Isn’t that what patience is? Suffering yet continuing on. Afflicted with pain yet perservering. Enduring over a long period of time with overpowering circumstances.

What Patience is NOT:

Longsuffering, or patience is NOT to be confused with “shortsuffering” – we can all do that! We can all suffer for a short period of time, knowing that it will be over soon – “I’ve just got to hang on a little longer!” Patience is NOT resignation either, it’s not “Oh well, I guess that’s life, I just have to put up with it” (think Eeyore!!!); also, Patience is NOT just a personality that doesn’t get ruffled; and Patience is NOT tapping our foot while we wait for something to happen!

What Patience IS:

Patience is “accepting a trial in our lives, and waiting for God to work, without giving him a deadline to remove it.” So, patience is not only the ability to go on with a knife in your heart, patience comes as a result of having gone on with a knife in your heart (James 1:3), and through that suffering have found God to be more than enough to help you endure and see hope (Romans 5:3,4). Longsuffering means that we can continue to go on for a long, long time because we know that God is with us in this, He will strengthen us, help us, and hold us up when we need it. So that HE gets the glory!

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”(Isaiah 41:10)

WHY have Patience:

We need to be longsuffering in so many areas of our lives: as parents, and as children; as teachers, and as students; as counselors, and as counselees; as the healer, and as the hurting; as leaders, and as followers; as employers and/or managers, and as employees; I’m sure you can think of others…

Because, others are watching! When they see our patience with situations and people, they will ask us the reason for our calmness in light of such distress –and then we have the opportunity to share the REASON – the Lord Jesus Christ, Who displayed such longsufferingtoward us while we were yet sinners:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (2 Peter 3:15)

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:15)

Longsuffering, or patience is something we ALL could use, I know I wish I had more, but I’m not sure that I want to go through the “trying of my faith” (James 1:2) or the “tribulations” (Romans 5:3) that bring it about! Lord – give me patience, but do it quickly!!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” -Helen Keller

Here’s a link to another blog post I did on Patience: Be Patient

Peace Like a River

Welcome to the third post in my series on the fruit of the Spirit.Peace like a river

Peace – The ‘conscious possession of adequate resources’. Knowing that our loving God is in control, and resting in Him, helps us to worry about nothing, pray about everything and be thankful for anything. The opposite is worry, fear, and anxiety in our soul.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord…” (1 Peter 1:2)

Do you like to be by the water? I do! In the spiritual song that I referred to in my last two posts, the first stanza is “I’ve got Peace like a river…♫”. If I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the demands of life, I love to go find a river and sit on the bank and just watch the water flow gently by. It is soooo peaceful! I love how the river seems to just keep on rolling (cue the song “Ole Man River”), it doesn’t matter what “junk” falls into it, or if there are sharp rocks in the bottom, or critters living in it taking advantage of its sweet water, it just stays serene and sublime. We like to go kayaking on a river near us, and it just feels so relaxing and peaceful – all you can hear is the swish of your paddle in the water, the croaking of toads, the rustle of the breeze in the trees, the chirping of birds… I’m feeling relaxed already!

Peace is something we are all searching for, and unfortunately some people never find it. Even though rivers do make me feel peaceful, I know that I cannot find true peace apart from my God Who Created me AND the rivers. There are three areas we need to have peace: Peace with God (upward); Peace of God (inward); and Peace with others (outward). Here’s some Biblical ways to find that peace:

1. Peace with God – Our souls were created to be filled with a loving, dependent relationship with our God. Without Him, our soul is constantly seeking something to fill that void with. When we try to fill it with anything but Him, the result is anxiety, fear, and unrest in our souls. We are sinful creatures, we know that our sin deserves punishment, and if we are honest with ourselves, we feel guilty, and our hearts are not at peace. Romans 15:13 tells us where we find peace with God:

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Peace with God comes from “believing”, believing what?

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:8)

Believing in the Lord Jesus and what He did for us, to pay for our sins! WOW! I’m so thankful that I can KNOW that my sins are forgiven. Because of Jesus, I have PEACE like a river in my soul!

2. Peace of God—Once we are saved, we do not instantly become perfect people with heart and soul content and at peace within ourselves. Sorry to bust your bubble! Without the peace of God, our hearts are still anxious and fearful. Salvation is the first step in the process of “sanctification” – a long word that really means to become a better person, a person who is increasingly more like Jesus Christ, who was perfect and holy. So, how do we do that? God commands us in Colossians 3:15 to let the peace of God rule in our hearts, and in verse 16 to let the Word of Christ dwell in us. Hmmm… maybe that’s a clue!! Philippians 4:6-9 gives us the answer:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…honest… just…pure…lovely…of good report…virtue…praise, think on these things…and the God of peace shall be with you.”

The peace of God comes from intimately praying to God, with a thankful heart, trusting and turning everything over to Him –because He’s in control of it all anyway!! – and then thinking, or meditating, on God’s Word –and then obeying it! God’s Word is true, and honest, and just, and pure, and lovely and of good report. When we fill our minds with the truths of God’s Word instead of the lies of this world and its prince (Satan), we will find that we will want to obey His Word, and thus have the peace of God. We will know that we can trust in His goodness and His sovereignty to work all things together for good. We have no need to fear. He will take care of us as He does the sparrows.

3. Peace with Others – If we have peace with God, and the peace of God, then it shouldn’t be difficult to be at peace with others. When we get saved, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and He will give us the grace to forgive, to forbear, and to “hold our peace” when we really want to let someone have it! Romans 12:18 strongly recommends that we try to live at peace with others. It takes two people to make an argument – if another person is angry and red-faced and in-your-face, you can still be at peace within yourself and show love to them, and maybe help them to find peace. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about this, in fact, Proverbs 16:7 tells us:

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Proverbs 15:1 tells us that “A soft answer turns away wrath”, and it is so true! Peace produces healing, it flows like a river from the presence of Christ in our hearts.

In Heaven a river flows from the throne of Christ (Revelations 22:1), a peaceful river that waters the tree of life in a place where there is no more curse, no tears, no sorrow, no pain, and no darkness – PEACE!!

There are so many other verses about peace, I would encourage you to do a word search with a concordance, or your Bible App, and see all the ways God promises us peace.

Grace and Peace unto you…

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Know God, Know Peace. No God, No Peace!

JOY Like a Fountain!

smiley faceJoy –The ‘smile of the soul’ that is unaffected by people or circumstances. It grows from the love of God flowing in and through us. Our relationship with the Lord makes us thankful for everything when we focus on Him and abide in His presence. The opposite is a selfish, ungrateful, complaining spirit.

                       “…in thy presence is fulness of joy…” Psalm 16:11

Joy like a fountainIn my last post, we talked about the spiritual song that we sang in Vacation Bible School — another stanza of it is, “I’ve got joy like a fountain”. Again, I started thinking, “why joy like a fountain?” Well, think about a fountain for a minute, it is usually very attractive, and it has water bubbling up and flowing over, or even shooting into the air. They are fueled by life-giving water! They are always fun to look at, and they get our attention – they make you happy – did you ever notice how joyful children are when they try to reach their hands into the water and play with it? Joy is like that – it bubbles up from your soul, and no matter the situation or circumstance you are in, you can have joy, real joy, the kind that comes only from the Lord and His presence in your life. This is what Habakkuk was talking about in Chapter 3:

 

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”

Again, it is by God’s providence that I was meditating on the fruit of the Spirit JOY this month – Last month was February, when Valentine’s Day falls, and I studied “LOVE like an Ocean” – this month has been a crazy month, but I experienced the JOY of the Lord through it all.

On March 1st my 90-year old father-in-law fell and broke his hip. We saw this as an opportunity to start the process of getting him into Assisted Living. But, God had other plans. He did not recover well from the surgery, we brought him home on hospice, and he passed away on March 17th. Although it was an emotional time and a stressful time, by keeping our gaze toward God – it was also a joyful time.

The Lord gave us assurance beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was saved, and is now in Heaven with his Savior (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord provided a lovely Christian caregiver for his last few days at home (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord gave us time to visit with Greg’s brother, sister, and nephew (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord brought all of our kids, and their respective spouses that could come, home safely in the midst of a snowstorm (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord gave us a very special day, a private burial up near us, he was buried next to my husband’s late mother, where our children all shared special memories of Papaw (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord gave us a wonderful time of fellowship with our children, unexpectedly having them all home for a few days (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord coordinated so many details, I can’t even recall them all (JOY like a fountain!).

As Easter approaches, I am reminded again of what the Lord Jesus went through for me and for YOU in the last week of His life on this earth. He suffered and died to pay the price for our sins, because we could never pay it ourselves. I am SO thankful that I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and so does my husband, and all my children, we have that HOPE that we will all be reunited in Heaven one day when our time on earth is over. If you don’t have that assurance, read my post GOOD NEWS! A FREE GIFT!. I am filled with JOY when I think of Jesus:

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8)

Here’s a little Recipe for JOY for you:

1. Get your eyes off the circumstances and onto the Lord (Psalm 61:10)

2. Live one day at a time (Psalm 118:24)

3. Count your blessings (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

4. Focus on the TRUTH that God is Sovereign and God is good (John 15:10,11)

I hope you can rejoice with me, and with the Psalmist, when we say,

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.” (Psalm 35:9)

…No matter what the circumstances and situations we find ourselves in.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

JOY is the flag that is flown from the castle of your heart when the King is in residence”

LOVE like an Ocean

HeartLove – The essential ingredient for all other graces to grow. Not a feeling, but a choice. Self-sacrificing, seeking what’s best for others, expecting nothing in return. The opposite is a selfish, hateful, envious, critical spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23)

(This is the first blog post in my series on the fruit of the Spirit, I plan to do one each month, with God’s help.)

At our Vacation Bible School every summer we sing a song with the kids, it is called “I’ve got Peace Like a River”. It covers the first 3 fruits of the Spirit – Love, Joy, and Peace, and uses water as a simile for those virtues. This fun song compares the LOVE of God to an ocean. And so, I got to thinking about LOVE like an OCEAN. WHY did the song refer to LOVE like an OCEAN? Well, an ocean is very very deep, and very very wide, and very very BIG. Which reminds me of a verse:

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 fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

This verse is talking about God’s LOVE. And as Christians, we should be “rooted and grounded in” His Love (Ephesians 3:17). Love is listed first in the fruit of the Spirit because it is foundational to all the rest. We can do all kinds of good and spiritual things, BUT, if we don’t do them with LOVE, we have nothing! If we truly love God, and are thankful for what He has done for us, we will pass on that love to others, and the Lord Jesus confirms that the whole Law can be summed up by loving God and loving others! (Read Matthew 22:36-40, and Mark 12:30-32). So, if we can get a handle on God’s LOVE, that’s really all we need to know! And, we can only live out God’s LOVE when we yield to His Holy Spirit, and allow Him to LOVE others through us. 

When we stand before the Lord and our works are judged, I believe that we will be judged on how much (or how little) we showed love for God and for others. Paul said that our lives are an “…epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2) –a letter that all people watching can ‘read’! It has been said that people may not read the book of Acts or the book of Revelation, but they will watch our lives and our “acts” will “reveal” a whole lot! I hope that they see our lives as a LOVE letter from God, telling others how much He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them.

So, LOVE is pretty important! True Christians (those who have trusted in Christ and Christ alone for our salvation, by believing that He died on the Cross to pay the price for our sins) are a very small minority in this world. Which means that God’s LOVE –that results from a Christian being indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, and then yielding to that Holy Spirit—is in short supply in this world. It’s no wonder our world is in such trouble! At the beginning I said that the opposite is a selfish, hateful, envious, critical spirit. Isn’t that what we are seeing with the increase in divorce, single-parent homes, abuse, domestic violence and the horrific school shootings?

I know I have written a couple of blogs about LOVE (‘All you need is Love’ and ‘Love is in the Air’), but that’s because it is so important. My prayer is that others will see God’s LOVE in me, and that I can pass it on to others. I pray others will see it in you, too!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

“We cannot love too much.” –Amy Carmichael

Fruit of the Spirit

fruit-of-the-spirit-KJV-1.jpgBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22,23)

Our Pastor encouraged us to set spiritual goals for 2018, and the only goal I can think of is to be more Christ-like. And, what is more Christ-like than the 9-fold Fruit of the Spirit? So, this year, that will be my focus. Here’s a brief synopsis of what I know right now about the Fruit of the Spirit, and I am going to try to go more in-depth through the year as time permits, and as the LORD leads…

Love – The essential ingredient for all other graces to grow. Not a feeling, but a choice. Self-sacrificing, seeking what’s best for others, expecting nothing in return. The opposite is a selfish, hateful, envious, critical spirit.

Joy –The ‘smile of the soul’ that is unaffected by people or circumstances. It grows from the love of God flowing in and through us. Our relationship with the Lord makes us thankful for everything when we focus on Him and abide in His presence. The opposite is a selfish, ungrateful, complaining spirit.

Peace – The ‘conscious possession of adequate resources’. Knowing that our loving God is in control, and resting in Him, helps us to worry about nothing, pray about everything and be thankful for anything. The opposite is worry, fear, and anxiety in our soul.

Longsuffering –When we realize how patient and forgiving our loving Lord has been with us, we can extend the same to others. Patience is accepting a trial in our lives, and waiting for God to work, without giving Him a deadline to remove it. The opposite is selfishness, impatience and an unforgiving, bitter spirit.

Gentleness – Jesus always responded with kindness and compassion, He understood that human beings are valuable and fragile, and need to be handled with care. When we yield to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and show kindness to others, we are doing it to our Lord. The opposite is a selfish, unkind, insensitive, and rude spirit.

Goodness – Just doing what is right and good, as Jesus “…went about doing good”. God’s indwelling love will help us to sacrifice and do good even to those who are not good to us. It is enough to know that God saw and smiled. The opposite is a selfish, worldly, sinful, and retaliatory spirit.

Faith – Having a firm faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and acting on it! Our faithfulness to Christ and to others will cause us to shine as bright lights in this dark world. The opposite is a doubting, distrustful and untrustworthy spirit.

Meekness – Having a humble servant’s spirit that is more interested in being a servant than in being served. Not insisting on my own rights, rather insisting on putting other’s and God’s will first. The opposite is a prideful, arrogant, and selfish spirit.

Temperance – Strength from the Lord not to give in to indulgences, desires, and passions, and to submit to God’s will. Having a guard on our mouth, and a leash on our temper. The opposite is a selfish, carnal spirit, controlled by self and the flesh.

I look forward to studying these nine visible attributes that grow in us as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s control, and sharing my discoveries with you. I’m already working on “Love” for February, and will post at the end of each month what I learn about each fruit.

~ Graced and Grateful Grammy

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving”

 

 

Little Arrows

Little Arrowsquiver

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed…” (Psalm 127:3-5)

I have been thinking a lot lately about my children, how we raised them, and how thankful I am that they are all such fun people to be around. It must be because I miss them all after having them all home at Christmas.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, and my children are not all full-grown yet. But, as my husband and I like to say about our five children, “there’s not a throwback in the bunch!” I thought I would share with you some principles we used when raising our children. So, here are some of my thoughts as a mother of five and grandmother of three, on how we raised our children – you will notice that the fruit of the Spirit is woven throughout, which is no surprise, because it takes the fruit of the Spirit in us parents to raise good kids, and our aim is for them to be led by the Spirit.

LOVE them – As a mother, our job is to LOVE our children (Titus 2:4), and loving our children encompasses a lot: Protecting, guiding, nurturing, nursing, saying “NO” when necessary, being there for them, and looking out for their best interests – in a self-sacrificing, unconditional manner, as our Heavenly Father loves us. My husband likes to give our children the “I’m the best friend you’ll ever have speech”, because, really, their friends will come and go, their friends will not put their needs ahead of their own, and their friends may not always be in their lives.

PRAY for them – Someone once challenged me, “If you don’t pray for your children, WHO do you think will?” That struck me to the core! I MUST pray for my kids. Daily. Fervently. (James 5:16). Pray for them to seek and obey God’s will. Pray that they will grow in His grace and knowledge. Pray for their protection from evil. Pray for their future spouses (whenever my children bring home a ‘special someone’, I always think “is this the one I’ve been praying for all these years?”). When we pray, God gives us that PEACE that passes all understanding as we place them in His capable hands, knowing that they belong to Him anyway (Philippians 4:7).

SPEAK to them about God and His Word – Family devotions are so important, especially when children are young. They need to hear their parents talking about God and His Word, and how it applies to every aspect of our lives, and it should be a natural part of our everyday conversations (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). We gave our children Bibles as soon a they were old enough to carry it to Church by themselves. I used to teach them to repeat after me what the Bible says (in a nutshell, at their level of understanding): “Jesus loves me, and obey your Parents!” They would repeat it back, it was funny, but true! They need to learn at an early age that they are sinners in need of a Savior, and that their FAITH needs to be in Him for their salvation.

DISCIPLINE them – Children need our help to stay on track, if you’ve spent any time around children you know that their natural bent is to be selfish and foolish. They need help! Don’t be afraid to say “No”, even when it’s hard to (Hebrews 12:11), because you know what’s best for them. They need to learn TEMPERANCE, or SELF-CONTROL. One definition of the word “discipline” is training that makes people more willing to obey or more able to control themselves, often in the form of rules, and punishments if these are broken And that’s exactly what we do!

Teach them to WORK HARD – A good work ethic is invaluable! And, there is nothing more satisfying than to sit back and look at a job-well-done! (2 Thesselonians 3:10) That is something you should want your children to experience. Resist the urge to do it all for them! Our job as parents is to ‘work our way out of our job’ – lead our children into adulthood so that they can live independently of their parents. It will take PATIENCE and LONG SUFFERING, but it will be worth it.

LAUGH with them – Don’t forget to have fun with your children. Laugh with them (Proverbs 15:13). Make home a haven where they know they can come and relax, enjoy some family private jokes, and be themselves. It should be a JOY for them to come home, they shouldn’t dread it!

Teach them to be KIND – My husband still teases me about the number of times I would proclaim to my kids, “Be ye KIND one to another!” My mother taught me to ‘kill them with kindness’ when someone was unkind to me, and it is Biblical truth (1 Thessalonians 5:15, Ephesians 4:32).

Teach them to be HONEST – We do this mostly by example. Don’t be a hypocrite! Now, I know we all act a little differently at home than we do at Church, but we have to practice what we preach, or it doesn’t mean anything! We always told our children the importance of telling the truth, and so we must be truthful too. Our “GOODNESS” cannot be skin deep, it must come from a heart that wants to please and serve our Savior (Matthew 12:35), and you know what? Our kids can see right through us!! So, don’t judge them harshly on something that you do (Matthew 7:5, Romans 2:1). Be honest for Goodness’ sake!

Teach them RESPECT for Authority – Children learn respect for authority from how their mother treats their father. The father is the head of the household, and if I am rebellious and disrespectful to him, they will be too! And they will be rebellious and disrespectful to other authority figures in their lives (Ephesians 5:15,33). It takes humility, or MEEKNESS. I have heard meekness described as “velvet over steel”, meekness is not weakness, it is having power but knowing when and how to use it in a kind and loving way that is helpful to everyone.

Our Pastor recently said at a baby dedication that children are like arrows – we place them in our “bow” of training them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, aim them at the “target” of living to please the Lord, and “shoot” them off into the world praying that they hit the mark. I pray that your arrows fly straight and to the “mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

I hope this was helpful, it’s pretty much common sense, but nowadays it seems like common sense isn’t so common! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5)

 

Christmas Thoughts

Creche

 

I have been meditating recently on all the components of the Christmas Story, and here are some of my thoughts…

1. The Ancestors: (Matthew 1:2-16; Luke 3:23-38):

When we start to read the story of Christ in Matthew, we begin with the list of “begats”, and the account in Luke ends with a list of “was the son ofs”. Have you ever wondered why those lists of ancestors are there? I know they are there for a reason – lineage is important! The Messiah was prophesied to come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and from the lineage of David (Isaiah 11:1). These lists of “begats” prove that both Joseph and Mary were of the lineage of David. To me, it shows that God was orchestrating from the beginning, from Adam, a lineage all the way down to Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, and to Mary, His mother. I found it fascinating in Luke 3, when Jesus was baptized, and God the Father said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased”, and then goes on to talk about all the other sons: And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, ich was the son of Heli”. So, Jesus “was supposed” or assumed by most to be the son of Joseph, and Joseph was the son(-in-law) of Heli. Thus proving that both Jesus’ earthly father and mother were from the lineage of David. We know that Joseph really was not His biological father, the Holy Spirit is, so it is important that His mother is from that same lineage, too.

2. The Angels: (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:11, 1:26, 2:13)

Angels have appeared as messengers singly, and sometimes in pairs throughout the Bible. A single angel (Gabriel) told Zaccharias about his son, John. A single angel (Gabriel) told Mary the news that she would give birth to God’s Son! A single angel told Joseph the truth about his espoused wife’s pregnancy. BUT, when the greatest event to happen on earth was being proclaimed, the WHOLE SKY was filled with “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Christ the LORD was born in the City of David!!

3. The Town: Bethlehem: (Micah 5:2: Luke 2:4,11)

The name Bethlehem means “House of Bread”, it is the town where the first king of Israel, David, was born and raised, and where he was anointed to be king. Thus, its being referred to as “The City of David”. It is in the land of Judea. The prophet Micah said that the Messiah would be born in the little town of Bethlehem. And, Jacob (Israel) buried his beloved wife, Rachel in Bethlehem. It is also where the passover lambs were raised, the first-born, perfect males who would be sacrificed at the Temple at Passover – to remember when God passed over the homes of those Israelites who had the blood of the Lamb on their doorposts. (Kinda gives you the glory bumps, doesn’t it?). Bethlehem is a little town with BIG meaning.

4. The Virgin Mary: (Luke 1:28, 38, 47, 48)

Mary does not say much, but what is said about her speaks volumes. “Highly favored…the Lord is with thee…blessed among women…” She was espoused to Joseph, sort of an engagement period where the marriage had not yet been consummated, but they were in a binding contract that could only be ended by divorce (“putting away” which Joseph considered in Matthew 1:19) usually for sexual immorality (“fornication”). This special young lady is told that she will be impregnated by the Holy Ghost and that the child she would bear is the Son of God. She responds humbly, reverently, and obediently – I think that every devoted young Jewish girl in those days wondered if they would be the virgin spoken of in Isaiah 7:14 who would bear the Son of God – Immanuel! I wonder if Jewish girls today still wonder the same?? Mary was the chosen vessel, although she herself was still a sinner in need of a Savior, she said, “my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. When Elizabeth confirmed what the angel had told her about the baby, Mary said, “from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” I don’t think she fully understood what was going on, but the Bible tells us that Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” – She was thinking hard on all of this! She was a wise young woman.

5. The Cousin, Elisabeth: (Luke 1:6, 7, 18, 41-45)

Mary’s cousin Elisabeth also experienced a miraculous conception, she was “well stricken in years” when God placed John the Baptist in her previously barren womb. The Bible speaks highly of this godly lady righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”. At first, she may have been curious, she may have heard rumors that Mary was with child, and was waiting for Mary to arrive so she could find out the truth. But she was filled with the Holy spirit when she met with Mary face-to-face, because He revealed to her that Mary’s baby was the Lord. She learned from her husband’s mistakes and said to Mary, “…blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Elisabeth was a wise older woman.

6. The Husband, Joseph: (Matthew 1:19-25;

Joseph was also a very special man. He was just, kind, humble, and obedient to the Lord. The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly what transpired when Mary broke the news to Joseph that she was with child, but you can just imagine the thoughts that went through his mind – she said it was the Holy Ghost, but, really?! He could have had her stoned, but the scripture says, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily”. What a guy!! And to add to this – imagine a young groom looking forward to his wedding night as any man would – an angel came to him and told him that he could not know her as his wife until after the child is born. But Joseph, being a godly man, obeyed, he went through with the marriage, and “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son”. Joseph was a wise man.

7. The Shepherds: (Luke 2:8-18)

I LOVE that the amazing announcement was not made at the Temple, or at the Palace, but to shepherds, ordinary people, just going about their ordinary lives. Now, these shepherds did have a special job, they took care of the Passover lambs – those perfect first-born males who would be sacrificed at the Temple at Passover – and THAT gives me the glory bumps too! The angel came and told them that they had good tidings of great joy for ALL people. And those shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to see what the angels had described. Imagine! The very first people to hear the news that Christ the Savior is born – they who went and worshiped Him in that humble stable – they saw the Bread of Life, in the House of Bread, laying in a feed trough (a server of bread)! I don’t think that is a coincidence! Then those Shepherds couldn’t wait to run out and around the town telling everyone they saw that Christ the Savior is born!! They were some wise shepherds.

8. Roman Rulers: Caesar Augustus and Herod: (Luke 2:1, Matt. 2:1-8, 12-15)

God even used heathen, evil men to bring His plan to fruition. Caesar Augustus got them to Bethlehem to fulfill Micah’s prophesy (Micah 5:2), and Herod got them to Egypt to fulfill Hosea’s prophesy (Hosea 11:1). This gives me comfort in this world to know that even evil rulers are under God’s control. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” (Proverbs 21:1).

The wisdom of man is foolishness to God.

9. The Magi, the Wise Men: (Matthew 2:1-13)

These wise men from the East had studied many things, they knew enough about the Hebrew scriptures to know that when the special star appeared that the King of the Jews was born! They hurried to Jerusalem with their entourage and asked the current King of the Jews – Herod – where the baby was?! Herod didn’t know – What star?? What baby?? The Wise men went on, led by the star to Bethlehem, and worshiped the young child, the Lord Jesus. They brought Him gifts fit for a King – Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. They were truly wise men who sought out the Lord Jesus, and wise men still seek Him.

10. The Baby Jesus – Immanuel:

And then there is our Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us. It still blows my mind that God Himself, the Helper of the helpless, laid aside His glory in Heaven, and took on the form of one of the most helpless creatures on the earth – a baby human being. Not only did He become a helpless human, but instead of being born in a palace or temple, where we would expect the King of Glory to be born, He chose to be born in a humble stable, in a humble feed trough, to humble people, and His first visitors were humble shepherds. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself…” (Philippians 2:8). The baby in the manger did not stay a baby, though, He is the Savior, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This Christmas I am filled anew with the wonder of it all. Jesus came down from Heaven to live a short, perfect, life on earth so that He could be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He was born to die for us. Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Merry Christmas, and blessings for the New Year!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

I wonder as I wander out under the sky, How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I; I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

All One Body We

All one bodyFor as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

My husband and I like to tease each other that we are both “missing parts” 🙂 I have had my gallbladder removed (cholecystectomy), and he had his thyroid removed (thyroidectomy) – the suffix “-ectomy” is from the Greek word for the “act of cutting out”. Now, our bodies still function, but not as well as they would if we still had all our parts. There are some things that our head (or our mind) might want to do, but we just can’t (at least not without taking medication!)…

I find it fascinating that the Lord refers to His Church as the “Body of Christ”, and that every born-again believer is a “member” of that Body. The word “member” means “a part belonging to a whole”! Isn’t that wonderful?! Christ is the Head, and we are the Body – we are to work together in harmony to accomplish whatever our Head asks us to do. Every member has their specific job as it pleased the Lord to determine – just like the human body has hands, feet, eyes, ears, noses (1 Corinthians 15-18). So, when one member is not working properly, or has “cut out” entirely, the Body of Christ will still function, but not to its fullest potential.

This makes me think that I don’t want to be the one that causes the body to be dysfunctional. But, I know that when I am in sin, and am ignoring the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life and going my own way – someone else has to fill in where I “cut out”. Or, I may have to fill in sometimes where others have “cut out”, and then I get overwhelmed because I can’t keep up with it all. (I know, sometimes we take on unnecessary stuff in our lives and then we can’t accomplish the necessary!)

However, when the Body of Christ works together and everyone is doing what God has called them to do, it is a beautiful thing!! I know – I’ve seen it happen many times at my own Church!

You know how, when you stub your toe, your whole body reacts – your mouth yells, your hand grabs your toe, your body jumps up and down?? Or, when you hear some beautiful music and your eyes fill with tears, you may get goosebumps all over your body, and you feel warm and fuzzy inside?? Well, as a Body, we weep when other member weep, and we rejoice with them when they rejoice.

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)

So, as you go to Church, as you pray for other believers, as you go about serving and ministering – remember, we are all one body, and we are doing it all for our Head, the LORD Jesus Christ, that He may be glorified through us.

Let’s remember Whose body we belong to, and let’s take care of that body

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

 Like a mighty army moves the Church of God;

Brothers, we are treading where the Saints have trod.

We are not divided; All one body we:

One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.”

Bountiful Blessings!

Psalm 13.6I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:6  

Dear Readers,

This time of year, as Thanksgiving approaches, we all tend to start thinking about things that we are thankful for. The Lord touched my heart with Psalm 13:6 a few months ago after I had surgery and so many people reached out to me, I was overwhelmed with the bountiful blessings I received from the hands of those who love me. But as I meditated on this verse, I realized that the Lord has dealt bountifully to me in so many ways, and I have no cause to complain about anything!

First and foremost, He has redeemed me! The Scripture is clear that “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Because of our sinful state, every human being deserves nothing more than to spend eternity in Hell because our Just and Holy God cannot be in the presence of sin. BUT, Praise be to God, He made a Way through the Lord Jesus Christ, that if we believe on Christ, on Who He is and what He did on the cross to pay for our sins, we can be redeemed (the price was paid to pay the debt), or saved (Romans 10:9). I am “born-again” into God’s family – GLORY HALLELUJAH!!! If THAT was where it ended, if THAT was all God has done for me, that’s HUGE!! That’s enough!! What a bountiful blessing!!

But there’s more…

He has given me a Church family, the body of Christ, who care for me, support me, encourage me. We all work together to serve Christ and to do His work here on earth. (My next post is going to be about the body of Christ.) What a bountiful blessing!!

But there’s more…

He has given me a husband, children, grandchildren, a family who loves me and who I love and care for and cherish while I am here on this earth!! What a bountiful blessing!!

And there is so much more…

I live in the USA – Land of the free and home of the brave!

I have money in the bank!
I have food in my pantry.

I have a roof over my head.

I have an education.

I have clothes to wear.

I have furniture in my house.

I have electricity,

I have running water.

I have hot water.

I have a phone.

I have the internet.

And so on … and so on … and so on …

What bountiful blessings!

I am so blessed, and I think that if you count your blessings, you would have to conclude that YOU have bountiful blessings, too!!

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a bountifully blessed holiday!

Love,

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

To our bountiful Father above, We will offer our tribute of praise, For the glorious gift of His love, And the blessings that hallow our days.” (S. F. Bennett)

Let’s Take A Walk

walk 1That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)

About a month ago, my husband and I took an amazing 10-day trip to Italy — we visited Rome, Florence, Venice, and the Cinque Terre on the west coast. We saw a lot of wonderful sights, and did a LOT of walking. I figured out that we averaged over 5 miles a day and over 30 flights of stairs per day (thanks to my FitBit :)). It was a trip-of-a-lifetime!!!

Here’s how our walking went:

  • Sometimes we just strolled along, enjoying just looking at everything, and just being there

  • Sometimes we were in a hurry to get somewhere, and the other tourists got in our way, there were so many people in some areas!

  • Sometimes we had to climb steep steps to get to the top of a tower or hill, it was hard work and ourIMG_3615 legs were tired and we were tempted to quit, but the view from on top was spectacular!

  • At the end of the first few days we were sore, and tired, but we felt we had accomplished a lot.

  • Sometimes we stopped walking, and we sat at an outside table at a restaurant, enjoying some Italian tasty treat, sipping cappuccinos and being thankful that we could have this time together.

  • Sometimes we got out our guide book and followed its suggestions on where to stay, where to eat, what to see, and special walks we could take in at specific town.

  • Sometimes we would stop to talk to people and ask them where they were from, and, in turn, we’d tell them where we are from.

We had many walks to remember, and I snapped MANY photos along the way, to help us

remember our wonderful trip even years from now, when our memories of it are fading.

Since we came back, I have tried to keep walking because I feel like we conditioned our bodies

with all that walking, and I didn’t want to lose the progress I had made.

Now, I have recently noticed how often the Lord calls our relationship with Him our “walk”, and there are MANY verses that refer to our process of sanctification this way. I think I know why: As I look back over my musings about ‘How our walking went’, I noticed a lot of similarities between our walking in Italy, and our walking wit the Lord:

  • Sometimes our walk with the Lord is enjoyable, in fact many times, it is so comforting to spend time with Him, and just enjoy being there with Him, knowing Who He is.

  • Sometimes, though, we get in a hurry, we want quick answers to our problems, we want to get where we’re going, and we get annoyed by the other people who are traveling on the same road with us (even fellow Christians!).

  • Sometimes our walk is rough and steep, and we are tempted to quit, but if we persevere, and overcome that obstacle, we can look back and see how the Lord was there with us, and that view is spectacular!

  • Sometimes, we are tired and hurting, but God often accomplishes His work in us through suffering.

  • It’s good to take time in our walk with the Lord to just sit still, be thankful for Who He is, and what He has done, and drink in His goodness.

  • It’s also good to get out His guide book – the Bible – for directions on how to live our lives, and how to have a special walk with Him.

  • And, along our walk with Him, we should stop and talk to others, and share with them the reason for the hope that is in us – we know why we are here and where we came from.

  • And once we get used to walking with the Lord, we don’t want to backslide to our previous walk, we want to keep walking with the Lord.

I hope you are taking a walk with the Lord, and that you are enjoying that walk.walk 2

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

All you need is LOVE

Heart treeAnd thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)

Life has been so busy, I fully intended to write this post soon after and as a follow up to my post, Idol Talk, which I just realized I posted a month ago!

I’m sure you all can identify.

So, going back to my post of a month ago – remember I said that to me, it seems that all sin is a form of idolatry? Because, idolatry is when we turn to anything else but God through His Son Jesus Christ for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life.

So, what is the answer to this “sin which does so easily beset us”? The answer is the next verse in Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus”! When we look to Jesus for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life, we allow His Holy Spirit to guide and control us, and when we “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh. A little later in that chapter 5 of Galatians, Paul lists the works of the flesh, most of which we talked about in my previous post, and then he lists the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22 & 23.

Fruit”, like grapes, is what grows on a branch that is connected to a vine. That vine, through the branch, sends the nourishment, water, and the genetic makeup to that fruit in order to determine what kind of fruit it will be. If the branch does it’s job, and stays connected to the vine, it will produce good fruit. Spiritual “fruit” is what grows when we are abiding in Christ, the True Vine, we are the branches that will bear much good fruit if we stay connected and yielded to Christ through His Holy Spirit Who dwells in us once we are saved or born again (John 15).

So, let’s look briefly at those sins we talked about last time, and see how if we love God and walk in His Spirit, we can show forth the fruit of the Spirit which is the opposite of those sins – or, the antidote.

Remember: Greed, envy, lust, sloth, gluttony, anger, and pride?

The Spirit-filled opposite of Greed would be Love, self-sacrificing, agape love. Being content with what you have, and generously sharing it with others. “…It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

The antidote for envy is gentleness (kindness) and joy with thankfulness, helping others and putting their needs above your own, receiving the joy that you can only have from giving of yourself, and being thankful and content with what God has given you. Philippians 2:2 & puts it this way, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves”.

Goodness is the spiritual answer to Lust, Control your passion to desire more for yourself and use it to serve and help others. Let God’s goodness fill you as you yield more and more of yourself to His Holy Spirit. Renew your mind with His Word, meditating on it constantly and His goodness will fill you and flow out from you. Romans 12:2 saysAnd be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

If you feel slothful, ask the Lord to fill you with patience and faith to see the end results that come after putting in much hard work, and also with zeal and diligence to do a good job. Many times our hard work is not rewarded with instant gratification, but God encourages us in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Overcome Gluttony with temperance, letting God control your desires so you can do what pleases Him, and not feed your flesh. Be healthy in body so that you are fit to serve God and others, so you are not limited by being overweight and out of shape. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:25,27).

Anger is eradicated with longsuffering, faith, gentleness, and peace. Take time to understand the needs and desires of others before acting and speaking. Forgive as you have been forgiven. A soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), so keep a soft answer on your lips to keep you from angry words. Be patient and wait on the Lord for His timing and working in situations.

And of course, Pride is overthrown by humility or meekness. Get rid of that inflated ego, after all, everything we have and are was given to us by God (1 Corinthians 4:7). Replace it with a servant’s heart like Jesus’ (Matthew 20:28). Glory in God not yourself, edifying others, not yourself. Galatians 6:14,But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

So, fellow Christians, let’s yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit who lives inside us, so that He increases and we decrease (John 3:30).

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

The root determines the fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Precious Jewels

Precious jewels“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:10,11)

Let’s imagine for a moment that a family has entrusted a banker with a box full of beautiful, expensive jewels. They have been in the family for generations and are priceless and irreplaceable. Now imagine that, rather than quietly locking those jewels in the bank’s vault, the banker puts them out in the middle of the bank’s main lobby in a glass case with no lock on the door. He takes great pains to display them very attractively and put up colorful signs that draw the attention of all who walk by. Would that be wise? Do you think that the owners of those jewels would appreciate it? I think that we would all certainly agree that that would be the height of foolishness and that the owners of the jewels would be horrified.

Can you see the parallels between those jewels and you? Do you realize that those jewels represent your body? Your jewels also belong to another and should be kept safely locked up for him. If you are single, would your future husband wish you to be careless with these treasures? If you are married, do you think your husband wants you to be careless with his treasure? Would he enjoy knowing how many other men had seen, been attracted to, and enjoyed gazing at them; to know how many other men had dreamed of owning what was rightfully his alone; to know of the potential risk to the safety of his jewels? I think we can safely answer all of these questions with a resounding, “No!”

Proverbs 31 asks “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Let us be such women, whose “price is far above rubies!” Let us not present ourselves as being cheap and of little worth, but rather as those who have been bought with a great price (1 Corinthians 6:20). Protect the treasures that belong to your husband, so that his heart may safely trust in you. Do your husband good all the days of your life; even if you don’t know yet who he might be.

Think again of the analogy of the jewels. Most likely the majority of the people passing by those unguarded jewels in the bank lobby would not be thieves; but more than likely most people would be drooling at the thought of owning those jewels! They would be dreaming of what they could do if only those jewels belonged to them; they would feel tempted by how easily within reach those jewels were; they might start to imagine how they could actually go about taking those jewels and how much they would enjoy owning them. Many would stand and stare at the jewels, admiring and enjoying their beauty. Most people would not actually take the jewels, but many would entertain thoughts of “what if?” Perhaps, eventually, a man who had never really thought he would steal something would be overcome by just how easily in reach those jewels were and would give in to the temptation to steal one. “Surely it would not be wrong to take one; they must really not be all that valuable–after all, they are sitting here out on display and unguarded!” Or, perhaps a professional jewelry thief was passing by and, with no qualms of conscience, simply stole them all away, leaving the owners devastated by a loss that could never be recovered!!

Do you know that when you dress in a revealing, sensual way, you are treating your jewels as carelessly as that banker treated those entrusted to him? You are sending the message that your jewels really aren’t all that valuable and are free for the taking; you could even be catching the eye of a “jewel thief”!

You owe it to the Lord who has bought you with a great price to dress as though you belong to Him and not to the Enemy. You owe it to yourself to dress as though you are not cheap and free for the taking, but are a valuable child of God. You owe it to your future husband to save yourself for him in every way.

I hope this little analogy has been helpful to you and has prompted you to examine yourself and how you are treating your “precious jewels”. You are His jewel!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

“And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3:17)

Idol Talk

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:21) idol

Dear Readers,

My daughter just came home from a summer internship /missions trip to Guam, and as a joke to her brother who is just finishing seminary, she brought him back this little idol. Of course, it’s not a problem to him, he’s not going to bow down to it or worship it, that would make him an idolater.

Do you think of yourself as an idolater?

I don’t like to think of myself as one, I know I don’t bow down and worship statues, but, let’s talk about idols. I have been studying sins and virtues these last few weeks, and have come to a very convicting conclusion:

All sin is a form of idolatry.

So (talking of idols) idolatry is turning to anything other than God for our happiness, satisfaction and contentment. Now, I can’t speak for you, but I know myself and I know we humans all fight the same battles, and I know that my biggest idol is “ME”- what makes ME happy!

Think about the following sins:

Greed – If only I had more money, material things, could go shopping and buy whatever I want, then I would be happy!

Envy – If only I had the house, husband, money, lifestyle, children, or body that so-and-so has, then I would be happy!

Lust – If only I had my sexual or physical desires satisfied, then I would be happy!

Sloth -If only I could relax and watch TV, play video games, read, or sleep all day, then I’d be happy!

Gluttony – If I could just get my fill of that delicious food, then I’d be happy!

Anger – If people would just do what I want them to do, the way I want it done, then I’d be happy!

Pride – If people would just give me the respect, admiration, and attention I want, then I’d be happy!

Do you see how all of these sins make it “all about ME” instead of all about Him? THAT’S idolatry! They are all works of the flesh. This is what happens when we let the flesh rule us, the flesh takes a natural need or passion and takes it to excessive, abusive levels. When I turn to anything else but God through His Son Jesus Christ for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life, it is sin- IDOLATRY! God’s Word tells us to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).

And the sad thing is that all these things don’t satisfy us, oh they may for a short time, but it’s never enough, we always want MORE! Jesus is the only One who satisfies our longings because what we all are really longing for is Him! Wow! That went full circle, didn’t it? It’s no wonder John ended his epistle of 1 John with a warning about idols! (See 1 John 5:21 above)

So, how do I overcome this idolatry that is rampant inside me?

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Romans 7:24-25

By Turning to Jesus, being close to Him, and allowing myself to be complete in Him, letting Him be my portion, and the fulfillment of my needs; and then allowing His Holy Spirit to work in and through me to serve and minister to others.

As the songwriter so aptly put it:

Complete in Thee—each want supplied, And no good thing to me denied;

Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be, I ask no more, complete in Thee.”

Next time I’ll talk about some Christ-like virtues and how, by walking in the Spirit, He will be manifested in us and these are the antidotes to that sin that so easily besets us (Hebrews 12:1).

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

When we talk about idols, our biggest idol is ourSELF

Eagle or Buzzard?

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (I Corinthians 10:12-14)

Dear Readers:

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Perched high above the city

 

Have you ever watched bald eagles? They are a majestic bird. They seem to exude an air of royalty, honor, virtue, beauty, and power. Whenever we see an eagle around here in Southeastern Pennsylvania it is a rare sight and people stop to observe and take photos. It’s no wonder our forefathers chose the Bald Eagle to be our national bird. It is symbolic of our national pride and honor. The eagle is featured on many state flags, national emblems and logos. Outwardly, it looks like an impressive bird, they have the appearance of beauty and perfection.

We recently took an amazing trip to Juneau, Alaska. It was the trip of a lifetime! We marveled at the glories of God’s creation: The mountains, glaciers, trees, wildlife, MOUNTAINS everywhere! We did a lot of exploring, learning, and observing the local scenery and habitats. One of the things that amazed us was the number of bald eagles! Apparently, Juneau is one of the most densely eagle-populated areas in the world! They were beautiful, we never got tired of watching them soar overhead, or taking photos of them perched on different objects. But we noticed something…

Those eagles were not so regal, in fact, upon close inspection, they were not perfect creatures! Whilst we did see them swooping down to the water and snatching fish from their natural habitat, they were also scavengers, along the lines of those buzzards we see by the roads here in Pennsylvania, chewing on roadkill! We saw them by the waterside, and in the dump, looking for some dead critters to eat. The locals call them “beach varmints” or the “state pigeon” –

IMG_0286
Scavenging a dead salmon

because they’re so prolific.

Ben Franklin, who wanted the national bird to be the turkey, had some things to say about the eagle, In a letter to his daughter, he wrote: “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.” One of our tour guides said that it is not unusual to find several small dog collars in an eagles’ nest — and you know what that means!

 

So, while Bald Eagles have the illusion of being perfect and honorable and majestic, they have a carnal side. And so do we! As Christians, we tend to try to appear perfect and honorable. But the truth is, we have a carnal or flesh nature that we constantly battle. We are tempted to go hang out by the “dump” or “by the roadside” looking for scraps from the world around us, hoping nobody sees us, when we could be soaring like eagles. We are not perfect. We should never think we are. When we see someone who is down and out, we should think, “there but for the grace of God go I”, and lend a helping hand. I hope someone would extend the same grace and mercy to me. Let’s not fool ourselves.

It is only by God’s grace and helping hand that we can escape a temptation that Satan puts in our way. God WILL allow things in our lives that we can’t handle (by ourselves), so that we will turn to Him for the “way of escape” that He and only He can offer. If there is any good in us, it comes from God, so give Him the glory:

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7)

I am thankful that our God is a God of second chances (and third and fourth…), that He loves me unconditionally. He highly values humility, and He will humble me if I don’t humble myself, so I need to be sure that I am NOT prideful and glorying in myself as if I had something to do with it, anyways. He will cause me to “mount up with wings as eagles” in His time, and in His way.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

So, reader, let’s choose to be like the Eagles, but remember that we are still buzzards without God’s enabling grace, and let’s be ever thankful to Him for that Amazing Grace.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

And it’s all because of God’s Amazing Grace…         

IMG_0068
“Lady Baltimore”  a female who was injured and cannot live on her own in the wild.

          Here’s a few more eagle photos for you to enjoy…

 

 

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This guy was sitting by the water looking for salmon
IMG_9604
This couple lived on an old fuel dock right outside our hotel room window.

The BIG Picture

Memorial DayThe counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.”  (Psalm 33:11-13)

 On Monday, my husband and I went to the Kennett Square Memorial Day Parade and watched the various bands and groups go by, our Church had a float and several vintage tractors owned by a Church member in it, there were also a couple of local High School Marching Bands. They reminded me of when I was in High school, when I was a flag-twirler in the marching band. We went to every football game and did the half-time show, we also marched in several competitions around the state, as well as this same Memorial Day Parade (many, many years ago).

Our band director would choreograph each part and work with us for a few weeks in the summer at band camp: Every day, all day, marching outside in the hot summer sun, practicing, practicing, practicing. Sometimes in our separate groups – the band, the flags, the pikes, the baton twirlers. Then eventually all together. We all had to memorize our parts and routines, and then we all we went out on the field and somehow it all came together – eight steps forward, eight steps in place, eight steps to the right, eight steps to the left, diagonally to the right, diagonally to the left, etc. etc. To each of us it was all about memorizing our little part, doing it all right and at the right time, not tripping, not messing up, and making sure that we are in time with those around us and with the beat of the drummers. We did what we were told, we smiled and marched. We just had to obey our Band Director and trust that he knew what he was doing! To the audience up in the grandstands, they got a different view – they looked down from up high and could see the patterns, they could see the intricate patterns we made and the words we spelled, they could see the BIG PICTURE!!

Isn’t that the way life is most of the time? We only see our own little part – our “music and steps”. We try to do what’s required of us, we try to keep up with those around us, we try not to trip, and not to mess up. We smile and keep on marching on. We know in our head that God is “choreographing” everything for our good and His glory, but it’s hard sometimes, because we don’t see the BIG PICTURE! Sometimes we wonder what in the world is going on?? Sometimes it’s hard to trust and obey.

That’s where faith in our AMAZING GOD comes in! We have to trust that He is sovereign and He is good. If He was only SOVEREIGN – He can do whatever He wants whenever He wants because He has absolute power – that would be SCARY!! But, because He is also GOOD – He loves us, and will only allow what is best for us into our lives– then we can trust in His great Love and care for us. We can trust that He will work “…all things together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) – THAT’S ME!!

Most of the time we do not see the big picture, but it gives me great comfort to know that God does, and that He sees all, knows all, is everywhere, and can do anything. My job is to trust Him and to obey what I know He has told me to do. Take the next step as it is revealed to me and leave the rest to Him. There is nothing too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:17). He can work things out so much better than we could in our tiny, ignorant, finite minds. Here are some great verses that remind me of that:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)

Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psalm 115:3)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.” (Job 42:2)

Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: … yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:8-10)

I hope this has been a blessing to you, to keep on trusting and obeying as God “choreographs” our lives for our good and His glory.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.

Consider the Lilies

Lily1Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? … Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:27-29)

Are you a worrier? Do you find yourself going over and over in your head something that has happened, or something that is going to happen? I have to admit that sometime I do!

Worrying is not only unproductive, unhealthy, and causes undue stress, but do you know that God considers worrying a SIN?

The term “taking thought” in Matthew 6:27 is from the Greek word merimnáō , which Strong’s defines as: “to go to pieces” because pulled apart (in different directions), like the force exerted by sinful anxiety (worry). It is the same word used for “careful”, like Martha in Luke 10:41, and also in Philippians 4:6. James 1:8 tells us that a double-minded person (one who is worried and pulled apart by anxiety) is unstable in all her ways – trusting God one minute, not trusting Him the next. I know we all worry at times, and we think that we can’t help it. But, HELP IT!

Jesus tells us to “consider the lilies”. The word “consider” is the Greek word, katamanthánō, which Strong’s says means: to properly, thoroughly (exactly) learn; to grasp something conclusively by considering it carefully. So, God wants us to study the lilies, and learn from them. Well, the lilies don’t worry about how they look, or how they will get water or food, and look at how beautiful they are! God takes care of them, and the sparrows, and He certainly can take care of His children who are made in His image, and who He sent His Son to die for because of His Great love for us. We are valuable to Him. Especially when we have put all our trust in Him for our salvation and have received the FREE GIFT He offers.

In my Ladies Bible Study group we are going through a book called, The Secret of Contentment by Juanita Purcell, and the topic this week was “Learning to be Content without Worrying”. It was very convicting.

The author tells us that someone has called worry the “God can’t” disease, because God has promised us that all things are possible with Him (Luke 1:37), and that if we don’t believe God we make Him a liar (1 John 5:10) and are saying “God can’t”. So, when we worry that things won’t turn out well, we are calling God an impotent liar! WHOA! I don’t want to do that!

She also let us know that worry is NOT a disease. A disease is a disorder of structure or function in our body with specific signs and symptom, it is destructive and makes us sick, but we CAN’T help it! Worry DOES make us sick, but it is a choice, it is self-induced, so we CAN help it! So, HELP IT!

Worry distorts our thinking, disrupts our work, disquiets our soul, disturbs our body, disfigures our face, destroys our poise, depresses our friends, demoralizes our life, defeats our faith, and debilitates our energy.” William A. Ward

Worry means that we don’t trust God to work things out for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28), and He tells us NOT to do it, in fact, He tells us to pray and be thankful, and then He will give us peace (Philippians 4:6,7) –  if we don’t we are disobeying God, which is sin!

My favorite passage that we looked at for how to overcome worry is in Isaiah 40:27-29, and 41:10,13), here is my paraphrase of it:

Why are you worrying as if you have to handle this all by yourself?

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?

The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth and everything in between is with you, holding you by the hand! He will never get tired, He will never leave you, He will give you the strength you need when you need it most, He will help you! So don’t be afraid, just give it all to Him, He’s in control of it all anyway!

There was a cute little song that was popular a few years ago called, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!by Bobby McFerrin ~ watch the video, it will make you smile, in fact, you’re probably singing and whistling it now 🙂 I think there is a lot of truth to that phrase – “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” The KJV Bible uses the word “Blessed” instead of what we would today say as “happy”, so we could KJV-ize it and say, “Don’t Worry, Be Blessed!” Don’t you think we would be a lot happier if we weren’t so worried and anxious about so many things like Martha was? (See Luke 10). And wouldn’t you like to stand before Jesus and have Him say that you did what Mary did instead “…also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word…one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part”. I hope that He will commend me for doing the needful and good thing, and that I will not be ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28) by being needlessly anxious and worried about things that I have absolutely NO control over anyway.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Don’t worry – Be Happy (blessed)!

 

 

Thorns and Nails

Thorns and nailAnd they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:28-29

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Colossians 2:14)

Recently, I was preparing to teach our final lesson for Good News Club – the Easter lesson, the Good News! I decided to make a crown of thorns to show the children, and since my husband is a carpenter, find a big nail to show them how Christ suffered for our sins.

First, I went outside and gathered some wild rose branches from the side bushes, and started weaving and winding it into a crown-shape. As I was getting stabbed and poked by those rose thorns, I started thinking about the soldiers who made the crown of thorns for Jesus’ head. The little pricks I received were nothing compared to the cuts that those large thorns would have given them as they plaited that crown of thorns for Jesus. And I thought how much they must have hated Him and despised Him as they suffered those pricks and worked, making it just so they could ridicule Him. Then I remembered how they shoved it down on His head, gave him a robe and a stick and mocked Him as King of the Jews! What utter wrath must have motivated them. And yet He still loved them!

Then, I went down to my husband’s shop to find a big old nail to show them. I found one that had been pulled out of an old beam, but it was bent. So I laid it on the concrete floor of his shop, held it with the fingers of one hand and tapped at it with a sledgehammer with the other hand. You guessed it! The nail twisted and as the sledgehammer struck, a little bit of the end of my finger got caught under that nail and pinched and I got a big blood blister! So, then I was thinking about those Roman soldiers who took those big nails, spread Jesus’ hands out on that wooden cross and drove the nail into his flesh. I wonder if, in their haste and anger, they ever struck their own finger with the hammer as they drove those nails in? What anger and hatred must have filled their hearts to do such a cold and cruel thing! And yet He still loved them!

Jesus loved them just as He loves you and me. He suffered these things and so much more to pay the price we owed for the sinful things we have thought, said, and done — things that offend our Holy God. He offers it all as a gift that we just have to reach out and receive. He died and rose again on the third day because He is GOD! He conquered death and the grave so that we can be saved, so that we can be redeemed. He told Nicodemus, “You must be born again”, we are all born physically and that begins our physical life on earth. But we must be born AGAIN, spiritually, in order to start our Spirit-filled life as a Christian, or “little Christ”.

Have you received the gift Christ offers? Have you been saved, redeemed, converted, born again (they all mean the same thing)?

You can settle it right now by believing the Gospel, the Good News:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”  (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

I couldn’t help getting emotional as the children touched the sharp thorns on the crown, and imitated putting a nail in their hands, contorting their faces in empathetic pain as they tried to imagine what Jesus went through. When they asked me, “Why are you crying?” I said, “because He chose to do this for ME, and for YOU!” It’s no wonder one of those Roman Soldiers, after witnessing Jesus’ death on the cross, declared, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).

And, then HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!!

And that’s what Easter/Resurrection Sunday is all about.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!!

Why “Graced and Grateful Grammy?”

Hello Dear Friend,

This is my first attempt at blogging, so bear with me as I work out the kinks in how to do this.   First of all, I would like to introduce myself:  I am a born-again Christian by God’s grace; I have been married to the same man for over 34 years; I am the mother of 5 mostly grown children (aged 17 – 29); I am the grandmother of 3 (so far :)); I am originally from England, my mother (a very English lady who reminds us all somewhat of Winne the Pooh!) lives close by and we get together for tea and biscuits and a rousing game of Rummikub or Scrabble quite often; I love flowers, especially those of the English variety-roses, hollyhocks, hydrangeas, etc.; my husband has his own construction company along with a few smaller businesses to which I am the bookkeeper, secretary, office and marketing manager; we are active in our local Church which we have been members of for about 27 years and where we both love to teach; there is much more I could share, but that will come as this blog progresses…

I have learned many things in my walk with my Savior (mostly the hard way, I am sorry to say) and according to the instruction of Titus 2:3-5, I am to pass this teaching on to younger women.  So, here goes:IMG_6616b

I chose the name of the blog to be “Graced and Grateful Grammy”, partly because I like the alliteration, and mostly because it really says who I am.

I have had God’s grace bestowed on me, so I feel “Graced”. Grace is defined as “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”  Well, He has favored me in so many ways I cannot begin to list them all, I will make a feeble attempt, though:  Firstly, my Salvation: God loved me and saved me through faith from the punishment of my sin – eternal separation from Him in an ungodly place called Hell – by sending His only begotten Son to pay the price and take my place as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8,9).  Secondly, my family, who love me despite my human frailties and idiosyncrasies. Thirdly, my Church family who love and support me spiritually, emotionally, and physically in so many ways as the needs have arisen.

I am “Grateful” because of the above-listed grace that has been extended to me, and so out of thankfulness to the LORD, I try to serve Him and love Him with all my heart as He has commanded. Thus, this blog. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15

I am a “Grammy” – that is what my 3 grandchildren call me. I am a rather young grandmother, and I must confess that I love telling people that I have five children and three grandchildren, and having them say “Wow! You don’t look old enough to have grandchildren!” ~ I know they are probably just saying it to make me feel good, but it works! There! Now you know how prideful I am, but Proverbs 27:2 tells us, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”

So, this Graced and Grateful Grammy is hoping to pass on some of this grace and gratefulness to you, dear reader, and maybe we can grow together in God’s grace and encourage and edify each other in our walk with the LORD.

Thank you for bearing with me,

Graced and Grateful Grammy