Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unheralded Faithfulness

When you think of faithfulness, what do you picture?  Maybe you picture friends or family members who have been married for 50 years.  Maybe you imagine people in your church who have served sacrificially for years.  Maybe it's someone who sticks with a sports team through years of losing.  Maybe it's a friend who has stuck by your side through thick and thin.  Or parents who have never wavered in their love for you.  Whatever it is, it comes up short to the faithfulness of God.  Maybe we know this in words, but do you truly believe this in your heart.  It can be hard to see the faithfulness of God, or believe that He is always faithful because He is unseen.
Take some time though, look back on the years, and see God's faithfulness.  Despite some of the decisions we make, God remains faithful.  Think of the pain that God must endure with us each day.  We choose to serve other things, we choose to spend time with things that are pointless, we pursue task, jobs, and people, that keep us from discovering who God is.  Don't you think that must be painful?  Think of the hurt Jesus must have felt as He carried the cross through crowds spitting on Him and saying nasty things to Him.  These same people were those who followed Him and those He spent time with, and now they turned their back on Him.  Jesus should have dropped the cross and left this world, but He remained faithful to us, not succumbing to the temptation to leave us dying to sin, but followed through, saying "I Love you!" and offering us grace!  Take time to look back on God's faithfulness and His hand on your life and soon you will see the Love God has for you!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


It's a part of daily life.  So many struggle with how to deal with conflict in a healthy manner.  We can blow up and get upset when something happens, or we can avoid the issue and storm away, never resolving the issue.  Both of these lead to further issues of mistrust and hurt between the parties.
So how do we handle it in a positive way?  It starts with honesty and talking to the other party right away.  Often times, people don't do things to us to purposefully hurt us, but we make assumptions that the act was done maliciously.  If we are honest with the other person, saying I felt hurt when you did this, because I felt like you meant to hurt me.  Often the response back will be, oh, I didn't mean to hurt you, I didn't realize that when I did that, it hurt you.  Not only does this clear up confusion and keep us from making inaccurate assumptions, but it will help down the line, now that this person knows not to do that again.  When talking through conflict, always use "I" statements, stating how you feel, because it's no longer an opinion then, but truly how you feel.
This is not something that is easy, because we become vulnerable when we approach someone.  We feel like we will be hurt worse if the person sees us with pain.  But trust me, usually it will be a healing process.  Conflict is something that will never go away, so it's important to learn how to deal with conflict and to deal with it effectively.  Let's work on effectively communicating with eachother!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Grace Not Freedom

Grace is a beautiful thing.  It keeps us from being condemned to Hell.  It gives us freedom from our sins.  It's not something we earn, but something God has given us.  It's so important to understand grace and to be able to receive it.  But lately, as I have heard people talk of grace, I believe we have begun to take grace and state that because of grace we are free of God's commandments.  It has become a way to excuse ourselves from things that Jesus teaches.  But that is not grace!

Grace extends itself freely, granting us freedom from our sins.  But it does require something from us after we accept grace.

John 8:11 says, "And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you either.  Go. From now on sin no more."

We like to hear Jesus tell us that He does not condemn us.  But sometimes the next part can be tough.  Go, like right now, and sin no more.  Jesus states here, yes I have given you grace, and you have been freed of your past sins, but go now and sin no more.  How often do we read over passages and try to ignore them cause they require too much from us, or find it tough to follow follow after Christ.

1 John 5:3 - "For this is the love of god, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome."

God gives us commandments not as a way of punishment, but as a way to make our life easier.  It's God's way of saying, here's how to live a joyful live and to avoid a lot of heartache.  When we truly Love God and are all in for Him, we see how His commandments are not a burden, but really a blessing that He has given us these things to help us along our way.

There are many things in this world that Satan has a grasp on, things that tear us away from our Maker.  God extends grace to say, I Love you, and want you, but you must die to self and come to me.  Are we really excepting grace as what it is, and turning from our sins?  Give it all to God, follow His commandments, and draw near to Him!  May you find peace, strength, and courage, as we carry the cross!