Grace Upon Grace

In John 1 it says; “…from HIS fullness we all receive GRACE upon GRACE…” The grace God bestows upon us, is a grace we never deserved. His grace is a gift given to us. How will we enjoy, use, pass on His grace today? ~ Sarah

copyright 2014

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LOVE IS …

Love IS

Love is… a lot of things! Jesus loved us perfectly even while we were still sinners He died for our sins so we could have a relationship with our Heavenly Father and be with Him in eternity. For us mere mortals where we are not perfected yet, love can be tricky. Love is not about getting everything perfect or being perfect or expecting others to be perfect! Love the ones your with! And if they are, or if you are… ever unlovely, give or ask for forgiveness and move on. Life is too short to hold onto un-forgiveness or bitterness.

I have been crazy busy with another international move and our family has become extremely close. I think giving each other grace for our unlovely moments helps. There has been a lot to do and there still is a lot to do but God has really held us close as we transitioned into new communities and ministries. I am learning to understand that God hasn’t called me to watch life pass by in a safe and easy way being able to live in one place. He has called our family to participate and live life to the full in Him. Often we have to move to where ever He leads us in the world. God calls each one of us differently and some He calls to live in one place all their lives and be of great value and service to their community. (I hope one day He will call us to live in one place!) For our family for the time being we have been asked to move around the world. I don’t find change easy I find it stressful and my autoimmune diseases flare up and I have all that drama to deal with. I guess when you move there are a lot of challenges but there is also joy. There is the delight of seeing how God stretches our faith to solely rely on Him. It is exciting and fun getting to know new people. There are a million other things to be grateful for. Anyhoo, I just wanted to quickly write something since I have been M.I.A. for so long. I will pop by Living in Grace now and again. To all those who have written beautiful notes to me I want to say how thankful I am that you would be so kind as to think of me and my family. I will reply to you all individually (now that we have the internet up and running). Hope you are having a great day where ever you may be in the world! ~ Sarah

Forgiveness

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A friend has been battling in this world of late and needed some encouragement so I though I’d put pen to paper OR fingers to iPad and write about our conversation a little.

The big question was; when do nasty people become nasty and how could she deal with a particular situation? Would you consider a nasty person to be your friend or foe? I’m not going to mince words or pretend life is a fairytale. Because life can be hard sometimes and people can be mean. Yup, this can even be a co-worker, or a Christian person, or a friend, or perhaps one of your well meaning (or not so well meaning) family members. When does hurtful, cruel, gossip and mean-ness become part of who they are? Or is it just an innocent mistake? Sure and of course there are lovely people and are genuine and can make mistakes. I know I sure mess up even when I’m trying not to. But this is more about people who actually do mean to be, well mean, and gossip, be cruel and plain nasty. People can be mean and horrid with out words too, with an action or lack of action or even a simple look. A look can talk far more than words sometimes. When does that one lie or twisting of the truth become so entrenched into someone’s daily life and speech that their words are all but lies? And then there seems to be no truth left in them where they seem to live unfulfilled and barren lives. My friend is trying to navigate through a difficult time and wanted some advice, help and a sounding board.

I have often joked and said “I’m not the nasty people whisperer”. I can’t wish, will or talk someone out of being mean and nasty by some magical whispering. In the end it is none of my business, if people want to be unkind, nasty, jealous, competitive, gossip or lie about me, my family or friends. Really someone else’s opinion isn’t up to me to be concerned about or want to change. Sure it would be great if everyone was kind to one another. But we live in the real world where some people just want to be nasty no matter what you do or don’t do. They may choose to be your enemy or perhaps behave like the are in battle with you, but you don’t need to join in. All I can do is to give them and their mean spirit, lies, cruelness and nastiness up to God to sort out. I can choose to pray for them to be blessed and guard my heart so I do not let bitterness take away any joy and love God has given me. I am still surprised that people who don’t even know two sides of a situation can adopt a mean spirit toward you, your friend or family because of what someone else has told them half a story. This has happened to me over the years especially as a Pastorswife where you are suppose to be perfect and live up to everyones expectations. Really can anyone person meet someone else’s expectations all of the time? I don’t think so. And it probably wouldn’t be healthy if you could. Has this ever happened to you?

I tried to encourage my friend to genuinely feel compassion for them and I feel so sorry for them. Especially when you see that their lives are messed up and that they are unhappy. Some people do want to cause hurt or pain because that is all they know. If that is all they know then how are they going to change without someone like you or I showing some kindness. Haven’t all of us been messed up one time or another in our lives? When I was in my teens and twenty’s I was a complete mess! Even with the best intentions we too, can upset or hurt to others sometimes without even knowing. Remember if there is someone who is unkind, cruel, nasty or plain mean to you, that they are hurt people, going around wounding and hurting those around them. Sadly it does seem misery does love company. And do you or I want to become apart of the misery group. No way. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to walk away and leave them to their gossip, assumptions and nastiness. They may or may not know any other way to live. Be thankful and grateful that you do know another way to live and that God has shown you a way to live in the truth of His love. A dose of grace, mercy and love from the Saviour can heal our brokeness so we then in turn can give love, show grace, mercy, kindness and forgive others. In Matthew 6:14 (NIV) says; “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Forgiving benefits us even more than it can benefit or help the person we are forgiving. Isn’t that the way of Jesus? By forgiving we actually receive far more.

Sometimes showing love is keeping the peace and not telling your side of the story. Sometimes it means being quiet and letting people think badly of you when you have done nothing wrong and walk away. Sometimes it is having a direct, awkward and uncomfortable conversation to sort the problem out. And sometimes all you can do is pray and give it all to God. What helped my friend and also what has helped me over the years is realising that satan is the originator of sin and father of lies. And sure some people like to give him a helping hand but often times they get dragged into places they never intended to go. It helps to see the person who is causing the issue as being misused by Satan and if you need to blame someone then go ahead and put the blame on Satan who loves to cause trouble. The important thing is the One person who needs to know the truth, does. God knows you and He knows your heart. God knows the truth of your life. God loves, loves, LOVES you and He has your back. No one is prefect, and we all can live wonderful, happy, joyous, for-filling, and blessed lives with a clear conscience even while dealing with difficult circumstances or people. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:4-5 “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” Stay strong through these trials in this world and look forward to receiving praise from God in heaven. Remember God loves, loves, LOVES you!!!

With love & blessings always
~ Sarah xxx

© Copyright 2013

His Grace Covers Us

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SOURCE

How often do we make excuses as to why we can’t do this or that? Or perhaps we just don’t feel good enough? Maybe we should be saying we “can” in spite of this or that! Let’s not let our circumstances, past mistakes or forgiven sin define our future. All things are possible with God because His grace really does cover us, we don’t have to be perfect to do God’s will! God has our back especially when we step out in faith to do what we feel or think is impossible for us! ~ Sarah

Pride goes before a fall

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PHOTO SOURCE

There is over 60 verses in the bible that talks about pride. If you would like to read all those verses you can check them out HERE Why so many verses? I think it is because pride is one of our biggest stumbling blocks to living a whole and Godly life. Our stubborn pride can lead us into all sorts of heartache, pain, hurt and ultimately it pulls us away from God and Godly people.

Beth Moore wrote a poem in her book, “Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds.”

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny…because
you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment…because you
“deserve better than this.”
I cheat you of knowledge…because you already
know it all.
I cheat you of healing…because you’re
too full of me to forgive.
I cheat you of holiness…because you refuse to
admit when you’re wrong.
I cheat you of vision…because you’d rather look
in the mirror than out a window.
I cheat you of a genuine friendship…because
nobody’s going to know the real you.
I cheat you of love…because real romance
demands sacrifice.
I cheat you of greatness in heaven…because you
refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.
I cheat you of God’s glory…because I convince
you to seek your own.
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.
Untrue. I’m looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…
If you stick with me
You’ll never know.

The opposite of pride is humility. When we are humble, our lives change. What we think about, spend our time and money on completely changes how we choose to live life. If we refuse to humble ourselves and choose to live pride full lives before God, we can expect God’s displeasure. I’m sure you know of people who are always boasting about how great they are. Or how awesome their children are. Or they boast about what they have. Or they are more pure or more holy than this person who does this or that. Or how intelligent they are and how much they know. Or how their stuff is better than so and so’s stuff. Or how much money they have. Then there are the folks that are prideful about what they don’t do and don’t have. The pride list is long and I am sure we could add more to it.

Let’s not forget that there is something we can boast about! It is Jesus and His work on the Cross. We can take pride in Him. We can be full of joy and talk about what He has done for us and share about His grace and mercy. There is nothing wrong with being joyful over a ministry going well and how God is working. It is all about the motives of the heart. Who know’s your heart? Only you and God.

Below are some of my favourite verses about pride. I’m sure you have heard the phrase “pride goes before a fall” that comes from the bible. If we don’t choose to humble ourselves then often our circumstance or God will. Let’s choose to live less pride fully and live with more humility.

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Psalm 10:4 (NIV)
“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”

Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

1 John 2:16 (NIV)
“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”

Psalm 31:18 (NIV)
“Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.”

Proverbs 13:10 (NIV)
“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take

advice.”

CLAIMING FAME

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I wish I could write as amazing as Stuart McAllister! Below is a fantastic article. A link to the original is at the bottom of the article. Enjoy reading it, I know I did.
Blessings,
Sarah
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CLAIMING FAME
In a very perceptive book called Life: The Movie, author Neal Gabler argues that entertainment has conquered reality. All of life has become a stage, and the way to success is through the pathway of becoming a celebrity. Gabler suggests that we spend our lives buying and shopping according to images and ideals that we hold as we seek to shape ourselves for our own performance. The constant use of significant celebrities to model lines of clothing, sporting goods, and cosmetics tell us subtly that if we own these items, we too can be like our heroes. We are strategically convinced that we don’t simply have to watch the rich and famous; we can become them. The democratization of credit and the availability of easily-accessed goods guarantee our ability to play the part or parts we choose.

The practical aids are many. Credit and finance options bluntly inquire, “Why wait?” In earlier times people had to consider whether they could afford such things, and they might have had to delay while they saved. The time between viewing and having was often considerable, but not anymore. The messages are clear that we can have it if we want it, and we can have it now. It comes, of course, with a huge price tag in terms of increasing debt and anxiety. But even as the social crisis ticks like a time bomb in many homes, the waiting has been taken out of wanting.

It has become the job of the advertising industry to keep us in a state of permanent dissatisfaction and restlessness with who we are or what we have. The answer is always bigger, better, faster, or more like someone else. Words like “enough,” “sufficient,” and “wait” are derided in favor of having what you want now and immediately becoming who you really want to be. We are informed of our lack of something and then told it is ruining the quality of our lives. But the voices of the media then tell us salvation is at hand! The new product or service will liberate you. It will initiate you into a better world, a new life, an alternative salvation.

Is it possible that we are trapped in a web of deception, and that we are being conditioned to blindly follow the pied pipers of fame and fashion as they determine who and what we are and how we should live? Is the bottom line to make money at all costs? Is happiness really being able to get what you want when you want it? Maybe it is time to recognize that life is far more than these trivial yet powerful views. Maybe it is time to call foul, to insist that real life is something far more nuanced, focused, and holistic than what the prophets of materialism have to offer.

The Christian view and alternative is that we are the products of a personal, loving creator, and that our lives, opportunities, and resources are gifts to us. We interact with nature and the material world, we see God within it, but we also have other dimensions to our nature. The psalmist explains it in a way that much of the world rejects: The earth is filled with the glory of God. Because we have been made by God and for God, our ultimate glory is found in Him.

The pretensions of the world are many, the seductions vast, and the attractions powerful. Yet in a world of invasive desires, intrusive demands, and restless indulgence another voice can be heard: “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The answer is not in a product but in a living person. Which answer do you hold?

Written by Stuart McAllister vice president of training and special projects at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

FOR ORIGINAL ARTICLE CLICK HERE