Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Embrace Grace...Embrace Doubt

Lelia at Write from the Heart is hosting the blog Bible study from Liz Curtis Higg's book Embrace Grace: Welcome to the forgiven life" . Everything quoted from within this study I have in orange, the color I have used in my Bible to mark any scripture referencing GRACE.Click on the icon above to join in if you can.

This book is a simple read, yet full of depth. It has a tone of being being at a resort and you are getting a massage...a massage of your heart. Everything moves slowly, gently. The tough muscles are being worked out, such as the subject of this chapter-doubt. It needs to be brought to our attention if we are indeed to embrace this indescribable gift of GRACE.

What doubts or fears-about God, about faith, about heaven-do you harbor in your heart?

How vulnerable am I to be here? I think the most fearful passage of scripture is this:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ~ Matt. 7: 21-23

This was referenced in our community Bible study and when one of the women reminded us of it, her tone held such a negative feel, like a child telling another child they were not good enough to be on the team. Can you even imagine hearing those words from God? Yes, there has been a time when this has cast fear in my heart and mind. These are not the words I ever want to hear.

Pinpoint any experience in your life that may have triggered such uncertainty.

Being a Christian since a child, surrounded by the church my whole life, this scripture has always put a pang of pain into my heart when I have heard it or read it. Then when you add my failures, some which are pretty big and in some eyes enough to keep me from those pearly gates, this scripture is really tough. But what I have learned is to always look at the verses that preceded and follow the piece of scripture you are studying and through the hard knots of my life I have learned to then allow His GRACE to flood over me as I embrace His promise of not not being lost forever from Him...

18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
I Never Knew You 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Build on the Rock 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

What would it take for you to put aside your doubts and fears and "just believe"?

It is the faith one has in the power of scripture and God's promises that washes away that doubt and fear with GRACE. Those who "does the will of the Father", who "builds on the Rock", who "hears His Words and does them"...those people will not be "departed from Him". Now that is GRACE. He knows we will never be good enough. You were made to love God and be loved by Him. In loving Him you will seek Him out, seek His will and produce fruit. In Him is the full assurance of your salvation.

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Heb 10: 22

Drawing near, in faith and in GRACE ~ Pamela

Friday, June 26, 2009

ABC's of the Word...T

I know I am late in posting my scripture for Pam at Grey Like Snuffie's MEME. My youngest and I had the joy of experiencing the stomach flu yesterday. AUGHHH...I haven't felt so bad in a long time. At least we had each other to share in this miserable state of being. Be sure to click on the flower icon above to see all the scripture posted for the alphabet letter "T"!

Many of us posting are in leadership. One of my favorite scripture when thinking about leadership and the role of the leader is this scripture in Exodus...

Moses said to the LORD, "Look, You have told me, 'Lead this people up,' but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. You said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.' Now if I have indeed found favor in Your sight, please TEACH me Your ways, and I will know You and find favor in Your sight. Now consider that this nation is Your people."
Then He replied, "My presence will go [with you], and I will give you rest." ~ Exodus 33:12-14 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Every day I pray to see God, to hear His voice, to walk beside Him. I have boldly ask for a Moses experience like above but His voice only comes from the scripture, from that still small voice within, and from my Bible studies. He has blessed me with His presence in more way than I can account. But still, wouldn't a Moses experience like above just rock your world?
Like Moses, there was a day I prayed for God to send me another lady with a heart like mine to help me with our women's ministry. She came this year and her name is Shera. I am so blessed to be so in sync with such a women when it comes to His kingdom work. Often times we will separately find the same piece of scripture to pray over our ministry and it is such a God-joy when we realize that God did that to our hearts.
But notice Moses request for a teachable heart. A leader has a teachable heart. A leader is seeking to be taught and lead by the Master himself and the end result? Like a good cup of coffee in the morning or a piece of dove chocolate...FAVOR. Not any favor, His favor. Until that day we need to continue to find favor in His sight, and continue to seek Him to teach us His ways.
Like Moses with a willing heart, go and lead,TEACH and bring all those wounded, lost souls to His kingdom.
Have a blessed weekend ladies. Be teachable. Seek His favor. Be the teacher. And always lean on God.
His Maidservant~Pamela

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Embrace Grace: An open Door

It's good to be able to join in again on this blog Bible study hosted by Lelia. The icon above will take you to our host site for more insight as we walk through this book by Liz Curtis Higgs "EMBRACE GRACE: Welcome to the forgiven life". Every verse in my Bible that has to do with grace I have highlighted in orange (my favorite color) and so I will use orange font here to represent anything from this book.

"I'm all about grace!"-I can't tell you how many times I have said that. I know grace well. I have embraced it, it is what has kept me going, kept me persevering in this cruel world. GRACE. It's in the title of my blog, it was the name I wanted for my youngest but lost to the name Sarah which everyone else in our family wanted. GRACE. I love grace. I live in and through grace. It is my new name.

When I posted to Lelia I would be joining this Bible study I quoted it again..."I'm all about grace!" but I heard God say "really?". Yes, I have embraced His grace but I felt pain in my heart as He asked me if I was doing anything with this indescribable gift. How have I been at giving grace out to others? So I opened this book to to take a different approach at embracing grace...the sharing in the act of this grace that I so cherish. This thought fits perfectly with one of the scripture reference our author gave us:
Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. [Instruct them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the age to come, so that they may take hold of life that is real. ~ 1 Tim. 6:17-19 (HCSB)

Liz was encouraging us to take hold of life as she referenced verse 19 but I had to look it up and see what surrounded that thought. What a sweet confirmation from God with what He had laid on my heart! One of my favorite verses He gave me as I entered into women's ministry and in this chapter echo's this journey...
I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close. ~ Rev. 3:8

"When if ever have you ever been aware of God's tender embrace?"

I will never forget the night of my brokenness. Life was handing me one negative blow after another because of my poor choices. I found myself so alone and distraught which was right where He wanted me. I was driving home to an empty house after another negative incident and I remember screaming out to God in tears. I was angry but entering into being remorseful. I entered my bedroom and buried my face into my love seat and just balled. This was not like me. I am not a crier. That night I cried years worth of tears and then the strangest sensation overcame me.

I wasn't alone. I sensed my God right there telling me that. He was never more real in all my Christian life than at that moment. I felt as if my tears were falling into His lap and I felt His hands on my head comforting me. In my heart I knew He was saying "you are forgiven, you are loved. I just need you to need me the most, love me the most". Thus began my journey of living and walking in grace. My life was
transformed. I still have to face plenty of challenges, especially from non-grace filled people and events but I wouldn't trade it for where I am with God and how far He has taken me. Now I need to extend this gift to others.

"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders." ~ Deut. 33:12

"What words do you wish God would whisper in your ear?"

Words of confirmation, confirmation in ministry, in raising these girls, in my work. Daily I pray to see Him, to hear Him, to walk beside Him. Just tonight as I was working on the content for tomorrows community Bible study, He spoke to me in the most amazing way. Confirming I am just where I need to be for Him. it was so awesome. Maybe I will share it further in another post. Though I would prefer to hear His audible voice, He speaks so loudly through scripture, so clearly through my Bible studies. I am humbled.

For the LORD is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations. ~ Ps 100:5

"Are all things possible with God? How can you be sure of your answer?"

I believe this with all my heart. It's trusting Him to be greater than my circumstances. It's faith that He is in control. Am I perfect in this. No. Wish I didn't fail so much, let words discourage me, let life get in the way of focusing on Him. I have a better grip of looking at my life, looking at myself through the lens of His clear vision. I have to. You have to.

Looking at them, Jesus said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God." ~ Mark 10:27

Oh my beloved Jehovah Roi, my Shepherd, I thank you for your indescribable gift of grace! Help us to accept it and then to extend it to others.

His Maidservant~Pamela

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ABC's of the WORD..."S"

It's my favorite day of the week...ABC's of the WORD. We post a scripture with a word or words starting with the letter S. Be sure to visit Pam at Grey Like Snuffie for more precious scripture! Like she said..."Lets stir up God's Word!!"

Nevertheless, to remind you, I have written to you more boldly on some points because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest of God's good news. My purpose is that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I have reason to boast in Christ Jesus regarding what pertains to God. ~Romans 15:15-17 (HCSB)

My "S" word....sanctified. To be sanctified is to be to set apart for sacred use; consecrated, to make holy, purified. There are two emotions here for me....OUCH because of my failure in this and LONGING because I so desire to be set apart for Christ in and through my life.

My heart has really been convicted in my recent Bible study about how much I am really doing for Christ in my Life...not in the doing by task as much as the building
of His kingdom. The end results.

Lord, sanctified our hearts, our minds, our lives so that we may boast all the more of YOU. We want to see You, to know You better, to love You more.

His Maidservant~Pamela

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ABC's of the WORD...."R"

Participating in Pam's MEME at Grey Like Snuffie of posting scripture with key words from the alphabet, today I am leaving you a scripture of encouragement, a reminder of who and what you are to Christ. To view more of these MEME's, click on the flower icon above!

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Blessing to you! Remember your royalty! Live it!! Extend this to others, its meant to be shared!!!

His Royal Maidservant~Pamela

Monday, June 8, 2009

Prayer Request

My dear blog friends,

This past Friday a friend of ours lost her husband unexpectantly. After a week long camping trip with the family over the memorial holiday, her husband developed flu-like symptoms. After several days of that his blood pressure dropped and she talked him into going into the ER. Within a matter of days his kidney's shut down and with the development of pneumonia he ended up on the ventilator in the ICU in septic shock. He responded enough to dialysis to give the family a false hope for recovery but then to lose it when he left this world Friday morning at 0920, six days after becoming ill.

He was only 44 years old. He leaves a wife and four young children under the age of 10. He was a successful man and very active in our community. He had such a vibrant personality and a servants heart. He had planned to watch his children grow up and one day walk his daughter down the isle. He was taken so quickly.

They think he may have lost his life to Legionaries disease. All other infective diseases have tested negative. I went to his visitation tonight to see the swollen shell of a grayish brown body this disease left behind. The illness was so incredibly rough on him in those final days. Though as a nurse it medically all makes sense to me, as a wife and mother none of it makes sense to me except...

He knew Jesus. His family knows Jesus. And though he is now resting securely in His Saviors arms, his family is hurting. There is so much pain.

I know in this weekend there have been more "I love you's" spoken, more tears, more thoughts about how short life can be. No one wants to address this question but we all have been forced to ask ourselves if we are ready to die? Christie wasn't ready to lose her husband. Her kids were not ready to lose their dad and they are all angered and emotionally upset. I would much rather be holding my husband tonight instead of working...life is too short.

So, will you take time this week to pray for my friend Christie and her four children? I cannot even imagine walking in their shoes right now...

Thank you.

His Maidservant~Pamela

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ABC's of the Word..."Q"

Pam at Greg Like Snuffie is our host for this MEME of posting scripture with the alphabet. You know the routine-click on the icon above or Pam's name to go to her blog site for more of these posted scriptures.
This has become sacred for me, a holy activity. finding scripture with words matching the alphabet has become a holy activity as it is intended to feed and nourishing our souls. Thank you Pam and thank you God for all the women who follow their heart in posting just that right piece of scripture!

A friend of mine shared how she is centering on reading a book of the Bible for each month. For example, last month she read and re-read through James all month long. She stated it was amazing how a chapter would hold new and different meaning for her life even though she had just read it the previous week. God is like that when He is using His word to speak to us isn't He? So I am doing that though this month of June with the books of Peter. t seemed an appropriate pick as our sermons have been coming from this book for the last two Sundays. Today's posting of my "Q" word-QUIET has come from 1 Peter...

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and QUIET spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. ~1 Peter 3:3-6

May you grow in gentleness and and with a QUIET spirit that is pleasing in God's sight!

His Maidservant~Pamela