Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Embrace Grace...Embrace Faith

Here are my thoughts from chapter three in this blog Bible study of Embrace Grace:Welcome to the forgiven Life by Liz Curtis Higgs, hosted by Lelia. The author is quoted in orange. I pray you are blessed.

What does "faith in God" mean to you?

My mind began to swirl with responses when I first read this question. There are so many ways in which I could respond. However, my first response is that faith is believing but in reality, I have come to learn that it is more than just believing. It is a way of life, a way of living for me now. Liz states "Faith is not an act of man; it is an act of God, drawing us to Him". And that is what I have come to learn about my faith walk. It is about living to be drawn closer to Him, to seek Him in all things, all situations. It involved the heart and the mind-together. My whole faith walk has moved into different stages and this stage is currently a joy-filled stage. "Faith is not something you fall back on; faith is something you step into". How many times as we were growing in our walk of faith have we used it as a crutch to "get us though"? Awakening each morning we should be stepping into faith before our feet ever hit the ground. Not always an easy task and it takes determination and practice, like a toddler learning to walk. I have heard others say that they commit their day to God with special prayers before the get out of bed. A simple one would be "Lord this is your day, I am choosing to walk it with you".

"If you imagined Jesus looking at you, What might you see in His eyes?
I have a picture on my wall at home at the top of our stairs of the face of Christ, a replica of the "St. Veronica's Handkerchief" which was a celebrated painting by Austrian Gabrel from 1840. What is unique about this picture is that when you look at it, sometimes His eyes appear open, sometimes they appear closed. The legend is that if they are open He has found favor in you, if they are closed, well, let's just say, there is no favor. People, including my kids say the picture creeps them out because of how the eyes work. And it does work. Here is a sample of this picture...

Lately His eyes have been closed when I look at it and I would expect that response from Him right now. I am not meeting Him like I should be in our quiet time. Summer break has consumed me with so many other things I can't seem to avoid. He and I have also had this internal battle over a stronghold of mine for a couple of weeks now. I am not doing so good on my side of things. But, no matter where I am spiritually, I know my Savior has nothing but love in His eyes for me, even if they are closed in disappointment. He knows it all-knows when I am going to screw up and over commit and cheat Him of what He deserves. He understands how tough it is down here. I imagine He would say "Child you try too hard sometimes-just LET ME".

Since we cannot physically look upon the Lord's face, then where do we turn to "see" Him?

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy ~ 1 Peter 1:8

This has been one of my favorite memory verses this year. I understand the joy that is being talked about here. I mentioned it earlier. This year I have been learning to look for Jesus in everything. I am not as good at it as I want to be but I do believe He shows Himself in that way...through the words of a blog friend, in my devotional reading, in a persons actions or reactions, in that perfect scripture for that exact time in my life and definitely within His creations. I guess my main thought here would be: He's everywhere and we need to train ourselves to see Him!

As Jerry Bridges states in his book "The Pursuit of Holiness, "we have misunderstood living by faith". More than anything, we are to see that sin, all sin (for sin is sin, there is no degree of severity to sin in god's eyes) grieves our God and that should grip our hearts and change our attitude to make us more aware of our actions, our words, our thoughts. In return, we will allow our lives to be more Christ-centered and we will pursue holiness in our faith walk. Faith and ones personal exertion at holiness go together! Embrace Faith! Embrace Grace! Embrace Holiness!!

His Maidservant~Pamela

Next week I will be away at youth camp (pray for me). I will try to post the next chapter before I leave.


Jill said...

Good words Pamela! I have started the book, but have yet to post. Also enjoyed your challenge with the things we value - always good to stop and take a look!

Stacy said...

Pamela, the words you shared are SO TIMELY. Thank you for allowing God to work through you. I know that He is because of the way your post has struck my heart. I sit wiping away tears at your words:

"It is about living to be drawn closer to Him, to seek Him in all things, all situations. It involved the heart and the mind-together."
---God is showing me in dramatic ways that I must stop relying on my heart alone; I must involve my mind b/c that is where the acceptance of His TRUTHS must begin.

"I guess my main thought here would be: He's everywhere and we need to train ourselves to see Him!"
---again, another mind-issue---for training to occur requires a decision, a mental mind-set

May God continue to bless you with His insights and the ability to share those insights with others.

In Him,