Saturday, 23 September 2017

Look Ahead Next Time :) by Susan L.

I am granted grace in Christ Jesus. Romans 5:17,20

"For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ...Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." NKJV
"For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ...God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant." JCB

  Mindfulness. Living in the moment. Being present. They are all catch phrases rampant in self-help books and pseudo-psychology articles. With the stress of daily living increasing, getting people to actively practice awareness of the "now" has become the key to healthy daily living.
  It's not a new concept.
  It's one Jesus taught frequently.
  It's one thing I'm good at. Too good sometimes. In tackling these affirmations, my focus is only on exploring the one assigned for the day. Maybe if I was a person who flipped to the end of a book to see how it finished, I might have found some comfort yesterday by reading today's affirmation. I might have found a bit more grace for my lack of grace! (Big smile.)
  Today's words are a great comfort. They are a reminder that I can't fix what's broken on my own. I don't have to.
  Jesus is, after all, the carpenter of my soul.

Friday, 22 September 2017

I am Gracious Proverbs 22:11 by Susan L.

  "He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend." NKJV
  "Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend." JCB

  So to define gracious, Google gave two definitions. The first is courteous, polite, civil, well mannered, mannerly and decorous. Then there's the Biblical definition: merciful, compassionate and kind.
  The scary part is I can easily live up to the first definition because it is simply about behaviour not about my heart. Although, a polite and sincere "Please and thank you" goes a long way. Maybe that's why loving a pure heart comes first because there's such a thing in this world as having a silver tongue. I think of the salesman who sold me something I didn't really need. He was polite and charming and told me everything I wanted to hear. He wasn't motivated by what was best for the given situation, he was motivated by his wallet.
  I am also feeling deeply convicted by this affirmation. The truth is, at times, I am not overly merciful, compassionate or kind. I am impatient. Judgemental...yah, judgement takes the Godly trio of mercy, compassion and kindness completely out of the picture.

  We need the ability to judge to survive because realizing a cliff is too high to jump from or that the red, glowing fire is dangerous are judgements necessary to keep us safe.
  The judgements that aren't necessary are the ones that oppress another human being. It's a tough one to shake free of because it permeates every aspect of our society. "Different" is not acceptable. "Less than" is not acceptable. It's interesting how they morph depending on the class, society or culture we are raised in. What is acceptable in one culture can be a huge taboo in another.
  We learn how to judge people and ourselves from a very early age. We learn that it's okay to do so. It's a mob mentality thing. It's an industrial revolution thing where cookie cutter education and upbringing define the parameters of who we should be or how we must act in order to be an "acceptable" part of society. Regardless of where in the world we are raised.
  I need to take some time to think about my own "position" in society: a Caucasian woman in North America of the middle class. I was taught how to set a table for company, to artfully display my possessions, to uphold the standards of a pristine, green grass lawn and choreographed gardens. I was taught many rules about decorum and propriety. The fact I take the garbage out to the end of the driveway in my jammies is a faux pas of tremendous magnitude if I look at it based on everything learned.
  I think of the lady who used to live behind us. "Rosie" Dad called her with an edge of contempt to his voice because she would wander the privacy of her back yard in a fluffy, pink housecoat. I could never figure out why he thought this was a bad thing. But then, he had his own cultural baggage and racial prejudices learned from the cradle.
  Nearly every time a car drives past while I am in the middle of the garbage task I hear a whisper of "Rosie".
  Hmmm, having to take out my own trash to the end of the driveway is "men's work". Hmmm..."men's work"...that would take a novel to explore. Is having to take out the trash symbolic of failure? Lord, I need Your grace right now. I think another onion layer has been peeled back.
  Lord, it would appear I need to look into some generational stuff. Lessons handed down that don't fall in line with the grace You want Your children to live in and through. They don't fall in line with compassion or kindness either.
  I want to be better than I am. Let my tongue be guarded. Let my heart and mind be opened to seeing other people as You see them. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

#117 Romans 8:31 by Susan L.

  I know God is for me.

  "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" NKJV
  "What shall we say about such wonderful things? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" JCB

  It means the enemy of our souls is already defeated.
  It means that strongholds will fall. It means ungodly beliefs will crumble to dust. It means the mortar of lies will crack and fail.
  It means we have sanctuary under His wings. (Psalm 91)
  God's feathers are stronger than a Kevlar vest, a tank or a battleship.
  I have to smile here because I can't help but think of the chickens that used to roam freely throughout the yard at the farm. One or two would disappear for a while but eventually turn up followed by a cheeping hoard of little ones. When it got cold or wet, momma hen would cluck and shuffle to round up her charges. The little ones would huddle up under her. Her feathers and wings created a haven of warmth and security. I only knew they were under there because of the occasional peep and cheep.
  There's something about chickens I've always wondered about. When a hen lays an egg, she announces it as loudly as she can with a throat strangled, shrill, "Buck-CAW! Buck buck buck!" She keeps it up for a while in case you didn't hear her the first time. I don't think there's another creature who tells the world they've had a baby except people. Most of God's creatures keep birth a secret until that little one is strong enough to walk or run; strong enough to escape from danger.
  I know God is for me. Even when I talk about chickens.
  (Just so you know, I've been chuckling like a hen myself as I've been writing this.)

  God is for me.
  When an enemy circles like a fox or a crow, chickens get downright ferocious. They splay out their wings like a shield between the predator and their chicks. She has a different cluck that calls her little ones to get behind them. No matter how big the enemy is, a ten pound chicken becomes brave and strong and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to defending her babies.

  If God is for me, for us, who can stand against us?