Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving - To Good to Be True

Before I knew Jesus:
I was born into dysfunction, as so many of us are. My childhood was not filled with security or an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance. As a matter of fact, I recall feeling quite insecure and unsure of myself the majority of the time. As I grew older all of these feelings grew along with me. I became a mom at the age of sixteen and started out into the "real world" for a taste of bitter sweet reality. Even with child in tow, and a new set of circumstances, I simply wanted to fit in. I wanted to be accepted, but try as I might, I never felt as though I was good enough. I hung out with the wrong crowd for the most part, doing the wrong things at the wrong times. But even the wrong crowd could not make me feel right about myself. I would not have recognized or known real love if it had knocked me upside the head and flat on my behind!

I eventually woke up one morning and realized that once upon a time, when I was a very little girl, I had dreams and I was going to do something great someday! I looked around and realized that "great" did not describe the life that I was living. It also, did not describe the life I was giving my son. So, I made some changes. Then,a few Months after my Ah-Ha moment, I met a great guy, got married,and had another baby. Yet, with all of this greatness in my life, that emptiness still nagged away at the inside of me, taunting me to not trust in love or happiness. My marriage was struggling, and I was feeling as though I could not get anything right. I felt as though it was inevitable, If I could mess up a good thing, I would.

When I met Jesus:
I was pregnant with my third child when a friend invited me to church. I wanted to go, but continued to put it off and put it off for weeks. Finally one cold, March morning, I decided it's now or never. I got my 8yr old ready, bundled up my baby and off we went. My friend met me in the lobby, showed me where to take my children, and ushered me to my seat. I remember thinking "This is church?" It was so unlike the stuffy images I had painted in my head. The worship was energizing and refreshing, and the people were all friendly and seemed to genuinely be glad to make my acquaintance. I decided fairly quick that I loved it. I returned the following Wednesday evening, and the following Sunday, and the Wednesday after that, I gave my life to the Lord.

I remember the moment so very clearly. I was watching a woman worship on stage and thought to myself "How can she be so full of joy? I want whatever it is she has!" you see, I knew this woman had suffered the loss of a child, and yet, she had more joy than I had ever even imagined having. I prayed that night, from the bottom of my heart, and asked God to come into my life. I have been running toward Him, feet going as fast as they can, ever since. Unfortunately, my husband was not as thrilled about my new found faith as I was. But, the story is not yet over.

After I met Jesus:
God began house cleaning in my heart from day one. The first of many areas was my marriage. God has done, and is still doing, an incredible work in both of us. He has blessed us with a wonderful marriage that is filled with the beauty of friendship. My husband has become my very best friend, and we have a relationship built on love, support, honesty and acceptance. My husband and I, even after all these years, are still not completely on the same page spiritually. However, we are getting there, and I have learned that God is faithful, the work that He has done in both of us, is irreversible, and there is no where to go but forward.

God has taken my insecurities and turned them into promises. He has taken my fear of messing up and turned it into an excitement that awaits the next step of our journey together. He has shown me that the love I have always longed for is found in His eyes, and He has turned my "little girl dreams" into realities that are within reach. Through Jesus I have learned who I really am, Who I was meant to be, and what I am capable of accomplishing through Him. I no longer feel unaccepted, I feel as though I am right where I was always meant to be. And, I know for the first time in my life that this is one good, no, great thing, I will never mess up. It is not about me and how well I am able to perform, but about Jesus and what He has already done!

All of my "trying" got me no where, but trusting in the gospel saved my life. "Gospel" is actually associated with a Greek word that means to good to be true. God has an abundant life of, to good to be true, just waiting for each of us. This is something we can all be grateful for this Thanksgiving. As we draw close to Jesus He will show us how to receive everything that has been accomplished for us on the cross.

"Today, many of us bloggers have devoted a special post in which we are "Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving" by sharing our personal testimonies of the Lord's work in our lives and/or that of our families. Our collective prayer is that this sharing of our testimonies will not only encourage each other and give Glory to our Lord, but also to those who happen upon our blogs. To enjoy many more testimonies like the one you've just read please visit the "Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving" blog located HERE. The direct link to this site can be found in the right sidebar under Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving 08'

Monday, November 17, 2008

Simply...Turn to JESUS

Read Matthew 11:25-30

There are many teachings in the Christian world today that are taught in the name of Jesus, then turn around, and point us in the direction of more self-effort. These messages say to us Jesus did all of these great things for you--now, it is up to YOU, and YOUR understanding, to go figure out how to walk in His power! This can leave us feeling void, insufficient, and well, hopeless. Messages that are truly taught in Jesus name ALWAYS point us to no one other than...JESUS!

Lets think about this for a moment. As believers are we called to look at ourselves and our own ability to figure it all out? We try to think right, act right, and talk right. We exhaust ourselves with wonder as we "try" to discern if we are even believing or interpreting the scriptures right. As believers, is it really necessary to "try" so hard? Jesus did not walk this way "trying" with all His might to be what the Father had called Him to be and do what the Father had called Him to do.

"For My yoke is wholesome (useful, [a]good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne."

Matthew 11:30

He simply was. He simply did. He simply said. He simply rested in His oneness with the Father.

I recently read a teaching that said God had set up spiritual rules that must be followed in order for us to walk in the abundant life that Jesus died for us to have. Now, I am not disputing that there are rules set by God in the spiritual realm, as gravity is a rule in this realm. I am disputing that we have the ability to figure them out. I am disputing that it is anything other than God guiding us and revealing the mysteries and secrets of His kingdom to us, that leads us to the place of walking in His abundance. Jesus was ONE with the Father and through this He instinctively knew what to do. He had the desire and will to do, say and think what was right.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

When we seek first the kingdom, God will add all we need to know into our daily lives, along with all we need. We have to learn to trust what is inside of us instead of second guessing ourselves. After all, as believers we have been given a new nature in Christ. A nature that now desires to be one with our heavenly Father through Jesus. When we spend time worrying over whether or not we are getting it right, or whether we are doing well enough, we put a kink in the flow of God's grace in our lives. God's grace--His undeserved favor, along with His power and ability to overcome and change what needs to be changed--works best in areas that we have completely surrendered and stopped worrying over.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:30 that His yoke is comfortable, do you feel comfortable? Does your life, how you feel about yourself, where you are and what you are called to do feel hard, harsh, sharp or pressing? If so, this is not the yoke you were called to carry. We have been taught by religion that we should be afraid of comfort, that if we feel comfortable we should worry. We have been given the impression that comfort and rest means that we are not growing in our walk with God. However, this is not what the Bible teaches.

Websters definitions of comfortable speak of physical ease, or more than what is needed. Jesus, says He will give us rest when we come to Him. A rest from physical or self effort. When we come to Him He is more than enough for a comfortable walk. When we are ONE with Jesus as He is ONE with the Father, we will instinctively desire to do and say what is right.

Does this mean that we will walk in perfection and never make any mistakes? Does this mean that we will never have to go and make a wrong right? No, it means that when--and I mean when--we get off course, when we realize we have missed the mark in some way or another, we will desire to make it right. When we turn to God and trust Him to guide us and lead us He will show us how.

I have come to a place in my life where I just want to simply Be. I want to enjoy everyday, where I am, not worry about where I am going, while trusting that Daddy is taking me there. I want to fellowship with Him and enjoy His company, not worry if I am good enough, or trying hard enough. I want to Simply...Turn to Jesus, and trust in what He has done for me.

Lets Talk Grace! Are you ready to simply Be? Are you too, tired of "trying"? What are some thoughts or insights you might have to share? Lets Talk Grace!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Prayer in Action

There are many who "pray" for others. Praying of course is powerful, necessary and not to be underestimated. Prayer is how we communicate with our heavenly Father. But, I wonder how many times do we pray for God to do things that we can do ourselves, as His representatives, as His hands and feet?

Now, I realize that we cannot save every person from every problem, and we cannot solve every financial crisis that passes by our doorstep. But, I am challenged to ask myself and others if we are helping when we can--or, do we just pray, asking God to do what we have the been given the ability and power to do ourselves?

If a friend comes to us with a need that we could help meet, do we? Or, do we "Pray" for them? How many are willing to look for a way to help meet the needs of others? I was deeply touched by a friend today who put a prayer into action to help meet a need that most would "pray" for.

My home church The Grove Fellowship in Boone County IL, is hosting a camp next summer for foster children called Royal Family Kids Camp RFKC. We are in the process of raising at a minimum $10,000 for the operation of this camp. This camp is designed to give these children a jam packed week of being loved on, fussed over and treated like royalty, something many of them have never experienced before. A week that says we care, we love you, but most of all, God loves you!

My friend Heather lives in Florida, and has never attended our church, however she listens to the messages that are posted at and came across the one about RFKC. She was moved enough to pray for this event, the workers, and the kids. However, when I read her blog today (Swallowingamouse found in my list of Blogs) I found myself choked up and at a loss for words (those of you who know me know that this is no easy task, me at a loss for words)! Heather has put her prayer into action, she has put a valuable item on ebay in order to help raise money for this camp. Sometimes, we need to be the answer, or part of the answer to a prayer, not just the one praying.

I have recently been challenged in this area myself, and have found that there is great joy and excitement in being part of the answer to the problem.

Again, we cannot fix everything for everyone, but are we doing what we can? Gods favor flows into the lives of those who believe and trust Him--undeserved and unearned, do we extend that grace to others when given the opportunity?

If you would like more information or you too, would like to help RFKC, please contact The Grove Fellowship at

Lets talk Grace! Does this speak to you? What are your thoughts on Prayers in Action? Does this challenge you to step out and take more action? Lets Talk Grace!

Monday, November 10, 2008

True Confessions of a New Covenant Believer

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. Proverbs 18:21

This is a very popular verse in Christian circles today, most have heard it at least once or twice. But, do we really understand the depths of what this is saying to us? Our words are very important. God spoke and the world was created, likewise, we, being made in the image of God, have the power to speak into our lives, either for the production of fruit or poison. So how can we be certain that we are speaking life?

John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is Life, therefore, our words, our confessions, need to agree with what Jesus says about us. Our words need to be in alignment with the finished work on the cross. We all encounter trials in this life and there is no need for us to pretend otherwise. We just need to make sure that what we are confessing about our trials is in agreement with the finished work of Jesus.

let me give you an example, awhile ago I was going through a very rough time with one of my children. At times it felt as though my heart was breaking. It would have been silly for me to deny that I was having a rough time because my friends would not have been able to encourage me and speak truth into my life. Fellowship means to make deposits and in this case I needed their deposits. Likewise, it would have been deadly (spiritually) for me to focus on only my feelings or what I saw. When I shared my circumstance with my closest friends, I did so in a way that said "I am hurting and I need you, but I am going to keep my eyes on Jesus because I know what He did for me, I know how much He loves me and my child, and I know that if I focus on Him and not my problem I will to see His victory!"

The Greek word for confess is Exomologeo it is also the word used for to praise.

Ex means - By, out of, derived from

Homologeo means - to agree with another, say the same thing as, to praise, declare one's self the worshiper of one

So, what we confess into our lives needs to be derived from what Jesus did, and agree with the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The New Covenant believer walks in God's grace! We are not earning anything from God, simply receiving because of what Jesus has done for us. As we begin to receive God's unearned, unmerited favor in our lives we will begin to believe all of His wonderful promises,and our tongues will begin to line up with His truth!

This same principle applies to the confessions we make before God about ourselves. We should be confessing to God that even though we may have blown it here or there, He is worthy of praise because Jesus got it all right!

Do we confess our sin to God? Absolutely! But not so that we can earn His forgiveness, we already have it. We share with Him how we feel because we have a relationship with Him and we want to tell Him that we are sorry, and that we love Him. So when you come to God with a deed done wrong say " Father I messed up and I am sorry, but I thank you that you have already forgiven me! I thank you for Jesus, I thank you for how awesome and wonderful you are! Thank you that I am your child!" Confess what Jesus says is true! Praise Him!

Lets talk grace! What are your thoughts? Do you have any examples of times you let go and trusted in the lord believing and confessing His truth? Do you still feel as though you have to beg God to forgive you? Has this Blog helped in any way? Any questions? Lets talk Grace!

To listen to this message in its entirety please visit under Messages and Podcast. (This message is dated November 9th,if it is not yet available please try back)