Grace

Ephesians 2:8-9 [Full Chapter]

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
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In my youth I believed that good works would get me into heaven. The thing is, that made getting into heaven up to me. If I was good enough, if I worked hard enough, if I kept on the straight and narrow I could earn my way.
My belief has changed. It is important for me to be a good person and strive to be what God wants me. However, God’s grace has been given to me as a free gift. That is so hard to grasp. Does it free me from responsibility for my behavior? No but I am not perfect and never will be. It is only God’s grace that can save me and it has been freely given.
Thanks be to God!

Parables of the Kingdom of God

Jesus is God translated to us as we would translate a book. He makes God visible. His many examples of God’s kingdom teach us the way. The parables so clearly show the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught so that we would understand. There are many references to Jesus’ teachings on this. Here are just a few.

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The Parable of the Mustard Seed ] He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?
The Parable of the Growing Seed ] He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,
The Parable of the Mustard Seed ] He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?
The Parable of the Yeast ] And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God?
[ Some Women Accompany Jesus ] Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news ofthekingdomofGodThe twelve were with him,
When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.

God never moves

If God seems far from you who has moved? unknown

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God never moves. No matter how you feel…whether lost or alone…God never moves. Sometimes our emotions and feelings get in the way and we feel deserted. Down in the depths of darkness when we can’t see, can’t pray, immobilized, God is still there with us. We have to remember that.

 

 

 

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[d]
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

Equal

The person who looks up to God rarely looks down on anyone. from God is in the Small Stuff by Bruce and Stan

We are all equal in God’s eyes. Equally loved. That doesn’t mean that because we believe in God or go to church that we are more equal than others. Equal means equal. Thinking that we are better than someone else is not how God sees it. Looking down on someone because they have less money or better clothes or a better education is not how God expects us to be.

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Remember, in God’s eyes there are no “better thans.”

 

God knows our names

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for Ihave redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When my granddaughter was baptized the church made a full size banner that had her name on it and that quote. I have never forgotten it. Whenever I wonder if God knows that I am here or that any member of my family is here I remember that.
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We want a sign

Psalm 86:17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

17 Show me a sign of your favor,
    so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
    because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

A sign! I just want a sign! Come down God and do something! Write on the wall, perform a miracle. Show those people who don’t believe in you what you can do. Show me too so that I don’t have to depend on faith to get through.

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How much we want this to happen. We want something we can see….something we can touch. But really…the important things are not tangible. Love cannot be touched. We can’t hold it in our hands. We can’t prove it yet we know it is there.

God is not visible but his acts are. His presence can be felt if not touched. Let go of wanting things we can’t have. Open our eyes….God is with us. His love surrounds us and his miracles are there if we just look.

Remember to pray!

Today I spent the day with a friend whose husband is ill. I called people I know will follow through and asked for prayer. Sometimes prayer is the only thing that we can do. We need to remember that it is the most important thing that we can do. No matter what else we do to help don’t forget to pray.

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God is our refuge

Tonight I was thinking about Psalm 46 and its wonderful message. The words of this Psalm has always been special to me. Years ago I was a choir director in a church. I had a wonderful choir and there were few pieces that they couldn’t do. I ran across this piece by Pote and just loved it. You can find many versions of it on YouTube but I chose this one as it has the words. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Just keep praying

“Praying is like using a cell phone. Sometimes we have a clear communication or hear and be heard clearly. At other times there is no signal.” loosely quoted from “The Two Popes.”

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Sometimes we think that prayer does no good. We don’t seem to have any answer and it seems that no one is listening. Sometimes we are in “the dark night of the soul” feel as if we are praying into a void.

All those feeling and doubts are our side of the prayer. God has not moved. God is still listening.  We can’t “expect” to feel something all the time. That is not how it goes. Feelings get in our way. Put them aside and just know that prayer works. Prayer is a way to share those feelings with God. Don’t be afraid to complain about it seeming useless. Fuss if you feel that way. Tell God everything. God gets it. Just keep on praying.

A heart of flesh

 

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God has plans for us. these plans include us having a better understanding of how we should live. Telling us has not worked so God decides to SHOW us. He leaves heaven to become a man…a man who lives the life that we need to live. He did this for us. Now we need to follow that man in everything that we do.