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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

One of my favorite phrases in the scripture is, John 16:7 “I tell you the truth.” Even just saying it now makes me exhale. “I tell you the truth.” How freeing is that phrase?
 
The phrase seems kind of weird to use when responding to a question or even an accusation. However, Jesus would begin the majority of his responses with, “I tell you the truth.” I mean just in case there was any question about His integrity or the reliability of His words. Ha!
Jesus is about truth. He is truth.
 
You have to admit that He said some illogical things. He told stories that seemed too wise for His own educational stature. Jesus performed miracles on the body and heart all the time. He healed the sick, multiplied food to eat, raised the dead, made the blind person see in eyes and heart, and He redefined life as people knew it to be.
 
Jesus was about the “hard to believe.” His life looked and sounded like the “you’ve got to be kidding me.
 
Read more here! 
posting over at Church 4 Chicks and would love your thoughts!
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Pain just freaking hurts. There is no confusion there. There is no mistaking pain for something else. It hurts inside and out.

Pain invokes a physical and an emotional response. There is no hiding when something hurts. I know I wear pain all over my face. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Not only do we respond to pain, but our bodies immediately begin to overcompensate for the injured area.

When your ankle or knee is hurt, the other leg and hip carry the weight. The body shifts into a mode of recovery when any bone is broken. That can also wear on you as well.

I remember when I broke my collar bone. My whole body hurt. All of my 2,000 parts overcompensated for months to pick up the slack for my injury. After months of adjusting, my shoulder healed but other parts of my body needed a break.

Healing takes time and adjustments. This is true for our emotions as well.

When our heart is broken, or emotions bruised, we begin to adjust to compensate for the pain. A broken heart takes as much time to heal as a broken bone does. However, when a broken bone heals, we need to relearn how to use those parts again. We cannot continue going through life just not using our legs or arms.

Emotions are similar.

The tricky thing about emotional pain is that we often stay in compensation mode. Once we make the adjustments to allow for healing, we often stay in those places – living off of those survival skills, and it becomes a way of life. This is not meant to be.

Emotions need healing, and once they do heal it is time to reintegrate them back into use. It is no small process. It often feels like things are getting worse before they seem to feel better. Don’t give up. It is in those heart sore times that you know healing is happening.

Healing hurts. It takes risk to choose the hard and patience to get better. Broken bones are sore when going through the process of being used again. Healing feels vulnerable and uncomfortable. There is nothing easy about it. It is worth it.

Don’t give up!

Are you afraid to heal?

In what ways are you healing these days?

(My oneword365)

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eye heart

I remember in high school when my crush talked to me for the first time in the hallway. I remember what it felt like to be stunned and looking around to see if he was really talking to me. AND he was an upper class man…that’s right!

I remember being stunned that he was sweet and a really a nice guy. Who knew he could hold a conversation and be normal. I couldn’t believe he was asking me about basketball. He knew I played basketball!?

My crush had always been this untouchable person that I would catch glimpses of between classes and at lunch. Now he was not only the guy I saw, but the one who also saw me.

Feeling seen always runs deep. It matters a lot, and is honey to the soul.

My heart is always tender towards the Samaritan woman that Jesus talks to by the well. This woman had gone her whole life only knowing the sounds of scoffing and disdain.  She was not a respected woman. She had no friends in town, and was known for being “loose” with the men. Due to her less than appealing reputation, this Samaritan woman chose the hottest times of day when no one was around to get her chores done.

One day and one conversation with Jesus changed her life.

Jesus was a Jew who was not socially permitted to talk to a Samaritan woman. That didn’t matter to him. Jesus only saw a person to love.

While this woman was drawing water from the well, Jesus stopped and talked to her. He talked to her about life, relationships, and faith. He passed no judgments, but extends an invitation of new life and love. Jesus made her feel seen.

I don’t think it’s ironic that when the woman went back into town to tell people about Jesus that she chose these words, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did.” In my head I always continue the statement with, “and still loves me.”

For the first time this lost and invisible woman felt valued and known – she felt seen and accepted. Someone saw her. Someone accepted her sin and mess of a life and loved her. This changed everything.

Every one of us is a mess. Everyone is in need of value and love. Making someone feel seen changes everything. It did for me and the Samaritan woman. It’s healing.

In what ways have you experienced feeling seen?

How can you make someone feel seen?

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I have been coming back to the prayer written my Andy Stanley in his book, “The Grace of God.” It is beautiful and powerful. I find freedom in his words prayed.

Heavenly Father, I believe that your grace is more powerful than my label. I believe that Christ died to pay the penalty for the sin my label represents. I believe you are offering me a new label. Forgiven. Accepted. Loved. Today I declare that what you say about me is true. I am forgiven. I am accepted. I am loved. Teach me to live my life in accordance with who you say I am. Amen

I hope you find freedom in remembering your identity in Christ through these words. I hope that you see more of who he sees you as to be truth. I hope your heart hears the words “forgiven, accepted, and loved.

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Every New Year I feel very ready to kick the previous year to the curb. I am ready for all things new come January. New Year’s always gives me the hope of just that…NEW.

For the past two years, I have joined in the growing community of choosing a OneWord for the year. To be honest, each year my word has made me its _______. Still trying to live a life of FOLLOWING in 2011, and continuing to work on my jealousy through CELEBRATING others in 2012.

This year….this year I need new. This past year shattered me on so many levels. Sitting here at the table and looking at the proverbial puzzles pieces of my heart, I wonder where to start.

photo 1

Have you ever had those seasons in your life where you feel like more than the wind has been knocked out of you?

There is hard and then there is feeling defeated with no fight left. I am exhausted from pain, brokenness, discouragement, conflict, transitions, rejections, and deferred hope. I need a break.

Every war has times when the fighting ceases for sleep and rest. Every boxing match has rounds when each fighter gets a breather to regroup.I am that fighter in the corner needing a breather. I am that wounded soldier needing rest from the front lines of life.

E

SO my ONEWORD for 2013 is HEALING.

To be honest, slowing down and healing is not easy for me. Whenever I broke a bone or sprained an ankle I was bad at heeding to the instructions for healing. There is a reason doctors say it takes six weeks for broken bones to heal. I always that it was just a suggestion. I should have committed to waiting.

The patchwork and Band-Aide management of my life has become unstitched. It is time to let the Healer do His thing.

This year, I am focusing on the healing stories in the gospels. I want to learn about the what, who, why, and how of Jesus’ healing miracles. Hoping He heals me there.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.”

These are some promises I am holding onto this year as I put back the pieces of my weary self. My hope for this year is that of a renewed hope, trust, peace, and forward motion through grief. 

What is YOUR OneWord of 2013?

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When it comes to believing in Jesus, I have been asking myself several questions.

Through which eyes do I see him?

How far does my belief extend?

Do I look and believe in the ability of the one I follow or do I look at the growing crowd?

Philip and Andrew were two of Jesus’ disciples. They spent days, weeks, and months with Jesus. They had seen countless miraculous signs and wonders. These fellas had personally experienced the hands of their friend healing wounded hearts and broken bodies.

There was one particular day where Jesus performed on miracle that affected  five thousand people.

The day was hot and the sun was beginning to set. Jesus surveyed the growing crowd around him and asked Philip, “where can we buy bread for these people to eat?

Jesus had a way of always asking rhetorical questions. He already knew what he was going to do.

How many times has God asked us questions – invited us into being a part of something great – and we answer logically or without faith.

I have responded to God’s questions so many times with my eyes on my own limits. I even have a tendency to water down what God wants to do through me because I think I’m too small to do it.

God asks us questions already knowing what he is going to do. He just wants us to believe.

Philip and Andrew illustrated both responses in this story. Philip relied on his logic and limits. He looked at the overwhelming number of people and
responded accordingly. Philip thought that it was up to him to do something miraculous and big. Even though he had just spent days being a part of miracles, signs, and wonders. That day he chose his limits.

Andrew responded differently to Jesus’ question. He answered with two key words, “here is.” That is what God wants to hear from his people, “God here is…” Andrew believed beyond his limits and in the one he followed. He was focused on Gods ability.

Andrew lacked the how but he had the who and what.

Andrew placed in Jesus’ hands all that he had to give. He believed beyond himself. When Jesus asked the question, “what can we do to feed these people?” Andrew responded with “I can’t, but you can.

Philip and Andrew had human responses. They were both limited and logical. One responded out of his limits, and the other presented his limits to the only one who could use them.

Which disciple are you most like?

What stops you from presenting all you have to Jesus?

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One of my gifts and curses in life is being able to talk my way out of things. I was the student who charmed her way through skipping class, handing in homework late, or getting a teacher off track. Let’s be honest, school got in the way of my social life.

I was also the daughter who negotiated curfews and side stepped punishments. My mom is northern New Jersey to the core. She doesn’t mess around when it comes to bringing the mom voice. I was known for pushing the limits and amending her instructions. Every time I knowingly crossed the parental guidelines I knew the voice was coming, but so were my speeches.

Driving home late past curfew or going to someplace I wasn’t supposed to, I would rehearse a readied speeches. She called it disrespect, I called it creative rebuttals.

This is one way I identify with the Prodigal son. The life of responsibility and tending to dad’s farm was getting in the way of his social life. The prodigal packed his bags, and with dad’s inheritance check in hand, he set out in search of meaning. It wasn’t too long before the inheritance dried up and he found himself alone.

When the voices of false advertising grow silent the reality of our spirit of poverty is made known.

When the Prodigal found himself alone with nothing, scripture states that, “he began to be in need.” Sobering truth and awareness was the process for this Prodigal. Filled with shame and humility, he decided to go home.

Knowing the Prodigal had lost so much of himself, his family, and his life, as he headed home he began to rehearse a speech; Father, I have sinned against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired hands.”

The father sees his son like a mirage walking down the road, and takes off. He throws his arms around the Prodigal and lavishes him with love, a robe, and celebration of renewed son ship. The Prodigal didn’t even get to finish his speech.

I look at this speech and see how much I rehearse the same one for God. I struggle to know love that is unconditional. I feel like I battle knowing love that doesn’t hold try-outs.

I still have speeches. If I’m being most honest, I still think the father’s love depends on my earned efforts. I will even go so far as to punish myself even when grace and love are extended.

I wish I could see a follow-up to the Prodigal story. I wonder if the Prodigal still rehearsed persuasive speeches for the father’s love after that day. I wonder if he still tried to earn love even though his father covered him with grace and forgiveness. Broken relationships take rebuilding, but that does not affect love, or at least it shouldn’t.

I would love to know your thoughts and responses to the Prodigal story.

Do you write speeches for God?

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