Category Archives: FAITHFULNESS

THE BATTLE GROUND


“There is a war between guilt and GRACE!” 

The other day, as I walked into our bedroom, I noticed these words written on the notepad next to the dual recliner where my WW sits. They come from the song by Matthew West, “GRACE WINS

Lately, I’ve been pondering the effects of GRACE in my life. I’m beginning to realize that I have greatly undervalued what GRACE DID, what GRACE does, what God wants GRACE to do in, for and through me.

Matthew West continues his song with these words; “GRACE WINS!! Every Time!! For the woman at the well, GRACE WINS!! For the beggar on the street, GRACE WINS!! For the prodigal son, GRACE WINS!!

This morning’s “Daily Verse” from “YouVersion” was Psalms 139:23,24

‭‭“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” ‭NLT‬‬

This morning, I’m saddened to think how many times I’ve prayed that from a place of guilt and shame, standing (or kneeling, as the case may be) before God but seeing him as my Judge. It makes me want to run away. Sometimes I do.

This is not the prayer of a guilty man waiting to hear sentence passed for his guilt and shame. It’s the Q posed by the prodigal son to his Faithful Father at the breakfast table the morning after the party as they enjoy steaks leftover from the fattened calf and eggs  the servants gathered that morning from the free-range hens in the yard. (Luke 15:11-32)

It’s the Q from the heart of a recovering, wandering son who has once again been embraced by “Abba-Daddy”

Let me see if I can put this in my own words as I picture myself sitting at that table:

Dad, I came back yesterday because I knew you are a man of compassion. All my life I’ve seen how you treat your servants. You’ve always treated the men and women who work for you better than most of my friends were treated by their fathers. 

Last month, I remembered that about you. Someday, maybe I’ll tell you where I was and what I was doing when I remembered, but I think I’d rather just forget about it. But let me simply say that I woke up in the blackest, darkest hole of my life. 

Then I remembered!

YOU!

Dad, I came back to be your servant. I came back to sweep the dung out of your stables. I came back to clean the hen house on my hands and knees. I came back to… 

YOU!!

NEVER in my wildest thoughts did I think I would come back and be your son!! I fully expected to grovel. I fully expected to spend the rest of my days trying to pay penance for the way I hurt you. But you… You!!!  Dad, You put the family robe around my shoulders. You embraced me!! You put your ring on my finger. You brought out the finest wine, and Oh! Wow!! This steak…!!!

Dad, (by the way, it feels strange to call you ‘Dad’)…  Let me take this moment to ask you, from the depth my heart, with all the gratitude I can manage; “Teach me. This morning, Dad, search my heart; test me and show me my hurtful ways. Daddy, I want to spend the rest my life letting you teach me how to be your son.”

THAT is the war between guilt and GRACE. The battle in my life between guilt and GRACE is fought at the gateway to the homestead. Because of my guilt, I hesitate to respond when He calls. The Father beckons me forward. I hesitate. The Father says: “Come, my son, all is ready. For you. I’ve been waiting. For you. Too often, I’ve turned away. In shame.  “I’ve been watching every day. For you. But… I’ve done all can can do. For you. Unless you come home. The Choice is yours. I chose you, but I cannot make that choice FOR you.”

BECAUSE OF MY GRACE, THE DOOR IS WIDE OPEN FOR YOU, MY SON! COME HOME!!

RELATED POSTS

Broken ‘n Unworthy

HIS PRESENCE! – HOW?

I KEPT COMING BACK

But What about my sin?

My Judge? or “Father”!

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/50shadesofgrace

SURRENDER!!…?

I grew up singing: “I surrender, I surrender all!”  We were encouraged to completely commit the rest of our lives to Him – NOW! Today!!

That may have been just my perception, but that’s what I kept trying to do.

Tried, couldn’t do it.  Wanted to. Kept falling down. Didn’t know what to do with my failure. Wanted to quit trying. Did…, for awhile.

Now I know. Now I (am beginning to) understand – Better!

PROCESS!!
BABY STEPS!!

God takes what we can give to Him TODAY and waits patiently until tomorrow becomes today and we get to do it again. And… again, the next day! And…

In the meantime, He asks us to just take a walk.

With Him. With His Son. Jesus. His Holy Spirit goes too.

  • Pay attention, son. I have something important to tell you.

“There is now therefore NO CONDEMNATION, (Anger, Impatience, Rejection) toward us – from Him.”

BOTH SIDES OF THE TABLE

  I once read someplace:

“When U’re listening to someone share a deep secret, take off Ur shoes. U’re on Holy Ground.”

I’ve literally done this. I’ve actually said: “Wait, my friend…” and reached down and slipped my shoes off. After I explained, he felt even safer to share.  Other times I just slip them off (I wear shoes without laces) physically or mentally. It’s a reminder of the importance of the moment and the absolute necessity of confidentiality.

We ALL need a safe place where we can discover the real meMiracles happen in that place. We ALL need to learn to sit on both sides of the table.

It can feel like the scariest place on the planet, but it’s a place as important to the soul as the dinner table is to the body.

“A secret. A burden. A fault. Yes, even a sin… shared with a safe person in a safe place becomes less than half as heavy.”
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”

‭‭“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”

‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Have U Ever DATED God?

I realized tonight that for most of my life God and I had a dating relationship.

My WW said that’s a very strange way to put it. But stick with me, I think U’ll “get it” like she did after we discussed it awhile.

I would call Him or He would call me and we’d set up a time to get together. Or, I would go to places where I’d been told I could find Him. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t.

In the meantime, we would each go our separate ways. (at least, from my perspective, that’s what was happening) There were even times I’d find myself wanting to date others – because… Well, just because! That’s what I did.

One of the things I remember about our dating days is the feeling that I needed to always be on my best behaviors when we were together. I think that’s one reason I didn’t call Him more – He might not like the real me. The one I tried to keep hidden from others.

The 12th step in Celebrate Recovery says:

Having had a spiritual experience, we carry this message to others.”

I had a father and mother who were both ordained ministers, so I grew up with Jesus in my life. I can say that I had Lots’nLots’nLots of spiritual experiences. And they were just that. (and yet, more) I had an experience here, an experience next week, an AWESOME  time in His Presence at summer youth camp. While at camp, I was just sure that, “when I get home, God’n I are going to be happy and together for the rest of my life.”  Then, once again, life would get in my way. And my awareness of God would fade away. Until I’d call on Him or He’d call me and we’d get together again – for awhile.

3.1/2 years ago, when I entered the rooms of Alcoholic Anonymous, I read the AA step 12 –

Having had a spiritual AWAKENING, we carry this message to others.”

Through the processes and steps of recovery, and through God revealing Jesus to me in ways I’d never dreamed, He’s brought an AWAKENING to our relationship. I finally said “I DO” to His Invitation. I discovered how deep and lasting His commitment is to me. Even at times, if not usually, in spite of me.

He’s taught me more about HOW He loves than I ever dreamed. His LOVE for ME is the base of our relationship. The experiences He brings into my life today build upon that foundation and fit glove in hand upon yesterday’s experiences. I now know and trust that tomorrow’s will fit into today’s as well.

God and I are no longer dating. He Loved me until I discovered Him. Now, I Love and Trust Him in return. I love Him Because He Loved me first!

ItReallyIsJustThatSimple 

T.B.T.#8

Thursday Mrng Reminencing

More than 7 years ago, I wrote in my journal – 

          “God, teach me to Trust U more.”

I’d been realizing for a long time that I needed and desired to have a deeper relationship with the Creator of my soul. But I had no idea how to get it. I’d tried being better. I’d tried being less bad. (Did U know there’s a difference?) I’d tried doing all the right things like praying, reading, giving, journaling, etc.etc.etc. But I just didn’t seem to be able to keep it up long enough to achieve “IT”   I kept getting distracted, busy, tired, lazy, feeling guilty!

Seven years ago tomorrow, my Mom passed away after battling cancer. Little did I know what lay ahead. I now realize that God was answering that journaled prayer in the only way I would let Him. I went (He took me?) to the deepest hole I’d ever known. 

It was THERE I found God in a way I’d had only  glimpses of in the past. I now call that place my Gift of Desperation 

It was there I finally came to a greater understanding of His Love for me. As I discovered the Depth of His Love, my response was to LOVE ‘n TRUST Him in return. 

It really is true: I Love Him Because He First Loved Me!    and    We can only Love if we have First Been Loved.  

I first posted the following in March of ’14

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2014/02/23/god-cant-love-me-look-at-me/

HIS Mysterious Ways

“Embrace Ur problem?”
“Nickname Ur problem?”
“Make friends with them?”
“Thank God for Ur problems?”
Say what?!? Yeah, it works… The name of my biggest problem was/is SIR JAMES!

U can read about him here: and here:

I don’t normally share the wisdom of others on my blog.
(hmmm, RU trying to tell me something. Lord?)
But today’s words by Sarah Young beg to be shared. I’m amazed at how it fits into some of the lessons I’ve had from God! I sure wish I’d learned it by listening to people like her instead of the way God had to teach me.
But, then, I blame SIR JAMES for that!!
Too bad he’s me!
**********

 

 

Today’s – Jesus Calling:

March 5
by Sarah Young
(boldtype mine)

 

Make friends with the problems in your life. Though many things feel random and wrong, remember that I am sovereign over everything. I can fit everything into a pattern for good, but only to the extent that you trust Me. Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I created you to be. The very same problem can become a stumbling block over which you fall, if you react with distrust and defiance. The choice is up to you, and you will have to choose many times each day whether to trust Me or defy Me.

 

The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them. This simple act opens your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties. You can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you to approach them with familiarity rather than with dread. The next step is to introduce them to Me, enabling Me to embrace them in My loving Presence. I will not necessarily remove your problems, but My wisdom is sufficient to bring good out of every one of them.

 

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

—Romans 8:28 amp

 

But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

—1 Corinthians 1:23–24


Now read this post: 

HIS Tapestry

4976tap Tapestry