By His Grace

Posts Tagged ‘Jesus

usandthem

This post is a personal situation I’m going through and would appreciate any input from my brothers, sisters in Christ and fellow friends in recovery. 

There is a man at work who wants to pursue a friendship.  He is a manager and has been awesome with helping me have a “voice” at work during times when I was having some issues with getting more shifts, more tables, etc.  Essentially, making more money.  Because of his input to the higher ups, on my account, I have made awesome money this week.  I am grateful.  Very grateful.

Now mind you, I am not naïve.  I know that this “friendship” he wants to pursue will develop into stronger feelings.  Feelings that I am not ready for.  He knows I am a Christian.  He is not a believer.   He does not make fun of my beliefs (to my face anyway), but I have heard him scoff at the very mention of Jesus Christ and God.  He made a comment yesterday about the church crowd coming in for lunch.  He mentioned that “these people go to church and act all ‘good’ yet it’s obvious one of them is a homosexual”.  I looked at him and said, “God loves everybody.”  Someone gave him a little card about salvation, and he laughed and said “can you believe they gave this to me?”  And threw it away.  He knows how I feel about God and Jesus, and I was offended.  It hurt my feelings.  But I didn’t let him see that. 

I was contemplating getting a second job, and was very torn about this decision.  Reason being, I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot and have my current job be upset and take me off the schedule all together.  I do appreciate this man’s input and advice.  So I went to him for advice.  He knows the restaurant owners better than I do and he told me they wouldn’t like it, especially with the busy season coming.  There is always another person wanting my job.  So I decided to not go for the interview at this other restaurant.  I was up in the air about what to do.  I prayed boldly about it. 

My first thoughts are to seek God with my decision making and what choices to make.  But I wasn’t positive of what to do and thought maybe God was opening a door for me to make more money.  But I had never got a clear cut answer from God if this was His will or not.  I had to make a decision within 3 days.  So I sought other advice.  And I believe I made the right decision now by cancelling the interview.

Now back to the whole “friendship” thing.  He kept pressing me into talking about how we feel about each other.  He says I’m running away from myself.  This was my response to that comment, “I am not running away from myself.  I am very confident in who I am, but at this point of my life, I am focusing on myself.  I don’t have the emotional or mental room for others right now.”  This is the truth.  I found myself thinking too much about this man, when I should be filling my thoughts with Jesus.  I was very uncomfortable allowing an unbeliever from the opposite sex filling my thoughts.  I could tell it was wrong.  The Holy Spirit was grieving about this and I felt it. 

So today I put an end to it.  I told him we can stay work friends and that’s it.  He was very polite about it and backed off (at least for now). 

Here are my questions:usthem

  • When do we seek human advice from man when we aren’t hearing from God, especially if we need an answer within a deadline?
  • We have to work in a world of unbelievers, how dangerous is it for us to follow their advice about our careers?
  • God works through people, do you believe God also works through unbelievers to bless us?  Why do you believe this?
  • How close are we to get to an unbeliever?  Should we develop close friendships with them?
  • Should we have an attitude of “us” and “them” ?

jesus world

In the passage of Matthew 1:18-25, we read of Jesus’ birth.  I would like to stress that these verses not only speak of Mary being a virgin and with-child, but more powerfully it speaks of Mary being with-child by the works of the Holy Spirit.   Going back to the context and the time in which Jesus was born, the Jewish culture thought of the Holy Spirit of having very definite functions. 

According to the Jewish idea, the Holy Spirit was the person who brought God’s truth to man.  It is the Holy Spirit who taught men of God what to do.  The Holy Spirit taught the prophets what to say.  It was the Holy Spirit, throughout the generations and ages, that brought God’s truth to man.  So then, Jesus is the one person who brings God’s truth to men. 

To put it another way, Jesus is the one person who can tell us what God is like, and what God wants us to be.  It is in Jesus alone that we can see what God is and what man ought doveto be.  Before Jesus came into this world, the Jews only had vague ideas and quite often wrong ideas about God.  But Jesus could say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9).

In Jesus, we see the love of God, the compassion, the mercy, the seeking heart and the purity of God.  This cannot be seen by anything else in the world.  Before Jesus came into this world, man did not know what goodness really was.  In Jesus alone we see true goodness, true manhood, true obedience to the will of God.  Jesus came to tell us the truth about God and the truth about ourselves as well.

The Jews also believed that the Holy Spirit enabled men to recognize the truth once they saw it.  So it is in Jesus that men’s eyes are opened to the truth.  As humans we are usually blinded by our own ignorance.  Our minds are darkened by our sins and we go astray because of our own prejudices.  Jesus is the one who opens our eyes when  we are ready to see the truth.  Jesus is so glorious in this fact because He knows when we are ready to hear something and when we are not ready to accept something as the  truth.  He knows the perfect time to open our eyes.  Life can be quite different when Jesus teaches us how to look at things.

jesus hug

I recently started reading a book by Philip Yancey, “The Jesus I Never Knew”.  I’ve been on a search of a book that will catch my attention in the first few pages and I am happy to say I have found it.  I’ve been wanting to learn more about Jesus and have had an inner tug at the back of my thoughts recently to go back to the beginning.  Life can be so hard at times and so confusing.  I find myself slipping away from the very thing that has always kept me grounded and moving forward.   That “thing” is my relationship with Jesus and all he has done for me.  Simply reading and studying Jesus again undoubtedly brings me closer to Him but it also gives me a sense of peace and purpose in this life.

The birth of Jesus was so important that it split history into two parts.  B.C. and A. D.  When studying history we usually always see these dates Before Christ or After Death.  But Jesus isn’t just someone who changed history but he is the one who holds the secret of eternity. 

“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God,”  Jesus said in Luke 12:8 (nlt)

According to Jesus, what I think about him and how I respond will determine my destiny for all eternity.  Many of us believe that Jesus was brave, sinless and emotionally stable.  We regard him as easy to understand, physically strong and attractive, practical, warm and accepting.   In spite of how we see perceive him,  many of us who look for Jesus cannot see past our own noses.

Jesus himself, when challenged, didn’t offer airtight proofs of his identity.  It’s as if he welcomed the risk of dissection by saying, “Examine me.  Test me.   You decide”.   Jesus would drop clues here and there about who he was but he also said, after appealing to the evidence, “Blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”

The actions and behaviors of other people affected Jesus deeply:  stubbornness frustrated him, self-righteousness infuriated him, simple faith thrilled him.  Jesus seemed more emotional and spontaneous than the average person, not less.  More passionate, not less. 

Two words that could never be applied to the Jesus of the Gospels is:  boring and predictable.

Much of what I’ve written above may be directly from the book because honestly I just couldn’t figure out a way to paraphrase it to make it any better than what was already written.  So I give Philip Yancey the credit where credit it due.  Smile  It is my hope that as I read more of this wonderful book I will have more posts about “Learning Jesus”.  Thanks for reading everyone and God bless you all!

to you with love

“I want you to learn a new habit.  Try saying, ‘I trust you, Jesus’, in response to whatever happens to you.  If there is time, think about who I am in all My power and glory; ponder also the depth and breadth of My love for you.

This simple practice will help you see Me in every situation, acknowledging My sovereign control over the universe.  When you view events from this perspective — through the Light of My universal presence — fear loses its grip on you.  Adverse circumstances become growth opportunities when you affirm your trust in Me no matter what.  You receive blessings gratefully, realizing they flow directly from My hand of grace.  Your continual assertion of trusting Me will strengthen our relationship and keep you close to Me.”

excerpt from “Jesus Calling”, by Sarah Young

 

When we feel down or discouraged with life, remembering who we are in Christ helps bring us back up to a better emotional state. Here is a list of verses and reasons we can experience joy and contentment even if our emotions are telling us different today.

jesus-loves-me

Who am I in Christ?

I am Significant

  • I am raised and seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6)
  • I am the salt and light of the world (Matt. 5:16)
  • I am chosen and appointed to bear fruit (Jn. 15:16)
  • I am God’s temple (1 Cor. 3:16)
  • I am a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17)
  • I am God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
  • I can approach Christ with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3:12)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
  • I have authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:18)

I am Secure

  • I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35)
  • Christ, the hope of glory, lives in me (Col. 1:27)
  • I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)
  • I am confident that God has begun a good work in me. He will perfect it. (Phil. 1:6)
  • I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28)
  • I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8:1)

I am accepted and loved

  • I am God’s child (Jn. 1:12)
  • I am the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8)
  • I am loved with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3)
  • I am Jesus’ friend (Jn. 15:15)
  • I have been made complete in Christ (Col. 2:10)
  • I am forgiven of all my sins, the debt against me is cancelled (Col. 1:14)
  • I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)

Ever wonder what God really thinks of you?  How often have we said to ourselves, “if people really knew the real me……”?  God knowsfeel ugly the real you.  He knows your thoughts, your desires, your likes and dislikes.  He knows your past.  He knows your future.  God knows your heart!  It is in our hearts that the real you and me exist.  We may be able to say the right things or get people to believe we are one way when we are not.  But God sees our true character, the part of us that no one sees.

“Nothing in all creation can hide from Him.  Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes.  This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.”  (Hebrews 5:13 NLT)

I’ve been in situations before when no one believed me.  No matter how much I argued or tried to convince them I was telling the truth, they still thought I was lying.  This was very frustrating and in a way, I felt hurt.  This was especially true in the beginning of my sobriety.  My family and friends couldn’t trust me or believe anything that I said.  This mistrust was of my own doing, I realized that.  But I took great strength and comfort knowing that God knew the truth.  God knew my heart.   I eventually would answer back saying, “You can choose to believe me or not.  That’s your choice.  But God knows my heart and whether or not I am being truthful.”

God knows the truth about every one of us.  And yet despite all our faults and mistakes, He loves us unconditionally.  We don’t have to put on a front with God or try to convince Him we have changed.  He already knows.  When God chose us to be His children, He already knew what He was getting Himself into.  We are no surprise to Him!

God sees us as His created children.  Gen. 1:27

God sees us as humans who struggle with sin.  Rom. 7:19

God sees us as capable, loving and strong.  2 Tim. 3:7

God sees our thoughts and intentions.  1 Sam. 16:7

God sees us as valuable.  Matt. 6:26,  10:29-31

God sees our potential and possibilities.  Rev. 3:8

There are so many hurting people in this world.  I come into contact with many different kinds of individuals in my daily life.  I have noticed there is a common thread amongst most of them.  This common thread is the fact that these people are lonely.  They feel rejected.  They are broken.  They don’t like themselves and carry much guilt and anger.  If I can uplift them in any way I would tell them they would feel so much better if they could just see themselves as God sees them.  That He loves them and will never abandon them.  That God is with them constantly, even before they open their eyes in the morning, He is there for them.

“….do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

prayer

Are you in a situation or dealing with the consequences from a bad choice you made? Do you feel overwhelmed with worry and your day to day life is filled with anxiety? Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34,

“So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” (AMP)

It’s one thing to be worried about a circumstance that you have no way of changing. You’re at your wits end about something and you know you have no power to change your circumstances so you just have to roll with it and trust God to help you through it. But what about having to deal with negative consequences due to a bad decision you made?

Many people will tell you, “Well, you did this to yourself. You only have yourself to blame.” While that being true, it certainly only adds guilt on top of dread and worry. Of course we have to take responsibility for any bad choices we make, especially when dealing with an addiction. The healing process for an addict who wants to become clean and sober starts with acknowledgement that there is a problem but also taking responsibility for all the bad decisions and actions that were made in the midst of active addiction. Admitting responsibility is also vital to the healing process of guilt and condemnation.

So how do we trust God even though we know there are inevitable consequences in our near future?

  • We must repent and genuinely ask forgiveness for those sins. God doesn’t raise His hands in the air with frustration and say, “I can’t believe she did this again. Well this time I’m not forgiving her.” He will forgive us over and over again. We must believe that God has forgiven us before we can move on.
  • We must praise God in the midst of trials. Even though we may not “feel” like doing this, the Bible tells us we are to do it. By praising Him through a difficult circumstance, it will bring a feeling of peace.
  • We must thank God for all our circumstances. You’re probably asking, “How can I thank Him for something that is so awful in my life?”. First of all remember that God will bring good out of any situation (Romans 8:28).

rainbow roseGod will make all things good to those who love Him. He is able to turn any situation around for good. These forms of good can be anything from strengthening you and making you more resilient from that particular sin. He may put someone in your path that is going through a similar situation and you will be a great testimony of showing them how to go through it. It will show others your strength and faithfulness to God no matter what is going on in your life.

As a father loves his child, so does the Heavenly Father love you! Although God may be allowing you to go through a negative situation, He still loves you and His love for you will never change. God won’t love you any more than what He loves you right now and it is an uncomprehendable, amazing love He give us. He knows your pain and sees your tears (II Kings 20:5). Our heavenly Father even keeps track of our sorrows and tears,

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

I myself, am going through a trial right now. Unfortunately it is because of a poor decision I made back in August and I am suffering the consequences of that decision still but more so now. I have struggled tremendously, mentally and emotionally, because of what I did. Phil 413Satan has been trying to get to me while I am feeling down.  But I’m saying close to Christ. (Phil 4:13). Satan, you are not going to win anymore!

Just the other day I was having a bad day and I literally cried for 3 days. During those 3 days, instead of working myself into a panic attack, I prayed fervently and read my Bible. I was determined to find peace and joy. By the end of the 3rd day, I found the peace I was seeking and acceptance of the fact that God is going to be there and walk me through this. He told me there is an end to it and it won’t go on forever. He also told me, “Sometimes Michele I have to allow a devastating event to happen in your life in order to get through that thick skull of yours.” Lesson learned my Father! So I went to work on the 4th day and I had a customer tell me I look different. She proceeded to ask me if I had a new boyfriend or something because I had a “glow” about me. No I don’t have a new boyfriend. But I can tell you what was making me have that glow….it is Jesus Christ living in me and also because I just went through a 3 day cleansing of the soul which gave me renewed strength and peace.

I think it is easier to get through trials and tribulations if we look at them with a different perspective.  For example, what if the trials in our life are actually blessings of mercy and grace in disguise?(there is a lovely song, “Blessings” written by Laura Story that talks about this). Sometimes God will calm the storm, but if He doesn’t He will comfort your soul as you go through the storm. I think II Corinthians 12:9 says it best,

“Be He said to me, My grace is enough for you {sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully}; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in your weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ may rest upon me.”


A little about me........my name is Michele and I am a born-again Christian. I was saved as a teenager and graduated from a Christian high school. I am a mother of one son who is the world to me. Despite my upbringing, later in life I fell into a life of self destruction which led me down many dark paths. I am a recovering addict and alcoholic and I have a great passion for Christ and His amazing power to heal even the worst cases. I am living proof of the miracle of God's power to change your life and way of thinking. Nothing is impossible with God.

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