By His Grace

Posts Tagged ‘righteous

As Believer’s, we obey God because He loves us and know that He wants to help us succeed in this life.   Once we realize how much He loves us, we are motivated to trust in Him.  God provides the power for us to live a godly life.

The proper response to God’s grace is right conduct.

The apostle Paul writes in Titus 2:12,

“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures.  We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God.”

I always find it intriguing how Scripture written 2000 years ago can still apply in the crazy world we live in now.  Obviously, men’s (and women’s) hearts back then are in the same shape as our hearts are today.  Our world has definitely evolved since Paul wrote this letter to Titus back in A.D. 63-66, yet we can relate to what Paul is talking about and apply it to our lives here in 2012.

Paul goes on to say in verse 13,

“while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.”

There is an excellent payoff to being a Christian and working hard at having self control and right conduct.  That payoff is the “blessed hope” of Christ’s glorious return.  I certainly look forward to it and can’t wait to hear those 3 sounds talked about in 1 Thess 4:16.  We will hear 3 sounds as Christ descends from heaven:

  1. A shout.
  2. The voice of the archangel.
  3. The trumpet of God.

Talk about a grand entrance!  God’s grace is for everyone on earth.  God desires for all people to be saved.

“For the grace of God has been revealed bringing salvation to all people.” (Titus 2:11)

None of us deserve God’s mercy and grace, but it is available to everyone because of what Christ did on the cross.  Having self-control and living a godly life involves daily devotion and committment.

The devil wants us to focus on how little we have grown spiritually.  One of the lies he tells me is, “you should be a lot further along by now Michele.”  It’s a trick to stifle my self-confidence and get me to feel guilty.  When feeling like this, I get upset with myself and I am playing right into the lie.  If I were to keep believing this lie, I become an unproductive follower of Christ.

If we want to have any kind of chance in this evil world, we need to focus instead on how far we have come!  God’s amazing grace gives us the confidence we need to live a godly life, have right conduct and the power and strength we need to accomplish any kind of right behavior.

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How did Jesus do it?  Jesus was criticized and insulted but never returned insult for insult.  The witness of Jesus tells us to return evil with good.  Be slow to anger.  Turn the other cheek.

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16)

Where do we draw the line of being insulted by another person and turning the other cheek?  When do we stand up for ourselves?  How many times can we really just turn the other cheek before saying something in our defense?

There is a person in my life that always seems to “get a jab at me” every time we have a conversation.  This is a person that I have hurt from my past actions.  This person has also hurt me.  I have truly forgiven them.  I really have.  I have asked forgiveness for my sharpness and overreaction.  I’m ready to let it go.  I AM capable of forgiveness.  I believe God has blessed me with incredible patience and the ability to forgive.  In my past, I had an ex-boyfriend who grabbed me by my hair, put a gun to my head & shoved me down into an execution type stature.  I even forgave him (and got a permanent restraining order). 

So even though I have hurt this person in my life and it may be justifiable reactions to my past behavior, they still throw an insult at me in a passive aggressive way even though I have changed my life and don’t behave in that manner anymore.  It doesn’t matter how well I am doing.  It doesn’t matter how far I’ve come, I still get that “dig” at least once every time we are around each other.  I get so upset!  I get very defensive.  I get tired of having to stick up for myself.  Yes, I insulted this person last night.  My past was being thrown in my face and in a vulgar manner.  I kept my cool at first, and then I started yelling and verbally did not behave as a Christian nor as a lady.  I asked God to forgive me.  Even though what I said back to them was all true, I did say it in a manner unbecoming.

“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)

I’m not going to blame my behavior as “just being human”.  I REALLY want to be able to control my tongue, no matter how terrible I’m being treated.  Will I ever perfect this area in my life?  I sure hope so.  I will just have to keep trying or maybe I just need to choose better friends & end this particular one.

If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7 KJV)

Jesus Christ provided us a way to have a relationship with God the Father.  Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the grave.  By believing in Him and becoming a child of God through salvation (who will enter heaven?), we have direct access to God and His blessings. 

God provided a way for Christians to come into His presence.  Prayer is the way we are able to receive what we need from Him.  If we want God to hear our prayers, we must worship Him.   God is seeking prayers from true worshippers, who will worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).  God delights in the prayer of the upright (Proverbs 15:8).

Through prayer, we can receive three things from God:

  1. Help
  2. Strength for our lives
  3. Needed guidance

What does the Bible say is the most powerful type of prayer?  How do we get the greatest results from our prayers?  John 5: 16 tells us it is an earnest prayer.   Other words for earnest are devoted, diligent and heartfelt.  We need to be earnest in our prayers.

If we want God to answer our prayers, we have to make our requests known to HimWe enter into prayer by being thankful and praising His name. (Phil. 4:6)  Start your prayer off with praising and honoring His name.  Give thanks for all He has done in  your life and all He will do in the future.  God can’t help us if we don’t ask Him.  Be specific in your prayers.  Come out and say exactly what you need and want. 

 

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13 KJV)

3 hindrances to answered prayer:

  1. iniquity (sin, wrongdoing) in our heart –
  2. doubting or wavering trust
  3. wrong motive or purpose

We should always pray in Jesus’ name and with the right motives. Remember, God knows your heart. He will know if you are sincere and what your intent is behind your request.  We should always ask forgiveness of our sins.  Be specific, if possible.  Also, believe He will answer your requests.  God doesn’t want us wavering in our trust of Him.  Don’t doubt.

Just as an earthly father or parent wants to give all they can to their children, God does too!  We are His children and wants us to prosper and be happy while on this earth.  He wants to comfort us, encourage us and uplift us.  Even though God already knows your needs, He wants us to come to Him through prayer and worship.  There is much power in prayer and worship so be diligent and do it daily!

How easy it is for us to disillusion ourselves.  We can fool ourselves into thinking just about anything.  As for myself, I could be an expert in this area of self-delusion.  If it weren’t for the Word of God, I probably would still be in this dangerous state of mind.  Our mind is the devil’s playground and he is very crafty in that he can make something we know to be wrong seem not so bad and will give us a sense of peace and contentment if we just give into the temptation.  But as our life experiences have shown, this attitude usually leads to disappointment over and over again.

Just look at the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  These people were disillusioned into thinking they were doing God’s will.  The Mayan culture believe the world will come to an end in December 2012.  And probably the most often used delusion is that “if only I were rich, then I would be happy”.  Sure, more money certainly makes our life more enjoyable and has the capacity to alleviate an enormous amount of stress, but to be truly happy doesn’t come from that one big bundle of dollars we would like to have.  In fact, that big sack of money we desire may never come to pass in this life time.  So what do we do in the meantime? Obsess over it?  Become workaholics and have our family life suffer because we are never home and just out there to make money night and day?.   There has got be more to life that that.  And I believe there is!  The answer for that is simply in Christ Jesus.

Now don’t get me wrong.  As Christians, we have to play our part in how successful or non-successful our life will be.  The tricky part is just where does that line cross from Jesus stepping into help and when we should hold back, be patient, and wait on the Lord? Have you ever felt that by waiting that you feel a sense of laziness?  Is that a delusion of what “waiting” really is or are we being obedient by His Word?  That we should be doing more to make things happen in our lives and take certain risks?  Where is the balance?  Where do we draw that line?  I too struggle with this.

I have a distant friend who helped me tremendously in getting my life back on track and away from the lifestyle of drugs and alcohol.  I envied that faith she had.  She never worried about anything.  But the thing is, the more I became privy to her personal life and the situations going on in her life, I started to wonder just how she keeps such a non-chalant way of thinking that God will take care of everything.  Is this faith?  Self-delusion? Laziness?

Let me explain, she and her husband had foreclosed on 3 different houses within 3 years and it never seemed to faze her in the least (and her parents, who were pastors, seemed to have the same pattern).  She just went through the flow of the whole legal process of foreclosure knowing God will provide them another home.  And God always did, or was that a delusion or just poor money management on their part?

I guess my question would be this……..What is our part in making things happen in our lives and what is God’s part? I would love to hear back from my readers what their opinion is on this and possible give some examples that you have experienced.

replacefear

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

I hate being afraid.  It makes me feel vulnerable and unstable. What am I afraid of?  After all, it’s not like I’m going to die by stepping out the door into the real world and interacting with people, am I?  The Bible tells us that if our God if for us, than what can be against us?  It’s all in my head.  The body’s reaction to what we think and how we feel go hand in hand.  I still don’t understand why my heart jumps a beat whenever I open my eyes in the morning.  I don’t even have a thought in my head yet and fear has set in.

I remember when I was like this in years past, before I rededicated my life to the Lord.  I went to secular recovery programs and did my best to face the unknown.  Many people in these rooms were full of fear and scared to death to venture into a life without a chemical courage to keep them strong.  I was one of them.  I was never able to stop shaking though.  People made fun of me, even though I guess they were trying to be kind in their own way (at least I took it as poking fun).  They’d say, “look at her! you’re shaking like a leaf Michele.  Are you scared of me?”  And then they’d laugh.  Actually, I was afraid.  I was clean and sober and very raw.  I mimicked a Chihuahua whose whole little body would shake for no reason, even my head and face would tremble.  It was VERY difficult to go through that without using something to calm me down.  Eventually, I was prescribed a benzo and it was a miracle drug!  At first I didn’t abuse it.  I was living in a halfway house and the house “mom” would only give me my daily dose one day at a time.  It was prescribed from a licensed psychiatrist from a well known rehab facility who helps recovering addicts.  Yah, figure that one out, right?  I managed well on them and I didn’t shake.  Then I started saving them, and taking two at a time, then three at a time—–you get the picture.  Turns out, other girls in the house found out about them and stole a whole bunch of my pills.  I was in a panic!  Now what do I do? 

Those pills sent me back out on the streets over and over again going back to the heavy stuff that was killing me.  I didn’t know how to cope with it.  I didn’t KNOW I could cope without it if I just called out to Jesus for help.  I was a Christian but I rebelled and backslid right out of high school.  I was stubborn as a bull and just didn’t want to go back to the whole church thing.  I was soooo wrong.

I know now that Jesus and God’s grace and healing is the ONLY way to overcome my fear and shaking.  I am able to do this without narcotic drugs prescribed legally or not.  It’s taken me many years to learn this.  But it DOES happen and it DID happen for me.  My recent relapse put me right back where I was 10 years ago, shaking like a leaf and afraid to leave the house.  But I had a good taste of what the Lord can do in my life.  I stayed clean for 2 years and I experienced what TRUE JOY really was!!  I found a sense of peace I never felt before.  I remember waking up with a smile on my face, not a skipped heartbeat and a sense of fear.  I use to look forward to what the Lord had for me that day and was ready to overcome and plow through whatever was put in front of me because I had the Almighty God on my side. 

So today, I am facing my fears and moving forward no matter what the world wants to throw at me.  I have a lot on my plate right now, but I will not falter today.  Today I remain strong in spite of myself.  I still have the shakes but it will subside, it will pass!  I just have to hang on and not put ANY chemicals in my system.  If I have even one drink to calm my nerves, I know it will erase all my hard work these past two weeks.  Just gotta hold on to the Truth that is written in His Word and trust in God to keep me safe and to help me along.  I will keep it simple, not overwhelm myself and TRUST, TRUST, TRUST!!

forwardthinking

“Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool displays folly.” (Proverbs 13:16)

As the new year is starting my mind is already looking toward my future and what lies ahead.  Of course, there are many circumstances that are out of my control, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have forethought and make careful plans for the days ahead.  In fact, God wants us to have foresight and I believe it pleases Him if I have an attitude of “forward thinking”.  The verse above talks of a prudent man.  Prudence simply means careful management, taking care in providing for the future.  Other words that relate to prudence are discretion, foresight and forethought.  All of these refer to the exercise of good judgment, common sense, and even caution.

My conduct in practical matters are important as well.  I am to be responsible with my money.  Living beyond my means is not a wise decision and racking up credit card bills and debt will only hinder me and cause undue stress and tension.  How will I be effective in my walk with Christ if I am constantly worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills because I spent too much on shoes or dining out?  I recently gained employment as a server at a nice restaurant.    I really like my new job but I work with other women who are constantly worried that they won’t get enough tables and someone else is getting more than they have.  Honestly, I don’t worry about it.  And do you know why?  Because of my faithful God!  I know and believe that the Lord will take care of me and He will give me the right amount of tables and the right amount of tips that He feels I need.  It’s a very freeing feeling. 

Jesus promises provision of food and clothing in Matthew 6:25-34 if we seek His Kingdom first.

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:31-34)

Careful planning and forward thinking does not include worry.   God wants us to trust Him and believe that He will take care of us.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Setting attainable goals is really important in early recovery.  By setting small goals for myself, it enabled me to stay focused on doing the right things.  Early recovery is uncomfortable and confusing.  Our thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical changes are all jumbled up at once and every one of them are elevated and to the extreme.  It’s not fun and it’s hard to handle especially when we are at our most vulnerable and very easily influenced.  Setting goals starts you off developing a new, healthy habit.

So let’s all pray for wisdom in our foresight and make plans to have a prosperous year living within our means.  Let’s all think before we act and remember that we are a witness for Christ.  Unbelievers are watching us.  Let’s let the light of Jesus shine through us for all to see.

I don’t think anything really happens by chance in my life.  I believe that God is involved with me from the biggest to the smallest detail.  I am in a constant state of awe of how God works in my life, and this is a really good place to be!  I experience joy and it is a heartfelt, in my soul, joy.  It’s a feeling that no drug could ever compete with.  I have never felt such a feeling from any substance I put in my body that can compare to what joy in the Lord feels like.  I am experiencing an overwhelming sense of contentment, that my life is finally on track, and going the course that God has wanted for me all along. 

Of course, because of my free will and terrible choices I’ve made in my past, I have had to come to this place of joy and purpose by doing it the hard way.  But that’s just me, not everyone has to go through the gutter like I did and it is my hope that anyone who reads my blog will not let it get that far.  I’ve had many a chance to turn away from a destructive lifestyle and I certainly wish that I would have sooner.  I know God certainly wanted me to but He remained faithful no matter how far “gone” I had become and I praise Him and honor His name as often as possible because of it.

This past year has been a tough year for me.  But I endured.  And I was patient.  And I cried.  And I doubted.  And I feared.  And I worried.  And I trusted.  And I remained steadfast.  And my God remained faithful and I’m still here.  I am REALLY looking forward to this new year.  This is my year.  No……..this is God’s year.  This is His.  This year I’m going to let the light of Jesus shine through me for others to see.  I want them to see what a beautiful and wonderful thing it is to have God in their life.  I want to be walking proof that the Lord can not only change you but He can COMPLETELY free you from bondage.  I don’t have to live my whole life in recovery because I have recovered.  There is a misconception in some secular recovery programs that we, as former addicts and alcoholics, will never fully recover from addiction.  We can and it is through Jesus Christ that makes this possible.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He and He alone can make us free from anything that holds us in bondage.  I am walking proof.

So nothing in my life is happening by chance.  All I have to do is keep doing the right things and be obedient to God, to keep Him first in my life and first in my thoughts.  As long as I do that, God will handle all the details.


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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