Category Archives: God’s Grace

Incredibly Blessed

I don’t have a lot to say today. I’d like to share how I experienced abundant blessings from God Friday after a beautiful snowfall during the night. I was up early and reflecting on Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than ALL we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout  all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.”

I dressed warm, grabbed my camera and headed outdoors right at sunrise. It was pristene white, peaceful, and quiet. God blessed me with His beautiful creation. I saw eagles closer than I’ve been to them before in the wild. I’ve been praising God all weekend for the way He blesses us over and over again with the beautiful from His creative hands.

I pray you will be blessed by these photos as well. I especially pray that you will be able to see the beauty of God’s love and grace all around you ~ Faye

Guilt vs. Grace

I was in a discussion recently about worrying, feeling guilty and God’s grace.  Sometimes we can drive ourselves nuts by worrying about how we raised our kids, or whether we said the right thing to someone, or doing what we should be doing day to day.  I tend to think women definitely fall into this pattern of worrying if they are “being or doing enough.”

Romans 5:1-2a

God’s word is full of reminders of His abundant grace and love. Yet we allow Satan to grow the seed of doubt in us. We let it fester and feed us to the point where we worry about what we are doing, are we good enough?  We forget – it’s not about us – it is about God’s Grace!

Sin ruins our lives. Our relationships suffer. Our health declines. It robs us of our happiness. It steals our peace and joy.  God gives us a way to put the past in the past and experience the incredible blessing of His love and grace. We simply have to believe and receive. We can’t do enough, be enough, say enough. We just have to open our hearts to be washed clean with His amazing grace. We need to quit looking at the past sins and mistakes and KNOW God has washed us clean with His grace. When we hold onto that baggage of guilt, we negate the gift God freely gives us.  And we lose out on the gift of PEACE that comes from walking hand in hand in God’s love and being filled with His grace.

Bask fully in the love and grace God lavishes on you ~ Faye

Linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory

Filtered Through the Blood of Christ

I last wrote about us being masterpieces made by God. Then I got to thinking about the old analogy:

When we look at the back of the work of art, we see all the knots and paths to get to the next color area. However, God sees the entire piece from the front and sees the beauty and value. We can easily compare that to our lives. The back shows the imperfections and sins in us. Yet God, knowing we are sinners, still sees us as beautiful, priceless masterpieces. He looks at us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ dying on the cross. He sees the individual He created. He sees our inner beauty. He sees our value. He sees very clearly the plans He has for us.

I think we wonder how God can look at us as perfect masterpieces. How can He see selfish, sinful, imperfect people as precious, valued and prize? God uses the filter of the blood of Jesus Christ to look at us.

Here’s an example of what a filter can do. In photography, and particularly in Photoshop, one can use different filters to change a perspective. This is a photo of something I took that is common, but I applied a chrome filter to it:

When looked at, most people say they see water or ice, but they don’t come anywhere close to what the actual object is.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, it means Jesus died in our place on the cross. When God looks at us, He no longer sees the imperfections and sins. God sees us through the filter of Jesus’ blood. Our sins and imperfections can’t show up through the “blood filter”, and God sees us as perfect as He is.

Ephesians 3:12 says that through Jesus we have confident, bold access to God. We are encouraged to approach the Father confidently and boldly because in His eyes we are perfect. We no longer bear the evidence of sin or imperfections before His eyes. Why? Because we act perfectly and do what is right all the time? No way! Because God sees us through Jesus’ “blood-filter” which has made us perfect us forever.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. – 1 John 1:9

We used Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 23, Q&A 60 this Sunday –

How are you right with God?

Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.  Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.

Praying you will be blessed with the knowledge that through the blood of Jesus Christ, you are made perfect ~ Faye

Here is the original photo I took:

Linked to Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory

God’s Masterpiece

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.  – Ephesians 2:10

 I enjoy cross-stitching and felt the need to take on two very time-consuming Christmas stockings out of love for my precious granddaughters. I finished one in 2010 for the youngest who lives in the same town with us. But then knowing the time it took to prepare the first , I had a hard time beginning the next. It sat in the drawer for over a year. I came up with several excuses – lighting, dry eyes, sore hands, etc. But not having both stockings to hang this year bothered me, so I recently took the other one out to work on for Christmas 2012. Looking at it, most people see a very beautiful work of art. But I can focus on the mistakes so quickly. I can see where I miscounted, where my stitches go in the wrong direction, where the bridge has extra stitches or the house isn’t perfectly symmetrical. But my granddaughter just sees the snowman, birds, kids playing and the doggy, and of course, the presents inside ;-). God doesn’t say you are an imperfect work of art. He calls us masterpieces. Masterpieces are priceless. We need to see ourselves as God sees us.

I am not comparing myself to God, but I’m thinking as the creator of these stockings of the time, dedication, poked fingers, frustration at thread not cooperating, and other things and yet there is pride in the beauty of the work once it is done because it was prepared in love for the girls I love.

God is the Creator of each one of us. He knows we are imperfect. He knows we have blemishes, flaws, and we make mistakes. Even when we intentionally turn our backs on Him or don’t listen to Him, He loves us unconditionally.

Many years ago Sandi Patty sang a song – Masterpiece

Before you had a name or opened up your eyes
or anyone could recognize your face.
You were being formed so delicate in size
secluded in God’s safe and hidden place.
With your little tiny hands and little tiny feet
and little eyes that shimmer like a pearl
He breathed in you a song and to make it all complete
He brought the masterpiece into the world.
 
You are a masterpiece
A new creation He has formed
And you’re as soft and fresh as a snowy winter morn
And I’m so glad that God has given you to me
Little Lamb of God, you are a masterpiece.
 
And now you’re growing up your life’s a miracle
every time I look at you I stand in awe
Because I see in you a reflection of me
and you’ll always be my little lamb from God
And as your life goes on each day how I pray that you will see
Just how much your life has meant to me.
And I’m so proud of you what else is there to say?
Just be the masterpiece He created you to be.

Performed by: Sandi Patti – Composed by: Gloria Gaither, Graig Patty, Michael Patty, and Brent Henderson – Copyright 1989

We are all created as God’s handiwork, His workmanship. If I can take pride in a simple Christmas stocking, how much more does God pleasure in the beauty and individuality He has made in each one of us, His children.

Praising God He made me who I am. Praying you will celebrate the new creation He has made in you ~ Faye

Linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory

Trials Brings Joy & Hope

Rejoicing in our Trials

I have a young friend who has lived with painful health issues for many years. This person has taught and encouraged me by their reliance on God through the sufferings endured.  Bible verses that provide encouragement and a goal for this person are James 1:2-4:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The testimony of this quiet, young person is very powerful because through the suffering endured / persevered the depth of maturity in their faith has been an inspiration to me. There is an inner joy and peace. There is a quiet, gentle spirit that flows from the heart of this person.

This morning God reminded me of a photo and verse I have by my bedside to encourage me. (Funny how something can be right next to you for a long time and pretty soon you don’t see it.)

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – Romans 5:3-8 

How many times do we feel incredibly helpless, and worse hopeless? How often do we let life overwhelm us? As believers in Christ we are told life will be filled with trials of many kinds. Life won’t always go the way we want it to. We should anticipate them, but we often can’t plan for the events. However, as one study said, we can be prepared for them when they occur by being rooted and grounded in God’s word. We need to remember that God is in control and as Ephesians 2:8-10 says

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

When trials happen, we should look for ways to see God at work in our lives bringing a maturity to our faith. And in the blessing of our maturing faith, we will become filled with the confident hope we have through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I’m not sure what God has in mind for me – thinking of this friend, being reminded of all these verses in 5 days, but focusing on the joy-filled life through Christ has been a blessing to my heart. And being rooted and established firmly in His word fills me with hope.

I pray that you are filled abundantly with the hope-filled joy given through God’s grace ~ Faye

I’m linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory’s Brag on God

Blessings of Encouragement and Grace

Enjoying God's Overflowing Blessings

Many years ago I went on a service trip with our church youth group to Neon, Kentucky. My RA had been diagnosed the previous year and meds were keeping things relatively under control. However, if I did anything strenuous my body paid for it the next day.  One of our side activities was a 3/4 mile hike to Bad Branch Waterfall.  I wanted to go because I love waterfalls.  I enjoy being with the teens so much. So, even though I knew I would pay for it, I went. 

Several of the group were encouraged to go ahead of me since I couldn’t keep up their pace. But about five, if I remember correctly, said they’d walk with me. One young, sturdy-built young man even said if I couldn’t make it, he’d be willing to carry me. So our little group hiked for over tree roots, down gulleys, and up inclines. There were times I was leaning on my cane to step down or pushing with my cane to get me up the hill. Never once did “my team” let me down or complain at the pace. They were the ones encouraging me to press on, even when I’d stop for a breather. We made it to the waterfall after one last steep incline. The rest of our group was climbing the rocks and messing around in the water.  When they saw I had made it, there was an enthusiastic shout, “Faye!”

My heart melted in gratitude. I can’t tell you how much encouragement can motivate someone, but I can tell you, that day the love, support, and kindness I felt from these precious young people encouraged me to go forward, keep trying to get to the destination, and not give up.

At that moment nothing felt better than standing under the cold waterfall. The water cascading to cool my sweaty body. But even more was my gratitude to God for the ability to make it to the waterfall and the loving kindness He blessed me with in “my team” of encouragers.

We all are blessed with encouragers in life.  Some are obvious, often parents, spouses, and friends. Some we have to look at little more closely to see.  Paul tells us we have the best encourager of all – God.

How abundant is His love for us! Ephesians 1:6-8

So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God showers us with His grace and kindness. He fills us with all wisdom and understanding. Through His love He encourages to press on in life and through the difficulties. Through the gift of His Son, He showers us with His abundant mercy and grace.

Enjoy the overflowing blessing of God’s grace in your lives ~ Faye

Valued, Precious and Prized

I’m starting a 12-week Bible study on Ephesians today along with thousands of other women associated with Good Morning Girls  so I’m thinking there will be a few posts about Ephesians in the coming days. Today we looked at Chapter 1:1-4.

What a precious letter from Paul. He knows he is chosen directly by God to do God’s work of telling others of the unconditional and amazing love of Jesus Christ. You likely remember the Saul/Paul life-changing transformation at Damascus when God struck Saul, the persecutor of Christians, and over time, changed his heart to Paul, the lover of God. Paul knew he was chosen by God.

Blessed with Every Spiritual BlessingHis words in Ephesians 1:3 sing praises to God. First, because He is the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ. Second, because He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. We are chosen for salvation, adopted as His children, cleansed and forgiven, filled with the Holy Spirit who counsels and guides us in God’s will, and gives us the assurance of the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life with Christ.

There are days when we get down. Life hands us one difficulty after another. One person faces cancer, then medications cause difficult side effects and radiation needs to begin. Someone is unemployed and the temp job is calling others to work and not them. Another is dealing with her parent’s health, their own health issues, preparing for a wedding, while adjusting to financial stressors. Sometimes it’s just the bad cold that hits when you need all your physical and mental abilities to get through the day. It’s at those times that God can often seem very far away.

What really struck me from verse four  was that God loved us and chose us before He made the world. In my systematical thinking, that just doesn’t seem possible. It seems He would have made the universe, stepping through the days of creation and on day six He would start thinking of man, and knowing him. But He had a beautiful masterpiece all planned from the beginning that He alone could see how it all interweaved together.  I know Psalm 139 tells us He knew us before we were formed.  But I was really blessed with the thought that even before He created anything else in this universe, He loved and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.

There’s a song that tells how important we are to God – If I Could Look Through Your Eyes © 1989 Greg Gerguson

If I could look through Your eyes,

I’d see there’s no way to impress You, and I wouldn’t even try;

I’d stop tryin’ to prove I’m worthy, and I’d take off the disguise,

if I could look through Your eyes.

And I would see that I’m precious, I would know that I’m prized;

I’d know Your love never changes, if I could look through Your eyes.

If I saw my value to You,

I’d see Your love for me remains despite the foolish things I do;

and I’d see Your love for what it is: unshakeable and true,

if I saw my value to You.

And I would see that I’m precious, I would know that I’m prized;

I’d know Your love never changes, if I could look through Your eyes.

I want to see what You see – I want to recognize the treasured prize You say You see in me;

I want to give up tryin’ to earn the love You’re offering for free – I want to see what You see.

Lord, help me look through Your eyes.

Praise God for the abundant blessing of being loved and chosen by Him ~ Faye

Whiter than Snow

I’ve been reading the book of Judges recently. I’ve been amazed at how gracious and compassionate our LORD is. The Israelites followed God, then turned away from Him and worship idols. This cycle repeats itself continually throughout Judges, and for that matter throughout the Bible. We look back and wonder why in the world would the Israelites continue to turn from God and the amazing things (miracles of protection and guidance) He has done for them. They turn to idols. They focus on material things. They seek their own pleasures. How fickle can they be? How ungrateful can they be?

And then ‒

I look at myself.  I’ll start the morning, even before getting out of bed: praising God for a new day, thanking Him that I belong to Him, asking Him to guide my footsteps, devoting my time to Him. Just a little while later, I’ll get impatient, upset, or frustrated when someone offends me or doesn’t do what I think they should. I’ll take control of my life, and do what I want to do. I’ll waste God’s precious time looking at whatever on the Internet or watching TV. I forget the promptings from God and do what I want. I’ll forget all the blessings He has bestowed on me and become self-centered once again. I am just like the Israelites. It is a daily pattern! I know better ‒ just like the Israelites did.

Psalm 103:8-10 says, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

I’m so grateful God is abundantly generous and patient with me. There’s an old song based on Psalm 51:7 that has been in my head since we’ve had our first measurable snowfall:

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
 
Lord Jesus, look down from Your throne in the skies
And help me to make a complete sacrifice.
I give up myself and whatever I know
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
 
Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat;
I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet.
By faith, for my cleansing I see Your blood flow
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
 
Lord Jesus, before You I patiently wait;
Come now and within me a new heart create.
To those who have sought You, You never said “No”
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
 
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.          

              ©James L. Nicholson, Public Domain

 I’m so grateful and blessed that He is so willing to pour out His love and grace. “Come, now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18

Enjoy the blessings of God’s abundant grace ~ Faye

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