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Transformation

New BeginningsWe are so blessed!  We are filled with “the surpassing riches of God’s grace” in His kindness to us (Ephesians 2:7). God loves us. When we turn around and love God and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are given an incredible gift.

1 Corinthians 15:51-57 tells of this gift:

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have the incredible blessing of receiving this gift, but also the important responsibility of sharing this gift with others. The Advent season begins this Sunday. We are remembering Christ’s birth and anticipating His Second Coming.  Share this wonderful news with others around you, so they too, may enjoy the blessing of being transformed through God’s grace.

Enjoying God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye

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Forever Grateful for God’s Call

What an incredible blessing of assurance – we HAVE the Holy Spirit at work within us, fighting for us, keeping us from temptation, helping us understand God’s word and helping us to discern truth from evil.

I have been reading I John 4:1-6 this week. At the beginning of the week I was concentrating more on how we can see false prophets by testing the spirits to see whether they were confessing that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and is from God. But I had a problem with that because in James 2 it say, “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” So if it is just stating the words it wasn’t enough. So I realized the implied part is that this is GENUINE, heart-convicting and changing confession, not just saying the words.

I had some time today so I listened to John Piper’s message on Test the Spirits to See Whether They are of God, and I received some great insights into this passage that I want to share. http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/test-the-spirits-to-see-whether-they-are-of-god

This isn’t just about discerning false prophets, but seeing who is a true believer/child of God. Verse 2 says we must hear them genuinely confess with their mouths and in their hearts, that Jesus Christ is LORD. Verse 6 encourages us to test people by seeing how receptive they are to allow sincere and truthful words to go into their heart.

Not one of us will hear the message of Christ’s salvation unless the Holy Spirit softens our heart and opens our ears to hear.  Not one of us will confess – sincerely and genuinely – from the heart that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh unless the Holy Spirit prepares our hearts and humbles us to accept the free gift of God’s grace through Jesus Christ, our LORD.

What a blessing to know that God loves us so much He calls us to Him. He gifts us with the Holy Spirit to work in us so that we can hear God’s call and receive His grace. I like how Piper concluded, “If this type of listening and confessing could be explained any other way, they would not be sure signs of the Spirit’s presence and power at work in us.”

Thinking of all this reminds me of the song – I’m Forever Grateful © 1985 Mark Altrogge.

You did not wait for me, to drawn near to You,

but You clothed Yourself with frail humanity.

You did not wait for me to cry out to You,

but You let me hear Your voice calling me.

And I’m forever grateful to You.

I’m forever grateful for the cross.

I’m forever grateful to You,

that You came to seek and save the lost.

What a wonderful blessing to know that God is at work in us so we can hear His invitation to come and worship Him, believe in Jesus Christ our Savior. What a great reminder of a way to pray for those who haven’t heard – that God will soften their hearts and open their ears to hear the words of TRUTH.

Enjoying the wonderful truth of the Holy Spirit’s continuing work in me and you 😉

God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye

Love One Another

Love – what a simple and precious word. 

What a blessing to have been in the fellowship of believers yesterday. I say that mostly from hindsight. I started the day so tired, the cold weather affecting my body with fatigue. I was on the worship team and usually have an increased energy that only comes from the Holy Spirit, but yesterday I was drained. I was grateful we had planned another leader and the pastor to take the majority of the service, because I couldn’t get my mind out of the Fibro fog. Yet I ended leaving the church filled with the blessed love of God’s grace given to me by others.

When love happens in the framework of Christians, an amazing thing happens. God’s presence flows from one person to another. It may be with a look, a hug, laughter, or tears. Encouragement comes from people who are listening through God’s ears. Even people that we don’t always get along with, that we’ve had major disagreements with, can be seen through the eyes of love. Because as a Christian, we are looking at others through Christ’s eyes of compassion.

1 John 3:11 & 12 (NLT) says, “This is the message you  have heard from the beginning:  We should love one another.” My first thoughts were,  “I agree. Love One Another. Good words.” Then I read vs. 12 – “We must not be like Cain, who belonged, to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous.” I found myself thinking, “I’ve never killed anyone. So this doesn’t apply to me.” WRONG! Ok, I’ve never physically taken someone’s life, but how often have I struggled with my temper, anger, or a desire to get revenge. I have caused pain to others by what I’ve said or done. I’ve torn hearts apart by not looking at someone with the eyes of God’s love.

I have a card I keep posted in my office. I wish I would remember these verses more often:

Perfect Harmony

“You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the LORD forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”  Colossians 3:13-15 NLT

Living in Harmony

I was recently out taking photos of the changing leaves. I came across a park where the differences of colors blended and added a beauty that seemed to enhance the other trees in the area. As I reflected on yesterday morning’s blessed friendships with other believers, I realized that’s what I was seeing in my fellow Christians. When we are reflecting God’s love to someone, we help God’s love shine through them to us as well. We live in a harmony of colors.

One of the best things that happened yesterday was seeing how God has been at work in a relationship where there was hurt in the past. Once we opened our hearts to forgiving each other, God poured out His love and grace on us. We have been able to encourage each other and laugh with each other.

Love One Another – three simple words with such important meaning.

Praising God for His blessings from my sisters and brothers in Christ ~ Faye

The Transforming Process

I talked yesterday about being transformed at Christ’s return and in our daily walk with God. This morning I was challenged with a situation where my attitude needed to be transformed by God because anger, bitterness, frustration were some of the things that were taking control. God’s timing is always perfect – this morning  was no exception when I was reading 1 John 3:4-8. John talks about being pure when God dwells in us and being sinners when we let Satan have a foothold. I definitely needed to have some transforming work done on my attitude.

My husband’s hobby is blacksmithing. He’s shared with me the process that happens to form metal through fire.  Iron and steel can be formed into something when they are really hot. First he has to have something in mind and creates a design.  Whatever he makes, it is always a one-of-a kind object, even when it’s laid over a pattern.  Then he has to prepare the fire. He adds the coal, cleans out the clinkers that won’t burn, and uses the blower to breathe oxygen into the fire to bring it to the temperature he needs.  He watches the flames as they change color and knows by that color when the fire is at the temperature he needs for the type of metal he is using.

Next he puts the metal into the depth of the fire. He also watches the color of the metal to tell when it is ready to be worked. Once the metal reaches the temperature he wants, he takes it out of the fire and puts it on the anvil, but that doesn’t shape the metal alone. Only when he lifts the hammer and starts to pound does the metal begin to give way to the shape it’s intended to be. But a blacksmith doesn’t just bang away at the metal. It is often a very gentle and intentional strike of the hammer to create the desired effect. After the initial hammer blows, slag begins to flake off of the metal.

What happens next is often like our walk with Christ, the iron being out of the fire begins to get cold and won’t form easily. The blacksmith can actually hear, as well as feel, the change in the temperature of the hammer’s ring on the metal and anvil as the metal cools. So he puts the iron back into the fire to heat it to the color needed then brings the iron to the anvil and hammer again. This process is repeated many times before the desired shape occurs. After the forming process, the remaining slag is brushed off. The metal is set aside to cool, or is quenched to cool more quickly. Depending on the use of the formed metal, a wax coating may be added after it is allowed to cool and then rubbed in to bring out the color of the steel and bring a soft luster to the finish.

The blacksmithing process reminds me of what God does daily in our lives to transform us to be like Him. It’s a long process and it’s not easy, it takes work, fortunately He is patient. Often God takes us to the heat of the fire. He’s always there watching the heat of the fire and the metal to make sure it’s just enough and not too much. Then He begins the process of gently shaping us by the pounding of the hammer. As we are gradually shaped into what He desires us to be, He has to regularly brush the remaining slag off. He inspects us to see how we are growing to be like Him. Occasionally He has to quickly cool us off so we don’t become too brittle if we are too hot.

What a wonderful heavenly Father we have who lovingly takes us through the fire, but won’t let us be consumed. He molds, forms and shapes us to what He wants us to be. How much more quickly it would happen if we would willingly surrender to His molding hands.

God’s abundant blessings come from Isaiah 43:1-3a as an encouragement as well as Psalm 139:13-14

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the One who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Celebrating God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye

Why Be Persistent in Prayer?

I love it when God answers prayers. I really love it when God answers prayers in ways I never expected or imagined!

I saw a glimpse of His working in someone’s life today and was so blessed.  This person has struggled with being hurt and angry and unable to forgive the callous acts of some people. From my perspective, I’d say the person was definitely justified by their reactions after being falsely accused of misdeeds. But I saw first hand God’s grace and peace working through that person as they were kind, compassionate and caring to some of the individuals who had  spread lies and rumors about them. The incredible thing is this person is not a professing Christian. God was answering my prayers for this person’s life, and they were seemingly oblivious to them. Fortunately, God wasn’t.

How often have I prayed for this person? Almost every day for the past several years. Have I seen God answering those prayers for opportunities to share my faith, witness that person be changed and transformed by the saving grace of Christ – not yet. Some days it seems so strange to continue to pray for them when God doesn’t seem to allow them to hear His call. But God is so good. When I least expected it, basically while the person was in the very presence of his enemies, God blew me away by the transformation I saw in this person. The person volunteered to be of assistance in the future if needed, answered questions to help the individuals proceed, and best of all, left the meeting calm and filled with a peace that they would not normally have had given the circumstances. Even more surprising, I was there as a friend and hadn’t spent time specifically praying for the meeting today, yet God answered previous prayers for healing and blessed several people.

Psalm 77:11-14 says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your might deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples.”

I’m praying and hoping I remember this day of the LORD’s deeds for I saw His transforming power. It has given me renewed courage and strength to continually pray for this person’s faith and relationship with God.  It has encouraged me to continue to pray for a wayward loved one. Everything is in God’s timing, not mine. Even though I don’t see an answer to my prayers right away, God hears them, and in His perfect time, He will answer the prayers of a persistent heart. I encourage you to think about God’s deeds in your life from today and in the past. Write down a few of them. Share them with others to encourage them in their walk of faith. Tell your children of the ways God has blessed you. Help others remember the mighty deeds of the LORD.

God’s richest blessings ~ Faye

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