Grace is instantaneous. When we repent and ask God to forgive us, He doesn't have to mull it over. He doesn't decide if we are worthy, He simply says "Forgiven."
We hurt people. People hurt us. Christ gave us the perfect example of how to love and especially, how to forgive.
It's not enough to just "love" like Jesus. That Love includes forgiving like Jesus to0.
From my heart to yours, Mia
Today in my reading of Acts chapter 7, I was overwhelmed with the certainty that there is always uncertainty, but heaven for those who believe is guaranteed.
Stephen, a disciple of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, who was full of grace, power and wisdom listened the Lord and obeyed the call to preach the gospel. It says in Acts 6:10 that many people who argued against the Gospel of Jesus Christ could not handle his wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke from. So what do they do, they make up lies about him.
Stephen did not stop, He was obedient to God's call. He spoke before the High Priest and gave a full account and testimony that Jesus was and is who He said He was. This infuriated the people. So they took him out to be stoned. At this, Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit looks up to the heavens and he sees the glory of God. He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He saw it with his own eyes and he testified to it.
Still, the people did not want t0 hear it. In their stubbornness, they covered their ears and attacked him. They stoned him. They killed him. As Stephen took his last breath, his heart was for the redemption of God's people saying "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." At that, he fell asleep.
Stephen's desire was that all would come to a saving relationship through Jesus Christ so that even in the uncertainty, they would know the certainty of who Jesus Christ was and be guaranteed eternal life in heaven. One might say, Stephen's obedience didn't end well for him that day. His obedience did not make life go more smoothly. His obedience did not make the pain and suffering end. His obedience cost him his life. But he gave it freely so that others might know Jesus.
Friends, my husband and I are in a season of not knowing what the future holds. But, we are also in a season of hearing God very clearly directing us. Hand in hand we are walking it out together. We have peace, we have joy, but we also have a ton of unanswered questions and a boat load of uncertainty. Yet, we know that God is calling.
So I find comfort. Yes, comfort from this story. I know that as we follow in obedience there are no guarantees that everything is going to fall into place quickly or easily. We may loose "stuff." We may even loose some relationships, opportunities and even the certainty and comfort we have become so accustomed to.
But, this I know, of this I am certain, difficult times may be ahead. Like the example of Stephen, even when it's all crashing down, I want to be able to lift my eyes to the heavens and know that my Savior is standing at the right hand of God. I can trust that even in the certainty of our uncertainty, he guarantees us life eternal with Him.
Trust and obey. Trust and obey. Trust and obey.
There is still a voice in my head that has to speak to the little girl inside of me and remind her that she is not an accident, that she is not abandoned, that she is seen and loved.
There are times when those emotions get stirred up more than others and this past weekend was one of them. Conversations that I have never had before with people about my past... good conversations, but still difficult to understand, brought back questions that I thought I had resolved and new questions that I never imagined to ask.
As I sat with these new thoughts, I found the tears rolling down my face were really the only means to communicate my heart to the Lord. They shared with God what my words would have only fumbled through. And He heard me. He comforted me.
The pain and the sting isn't quite gone, but that's okay because through it I am able to hear a voice that is louder than my doubts. I can still hear the voice of God.
I have been struggling the last few weeks in leading a particular worship song at my events. I even told my husband "I am trashing this song because I just can't seem to get it right."
But, through this momentary trial, I know that now, as I sing this song, I will be singing it from a place that I would not have sung it before. I will be singing and leading from a place that has struggled, is struggling, yet still stands confidently in what God says about me.
"I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who He says I am"
I'm taking THAT thought captive and standing on the promises of God. "He is for me, not against me."
My friends, He is for YOU too. If you, like me, at times feel forgotten, abandoned and alone, can I just encourage you to cry out to God... scream out to Him... ask Him to remind you, by any means necessary, that you are loved.
God has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation. The message that in Christ, His death and ressurection, God was reconciling the world to Himself. We are entrusted to share this message, this ministry of reconciliation with the world. Because of that, we are Ambassadors for God. Sent by God and under His authority, we speak on behalf of Christ for people to know of His grace and forgiveness.
How's that going for you? When I read this passage from 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, I first looked at myself and asked myself this same question (ouch.) Am I recognizing my call as an ambassador? My heart then turned to people I meet and I prayed that they too would recognize their call as well.
May we all acknowledge that the call to do this is not answered in the fact that we are on a stage, holding a microphone, have thousands of followers, a title or a huge platform. The call is answered in the fact that we recognize that we are new creations, the Spirit of God has done an internal work in us and the old is gone.
Because of that, the people we are surrounded by... our neighbors (who is your neighbor?) your friends, your co-workers, your children, your family, those sitting in the homeless shelter and food kitchens in need of food, they are the ones we are to speak to on behalf of Christ. We get to show them by our love, our deeds and our words God's grace and forgiveness that comes through Christ Jesus.
I have a friend who is a comedian. She tells jokes and does stand up comedy. I am blown away every time I see her, because the comedy and the laughter she brings has been a powerful door for her to step into peoples lives with the message of reconciliation and she speaks it boldly.
Me, I like to sing songs. But, the songs are simply a door for me, a vehicle that I use to travel SO THAT I can bring a message of reconciliation. It's a means to an end.
Maybe you have a talent to bake, to write a letter, to listen, to draw, to talk, to clean, to organize, to direct...I could go on. Whatever it is, I pray that you use it where you are for the glory of God as a part of the ministry of reconciliation.
And for that, we don't need a microphone, a stage or any followers. We just get to be... for the glory of God.
Remember our calling in not fulfilled by having a mic in our hands. It's fulfilled by having open hands, empty and ready to do what God commands.
Love you in the Lord- Mia
I met a man yesterday who was very good at his job. He was knowledgeable, friendly and could answer all my questions that I had when I came to get service from their business. I love when people do their job well, whatever job it is, glamorous or not. I know on several occasions places like McDonalds get a bad wrap, but when I have gone there and people do their job well I am always pleased.
But yesterday, this worker seemed to want to let me and several other people know that he wasn't JUST a front office worker, he felt the need to let me know that he had multiple houses, lots of stuff to put in said houses, several Mac computers and how much he paid for them, 4 iPhones...and the list went on. Honestly, I don't know how we even got there!
I'm not sure if it was to impress me and his new co-workers, but it was very clear that he wanted to boast about all his "stuff." But here is the thing, the more he boasted, the more distracted I was, the more unimpressed I became, the more I couldn't wait till the job I came in for was done and I could go home.
Too often, we (I'm putting myself in this category) feel the need to list the things we have, the accomplishments we have attained, how hectic our lives are all in an attempt to maybe make ourselves feel better as we compare our lives to those around us. What the heck-it's crazy, right? Or we think our jobs aren't as great as others, we think everyone else is looking down at us and judging what we don't have, so we puff up our chests creating an environment where it's hard to breath... do we dare exhale and let people see us as we are?
People, I am so over it. I'm not impressed. The fancy job titles, the exstensive list of "ministries" one is a part of, the perfect house, the latest phone... It doesn't impress me. Does it impress you? Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with these things, but when we allow them to dictate our worth as humans, it's nauseating.
I have been stuck in 1 Corinthians to the point of tears. I tried to turn the page and God just said, "Sit here, with me." So I did.
"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'” 1 Corinthians 1:26-30
The only boasting that is of any value is boasting in the Lord. It's not about our titles, where we drive off to each day, how much money we bring home, it's about being willing to speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ, dare I say the Gospel of Love to those around us. There is no need for lights, no need for a microphone, just a surrendered heart that is willing to know NOTHING except Jesus Christ and Him crucified and is willing to speak that truth even if one speaks it with trembling and fear because they are enabled to do so by the power of God.
"And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power." - 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
SIMPLY, SPEAK - Don't hesitate
If you want to add a ministry to your "job title" how about this? Add the ministry of simply loving people. My friends, I love you in the Lord! And more importantly, He Loves You and sent His son, Jesus, to die so that you could live in Love eternally.
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.