Grace, love and fellowship

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14

Where does the time go? The weeks seem to go faster and faster and I wonder what I got accomplished. Each day comes with a list of “to do’s” that I check off as I finish them. Most of the things I need to get done on the list are connected to some kind of interaction with somebody. Many think that being a writer means being alone in work, but not true. I have connections daily with many people through email, phone calls, meetings, coffee and more. I truly enjoy this although I also like the quiet times when I can write. It’s all good.

As we journey through life, none of us is really alone. There are people everywhere that we can have a relationship with at different levels. What makes some relationships more precious to us is the bond we have in Christ. There is an understanding, or there should be, of whose we are and how we are related to others in Christ. This includes a knowledge about grace, love and fellowship that we share. It is a powerful circle to be a part of and I am thankful.

Prayer: Lord, you are at the center of my circle and I thank you for that truth. I pray that I display your grace and love in the fellowship of those who call you Lord. May the same be true with those who do not know you. May they sense something different in me that draws them to you. Amen

Faith Tip: Be intentional in showing grace and love as you fellowship.

Seeds of Life

English: In the seed shop district of Wuhan (a...

Image via Wikipedia

 
 

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

The seed catalogues should start coming out soon, and it is always fun to think about what my husband will be planting in our garden. Seeds are not living. They need to be planted, watered and cared for to produce a living plant. There is a sort of death experienced by the seed as it left its original fruit that needed to happen for the new life to be created.

We carry a precious cargo inside of us … God. For the new life of Jesus to be shown in us, there needs to be death of the things inside of us that do not honor him. To chisel away at those things, we experience challenges that bring us closer to God. At times, we may feel defeated, but because of the treasure we carry, we always have hope.

Prayer: Dear Lord, life can be so hard at times as you well know. I pray that those experiences will create new life in me that will give you more glory and honor. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider your struggle today and what its purpose is for new life in you.

You Can Be Generous

Whole green beans in a carton.

Image via Wikipedia

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

My husband loves to garden. One year, he planted green bean seeds … about six rows of them. Now it’s just the two of us living here, so when the green beans were ready to be picked, we found that we couldn’t eat them all. So others were blessed with the harvest and it was a joy to share the beans with them.

God gives us all we need; in fact, he gives us abundance so that we can share it with others. Acknowledging the one who gives us so much, multiplies the blessings. Joining together in thanksgiving to God will increase the joy of the giver and the receiver as together they give praise to the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for all you give to me. I pray that the abundance is shared in the manner that gives you all the glory. Amen

Faith Tip: Today find your abundance and start sharing … freely and cheerfully.

God Can Do It!

Dressed up teddy bear

Image via Wikipedia

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I remember years ago when Old Kent Bank used to hold a yearly dress a bear/doll contest. I loved looking at all the creative outfits worn by the toys, and I desired to be a part of the giving to some special child. However, I did not have the gift of sewing. One day, I decided to give it a try. In one day, I made a nightgown, hat, and slippers for a bear on the sewing machine. It turned out great. I really felt I was being guided through it. The Holy Spirit took over in the task and helped me complete it. God worked wonders through my weakness.

There are many areas in life where we are weak as humans. That doesn’t mean we need to fall into those weaknesses, because we can’t help it. God’s power is the perfect fit for our weakness. He can work wonders that we know can only come from Him if we allow God to do so. The choices we make, if God honoring, will be empowered by the Spirit.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that Your grace is provided for all the wrong choices I make. You give me another chance. I pray for your power in my life today. Amen

Faith Tip: Feeling like you have an old weakness that just keeps hanging on? Today, grasp onto the power of Christ and don’t let go. He will walk you through.

God Says Yes

Bread. 8 - The rising 2

Image by Jasmic via Flickr

Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete. – 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 The Message

I remember making some homemade bread from a book I purchased that had beautiful pictures of all different kinds of loaves. There were step by step instructions including the mixing, kneading, raising and baking. The implied promise was for a beautiful loaf of bread just like in the picture. Didn’t happen. I believe I did all the steps correctly, but what came out of the oven was more like a manhole cover than loaf. It did smell good though, so I was grateful for the aromatherapy.

Life can be like that, can’t it? You think you are doing the right thing, making the right choices, and the expected implied promise of the world is that life will be free from trouble. All of us know that isn’t really true. Jesus said we would have trouble. He being the Son of God and was perfect had trouble, why wouldn’t we?

We do have a guarantee with God. It is “a sure thing” when we are in Christ that we will have eternal life. Nothing in this life will come between us and God and the fulfillment of that promise.

Prayer: Jesus, I thank you that our future is guaranteed with you because of your sacrifice on the cross. I pray that I can be mindful of the gift you have given, and open to sharing with others who need to hear the story. Amen

Faith Tip: Think about the promises you depend on in this life and contrast them to the promise you have in Christ. Which one do you serve more?

Living with Risk

Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of F...

Image by epSos.de via Flickr

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14

Seeing children at school once again in the fall is always a fun time for me. It’s amazing how much they grow from one year to the next. I love to hear what they did during the summer and what they like about school so far this year. I also find it amazing how well all the students seem to get along and actually spur one another on to do good and achieve more. They genuinely seem to care about one another. It’s a gift they give to one another.

We as Christians also have the opportunity to enjoy the gifts that God has given us in grace, love and fellowship. These are not gifts to put away to keep safe, but gifts we use every day with vulnerability. There is a risk in actively living grace, love and fellowship with one another. But it is a risk well worth taking for if we didn’t, we would not know the true richness of being one with Christ. The human experience is full of ups and downs where our hearts are bruised, but the beauty comes from the overall experience of living as Christ. He is the one who heals and strengthens us for his higher calling.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for the calling you have on my life. The challenges I have experienced have made me stronger and more able to serve where you have called me. I pray that I follow you closely each day knowing you are always there with me. Amen

Faith Tip: Be vulnerable today in living out grace, love and fellowship. You are blessed to be a blessing.

God of comfort and compassion

Friends catching up

Image by InspirationDC via Flickr

“[Praise to the God of All Comfort] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

To be understood is to be given a great gift. We all have different life experiences, but when we run into someone who has been through a similar experience we have, there is an instant connection. You both feel understood.

God being the author of our lives allows us to connect with those on similar paths so that we can be understood as well as give understanding. Compassion and comfort are offered, and it’s the perfect kind because someone who’s been through our type of situation is sensitive to our needs and seems to know how to minister to us in a powerful way. It’s all from the hand of God.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful gift of compassion and comfort. You empower your people to display your love to others in wonderful ways. I pray that I can be sensitive to those you connect me with and attune to their needs. Amen.

Faith Tip: When you hear of someone struggling, see if you have a common experience that you can understand their challenges and minister to them in Christ’s name. If you don’t, then just let them know you care and desire to help them.