Split in Two

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Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wished you could be in two places at one time? I remember when my children were little and I had to go to work for a year, I thought I would die. Taking care of my children was the only thing I ever wanted to do and when a second income was temporarily needed, I did what I had to do; but every day I desired to be home with them while I was in the office. I simply could not be in two places at one time.

This past week proposed to be a huge challenge for me and all I could do was cry out, “I need two of me right now.” Ever felt that way?

I remember watching the movie, A Walk to Remember with my daughter years ago. The female, Jamie said to Landon, the man who ultimately fell in love with her, that she had a wish list and of all the things she hoped for to do in her life, one was to be in two places at once. One memorable date had Landon taking Jamie to the state line. He excitedly positioned her on the line in just the right way, and when Jamie asked him what he was doing he tells her “You’re in two places at once”.

Life isn’t that simple though. We have so much tugging at us all of the time. People are demanding things, families are asking for help, friends are in need of assistance and jobs are pulling us  in so many different directions. We simply can’t be in two places at once.

I became a caretaker and had to make some decisions that made me feel awful. I had to be with her but how could I leave him? No one truly understood the predicament I was in. So many times I wanted to be in two places at one time and I was torn by the decisions I made; decisions that were unfavorable to some were favorable to others. 

Aren’t we glad God is everywhere? He is omnipresent. He can be with me the same time He is with you. He can be healing her cancer the same time he is with the doctor delivering a healthy baby. He can comfort your heartache while comforting another.  I’ve never understood that holy magical concept until I grew to know His grace and mercy; until I learned to trust in what God was placing on my plate.

When we can’t be somewhere else while we’re here,  we need to be reminded that God will take care of the “somewhere else” in our lives while we are tending to the “here.” He will always work things out and He will always be everywhere we need Him to be at all times.

Jeremiah 23:23,24
Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.

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Panic Attacks Got You?

Fear of the Unknown

Today, the fear of the unknown gripped me. I was backed into the corner with a panic attack; briefly I was unaware of how to respond to a fearful circumstance. Many years ago I was diagnosed with panic attacks and thank God, throughout the years with some very good therapy and prayer, I’ve learned how to handle them when I feel they are welling up inside of me. But, why now?

When is the last time you felt fear gripping you; possibly even driving you towards a panic attack?

When we are feeling backed in a corner with fear of the unknown, it can be very bewildering and frustrating as the sensation of chest discomfort, weak legs and other discomforting symptoms take hold of our heart, mind and soul.

God, help me!!! Ever screamed that out in the middle of your fear? I know I have, over and over again and … over and over again, God has delivered.

The Bible does not speak of panic attacks by name, but it does present several situations that could provoke one. Many times the Bible reads that the people were “filled with fear.” Hello, that’s often followed-up by a panic attack. Look at Psalm 55:4-8, it describes how a heart is in anguish within.

The best way I was able to cover my panic attacks was to normalize them. I consumed many publications about panic attacks and learned not to fear them but rather to recognize them as non-life-threatening. If I become fearful of the unknown, I will usually draw closer to God and remind myself that He is bigger than the fear. That’s exactly what I did recently when I felt the panic trying to get the better of me. Jesus put my fear into perspective when He said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” ( Matthew 10:28) Another words, most of what we fear is temporary and has no eternal consequence and aren’t we to focus on the things that are eternal rather than earthly things? (Colossians 3:2) I trust Jesus to take my fears and put them into perspective.

What is gripping you? Don’t go through it alone. God is there with you. If you are unable to feel His presence, call a family member, trustworthy friend, priest, pastor, clergy-man, rabbi, or crisis center for panic…Don’t go through an attack alone.

Psalm 23:4 NIV

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me

God’s Drenching Grace

drought

We are in a state of drought. Our grass is going brown, the fields are drying out and the water levels are way below normal. The weatherman keeps promising us some rain but it continues to miss our area.

Finally, our earth received a drenching rain but was it enough? No, it wasn’t. It was a wonderful reprieve, but we need so much more in order to get out of danger.

I started thinking about God’s grace. I am so thankful that when I am experiencing a spiritual drought in my life, I can always rely on God’s drenching grace. He delivers right away; there’s no need to dry out, wither up and die inside.

Titus: 2:11-14(NIV)  For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Why is it difficult for us to accept God’s grace?

Grace is mentioned 156 times in the New Testament; so as Christians if we believe in the Bible, then why don’t we believe that it’s offered to us for free? I’m not sure about you, but for myself, I feel I don’t deserve God’s grace when I feel as though I have done something so wrong and am not worthy of forgiveness.

But the truth is … Heavens grace is potentially available to all who care to access it by means of the diving plan of redemption. (Romans 5:1). Grace is NOT earned; if that were the case we would boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

So how can we tap into God’s grace?

First of all, it’s important to mention here that grace and obedience are not enemies. Paul affirmed that grace is accessed by faith (Romans 5:1-2) and yet, faith is of a loving response to God;. (James 2:21-26). I want to obey God; not man; not those who say they are believers but judge, gossip and hurt me behind my back. I want to obey God and accept His grace when HE points out my sins that need to be confessed.

Do you find yourself stretched to the breaking point today? If you’re trying to escape your gloom and doom and/or sins, please know you can’t escape God. Stay still and feel His drenching Grace. It is sufficient for your every need. He will help you out of any pit you’re feeling swallowed up by. You will find that His power is revealed and made perfect through your weakness. Never be afraid to cry out, confess whatever you feel is wrong with your heart today. You have a choice; accept the pardon that God offers. John 3:16livingbygracepic.jp

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Endings…by Beth Farley

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How do we know when to end something? Maybe it’s a relationship? Maybe it’s a job? Maybe it’s a church we’ve been attending for years? Making a change is always hard and ending things that are familiar is even harder.

As disciples of Jesus, we are asked to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and give our lives for Him? Is that a tough decision for you? How much do you have to give up? Jesus had predicted His death and Peter rebuked Him. Peter had shown a desire to follow his own will instead the will of God. ID-10083723

So, what changes do we need to make in order to follow Jesus?
1) We have to deny our selves
2) We have to take up our cross
3) We have to make the decision to follow Jesus

Who wants to deny their “self”? I know I don’t like to but have to. Denying my “self-desires” requires me to give up anything that would hinder me from doing the will of God. This does not mean that if we want something we can’t have it. It means that we have to place our wants and desires at the foot of the cross and talk them out with God. This also means that there is only room for one Master in our lives. It can’t be food, money, alcohol, pornography, etc. (Matt. 6:19-24)

Why do we have to take up our cross and what exactly does this mean? Do we have to carry all of our suffering for God? Hardships will come and go, but God is there with us. The cross that Jesus hung on was an instrument of death and total sacrifice for us. He bore the cross for us.

When we take up our cross, we then have to be 100% involved in our walk with Jesus. Our dedication has to involve our whole-being. Our whole body, mind and soul needs to be given to His service in anything He asks of us. This will eventually lead us to a willingness to deny ourselves. It does not happen over night and we don’t always get it right. (1Pet. 2:21)

I have not lost my life for Jesus. I have not learned how to live my life in TOTAL submission to Him. I have not figured it all out. But, what I have figured out is that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for my life; my failures; my burdens. He submitted his life on the cross for me, now it’s time for me to submit my life on this ground for Him.

Will you join me?

Are you in total submission to Jesus? Have you had to give up or end something in order to grow in His will? I would love to hear your comments as I host on LivingbyGrace.livingbygracepic.jp

Salvation Combination…Beth Farley

Does Salvation Have a Certain Combination?

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Have you ever had to figure out a combination to your locker, your home alarm or your bike chain? Recently I was given the task of letting myself out but was told to make sure I set the house alarm. Was it 6278 or 6782? Yup, I got it wrong. The alarm went off and the alarm company called him to make sure everything was okay.

Does salvation require a combination?

Some say you have to go to a certain church. Some say you have to follow a certain ritual. Some even say you have to sit in the same pew. All are wrong. There is no combination to salvation. Just three words will do it. “Faith in Jesus.”

Just three simple words with the belief that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross, rose again for your sins…And…it’s a gift. It’s the most important gift you will ever receive. Jesus has saved all of us who believe in Him.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, I am the way the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father, but by me.

There is an assurance of Salvation. The Bible states that For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 ESV

Again, no combination is necessary. We need to simply believe that Jesus is who He is and that He loves us with an everlasting love and will always forgive and save us. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

When cooking gluten-free, I don’t throw around the word “combination” loosely because the exact measurement of certain ingredients is very important for the perfect end result; but this is not so with our salvation. Our faith in Jesus guarantees us the perfect result; a place in heaven, where He awaits seated by the right-hand-of-the-Father. (Acts 2:33)

What combination are you trying to crack to receive salvation? If you are trying everything on your own and excluding God, please turn from your ways and have faith in Jesus. He will bless you with His grace and salvation. Joh 14:6 and Acts 4:12.livingbygracepic.jp