Jesus Did Compromise

I once read a bite-worthy statement in a church bulletin.

“Jesus was one hundred percent compassion and zero percent compromise.”

Should we compromise?

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I had to think about this for a while and re-read some of Jesus’s accounts in the New Testament to understand the concept of compromise. What exactly is compromise?

Mirriam-Webster’s Dictionary: “Compromise” means the following:

“a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute”

So, when we compromise we “give up something” in order to serve a greater purpose. Then this makes me think on a bigger question: Did Jesus sacrifice (i.e. “compromise”) anything in order to bring harmony? Then I go back to my original question of, should we compromise?

There are times in the New Testament where Jesus “compromises” his reverence for the Sabbath in order to heal a person who is in pain…Under the Jewish law one core value was to keep the Sabbath day holy. (It is one of the Ten Commandments.) But Mark, 3:1-6, Luke 13: 10-17 and John 5:1-18 gives the account of Jesus healing on the Sabbath…So Jesus compromised on the Sabbath in the name of compassion.

Jesus once again makes an adjustment for the benefit of another person when He compromises his own well-being and his own power in the name of compassion. He tells his friend to put his sword away when one of His companions tries to fight back.

If Jesus compromised out of service and love towards others, should we do the same?

Question

At first when I thought about the word “compromise” I thought of it as              self-serving. We might compromise our desires in order to make more money. We may compromise our integrity in order to justify an action or in order to win a battle. But honestly, these examples along with other self-serving compromises will do nothing but lead you down the wrong path.

We are instructed to be more like Jesus or more “Christ-like” (1John 2:6; Philippians 2:1-11), which means to compromise for the benefit of others. After all, aren’t we to submit to one another and help each other out in order to make them feel loved, safe and more importantly, to show them the undeniable love of Jesus?

Yes, Jesus did compromise;  likewise, we too should compromise for the well-being of others, but only in the way that Jesus instructs us to do so.

Luke 6:31: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

What do you think; Should you compromise? Have you ever given thought to the difference between self-compromise vs compromise for others?

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Unfathomable Mercy of God

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Every day I struggle with finding the time to write. I LOVE to write and I believe I’ve been commissioned by God to speak of His goodness through my writing. If I had the financial resources to just sit and write, I would do it; however, as most beginner-writers would agree, that it’s not that easy to get your writing career up and running.

Writing is what you put into it. It is a full time job. There are days where I pitch and send queries. There are thousands of web sites and periodicals out there looking for freelance writers, however, you have to do your homework; by this I mean, you have to read their guideline and to a writer’s dismay, they are not all alike. Some want a query and some want the full article. Some editors request different font sizes and some have a word count cut-off.  Most editors require some samples of previously published articles and don’t forget, most want a well-written bio of yourself. (That was harder than most articles I’ve pitched)

Lord, are you sure? I have so many words to share but not enough brains to figure out where to share them!

I spoke those EXACT words in a prayer three years ago and boy did I get a holy thump on the head.

Write always about My goodness and unfathomable mercy!

God spoke that unforgettable-sentence to my heart then and He continues to speak it to me every time I hit the keyboard. I don’t always have the time or the words, but when I sit down and focus on HIS goodness and unfathomable mercy, I get a chill.

I am reminded each day through so many people, places, and experiences that His mercy is all around me and when I begin to sit down and write, His words flow.  He unites my heart and hands with His thoughts and I begin to write.

What is God asking of you today? Is He asking you to make a change?  He has called you to do something so He will provide the way.”Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” Luke 12:24                                                              livingbygracepic.jp

Purple for a Friend…Beth Farley

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Isaac Asimov once declared, “Whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.” Some people are adventure seekers, they need action all of the time. But, to declare that one might be bored in heaven? I can’t imagine; but then I got to thinking about this a bit and thought…

Can eternity meet our expectations?

Will heaven deliver on Jesus’ promise?

I believe Jesus answered those questions and more when He said, Do’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God , and trust also in me.There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If there were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (John 14:1-3 NLT)

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I am writing this blog in various shades of purple in honor of a very special friend who recently passed away. Purple was her favorite color and heaven was one of our most favorite topics to discuss. We always said that Jesus will most definitely deliver on His promise of heaven being the best place to rest. Eternity WILL meet our expectations and more…

Matthew 18:10 See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

To my lovely, precious friend, you are away from body but at home with the Lord. Rest in Peace.

If you would all wear the color purple for this family in her honor on Thursday or Friday this week and keep the Elmore family in your prayers, I know they would appreciate it; and so would I.purple flower 1

Let’s Get to the Finish Line With Beauty

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On my way through the curvy country roads of Maine, I couldn’t help but find myself being captivated by the unbelievable array of fall colors. The brilliant candy-apple reds, blazing fire yellows and auburn pumpkin oranges were speaking to me. I had to stop and feel the moment; be in it and stay with it for as long as my schedule would allow. I had so many other pressing things that needed to be done but all at once my heart was fixed on God’s love. I felt the need to ask Him to carry me to the finish line of my never ending list of things to do…and God, can you help me finish with beauty; pleasing to your sight? I continued to ask.

How does God do that? How does He take us completely out of our busy lives, break us of our impurities all through things like the breathtaking Fall leaves?

Why does He do this when we are so ugly in heart and undeserving?

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It’s all about God’s gracious grip. God takes our “ugly-start” to the beautiful-finish line.

He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. (Philippines 1:6)

As a parent, I understand this resolve. When my children would stumble and carry ugly hardened hearts, I didn’t disown them but rather helped them get back up. I had many days of reprimanding and punishing them but never casting them out. Why? Because I wanted them to see God’s grace through me and know that He will take them to the beautiful-finish line as well.

God engenders the same relationship with us. Upon our salvation we “become His children” (john 1:12) He does not punish us nor bash us; He simply brings us to the finish line so that we may have eternal life with Him.

“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13).fall 2015 3

Look around you. Look at what He has given you. Look and see AND KNOW that He IS going to take your “ugly-start” to the beautiful-finish line.

 

Look at the beauty around you. Did you wake up with an ugly hardened heart? Take hope in knowing it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can get a beautiful make-over by God and run with endurance towards the beautiful finish line. Come and visit with us as I host on livingbygrace.livingbygracepic.jp

 

Hebrews 12:1 NASB

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Conversational Pieces

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What if God were your conversational piece? You know, the kind of precious ornament or piece of furniture that’s been handed down to you and you just couldn’t help but show it off and brag about it?

An acquaintance of mine mentioned that he owned a statue that had been passed down from generation to generation. Without mentioning what it was, he went on to ask me if I’d like to come and see it sometime? I thought it sounded like a fairly normal invitation so I took him up on it.

Do you have a conversational piece in your home?

I have all sorts of family heirlooms lurking around my place and I love to show them off. But not only do I love to show them off and share their history, I also feel accomplished when I can repurpose them. I have my grandmothers old shoe buckles in the bottom of a glass planter. I use them instead of shiny rocks. They are so colorful and unique. I have jars of buttons, rocks and shells from various trips I’ve taken and a pair of old beat up, toe-torn baby cowboy boots that all of my children wore while living on a farm. They are now penny holders. Heirlooms are full of fabulous stories.

While walking into my new friends home, there it was; his ornament, his conversational piece. My mouth dropped open as I looked at his old, rusted, ornamental statue of Buda. It was adorned in faded jade green jewels with a torn purple robe around the shoulders. The eyes were closed and his hands were rested in his lap.

I wasn’t quite sure of what to say. I needed to choose my words carefully and be kind but I also knew that having a Buda in the home would be against my Christian faith.  I looked at my friend and said, “Well, um, I think the statue is beautiful so tell me a little bit about it.” He went on to tell me how his mother had acquired the Buda from India when she was just a child. It had been handed down from generation to generation and always sat on the shelf in her “shelter-room” which was the living room where they felt protected. He also reminisced how his grandmother used to sit in front of it and pray and feel the “healing gods” move on her behalf.

As his story rounded to an end, I asked him if he believed in Buda? He looked at me with confused eyes and said, “I believe in God. Buda is a remembrance of my heritage; where my family has come from.” “Why display it then?” I asked. He replied, “Some people display the cross, the very representation of their salvation and never even talk about it. Buda is my heritage but God is my salvation. Buda is my conversational piece, my roadway to sharing Christ with those who walk through my home.”jar of rocks

When I left his house, I thought about our conversation for a long time. I looked over at my Bible on the table that had not been opened for days but there it sat; a representation of who I am. I looked over at the Christian art hanging on my wall with it’s perfectly scripted scriptures and thought about how many times I’ve walked by those pictures and never took the time to read them aloud. These were part of my conversational pieces and yet I had not used any of them to share Christ within my walls.

My grandmothers buckles didn’t tell me a thing about her faith or if she had any. The jars of buttons, rocks and shells have hidden-faith-traveled stories that I’ve never shared. What I took away from this experience was that I need to share Christ through all things; through all of my belongings even the hidden treasures I might find behind my couch. 20150723_084756

You Won’t Like This…Beth Farley

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How do we get away from Approval Addiction? I’m an approval addict and hate it! I always feel the need to get the approval from others when making a decision. Why do I do that? Is it validation? Confusion? Fear?I’m 53 and should be able to make my own decisions without worrying about what others might think? How about you? Do you find yourself wanting the approval before you make a decision?

Many people are plagued with “approval addiction” and don’t even realize that they have it. Let’s see if you are one of them. Read below:

Are you the type of person who is a show-off in school and needs approval?
Are you the type of person who goes to church to be seen by others but could care less if God is present or not? (ouch!)
Are you the passive person in your relationship?
Do you feel like you are violating your conscience?

God has put in us the need for approval but not of man but of Him. It’s a God-driven drive. We need to bring our desire for an approval to Him, not our parent, neighbor, sibling or even Pastor. We need not know what God is saying to others but should surely know what He is saying to us; if we tune in. “The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe? (Proverbs 29:25 KJV)

Let’s look at some Biblical examples of those who looked for approval in others before turning to God.
1. The first example I can easily think of is Adam and Eve. I wonder if Adam took the forbidden fruit for Eve’s approval? Maybe he was showing off? Ever been there; tempted to do or say something that you know is wrong just for approval?

Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6 HCSB

2.What about Samson and Delilah? Samson told Delilah his secret to his strength to get her approval. What happened? He was eventually taken into captivity and he became a slave for the enemy.

Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me?
This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.
So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man. Judges 16:15-17 NIV

3. What about Paul; was he a people pleaser, looking for approval before becoming a Jesus pleaser? Judaism had become a tradition-bound religion. Before his conversion and while a Pharisee, Paul was tried and true to his traditions. His zeal and success were fueled by the nature of Judaism, not Jesus. Judaism did not seek to prevent man-pleasing; it promoted it. Judaism focused the attention on man’s self righteousness as judged by other men; (Galatians 1:10-2:10)

This brings me to the question to ask yourself; do we modify yourself; your values and actions in order to please others or in order to please God? Beth Oct 1 2015

Making an Oath

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While camping out in chapter 5 of the Book of Matthew, a couple of things came to my mind while pondering verses 33-37…What does it mean to not break an oath or fulfill a vow to the Lord?

As a caretaker of those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, you come to realize that during the progression of this plaguing disease, you become more and more their navigator in life; they count on you and trust you. I have taken care of many clients with this mind crippling disease and have never broken my vow to give them the best of care. I have always been honest with the client and their family. I do my best to fulfill my vow.

What does it mean to fulfill a vow to the Lord and how do we do this?

In Matthew 5:33-37 Jesus was referring to the ceremonies of which Jews took oaths. He even went on to say that it was considered an undesirable procedure because it was all about trying to pull the wool over other people’s eyes. They were making oaths that were designed to impress; indicating that the person swearing on the oath had power over the things that the oath mentioned. They were keeping promises or commitments that they were apparently not going to keep by taking a silly oath. Jesus said,  Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. vs36…He didn’t want any of this foolery to touch us.

I am in no way a perfect person. I tend to make mistakes every day. I consciously  set out to do things starting on the right foot but sometimes land on the wrong foot. My intentions are good though. I do my best to not break my commitments. I have been taking care of the most wonderful man with Alzheimer’s. He is no longer in my care but now in a memory support facility. Although I will be moving on, I will keep my oath to him to see him almost daily. I will read him the poems we used to say. I will sing with him like I used to and I will allow him to read the obituaries like he used. I will do all of this because I took a vow to help him in his disease. This also is my oath to the Lord!

Jesus took an oath for each one of us as he hung on that old rugged cross. He promised us eternal life with Him in heaven if we believe. He did not attempt to ever pull the wool over our eyes.

This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. 1John 2:25 NASB

Have you broken a vow? livingbygracepic.jp

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Matthew 5:31-32 Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.

These two verses of Matthew 5 are always hard for me to read. I’ve read them over and over through my Divorced-Christian walk with God. I’ve heard several different preachers and Bible scholars preach and speak on the topic; but what does my own heart, mind and soul say on the subject of divorce? Remember, these are my thoughts. You need to go to God with your own failing marriage to God. I’m simply sharing from my own experience.

Divorced people want to feel justified and purified

NOT

criticized and chastised for their failed marriages.

There’s such a stigma about divorced people in the church and Christian community, even to this day when the divorce rate is running rampant. I don’t support divorce, but I don’t chastise it either.

I’ve been divorced twice and to this day I can say that neither marriage was a mistake. Were the divorces a mistake? I really don’t have an answer to that yet. My first divorce left me feeling abandoned and broken, empty and confused, angry and scared. I flew right from that marriage into the arms of another man. I didn’t skip or lightly tiptoe into another relationship-I RAN!!!

I flew with my bags filed with unresolved harsh-divorced feelings. It was wrong and unfair to both of us. His sins and failures trickled and then lingered into the relationship as well as mine. The second divorce left me once again, sad, confused, abandoned, scared and angry. One marriage lasted 23 years and the other lasted only two. Both divorces were awful.

So why does Matthew 5:31-32 convict me? Did immorality take place in one of the marriages?  Yes! What about adultery? Yes. Were they on my part? No! But for many years, I still wore the guilt of DIVORCE on my forehead. Why? Because people simply didn’t understand.

How can we remove the guilt and shame that we feel from divorce?

Does God want us to live in that shame?

Remember, these are my thoughts from pondering with God…I believe that we remove the guilt and shame from divorce when we truly repent. There are always two sides to every story; two sides to every feeling and fight. I had to spend many hours day-in-and-day-out on my knees asking God for His favor. I had to admit my faults and give them over for purifications. I had to cry out and saturate my pillow with my sinful tears in order to feel my shame being lifted.

The second part of having my shame removed was walking in forgiveness. No one is perfect and I had to climb down off of my own moral high horse and finally forgive. It doesn’t mean that I forgot the pain, but, I finally reached a point that I didn’t allow the anger and unforgiving spirit rule my day. Only through the help of the Holy Spirit, was I able to resist the evil thoughts that wanted to rear their ugly head every day.

God does not want us to live in shame but He will allow us to camp out there until our hearts are straight with Him. He tells us in Matthew 5:43, You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ and 5:44 tells us that Jesus said, ‘But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.’ That’s hard. I don’t want to love the men that absolutely broke my heart; but I had to allow God to put that love back into my heart. It’s not the love you have for a spouse but rather a love you have for a person. It’s a love instructed by God.

There can not be finger-pointing when it comes to divorce. We all can forgive somebody, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for actions.  It’s hard to think about standing in front of Jesus on judgment day and say, “I expect forgiveness, even though I didn’t  forgive so-n-so.” We all must forgive, and it’s not easy.

Mark 11:25 ESV

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

I wish I could give more solid advise to those who are thinking of divorce or are going through a divorce. All I know is that I had to come to my own conclusions on my own and do what I felt God was guiding me to do. Again, I’m not saying He is okay with divorce…But He is in the business of grace and mercy. He is loving and forgiving. Beth Oct 1 2015

Hitting the Unlike Button…Beth Farley

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What makes us the object of God’s Favor?

Mocked someone lately? Unjustly judged someone lately? Forgot to forgive lately? Have you caught yourself forgetting to humble yourself before the Lord so that you can be the object of His favor?

Consider the proud Pharisee who thanked God he was unlike the sinning tax collector; now consider yourself, puffed up, thanking God you are not like THAT sinning woman! Yet, that tax collector, deeply became aware of his own insufficient righteousness and cried out, “Lord, have mercy!” Have you cried out for mercy lately?

The tax collector found himself humbled and in need of God’s grace and mercy. He became the object of God’s favor. (Luke 18:13-14 NIV).

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

In order to be the object of Gods favor, we must depend on being rightly related to God, despite our external circumstances. How do we serve when we are riddled with our own sins? Ouch! That one hit home for me. How do you help serve communion when you despise the poor or judge the unwed pregnant woman?

Why do we think it doesn’t matter? Because most often we fail to see our own deep sins and our need to call out to the only one who can ultimately help us; Jesus. When we begin to think like Jesus, we begin to be the object of His favor. When we don’t cast stones or judgement, we begin to bridge over into God’s favor. This is so unlike what the world is telling us. On a side note, what do you think of the unlike button controversy on Facebook? Are we going to cast more judgement? Are we going to cast more un-forgiveness or blatantly mock others?

I ask myself and you to make a commitment to God…Do not partake in anything judgmental, or hit the unlike button without talking to God first.

His message of not blurting-out our dislikes would never fly on Facebook, but it can soar within your heart.

Join us today at livingbygrace as we talk about being the object of God’s favor.

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