Mercy Before Us…Beth Farley

 

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Do you think a well seasoned public speaker steps onto stage before a large audience trembling in fear? I don’t. I think he fixes his attention on a few listeners and returns his gaze whenever the needs to refocus.

Of course, this got me to thinking about my ow fears, anxieties and what I fix my gaze upon. Have you ever had to speak your mind and heart without worrying about what your audience may think of you or say to you? I have; every time I post a blog I open myself up to anyone’s opinions or thoughts.

How do I continue to write and blog without fear of stepping on toes with my unconventional words? By being mindful of God’s mercy and favor for me. I am often reminded of the times Jesus was before large crowds doing what the Father called Him to do, without the fear or trembling. God has placed the challenge of writing Christian literature for the sole purpose of drawing others closer to Him or by drawing others to Him when they don’t even know Him. It’s a huge challenge and huge responsibility and frankly I don’t always feel worthy of the assignment.

Every day His mercy passes in front of us drawing us to do what He calls us to do and when we fail, His grace is sufficient. He doesn’t give up on us. We are all a work in progress. Thank God.

So, what do you think? Is there something God is asking you to do for His name sake and you’re not doing it? Are you fearful or anxious? Just gaze upon our Merciful Jesus. Come and join us at Livingbygrace while we talk again about the Mercy of God.living by grace

God’s Mercy was in front of Moses as well. In Exodus 33:19 God says to Moses:

And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Lord, please remind me that Your mercy is in front of me and that you proclaim your name as Lord, ruler of me; master of me; lover of me.

 

 

Get Up You Lazy Bones

 

bones                         The human skeleton is very fascinating!

When my kids were young and we were homeschooling, we used a skeleton that hung from a hook while learning the skeletal system. My son named it, “Bone Daddy.” It was important to remind them of God’s awesome love for them; He knit their bones together to create a fantastic body. Having Bone Daddy hanging in front of them was a good visual to grasp that concept; God created them, bones and all.

When I think of my own body, I know there have been times I have cursed my bones. I often get angry with them when they do something they should not have done or don’t work hard enough to spread the love of God.  Our bones have so many stories to share.

There is a story in the Bible about a man named Ezekiel. Ezekiel found himself in a desert valley surrounded by dry bones. Well, he didn’t just get up one morning and think, “I know, I’ll go looking for a place that is full of bones!” No, according to the Bible, Ezekiel was sort of teleported into a barren valley full of bones. He was scared and lonely. How would you feel if you were alone with a bunch of dried up bones in a barren land?

But God asked Ezekiel a question. “Ezekiel, can these old dry bones live?” Ezekiel didn’t know what to say, “Only you know the answer to that.” God told him to speak into the bones and say to them, “Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD!” God said, “ Look! I am going to put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and you will come to life. Finally, the winds came and filled the bodies with breath and they came alive! The winds came and there was life.” If God could perform this miracle with Ezekiel, then He most certainly can help us get our lazy bones off the couch and do more for His kingdom.

Can you image speaking into your bones, Get out of bed you lazy bones. Go exercise you lazy bones! Help that lady cross the street you lazy bones! Be the one to welcome others at church you lazy bones! Oh there are times that I just want to speak into my bones to make them do more work for God but sometimes they are just plain ol lazy. Know what I’m saying?

I’m not one to preach on getting out there and doing more of God’s work because I’m very inadequate in areas of service and realize that it’s not my place to tell anyone how to serve God. However, when I feel I’m filled with His Spirit to serve, I know that I need to get  my lazy bones in gear and scatter myself in the areas e has called me to. How about you? Been acting lazy lately? Are you too tired, too cold or too distracted to get your bones moving?

Lord, I know that I have a destiny here on this earth and that You’ve knit my bones together for many reasons that I don’t quite know. Help me to be of better service to you today.

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What’s My Part, God?

 

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Becoming a Christian means that we put our trust and faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We believe that He died for our sins, meaning, He took the weight of the sins of the world and hung on a cross. Three days later, He rose from the dead and He now lives within each one of us through His Spirit. When we become a Christian, we also leave our sinful life behind and walk with Jesus.

If God is willing to enter our hearts, what’s our part in pleasing Him?

  1. We need to accept His unconditional love for us. He loves us not matter what. It’s never too late to say you’re sorry and turn your life around.
  2. We have to be willing to do for others and not boast about it. By this I mean that when we become a follower of Jesus, we think of others first and help them where they need to be helped. BUT…we do not boast about it.
  3. We also have to be willing to forgive others. In forgiving others, we are showing God that we accept His grace and mercy; so we too will pour out our forgiveness on others.

I visited a knitting group the other day and thought about how St. Faustia asked God to grant her the grace of conversion to as many souls as the number of stitches that she made on a particular day with a the crochet hook. (Diary, 961) That’s a lot of conversions. She prayed through faith and did not boast when a soul was won over for Christ.

Are you praying for the lost? Do you find yourself boasting at times?

Join us in the conversation today as we discuss what it means to you to be saved?

 

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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,

Camping Out With Holiness

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Thought: Who Are You Camping With?

“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” Leviticus 19:2

Recently I was encouraged to keep on praying; to dig back into the Word for answers and to remain faithful. I have to admit that sometimes I will go a spell without studying the Word. I’ll look up a scripture, but I won’t study it; I won’t read the verse before or after…I’ll just take what I’m looking for and run with it. But, that’s not the way to really know the Word of God. It’s okay to memorize it that way but in order to really know God, we should be camping out with Him, not only reading a verse here or there but really soaking in the whole context. We should also be talking to Him and more importantly, listening to Him.

I was reminded in the book of Leviticus that we were made in God’s image and we were created to have a close relationship with Him. Okay, don’t get mad at me here fellow Christians but to me….this does not mean being in church. The fellowship I’m talking about here is our own relationship with God. It’s about how we are spending time with Him. We were created to have fellowship with Him, sing to Him, glorify Him and be one-on-one with Him. When our fellowship is broken, we fall astray, walk down the wrong paths and are in need of restoration.

We all seek restoration in various ways. Some may find it in being alone with the Word of God, some may find it in singing unto God, and some may find it in writing thoughts and prayers to God. It’s a personal relationship, therefore, no one should judge how you prefer to commune with Him. I am a writer and I write every day for him on my blog but I also have my own little personal journal where I will talk to God about my deepest concerns, confess my sins and pray heartfelt prayers for my family and friends.

Also in Leviticus, the Israelites camped at the foot of Mount Sinai to listen to God; they were being instructed on how to be holy. I didn’t realize that the word holiness is mentioned more times (152) than in any other book of the Bible. God calls us to live our lives as holy. How can we live a holy life if we are not spending time with Him?

Again, and I mentioned this in yesterday’s blog, Hanging with Debbie-Downers, we need the encouragement of other like-minded people. We need special days of worship and celebration with other Christians who will walk with us through our rough days…BUT, we really need our one-on-one-camping-out time with God.

Where are you in your communion time with God? Are you spending time with Him, camping out waiting for Him to respond to a prayer request? How do you get close to God? Please share with us as I lead this discussion on living by grace. livingbygracepic.jp

 

Getting Back on My Bike…Beth Farley

May Is National Bike Month

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Have you put off doing something because you were afraid? Has an event left you crippled in fear? Recently I purchased a bike. It’s a plain-ole bike. It has no gears, no hand breaks and has fat tires. I describe it as a one-speed-old-lady-bike. For years, I was afraid to get back on a bike. Where did that fear come from? It came from an incident I had when I was a child.

I have never been the greatest biker. I’ve always had some issues with equilibrium therefore making my balance off kilter at times. On one occasion, I remember showing off, riding my bike and courageously taking one hand off of the handlebar. I thought I was hot-stuff. I looked back and yelled to my brother, “Look, one hand!” When I turned forward I crashed into a parked car. It hurt and left a lasting fearful impression.

Where does fear come from? I believe fear stems from past frightening experiences. I also believe Satan would like nothing more than to trip us up and make us feel captivated to our fears.ID-100105900

There are specific things that may cause our fears to become phobias. I recently found a four page list of phobias in a magazine and was shocked to see how many applied to me at one point or another in my life. We may feel as though every courageous step we take forward, we fall two fearful steps behind.

If you were to take an inventory of your life, where would your fear gauge be? Are you closer to a10 where your fear can’t be shaken; unstopped or unyielded? Or are you closer to a 1 where your fear is listless, lifeless and stagnant?

How can we change our fear gauge from a 1 to a 10?

First of all, we should face the fear. I finally faced my fear of getting back on a bike. In Isaiah 41:10, God tells us, Fear not, for I am with you. I recited that over and over again the first time I got back on a bike and wobbled down the street. I recite that scripture every time I feel like fear is trying to take over me. It’s a small but powerful scripture in times of fear.

Secondly, do some self examination. Sometimes my fear is a result from an unconfessed sin hanging around in my live. Maybe you have done something evil. Maybe you wrongfully hurt someone’s feelings or judged someone by their appearance. There were times in my life where fear was trying to manifest itself in my soul and I had to get down on my knees and pray for help.

Thirdly, take action! If you can’t shake the fear, seek help. Go to your Pastor, or a good friend or trained counselor to help you. Proverbs 24:6

Lastly, try reciting the Serenity Prayer every day. There are things that we just can’t control and need to let go of.When I recite this prayer, there is a cleansing surrender that comes over me.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 

We can work through any fear. I have experienced many fearful circumstances. Health issues, divorce, deaths, financial ruins, etc.; God has been there through every fearful situation.

Psalm 23:4, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear, whom shall I be afraid of.

What does fear do to you?

How do you conquer your fear?

Let’s chat while I host on livingbygracepic.jp

Trampoline Kind of Faith…Beth Farley

As a Christian, I find it ironic to be asking, but I have to. Does your faith bounce up and down? I woke up with a little case of shaken faith. Please don’t tell me that I’m the only one that tends to have a trampoline kinda faith at times.

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How many of you have jumped up and down on a trampoline? I remember jumping on my kids’ trampoline once, yup, only once. I didn’t enjoy it at all; as a matter of fact, I hated it. I didn’t like how I was not in control of where I was going to land me. Fear and insecurity gripped me.

Faith is stronger than gravity. When you’re falling down, it’s not a question of how far you will fall, but how high you will bounce. You see, when we experience faith-shaking-times in our lives, we have to be able to move from the negative impact of the experience into a positive plane.

In 1 Kings 18:25-40 we see the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. In this story Elijah has great faith to have God consume his enemies. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s quite the faith. But, his faith became shaken when Jezebel heard of what Elijah did and threatens to kill him. Does he go to God? No, he cowards away in a cave!
Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life. (vs3 ESV)

He ran away But…An angel of the Lord came down and touched him, not once, but twice. God told Elijah that He has the provision in place to overcome his enemies. Elijah listened to God and followed His direction and had victory

What can we do when we feel our faith is being shaken?

1) Spend time with God. Tell him your fears. Tell Him how scared you are and how much you need Him. Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

2) Share your fears with someone you trust. Ask them to pray for you. Sometimes talking to someone you can trust can help you cope. Psalm 34:1 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

3) Listen to music. Listening to music is very therapeutic. Play some Christian tunes to soothe your soul. Psalm 92:1-5 It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, 2 to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, 3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. 4 For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.

We were never promised a life without fear. But…there is hope in Christ. With that realization, no matter how high you jump or no matter how hard you fall, He is with us and He will help us because our Faith in him is bigger than the negative gravity that tries to covet our lives.

What is your faith looking like these days? Have you jumped high and landed low? Come and chat with us on living-by-grace a Facebook community.livingbygracepic.jp