God’s Grace – Can it run out?

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There are days when I doubt that God’s grace could cover my sins. How could God ever forgive me? I have disobeyed God and have rebelled against him. Is there enough grace to cover my continual rebellion?

I am just like the Israelites in Psalm 78. Over and over again the children of Israel claimed that they would follow God and put him first, but each time they would end up turning away from him. They could have put God first, but they turned back to their old comfortable ways. We do this so often. Instead of continuing to fight our battles in our sin issues with God on our side, we give up and turn back to our sin.

The Bible states that they did not keep God’s covenant, or promise, refused to keep his commandments, and forgot all the wonders that God had done in their lives. And what did God do? “He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly” (vs 15). This wasn’t enough for them.

How frequent do we say that the gifts God gives us isn’t enough? If only I had this or that, then I would be satisfied. This is us in rebellion, and the Israelites did the same thing.  Yet, God showed them more grace.

They continued to sin and even tested God by demanding the food they craved (vs 17-18). God gave them water, but that wasn’t enough. Now they wanted food.

When God heard their demands, he was full of wrath, because they did not believe that he was enough for them. They desired more. What does God do? He opens the Heavens and down rains manna, a bread-like substance, for them to eat.

Now that is grace.

This is the best example of God’s grace that I have ever read. Grace in the form of flaky manna falling from the sky. God’s grace is giving us what we do not deserve.

We do not deserve anything, but God forgives us. That is God’s grace in our lives.

Throughout the rest of Psalm 78, the Israelites continue to sin, God gets angry, but then he blesses them and gives them grace. The chapter ends by beautifully saying, “with upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.”

Turn to God. Let him guide your life with a hand of love. Let him lead you to safety like he did with the children of Israel. Your sins are never too big for God’s grace to cover.

God’s grace can not run out. It did not run out for the Israelites, and it will not run out for you or for me.

 

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In the Middle, You Find Jesus

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I recently went to a women’s conference called Dare To Be by Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill. Natalie led worship and then Charlotte led the teaching. It was very inspiring and impacting! Charlotte opened my eyes to something in scripture I had never before thought about – the middle. I want to share her message and expand on the topic.

In Mark 6:45-52, the story is shared where Jesus walks on water towards his disciples. In these verses, the men were in the middle of the trip between the land where Jesus was and the land on the other side. The boat was in the middle of the lake, far away from Jesus. I want to focus on the word- middle. This is pulled directly from verse 47, “Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.”

How would you define the middle? For the disciples, they were literally in the middle of the water, but the middle can look different for everyone. Maybe you are in the middle of waiting for something, middle of a struggle, middle of a breakup, middle of singleness, middle of a conflict, there are lots of middles in our lives. Right now I am in the middle of trying to figure out what career to work towards. I would love to be at the end and know exactly what God wants me to do, but right now I am where God wants me, in the middle.

Being in the middle may not be comfortable, but it requires trusting that God will get you to the other side.

The disciples would have felt more comfortable if they would have been on land next to Jesus, and maybe they thought about turning around and going back to where they came from. Right now I am in the life stage of singleness. I have to choose daily to trust that God knows what he is doing. Some days I may want to run back to my old lifestyle of dating who I wanted instead of waiting for a Godly man. I want to run back to what I know is comfortable, but I don’t because I am trusting that God will use this middle to glorify himself.

The middle may not be comfortable, but it does have an end.

The enemy knows when we are in the middle. Because each step we take gets us closer to the other side and closer to a break through. Every middle is equal distance both ways, so sometime it would require the same amount of work to go back to the beginning as the end.

As humans, we don’t want the journey, we want the results. We want to get to the end. We want to know what decisions to make, be married, get past the conflicts, and get out of the boat!

In the middle is when you put to practice all that you say and believe. It may be easy on the shore to say that you believe God is good and that his plans are perfect, but how you live out your life in the middle is the proof.

In the middle you see the miracle. Jesus walks on water and comes to you. When you are thinking how will I ever make it to the other side, Jesus performs a miracle.

In the middle,  you find Jesus.

The greek word used for middle, mesos, in this passage is also found in another passage in the Bible. John 19:18,  “There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

So where was Jesus? In the middle. He was in the middle of dying a painful death for you and I. He was in the middle of saving us from the pain of our own sinful choices. He was in the middle of saving us from the hurt this world causes us. Jesus was in the middle!

When you are in the middle of your struggles, waiting for hope, or  just want to get to the other side, remember that Jesus is in the middle.

 

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

Without Jesus, Without Hope

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This semester I’m taking a class called Illness, Grief and Loss. Obviously, it is a sad class, but it is especially sad when most of the students have no hope.

Last week we had to write papers on how we define loss, what loss we have experienced, and how we cope with it. Then we had to present our papers to the class. Each story was sadder than the next. By the end of the class, students and even the professor, were in tears. Most of the presentations included stories of how each person experienced loss, but almost none of the students shared how they coped. This made me think, have they coped?

When you don’t know Jesus, you lack hope. Jesus provides you with hope and gives loss a purpose.

In chapter 11 of the book of John, there was a man named Lazarus who died. His two sisters, Mary and Martha, were devastated and weeped at Jesus’ feet. This created a chain of weeping. “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled… Jesus wept.” (verses 33 and 35)

This is similar to the experience I had in my class. One person’s sadness caused another to be saddened. Unlike my class experience, this story has hope.

Jesus turned the loss into a miracle. Jesus turned death to life. Jesus brought back Lazarus from death. He not only literally saved Lazarus, but he also spiritually saved many others. Immediately following the story of Lazarus, verse 45 says, “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.”

God used loss to save people, to bring hope and a purpose.

When I refer to loss, I do not simply mean loss of lives by death. Loss can be found in many forms- divorce, friendship, moving to a new place, or change of plans. Here are some examples of the word loss found in the Bible – lose of time (Ex 21:19, loss of lives (2 Sam 18:7), uncertainty (Act 25:20), and loss of material goods (Acts 27:10).

Mary, Martha, and Jesus all felt sadness, pain, and grief, but every tear had a purpose. In our times of grief, we may only see the tears and may tend to focus on the present moment. If we look at grief through Jesus and his eternal perspective, we will see the world differently. Mary and Martha had no idea that lives would be spiritually saved that day, because they were focused on the pain, the loss of their brother. We too focus on the pain, and have no idea how God may use each of our experiences to glorify him.

Without Jesus, without hope. With Jesus, with hope.

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!