Grace

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Grace

God’s Grace

One of my favorite Psalms in the Bible is Psalm 103.  When I was teaching 4th grade at a Christian school, this Psalm was one that all 4th graders were expected to learn.  In fact, my class recited it to their parents at a special parent’s night.  Since I required them to learn it, I realized that I also needed to memorize it.  That is when I really understood the meaning of this chapter.  So often I can quickly read something and not fully absorb what I’ve read.  This is true in general reading and also in reading God’s Word.

The verses that powerfully spoke to me were verses 9 – 14, “He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear (reverence) him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

These verses reminded me of how much God loves me. When I admitted my sins to Him and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins, my sins were totally wiped out, never to be held against me again.  That is grace.  I should have paid the penalty for my sin, but Jesus paid that price for me when He died on the cross.  Why? Because He loved me.  The same is true for anyone else who realizes that they cannot be good enough or do enough to earn God’s approval.  His approval, acceptance and love can only come by acceptance of God’s gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Step 3 of the CR principles says: “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.” This is a critical step in recovery.  In conclusion, Ephesians 2:8 sums it all up, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

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Inner Strength

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Inner Strength

Inner Strength

Steps 3 and 4 in recovery state, “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”, and “We make a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.”  In CR Principle 3 says, “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control”.  Specifically, Jesus is the one who enables us to recover from our hurts, habits and hang-ups.

One of my favorite writers is Sarah Young.  Her devotionals come from the perspective of God speaking directly to you. In her book, “Jesus Today – Experience Hope Through His Presence”, she very clearly shares where our inner strength comes from as we deal with our struggles.

“I empower you – infusing inner strength into you so that you are ready for anything and equal to anything.  It’s essential to remember that this inner strength comes though Me, through your connection with Me.  It comes to you as you  need it – as you take trusting steps of dependence, moving forward with your eyes on Me.  This promise is a powerful antidote to fear – especially your fear of being overwhelmed by circumstances you see looming ahead.  They may look daunting, but in Me you are indeed ready for anything and equal to anything.

Of course, you’re not currently ready for every imaginable situation.  I carefully control what happens in your life.  I am constantly protecting you from both known and unknown dangers.  And I provide strength, just when you need it, for everything I allow to touch your life.  Many of the future things you anxiously anticipate will not actually reach you.  My promise is for things you face in the present, and it is sufficient.  So when you are feeling the strain of an uphill journey, tell yourself  the truth:  ‘I have strength for all things through Christ who empowers me!’ (Philippians 4:13).”

When I am facing a difficult situation I have learned to bring my fears and concerns to Christ. Because it is through Him that I have the inner strength do what I need to do, even when it is hard. ~Marion

 

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The Power of Forgiveness

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The Power of Forgiveness

Who’s Really Hurting?

I think one of the most difficult steps of recovery is the need to forgive…a difficult concept to fully embrace. Sometimes we can get caught up in the idea that if we forgive someone who has hurt us deeply we are letting them off the hook. But the fact of the matter is that the act of forgiveness is for us, not for them.

In my quiet time I have been reading about the need for forgiveness. In the book of Matthew Jesus teaches about prayer. Part of that teaching is the well known “Lord’s Prayer” – Matthew 6:9 – 13, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Colossians 3:13 says in the New Living Translation, “You must make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

So the study I am going through…”Living Beyond Yourself” by Beth Moore…gave me an interesting insight into the idea of ‘biblical forgiveness’. The Greek word for forgive is “aphiemi” which means “to let go from one’s power, possession, to let go free, let escape”. Quoting from the study…”The intent of biblical forgiveness is to cut someone loose. The word picture drawn by the Greek terms for unforgiveness is one in which the “unforgiven” is roped to the back of the back of the unforgiving (person). How ironic. Unforgiveness is the means by which we securely bind ourselves to that which we hate most. Therefore, the Greek meaning of forgiveness might best be demonstrated as the practice of cutting loose the person roped on your back.” This explanation clearly showed me why unforgiveness is so damaging. By not forgiving those who hurt us, we continue to drag them around with us wherever we go. That’s a lot of baggage to carry around. I understand why God wants us to forgive…it’s for our good. ~Marion

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Where is Your Focus?

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Storms of Life

Storms of Life

I was reading today in the book of Matthew about Jesus walking on water. You can read the story in Matthew 14:22-23. Jesus had sent the disciples by boat across the Sea of Galilee. He went off to pray while the disciples were traveling to the other side of the lake. However, the sea was very rough and for hours the waves tossed the boat about. I’m sure they were terrified, thinking they were going to drown. They became even more terrified when they saw someone walking on the water. They thought it was a ghost. Jesus immediately called out to them saying that it was Him, and not to be afraid. The enthusiastic, impulsive Peter called to Jesus and asked if he could come out on the water and meet Him. Jesus simply said, ‘Come.’ Peter stepped out and began walking on the water towards Jesus, but then he started looking at the waves around him and started to sink. Jesus immediately came to him and saved him, asking him, “Why did you doubt?” Peter had taken his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink. That is true of us, too. When in difficult and challenging circumstances we take our eyes off of Jesus and begin looking at the circumstances, we begin to sink…we become fearful, we try to figure out how to get out of the mess, and totally forget that God is in control. Why we do this to ourselves, I’ll never know. God loves us and can and will give us the courage to deal with all of the hard things in life if we ask Him to. We just need to keep our eyes on Him and stay focused. ~ Marion

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Fruit of the Spirit

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Fruit of the Spirit

Fruit of the Spirit

I was reading in the Celebrate Recovery Daily Devotional and read a great reminder of how to keep our recovery on track.  The comments are based on Galatians 5:22-23. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

“In recovery and in life, how do we know we are making progress?  The best way is to check ourselves daily to see if the fruit of the Spirit can be seen in our lives.  At the end of the day, we should ask ourselves these questions:

Was I loving toward anyone today?  Did anyone see God’s love in my life?  If so, how?  If not, why not?  Was I joyful today?  How did I respond in situations that tested my joy?  How is my serenity?  Did I allow anything to steal my peace?  Was I patient with others today?  Did anything cause me to lose my patience?  How kind was I today?  Did I act in an unkind way toward anyone?  Could I describe this day as “good”?  Have I demonstrated God’s goodness to others?  How was my faith today?  Did I act unfaithfully?  How was my gentleness?  If I needed to have a confrontation, was I gentle?  How was my self control?  Did I give in to something instead of standing firm?

Answering these questions might take some time at first, but soon they will become second nature to us, inspiring godly behavior and healthy habits.”

What a great way to keep our recovery on course! ~ Marion

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Who Is In Control

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You Are Loved

You Are Loved

Recovery is about finding healing and sometimes that can be a difficult process. That can mean being humbled by choices we have made. However, I have found that those humbling moments can bring me back to truth. When I forget that God is in control of everything in my life, I can make unwise decisions and those decisions can bring uncomfortable consequences.

I recently read a devotional written by Sarah Young from her book “Jesus Today”. It is written from the perspective of Jesus speaking directly to you. I thought it was worth sharing.

“Sometimes my Sovereign hand – My control over your life – places you in humbling circumstances. You feel held down, held back and powerless to change things. You long to break free and feel in control of your life once again. Although this is an uncomfortable position, it is actually a good place to be. Your discomfort awakens you from the slumber of routine and reminds you that I am in charge of your life. It also presents you with an important choice: You can lash out at your circumstances – resenting My ways with you – or you can draw closer to Me.

When you are suffering, your need for me is greater than ever. The more you choose to come near Me, affirming your trust in Me, the more your can find hope in My unfailing Love. You can even learn to be joyful in hope while waiting in My Presence – where Joy abounds. Persevere in trusting Me, and I will eventually lift you up. Meanwhile, cast all your anxiety on Me, knowing that I care for you affectionately and am watching over your continually.”

The important thing to remember is that God loves us unconditionally, even when we mess up. When we correct our thinking by trusting Him and allow Him to be in control of our life we can again move forward in our recovery.

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Hello This Is Marion

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Coming Soon

Coming Soon

We are testing a new web site for posting my weekly comments.  Look for the actual posts in the near future.  Have a great day. ~ Marion

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Search My Heart

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A Reprint from last year:

January 8, 2015

Thots

A couple of verses that have become at part of my daily prayer life are Psalms 139:23-24 (NLT), “Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Sometimes in my self assurance, I think that I have finally gotten it all together…I really have a handle on my life.  On one particular morning a few weeks ago, I prayed the above verses to the Lord…probably without thinking about what I was praying, read my Bible and then went on with my day.  One of my personal struggles is feeling the need to be right, and some of the reason for feeling this way is because I feel I need to be in control of situations…bad thinking on my  part.  The Lord has helped my a great deal in this area, but when I am not consciously asking God to be in control of my life, situations arise.

About 2 hours after I prayed these verses I was in a discussion with someone.  At some point we disagreed on a particular fact…something trivial.  I kept insisting that I was right, nicely of course because that’s what I do.  Suddenly those verses that I had prayed earlier came to my mind again.  God showed me that what I was doing was wrong.  I wanted to be right so that I could be in control of the situation.  I quickly asked God to forgive me for trying to take back control of my life and thanked Him for pointing out what had offended Him.  His forgiveness was immediate.  Then I asked the other person to forgive me for being so pushy.  I was forgiven.  By the way, the other person was right.

I am grateful that when we pray God’s Word, even when we may not be fully focused on it, He is faithful to remind us of what we ask of Him. God’s love and mercy are never failing, and He loves those who are flawed and broken.

 

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