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Grace (study) pt 5

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

Want here indicates need. Learning is a process that takes time.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:12)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

When read in context, this scripture isn’t talking about signs and wonders…it’s talking about being content in all situations…and being at peace with God.

TV preachers promise return on blessing which usually somehow winds up equal to materialistic gain.

The greatest blessing we can hope for is absolutely possible to receive while we are hungry and broke!

Paul said that he was fasting & hungry often…..

So what’s the benefit of living for God if He isn’t going to fix all the problems? The benefit is learning that happiness, peace and joy are completely independent from this world.

How else does the world know who the real people of God are?

Two houses…one on a rock and one on the sand. The difference was what happened when the rain came.

Few Christians get to the point that they can be trusted with great trials. We must determine in our hearts that we will learn to trust Him….and refuse to allow fear cause us to just be spectators.

Many days that I have the most pressure…the most strife…the least amount of patience are the days when I didn’t start out by going boldly to the throne of grace.

Grace gives us the strength to SHOUT over the testimony without yet seeing the completed work!

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Credit to: Bishop Chester Wright

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Grace (study) pt 4

Grace_wordleI am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:5

God intends for his grace to be the only source of my ability to do anything.

The greatest blessing you can pray for someone is to pray for grace & peace from the Father be upon them.

 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:   John 1:12

The power is God’s GRACE to live!
We notice that there’s a colon at the end of that verse, so we must continue on….

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

If Jesus is full of grace and truth, what should we also be full of?

And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. John 1:16

The more we yield to the will of God, the more grace He provides. He only uses what we yield to Him. It isn’t God’s will to wrestle with us until we give in to His will. He is seeking those that will just let go.

What have we to fear in letting go? The devil?

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

The devil can’t do anything to me that the Father doesn’t allow (remember Job?). We aren’t vulnerable to the devil. Our God is not frail and weak. He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). So anything that the devil throws at you is intended to grow you toward God.

God loves us so much that He will allow things to happen just to get rid of the parts of our nature that separate us from Him. Those attacks should be reminding us to humble ourselves, to seek God and to live a repentant lifestyle.

You can’t fear God & the devil at the same time.

Job was doing fine as long as he continued to worship God, but then he began to claim he didn’t deserve what he was going through.  Saying, “why me, I don’t deserve this trouble” is a way of blaming God for it.

We blame God when we can’t see past what’s happening to see what God really is doing.

How do I love God during trouble? Grace through faith.
Grace helps us to have the right attitude during the worst storms.

Credit to Bishop Chester Wright. This study can be found on YouTube by searching his name and “grace”

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Grace (study) pt 3

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 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Want to know if you are spiritual? What percentage of your prayer is about eternal things?

The average Christian prays – IF they pray – for God to alter the temporary pain, problems and pressure of their life. Many Christians live in the natural with spiritual things sprinkled in for flavor when God wants us to live in the spiritual with the natural sprinkled in.

Is prayer intended to change things we don’t like or is it intended to get us to the place where we can be at peace with what’s going on in our life?

The reason Jacob wrestled with God was because he didn’t like what was going on in his life. He wrestled until God took his ability to fight away (touched the hip). Jacob didn’t win that match. You can’t out will God!

Now, let us look back at Hebrews 4: 15-16:

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

The words “let us” implies that is it a CHOICE and “boldly” means with confidence.

Crying in brokenness in prayer is fine, but begging God….as in “poor me, God why don’t you feel sorry for me” just isn’t necessary.

In the OT was mercy, but in the New Testament Jesus Christ brought grace. (John 1)

Mercy = God doesn’t give me what I deserve.
Grace = God gives me what I don’t deserve.
Mercy = Deals with my past
Grace = Never considers my past

Mercy does NOT deal with the future or present tense, it is the removal of past transgressions.

You can’t hold on to your past and expect to have a future at the same time. We must first accept God’s mercy and then receive grace (Hebrews 4:16).

To “find grace” means to pursue it until it has been found.

Anyone that claims to have the grace of God at work in their life but has not repented of sin is not walking in biblical grace.

The clearest definition of grace can be found in Philippians 2: 12-13

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

So, what phrase is most misused in Christianity? “saved by grace”
It has become the anthem of unrepentant hearts. “God understands my hang ups. I’m saved by grace anyway.” Or “I don’t have to do all those good deeds. I’m saved by grace.” What about, “Boy, I messed up big time. Oh well, I’m under grace. I’m forgiven.” But not sorry and never repented……Or even someone saying they are so thankful for grace in their life, yet living with a shopping addiction.

Grace does NOT excuse us from obeying God. It is not a salve for our conscience. Grace is actually the means by which we are able to obey and do the works that we previously weren’t able to do.
Lord, I’m thankful for your mercy. It is Your mercy that heals the past so my scars no longer have to be wounds. Today I am casting all the unhealed wounds on You, Jesus…because you promised to comfort all who mourn. Today I accept the unconditional love of God into my life so that I can begin/continue to be made whole. I understand that upon repentance, I find mercy and I then can obtain grace. I know that when I come to the end of my own strength & ability that I can go to the throne of Grace w/ confidence….and repent for trying to do it on my own in the first place…..then Jesus will give me grace to do what needs to be done.

I will seek God FIRST so that I will already have empowerment from God to do what I cannot do myself. By grace I can choose healthy foods, by grace, I can exercise, by grace I can apologize, by grace I can forgive, by grace I can get the job done, by grace I can seek a holy lifestyle-separated form the things of the world, by grace I can succeed!!! Today I receive God’s grace by faith and today is a GOOD day in Jesus name!

Credit: Chester Wright

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Grace (study) pt 2

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When the Word of God is revealing to me that my heart isn’t what it ought to be, rather than despair, I can rest assured that God understands.

Hebrews 4: 14-16 “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

How presumptuous of us to believe that we wake up, breathe, get dressed, move and work all by ourselves. Do we think that we do this all on our own because we don’t take time to pray about every little thing?

There is NOTHING I can do by myself. I am stealing glory from God if I don’t acknowledge the fact that it is in Him that I have my being.

God is limitless in what He will do through someone He can trust to give Him the glory.

So, how do I know if I am taking God’s glory?
When I wonder what people think about me after I sing, helped in outreach, witnessed, gave testimony, taught a lesson, and preached a sermon…..

How do I know if I am giving God the glory?
When what I do changes people’s opinion of God and causes them to want to get to know Him better.

So…that having been established….

This ain’t heaven.

God never promised to make our life pain free or pressure free.

In fact, it seems as if He always leaves an amount of trouble in our life so we will always remember that we need Him.

It doesn’t matter how long we’re here on earth. What matters is whether or not we allow God to complete the work He started [that is intended] to equip us for eternity.

What’s more important…what you can see, or what you can’t see?

2 Corinthians 4:5-7 “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Notice….”we preach not ourselves.” The reason is, because whoever is supplying the power is getting the glory.

If I’m living my life myself, then I’m not out of the way  for Him to manifest His life in me.

I can’t save anybody. I can never come up with a good enough method or program or outreach strategy to do anything.

Acts 9:5 “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

An ox goad was a stick with a pointed piece of iron on its tip used to prod the oxen when plowing. The farmer would prick the ox with it to steer it in the right direction. Sometimes the animal would rebel by kicking out at the prick, and this would result in the prick being driven even further into its flesh. In essence, the more an ox rebelled, the more it suffered.

What I have to do is put myself out of the way and depend on Jesus to order my steps through the empowerment of His grace….it takes FAITH to walk that way!

Credit to Bishop Chester Wright

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Overcoming Shame (study) pt 8

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The root of bitterness defiles more than just you.

If someone holds an offense and shares it with you….and you listen to the poison, their bitterness will infect you….Some never come back from that infection of bitterness…even if the offended person is dealt with by God, repents and gets over it.

How does God convict someone of a grudge they’re holding when it isn’t even their offense in the first place?

Be careful whose side you take.

A grudge is a grudge even if I’m holding it against myself or God. Those “innocent” feelings of let down because God didn’t answer a prayer are an offense that needs to be forgiven.

If you don’t desire to talk to God, you are not at peace with Him.

Have you ever considered that you may be misreading a person’s attitude?

Perceived rejection = you THINK someone is rejecting you but you have no proof.

Example: pastor walks right past you after church and doesn’t stop to speak or shake hands with you…..You get offended….”high and mighty”…”who does he think he is?”…”He thinks he’s too good for me”….you are feeling rejected….but perhaps that’s not even his intent. Maybe you misread him. What if he has many things going on at once?

Some have shame that isn’t even from real situations, but from situations we perceived incorrectly.

Sources of Shame:
• My own actions – things I wish I hadn’t done.

What is it that you can’t think about without having an emotional reaction? That’s a wound that is unhealed.

•Rejection – by someone important to me.

Subconsciously, a rejected person blames themselves for not being good enough to be accepted.

•Alienation – abandonment

The victim of adultery usually feels shame for not being good enough. They blame him/her with their mouth but blame themselves with their emotions.

Survivors of suicide…..the person may have died once, but the family/friends die every day with “if only”

•Abuse – violation of self (rape, beatings, self inflicted injury)

•Class rejection – rejection as a group

•Shame – shame begets more shame

Cycle of Shame:
•Shame based identity (expecting to be rejected, expecting failure, convinced that I’m flawed)

•Distorted thinking – need something to be happy (alcohol, drugs, sexual sins)

•Acting out feelings – drugs, alcohol, gluttony

•Life Damaging Consequences – must be faced

•Intensification of Shame – leads back to beginning

REPEAT AFTER ME: My problem is not permanent. God can change me. He can heal me and deliver me from bitterness and shame in Jesus name!

Speaking it in faith whether you believe it or not, is enough to keep you steady until you can let God help you.
(credit to Bishop Charles Wright & Tabernacle of Joy..you can look this study up on YouTube if you’d like to jump ahead.)

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Hallelujah! I am NEW!

I woke up late this morning. If you know me well enough, then this is not a big surprise…I’m one of those who can wake up super early and still find a way to be late. Jesus & I are still working on this one……

Anyway, I hurried around in the dark, getting ready for work & I wasn’t even freaking out…and that reminded me of a time (not so long ago) when I wasn’t such a joyful person on the inside.

I remember a time when I would have been angry that I didn’t wake up with the alarm…I would have taken it out on the kids and everyone around me.

I remember a time when I laughed…at the expense of others.
I remember when I thought my opinion was important.
A time when I had fun…but only if alcohol was involved.
I remember talking with friends…with a foul mouth.
I remember waking up every morning…telling God that someday I’d “get myself right”

So…in remembrance of (& good riddance to!) the old dark hearted Percy….

I give THANKS to God for giving me a NEW heart so that now…even though I am not even close to perfect…I have a new kind of laughter, a new idea of fun, I realized that my opinion is pride in disguise and that I can’t ever get right all by myself…..and praise the Lord…I have a clean mouth!

I’ve read the bible from cover to cover several times over the last couple years. …I’m not even close to getting it figured out… I still have so much to learn…but I WANT to. I can’t get enough of it…I can’t get enough of my HERO who saved me.

If I seem to be out of step with the rest of the world, I can bet you that’s why, too….but I’m ok with that.

Love, Percy
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(Luke 15:10) In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents

(Psalm 30:11) You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy

(Acts 16:34) …he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God–he and his whole family.

(2 Corinthians 6:10) …sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

(John 16:22) So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

(Psalm 63:7) Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

(Romans 12:12) Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer