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“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Grace- Christ’s power that enables us to do what we cannot in our own strength.
Sufficient=To be in posession of unfailing strength.
Power=Strength, miraculous power.
Perfect=to complete, to accomplish, to consummate, to finish, to fulfill.
Weakness=in want of strength.
When Jesus left earth, He sent us Holy Spirit to empower us to do even more than He did. Right?
So let’s look at this verse as a declaration!
I am empowered with the unfailing strength and miraculous power of Jesus. His strength and miraculous power partners with me in the areas I am in want so that I am able to thrive and do what I couldn’t do on my own. I refuse to be embarrassed by my weak areas, because in those weaknesses Christ’s power is fulfilling its purpose.
Point to ponder while you wander…
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT
I have a photo of a sunrise on my bookshelf. Just a basic 4×6 image in a frame. But this sunrise means more to me than other time I’ve seen the sun come up.
About 16 years ago I surrounded myself with people and things I couldn’t resist. Honestly, I didn’t even try to resist. I went in knowing exactly what would happen.
So in the early morning hours…I got in my car and headed home overflowing with guilt and shame.
Here I was saved, baptized, Holy Spirit filled…and in one night I threw it all away and did everything I swore I would NEVER do again.
I was ashamed, and felt like a worthless human, and then I drove around a corner to this sunrise…
I pulled to the side of the road, and sobbed. And sobbed. Full scale ugly cry.
With tears still streaming, I took this photo with a disposable camera to remember this moment.
In the instant I saw this sunrise, I heard God’s voice tell me He loved me .
In that moment I understood grace for the first time.
In that moment something changed in my mindset about mistakes, sin, and bad behavior. God was against sin and bad behavior because it hurt ME. It affected ME. It broke ME. He hated what sin did to His daughter.
He did not hate me because I screwed up/sinned/made mistakes.
He had not stopped loving me because I “backslid.”
Me He loved.
Sin He hated.
This was a life changer for me.
Point to ponder while you wander…
This sunrise image reminds me that His grace covers my mistakes, as I grow into who He made me to be.
His grace empowers me to do things I could never do alone.
Today I can do things with Jesus I could never do by myself. Even if I blow it and screw up today, I am loved.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
There’s so much packed in this little verse!!
1. Worship. Remind yourself how good and glorious and kind our Father God is.
2. He gives us good gifts. No gift is better than Holy Spirit. He enables us to thrive no matter where we are! This means…
We are powerful, even when we feel weak!
We have grace to thrive, not just so survive!
3. We have excessively generous favor, more than we need because He has more good for us than we can ask or think!
Chew in that today! More than I can ask or think? That’s huge because my imagination is pretty amazing at coming up with some crazy scenarios. Looking forward to what this more than I can ask or think looks like!
Point to ponder while you wander…all of have that power is inside of us. Enabling us. That means YOU are powerful! It means you can handle (with the help of Holy Spirit) anything that comes your way today. That’s the gift of Grace.
I like to hide. I like to hang back and watch, until I am sure about an activity or a group of people. I sometimes doubt if i should give the Word I am hearing or post what I’ve written.
But I also have this reassuring Voice of Truth inside me that says, “Do not fear.” & “Just do it, Jillian.”
This voice enabled me to Study Abroad in England at 21, alone. Road Trip for 3 weeks all by myself in my 30’s. Parasail on Lake Michigan. Share my heart and my struggles with strangers to encourage those who are struggling. Let go of jobs, my house, and people when it was time to move on. And most recently to be there with my grandparents as they left this world for Heaven.
Bravery isn’t just for running into burning buildings to save someone. It is required for seemingly simple, ordinary things. Speaking to a group of people. Taking a new job. Asking someone out. Ending a bad relationship. Telling someone about Jesus. Being honest with ourselves. Asking for help.
Fear is a bully and a liar. It prevents people from being honest and real with themselves and others. Fear says, “They’ll judge you. Fear says, “You can’t do it.” It says, “Don’t bother. You’ll just fail.”
Fear is a liar. The truth is…
You are a child of God.
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” I John 3:1 MSG
It’s okay to have weaknesses.
“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT
It is okay to fail.
Jesus knew that Peter would fail. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. Yet, Jesus chose him anyway. Jesus believed in him and prayed for him. Then, after Peter failed spectacularly, he regrouped with his people and Holy Spirit. THEN He preached in Jerusalem AND…”Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” Acts 2:41 NLT
You Can, with Jesus’ Help
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 NLT
Bravery and boldness comes to us when we need it, when we know Who is with us, and what He did for us. You are never alone. You are never forgotten. You are never forsaken.
Something to ponder while you wander… “You make me Brave”
You may be the meekest and weakest, but God still believes in you. Let Him make you brave. Don’t believe me? Read Gideon’s story beginning in Judges 6. God found him hiding, and still called him a mighty warrior.
I overheard a conversation between a parent and a child that went like this:
“That’s enough now. You need to be good or Santa won’t bring you any presents.”
“I’ll be good.”
Not anything earth shattering. Not anything new. I’ve heard this said many times. I’ve been told this many times. I’ve even said this many times myself. But this time when I heard it, it smacked me. It actually made my stomach knot up and I didn’t know why. It was commonly spoken and commonly believed, why did it suddenly upset me?
It took me a while to figure it out, but eventually I figured out that that way of thinking prevented me from receiving from God most of my life. I thought God was like Santa. He would only give me things if I were good. He only loved me when I was perfectly well behaved. I didn’t think that God loved me, because I wasn’t perfect. Is this way of thinking preventing you from receiving from God too?
Honestly, there are a lot of people out there who think God is the same way. They believe that God only loves us when we “be good.” He only approves of us when our behavior is within the little box of rules and regulations. We need to be flawless to be loved. We are only given the things we want and need when we are “behaving” and being “good.” But it’s a lie. The truth is that God loves us all the time, unconditionally. The whole Bible illustrates that He loves us and that He gives good gifts to all people. Period.
Here’s some truth about God’s gifts:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)
“For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.” Romans 11:29 (NLT)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17 (NIV)
“Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18 (KJV)
What was His best gift? I think it was Grace. The grace that came in the form of a small baby born in Bethlehem approximately 2013 years ago. His name was Jesus. You wanna know why?
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:6-8(NLT)
God gave Jesus (the person of grace) to everyone who will ever be born, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. No matter what family you were born into or what country you were born in. No matter your past, present or future behavior. Whether you are wealthy or poor, brilliant or slow-witted, Jesus was given to you so you could be reconciled to God.
“And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s wrath. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:9-11(NLT)
God is not trying to control your behavior, like your parents did with the “no gifts from Santa” hogwash. He wants you to know Him and have a relationship with Him. From that you learn how much He loves you! You also discover who He made you to be and are set free from the lies people have spoken over you. The change in behavior comes as a side-effect from knowing who you are and how much you are loved. You are righteous and holy because Jesus is righteous holy, not because of what you do or don’t do. This is the reason He sent Jesus. This is the reason for the celebration of Christmas.
No Virginia, God is not like Santa Claus.
Just a heads up that I won’t be on here for about 2 weeks. I will be without access to the internet. While I’m gone I want to leave you with this…
You are seen…because He is the God who sees. (Genesis 16:13)
You are known…because He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He even knew you before He created the world. (Psalm 139, Ephesians 1:3-6)
You are loved…because He is love. (I John 4:7-19)
You are never alone nor forsaken…because He has said He will never leave nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5)
You are never hopeless…because Jesus is the hope of the world. (Psalm 71:5, Jeremiah, 17:7, Acts 28:20, Romans 15:12, I Timothy 1:1, Titus 2:13-14)
You are never without grace…because Jesus is the personification of grace. (John 1:14, Romans 5:15, II Corithians 8:9, II Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 2:11, Titus 3:7, I Peter 1:10)
You are valuable to God. (Luke 12:6-7)
You matter to God. Never forget that!
‘I Will Not Be Moved’ by Natalie Grant has been my theme song on and off since it was released. Take a gander:
Wayward child acting out….
I was a good kid for the most part. I was a tad mouthy and such but I generally did as I was told. I got good grades. I only got one detention in all of high school. I went to and liked church and youth group. I officially got saved at 16. Pretty good track record, huh? Yep. But then…I turned 17.
Something happened to me at 17 where I just LOATHED any sort of rule. I may have still obeyed most of the rules I was given, but in my heart anger had begun to build. I looked obedient but looks were deceiving. I was rebellious and becoming more and more bitter every day. While I still attended church and youth group and loved Jesus, I told God to take a hike. (Please don’t ask me how the 17 year old me thought she could separate the Son from the Father…I have no idea how she thought this was possible, but she did. She was weird and angry and borderline crazy. Anyway…) I saw God as the mean one just waiting for me to screw up, so he could cast me out. I hated His rules more than any others because of this lie I believed.
I went off to college planning to leave parental rules, Biblical law and every other regulation in the dust. I was FREE! Right? Wrong. I was so wrong. There were still rules and laws at the university level too. Dorm and campus rules. Michigan laws. The laws of gravity and motion. Oh and that God guy…He’s there too. Great.
It took 7 years before I realized I actually needed God. I missed church too. I came back to Him very broken and fully expecting to be treated poorly. I could go to heaven, but I’d be homeless there. I would be permitted to attend to church, but on a probationary period only. God wouldn’t actually like me, let alone love me. At best I expected to be tolerated, at worst severely punished. Maybe if I behaved perfectly I could earn my way back into His good graces. Maybe.
It’s grace I’m standing on…
Then I actually spent time with God and began to get to know who He really is. I learned that He was a creative genius who made the sky, trees and filled the earth with beauty. I saw that He was love. I learned that He was good and He doesn’t want a single person to perish. I learned that He had a good plan for my life, even still. Best of all, I learned that He never left me, not one time. He was with me when I walked out of His will and chose to go the world’s way. He was with me at the bar. He saw me make MANY dumb choices. He was with me when my first love and I broke each other’s hearts. He saw me graduate from college. He was with me when I got engaged to the wrong man. He was with me when I got sick. And through all of that, He loved me.
He loved me. Every. Single. Second. Of. Every. Single. Day. (“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3)
Then when I called out to Him, He opened His arms to me and welcomed me back. I didn’t have to beg or plead or beat myself up. I didn’t have to burn sacrifices on the altar or volunteer to lick anyone’s boots. I just had to call out. That was it. I wish I’d have understood about His grace before I spent nearly a decade trying to make up for all the crap I pulled. Lesson learned.
I will make mistakes…
I’ve come a long way from 17, but I’m by no means perfect. I will make mistakes. But my mistakes remind me that I need Him. My weaknesses are not a design flaw. Where I’m weak, He’s strong. We are a team, God and I. And that’s exactly what He wants from you too. Partnership. Relationship. He wants to love you and help you to succeed.
That’s why I will NOT be moved. I need Him. Every. Single. Second. Of. Every. Single. Day. I NEED HIM.
I’ll leave you with Psalm 107. This Psalm shows that no matter what kind of trouble you’ve gotten yourself into, cry out to God. He’s waiting for you to ask for His help. He’s waiting for you to tell Him you need Him. We all need Him because of Adam’s sin in the Garden. We’ve all inherited it. Jesus is the only cure.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.
Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins. They couldn’t stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death’s door. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.
Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.
He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry, thirsty land. He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there. But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. He brings the hungry to settle there and to build their cities. They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops. How he blesses them! They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase.
When they decrease in number and become impoverished through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, the Lord pours contempt on their princes, causing them to wander in trackless wastelands. But he rescues the poor from trouble and increases their families like flocks of sheep. The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.”