Stages

All of us go through various stages in our lives. We start out as babies, move on to toddling, creep into adolescence and teen-dom (also known as the I know everything stage), jump feet first into a new world as an adult and at some point, if we’re lucky, we become empty nesters.

 

Then there are stages of employment: probationary period; part-time or full time employee; clerk; sales associate; customer service representative; manager; executive; administrator; CEO. (And too many more to list).

And the one thing all of these stages have in common is God knows exactly what each of us will face in our various stage of life. He knows what obstacles we will face, what successes we will have, because we are all part of His grand plan.  He promises us in His Word that he has plans for all of us. Plans not to harm us, but to prosper us and give us hope and a future.  (see Jeremiah 29:11)

It becomes a little tricky for us though, if we don’t follow His lead. If we go out on our own, without His protecting and Spirit, we are much like a sandstorm billowing out of control

We need to be in the Word of God daily, pray to Him, seek his guidance and wisdom and the biggest test is we have to trust him.

God will never take you on a journey, without equipping you to face the stages along the way.

Romans 8:31 New International Version (NIV)

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us?

Jesus Loves You! Blessings to you today!

 

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Where He Leads

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As a parent myself, I find it quite ironic that when I try to teach my children and they don’t always listen or follow my lead, I feel disappointment and sadness that they don’t understand I am not trying to lead them down a path of regret and sorrow, but save them from making mistakes and trying to share with them lessons, I have learned over the years.

Now, I know that my Father In Heaven, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit have never made mistakes, but I wonder how many times we grieve them when we choose to not follow their leading; but I am so ever thankful that because of their mercy and grace, I am given multiple chances to get it right.

John 10:2-5 New Living Translation (NLT)

2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

At the age of 11, I chose to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and to follow Him and wherever He leads me, I would go.  I love the fact that my parents chose to follow the Lord and gave me a great example of Godly Love-unconditional love-no strings attached kind of love-and rooted me with a strong foundation for my life. Gave me a rock to stand on and hang onto every day of my life. My daddy always use to say, “the Lord provides for us dummies”, no matter when times were tough and struggles were real, I always knew it would be okay, somehow. I trusted him to take care of me. He was my dad.  By my father modeling his life after the Lord, I came to know that Jesus is faithful to me and He is always with me and He only wants the very best for me.  He wants the only very best for you too!

When Jesus, Son of Man, walked among us, he told us (paraphrased), I have come so you may live life abundantly; you will have struggles, but I have already overcome anything you will face. Trust me. Follow me. Have Faith.

It is easy to say have faith and trust in the Lord, but I am sure you have heard or used the phrase, ‘easier said than done’; however, it really is easier and simpler than we think.  The problem that I encountered and maybe you have encountered the same problem is, change isn’t always easy. Sometimes changes mean a whole lot of new things, which leads us out of our comfort zones. Oh, we know that we need to move in different ways or areas of our lives, but we become complacent and stay stuck.  Sometimes, because staying stuck is better than the unknown, but if you remember that Jesus will never lead you astray and that HE is always with you, no matter where you are or where you go, would that make it even just a tiny bit easier.

A little over a year ago, I was stuck.  I was attending a church that had become my family; they had seen me through good times and a few too many hard times and I felt safe and secured and loved. But a few months before I left that church, I felt God telling me it was time for me to move on; He needed me elsewhere and I really struggled with that. I didn’t share the struggles with anyone, because I wasn’t sure why I was feeling these emotions I was having. Was I hearing God right? Did He really want me to leave and follow Him to another church? There was nothing wrong with the one I was at~but in order to grow me, grow my faith and use me as He wanted I had to be willing to trust Him and follow. Being obedient to the Lord is not always easy, but because I love Him so much, and because I knew that He wasn’t going to back down on this ONE subject-I prayed to Him, I talked to Him and I waited for a sign, any sign that would tell me that I was misunderstanding His leading-it never came. So in a bold step of Faith, I decided to visit this other church and see what is was all about.

From the moment, I stepped through the doors, through the announcements, worship and sermon, I knew that I had heard Him correctly. I could feel it in my soul. I was still sad though, because that would mean I wouldn’t see friends as often as I did, because of the move.  The next week, my husband suggested, we return to this other church and just make sure that we were hearing God right.  We were and we are still there today.

The best part is, being part of God’s Family, doesn’t matter where you decide to corporately worship and spend time with him, because I still have those deep relationships I had before I left my ‘old’ church, but now I have new relationships that are cultivated every day and I am growing in the Lord. And by my being willing to follow Where He Leads, and not left to my own devices, I know I am learning how to hear His voice more clearly.

 

Matthew 4:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

Jesus loves you so much! He loves you right where you are, but He also has many places He wants to take you, if only you are willing to follow Where He Leads. May you be blessed in knowing that there is nothing you can do to earn this love, except accept His love, repent of your sins and ask Him into your heart. Let Him be your Lord and Savior, and He will take you places you would never have thought of on your own!

 

 

 

 

Out with the Old & In with the New

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But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.1 Peter 2:9 (MSG)

As I read this verse on my computer screen this evening, I realized how lucky we are that we are chosen by God, to be a holy people, to do his work, to spread the good news of the gospel and the Love HE has for each and every one of us. No matter where we are in life or how messy our lives out. HE LOVES us just the way we are and HE wants us to come to him, to accept Jesus Christ, His son, as our Personal Lord and Savior.  Accepting Jesus as my Savior, at the age of 11 was easy for me to do, because I had great role models in my life and knowing and believing I would have eternal life with God through Jesus Christ, was far greater a reward than I could ever hope or imagine.  However, I realize that there are many people who have never had someone teach them about Jesus Christ or how different your life not only will be once you accept Him as your Lord and Savior and build a relationship with HIM.  I know this, because somewhere along the journey I fell out of step with the Lord; and that is a very hard thing for me to admit.

When I was blessed enough to become a wife and a mother, I stopped talking and walking with Christ. Well, let me be a little more specific, I talked with Him occasionally, but not daily and not all day, like I do now. My spouse didn’t want to go to church with me and I somehow felt if I went alone, what would people think and that was my downfall.  I was so worried about what people would think, I didn’t give it much thought about what God or Jesus would think. Sad, I know. But for years, many years, I tried to do everything in my own strength, without the guidance of God or His Holy Word.

But God never gave up on me. Many times I felt drawn to Bible Study groups or churches, but the fear that I would be looked down upon, kept me away. Mostly the shame I felt, the enemy used that and that shame had such a grip on me, I just felt defeated. So, needless to say my children-our children, did not grow up grounded in the truth and their lives weren’t built on a strong rooted foundation as mine was, in Christ.  Oh, they knew that at Easter, Christ arose from the dead, but it really didn’t have much bearing on their lives. And they knew Christmas day was about celebrating God’s gift to the world, Baby Jesus; but they really didn’t grasp or care to grasp why God sent Jesus to earth in human form.

I would try to teach them about faith and what faith was and when they struggled, I would say you’ve got to have faith. If something isn’t working, you need to try harder; don’t give up; don’t quit, but I didn’t say let’s pray and ask Jesus for His help. Because I had fallen out of being instep with the Lord, I didn’t think to share the great message with my children. And, if you are a Christian and a believer, you know how easy it is to lapse. Miss a service here, don’t take time to pray or talk to God or get in the Word, and pretty soon, you feel so far way~much like the prodigal son did.

After years of struggles and disappointments, I realized that something had to change. Was it me, was I the problem? Why had life become so difficult? I fell to my knees and I cried out to God, where are you? I need you? Why aren’t you answering me? And when I sat there, in tears, that continued flowing and didn’t think they were ever gonna stop-I felt this tug in my spirit, this tiny whisper, I am here. I have always been here, I was just waiting for you to invite me back into your life.  What a powerful moment!

In God’s Word, he promises us that HE will never leave us or forsake us. THE MESSAGE TRANSLATION puts it like this:

Hebrews 13:  Message (MSG)

5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

And so it began, a new chapter in my journey with the Lord. I returned to the fold and HE welcomed me with open arms. While being prayed over, by a woman I had never met, but who has since became a great friend, I felt such peace, that I knew from that moment, God was with me-had always been with me-I just hadn’t noticed because I was trying to do everything on my own, instead of doing it in HIS strength!

You see, because we are of the world, it is very easy to think we can do everything on our own, in our own ways and our own power, but in the WORD (Holy Bible), God reminds us in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ, He gives me strength.” God did not create us to do anything without Him. But he did give us free will to make our own decisions and choices.  If we choose to do it without Him, we are bound to make a mess of our lives. We may have small victories, every now and then, but we won’t have the JOY and PEACE in us, if we don’t have HIM in our hearts.

I started dragging my children to church with me as young teenagers. I tried to get them involved in the fabulous, energetic, passion, on fire youth group at the church I was attending; but they weren’t interested.  And by dragging, I mean sometimes they were actually kicking and screaming on the way in the door during weekly evening services. And I was quite embarrassed and shocked by their reactions. Mostly embarrassed. But one of the pastors told me not to worry about it. As a parent, it was my job to get them there and let God do His work.   Seemed simple enough, but it was the farthest thing from simple that I could imagine. But each week, I would take them. And each week, they sat there, irritated and aggravated they had to be there.

Our children our 19 and 21 now, and oh, how I wish I could say that they found the Lord and walk with Him, but they are still fighting the fact that they need Him now more than ever. But I continue to trust God that He is in Control; that He has a plan and the best I can do now, is what I have been doing-pray for them, love them, let them see God/Jesus in Me and leave the results up to Him.

My greatest fear, as a parent, is that they will die, never accepting Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But through a friend, God told me, years ago, I have a plan for your children. Trust Me. And I am trusting Him.

So, when you decide to truly follow Jesus and take up the cross and walk with Him, you let go of your old life and shrug off the old things that made you the person that was used to be condemned for your faults; but when you accept Jesus, the slate is wiped clean; because HE has already paid the price for your sins-all of them-and you become pure and righteous-not by anything you did-but everything HE did. And you become a Holy People.

It’s pretty cool, actually when you think about it.  I am Holy. I am also a mess at times; my life is utter chaos but I have the Holy Spirit within me. No matter where I am or what I am doing, HE is ALWAYS with me! I can choose to let the chaos rule me or I can let God’s Peace cover me and permeate my being and I can choose how I respond to whatever it may be-loving and kind or not so kind. I strive to be loving and kind. I don’t like to be the “not so kind” type of person, because then I am not a good representation of who Jesus is. And that is my goal. I want to be the person, that when people look at me, they want to know how can you be so calm in this storm?? AND then I can share JESUS with them. 

So, just remember this: no matter how far away you feel from Jesus; no matter if you have never even given Him a thought, HE CREATED YOU, HE LOVES YOU & HE WILL MEET YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!

May you be blessed! Thank you for reading this and please share if you feel led to do so.praise the lord

Stillness in the midst of Chaos

I keep hearing the words, Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
And it seems like an easy request, but in human form, being still in the midst of my chaotic life, seems next to impossible. That’s where I need to remind myself, many times in a day, or even many times in a moment, that I can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13).

At this stage of my life, approaching mid-life, I had thought things would be a lot simpler and quieter in my space. But I am constantly reminded that God has a plan for my life and it’s not being sedate.

When you have an almost 9 month old in your home, it is anything but boring. This little bundle of joy and laughter reminds me every single day how precious life is and what a gift it is that God gives me every day when I awaken.

There are moments, short bursts where I know God is with me..when I just want to scream or cry because life can be so overwhelming. Work was hectic, dinnertime was rush rush rush and trying to find a moment just to sit and read is a thing of the past..and in those moments where my head is spinning and I just want to close myself in a quiet dark room, I see God in the twinkle in my grandson’s eyes or in his laughter or smile at something that he has found or seen for the first time…the beauty in being able to pick up a tiny cracker between his small fingers and I am reminded that God is with me everywhere I go, in the midst of worldly chaos, in the midst of toys scattered about and laundry folded but not put away and even in the dusts bunnies that are found hiding under the sofa.

By blessing us with this young sweet child, God is showing me that being still helps me focus on what is important…..loving each other.

You see God loves me right where I’m at. He doesn’t wait for me to get all cleaned up and dusted off, he says Carlene, you are my masterpiece, you are my creation and I love you right where you are and I am your Father and I am here for you always…whether it be still or chaotic.

And the best news: He is here for you also!

Just a Glimpse

I’ve been thinking about home, my heavenly home. I’ve been thinking about what it will be like to have NO MORE PAIN.  I have even experienced ‘just a glimpse’ of what it may be like and yes, I want more.  Sadly it seems, more often than not that none of us are truly satisfied with the blessings God bestows upon us. We always want more of something.  

You see, in April of 2012,I attended a Healing Conference and was healed of Fibromyalgia.  The pain was gone, I was able to run up and down stairs, bend over, dance with joy and just relish the feeling and knowledge of NO MORE PAIN. I was so overwhelmed with the Love.  So overwhelmed that Jesus loved me that much to take all my physical pain away! I have always believed in healing and prayers and I know my Jesus, my God is a God that loves, truly~however, until I experienced it first hand, little ole me, I just can’t explain the overwhelming, joyful, radiant love I felt and still feel to this day.

You know I have studied and I have been told that when we go home to be with Jesus, in the Heavenly realms, there will be NO MORE PAIN, no more tears, just the most wonderful, glorious joy.  And I have always thought how will our hearts hold that much joy~will it be spilling out of every part of us, will we even be able to stand it. I for one, am truly looking forward to finding out.

Since the arctic cold winter has descended upon us this year, I have been having pains. I don’t really classify them as chronic pain, because I have chosen not to speak that over my life, but there is something different. I struggle with going to the doctor or not, because if I do that….does that mean I don’t believe I was healed? I know I was healed! I praise the Father for his healing touch! 

The problem with my eyes, is that when I get a glimpse of something I like, I always want more and there are times I hear God telling me that His grace is enough for anything I am facing. So maybe I had that glimpse to know that better things are coming.  Glorious times are unfolding. And I know from past experience, His grace is enough. It is sufficient.  I am His. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. What I see as a flaw, HE does not. He sees beauty. It’s so easy to go along with the world and the flesh and think of all the things that make us who we are or who we aren’t but strive to be.  

I have physical pain. Yes it hurts, but I am still walking, talking, seeing, hearing, tasting and loving. I am still breathing and learning and living. And as a very dear friend reminded me today, I am thriving.

Sometimes a glimpse is needed to push us forward, to find our focus on what is important. Getting over the physical pain, is that the most important thing in my mind now…no.  The most important thing in my mind is hearing what God wants me to hear, for me to know where I am supposed to go with the directions He gives me, to discern that they are of Him and not my own wishful thinking and I know that by having ‘just a glimpse’, the Lord was able to redirect my focus on what is truly important~Him and my relationship with Him.

I just have to say that one day, we will all be dancing and singing with joy, because there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more hurt…..can you even imagine?

As always, I leave you with this thought, God Loves You, right where you are~blessings,

Carlene

Pondering~Being a Door

 

Being a door is much better than being a doormat for everyone to walk all over.

 

I just recently heard on the radio a song,With Every Act of Love by Jason Gray, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4bB7BUxBbY,, and he sings about how God made each one of us a door for His love to come through.  What a great song and image for me to remember that I am a door to Jesus.  That the love of Jesus can come out through me every day and live in me and I can be the light, the light that God talks about in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 5:15-16

New International Version (NIV)

15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

There are days I face when I feel like a darkness sweeps over me, not for very long, but it’s there and its in those moments that I cry out to Jesus and ask for His guidance.  Sometimes I don’t even understand why I am feeling that way or how the enemy creeps in, but I don’t like when those days come. I am a very positive person, most of the time. I always try to see the good, the silver lining, the blessings, but there are times I struggle and when I do struggle, I cry out to Jesus and seek him. This verse reminds me to do just that, to cry out to the almighty, my Savior!

2 Samuel 22:28-30

New International Version (NIV)

28 You save the humble,
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
29 You, Lord, are my lamp;
the Lord turns my darkness into light.
30 With your help I can advance against a troop[a];
with my God I can scale a wall.

For many years, my go to verse was Jeremiah 29:11 and I still carry that with me always, but I am finding other verses that I carry and ponder in my heart.  I think of all the people that lived during Bible times when they didn’t have a Bible to go to and look up a scripture.  When they lived, ate, breathed and walked with Jesus. I can’t wait until I am home in Heaven and I can walk and talk with all of them, but until then I am so very thankful that the words that God breathed were captured in the Bible, so I can know the story of Jesus-History (his story).

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And as I have found out, sometimes the plans I have are so vastly different from the plans the Lord has for me, but I have also learned to try and be still and listen to what the Lord is telling me, what he wants me to learn.  I think, there are times that, had I not been in such a hurry, my plans might have been different; however, I truly believe with my whole heart that every single thing I go through in life happens for a reason and the Lord is always refining and remaking me in His image. Some things I go through stretch me until I think I can’t possibly be stretched anymore and just one more pull or tug and I will snap, but most of the time the “snap” doesn’t happen, because I have the Holy Spirit living within me, I have his peace.  Lord Jesus, I am so thankful that you give me peace that I can’t get anywhere else. And I am so thankful that the peace is abundant and continually fills up, unlike wells that sometimes dry up, you are living water and will always be my spring of life!

John 7:37-39

New International Version (NIV)

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[a]39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

I was once told by a wise friend, that I had the gift of encouragement. Up until that point, I knew I loved to encourage others, I had always liked doing that.  That was a much a part of me as breathing, but I had never thought about it being a gift. And then I realized that in the Word it tells us that we are all given gifts by our Heavenly Father and we are to use those gifts to glorify Him. That all of us have been given different gifts to further the Kingdom of Heaven.  My other gifts are Faith and Mercy.  There may be more, that I haven’t discovered yet, or the Lord isn’t ready for me to know them yet, but when I realized it was a gift, I knew I had to share it. Gifts are much better when they are shared than we hoard them all to ourselves.

1 Corinthians 12

New International Version (NIV)

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Love Is Indispensable

And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

I cannot imagine walking through life without Jesus Christ as my Savior and friend.  I tried it once…it wasn’t very fun and my life was a mess.  I came to know Jesus when I was eleven years old. I knew him before then, I learned about him, but I didn’t give my life to him until I was eleven.  So for the last 37 years I have truly belonged to the family of Jesus. Because Jesus doesn’t say we are His until we accept him as our Savior and surrender to him.  He wants us to come back to him, but you must be willing to do it, without pressure or under duress.  And there are times we walk away, much like like Prodigal Son who thinks they have a better way of doing things and don’t need their parent’s advice or teachings to get them through life and I have also had those thoughts and learned the hard way, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how I was going to make it.  I yearned for my father’s love, to go back into his fold, but felt since I had left, I had let him down and the enemy of our souls knew that and so he built on that. Satan knew that I felt I had screwed up so bad that I couldn’t go back…filled me with fear, condemnation, dread, depression and loss, angry and frustration and every other thought and word and action that is not from the Father. GOD IS LOVE. Not God loves us, he does, but that’s not it. HE IS LOVE. Pure and simple.  HE IS GOOD.  But if we get to far away from those that know Jesus and we start associating and listening to the world, we can fall away.

It is so important to stay in the Word, to live it. To breath it. To be as much like the Word as we humanly can. We are not righteous, not one of us, but by the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, we can be.

Romans 3

New International Version (NIV)

God’s Faithfulness

3 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.

3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:

“So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”[a]

5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!

No One Is Righteous

9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”[b]
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”[c]
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his gracethrough the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

As I see it, God gives me grace daily. There is nothing I can do to earn it, he gives it to me, because I am his child and he loves me. It is my job to live as right as possible. Not easy, but most things in life that are worth anything at all, aren’t easy or everyone would be doing it.  Cliche saying I know. I want to live my life that when people see me, they see Jesus.  When people see me, they see a sinner that is broken and still working through struggles, with the help of  Jesus.  I want people to yearn to know Jesus, to walk with him and to realize how much better their lives could be if they just asked him to come into their lives. I am not saying it will be easy, because I promise you, it won’t. I have been through a lot in my lifetime, things I have seen and done that I would never have imagined doing, things I hope I never have to go through again, but through it all, the Lord has been with me and provided for me.  Years ago when my family and I were homeless, and stayed in our car and a shelter, until we found a place to live, I didn’t like it…it was a very humbling time in my life, the Lord still provided. He provided a shelter, bed and food.  It wasn’t what we wanted for our children or ourselves, but he provided. (I have thought about that time a lot these last few days with the bone chilling temps and frigid air the whole country seems to be experiencing.)(Funny what memories come, when you have to stay inside and keep yourself occupied.)

I look at the times when food is scarce and everyone is struggling to put food on the table, pay the bills to keep a roof over your heads and keep the lights and heat turned on.  The world, not just my world, but the world is going through tough times and until the world turns back to God, it’s gonna get rougher. That’s my thoughts.

Psalm 55:17

New International Version (NIV)

17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.

Lamentations 3:21-25

New International Version (NIV)

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

Right now, the Lord is working with me in learning to not be critical.  This is a tough one for me. I don’t like confrontations and I don’t like to be critical, but I haven’t quite learned how to be loving with criticism yet. I want my thoughts to be helpful, not hurtful.  Some days it comes out sideways and then it’s hard to take back, because once the thought has left your lips, it’s out there.  I am striving to being the door that love walks through.

Ephesians 4:29

New International Version (NIV)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Galatians 6:9

New International Version (NIV)

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1 John 4:17-19

New International Version (NIV)

17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.

I will keep striving to be that door Jason Gray talks about in his song.

Much love and blessings~Carlene