Enough

The title of my blog is Grace Rains Down. God knew I would title it that. He also knew that I would really have no idea what grace means when I chose that title. I thought I knew. I thought I understood. God knew that He would truly shower me with His grace in the showing me of His grace so I could better understand the title of my very own blog. Isn’t He just so loving, so amazing, to do what we need, when we need it?! To give us the right perspective in His right and perfect timing. His timing had my lesson in grace to be AFTER I used grace in the title. His timing was to tell me, “sweet daughter, if you only knew…let me show you.”

Grace is the free and benevolent influence of a holy God operating sovereignly in the lives of undeserving sinners. (John MacArthur).

I felt like I understood God’s grace that saved me 6 years ago. I felt like I understood God’s grace that turned my marriage around and allows for my spiritually unequal marriage to thrive. I felt like I understood God’s grace that redeemed my PAST sins, my PAST mistakes, (the “before I was saved” sins). and can even use them for His good. So all of these things that I can now look back on and see the good He is using them for, my life He has redeemed for His good pleasure, so I can share my testimony with others, these were the things I felt I was being showered with. This grace that turns my past “bad” into His present “good”. What I have realized now BY GOD’S GRACE is that I wasn’t letting my day to day life be showered by grace. I was self-condemning, I was judging myself and others, I was bordering on and fighting with a works based thinking. I have written about current struggles, current lessons, current ways God was growing my faith but then after those events expecting to be “better”. And when something would come back up I would think “You hypocrite!” You just wrote about this great lesson God gave you in patience and then today you were impatient, how could you??”

I was confusing repentance with penance. I was confusing sanctification with perfection. Oh BUT GOD!!! He has opened my eyes to what I was covering up. Because I wanted to show only my guarded weakness, meaning “I’ll show you my weak areas that I don’t think you will judge that much. I’ll share with my Lifegroup and my friends the watered down version of my sin so it doesn’t seem so bad.” I was justifying. I was exalting. On occasions I would show the “real” me but in general, I was so scared to seem “less than”, a mess, not worthy to minister to others, a bad mom, a bad wife, a “not good enough Christian”. This is the opposite of the gospel. These are all true apart from Christ. But I am IN Christ and Christ IN me. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John‬ ‭15:3-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬.

There is no need to hide, but I did. Guess where that hiding started? In the garden. The fall of man, the history of Adam and Eve, shows our human tendency to cover, to hide. We try to hide from others all the things that we can never hide from God. When I am trying to cover up my weakness I am covering up my need for Christ. When I put on a fig leaf of self-righteousness I am covering up the very thing God can use to bring glory to Himself, to reach another lost sinner, and to make disciples for His kingdom.

The gospel. It all comes down to believing the gospel. Not just knowing the gospel, not just being able to share the gospel, not just being moved by the gospel, but BELIEVING the gospel. If I believe the gospel then I am free! I don’t have to try to set myself free by trying and striving and then failing and condemning. If I believe the gospel I can tell you anything about my past without my heart racing and shame creeping in. If I believe the gospel then I can confess to you that just yesterday I yelled at my daughter (where I normally would say “I lost my patience with her”, doesn’t that sound nicer?) If I believe the gospel then I can believe He loves me. That is the hard one. HOW CAN HE LOVE ME?? How can he love me THAT much?? “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans‬ ‭5:8-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The gospel says I am saved from the wrath of God so who am I to try to pour a false wrath back on myself by self-condemning.

The gospel says I have been reconciled with God so who am I to try to show Jesus ways He should try to turn His back on me by living in shame.

The gospel says I have been set free so who am I to try to climb back into the chains and shackle myself to sin again by hiding and covering and not being transparent ALL the time.

God has shown me this month that my trust in the gospel has room to grow. “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”2 Peter‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭NASB‬‬. God has shown me that I only believed a glimpse of the gospel. He has shown me so much more.

I see my sin yet more and more. As it should be. Instead of being bogged down by it God can bring me to repentance quickly, and show me the gospel again. The more I look at Christ and stop looking at the flesh that is “I”, the more I can see and believe what God sees and why He loves me. His grace! It saves but it also SUSTAINS! His grace isn’t a one time event. It is a million times a day influence on my life. His grace isn’t just to cover the “big” sins, it is what transforms us into Christ’s likeness by rooting out the hidden sins of fear and pride and anger and impatience. His grace brings me to the cross every day as I lay it down for Christ to pick up.

I don’t know if I can ever stop talking about the gospel and talking about God’s endless grace. I feel like it will be a part of everything I write. I know He has only shown me a portion of what He has waiting. I couldn’t possibly take it all in at once. It is already overwhelming. I believe it should overwhelm us everyday.
CHRIST IS ALL WE NEED AT ALL TIMES FOR ALL THINGS. The cross is enough. How could it not be enough? Lord I pray that I would never treat the cross as not enough again by condemning, shaming, and working to achieve what you did, by GRACE! “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

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Waves

T-minus 2 days until our beach trip! Since beach is on my mind I am posting what I wrote last year at the beach. Looking forward to another beautiful message from the Lord this year.

Oh how I love trips to the beach. I always see God’s goodness and beauty. Last year it was in the moon’s reflection on the water going straight to my feet, reminding me of God being omnipresent but at the same time so near and personal. This year it was the waves. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalms‬ ‭19:1‬ ‭NASB‬‬
My sin is swallowed up in the ocean of God’s loving kindness. The waves of grace keep coming; wave upon wave, never-ending grace upon grace.

I write my sin in the sand, confession of pride, laying it at the foot of Christ, repentance that comes from knowing God’s righteousness and love. The waves wash it away, waves of grace cover my sin, God’s mercy on me washes it away.

Christ’s perfect life and substitutionary death started this tidal wave of mercy that results in wave upon never-ending wave, grace upon never-ending grace.

The deeper I get the more rooted I am in this ocean of goodness, God’s love, believing it, trusting it. Going deeper into it the calmer I am; a quiet confidence of faith, knowing that the waves are all around me, the more I wade into His love, the calmer the waves get, not having to crash as hard against my sin to get me to believe, that YES, they will cover even THAT sin. I trust not being able to touch the bottom because I have a solid rock my faith is built on. I don’t need the shifting sand.

Wave upon wave, grace upon grace. All my sin swallowed up and carried away, erased, clean. A righteous, perfect, Holy God loving me. Never ending love everywhere I turn all around me; nothing else I see but His love. Know it, believe it, trust it and respond. Lord I want to love you with all my heart. I have come through a time of doubt and confusion, of judgement and law being on my mind. Forgive me Lord. Forgive me for daring to forget wave upon wave of your grace in my life. Thank you for reminding me of your grace that saved me and your grace that continues to sustain me. Your creation revealing your glory, thank you!!!
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:7-8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

 

 

My Delight

I’ve had some parenting challenges this week. Also known as, sanctification. Anybody else with me on that??!! I love the struggles though, (in the moment, maybe not so much) because God uses it all for growth, for sanctification, for cleaning out the yucky mucky stuff in me. In general, I pray often for my parenting skills, for my patience to increase, for my anger and frustration to decrease. My lesson this week in all of it…the praying in general isn’t enough. I am consistent with praying for God to help me in parenting.. What isn’t consistent is the praying in the moment. Stopping myself when I feel that stomach churning, heat rising, “I’ve had enough” feeling, gurgling and bubbling as I am fighting not to erupt. As one of SG’s book says, My mouth is a volcano! So in those moments, before the erupting, before I even let that feeling have movement and power inside of me, what should I do???

I received many, many, confirming lessons of what to do. Again, I LOVE it, God pouring truth all around me so that I can’t miss it, at every angle, every book, every scripture, every sermon, there was a teaching point for me from God about this subject. It is so AWESOME when that happens. I want to honor and obey what He showed me. He loves me and so perfectly ministered to me in my sin, so that I could learn and turn from it. Learn and turn!

I am reading the Old Testament and have come to 1 Samuel. 1 Samuel 23 is a section where Saul is coming after David and David is also dealing with the Philistines who are fighting Keilah, a city in Judah. In these situations, what does David do? What was my big lesson God delivered through these verses? David ASKED, over and over, specifically, about EACH situation. A brief account of verses 1-15 and the questions and answers…

David – Should I go?
God – Go and attack

David – inquired again
God – Arise and go

David-Will Saul come down
God – He will come down

David – will they surrender me into his hands
God – yes

God answered David and guided him because HE ASKED. I need to seek God’s wisdom and believe and trust He will give it to me in each situation. Just as God did for David, He will tell me when to fight the giants and when to flee the evil pursuing me. He will tell me when to lay low in the shadows in humility and when to speak up. He will tell me when to stand up and when to back down. He will tell me when to give grace and when to stand firm. I need to ask for wisdom in each particular situation not just in general. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”James‬ ‭1:5. And even more importantly I need to just go to God in that moment so I can remember who He is. I always remember who He is when I am on my knees, when I am low to the ground, the ME is taken out of the situation and HE is injected into it. ‬‬‬‬

I have stopped and prayed before in the middle of a “moment” as I call them with SG but I haven’t been consistent in this and I think I was waiting too long into the escalation of the situation to pray. So I quickly began practicing this. Twice I was able to stop myself as I felt a battle brewing with the 4 year old. The first time I went to a separate room to pray. After praying I knew I needed to show grace in that instance. I had taken her blanky away (it was her least favorite one as she had already lost her favorite and her “back up” favorite). While praying I was reminded that God gives me the very best, even thought my actions and works are like filthy rags, He cloaks me and showers me with white pristine garments of righteousness. “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation‬ ‭19:8‬. I went into SG’s room, with her favorite blanket, and covered her up with it. She asked why I was giving it to her since she had lost it as a consequence. So I explained that I was giving her grace, just as God does. Instead of taking away her third blanket, I was going to give her the very best blanket as God did for us when He gave us His Son Jesus. She did soften and smile. The “moment” was over and we were able to hug and pray. God kept that theme running in my head even after this particular time because this past Sunday we studied this verse; He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.””Zechariah‬ ‭3:4‬. Wow, such affirmation that I was able to hear and understand what God wanted me to do with that blanket last week. “”The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.”Proverbs‬ ‭4:7‬.‬‬‬

The second time I stopped and prayed right there in her room. I did not know what to do with her disobedience. She was refusing to do something that I couldn’t physically make her do. Her tantrum increased and got louder when she was sent to her room and had her consequence of losing something. So I just knelt down and prayed, asking God for wisdom and patience. I left the room knowing I needed to stand firm on this one. “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬. She did calm down, came to me on her own, and apologized with a humble heart. She still had her consequence but again we were able to get to a place of understanding and calm so that she could be taught.‬

Some of the words used to describe David’s actions in the 1 Saumel 23 passages are “inquire, asked, inquired once more, prayed…”. Those are words God breathed into the Bible for us to learn from. I MUST inquire, I MUST ask, I MUST pray. Not only in the moment but I must prepare BEFOREHAND by soaking up His Word. I wouldn’t have received this wisdom from God if I hadn’t read those words. Even in the sermon and books that conveyed the messages to me as well it was the scripture in the sermon and the books that God used to help me. It’s God’s Word that has never failed me. It’s God Word that shows me Christ’s example and preaches the gospel to me daily. It’s God’s Word that gives me wisdom when I don’t understand. “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”Psalms‬ ‭19:7-8‬

I pray that Psalm 119:24 is a deep rooted truth in all of our lives and if not, that by God’s grace He will open up His Word to you with mighty understanding and conviction so that you will thirst for it daily!

Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. Psalm 119:24.