Today’s Worship Walk: John 1:16

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“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.”

John 1:16

Of all the wonderful gifts God gives us, I think one of the best and most vital, is His grace. It’s s also one that I can take for granted if I’m not careful.

Simply put, grace is being given what we don’t deserve. If I look at myself honestly, I see a sinner who falls short of God’s standard every day. Yet, as a believer I’m also a child of the King, an heir with Christ, and a new creation. How can both be true? Grace.

God’s amazing grace starts with sending His Son to redeem us. As if that weren’t enough, He continues to anoint us with grace to grow in holiness, to become more like Jesus.

It takes strength and determination to keep growing, and God provides that for us each day. His touch can be so gentle though, that I miss it, and think any positive changes I see in myself are because of work that I’ve done. That’s forgetting God, which grieves Him.

I need to be more mindful each day of the grace God has given me already, and for how He wants to continue providing it. Maybe starting my morning with declaring His goodness, and lifting up praise. The reminder will keep me aware and humble, and invite God to continue renewing me.

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Today’s Worship Walk: A Different Kind of Christmas

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Source: Pexels, Vlanite Koppens

Hi everyone! As the month of December starts, I’m sharing a piece I wrote during a challenging season a few years ago. I learned a lot that year about letting go and trusting God – both important lessons. Enjoy.

 

A Different Kind Of Christmas

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…” 1 Corinthians 1:3

 

While sharing a little time with my husband one December morning a couple of years ago, I asked him for prayer. What began as a quick request turned into an emotional moment as I poured out some of what was stored up in my heart.

I started by asking if he would be okay with me buying cookies for Christmas Eve that year instead of baking them. Boy, was that a hard question to ask! Baking has been one of my favorite ways to usher in the holiday season. But because of Rheumatoid Arthritis setting in, my joints just couldn’t handle a lot of the movements involved anymore. Being stubborn and independent, I’d already tried several times and paid dearly for it.

I realized that cookies were not the only Christmas tradition that was shaping up differently that season. Stockings were going to be smaller, as well as our tree. We’d been too busy to pull out the box of decorations. And since the kids were older, there was less excitement in the air. I knew those changes were part of a natural progression. But each one felt like a loss to me.

Later that morning, I came across a great article by Lisabeth Saunders Medlock about accepting change. In it, she shares her own extremely challenging experience. Here’s one point she made: “It’s natural to have feelings of sadness, to grieve over the loss of something…You have permission to feel that way, but only for moments.”

Those words really resonated with me, because I often get stuck emotionally. Grieving is definitely part of the process of accepting change, but it’s only one of the first steps. I have to be able to look at the present realistically, and the future hopefully. I can’t make myself ready to move forward like that on my own, though – my mind and heart are too weak. I’ll stay stuck.

Thankfully, I have a God who knows each change I face, and who wants to help me navigate them. The Apostle Paul called Him “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…”. From his early years as a Pharisee to his missionary trips, Paul experienced change on a daily basis, and not always for the good. But God was always faithful to pick Paul up and lead him forward.

I take great encouragement from Paul’s story, because it reminds me that I don’t have to face change alone. As my family’s familiar Christmas traditions start to shift, or I have to adapt to a new health condition, my Heavenly Father wants to bring comfort to my spirit. He’ll help me cherish what’s been, to accept what is, and to look ahead to what’s next!

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

Today’s Worship Walk: Proverbs 14:30

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A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Proverbs 14:30

That’s a pretty strong statement. Just that word “rots” evokes such an image doesn’t it? And other translations use language that’s just as harsh: “jealousy is like a cancer in the bones” (NLT), or “envy can eat you up” (CEV).

Unfortunately, I can attest to the truth of this idea. Early on in life I became very good at comparing myself against other people, always coming up short. My thought pattern then led me to feelings of jealousy and envy towards others. Trying to ignore or dismiss those feelings didn’t get rid of them. They settled in each time, chipping away at my self-esteem.

But I’m convinced now, that my physical body suffered as well as my heart. Letting jealousy into my spirit brought a whole host of other negative emotions, like resentment, frustration and even anger. And it’s been proven scientifically that any of those can hurt our bodies in any number of ways.

It’s important to realize that beyond being bad for us, letting envy and jealousy take hold is sinful. When we covet something someone else has or does, it is showing a lack of contentment and trust in God. Sin of any kind is destructive to us and our relationship with our Lord.

King David wrote about this idea. In Psalm 32, he gives us a vivid description of how being separated from God affected his whole being:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 

Psalm 32:3-4

David goes on in this song to give us the way out, and it starts with confession. His agony turns to rejoicing because he knows that when he turns back to God the relationship will be restored – he will be restored. The next step is repenting – making a decision to turn from those sinful feelings and thoughts.

Following David’s example will bring us to a place of healing and even better, renewal of heart, mind and body.

 

Click herefor more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.