Archive | July 2013

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

romans12_2ljm

Hello! How is everyone?  I hope you are learning and enjoying your journey as you go forward with God in your everyday life.  The moment one enters into a covenant relationship with God, their transformation begins because they accepted Jesus into their hearts and lives-thus, the Spirit of God now lives inside of them. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

There are 2 major points I want to mention about the above scripture. 1) As brethren (brothers and sister in Christ), we are to live our lives as a holy sacrifice. You’re probably thinking “a living sacrifice does not make sense! That’s an oxymoron-a contradiction in terms!”  You know what? That’s correct! I’m sure some of you are familiar with the fact that people have made and are currently making sacrifices to other types of gods who they worship or pray to; with no assurance that this god hears them or knows them; and most likely they are worshiping something or someone that is dead.  Now, the God I serve-He is alive…and His life now lives within me and if you accepted Him, He lives within you. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).  God has also gave us His written instruction manuel to live by-that is the Bible. The “sacrifice” we are making is letting go and giving up our old ways on how we thought we should live. If people are really honest with themselves, they will look at themselves as say “well, I’m not as bad as so and so…” That may be true. However, we are not to compare ourselves to “so and so”. We are to compare ourselves to God-who is holy; and frankly, no one can align themselves to the perfection of who God is. The only reason we can see our frailties is because Jesus is showing them to us so that we can begin to transform into the likeness of God. “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:16-19)

2) By now you must be saying “huh?” “What is she talking about?”  “What does this mean?” Well, I’m glad you asked, so I will continue to my second point. As most people know, any change they want implemented starts with a decision in their mind. “I’m going to start a diet” “I’m going to run a marathon.” I’m going to save money for college, a car, a home, etc…”  They start to RENEW their mind. Renewing is basically replacing one type of thinking with another. People usually do it for good reasons. Many times it’s for wordly reasons. The focus is on self and what others may think about what I do and what decisions I make. But as a believer, we change for Godly reasons because we care more about what God thinks about us then what others do.  How does one begin the transformation? We no longer conform to what this world dictates-whether it be in clothes, cars, money, marriage, worship-whatever. We care what God says in His Word about clothing, money, marriage, worship, honor, respect, governmental authority, and so on. Also, since His Spirit lives within us, it will guide us to godly decisions. As my friend Amy always says, “good decisions are not always godly decisions.” As believers, we want to be in the center of God’s will in everything we think, say, or do. “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14: 8-9)

Please understand, transformation is not without struggle. That is why there is that picture of the butterfly.  The caterpillar must struggle to get free from its cocoon to become a butterfly. As a a matter of fact, if someone tried to help the caterpillar so it could escape the cocoon more easily it would not survive because it’s strength was not developed during the struggle of the transformation. “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 12:9)  As people, we will naturally struggle in this life. As believers in Christ, we will not be alone in our struggles that occur in this life. God is faithful to help us and guide to transform into His  likeness every day-until we meet Him face to face and as we transform, it becomes less of us and more of Him. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) We will make godlier choices and not even realize it. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

As you Walk Every Day With Grace, my prayer is that you will not retreat from God’s transformation and that you will become a living sacrifice for Him.

In His Love,

Melody

 

“Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1Kings 19:11-13)

IMG_0645

Hello! How is everyone? Hope all is well with your soul.  As I was thinking (because I do that), I was thinking about things going on in my life and wondering where God is in all of it.  As a believer, I know God is very participant in my life-I know that in my heart as well as i n my head.  Yet, when I think too much, or let my emotions get the better of me, I look for God in the spectacular!.  Ever do that? Look for God in the spectacular?  Or, am I the only one? Think about it, He’s God; so He has to make a “grand” gesture-especially when it comes to me! Right? Who’s more important than me? Isn’t my circumstance important to God?  Of course it is. However, at times I would like to think God is sitting on His throne saying to us “enough with drama!” I gave you so much indisputable evidence of my love for you, do I really have to put on a show, too?”

In the old testament, God always displayed His majesty and glory through signs and wonders. It started in Genesis when God made a covenant with His creation that He would bring salvation to all people. The covenant is God’s promise to mankind and that promise comes with responsibility from mankind. as part of the agreement. Anyway, the point is we (believers and non-believers alike) still seek  from God. In the above scripture, God wanted His prophet, Elijah to know more then His signs and wonders-He also wanted Elijah to know that God knew him personally and that He knew his name-which is why he calls Elijah by name. I guess because of our human frailties, God showed Elijah, the earthquake, the mighty wind and fire. But, God’s presence was not in those signs because He is the God of the signs. He passed by Elijah and then He whispered to Elijah. God is majestic and magnificent. But do you not  see that God will (and does) speak to His own? He doesn’t have to do grandiose things-He is so awesomely majestic that He will call us by name and speak to us.God initiates the relationship-nt man. So many people spend so much time looking for God in the spectacular, that they cannot hear His voice when He answers them or calls to them by name. They are caught up in all the clamor!. God is not a magician! He is not here to entertain us by signs and wonders. He is here to bridge the gap between Himself and mankind by way of His Son, Jesus. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Once Jesus came and died for our sins, there was no more need for a sign. “Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.” (Mark 8:11-12) “But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. (Luke 11:15-17) I also want you to know that all signs and wonders do not come from God. “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs,which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” (Revelation 16:13-15) “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1 John 4:1-3) As you continue to increase your faith and learn God’s ways and apply them to your life, you won’t have to look for Him in the signs and wonders-just listen to that still small voice that call you by name. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)

As you Walk Every Day With Grace, and have received Jesus, I encourage you with these words: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:4-6)

In His Love,

Melody

 

“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God…” (Psalm 147:7)

 

IMG_0765

Hell0! How is everyone? How was your week?  Mine definitely had some bumps in the road; but, such is life.  Movin’ on….Did you ever realize that singing and/or music can change one’s temperament?  Have you ever heard the expression “music calms the savage beast”?  It’s hard to stay angry when one is singing. I’m not talking about singing the blues, love songs, or show tunes or anything like that. That type of singing just makes one focus on self. I’m talking about singing to the Lord.

You might be thinking “say what?” Did you know that God loves music? It’s funny that people don’t realize that God INVENTED music. He invented EVERYTHING. It’s a musical expression of our love for God about His love for those He loves. Have you ever sang to your sweetheart? Spouse? Children? As a believer in God (who is Christ, Jesus), it is the very same thing.  The songs we sing to God is filled with thanking Him for who He is and what He has done for us It’s humbling ourselves before our Maker and realizing that everything comes from His hand and that without Him, we are nothing. If you are reading this, that means you woke up this morning, so sing to the Lord that you are alive and thank Him.

Music and singing to God brings the sweetness of God closer to us. “But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.” (2 Kings 3:15) There are many scriptures that reference music, singing, and worship to God. “Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.” (1 Chronicles 13:8) Sometimes, just singing to God and letting His presence fill your soul is the all one needs to feel His closeness.

For those who don’t know what I mean, here are some songs that have been around many, many years:

Majesty“,by Marantha! Music

Majesty worship His Majesty
Unto Jesus, be all glory,
Power and praise
Majesty, Kingdom authority
Flow from His throne,
Unto his own, His anthem raise.

So exalt, lift up on high
The Name of Jesus
Magnify, come glorify,
Christ Jesus the King
Majesty, worship His Majesty
Jesus who died, now glorified,
King of all Kings.

And…

“To Be Like Jesus” (Hymm)

To be like Jesus
To be like Jesus
That’s All I ask-is to be like Him
All through life’s journey
From earth to glory
That’s all I ask- is to be like Him.

And…

“There’s Just Something About that Name.” by Bill and Gloria Gaither.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There’s just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away
But there’s something about that name.

As you walk Every Day With Grace, I would like to encourage you to sing to the Lord for all the good things that are in your life. I would also like to leave you with some lyrics that many people are familiar with:

Amazing Grace” by John Newton

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

In His Love,

Melody

“As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mark 2:13-17)

images

Hello! How is everyone? I hope you are becoming more and more intimate with Jesus as you begin to spend time with Him.  I’ve been thinking (cause I do that), about  all the changes that are transpiring in world today.  There are things happening that I never thought I would see in this lifetime in the United States. There is a tremendous breakdown of how God implemented family and a revision of that through the laws of men without God.  I keep hearing people saying repeatedly “they can’t tell me what to do!” I keep asking, “who are they?” Nobody can give me a real answer. “You know” is not an answer. “You know”is not even a complete thought or sentence.

People think they have political problems and everyone and their brother are having their civil rights violated.  Oh, allow me to clear this up for everyone…this is not, nor ever has been, political.  The issue is moral. The issue is the matter of the heart.  “How can you say that? I am a good person!” Maybe in comparison to another person you are good.  Maybe compared to Hitler you are good. However, this is what God, Himself says “All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”(Romans 3:12) Jesus said ” No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:8) People don’t realize that God is not good-He is holy. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16) Sorry if I left you feeling doomed. There is hope and the hope and answer is Jesus.

In the above scripture, Jesus saw Levi, the tax collector and said “follow Me” and immediately he got up to go with Him.  Please understand, the tax collectors were hated among the Jews in Israel and for good reason. They worked for the Roman government, plus, they would tax their fellow Jew for anything and everything. In laymen’s terms, they would “shake down” their fellow Israelite for whatever they had. They were considered to be like a gentile-the lowest of the low. You see, the Jews were (and still are) considered God’s chosen people. They were set apart from other nations to represent God so to see a fellow Jew treat another Jew so badly in addition to siding with a gentiles was really despicable.

So what does Jesus do? He goes to Levi’s house where there are more tax collectors and sinners and dines with them.Jesus even brought His disciples to dine with them. They are  having fellowship by sharing a meal. These are the outcasts of society! I think Jesus did this for a few reasons: 1) to teach His disciples (then and now) to be loving, kind and non-judgemental to all people; 2) to bring hope and salvation to all people; and 3) for His disciple-to be set apart and not act like the scribes and Pharisees (religious people). What do certain “religious” people normally do when they see sinners/outcasts? They look down on them. They don’t really offer to help them or bring the hope of salvation to them. They don’t even let them know their need for repentance so that they can become God’s children. You see, religion excuses sin. Religion will let you die in your sin. Religion is man’s way of being right with God.  However, the Bible says “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)  See, relationship brings God to man. Jesus and His disciples showed kindness by sitting and eating with “sinners”. I find it humerous that the Pharisees asked the disciples-not Jesus why He dined with sinners.  I find their behavior arrogant and cowardly not to ask Jesus directly.They probably felt more superior than the disciples because they were mostly un-educated fisherman and were also former sinners so it was “ok” to look down on them where they could not find fault with Jesus-even though they tried. How did Jesus handle this situation? By speaking directly to them when He said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The Pharisees could not truly forgive people. They only had laws (rules) as to how to handle sin. Only God can forgive sin, but one must repent (turn and walk away from sin) by asking Jesus into their hearts and lives. “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.” (Daniel 9:9) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Please know that God has made a way to bridge the gap between Him and mankind and that is through His Son, Jesus. “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) I have been sinner, pharisee, and sinner saved by grace through Jesus Christ. God’s mercies are new every morning. There is no sinner that is so “bad” that Jesus will not forgive when asked of Him.

As you Walk Every Day With Grace, I want to leave you with this scripture “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

 

“For I am the LORD, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6)

 

IMG_0580 - Version 3

Hello!. How is everyone? Can you believe it is the 4th of July already?  It is the 237th anniversary of  our Independence in the United States. It is when we commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4 , 1776 -commonly known as the Fourth of July, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  Independence Day is the National Day of the United States. The United States of America is one of the youngest countries-if not, the youngest country to rule and  be the main forerunner over all other countries.  Yet, in over 200 hundred years we have seen many changes in law, government, politics, property, education, families, male and female roles; and  so on. My point is that man(kind) continues to change their views and morality, but, God does not change.

What most people do not realize is that God is in control of the world-including the changes that come through governments that affect all people. God is the one who allows changes t0 transpire, God sits on His throne in heaven patiently waiting for His children to call upon His name and for other people to cry to Him so that they can become His children. “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”(2 Chronicles 7:14) “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

What most people do not realize is that God is in control of the world-including the changes that come through governments that affect all people. God is the one who allows changes t0 transpire, God sits on His throne in heaven patiently waiting for His children to cal upon His name and for other people to cry to Him so that they can become His children. Do you see that God’s word has stayed the same?  These promises are thousands of years old.  He did not “update” His promises with the times because they have changed; if anything, His constancy has made His promises for salvation and eternal life available every single day. “For he says, in the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you, I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

It is because God does not change that we can be free from sin and bondage to whatever the devil and mankind throws at us “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)  His only condition to this freedom is to receive (accept) Jesus into your heart and life and repent (walk away) from your sins.  There is no supplement; no an  amendment to His mercy. We are given the same mercy that was extended to all of those in the Bible starting with Adam and Eve. However, it is only through Jesus that was are set free from all sin-past, present and future. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” (Romans 6:22) As you go about today and the rest of the week, I pray that you will think upon the LORD and realize that Jesus is just a prayer away.  I know many people know of Jesus, but that does not mean they have a relationship with Him.  I recently heard someone say that Jesus needs followers-not fans. Isn’t that just great? Jesus isn’t trendy; but, He is available everyday to those who want to know Him.

I would like to leave you with this scripture as you Walk Every Day With Grace…”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17). God’s love does not change and remember, today can be your day for salvation!

In His Love,

Melody