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“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

image004-4For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God.

Hello. How is everyone? It appears that we, in the Northeast have a reprieve from the snow (at least for the moment) There is a rumor that we are to have snow Sunday into Monday; and Monday into Tuesday-now it may be on Wednesday…oy vey! I find that in addition to the snow, there has been an addition of “angst” in the air. I would say that there is a legitimate amount of stress that is affecting everyone and it seems to be hitting most people in the wallet and in their spirit.  “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives,that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)

It’s like what my friend Amy says “just leaving the house even to go somewhere local (like a   grocery store) costs so much money!” As we all know, everything is so expensive-gas, food, rent, mortgage, medical bills, co-payments,now there is co-insurances, etc…  Notice, I am not referring to extravagant things like vacations, huge houses or cars-just the everyday cost of living and I am hearing people say the craziest things regarding their expenses. The problem when this situation occurs, is that we focus more on money than on God. Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8-9)And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15) So, what can we do?  We cry out to our God. “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:1) We have to be careful when we let circumstances take over our mind and emotions because then we take our eyes off of God and put our eyes on ourselves and then worry and doubt subtly  begin to take over. Then we try to figure things out because we don’t think God will help us or answer our prayers-and that my friends, can open a door for mental and/or physical illness. “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up” (Proverbs 12:25) Worrying is the opposite of trusting God. The reality is God has never failed His children-we just feel that way when we are in crisis mode. We have to be careful when we let circumstances take over our mind and emotions because then we take our eyes off of God and put our eyes on ourselves and then worry and doubt subtly take over our focus. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1Peter 5:7) “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Worrying is the opposite of trusting God. That’s why we try to plot and figure things out. We try to use worldly wisdom and resources and make it a godly application. But God is in control of all things and He will take care of His children. This is the reality for believers in Jesus Christ-God has never failed His children-we just feel that way when we are in crisis mode.“Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:30-33) “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”(James 4:8)  In order to remedy our situations during tough times (trials), we must go to God in prayers so that we do not forfeit our souls but instead, protect our souls through our prayers. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippian 4:6-7 NLT) “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)  God will always direct our paths-it is so much better then taking matters into our own hands. We just need to submit to His will and trust Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) 

Please don’t think this easy-it is not. But God loves us and will always care for us. Do not give up your heavenly inheritance for this temporal world and what you think it can offer you.  Even our journey on this planet is temporary.  I encourage you to be heaven bound and heavenly minded because nothing can separate us from God’s love towards His own.“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered. ”But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 NASB)

There is a cost to be a disciple of Jesus Christ: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].” (Matthew 16:34-35-Amplified)

As you walk Every Day With Grace, I would like to leave you with some scriptures that are food for thought (and application). Be encouraged knowing that God loves and cares for you and is always there with you in your circumstances.

In His love,

Melody 

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.(1 Timothy 6:6-8)

“Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it” (Proverbs 15:16)

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. (Psalm 37:3-5)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “(Matthew 6:19-24)

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.(1Timothy 6:17-19 NASB)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (1Timothy 6:10-11)

“Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. (Psalm 37:16)

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” (Proverbs 28:6)

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8)

“Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:5)

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)

“Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,” (Proverbs 30:8)

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  (Psalm 34:8)

 

 

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

image007Hello. How is everyone? How is everyone adapting to this consistent influx of snow?  I think the only place in the United States that has not been hit with snow is Florida. The fact that Atlanta, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee; Texas,  Arkansas, North and South Carolina, and other various places have been hit with snow and ice is historical (not hysterical) and astounding!  During all of this inclement weather got me thinking as to what is God trying to say to His people? This weather pattern is so unusual that I am sure God is trying to get everyone’s attention. One of the things I started to dwell on is faith…mores specifically… my own faith.

I don’t care who you are, I believe everybody is going through some form of struggle. But the issue really is, where is one’s faith as we go THROUGH the struggle?  One of the things my friend Amy and I say to each other all the time is “either we believe God is who He says He is or He isn’t”-which means God is our Heavenly Father and He we choose to believe that He will take care of us for no other reason that we are His children and He loves us.  Please know that as much as I write to you and say “I am believer of Jesus Christ and I know He will take care of me, it still takes an act of faith on my part. In other words, I can believe with my head (intellectually) because I have been reading the scriptures for years and years, but how do I react when trials and struggles arise? Is my faith strong enough to stand? Or, is it weak and faint hearted? “He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Matthew 17:20, AMP)

The problem that causes a lack of faith is doubt.  We doubt everything! God, ourselves, our family, our friends, doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs….it doesn’t matter.  Mankind at its best is weak-in all areas when compared to God.  So many of us think of ourselves as “super heroes” and think we have “super human strength” to handle any and all circumstances. That is all a bunch of nonsense. When we depend on mankind (especially self), we exhaust our emotions; our strength; patience; finances and relationships, etc…. Doubting is in our nature… Even John the Baptist doubted who Jesus was and that was his first cousin! After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” (Matthew 11:1-6)

Why did John doubt? He was discouraged because his proclamation of belief in Jesus landed him to jail! He was probably thinking “Hey! What did I do? I obeyed the call of God and dressed strangely; and preached the message of repentance for the messenger of the Messiah to come. Why am I in trouble? Why am I in jail? “And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it shall happen.” (Matthew 21:21)  John was the forerunner (messenger) of Jesus…and his cousin; yet, he found out that obedience does not excuse trials or self doubt, but it will affect one’s faith. Think about it, John was with Jesus-God in the flesh and he doubted his faith after physically seeing Him and being in His presence; and circumstances still caused him to doubt.  That is why we must continue on-in faith. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1Peter 1:3-9)

Faith is the foundation  of salvation because one chooses to believe that God is who He says He is. As hard as it is, we cannot get caught up in circumstances. The way we will not doubt our faith is by keeping our eyes on Jesus.“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2) I encourage you to keep the faith and don’t give up when things go awry. Our faith in God is the only thing that sustains us during the bad times.  Hold tight to your faith in God and it will carry you through every day. That is a promise.Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. (Philippians 3:13-16)

As you walk Every Day With Grace, please know that  faith is not something we can see, but it is the evidence of our hope.

In His Love,

Melody

 

 

 

“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone…” (John 8:7)

 image009Hello! How are you? How is your week going?  Life seems to be a little heightened with people acting a little more crazy lately. The atmosphere feels heavy with judgmental attitudes.  It seems like gravity is pulling condemnation down on everyone…which got me thinking about the women caught in the act of adultery in John, chapter 8:1-11: “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience,went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” In this event, a woman was caught in adultery (my question is-where was the man? But, I digress…) The point is here is that a woman was brought and publicly shamed and humiliated-and according to Jewish law was supposed to be put to death by stoning for her sin! Again…where was the man who was also sinning with this woman since the man was most likely married? Was he without sin?  I think not. Yet, only the woman had the accusers.

This made me think of what we do probably every day or most days. We judge others and in reality, we also are judged. Believe it or not, we all have sinned; “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...(Romans 3:23) That’s the reason we behave like that. I have had more than  my share of days where my own self righteousness had gotten the better of me- and this is what God says about it: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother,Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5) We need to remember that we are ALL sinners.  Those who believe in Jesus Christ as sinners saved by grace, but still fallible human beings who still consciously or unconsciously sin. But as sinners, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)  “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19) “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;” (Daniel 9::9)

When the woman was brought to Jesus he did not punish her or correct her-instead He asked her accusers who among them was without sin? He meant before God as well as before man. More importantly, they knew what He meant. That’s why they walked away one by one. I bet they tried to sneak away without being seen. Amazing how guilt is carried out in silence instead of a loud voice.  So what did Jesus finally say to the woman? “Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” The same advice works today-sin NO MORE.  Those who are outside of Christ are our accusers who hurl allegations and accusations at us. But, for those who accept and run and hide in Jesus, their sins are forgiven and therefore, are no longer condemned.

As we walk Every Day With Grace, let us remember the words of Jesus when we want to cast a stone…”Go and sin no more!”  The choice is ours.

In His Love,

Melody