Friday, December 11, 2015

Grace at Christmas

I could hear him crying in the other room as I peeled an orange at the kitchen table. He was preparing for a task that no one ever likes doing, yet it is the debt that all mankind must pay. 

My heartbeat is pounding loudly in my ears. The only sound to overtake it is the whistle of the train in the background. 

The process had begun three weeks ago and was coming to an end.  People smile saying have a nice day … how could they know what was happening? 

Welcome new friends this week from:
See if your city/state/country made the list. 

New on DFBBlue Hills, Turks and Caicos Islands; Fuengirola, AndalucĂ­a, Spain; Mumbai, Maharashtra, India; Kathmandu, Bagmati Zone; Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands; Cornwall, PE, St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador, NL, Canada; Ghana; Croatia; French Polynesia; Tholen, Zeeland, Netherlands; San Pablo City, Calabarzon, Philippines; Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. 

USA Warner Robins, GA; Soddy-Daisy, TN; Willow Springs, MO; Estero, FL; Newton, Sewell, & Sparta, NJ; Bon Air & Tazewell, VA; Mandeville, LA; Grand Rapids, MI; San Francisco, CA; North Hartsville, SC; Spokane, WA. 

Thank you for your continued support and sharing Believing Our Belief on Daily Favor.  (DFB - Daily Favor Blog) Living my life before God and man, by sharing experiences as I walk out my faith. 

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Don't miss out on this week's challenge (below).
Read Messages, updates on Hubby’s Heart and visit the Q & A or other sections. 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 

All around us life is being carried out to various degrees of good, bad and just plain ugly situations.  Unless we are actively involved in the daily events of those around us, we haven’t a clue as to what they are experiencing.  

Forget paying attention to world news, it only takes a glance out my front door to know things are changing rapidly.  Someone is moving out, one home is empty, people are moving in, a loved one was lost, a couple separated and another may lose their home.  You can easily come to the point where you don’t want to leave your house lest these things fall upon you.  Yet we know evil doesn’t play favorites and leaves no stone unturned. 

I can’t remember exactly when, but I think it was mid-November when the passage Job spoke to his wife came to mind. 

“… but he (Job) said unto her (his wife). You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.  Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity (evil)? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10 NKJV) 

At that time I was curious as to why this particular verse came to my thinking.  Things were getting better and my husband was improving.  I could see the hand of God’s favor on us. 

For all I knew it was just a “general” statement that I was to keep in mind as I learned about what was happening around the world.  So much evil was going on you could easily relate this passage to the events. 

November 20th, 2015 

When we woke that morning we didn’t realize that there was a literal countdown to events that would transpire in our lives.  After hearing a negative doctor’s report I knew what we needed to do.  As a worship leader I know how praising God in song changes the elements and atmosphere around you.  It was an affirmation from the Lord when the first song I heard playing was “Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here.” 

My husband and I spent the next twenty-four hours listening to continual praise and worship music from a Christian radio station.  Actually, we didn’t shut off the music for two days.  God ministered to us as we worshipped Him, believing His Word as truth.  

It brought comfort to my soul when my husband said, “Either way, it will be okay.”  Now all I had to do was believe it. 

Night Song 

As the playlist continued it was if God put each one in the order He wanted them heard.  Psalm 130:5 led us as our hope in the Lord began.  I put my hope in Your Word … Your love never fails. Joy comes in the morning and I don’t have to be afraid. You work all things together for my good.  These words resonated as the Newsboys sang "You’re Love Never Fails." 

Throughout the night I wrote down each song and at the time not knowing why I needed to do it.  I kept journaling, writing what I was thinking and praying as if it were something I would hand in to God for an assignment. 

The following is part of my journey for the past 19 days that I feel the Lord wants me to share with you.  For time sake I want to list some of them so you can see the pattern, but won’t go into detail about what was going on while they played or throughout the three weeks.  Just recognize the way the Spirit of the Living God was moving. 

-        God You’re My Deliverer, the one who cares for us.
-        This is Where Healing Begins. Where light meets the dark. Don’t fight the Light His blood can cover. 

About this time Christian recording artist Toby Mac came on for an interview, but this statement is what stood out from the rest. 

“God takes our brokenness and turns it into something beautiful.”

We cannot see God, but we can feel and see the effects of His love. Then the following songs played. 

-        There is Power in the Name of Jesus
-        Courageous
-        Fix My Eyes on You (set my sights on Heaven)
-        Lord I’m Ready
-        You Are Unchangeable
-        If I Told You My Story, Grace Wins Every Time
-        Call it Grace (by Unspoken) 

I was hoping that by taking notes and being aware of the presence of God my faith and belief in miracles would stay strong.  With each song God was giving me the right message needed for the upcoming weeks. 

2:30 PM 

-        Lay Down Your Heart, Come As You Are 

…. I put my hope, trust in You Lord. Psalm 130:5 was the theme for the station that day. 

Between songs the Lord would remind me of His Word. “Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.” 

-        Let My Words Be Life (Let my words be true …)
-        Your Words (Third Day) 

Your Words … claim the promises of God. It doesn’t change with our emotions.” Isaiah 40:8  

-        Be Held (you’re not alone. Just be held … not a tear is wasted.)
-        Stronger (this is going to make you stronger. The pain isn’t going to last forever. He is faithful to complete it if you only believe it.) 

My Heart Is Yours (my life is in Your hands. All to Jesus I surrender and freely give. Trust Him.) 

-        Just Say Amen (Anyone here found joy in sorrow? Just say Amen. Did you find peace in the story?)
-        Grace Wins Every Time (Matthew West) played again.

She’s Coming 

I Can Only Imagine was now playing.  At that time (3:20 p.m. 11/21/15) I heard in my spirit “She’s coming.”  All I could do was reject what I heard and cast it down as if it were demonic. Sometimes God prepares us and we don't want to receive what He is trying to do for us.  My spirit knew what my soul denied.

-        That Was Then, This Is Now 

“I’m (we're) not ready to release her Lord.” I cried.  A spiritual conversation manifested and continued.  

“She’s Mine.”
“I know …” 

Scriptures of joy from 1 Thessalonians 5 and John 16 helped me to stay focused. Lord that Your joy be made complete in me … the joy of Christ remains even when things aren’t perfect. 

-        The Story of Your Life (waters the glorious unfolding. The story is far from over; hold on to every promise the Lord has made.) 

Psalm 130:5 repeated 

-        Live on Forever (the Afters) 

“My hope and comfort Lord is that this isn’t where it stops. Make it easy for her.” 

-        When Mercy Found Me
-        Amen I’m Alive, Because He Lives
-        You Are Savior 

4:25 p.m. 

-        Promise Keeper (You see it through to the end; we will say You’re the Lord our God.) 

4:37 p.m. 

-        Would You Dare to Believe? (the pain you’re feeling cannot compare to the joy that’s coming.)
-        Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone 

5:25 p.m. 

-        Your Grace is Enough for Me (Matt Maher)
-        Greater (Mercy Me)
-        Greater Is He  

It’s not that God is looking for us to try harder, but to turn to Him sooner when we slip or fall.  Evening had now come. 

6:16 p.m. 

Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here played again as if the list has come full cycle.  This is where I first knew God was with us through this witness. Hours later He was still present to heal and comfort. 

-        It’s Not Over Yet (by 4 Kings & Country) 
-        Your Great Name (Natalie Grant)
-        Just Be Held played again.
“Come to Me all who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) 

November 22nd, 2015 

The song “My Deliverer” by Matt Maher was playing in the background when he asked the listening audience: 

“Are we crying out in fear, or crying out because
we believed God will deliver us?” 

Right then, I wasn’t sure … 

3:40 p.m. 

With emotional rollercoasters filling our hearts my husband had a peace about him when he said, "Either way, it’s going to be OK.” 

- Lord I Need A Miracle (Third Day) 

November 26th, 2015 

It was that morning the Lord dropped the acronym B.A.R. into my spirit.  Through all of this I must have been hanging on to some bitterness, anger and resentment and didn’t realize it at the time.  However, it would manifest itself as I shared in the November 27th, 2015 Daily Favor Blog post “B.A.R. Hopping.” 

During this time my Bible studies landed on the book of Hebrews.  Chapter two laid heavily on my heart.  It seemed that angels were a big part of all the passages I was reading about bringing loved ones to glory. 

Subject to Bondage 

In the New Testament book of Hebrews, the author explains how Christ and the cross work in the life of a believer.  I understood all that, but this is something that I couldn’t let go and clung to my spirit as if it were a lifeline to Jesus. 

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. (verse 14) 

Like I have shared in the past, it was those two lines that showed on my electronic Bible screen that separated the rest of the verse for me and made this stand out as God intended. 

Verse 15 “… and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” 

All their life subject to bondage!  What bondage? The fear of death.  This doesn’t have to be just physical departing, but any kind of death … work, relationship, pets, business, geographical … get it?  Anything related to “fear” subjects us to bondage.  It works against what Christ did on the cross when He released us from fear of anything.

However, when it comes to the physical body, we don’t have a problem with the “other side” do we? It’s the “before crossing” and the “process of” that causes us to be wrapped up in our emotions.
Part of the work of the cross of Jesus is to release Christians from fear that emotionally binds us.  God was specific that this merciful and faithful gift is favor He only gives to His believing children and not to angels. 

“For indeed He (God) does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham (believers). Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God …” (from Hebrews 2:16-17) 

Although weeping over the loss of someone or something we love is not a sin, staying in the bondage that it stems from is.  With that in mind God led me to another passage, only this time it was from an online friend.

Where there is Grace 

The situation was looking really good and our loved one was getting better.  She was back to almost normal activity, and we believed God had answered the prayers of His Saints. 

I was reading through my email on December 7th, 2015 when I was notified of a post from my friend Gracie (God was even using her name to get my attention). 

The topic certainly interested me and I had no idea what the rest of the post was about to unfold.  Gracie shared a simple DIY ornament link that she liked, so I wanted to take a look as well.  It was sort of a teaser some might think, but I believe it was right from the hand of God. 

Her intro was brief and to the point, then she shared something that lifted my spirit.  Despite all the evil that is going on in the world, it is still a time to celebrate. 

After I read her post I was refreshed and encouraged even more that the works of the devil are not going to affect the celebration of Jesus at Christmas.  If it weren’t for Christ there wouldn’t be Christmas or anything to celebrate.  There would be no hope and we’d still be in bondage to all the work of the devil. 

There is no rule saying we have to decorate in order to show we’re Christians, but there is another way to look at it … through the unbelieving world’s eyes.  To them not decorating is declaring that we don’t really believe in the message of Christmas, and we believe in our grief or problems more than what salvation really means.   

Friend, be RELEASED from fear of any type now! 

Yes, no matter what is happening in your life at this moment, it is the exact time to hang those Christmas lights that represent the Light of Jesus coming into this world. Haul out the evergreen trees, representing everlasting life.
Put up the red ribbon bows that remind us that the blood of Jesus completed the circle of HOPE.  Christ the Lord, Risen Savior and Living God.

Story of Christ: Birth to the Cross to Reigning KING
Gracie’s words of wisdom echoed in my thoughts throughout the day. It had been nineteen days from the first doctor’s report.  We stayed in faith and didn’t waver as we believed for healing.   

Some say it wasn’t answered prayer, but we say it was God’s sufficient grace that prevailed. His favor on this soul was an answer to the prayer of mercy we prayed even though it didn’t manifest the way we hoped.  God was still present and in control.
There was no notice, no pain, but “suddenly” happened. One moment here, the next in flight with ministering angels. 

Cradled in my husband’s arms, at 11:15 a.m. tears of sadness and loss filled the hearts of all who loved this beloved twelve and a half year old.  She went to live with Jesus on December 8th, the day after I read Gracie’s post.  God's grace was leading us all the way, through songs of worship, people, internet posts, His Word and even His Christmas! 

“and He said to me (Paul and all believer’s in Christ), My grace (loving favor) is sufficient (enough, all you need for every situation) 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 NKJV) 

My husband has had much sadness and loss in his life, but God’s grace gave him physical and emotional strength, allowing him to be the vessel He used to usher His creation into the arms of our Savior.  What an honor! 

It’s with family consideration that I don’t reveal the name of the loved one, but know this … God's way says, it’s going to be okay! 

“… and surely I am with you always to the very end of age.”
(Matthew 28:20) 


This Week’s Challenge:
Sharing Grace in Christmas 

For some of you I am fully aware that this is a hard time of year to be “jolly” let alone think about putting up Christmas decorations.  However, as receivers of grace that’s exactly what we must do. 

Maybe you aren’t in a position where you can “deck the halls with boughs of holly,” but there is something you can do as a believer in Christ to reflect your thankfulness to God for the gift of His Son Jesus. 

Our Grace in Christmas Challenge: There are people all around you that need to be inspired, encouraged and see the hope of Christ displayed openly through favor (receiving something they didn’t work for or earn). 

What’s going on with your neighbors, community or nation? Do something to be a Light for Jesus.   

Grace Cards: Distribute cards that say “Merry Christmas” and have a verse on them.  Don’t just give them to people you know.  It’s more important to hand a card to a stranger with a cheery smile, because you don’t know if they are saved or need encouraging.  That card may be the only thing they receive for the season, so it needs to be special. 

Ribbons of Grace: One year we handed out over twenty red bows and asked people to hang them on their door so everyone on that street knew they were a Christian.  Houses that didn’t have one wondered what was going on … so we told them! 

Graced Favored Gifts: Leave a Christmas gift on a library table, at the laundromat or hang it on a bathroom stall hook labeling it “This is for you. The person looking at this bag!”  Inside give a gift that is useful, fun and inspirational.  Yes, it works. I’ve given out jewelry, watches and household items such as seasonal towels, Christian CD's/books, pot holders, good candles (not the dollar store cheap ones), etc. (Avoid food, because people will throw it away.) 

For those who have recently experienced loss, the road ahead may be difficult at times, but where there is God’s grace His favor will carry us through.  Those who come to Jesus, live! Like hubby said, “Either way, it’s okay.”   

I’d like to close this with a quote from Gracie: 

“We must keep our focus on King Jesus. Satan wants nothing more
 than to distract us from our Savior.  Life will get harder and
the news will get very discouraging at times for Christians,
but with Christ we will have eternal victory.”
Remember, God’s grace is enough, because He is faithful to His promises. Surely sharing God’s message of grace isn’t a seasonal thing, but is something to celebrate even more at Christmas. 

If this article has encouraged or helped you please consider sharing it by using the social media icons provided at the end of this post. 

Your Grace is Enough (Chris Tomlin)

Until next time, may God favor you with His grace! 

Check Messages throughout the week.  

“I give you My grace & favor because you believed.”
Jesus Christ 

Note: The words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives.
Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

What’s New This Week: Click on book or link.
Grin with Grace by Kathy Carlton Willis

Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.
Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. 
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  Orange Peel  News  Psalm 130:5  Grace Ornament
Gracie's Blog: Delight in God (December 7th, 2015 post)
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.