Grace then Faith

Divine order

Saved by Grace: Unmerited favor of God (You can’t earn it, You can’t boast about it, It is given to every human being on this earth.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Titus 3:5
He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:9
He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our own works, but by His own purpose and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time eternal.

The grace that God extended toward us through Jesus our Savior. Jesus died for all our sin past, present, future (ALL SIN) He was buried in a tomb, and God raised Him from the grave proclaiming victory.

Faith comes after we experience God’s grace we receive faith by hearing the gospel of grace and by all of the word of God. Old and New Testament.

Romans 10:17 – So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

We can not please God without faith. We can only seek Him through the Word.

Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Grace and Faith combined gives us Hope in ( Jesus Christ, Yeshua, The Cornerstone)

Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

This is the divine order that God established. We often try to have faith before we accept God’s grace, and it will not work in that order. We have to agree on the gift of God’s grace. The gift of God, His son Jesus, to understand that we are forgiven of all sin through Christ Jesus. All past, present, future sin, and all of the sin of the world!! We’re sinners we sin, Jesus Christ saves! He is the Savior. He is the only one perfect and blameless. I pray we take ahold of grace and then our faith increases. We live out our faith through pure grace. It is the grace of God that holds us together.

When we have a grasp on God’s grace, it propels our faith and keeps us running to Jesus through relationship. We have no terror of the wrath of God because we have been washed clean and forgiven by the blood of Jesus. We have a reverent respect and relationship with Jesus. Now when God the Father looks upon us, He see’s Jesus, the son in whom He is well pleased with. That is freedom, that is grace, that is mercy and love everlasting. That is wonderful; that is Jesus Christ.grace.jpg

A tree of life

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Today, I have just been reflecting. I have been thinking about the last five years of my life. I have witnessed God do amazing things in the midst of severe tragedy and death, against tremendous loss and financial hardships, and against every odd that could be stacked. I have seen His hand come down to swoop me from destruction and desolation. I have seen His mercy when the world said there was none. I have experienced a valley period for almost six years (actually to be specific April 2011). I have experienced total loss. First, my house was lost in a historic flood in April 2011. I mean everything we had about three hours to get everything out. We got some things, but most things were ruined. I lost my pictures, handmade items that my babies made. I about lost it when an insurance adjuster came in and said “Well it could have been worse!” and quickly told us well we were lucky because it wasn’t over the top of our roof. I remember feeling like the blood was collecting up around your neck and your head was going to pop. I also remember in that very moment wanting to cry and scream and ask him how he slept at night. But, I heard a small voice that said: “Everything is ok.” I remember feeling like I had no one. I remember trying to give updates to people and fighting back intense anger and tears. I remember trying to understanding if I was going to get through this? If I were going to, I would have to breathe one breath at a time. I got through it, I got through it by the grace of God that holds us, the universe, and all together and is in control Colossians 1:16)

I remember filling out paperwork for my babies to go back to school and have to check homeless. We were living with my in-laws. I remember getting the phone call saying sorry you didn’t get the loan. I remember feeling like my every day just was every hell I didn’t want to go through.

This is life, hard, cold, and cruel. I remember a phone conversation with my mom and she said “Kim, why don’t you claim the house in Jesus name.” I remember saying “Okay.”

I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel; I am not saying or giving the formula to claim a house. I am saying I walked in my current house and right there completely broken; I cried out. “I said, Jesus if it is your will, please give us a home. This house is your house. You will be on these walls because you gave it to us.” I walked out and went home told my husband of soon to be ten years” I found a house!” he said “Great, we will go see it Saturday and get some paperwork on it!” and that is just what happened. Saturday afternoon we started papers on a beautiful four bedroom home for a family of five. By Friday the next week we were approved without a hitch or complication and signed papers the following week. By the first week of October, we were moving in. I’m not telling you this to pat ourselves on the back. The fact was we were so far away from God that some would say we were hopeless. I’m telling you this because prayer is everything!

Not the claim made to Jesus but, the cry that He hears.

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He decided the rest because He knows. Looking back, this blessing turned my life straight back into his arms. It set my heart to seek Him for healing, loving, and restoration I needed desperately. I needed freedom! I needed to see Him move mightily to get my attention.

That same Easter we decided to recommit our lives to Christ and serve Him with all our heart, mind, and souls. We did, we started getting involved with the youth inside our church, and it was love at first sight. Our church was perfect for us, but there is no such thing as a perfect church. This spurred a journey that changed our lives for the good. Soon, as you all have experienced, a major issue and conflict started to surface. Looking back every inch of it was fueled by religion and that nasty green-eyed monster jealousy. I will admit I could have handled the whole thing much better than I did. I made mistakes and have regrets. What happened next was a beginning of several losses that have occurred simultaneously since July 2013. First significant loss was the children in the youth group. I don’t want to be melodramatic, but, when this offensive explosion of lies and mean-spirited division came, it left a wake of victims not just myself but at least thirty people that I can immediately think off the top of my head. Of course, I remember feeling out of control, frustrated, and well downright heartbroken. Immediately I ran to the Word, and the Holy Spirit led me to three Psalms. I would tell you the numbers but, honestly, I just think that’s something only God and I ever need to know. It was a time where God was ever so tender with me. I felt like if I even sniffled He was right there on the scene. I remember one morning in particular where I was praying. I was angry praying; I was stomping around then I knelt down then I laid down, and I sobbed my ever-loving heart out, but not what you think, I was merely asking for Him to take the pain away. I was begging to tell Him, Lord, I feel like a whole part of me is gone. Don’t you care? Why, am I going through this? What did I do? Why can’t I be back with those kids, I love them! I need them!

He never even chastised me He just simply said: “I know, I see, I hear.”  I have never forgotten those words. Just knowing He knows, He sees, He hears was enough. I knew He loved me. I knew He saw this coming. I knew He heard my shattered heart and knew exactly what to say to it. I got up from there and decided, well if He knows, He sees, He hears, then I’m giving this to Him, and I am leaving it here. It’s too much, and it hurts as all get out, and I have had enough of it. I would be lying if I said I didn’t still cry over that season every once in a while. I remember what happened, but I remember how God loved me especially so merciful in that season. Made the verse in Matthew 5 jump off those pages and come to life. I am close to the broken-hearted. Oh, I have been broken just like David on my belly, broken. Just as I got on my belly flat as an arrow, I got up again.

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After leaving our home church, we went to another local church. Quite a bit larger than our home church and full of life. It was a safe place. It was a place that we could cry, be angry, hurt, and quiet and be okay. That was two and a half years ago, and it wasn’t pretty. I would love to tell you all how we nailed it, but that would be a whopper breaking lie for the record books! We were messy, but they loved us anyway. We were gun shy, but they were patient. We tried, and I think they saw that. I’ve heard everything from if the church hurt you enough to make you lose your faith your faith was not of God. That is true, but to a person raw with intense pain and loss of losing a church family traumatically it’s like pouring salt on it and saying don’t worry it’ll heal up! I’ve heard well come on its time to get over it. It’s time to get moving. Yup, probably 100 percent truth, but the fact was I was barely holding on to Jesus’s garment, but at the same time the little bit I had a hold of it was a death grip. I almost lost my mind during this season. God knew I loved Him. Believe me, Y’all, I had the heart for God, but I was running away from things I had suppressed and when all heck broke out. There it was staring back at me like a rabid dog. It was a giant of sorts, and it wanted to consume me. God orchestrated all this so when this fierce giant came for me, well, this time I would slay it! So Him saying I know, I see, I hear. Did not just have meaning right then, but He told me ” Kim, I’ve been here all along! I know, I see, I hear!”  That is the still small voice that led me through the valley and in a spiritual battle that was the turning point in my life. After ultimately finding Jesus and knowing who I am in the Great I Am. This took from July 2013 until May of 2015.

That May morning I received a phone call and …

One of my best friends voice said “Kim, Jenna is in ICU. She is bad. They don’t think she is going to live.”

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See, Jenna and I were best friends in high school. We had a lot in common. Of course, we were both incredibly broken, and well, you attract the level of brokenness you are.  We instantly bonded.

Fast forward to our early 30’s and we were not even speaking because of drugs and alcohol. No matter what, I loved Jenna. I really did. No matter what, we always were at her major life events, especially the birth of her daughter A.

Fast forward to May of 2015 again and the same friend that called said: “Kim, come up here now!”

I said, ” Does she want to see me?”

She said, “Hold on I’ll ask.”

The next voice I heard was a faint, weak voice that said: “Kimmie, I love you!” I said “I love you, Jenna” then she only said let’s never talk about it again come up here.

I dropped the phone and ran. Praying the whole way up there that God would help me. I was scared to death. The only thing I knew was she was in complete liver failure, and she looked scary.

I remember the level of a shock seeing her. But, after that, I sincerely believe God shielded my eyes and gave me strength to do what I did next. I decided from that moment if God had restored us back to speaking then I would stay with her. I did, until she was released from the hospital. The things that happened, are again, something I will never forget and are moments I treasure. I will say this; God filled that room, and I saw first hand the power of prayer and how God prepares us for the next step. He faithfully did. After she went home to Texas with her mother, she would be away from drug dealers and access to what is a full blown epidemic in our society. Ninety percent of drug and alcohol addicts are not in treatment centers; the death rate is staggering. After staying with her mother in Texas she relapsed. It was the beginning of August three short weeks after she returned; she was dead due to substance abuse. The same day we buried her precious bones, my husband stood in the doorway and told me his job of eighteen years was ending in November 2015. To be honest, I was numb; I tried to process but, I couldn’t. All I could do was walk around and occasionally sob.

It would be a grief-stricken season. I still had a hold on to the same piece of His garment. I said to Jesus one morning “I don’t care what happens I’m not letting go! I refuse to give up, and I don’t know how, or where, or even when, but, I know You will work this for the good of me! I’m digging in and choosing You!”

Hahaha, little did I know He chose me before the foundations of the earth. But, you see I was convincing myself, and declaring no matter what to Satan, I love God because He first loved me! You can sift me like wheat, but, you can’t have the head of the grain. The harvest is the Lord’s! No matter what you throw out before me, I am submitting and praising God! The next week, a woman at church said:  “Hey, there is an older couple who need a caretaker; I know you would be great at it!” so, I took the offer and began this page. This page and blog is a tree of life to me. It is a fruit from several seasons of loss and hardships. It is a promise that was made to my heart. It is proof that God is with me. It is evidence of how His grace continually holds all of us together!

By the way in March 2016, my wonderful hubby did find a job, and God is still blessing us abundantly. We celebrated 15 years married in September 2016. I will never be able to adequately express how difficult these last five or six years have been, but what I can tell you is keep praising, keep dreaming, keep holding onto that garment with white knuckles because things will calm down and you will see the hand of God in time. I love Jesus, I love life, and I love each one of you. ❤

This picture right above is a relationship that is a tree of life for me. This is my best friend Cassie and one of Jenna’s besties too! I look at this picture sometimes and wonder what it would have been like to have a short, beautiful blonde holding a sign that says, Love. How many nights I have wondered but, the still small voice says: “Don’t wonder. Everything is okay. I know, I see, and I hear.” That is what keeps all of us going. Those moments of security and reassurance. Thank you, Jesus, for those moments they keep up hanging on tightly to the hem of your garment. <3

 

#grace #Jesus #unfailing #everlasting #Lord #Holy #mighty #restoration #healing #hurt #broken #strength #holyspirit #promises #faithfulness

Glory of God, Came Down

 

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Thank you, Lord, for coming down from your throne in Heaven. Leaving angels perplexed while your plan of redemption for mankind had begun (1 Peter 1:10-12) in your perfect time and in your perfection. Thank you, Lord, for tearing the veil from bottom to top. Paul writes in Hebrews 10:19-20 Jesus’ body was torn so all man could have an eternal life and all His power and glory could transcend to be with the Father. Because the moment when the veil of our Savior, Jesus was torn something radical happened. 

 

Jesus broke the curse of sin and death trampling the enemy with one final blow delivering defeat and handing us the keys to victory and eternity. God descended from heaven all His glory power through the womb of Mary becoming both flesh and God, and he walked wrapped in human flesh with all of God’s glory, Jesus.

 

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He even died in all of God’s glory, and power. Jesus’ body was broken and bruised with all of God’s glory. The same power and glory that was laid to rest in a borrowed tomb. The same glory and power that rose Jesus from the grave on the third day. It is the same glory and power that breathed His first breath in a cold, smelly, crowded stable with a tired young mother and even more anxious father awaiting the cry of their first-born miracle son Jesus. The day that Son of God arrived in all of God’s glory and power and honor; hidden in the flesh of an infant boy born to a virgin. The angel – said His name was to be Jesus.

– Luke 1:31-33

You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make Him a king like his father David of long ago. He will rule forever over His people, who came from Jacob’s family. His kingdom will never end.”
For to us a Child shall be born, to us, a Son shall be given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6

And, so it was His name is Jesus, and as Mary wrapped the cold, infant in swaddling rags. The Heavens and Earth declared and displayed that The Savior of the World, The King Of Kings, and Lord of Lord’s had indeed been born into the world; to save and restore humankind from death to life eternally. Oh, how blessed we truly are to have such a loving Creator. Thank you, Father, for the birth and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, my Wonderful Counselor, my Mighty God, my Everlasting Father, and my Prince of Peace. All I have to bring is my love and a broken heart. I am grateful that is all that you ask because of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, you have appeared to us, and loved each of us with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

 

 

 

Learning and Leaning 

The past couple of weeks have been downright exhausting. My Mother had surgery on November 29th, a total knee replacement. It has been a challenge, and I will spare you the details. I kind of giggle to myself as I write this because I’m right in the middle of the details, there are wildly hilarious moments and my sides hurt from laughing so hard and some when I have wanted to scream, cry, and shout. Some moments simply overwhelm us, but they are just moments, and they soon enough will pass.

I’ve learned something this week…

I’ve learned that usually during the most insane moments of our lives, ya know the kind – when everything is on pause for a family member to heal. When you lose your job of eighteen years. When you get the phone call that your loved one has passed on, we know these moments. Where life suddenly changes direction in a split second. It’s these moments that are small in time, but the crescendo in a symphony. They are fast and intense and full of drama and downright exhausting.

These mini moments don’t define us, these moments refine us.

They come out of nowhere like a hundred mile an hour curveball. We think we can just swing at it and hope like heck we nail it, but more often than not we swing and frustratingly, and miserably strikeout.

That has been me for the last two weeks. If you can imagine me ever trying to hit a baseball (insert hysterical laughter here). I thought about that for a second.  I thought about myself watching my children play sports and, wanting them to knock that ball silly and hit a home run. Not necessarily to make me proud, but to show them that they are fantastic!

Then I realized…

The fact that they are standing on home plate, ready and willing to hit that ball, no matter what came from the pitcher, the other team! That was what mattered that they showed up not just for themselves, but for their team.

Some times we need to know that even if we strike out due to frustration, anxiety, grief, and failure. We have a Father in Heaven that is wild about us! Sitting in the heavenly bleachers, cheering furiously, for us to hit that ball out of the park, and if we don’t, He still will be cheering just as loud. Proud as a peacock! That’s what we call it around here! When is the last time you even thought that God, himself is proud of you??? He’s not just cheering you on; He adores every breath you take. There is nothing, that could ever stop that love, that grace.

I’m learning He doesn’t care about how far it goes or how awesome the crowd cheers. He only cares that I show up, that I am present in the moments, and most of all NO MATTER WHAT I DON’T QUIT!

I’m learning when I do strike out, and I don’t have what it takes to hit it out of the park.  He is still cheering but, as any parent does He puts together the perfect game plan for PRACTICE.

What I’m learning is He is putting me in incredibly challenging and chaotic situations and impossible odds to challenge, to strengthen me, to mold me.

I am learning that to do what He wants I need to learn how to play in the batter’s box and as the outfielder. I need to learn how to slide, to run like a deer,  to stay on base, to be aware of the game but, keep my focus on the goal.

I need to learn how to throw the Word of God,  and I need to find out how to catch it by listening and spending time with Him. I have to know the object of the game is endurance; that is making it to home plate.

I need my forehead to be as strong as flint so, I can run with champions. I need to learn teamwork and wait for the teammates and team He drafts me to. I need to learn how to be ready and, how to catch(listen) and how to throw a ball (learn) so, I can get the other team out and us in! So we can win souls for the kingdom of God. I need to learn how to lean into the pressure instead of resisting pressure and allowing the weight to slow me down and allowing it to take me out of the game.

I am learning how to lean; when I lift my eyes and I’m coming off of third base leaning into a steep curve and, then running with all I have. I will see and hear the loudest voice saying “Run! Kim, Run!” “Run! Home!”

No matter what game we are facing, we can find strength in the leaning and not the ability

We are never without leadership even when our team has given up or, the other side has a six-point lead, and we are in the bottom of the ninth; exhausted and beaten up with no hope in sight.

We always have our Father in the stands seeing, knowing, and understanding the odds but whispering ” Just lean in, then mount up with wings like eagles and soar!” with the biggest, widest, smile on His glorious face.

So, when you feel like there is no hope, no team, no coach, don’t worry your Father is in the stands giving you a look to just lean. Trust that! That my friends is the perfect and safest place to be in the whole game.

Don’t be afraid just keep running!

#Lean #Learn #Trust #Practice #RunningTheRace #faith #Jesus #endurance #strength #defining #moments #not #the #end #hope #unfailing # love

Cling To A Good God

beautiful-love-5Romans 12:9

9 Let love be without hypocrisy, Abhor what is evil, Cling to what is good.

I am focusing on this verse today. Simply because I need to be reminded of what to cling onto this morning.

I found myself feeling so overwhelmed for no apparent reason. My life is not falling apart. I kept asking myself ” Why do I feel so beat down, and like a failure? “Why am I angry and upset over things that are out of my control?” ” Why am I allowing my mind to go over failing moments over and over?” I heard a still small voice say ” Pray!”. So, I did; A product of what wisdom and instruction that came out of that prayer this morning. I want to share.

I will jump right into verse and break it down. I am using Strong’s Greek and Hebrew concordance also Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, along with Bible Knowledge Commentary.

First, I would like to point out that the word love in verse 9 is the Greek word agape Strongs’s number 26. Which the definition is properly love, to prefer, divine love, benevolence, good will, esteem. So we can translate verse into Let love (divine love, proper love, good will, esteem, charity, to prefer). So Paul is saying let our love be shown as Christ’s divine love (agape).

The second Greek word I would like to point out is without hypocrisy (anupokritos) Strong’s number 505 here is the definition to act without hypocrisy, to act rightly or accordingly, not a phony (put on), describing sincere free from hidden agenda’s and without selfish motives. (Genuine). So Paul is instructing us to act this way directly.

The third Greek word that is in the Strong’s concordance is Abhor this is reference number 655. This Greek word is (apostugeó) the form in this scripture is a verb, So we know that a verb is an action, so we are to take action by detecting evil, hating the sin, our sincere hating of evil (intent). So again Paul is giving us insight and instruction on where our minds, hearts, and souls should be. Also, what is pleasing and acceptable to God.

The fourth Greek word used is evil. This is Strong’s reference number 4190. The Greek word is ponéros, This word means (an adjective which is also used substantively, derived from 4192 /pónos, “pain, severe trouble”) – properly, pain-ridden, emphasizing the inevitable agonies (misery) that always go with evil. What stood out to me is highlighting the inevitable (pain) that goes with evil. Isn’t that the truth! Especially when we emphasize suffering! We focus on the times we have stumbled and created anxiety within ourselves. Whether that be through thought, the enemy whispered, or just our flesh!

The fifth Greek word used in this verse is Cling (reference number in Strong’s is 2853) (kollaó) again we see the form as a verb so, Paul again is telling us to cling actively. So, we need with action to adhere (I sense you might not be getting the action part) I mean read the word, But not just read apply, Pray, Choose purposely to obey God’s word. The definition is (I glue) I join myself firmly, cleave, adhere, I keep company with, of friendly intercourse. So Paul is also saying to stay close to Jesus, He is the way, the truth, the light. (relationship).

The sixth and final Greek word used in this verse is good.
Reference number 18. The Greek word is agathos. The definition of this word is intrinsically good, good in nature, good whether it be seen to be so or not, the widest and most colorless of all words with this meaning. Using Help word studies, I found this definition to be helpful with the context of agathós – inherently (intrinsically) right; as to the believer, (agathós) describes what originates from God and is empowered by Him in their life, through faith. So again Paul was instructing us through faith and trust in God that even when it does not look confident or even when it looks desolate. We have faith and assurance that whatever trial or tribulation we are enduring that God has allowed it to build and grow our faith! So we cling to what is good which is the living God, no matter what season we are in! We are to remain and behave like a child of God. Don’t let a season define your whole relationship with God. Focus on the times that God has provided, delivered, blessed us. Stop focusing on the lows and creating misery within your heart, spirit, and mind. Remember, at these times to cling to Jesus, To hate evil, To love like Christ!

I love you guys! I pray and hope that the Holy Spirit would give you wisdom and love today. To let you know that He see’s your fight! He see’s and acknowledges your tears, pain, and suffering. I will leave you with this one of my favorite scriptures.

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

In Jesus Mighty and Saving name Amen, Friends!
Go Ahead! Write it on whatever you can to remind yourself that no matter what we can not compare our sufferings to what He is doing inside of our hearts!!! You are beautiful and precious; you are being renewed for a purpose! Lift your head up!