Lent Week 3 Day 17

John 4:23, But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Jesus was talking to the woman at the well and she thought God could only be worshiped in a certain place but Jesus explained God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. It doesn’t matter “where” we worship as long as the place of worship comes from our heart. True worship is a heart that is right towards God. We worship in our spirit and in His truth. Worship is a state of the heart. Praise comes because of worship. I wrote something about this here.  I pray, I know I have right standing with You because of my faith in Jesus. Help me to also have and maintain a pure heart towards You, to worship you truly in Spirit and in Truth.

Trail to the Tree

Day 17 Behold Your lamb

This is the last day of Trail to the Tree. Ann didn’t have anymore days on there so starting tomorrow I think I will add her new devotion Lent to Repent.

Today’s reading is about Jesus’ resurrection. When the angel told Mary that He is risen and go tell the disciples.

Ann says: So give us courage to run, Father, great joy coursing through these veins, to tell the world!

This joy to tell the whole world came to me when I had my salvation experience. I wanted to tell people in the grocery store and people I had known about this Jesus that I found! I did do all those things and even people at the church. I found out later in the Bible that we must confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord. Romans 10:9,

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

This is why I write this blog. Hoping someone who doesn’t know this good news might come to know it through the working of the Holy Spirit in these words. I pray that God will use me to type and the Holy Spirit will direct the people who need the good news to read something here that will wake them from their sleep. I looked up the word Gospel recently and it comes from the Greek word “euangelion” which means the joy news, You receive joy from the Holy Spirit when you receive Jesus. 1st Thessalonians 1:6,  You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. Something else I learned from Ann Voskamp is a clenched white knuckle fist can’t receive anything. We have to have an open, humble hand to receive light. Flames need oxygen to light. If you want to ignite the flame in your heart and become on fire for Jesus then I invite you to receive Him in your heart today.

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

Day 11- God helps us through the words of Jesus.

Day 12- Surrender and live a new life

Day 13- Receive and give thanks for God’s grace and live holy

Day 14- Remember grace through Jesus to stay awake

Day 15- Pray for the Holy Spirit’s presence to stay out of darkness, repent when necessary

Day 16- Praise, Honor and Glorify God and Jesus and wait to see what He does!

Day 17- The time is Now, receive Jesus today and go tell the world!

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February’s Gifts!

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  1. A ring pop. A coke. Hearts made of construction paper for my kids.
  2.  The Bible. My new books I got today! The hearts I made for my kids.
  3.  I found out about the Mosaic Bible which looks interesting. A gift from writing something myself would be when I read what I wrote it ministers to me.  Reading the book my husband has written but not published.
  4.  My bunny, my daughter, kitty on my porch
  5. Clothes we just bought for everyone, the desk we got for our son for his birthday, my furniture
  6.  Squirrels, birds, trees
  7. Steven Furtick’s sermon, dinner with Darrell and Linda,  being able to just rest
  8. the computer broke, computer fixed, buying groceries at our new Walmart Market
  9. Getting up at 3 am, reading some of my books, my family being home
  10. I heard my children laughing in the living room, I heard my husband laughing with me. We laugh a lot in our house everyday!
  11. The gift of accomplishment, satisfaction in getting it done and if done when suppose to a gift of feeling at one with God and that everything is good.
  12.  Through the death of a woman this week I have learned and am thankful for my chance to be a mom and a wife. I am thankful that God saved me and my marriage through a hard time. I am thankful to see my son learn through his mistakes.
  13.  Food in the cabinet, my children sleeping in their beds, a printer we just got so I can print what I need from Ann’s website.
  14. Through my book from Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts, through my husband and kids, my little dog
  15. Making lunch for my kids to take to school, finding glue for my daughter’s crafting, losing the box for the kitty outside cause it got wet.
  16.  the down pour of rain caused my daughter to stay home, fluffy black cat on my driveway, my bear sitting on my bed
  17. I ordered 1000 gifts for my mom, gave the book to 2 friends also, served my family by cleaning the house and buying food. Helped my daughter with homework
  18. My 1000 gifts book, Saying Yes book, My Creative Bible I will be getting
  19. Bailey staying home, wrote a letter instead of cleaning, got dinner out
  20. At breakfast I talked to my mom on the phone and we had a holy moment talking about God. At lunch I had some sausage that was a gift cause I was really hungry. At dinner my husband got to come home early cause he sold his quota for the day!
  21. my sheets, the ingredients for my daughter to make homemade clay, my bunny
  22. My Lent devotion led to a blog post of Ann’s that connected to my Lent devotion and wasn’t meant to. I am now carrying a Bible scripture because of this.  I got some good ideas from printing off some frameables from Ann’s blog.
  23. Our car, my dishes, my house
  24. Full of Grace movie, My Lent devotion, Holy Spirit leading and intervention
  25. My daughter’s jeans that got ripped, new jeans we bought her, my made do favorite pants I sewed the zipper on
  26. water on the faucet, the lights in the window just before dark, the light of my candle reflecting off the table
  27. 2 stray cats outside, the backyard before it was mulched and after, my dirty house before it was cleaned and after
  28. that God always provides, that God always protects, that God hears my prayers about my kids and school
  29. my stove trays, the stone in my ring, my silver ring

 

Lent Week 3 Day 16

Psalm 34:3, O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us lift up His name together.

Let’s praise God and honor Him. Speak of all the ways God is good and holy. And even though we are sinful God made a way for us to fellowship through Jesus. We should be praising and raising His name up everyday, everywhere. God, help me remember everyday Your grace toward me. Help me share with others the wonderous things you are doing in my life.

Trail to the Tree

Day 16 Waiting

The scripture is about when Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb and the two Mary’s were waiting outside the tomb.

Ann says: Today, wait. Sit at the tomb and wait on the Lord. Trust when all is dark. Believe when the stone is rolled in and sealed. Carry a stone in your pocket and remember: there is hope. Wait and have faith in the coming Resurrection, glorious light erupting on black horizon.

When our sins are ever before us, meaning when we come to realize we are sinners then we find ourselves waiting to see what will happen next. Where do we go from here? We need God to rescue us. I experienced this but at the time I didn’t realize what was happening. Before my salvation experience I was aware of my sinfulness and I knew I didn’t deserve anything that I had. I thanked God for everything and this was the beginning of my salvation. It was over a period of a month or two that this happened. I was led to read the Bible and then had an urge to know more about Jesus. I watched The Gospel of John and realized Jesus was choosing me to follow Him. I repented and asked for forgiveness and fell in love with Him. He made His presence known to me in this moment. I had new life! Salvation isn’t something we can “make” happen, it’s the power of the Holy Spirit that raises us from “the dead” in spirit to new life. The same power that raised Jesus is the same power that raises us. When things look dark just wait and the light will come bursting through!

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

Day 11- God helps us through the words of Jesus.

Day 12- Surrender and live a new life

Day 13- Receive and give thanks for God’s grace and live holy

Day 14- Remember grace through Jesus to stay awake

Day 15- Pray for the Holy Spirit’s presence to stay out of darkness, repent when necessary

Day 16- Praise, Honor and Glorify God and Jesus and wait to see what He does!

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Lent Week 3 Day 15

Today’s reading is a poem written by Augustine of Hippo as a prayer to the Holy Spirit. He is asking for the Holy Spirit to be present in him, to act in him, draw his heart, strengthen and guard him, all to be more holy himself. This is a great prayer for us to pray as well. I found something he also said about prayer from this website.

Here is what I thought was good and true:

St. Augustine on Prayer

According to St. Augustine, we need not pray for what we need because God already knows what we need before we even ask. Instead, we ought to pray, he suggests, to increase our desire for God, and so that we might be able to receive what He is preparing to give us.

“The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive the gift, which is very great indeed. …. The more fervent the desire, the more worthy will be its fruits. When the Apostle tells us: Pray without ceasing (1 Thes5:16), he means this: Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal, and ask it of him alone who is able to give it.”
(Letter 130)

Trail to the Tree

Day 15 Crucified With Christ

The scripture reading is about when Jesus was on the cross and He was in total separation from God and asked, ” Why have You forsaken Me?”

Ann says: Today, repent. Name the ugly sins that crucified Him. Write down your idols and angry heart, your lies, your gossip, your envy and pride. See what caused His stripes. Nail the paper to a tree. Die to the old you. Feel His wounds. Touch His pain. Be washed in His blood.

Are you prepared to be crucified with Christ?

When I was first saved I watched Jesus of Nazareth, The Gospel of John and The Passion of The Christ many times even after my salvation experience with The Gospel of John. I wanted to understand everything Jesus said and did so much. One thing that hit me during one of the times watching was the darkness that fell when He was on the cross. I didn’t understand His words for awhile but one day I heard Him say, ” Why have You forsaken Me?” and I realized God was away from Him for the first time in His life. The darkness was what Jesus felt because He was dying for all the sins of humanity. God being sinless cannot be in the presence of sin. Jesus took the wrath of God that we deserve. Jesus was experiencing what it’s like to be out of God’s presence. He knows the hell that comes from the absence of God. Anyone who has not received Jesus’ sacrifice is in this “hell”. I was there, I know what it’s like. I described it in my journal as a long dark tunnel and at the time I only saw glimmers of light. I felt hell in my mind. It’s hard to explain unless you have experienced it but when I saw Jesus on the cross in darkness, I knew God left Him. I knew Jesus felt what we feel. He is a Savior who can relate to our sufferings as it says in Hebrews 2:18,  Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

Day 11- God helps us through the words of Jesus.

Day 12- Surrender and live a new life

Day 13- Receive and give thanks for God’s grace and live holy

Day 14- Remember grace through Jesus to stay awake

Day 15- Pray for the Holy Spirit’s presence to stay out of darkness, repent when necessary

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Lent Week 3 Day 14

Romans 5:17 says, For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Sin came through Adam, Grace came through Jesus Christ. Believe and have faith in Jesus Christ and God’s grace through your faith will save you. You will have eternal life. Thank you God for salvation and hope through Jesus Christ. Thank you that you exercise grace toward us always.

My reading in the Mosaic Bible was about grace and holiness. She said grace and holiness both characterize and distinguish His love and therefore Himself in His action in the covenant between Himself and us.

Trail to the Tree

Day 14- Keeping Watch

My scripture reading is about Jesus before the Romans came to get Him. When He was praying in the garden and asked the disciples to pray and watch but they fell asleep.

Ann says: Today, pray. Let your heart break with the things that break His: pray for His Body, the church, divided and shattered and bickering, for the persecuted church laboring faithfully in hard places for the Kingdom. For young girls contemplating abortions and elders dying quietly and the hurting all over the world…Can you, on your knees, keep watch with Jesus…even for an hour?

Staying awake to the spiritual life is the struggle, the fight. Our sin is our forgetfulness of God. What has helped me stay awake is the practice of eucharisteo in Ann Voskamp’s book 1000 Gifts. Not only am I more awake but I’m experiencing God more in my moment to moment. This is only a glimpse, I know, of what heaven will be like, but just the taste of His goodness is so rich and satisfying! This is enough to keep me awake. It is a learning process and a practice so I m forever learning until the day I see Him face to face.

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

Day 11- God helps us through the words of Jesus.

Day 12- Surrender and live a new life

Day 13- Receive and give thanks for God’s grace and live holy

Day 14- Remember grace through Jesus to stay awake

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Lent Week 3 Day 13 God’s Holiness and Grace

In my readings today from the Mosaic Bible, it’s talking about and giving examples of God’s grace in the past. Such as, when God provided water to the Israelites, when Jesus revealed Himself to the woman at the well, the mere creation of everything reveals God’s grace towards us. Even though sin has entered the world, the world God created to be perfect, God is transforming it little by little by His grace. Jesus is the beginning of God’s grace and He can transform your life into a life full of grace if you allow Him to do it.

Now this question of holiness has been in my mind the last few days and I couldn’t believe it is part of my Lent devotion. There are 3 questions that are being asked: What is holiness? Where is holiness? And who is holy?

Since I have questioned this myself recently I will cite where I got these answers.

What is holiness? (gotQuestions.org)

Absolute perfection. God is holy because He is unlike any other. (Hosea 11:9) His very being is completely absent of any trace of sin. (James 1:13 and Hebrews 6:18)

Where is holiness? ( my interpretation)

Holiness is found in God of course. In the Old Testament the Temple was holy because God’s presence was there. Now that Jesus has come and left us with the Holy Spirit, holiness is found everywhere. Holiness is found  in ourselves (believers) and in everything because God is everywhere and in everything.

And who is holy? (gotQuestions.org)

God says for us to be holy as He is holy. ( Leviticus 19:1-2 and 1 Peter 1:16)

To become holy we first need a right relationship with God which comes by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior. We must make sure we are “born again” believers, see John 3:1-3. If we are truly believers then we recognize our position in Christ automatically sets us apart from the world. Live a “set apart” life living according to God’s Word, studying it and growing in it. God isn’t calling us to be perfect, but to be distinct from the world. (1 Peter 2:9). Peter tells us how to be holy and stay holy on a day to day basis. ( 1 Peter 1:13-16)

Trail to the Tree

Day 13- Live the Last Supper

The scripture is The Last Supper.

Ann says: Today, drink from the cup. Whatever God gives today, give thanks for it and drink it all down. The Eucharist , another name for the Lord’s Supper, comes from the Greek word that means “thanksgiving”. Today, live the Eucharist. Count your blessings, wake up to the feast that He has spread for you.

What I’m learning is, in living the Last Supper we are giving thanks to God for all His graces, all His love, all His holiness. Through Jesus, we can join the feast at the end of days. We can rejoice with Him like at the ending of a really good movie. What comes to my mind is Frodo in The Lord of The Rings when all the hard stuff was over and he saw all the people around him when he woke up. I picture heaven like that. Even though we aren’t there yet we can still have heaven on earth, experience God’s presence through the Eucharist ( thanksgiving).

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

Day 11- God helps us through the words of Jesus.

Day 12- Surrender and live a new life

Day 13- Receive and give thanks for God’s grace and live holy

Lent Week 2 Day 12

Scripture reading for today is Mark 8:35,

For whoever wants to save their life[a will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

 Stop struggling, God’s got this. Give your life to Jesus for the sake of salvation and He will give you life. Receive salvation but don’t stop there. Surrender your life to Jesus, let Him do with it what He will. Allow yourself to be used by God and He will give you a full meaningful life. Resist and try to live in your own strength and you will lose because you can’t do  in your own strength what only Christ can do.
Help us to live a surrendered life day by day, moment by moment.
Trail to the Tree
Day 12 Resurrect!
Scripture today is about Jesus raising Lazarus back from the dead.
Ann says: Today, give thanks for our release. Can you hear Him calling out new life?
I believe after our salvation experience Jesus continues to call us to our new life in Him. Will we hear the call and keep following? I believe by doing so we are living the blessed life and also working out our salvation as it says in Philippians 2:12, Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. This is a very important and serious decision to make. The first step is always the hardest but once you begin, Jesus will keep showing you the next step and soon you will be living the resurrected life that Jesus came to give!

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

Day 11- God helps us through the words of Jesus.

Day 12- Surrender and live a new life

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Lent Week 2 Day 11

The scripture reading in my Mosaic Bible for today is Psalm 121:1-2, I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

Help comes from only God. God is the only one who can help us since He is the Creator of all things. I will look to God for my help in times of need but also ask for guidance even when things are going good. Help me God to remember, You alone are my very present help. I will turn to You when I need help but also I will look to You for guidance and wisdom to walk the path straight.

Trail to the Tree

Day 11- Upside Down Kingdom

The scripture reading is about Jesus’ sermon on the mount, the beatitudes.

Ann says: Today live out the radical ways of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.

Wikipedia – The beatitudes are nine blessings recounted in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. The term beatitude comes from the Latin noun beatitudo which means “happiness.” Here they are:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. (5:3)
Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted. (5:4)
Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth. (5:5)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (5:6)
Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. (5:7)
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God. (5:8)
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God. (5:9)
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:10)
Blessed are those when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name sake
The Be- Attitudes the way I understand them:
1. Be humble/ do not have spiritual pride
2. Be mournful over my sin
3. Be gentle and quiet
4. Be hungering and thirsting for right standing with God
5. Be merciful, have mercy toward others
6. Be pure in heart, have right motives and do things from the right motives
7. Be a peacemaker, making peace instead of chaos where ever I go
8. Be persecuted for Jesus’ name sake, because you have right standing with God
9. Be ready to accept persecution and all manner of evil against you falsely because of your relationship with Jesus
What I am getting from this is that Jesus was telling us a path to blessings and happiness. Ann calls it upside down because it’s the opposite of what the world teaches. God’s kingdom is not of this world and if we want to enter it and be a part of it we have to be the opposite of this world. True happiness and joy lie in the boundaries that God and Jesus have set. The ten commandments give us boundaries and a code to live by. These beatitudes from Jesus give us further instruction about the way to get to God’s Kingdom.
Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

Day 11- God helps us through the words of Jesus.

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The Man Who Never Experienced God

My mom has told me a story over and over about God’s gifts of His grace and I want to share it now because finally in my own walk I see the light.

There was a man who lived his life without seeing God, hearing God or even feeling like God knew he existed. He never experienced God in his whole life. He died and went to heaven and was being led by Peter, who was a disciple of Jesus, and Peter took him to a storehouse full of gifts. The man asked Peter, “What’s all this?” Peter replied,” It’s all God’s gifts to you in your life that you didn’t receive. God’s grace toward you. You never opened even one.” The man looked with amazement and wished he had paid attention to his life! He wanted to go back and live fully, live the life Jesus promised us through our faith in Him. But now it was too late, his life was over, oh how he wished for a “do over!” The good news is this: You, who are reading this story, you still have time! You can start receiving your gifts of grace right now and the first one is God’s gift of Jesus Christ. You have to repent, which means giving up your way and taking on Jesus’ way.

I am going to try to explain what has happened to me in the past few months that has led me to the full life in Jesus Christ. What I have experienced this past week is life changing. What I have learned made me remember this story my mom told me many times and I never understood it. I never understood what the gifts were and how there could be so many! I realized this morning that there are many layers to understanding something. I began writing The Changes In Me last November 2015. And I have updated my progress every month, The Changes In Me One Month LaterThe Changes In Me Two Months Later and The Changes In Me Three Months Later. Now in this fourth month God has shown me the answer to everything.

During this past month I have been on a search or quest to experience God in all the moments of my life. I have tastes of His presence and it’s so good that I never want it to end. I was drawn to frequencies and thought that was how to experience God all the time, if I was on His frequency I would feel Him. I thought learning Hebrew or Latin or learning how to sing the Gregorian Chant would bring me closer to Him. I bought a lot of books to help me figure this out even one on prayer. If I could pray enough, pray all through the day I would experience Him. None of this is the answer. Now I know when I sing to God in praise I feel His presence but I can’t do that all day, it’s unrealistic. We do have lives to live and responsibilities. What I wanted was to feel His presence ALL THE TIME. I even finally resorted to believing that it’s impossible to “feel” God all the time. I was starting to believe what religion says that you can’t feel God all the time. That we live by faith and not feeling which is true to some degree but I needed more. One of the books I was led to buy was Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. I was also led to do her Lent devotion Trail to the Tree. The timing of doing the Lent devotion and then when I actually got the book was unbelievable! What I was reading in the Lent devotion was setting me up to receive the book. Even through all the searching before, God was preparing me to read this book. She has a lot of similarities in her book to what God had been showing me.

What Ann asks in her book is, do you want to come to the end of your life and realize you didn’t live fully? That you were empty the whole time? My answer was a definite no. I had already been searching for the full life! and now could I actually have the answer right in my hands? The answer to everything?! She explains that she was on a dare to write down 1000 things that she loves. As she did this she realized she was writing down God’s gifts to her. She discovered a word eucharisteo, which means grace, thanksgiving, joy. She learned Jesus practiced this. Jesus has shown us the way to a full life by His demonstration of thanks to God before anything He did. Ann says the miracle always comes after the giving of thanks. By writing down what I notice that I love I am actually receiving God’s gifts of His grace toward me. It’s His love for me transformed into something I can see, feel, touch. This awareness and the naming of the moment causes the moment to become holy. Through these gifts recognized I am experiencing God. I am receiving His gifts by writing them down and thanking Him by acknowledging these moments as gifts of grace. It brings great joy to do this! I know it’s hard to believe but it’s real and I am experiencing it. You have to read this book and practice this to know what I mean. There was a dream I had recently about grace also. I told my dad that the hardest thing to learn about salvation is grace. I woke up wondering, what does this mean! Ann has answered it! By thanking God for the moments, the people, the things that I love as they come into my life I am learning grace! The practice of this is learning grace! I have done this for almost one whole week now and last night the story my mom used to tell me came to my mind. It finally clicked! The gifts in the storehouse were all the moments, people and things God gave him that he didn’t notice! All the ways God tried to communicate with him, to get his attention and he never got it. Because he never noticed, he never experienced God. His life was empty.

This practice has opened up a new life to me! I used to think when my mom told this story, ” What gifts?” “What exactly is grace?” I know the Bible says it’s God’s unmerited favor, but what is it tangibly?  Now I know and when I told her today what I have learned and now I know what the gifts were in the storehouse we both cried tears of joy!

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Lent Week 2 Day 10

In my reading today “Lean On Me”, she says something really profound. “There is freedom in dependence. It enables us to accept our vulnerability.” This is something very hard to do but when we reach this realization that we need to be vulnerable to feel the hand of God then we invite it in our lives. I know this because I have experienced this recently.

The suggested reading is Psalm 70. This was talked about on Day 8. We have to be aware continuously of God’s presence and His love for us to stay vulnerable, humble and this pleases God.

Trail to the Tree

Day 10- Broken and Multiplied

The scripture reading is about when Jesus took the bread and fish and multiplied it for 5000 people.

Ann says: We ask to be broken for others, as You were broken for us. Today, take the little that you are, pray that God may bless you, then break yourself for others. As He has fed us, let us feed others.

I am learning about what being broken really means. This has come up several times lately. I used to think being broken meant to be in despair, to be immovable, to not be able to function. But what God means when He says to be “broken” He means to let yourself be vulnerable. Keep your heart soft. The only way I have found to do this is by what Ann talks about in her book 1000 Gifts. Through eucharisteo I can keep a soft  repented heart, vulnerable. This “broken” heart is what God uses to heal others. Through my vulnerability He can use me to reach other hurting people. So having a broken heart isn’t a bad thing and it doesn’t hurt. What hurts is having a hard heart that God’s love can’t get into. But with the power of the Holy Spirit God can melt a hard heart into a pool of love! I know this because I have experienced it. You have to be willing and allow God to work. Surrender to Him and He will do the work on the inside of you. Living with a hard heart hurts you and the people around you. A broken heart lets God’s love inside and overflows to other people through you. The freedom in dependence is being vulnerable because you can let go and let God.

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

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