The Gift.

Love.  What an amazing feeling.  I often wonder - do we ever quite grasp it fully.

Sometimes I'm simple minded.  I like this.  I aspire to be a humble person.  I seek it.  I've battled with my own inner demons many a year to become who I am.  I am at my core am as gentle as I know how to be.  I believe this is the identity that God placed inside of me.  It is where my heart-center is most at rest.  It is where I find the fullness of my faith.  That rock hard place that is unshakeable.  It is where I  know that my spirit lies, and it speaks to me.  I find comfort and aide in times of trouble.  I've learned to listen to it, and hone it - for it is from there that I love.  It is a well spring of life for me.  With this being said, I truly believe this is my Holy Spirit.  My Holy Spirit that brings me to the ever flowing essence of knowing and trusting love.

This was not always true.  When I grew up love was a dual edged entity.  Love was punishment.  I've had to relearn and reinvent my concept of what loving is.  This was no easy feat.  I'll admit that it nearly broke me.  That pain was brutal.  The admission of the truths that I had to face was enormous. However, I did not endure that pain alone.  I could not have undergone that transformation by myself.

Father God answers prayers in such amazing ways.  He brought me to Grace.  Sitting, broken, devastated, alone, and completely lost - God brought me to Grace.   How I found my church is an incredible story.  What I went through was awful.  However, what man uses for evil -- God will use for good.  God always transforms the evil that man does to us for good.  I'd been evicted out of my own Mother's house - had to move in one day.  The other details are even worse, but I'll spare you.  Out of that devastation -- God brought me to Grace, and I shook an amazing man of God's hand -- that taught me things about Jesus that I never knew.  Oh, I'd been to church my entire life - but I didn't know Jesus.  Not like I do now.  I didn't know that there was  no condemnation in Jesus Christ...  I was so condemned.  I lived in a box of shame and guilt.  Shame was the enormous emotion that I felt - it led my life, and I'd been in therapy for twenty years.  I thought that God was mad at me.  I thought that my life was just one big horrific let down to God.  I incurred problem after problem to the extent that I thought I WAS a problem to God.  I felt that when He looked at me, He just sighed.  "What a waste", must have been what He said.  Goodness knows what He felt.  Oh, I knew that He was for me, and not against me, but I thought that every time that I sinned - He turned His face from me.  Being human -- albeit a new creation, I still sinned a lot.  So I'd have this on and off again relationship with Father - God.  I really didn't think much about Jesus...  I knew that He died for me, but I really didn't know that that meant...  Until Grace.

Grace means 'carise' in the original greek.  This means "gift."  Grace is a free gift of God.  Jesus paid it all.  Praise God!!!  If you are interested at all... please go back in my blog and read "Grace 101" or "Grace Again"... or check out PaulWhiteMinistries.com - the sermons are all free.  God is not mad, He was never mad to begin with.  That's something that I did in my mind as a result of past teachings.  I'd been taught the old testament "Hell-fire and brimstone" style of God and Jesus my entire life.  I didn't even know much about the new testament.  Little alone did I know that we were IN it.  I did not know that when Jesus died, he completely, and utterly died for our sins - from birth - to - death.  Yes, what you've read is correct.  It's in the bible.  It's not taught because most don't really study.  People are afraid of that freedom, the freedom that Jesus gave us.  This is what Grace is...  It is the gift of Jesus.  When Jesus died, He said, "It Is Finished!"  Jesus meant that He abolished the law of sin and death.  We no longer have to live under the law, sin, or death.  He took away all of the requirements that were held against you, and brought you into a new covenant with God.  Jesus is the last sacrifice!  If we no longer make sacrifices, why do we think that we need to pay back God?  There just isn't anything that we can "do" to add to what Christ did.  It cheapens what Jesus did on the cross - when we try.  We don't "do good to get good"... we are the righteousness of God in Christ!  We can do anything for our right - standing, it's all in Jesus.  However, it is our standing today, because of Jesus - and what He did for us.  Amen!!!

I know that my little mind cannot explain it like my pastor... but the website is there.  I've given the basics... and I'll tell you it has transformed my life.  It can transform your as well.  It just changes everything.  Knowing that I don't have to continually beat myself up for God is amazing.  I used to think that I had to do that.  I thought that it was part of the "asking for forgiveness".. for the things that I'd done wrong.  I used to feel so badly about my past.  Even though I'd ask God to forgive me, I'd just feel horrible so much of the time trying to "feel" bad enough that God would see that I needed forgiveness.  How ridiculous?  Repent in the original greek is 'metanioa' or that is a close as I can spell it.  It means - to change one's mind.  We've been getting down on our knee's and begging God for years and it's not even what the word meant.  When we change our minds, we change our behavior.  I think it's just that simple.

I've came out of addiction and alcoholism into a life that I would have never ever dreamed.  I'm at rest and real peace.  I don't have everything figured out -- and my life isn't perfect, however, I know unequivocally who my Savior is.  I'm not alone any longer.  I do know that God is sitting at the end of my  life and He knows.  I rest and revel in that.  The rest is easy.  I know who Jesus is and what He did when He was upon this earth.  I adore Him.  I seek to be more like Him, everyday.  This is my aim.  My highest goal.  The question of sin no longer evades my thoughts, nor do I wonder if God is playing games with me. The truth is, He never was - it was my flawed thinking...  He's the center of my life.  Everything else is just not that important to me now, all that matters is Christ and Him crucified.  All that matters is that I let the light inside of me shine so that others might see...  Amen.

Philippians 3:8- 10 (NKJV)
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered loss of all things, and count them all as rubbish, that I might gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is the law, but that which is faith in Christ the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of HIs sufferings, being conformed to His death.

Be confirmed by His death and live!  Live life and see good days!!  Live a life of freedom from sin - which can only bring you closer to Jesus.  Think about what He did for us.  Apostle Paul had one heck of a pedigree - but he counted it all as "dung" in comparison to the knowledge of knowing Christ and Him crucified and what that means.  His Jewish heritage was stellar, but it brought knowledge of sin and death.  Knowing Jesus gave him faith and life.  It gave Paul grace.  It gives you grace.  Praise God!!!

Father God, I pray that I be the knowledge of Grace cover the earth.  I pray that your people see with new eyes the scriptures that they've never seen before and realize that we are under a new and wonderful covenant!  I pray that we learn to rest in the righteousness that is God given through faith - in Jesus and what Jesus did on the cross.  Don't let them be afraid of they're new found freedom, but let the joy and peace that reins in them be so great, an cause such a stirring in the soul.  Let the freedom not be taken for granted, but seen as the preciousness that it is, and held in high esteem and with true praise of the one true God.  Father, tender they're hearts, and mine -- to be like little children in the world, not of this world but to rise above it -- and let Christ live through them each and every day of the rest of their lives, as well as mine.  Amen.

This IS Amazing GRACE!!!!!

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