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Gracefully Given

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, 

for my power is made perfect in weakness…”

– 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

You’re a horrible mother. Your baby boy deserves better. The barage of guilt and shame ladened accusations in my head were always there. The insecurities and failings born from my post-partum depression as a first time mother were debilitating, bringing on uncontrollable sobbing and panic attacks. My weaknesses were out numbering my strengths. I was sinking fast.

I wasn’t a Christian back then when I was clawing to survive each painful day. Yet, there was an innate desire deep inside me that kept fighting to be the best mother I could be, always ensuring my son was safe and well cared for. Maybe that fight was coming from God without me realizing it.

Now that I am a Christian, I can reflect on those years and acknowledge it had to be the Lord’s power giving me strength to get through each devastating day. It was His outpouring of grace through family support and medical intervention that prevented my mental and emotional implosion, even though I felt I never deserved it.

God’s grace for us is sufficient as today’s verse states. That means it’s more than enough to pummel the lies we tell ourselves while having grace for those who might repeat the lies without understanding our battle. 

As followers of Christ, we can tap into the supernatural power that comes from grace, even in weakness. No matter how much we believe we don’t deserve God’s sufficient grace, He faithfully gives it. Receive, embrace, and share it with others going through difficulty.

Heavenly Father, you have done so much for me even when I didn’t realize or acknowledge it. I love you and thank you for, faithfully, extending your sufficient grace to me especially when I was undeserving of it. Give me the desire to extend grace to others no matter what they are going through so that they would see you in me. In Jesus’ precious and holy name I pray. Amen.

Submitted by: Melissa Talbot

Watch Out

Mark 13:5. “Watch out …”

It is vitally important that we pay careful attention to the words of Jesus and the writings of Paul, John, James and Peter. All make reference to the great danger that Christians face of being deceived. This lurking danger, like a prowling lion Peter warns, threatened the first Christians, and will increase in its intensity and darkness as the time of Christ’s return approaches. Rabbi Jesus answered his questioning disciples, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” (Mark 13:5)

At this time, the leaders of the nations, responding to a virus, have determined and legislated what businesses and activities are essential and non-essential. The ministries and responsibilities of the Church have been neutered amongst the latter. That the active care of the spiritual needs of people during a crisis of death, job loss, isolation, great uncertainty and fear is not necessary is a flagrant deception and a peril for the future. This are not simple human thoughts, but minds deluded by the cunning wiles of the devil.

In what ways can Christians be deceived as the restrictions are eased? By accepting the idea that Christian practices are not essential. Pierre Breton described the Church as “The Comfortable Pew”. Could we be enticed into relaxing Sunday morning on The Comfortable Couch? Hebrews prods us in dangerous times; “Let us not give up meeting together … but let us encourage one another..”. (Hebrews 10:25)

Not having encountered an offering plate for several weeks, we might be deceived into thinking that giving our tithes to the Lord is an option rather than a regular sacred responsibility. “Now about the collection … on the first day of every week set aside a sum of money”. I Corinthians 16:1,2)

A third deception might be the validity of becoming bushel basket believers, hiding our light. It is significant that the New Testament word for witness is martyr. At that time, many died by Roman execution, because they professed “Jesus is Lord”. According to Scripture, such threats remain and will increase and spread across the nations.

“ … sons of the light … be alert and self-controlled … encourage … and build each other up.” (I Thessalonians 5:4-11)

Submitted by: Gord Gooderham

Turn Around and Run

I remember as a teen, hearing some amazing testimonies.
People who had major transformations take place in their lives because of Jesus.
Drugs, alcohol, abuse…and then Jesus.
Some of them had miraculous, instant changes, and for others it took time.
What I got most out of those testimonies was this verse,
“Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11

In that passage, Jesus was talking to a woman that had been caught in adultery.
He was teaching when others brought this woman into the group and asked Jesus what He thought they should do to her.
Surely, they should stone her for such an act.
That is what the law of Moses required them to do.
But Jesus simply told them, whoever of them was not guilty of any sin to go ahead and cast the first stone.
The people who were gathered around the woman couldn’t do it.
Each of them were filled with conviction and walked away one by one.
Then it was just Jesus and the woman.
Jesus asked her where everyone went and who had condemned her.
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

There has to be repairs and renovations that happen in our lives in order for us to leave our sin. There has to be things that we loose, and other things that we gain.
Our hearts have to be changed.
We are the same, but altogether different because of Jesus.

It’s not always easy to leave our sin.
Jesus never said it would always be easy, but He did say that it would be worth it.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

So, when you need to turn from your sin and leave it behind, turn in the direction of God.
Look to Him to be all that you need.
He is there waiting and wanting to help you.
Turn from sin and run to Jesus!

Submitted by: Ali Gooderham

High Hopes

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul,
firm and secure…” – Hebrews 6:19

Hopelessness was a recurring theme throughout my adult life. The scourge and shame of my sex addiction, alcoholism, and abuse magnified it. And because I never felt worthy of being fully loved and accepted by others, suicide attempts became my solution to ever growing problems. Being successful in killing myself was my high hope.

So, why is it that the member of a royal family would even notice me and give hope through saving me? It’s not like I had any ties to someone noble. But I found out it wasn’t just any nobleman. It happened to be the noblest of kings from not only a royal family, but a divine one – King Jesus. Who came as part of an oath and promise from God in order to redeem the hopeless.

Who had entered an inner sanctuary, behind a curtain – something only a high priest could have ever done. Except Jesus was doing it all in an effort to bring me and you, who were hopeless, a strong and deeply planted hope – firm and secure. A door to open and walk through, leaving the hopelessness behind.

We each have a preciousness that has drawn the attention of a King. The King of Kings, Jesus Christ. It’s royalty that came in the form of love made whole so that we could accept what our high priest Jesus died to give us. Let’s make a point of embracing and sharing that hope with the many who are, sadly, dying to find it.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the hope you brought me, through Jesus, during a time in my life when I had none. Being loved and accepted by him has changed my world and life. I pray that others who are hurting would see the hope I have because of you and the rest of my royal family. I love you and it’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Submitted by: Melissa Talbot

No Future Without Forgiveness

II Corinthians 5:17-21.

Desmond Tutu, former Episcopalian Archbishop of Capetown, South Africa, describes his experience as Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in his book No Future Without Forgiveness. The work of the Commission was to bring healing in a nation torn asunder by injustice, violence, hate and fear. Could the evils of the oppressors be forgiven in the face of the just desires of the oppressed.

The Chairman’s concluding summary: “Our experiment is going to succeed because God wants it to succeed, not for our glory and aggrandizement but for the sake of God’s world. God wants to show that there is life after conflict and repression – that because of forgiveness there is a future.” (NFWF-p.282)

Whether at the national and international level, the family and personal level, the divine and human level, conflict is a reality and forgiveness must be realized.

The underlying reason for the Incarnation and the Atonement, the birth, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, was to provide the grounds for forgiveness.
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (II Cor. 5:19, NIV)

That forgiveness is essential to everyday life is affirmed in the Lord’s Prayer. As we must pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”, so we must continue, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” God gives, then we forgive, being forgiven. So vital is forgiveness, that God gives us three occasions for grace (more if you snack) to ask His forgiveness for our personal offences, and then to pray for those who have wronged us. God doesn’t want us to go to bed with guilt on our conscience. Better still, we can make wrongs right at breakfast, and enjoy the day with God, family members, neighbours, and our own self.

There is no future, in time or eternity, without forgiveness.

Submitted by: Gord Gooderham

Praise Jesus

Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Romans 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene.
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner condemned, unclean.
How marvelous, How wonderful
And my song will ever be
How marvelous, How wonderful
Is my Saviour’s love for me.

Praise Jesus

Submitted by Marlene Swan

And Above All…Pray

Today my anxiety was high.
I read a post on Facebook that was hurtful and very offensive.
It made me sad.
Sad because I don’t know why people have to be so mean.
We teach our kids to be nice.
We want people to be nice to us, but then we treat each other with so much disregard.
It makes me so sad.

Our world needs Jesus.
WE need to be Jesus to our world.
He is the only true source of our Hope.

I was going to send a private message to this person that offended me, but then I thought no I will pray.

Pray for people.
Pray for those in authority.
Pray for our chief medical officer.
Pray for our premier.
Pray for our prime minister.
Pray for our world.
Pray for those that have different views than me.
Pray for my neighbours and my friends and those around me.
Pray for grace.
Pray for the hurting, those who have lost jobs.
Pray that we will have compassion one for another.
Pray for those that are hurting.
Pray.
Yes, I need to pray.

Pray that our eyes will all be opened to see and know the truth.
And what is that truth.
Jesus.
He is the one and only true Hope that we have.

Our world is hurting.
He is our healer. Our Jehovah Rapha.
“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” NIV
1 Chronicles 7:14

Our world is fearful and anxious.
He is our calm and peace ~ Our Jehovah-Shalom.
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.
Exodus 14:14 NLT

Our world is seeking someone to give us the answers.
He is sovereign ~ Our Jehovah-Adonai.
“I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.”
Isaiah 45:7

He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.
And in the end, He wins.
We win.
I will pray, because I want many more people to be on the winning side in the end.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:2, 5-6

Submitted by: Ali Gooderham