Tag: Jan Grace

More

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God is more!

God is more than the beauty I behold, the things I comprehend, and the wisdom I call my own.

God is more than the expanding universe, the ocean depths, and the sun’s incredible warmth.

God is more than my imagination, my deepest frustration, or the pain in my soul.

God is more than the box I build for Him, the words I write about Him, or the song I sing to Him.

God is more. Not more or less. 

More. 

Add up the value of all the great deeds ever done, and God’s righteousness is more.

Combine the brightness of every star to have graced the heavens with light; God’s light is brighter. 

Incomparably brighter. 

God does more, sees more, knows more, and is more. Even the sum of man’s wisdom is simple foolishness to God.

His ways are past finding out. His riches are unsearchable. His faithfulness reaches to a thousand generations…

and more.

God is more. More than an explanation, an understanding, a measurement. 

Yet He did something two thousand years ago that gave us a way to measure the depth of His love. 

He sent His Son, gave up His Son, bruised and loaded His Son with our sin, sickness, rebellion, and death; all the wages of sin He bore in order to reveal His “more”. 

Jesus is God’s “more”.

More. 

More than my sin, my unfaithfulness, my infidelity.

More. 

More than my failure, my lack of effort, and my small thinking.

More than I could possibly ever need.

Jesus. God’s “more”. The Father’s “more”.

All I’ll ever need.

Too Good To Be True?

40 Days of Promises

Day 10

There’s just something about the promises of God that are both exhilarating and discouraging. 

Surprised at my choice of words? 

Well, have you ever said this: “That sounds too good to be true”? 

Then you should know what I mean.

At times, the promises of God SEEM too good to be true; but they ARE TRUE. You see, if not for God, there would be no promise.

But God is God and He’s GOOD and TRUE. 

His promises are for whoever will listen to Him and do things His way. Obedience to God brings those things from the impossible, too good to be true realm into the realm of possibility and experience.

See what I mean as you read and meditate on the following scriptures:

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” Deuteronomy 28:1-14 ESV

Blessed! Highly favored, protected, secure, and even pampered. 

“Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:9-10 ESV)

No lack. NO lack. Lack NO GOOD THING.

And these promises are NOT too good to be true.

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

“As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-10 ESV)

Look at the promises again. Notice the part we have to play in seeing the abounding grace of God revealed in our lives.  Whoever sows, reaps; sow more, reap more.

Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God…and everything you need will be provided for you.” Matt. 6:33 (paraphrased)

Once again, the words of Jesus seem too good to believe, to fathom, to comprehend. 

But they are true. They are true for you, for me; for anyone who seeks first God’s kingdom. 

God’s promise of provision. True and good!

Believe it.

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Eight Life Changing Words

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On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” (Mark 4:35 ESV)

“Let us go across to the other side.”

You may or may not know the story. Jesus had just finished telling his disciples about the importance of God’s word. He used phrases such as, “Pay attention to what you hear. The way you listen will determine how you believe”, “The Kingdom of God operates like a seed; planted (received), it grows”, and, “The seed is the Word of God.”

So shortly after Jesus taught them about God’s Word, he (God in the flesh) said, “Let us go across to the other side.” Those eight life changing words revealed his will to all who heard him speak.

Understand this truth: God’s Word is his will.

Whenever it is believed, received, and acted upon, it will come to pass; even if Heaven and earth have to be shaken or moved just to accommodate his plan.

When he spoke those eight life changing words, as far as he was concerned it was as good as done.

Unfortunately, his disciples weren’t as convinced. They were soon shaken; as the wind and waves increased, and their boat began filling with water.

After a while of bailing and worrying, they finally woke their sleeping savior with a revealing question; revealing just how much they didn’t understand what he had taught them.

“Don’t you care that we’re drowning?”

Jesus had taught them earlier how worry and care “choke the word”, causing the word to lose its power. The wind and waves, along with their own understanding of the sea, choked, crowded out the word Jesus had told them. Remember those eight life changing words, “Let us go across to the other side”?

Those words were enough to quiet the storm and bring them safely to the other side. Jesus demonstrated that very thing to them. He stood and spoke to the storm, “Peace, be still.”

And the storm immediately ceased.

He spoke to the storm as someone who knew it was God’s will to get to the other side. He spoke to his disciples as a teacher who wondered why his students hadn’t caught the previous lesson.

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him (Mark 4:40 – 4:41 ESV)

The disciples completely missed his point.

When he calmed the wind and waves, it wasn’t to show his power, and it wasn’t to demonstrate his deity.

It was to show them, and us, just how much we need to hear, believe, and obey his word; allowing NOTHING to deter our faith.

Worry will rob us, and possibly, even kill us. It will definitely kill our faith. Sure, we may still be able to quote God’s will, preach God’s will, etc. We might even have a “Let us go across to the other side” ministry.

But if we let go of God’s word when it becomes challenged, we’ll not have learned the real meaning of the lesson.

Jesus taught them about how quickly satan comes to steal the word sown. He wants to steal it before it has a chance to grow roots; roots of faith.

Care, worries about life, and reasoning against the known will of God, can keep us from stepping out in obedience.

There are way too many people living on THIS side of the sea. And there are TOO MANY PEOPLE on the other side that God wants us to reach.

But we won’t fulfill his plan, or finish our course in a manner that pleases him, unless we really grasp those eight life changing words…

“Let us go across to the other side.”

Day Nine

40 Days of Promises

God’s Provision #1

“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), is a true word from Heaven for every person who’s ever lived, and who is living now.

The word is: God’s mercy, compassion, power, love, and, of course, His promises have not faded away. Nothing Heaven has to offer is out of reach to the one who believes. Circumstances may look as bleak as they did to those standing next to the bitter waters of Marah, but God is the same. He provided for His own back then, and He’ll do the same thing today.

“When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”

“And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them.” (Exodus 15:23-25 ESV)

When there’s a need, God always has a tree for you and I. All His provision is found in His Son, and at the cross.

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.”

“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.'”

“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:7-18 ESV)

Yes, all we need, or could EVER need, is found in Jesus.

“But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”

“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.” (Deuteronomy 11:11-16 ESV)

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 ESV)

Remind yourself daily

“Jesus Christ is all I need. He is more than my provider; He is my PROVISION.”

Day Eight

40 Days of Promises

Peace

Peace, God’s peace, isn’t necessarily an absence of trouble or turmoil. It is a calm assurance that, even though we may be surrounded by chaos, all is well.

Because God is God.

Let yourself meditate on these scriptures, over and over; allow the Spirit of Peace an opportunity to cleanse your soul from the poisonous cares of the world.

Listen to Him say, “Peace, be still.”

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8 ESV)

“The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” (Psalm 29:10-11 NLT)

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary.” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT)

“I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace. You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near.” (Isaiah 54:13 – 54:14 NLT)

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)

“For he himself is our peace…” (Ephesians 2:14 ESV)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

Jesus is our peace.

Day Seven

40 Days of Promises

Ever Present God

You are not alone. Even though you may not see or feel anyone near you, God is close by.

And His presence can be your confidence and strength.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah”

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah”

“Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.” (Psalm 46:1-11 ESV)

“A very present help…” That’s one of His exceedingly great and precious promises to you and I. “Lo, I am with you always…”

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7 ESV)

The psalmist goes on to say, “If I go to the highest mountain or lowest valley, You are there.”

But do you know what’s the most exciting part of knowing God is near?

The most exciting thing is knowing He is near to help, to comfort, to deliver, to provide and protect.

Just how awesome is that?!?

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me.” (Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV)

He has promised, so we can believe. He has spoken, so we can respond.

What are you saying? Who are you trusting?

Let’s trust the ever present God.

Generosity 2 (excerpts from eBook)

20140623-212509-77109262.jpgNo strings attached…

The Lord inspired the psalmist to write: “They share freely and give generously to those in need.” Psalm 112:9 NLT

Freely and generously. The blessings of God are upon the doers of the word, not those who only dream about obeying him. And freely means no strings attached.

Gifts aren’t gifts if strings are attached.

What do I mean by “strings”? There are people who love to “give” to others, and along with the “gift”, are instructions on how to use the gift. “I’m giving you this money so you’ll take a vacation.” The phrase seems innocent enough, doesn’t it? But there’s something attached; “take a vacation.”

But what if the person has another, more pressing need at the time? Like, maybe their oven just gave up the ghost, their car needs new tires, or the baby needs new shoes. Vacation?

But they can’t use their “gift” because it is earmarked for something else.

And what about giving to the poor, or better yet, the homeless person who stands on the corner of a busy intersection with his sign, “Out of work veteran. Please help”, and his three-legged dog? Would it be giving if I gave him twenty dollars and told him to buy food for himself and his three-legged companion? No, it would be something different.

How about the vagrant who walks into the church office, asking for a hand-out? Their story is they haven’t eaten in four days. Would it be giving to take the person to the grocery store and buy him several bags of groceries? Yes.

If you don’t feel right about giving per the person’s request, don’t give. But if you’re going to give, remove your demands and trust God.

Generosity gives up its right to control…

Are you a control freak? Do you have a hard time with generosity?

Thanks for reading and commenting. To order the complete eBook “Generosity – the Life Giving Power of Doing Good to Others”, please click on link:

http://tinyurl.com/pktxz4z

A Good Beginning

Breaking the Spirit of PovertyA Good Beginning (Introduction to new eBook – Breaking the Spirit of Poverty)

Before anything, good or bad, there was God. He was before all things, and in him all things stay together. People debate it, trash it, ignore it, and say it isn’t true; but one thing is certain: they can’t change it.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16 – 1:17 NKJV)

 

In the beginning, God…

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 NKJV) 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1 – 1:2 NKJV)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 NKJV)

…These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God. (Revelation 3:14 NKJV)

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. (Revelation 22:13 NKJV)

 

Anything good starts with God. I don’t know how else to say it. Whatever the subject, if it’s good it began with God. If it’s going to stay good, then God must be involved throughout the process. And you can just bet that God knows how to end something in a good way.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17 NKJV)

 

Every principle and every law God established in the earth is good. Every gift he has ever given is good. However, there is the flip side to good. Or maybe a better way of saying it would be: man has found a bad way to use something God created as good. Of course man has had just a little bit of encouragement along the way.

Evil has lied to the world about this good God. It has used good things in a bad way, trying to bring dishonor to and contempt for the One known as Good. The good God, creator of man and woman, also created such things as words, sex, government, and money. All for good, yet each have been hijacked by evil and used to corrupt mankind rather than serve him.

But just because something has been used in a bad way doesn’t change its original purpose.

This book is about a good God, with a good plan. He created a good earth, with good (and plentiful) resources. And he created it for good, not evil. It’s about reclaiming the good thing, and using it in a good way; as intended by the good God.

And it’s about money. Created as good, used as bad. Created to serve, used to rule. Idolized, it blinds our eyes. Pursued, it runs us into the ground. Wasted, many opportunities go unfulfilled. Pinched, fields of dreams lie as fallow ground. But used wisely, as was intended, it is a tremendous blessing and a dependable servant.

Money, a little or a lot, can make or break the strongest saint. It can break the bonds of the world’s most loving couple. It can turn the head of an honest politician. But it can also provide food and clothing for many starving, naked children.

It’s just money. It has no soul, no heart, no conscience. It doesn’t take sides, won’t give an opinion, and doesn’t care if it buys lottery tickets or loaves of bread.

It’s just money. All it was ever created to do was serve mankind. And that’s what this book is about. Money is money, until it becomes our focus, our passion, our god. Then it becomes a curse, a spirit, and the outcome, the fruit, is poverty.

This book is also about recognizing the spirit of poverty and breaking free from that spirit. And throughout these pages we’ll discover that God wants to restore the gift of finances to its original intent; serve his people for good.

His people, rightfully handling the word of truth, can be trusted to rightfully handle the gift of gold, for good.

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. (Genesis 2:10 – 2:12 ESV)

 

To order your eBook from Amazon, please go to http://tinyurl.com/kf32b4b  cost is $2.99

Thank you.

Dumb Dog Catches Smart Car

APTOPIX Smart Car Vandalism

Dumb Dog Catches Smart Car

April 21, 2014
by J. Grace
Staff Reporter for the Daily Planet

Have you ever wondered what a dog would do if it caught the car it was chasing? Well, you need not wonder any longer. And it didn’t take this dog long to realize he’d met his match.

Last week, on a hilly San Francisco street, Spike, a four-year old English Bulldog, finally bit off more than he could chew. He sunk his teeth into the rear tire of a Smart Car.

The driver of the car, 22-year-old Jordyn Keiffer, said she didn’t see the dog until after the attack. “I really wasn’t paying much attention, other than watching the traffic in front of me. All of a sudden my car jerked to a stop, and as I slammed into the steering wheel, I felt the car tip over to one side.”

Witnesses reported seeing Spike on the side of the road, watching the cars go by. They said he acted as though he was sizing up each car that passed by, following each one with his eyes. As soon as Ms. Keiffer’s Smart Car approached, Spike immediately bolted after it, catching it about 45 yards down the street.

Apparently, Ms. Keiffer was traveling about 25 mph, but had slowed down to make a left turn.

Spike’s teeth were still attached to the tire as the car began to tip to its side. As the car continued its roll, the momentum jerked the 49 pound dog off his feet, and sent him hurling through the air for about 20 yards. Witnesses say Spike landed with a yelp and a groan; not moving a whisker or a tail for at least 10 minutes.

“I’ve never seen anything like it”, said patrolman Vincent DiMarco. “I’ve seen a number of people attacked by dogs, and I’ve witnessed a lot of dogs chasing cars. I never thought this was possible. It’s a good thing the car was little. Anything bigger would have killed the dog, for sure.”

The dog’s owners, Pat and Becca Ribhold, were fined for not having Spike’s shots and tags current; and for not having their dog restrained. They declined an interview.

Ms. Keiffer was not injured. The dog received a broken jaw, 3 broken teeth, scraped and bloodied hide, and a bruised ego that will take quite some time to mend.

Latisha Freeman, who was walking her little Pomeranian, Ginger, at the time of the incident remarked, “I’ve seen a lot of people act like Spike. They get a notion in their head that small means weak. That different means weird. Spike is a lot like today’s bullies. They keep picking on the strange, the little, the odd; but sometimes it backfires. It sure did today.”

Officer DiMarco added: “Our pastor told us just a couple of days ago, while referring to Jesus’ teaching on meekness; ‘meek doesn’t mean weak’ and ‘big doesn’t spell bad.’ He also said, ‘the biggest bully of all time, the devil, couldn’t even touch Jesus until it was time for the cross. Jesus let the devil think he had become weak and defenseless. But it was a trap, and the bully walked right into it. Scripture says that if the princes of this world had known what was planned, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. Bully’s always get their comeuppance. They always end up biting off more than they can chew.’ If only people would understand that truth.”
Yes, if only.

But people who feel they must bully aren’t too smart anyway.

By the way, this story is fictitious but its principles are true.

Boot Camp

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My book, Boot Camp, is in the final stages of production. Here is a sneak preview, the preface to Boot Camp, Basic Training For The Believer.

“Your basic combat training is designed to accomplish two purposes: familiarize you with the fundamental requirements of military life, and teach you how to fight and defeat an enemy.” (Department of the Army Pamphlet, PAM 350-43, The Soldier’s Basic Combat Training Handbook, March 1973, pg.7)

I had my Basic Combat Training (BCT) at Fort Knox, Kentucky. As soon as I got off the bus I knew I wasn’t a civilian any longer. Sure, I still looked like one but the Drill Instructors (DIs) wasted no time in making their objective clear. They were to receive us as recruits, tear us down to practically nothing, and rebuild us into disciplined, motivated, highly trained, well indoctrinated fighting machines.

I hadn’t been at the reception station more than five minutes before the DI’s were telling me where and how to stand. Imagine. I had been standing for more than 20 years and now someone saw the need to teach me the correct way. Later that day, I would be sent to the barber shop along with the rest of my platoon. Afterward, it would be real hard to tell each other apart. The DIs would have us standing, walking, talking, thinking, looking, and acting alike; as one unit, combat ready. I guess that’s why we had to have name tags on our uniforms and dog tags around our necks.

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