Grace by Barbara

Grace is one of my favorite topics to talk about. I covered quite a bit of it in a previous blog, “Cocoon of Grace,” but I feel it is worth repeating. Once you get the concept of Grace, you will understand what Jesus meant in Matthew 11: 28-30 when He said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
The Message

Receiving the revelation of grace is the best thing that ever happened in my Christian walk. Before that time, every day was an effort to measure up and I never could. I always had a picture of God the Father ready to squash me like a bug whenever I did anything wrong or some kind of punishment was always on its way. On the other hand if I was having a extremely good day, I thought I earned the Father’s love. The latter was very rare. Almost every day, I felt like I disappointed the Lord. Joyce Meyer calls this “stinking thinking.” It is a heartbreaking the way some Christians live their lives and I was one of them but not any longer. Thankfully, I had great teaching on God’s grace. I learned that when Jesus died on the cross for us, He died that we would spend eternity with Him in heaven, but He died for so much more. Jesus paid such a heavy price for us. He died a horrific death and He died in agony, all because He loves us with a love that is unconditional. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve the intimate relationship they had with God was broken. Men could no longer go to God directly. They had to go through a priest and every year they brought an animal to be sacrificed that was used for atonement for their sins. Jesus made us right with God again when He became the living sacrifice. All our sins were forgiven, past, present and future. In other words because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are righteous. With all the mistakes we make when God looks at us, He sees us as perfect. Furthermore, we do not need anyone to go the Father for us. Jesus destroyed that rift and we are no longer separated from the Father. His love is unconditional, it is not based on performance. There is NOTHING we can do to earn grace. It is a free gift, I can’t say it enough. God loves us. He always has and he always will. This does not mean that we can act ungodly or do anything we want. Clearly, God’s given grace and His love does not mean there are not consequences to our transgressions. You cannot rob a bank and think “it is ok, God loves me.” You would be right in thinking God still loves you but you would be wrong to think it is ok. Once caught, you will pay the consequences and most likely spend time in jail. The example may be farfetched but I assume it drives the point home. When we realize the grace of God and how much He loves us, we come to the place where we love the Father also and want to please Him. The Word tell us, We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. 1 John 4:19 (The Message)


My favorite example of the Father’s love is in the story of the prodigal son.

Luke 15: 11-32 (The Message)
“There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’ “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand. He got right up and went home to his father. “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time. “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’ “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’ “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!”

This is grace at its best. This son betrayed his father and broke his heart. As you can see the son came to his senses, decided to come back home and accept the penalty for his actions. When the father saw his son at a distance what does the story tell us? It tells us he ran to his son, hugged and kissed him. All the wrongdoing the son carried out was forgiven and forgotten. This is a picture of our heavenly Father, He forgives and He forgets. You may be thinking, “great story but that is not fair to the older son.” Yes it is. All the older son had to do was tell his father what he wanted as he was told, “everything that is mine is yours.” I believe there is another lesson in this. When we see a prodigal come home, don’t get upset when the Father blesses him as it is a time to rejoice, seeing that, he is no longer lost but found.

A couple of years ago, I had a vision about the Lord’s love. It was a black and white sketch. Jesus was hugging someone tightly. I’m not sure if it was me or not as I was intensely focused on Jesus’ face. His face was grimaced and His arms were firmly wrapped around the person and I knew by the look on His face and the way He was hugging them, that He did not want to let them go. The love on the face of Jesus was amazing. In reality, “amazing” does not even come close to the love I saw on the face of our Savior. He loves each and every one of us like this. That love like His grace is unconditional. I will say it again, no matter what you do, you cannot earn it. It is a free gift.

In conclusion, know that you are loved, know that your sins are forgiven, know that you have access to the Father at any given time because of what Jesus did on the cross for you and me.

If you want to learn more about grace and the love of God I would highly recommend the following books.

  • Unmerited Favor by Joseph Price
  • You’ve Already Got It! (So Quit Trying To Get It) by Andrew Wommack


Destiny by Barbara

Countless of times, I have prayed this prayer over numerous people, “Lord let them walk into their destiny as You have a perfect plan for them. Lord, order their steps. There have been times it was prayed over me as well. So, does God really have a destiny, a plan for each and every one of us? Well the Word says He does. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) Proverbs 20:24 states: “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” (NIV) There it is in black and white, each and every one of us has a destiny.

One of my favorite Christian TV shows is “Joni Table Talk.” The show consists of approximately 4 women. Generally they have one guest per episode. It is quite interesting as they are courageous enough to converse on any topic. In a recent episode, Joni had film writer Randall Wallace as a guest. Mr. Wallace directed the movie “Heaven is for Real.” He actually went to seminary. He thought maybe there was a call on his life to be a Pastor so he met with his own Pastor to discuss it. Randall’s Pastor asked him, “Do you feel a call on your life to be a Pastor?” His reply? “No I don’t. I know it is the greatest call you can have BUT I don’t feel it.” I absolutely love his Pastor’s comeback. “You’re wrong! It’s not the greatest call. The greatest call in your life is the one God has for you.” Now that my friends is destiny! It is fulfilling the purpose, God created you to do.

Truthfully, thoughts regarding destiny was stressful. In my mind’s eye, it was being the leader of a full-size ministry, along with tons of work. “Thanks but no thanks, I think I will pass” was my stance but it troubled me continuously. My view changed when I spent time with the Lord every day. He taught me to take one day at a time, to relax and not dwell on it. He also taught me through His Word. When John the Baptist was in prison, he had doubts that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus sent word to him confirming:

  • The blind see,
  • The lame walk,
  • Lepers are cleansed,
  • The deaf hear,
  • The dead are raised,
  • The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side. (Matthew 11: 4-6 ( The Message)

Listed above are some of the miracles that Jesus performed to prove He was the Messiah but He said, we would do the greater things. John 14: 11-14 commands us to perform the greater things. “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. Therefore, if Jesus affirmed that we can do the greater things, what should we at least be doing? We should declare that:

  • The blind see,
  • The lame walk,
  • Lepers are cleansed,
  • The deaf hear,
  • The dead are raised,
  • The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.

Have I experienced any of this at all? Oh yes! I have been healed many times but that is for another blog. I have also prayed for people and saw them get healed. How can I do this? Easy, it is not me. It has nothing to do with who I am or what I have done. It is all because of who He is and what He has done. I am beginning to realize who I am in Christ. Romans 8:17 tells me that I am a joint heir in Christ. He said I was to do it and I’m stepping out in faith and walking into my destiny. Jesus has an additional responsibility that He wants us to carry out. It is called The Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 instructs us: “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (The Message) Simply put, preach the gospel, and lead others to the Lord.

Years ago, I heard this heartrending story about a believing couple that died never realizing their purpose in life. This is so distressing as it was right under their noses. All they had to do was act on what Jesus said to do. God has called many to have big ministries, become inspiring writers, paint awesome paintings, take breathtaking photos, etc. and this is the destiny the Lord as given them, HOWEVER if you are not among them, do not fret as what could be better than walking in The Great Commission and performing the miracles the Lord told you to do. To put emphasis on this one final time let us look at Luke 4:18:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (NIV)

This is the destiny for ALL believers.

Just a note of caution. When you step out in faith, alas, more often than not, you will deal with the skeptics, critics, naysayers or a phrase I recently heard, ” the dogs of doom.” Unfortunately the negative comments usually come from those that are closest to us as well as from the enemy. Don’t listen!!!! If the Lord has laid something on your heart to accomplish, walk in faith and go for it. It doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes as you will probably make plenty but that is ok. We learn from mistakes. Just let Christ pick you up, afterward step up to the plate again. If Jesus said we can do it, we can and that settles it fully!!!!

In closing, the best way to discover what the Lord’s plans are for you is to spend time with Him. As I said in the last blog “Frazzled,” just start out with 15 minutes a day. Don’t make it complicated. Pour your heart out to Him but take the time to listen. Get into the Word also as that is another way that the Lord will speak to you. Remember, He has a perfect plan for your life. Give your life to Him and that plan will come to pass.

Frazzled By: Barbara

Which one of us has not been frazzled at one time or another? Can any of us honestly say they have not found themselves in this condition. I sure can’t. A number of the meanings of “frazzled” are: the state of being emotionally and physically exhausted, nervous fatigue, stressed, frayed at the edges. I’m almost humiliated to say I found myself in this state of mind many a time. The truth is being frazzled is a form of anxiety. The Lord tell us we are to be anxious for nothing. If Jesus tells us this and we know that Jesus in not a liar then we have to believe in faith that this is feasible. How do we get to this place where we do not become frazzled? Well I guess the best thing to do is tell you the circumstances that had me frazzled and then explain how the Lord dealt with me.
The first two testimonies coming under the meaning of “frayed at the edges,” nothing major but a nuisance. Years ago, I had a bit of road rage. Mind you, I never got out of the car screaming at anyone but I was incredibly fluent in the one finger sign language, and spewed out the vocabulary that went along with it. To answer the question you may have, yes I was a Christian at the time but as the saying goes “God was not finished with me yet.” I remember one particular summer night, I was on my way to a Bible study. On the seat of the passenger side of the car was my big black Bible. The windows of the car were wide opened and I was approaching a fork in the road. It was two lanes, drivers had the choice of either bearing to the right or going straight. The driver in front of me obviously could not comprehend which lane he needed, as a result, he was weaving in and out between lanes and he really had me frazzled. Bellowing at the top of my lungs, I screamed “would you make up your blank blank blank mind!” Instantaneously, I heard the booming laughter of a group of teenage boys in another car. To say conviction came upon me is an understatement and I came to the opinion that I was the biggest hypocrite that ever lived. I put my Bible on the floor as I would be utterly mortified should anyone see it. Sadly, I didn’t understand the concept of Grace* back then so I beat myself up needlessly.
Tailgaters were the most frazzling. I would put my windshield wipers on to spray water on the tailgaters windshield. Seeing the driver putting on their own wipers to remove the sprayed water made it a little less frazzling and oh the satisfaction that came with it. The Lord began to work on my heart about this and He convicted me in a loving way, whereas I felt no condemnation just a desire to change. The Lord provoked me to ask for His help and I did. Tailgaters are now a dilemma of the past. One of three things happen and it is almost immediate. The driver will either pass me, make a turn onto another street or last but not least, right before my eyes, I see them backing up at a safe distance. What is nothing short of a miracle is that this has been going on for two years now, each and every single time. All I say is “Lord, please get them off my tail.” I can’t help but wonder what is going on with the person that is backing up. Is the Lord telling them to back off or are they seeing fire or something coming from the car? When I say a safe distance, some of them back up about 2 and 3 car lengths if not more. One of these day I hope to be able to get out of the car and ask them why they backed up so far. I no longer get mad and I will ask the Lord to bless the driver. A relapse occurs now and then when a driver almost causes me to have a accident but I am no longer using sign language nor spewing out obscenities except possibly to call them an idiot but again I feel the nudge of the Lord and once again His perfect peace comes and I pray a blessing and a prayer of protection over them and of course thanking the Lord for His hedge of protection over me.
The next testimony comes under the meaning of ” being emotionally and physically exhausted.” My husband, Lou, lost a very good job through no fault of his own. The company was fighting the unemployment benefits even though it was his right to collect. The battle was going on for weeks and there was no way my income would see us through. There weren’t many times I was able to put into practice the words of the Lord, “be anxious for nothing” so many times my nerves were shot and I found myself imagining all kinds of horrors if the benefits did not come through. A lawyer was consulted and his fee was three to five thousand dollars and that was even if he did not win the case. Meanwhile, I had already planned a trip to South Carolina with one of my best friends. We were going to a Christian conference and Lou and I agreed I should still go. We would make up our minds about retaining the lawyer when I returned. The conference was amazing with anointed worship, great teaching as well as an awesome time in the Lord’s presence. During one session we were asked to just go up to people and pray for them. I met a man there and though we had brief conversations, he knew nothing about my circumstances and I did not tell him anything before he prayed. He began to pray over me but then he declared, “I will be your lawyer, I will plead your case.” He meant the Lord of course not himself. I knew without a doubt, I heard the voice of the Lord through this man and I was NOT to hire the lawyer and I was determined to stand on that word. Once I got home I told Lou about the word that was given to me. He was shaken but he also decided to stand on the word. You see, he was saved but I was saved quite a few years before him and he saw too many miracles in my life to discredit it. When my friend and I came back from that conference we came back different people and we never been the same since. I learned more and more about trusting God. This did not mean that everything would go my way but I trusted that my Daddy God knew best no matter what it looked like.
During the waiting period for the benefits and after the conference, the Lord began to show me that if I wanted to continue to grow in Him it was imperative that I spend time with him. I got up very early in the morning to do this and to be truthful I did not feel it was going well. In fact, I actually got mad at the Lord as it felt like a waste of time. I considered it a one way conversation with me doing all the talking but I persevered. Why was it like this? I have an though on that. Jeremiah 29:13 tells us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” He wanted me to seek Him with all that I had, to make me hungry for him. To make me realize how much I wanted Him. After pursuing Him for some time and learning how to just listen, things began to change. I don’t remember how long it took but He showed up. Well actually He was always there but He finally revealed Himself to me. His presence filled the room, and I said, “Jesus you just walked in the room didn’t you? With His presence came the peace that passes all understanding. It is not like this all the time but after doing this for a few years now, I have to say it is more than not. The wait is not long, I just sit there with my cup of coffee to meet Him on my living room couch and I feel Him there. This is also when I spend time in His Word and He speaks to me through it. It is glorious. Just to be clear, spending time with Him does not mean countless hours on your knees. There will be times when we may need to pray like that but I always meet Him in the morning, in my PJ’s and as I already stated, a cup of coffee. I know some may find that offensive but keep in mind I am having real fellowship with Him!
So what you may ask does life look like without being frazzled? Well for one, even though the battle for Lou’s unemployment benefits went on for weeks afterwards, I did not have the anxiety anymore and I knew it would be ok. Lou did receive the benefits, and even when they ran out the Lord kept us and since then he found another job, not like the other one but the Lord continues to see us through. I also found I was no longer frazzled over other situations and one was most devastating. 2013 was a difficult year. I lost my mother, sister and an older friend in a 5 month span. Realistically it should have been a state of being emotionally and physically exhausted, frazzled to the extreme but I wasn’t. I know they are all with the Lord and that gives me a peace that passes all understanding. I got to be with my sister and witness her leave this life, into Glory and I will always be thankful for that. If I did not have the relationship I have with the Lord today, I’m not sure I would have gotten through it. Yes, I did mourn for a season but I’m ok, moreover I am at peace. I realize that everyone deals with the death of a loved one in different ways and that is normal just don’t go through it without the Lord. The Comforter (Holy Spirit) comforted me and He will do the same for you!
A lesser example. My daughter loves to travel. She takes a big vacation almost every year, out of the United States, in addition to a couple in the states. This consists of lots of flying. I found myself checking the flight landing status continually and became frazzled waiting for the time that the plane landed safely. When she was in another country, I was a total mess until she got home as I anticipated all the terrors that could befall her and her friends. Sleep was out of the question. “Lord PLEASE protect them” was my plea. I was begging. Oh my, it was pitiful. Presently, I do not get frazzled at all. I have peace whether she is in or out of the country. As far as checking the flight plans, I may look at it a couple times but for the most part I just tell her, “call me when you get there. I do pray Psalm 91, the prayer of protection, knowing that she is in the Lord’s hands. Oh and I no longer have a fear of flying.
Even my driving has improved. I was terrified of driving in the snow. Grant you, I still do not enjoy it and would rather not but I am not getting frazzled over it anymore and this winter certainly gave me a lot of experience.
I do not look at circumstances around me any longer as I know my God is faithful therefore I feel his peace. I’m also filled with the joy of the Lord and I am hardly ever in a bad mood. I can honestly say it takes a lot nowadays to get me frazzled. Do I have any areas where I still need victory? Yes! I have a difficult time being around people that are always negative. No matter what their circumstances, they can’t see the good. Yes I pray for them but I’m yearning to stop thinking about smacking them at the same time. Annoying people (thorns in my side) can at times get me frazzled. I have come a long way in this area. I keep in mind they are the Lord’s children too and for the most part I can ignore them instead of flipping out like I once did. Victory is coming so please pray for me.
In conclusion, I have learned, through trials and tribulations that having peace that passes all understanding is feasible. For me though it took developing that relationship with the Lord to get to this place and it is so worth the time. If we want a friendship we must spend time with that friend and it is the same with the Lord. Don’t worry about how much time. All our schedules are different but I suggest you just start out with 15 minutes a day if you can. I also like to add that some of the best conversations and experiences I had with the Lord were in my car on the way to work. He is always there you just need to make yourself available.
*Grace: If you do not understand the concept of Grace please see my article “Cocoons” on this blog.

Sojourn by Barbara

“Sojourn,” Now here is a word that does not get thrown around much in a conversation, however it shows up in the Bible many times. For example: Genesis 12:9-11 states, “And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land,” Judges 17:9, “And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place,” Psalm 105:23, “Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.”  When we read these verses we comprehend that a sojourn is a place to stay, to lodge, a stop-over, to live or dwell in a place for a season.  Sojourns are temporary, just transitory moments in our lives.

Countless person, places and things  in life may be long-term such as staying married to the same spouse, keeping a house in the family, friendships, job etc., of course a few of them may be a sojourn.  Many are by choice but as we well know this is not always the case.  God ways are not our ways.

Case in point: Years ago I owned a pet grooming business.  My husband and I were married for quite a few years and we had no children.  We both agreed we were ok with that so off I went to New York to learn how to groom.  It wasn’t long after graduation that the Lord put me at the right place at the right time and my business was launched.  My plan for my life was to stay in this business until I retired.  I’m sure you heard of the old cliché, “Tell God your plans and he laughs at you.”  Well this is what happened to me which was a shock since the Lord opened all the doors for this to come to pass, nevertheless it was a sojourn in my life. After 3 years into the business and 11 years of marriage I suspected I was pregnant. I took one of those home pregnancy tests just to put my mind at ease as it just could not be after all these years. When the test came out positive, I actually called the company that made the product to let them know in no uncertain terms their test was wrong. The kind woman on the other end of the line declared, “Honey, if our test gave you a positive result then you are pregnant! Our test may give a false negative result but not a false positive.  You need to see a doctor.”  I was devastated when a doctor confirmed the results but abortion was not an option.  After awhile, my husband and I both had a change of heart and looked forward to our new arrival.  Against the advice of some friends and family members I put the business up for sale as I felt lead from the Lord to do so and it was the right decision. I’m delighted to say I  took to motherhood like a fish takes to water and I never looked back. Though motherhood isn’t easy, it is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life. The business sojourn taught me to trust the Lord no matter what it looks like.  I learned that He really is faithful as well as elated that He showed me His plans are better than mine.

Now let us take a look at the most important sojourn of them all, our time here on earth. Here is how The Message explains it: 1 Peter 2:11 “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.”  Although it is just a  few sentences, it tells us how to live our sojourn on earth.  No matter how many years we live, earth is our temporary home.  We are just passing through.  When we read about heaven in the Bible or hear of one’s encounter, we may long for our sojourn on earth to end.  Our life should be filled with the joy of the Lord but it can be very difficult at times, oh come on, let’s be honest, it can downright suck. When we think about being with Jesus for all eternity, those streets of gold, a place where there is no more sorrow and no more tears we almost want to cry out, “Lord take me home.” I certainly have.  At the same time, I do not believe we should continuously be longing for our heavenly home as we have a job to do here on earth.  We are told in 2 Peter 3:9, “Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” Do you see It? It is the Lord’s desire that no one would perish.  We should be co-laboring with the Lord, therefore let us be His witnesses by living lives that will attract the lost to Him.  Therefore when the sojourn gets tough the tough get going.  Enjoy the sojourns of your life the good and the not so good.  Think of it as an adventure.  Have faith in the Lord as He is trustworthy.

COCOONS by Barbara

Cocoon of Grace

If asked the question what is the definition of the word Cocoon? We would find meanings such as:  “To bind tightly, a protective covering, a casing, a shelter.”  The next question posed might be “what exactly goes on inside a cocoon?”  If you have the pleasure of observing a cocoon it looks like nothing is happening and it is just hanging out so to speak but that is not the case at all. There is quite a bit of commotion going on inside that little casing, cocoon or chrysalis.  Let’s look at the butterfly for instance.  The caterpillar’s  body is broken down before it can become a new creature. It actually digests itself into a liquid where some cells eventually become the anatomy of the butterfly. Then it pushes itself or cuts its way through the protective covering.

WOW! Isn’t that what we experience when we accept Jesus as our savior? Think about it. The moment we accept Jesus the Bible tells us that we are new creatures and that the old has passed away and all things have become new. We push or cut away from our old nature but unlike the butterfly we are going through changes or metamorphous  every day.  As we are going through these changes I see us surrounded by a cocoon of grace. Grace is the unmerited favor or the unconditional love of God.  What does grace have to do with a cocoon you may ask?” Well, we are of the understanding that the cocoon is a protective covering or shelter that keeps the caterpillar safe from the outside elements as it is changing.  You could say that our outside element is the enemy always prowling around like a roaring lion.  He is always trying to condemn us and throw those fiery darts at us by saying we are not good enough, we will never measure up, or we will always fall short from the new creature God destined us to be BUT Romans 8:1 tell us, “There is no condemnation for those that belong to Christ Jesus.”  Isn’t it encouraging to know that when Christ died for us, He died for our sins, past present and future, we no longer live under the curse.  If that isn’t a cocoon of grace then I don’t know what is.

Maybe you are reading this and you never accepted Christ as your Savior.  I’m telling you, you can live in that cocoon of grace.  I don’t care what you done or are doing in your life, Jesus loves you.  Ok, so you may be in sin but my Jesus hates the sin but loves the sinner. Just accept Him and let Him do the rest. Don’t buy into the lie that you need to clean up your act or change your lifestyle before you can accept Him. Jesus will meet you right where you are. At the same time, I am not saying you can just live anyway you want. Paul states in Romans 6:1 “So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there?  Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good?” Ok, I know it is a somewhat confusing but this is what I discovered. Once you grasp the concept of grace, the more willing you are to let the Lord makes changes in you.  At the same time you begin to fall in love with Him and find you are making choices that you know will please him.  Just be willing to be willing.  You may be that caterpillar right now but the Lord wants to change you into that beautiful butterfly if you will let him. Just take into account, the caterpillar changing into the butterfly did not happen overnight. Furthermore I am not implying your life will be easy from now on but I promise you, it will be the best decision you will ever make in your life.  Just tell Him to come into your life and let your new life begin. I am talking from experience.  Every day I am changing more and more. Have I completed the process?  No, we complete the process when we go home with the Lord.  Again, it is a day by day progression and I make mistakes everyday but I am enjoying the journey, with the knowledge that I am loved and accepted just the way I am  but at the same time I am allowing the Lord to finished the change he started in me.  Take a step in faith and take the journey with me, knowing without a doubt that we are sheltered by a cocoon of grace.  I will say it one more time.  He loves you and He is waiting for you just as you are.


Proverbs 31 Woman in 2014 by Barbara

For our first blog post we were asked to write about the Proverbs 31 woman in the year 2014.  I pondered the question, hmm, what does she look like? Not a simple question, at least not for me.  If I am to be completely honest, I cannot relate to the Proverbs 31 woman. For example, she makes her own linen garments and coverings for her bed. When it comes to sewing, I feel victorious  when I sew a button on a garment and it stays intact.  The Proverbs 31 woman gets up in the dead of night to provide food for her family.  Sorry but not this woman. Her children called her “blessed?” Mind you, I have no doubt my only child loves me but she has yet to call me “blessed”.

Women’s lives are so diverse today.  There are women who are married and are serving in ministry with their husbands. Subsequently, you have married women though their husbands may be saved, they are not interested in ministry.  Let us not forget about the women whose husbands are not saved or the single, widowed and divorced women. Therefore, how can Proverbs 31 relate to all women? To answer this question let us take a look at the entire book of Proverbs. What precisely is it?  Proverbs is a book of morals,  it teaches us how to live our lives, how to honor God and mainly tells us that the fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom.  Consequently, you ought not concern yourself with your position in life, be it single, married, widowed or divorced. The Proverbs woman of 2014 is a hard worker and does everything with excellence.  When I say excellence, I do not mean perfect, I mean to the best of her ability.  She is loving, trustworthy, responsible, respectful, generous, loyal, an encourager, patient, faithful, kind, gentle but firm when she needs to be, a great friend, a good listener, a devoted employee or employer but mostly, she is a woman who loves and puts God first in her life. Well what do you know?  The character straits of the Proverbs woman of 2014 is not much different than the Proverbs woman of the Bible.  We can all breathe a little easier now.  Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman has nothing to do with making our own linens, Praise God!  For me, it means putting the Lord first and He will make us the women we are destined to be.