Before I started to write this article I had been thinking about Grace, and started to ask myself, how would I define Grace? I was also reflecting on how Grace would reveal itself at home with my husband and children, and how I would recognise those times. I prayed and asked God to guide me through my writing – then interrupted in prayer my son called me. He seemed to be quite unsettled and said that he ‘really needed to speak to me right now.’
I went upstairs to find that he was holding a big chunky black crayon, the crayon would normally have paper around it, but as my son began to explain the urgency to why he really ‘needed’ to speak to me – I could see that the black crayon had covered the palms of his hands…..
all was beginning to be revealed.
‘Mum, I’ve taken the paper off the crayon and…….’
Then three little words followed,
‘I’m sorry but……’
He’s only 4 years old, and I was so proud that he came to me to explain, I could sort of predict what was coming next. He’d either got the black crayon on his bedroom floor or the wall. It wouldn’t be the first time! I could see those big round blue eyes looking at me, then glancing back to his bedroom, then looking at me again. You could see that he didn’t quite know how I would respond, he trusted that I would be kind but also knew that there was a possibility that I might get a bit upset with him – but he made the choice all by himself to tell me the truth and be honest and open with me about what had happened.
He went on to explain that he had drawn on the door with the black crayon. Holding a t-shirt he had found on his bedroom floor he proceeded to tell me that he had tried his best to rub it off but couldn’t!
I looked at the crayon – then looked at his little face and him holding the t-shirt that he had used to desperately try and remove the crayon. I took his arms, knelt down to his level, looked at him straight in the eyes and said thank you for being such an honest little boy and telling mummy the truth and saying sorry.
I then said he could do that jigsaw that he’d been wanting to do.
It was at this point that I realised – that was Grace! God had answered my prayers by showing me exactly how Grace is applied in the home.
Oh the joy in my son’s face!
God gives us Grace in the same way. He doesn’t want us to hide away our sins, run from our wrong. He knows them all anyway! God wants us to come to him as our father, we as his children, tell him what we are struggling with, what we might have done wrong, ask for his help, his guidance and most of all his forgiveness. By doing so, he gives us Grace! He will bless us! ISN’T THAT INCREDIBLE!!!! I know from my own repentance and confession that once you trust in the Lord, just as my son trusted me, you will come out the other side joyful and praising God from his Grace and merciful ways.
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Last night my husband came home from work and pretty much without even giving him a chance to get his coat off I began to unleash my thoughts on Exodus and what i’ve been learning about God though this reading.
The problem is – well not a problem really (I don’t think), I get a bit over enthusiastic about what I want to say – and my passion gets crazy, before I know it I realise that i’m throwing my arms around expressively, and the more excited I get the more I’m dancing around the room thinking that this will somehow make a difference to how what is coming out of my mouth is received! Not many people see this side to me – probably a much more toned down version of my passion – although, i’m beginning to think that maybe they should!
Passion! I love seeing passion coming through people, it could be anything, something they love and can’t contain within. They are compelled to share it, have to shout about it, tell everyone!!
The stronger my relationship is becoming with the Lord and the more I grow in my faith, the stronger my passion is getting – but not only that, the stronger my family is becoming.
Sharing your passion is a very simple way to encourage – and the best thing is – you could pretty much share it anywhere. Ok, so there maybe some exceptions.
My husband may have wanted a cup of tea before I blurted out all the thoughts that had built up throughout the day, but he would tell you that my passion and enthusiasm was encouraging, far from boring and helped by building him up. Not only that but he too was able to give me even more insight into what I had been reading. We can:
Encourage one another and build each other up.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
My path with the Lord reminds me of this…..
It’s like, I’m being led across a river over little stepping stones, each one I jump onto is another little bit of knowledge about God. Then after sometime, I suddenly reach a big gap between the stepping stone I’m on and the one I need to reach. At this point I know that I am being told that I have to take an extra big leap to get to the next level. What I know from my relationship with God, is that it is at this point that something is going to change to give me the ability to take that extra big jump.
What must be remembered is that, the only way I can get across those little stepping stones to reach the stone with the extra big jump is by having a relationship with God and being able to hear him. I can’t know his will, I can’t hear answers to prayer, I can’t jump across the big gap to the next stepping stone unless I’m seeking to have a relationship with the Lord. So what can I do to seek him, to know him, to build a relationship with him and bring him into the family home?
It’s quite simple really – read the bible and discover who God is and pray. Open the book that will tell you all you need to know to live in the truth. Ask God to reveal himself to you – to make the bible come alive!
What I’ve come to realise over the last couple of months is that i’ve been doing it all wrong, the bible should be read to learn about who God is and to know God. That way, aside from prayer – a relationship can be built. Flicking though the bible and hoping to come across scripture that tells me what to do isn’t exactly the best approach to learning who God is.
Digging deeper into the bible – that’s when the pieces start to come together, thats when things got REALLY exciting and life began to change for me. By beginning to truly know God, in a deeper way, I can begin to let my relationship shine through, and shine into my family home.
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Strength, something we all need! The Lord will bring us strength in many ways through his word. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve needed to pray for strength, but that’s the beauty of it, we can pray for anything as many times as we need to and God will show us, guide us and give us our strength in which ever way he knows best. He loves us, he wants us to come to him, he wants us to tell him that we need him and his help. I believe we should be praying for strength always, praying for strength through protection, ensuring that we are prepared, that we haven’t let our guard down, that we have our armour in place, scripture placed securely in our hearts. The helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). This will bring us strength. Keeping God’s word in our hearts and souls, binding them on our hands and as frontlets between the eyes will bring us strength (Deuteronomy 11:18).
We should be specific to our needs in relation to the strength and protection we need. We can do this by using scripture in our prayers. I am not an expert in this department that’s for sure, particularly being a ‘new’ Christian, but it’s something that I am working on.
‘By wisdom a house is built; it is made secure through understanding.’ (Proverbs 24:3)
When I first came to faith, living a Christ centred life was what I knew I had to focus on, and I realised through the word of God, doing so meant making changes in my home. Building my house with the Lord firmly in it,
‘The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.’ (Proverbs 14:1)
This spoke to me massively when I first came to faith, basically, because I was being the foolish woman in this verse, allowing my house to fall apart around me. It was this verse that one morning, made me realise exactly what I needed to do, which was to build my house with God in it! So that’s what I began to do. With this I needed protection from anything that got in my way, anything that tried to break the family home down, anything that subtly, and oh yes it can be so subtle, tried to stick a thorn between me and my relationship with God, my husband, my children, anything that tried to convince me that my decisions about my home and the way I set out to bring up my children were absurd, and anything that brought me darkness where there should be light.
If we seek earnestly to follow God’s word in how we should live out our relationships in the truth, we are sure to receive the wisdom we need to gain strength, security and protection within our lives.
If we look at Ephesians 5:22-25, God tells us – Christ is the head of the church, HIS body, he is the saviour.
Before we can build our homes with our loved ones, we must be sure that our relationship is firm with the Lord first. If we understand that our security in our lives comes from the Lord – everything else will flow from it. Without that security, (we should remember that all of our security comes from him,) our protection against situations and trials that appear in ALL of our lives in very different circumstances will be like a broken shield, a blunt sword, a wall made of straw…………..
‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.’ (Matthew: 7:24-25)
Once we have that foundation of truth built in the home, we can then begin to look at ourselves, our roles, our responsibilities according to the word. We are told that the husband is the head of the house, and I can freely admit that God has spoken to me quite clearly about this a number of times! ‘Listen to your husband’ – love each other deeply as Christ has loved us, discipline our children with love, just as God disciplines us. Encourage each other always.
It can be difficult when one of you is perhaps feeling ‘heavy’, particularly if it is the man of the house who would normally be leading. Encourage one another and be proactive in your approach to resolving the situation, and most of all, PRAY!
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Last night I went to my first worship evening. I didn’t really know what the night held for me other than knowing that I was going to be singing and worshiping the Lord. What I didn’t expect was to experience something that quite literally left me feeling so close to God I could almost touch him.
The room was lit with candles and there were a small number of people waiting to worship our saviour, our King, our comforter, our all in all. There was a lead vocalist playing the guitar and another vocalist to the side.
The evening began with the beautiful Psalm 100 then went straight into worship. The music was much like the worship music I like to listen to in my car – but I can never truly let go in my car because,
1. I have two children in the car with me, and
2. When I let go I like to close my eyes, and obviously that’s not something that would be recommended whilst driving!
Don’t get me wrong, if I have no kids with me, yes, the music is up full and if I could dance in the car seat I would, but there is also the safety aspect when driving!
What I saw in worship was that there was no rule. You could dance, stand, sit on the chair, or the floor, lay down, whatever you felt you wanted to do.
My night of worship took me to my chair and prayerfully listening to the words. After some time, God began to speak to me, he knew I’d been grieving recently and tonight I could hear him so clearly and I was ready to be healed. He reassured me my baby was safe. The tears flowed down my cheeks. I could hear the word ‘healing’. At that point I knew that I was in a place of healing.
After this I stood with my eyes closed and again prayerfully listened to the words, but this time singing my heart out, joyfully praising the Lord and thanking him for all that he has done for us. In that moment I was lifted, I felt as light a a feather, I held out my hands and could almost touch Jesus. The experience was one that I had never felt before, since becoming a Christian.
Being a busy mum, running a house and looking after my family, this was a place that I had been longing for. I always find opportunities throughout the business of the day to hear God, reach out to him, draw near to him, seek him, and each of those moments have been uniquely perfect. Going to church on Sunday is uniquely perfect and I look forward to every single service. The preaching that has a level of teaching, real emotion and passion that draws me near to God and inspires me every time. The music, (not just because my husband plays the drums in the band!) the fellowship, my beautiful friends and family, hearing the children pray and run around joyfully together after the service, but tonight’s worship was something different.
I was able to escape from everything. It was just me and the Lord! No distractions, even though there were others in the room, I was on my own, I could meditate, I could move into a place that filled my soul right up to the brim. Feed my soul, satisfy my thirst and be in a place where I could open my mind completely and hear God.