No one is worthy, no, not one

“Have you renounced all confidence in your own moral or religious efforts and turned in faith completely to Jesus to be clothed with His righteousness? If so, you do have eternal life. But do you have it to the full? Are you experiencing both the peace of God that comes with salvation and the joy of God that comes with living by grace each day? If not, you may be saved, but you are living by works.”  -Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace

It breaks my heart when people think that they are outside the grace of God; that they aren‘t worthy of grace. Because, no one is. No one is worthy, no, not one!

 “None is righteous, no, not one;
    no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”   Romans 3:10-12

My brother is very hard on himself.

He is very much like my dad who doesn’t accept failure from himself. ‘Failure is not an option,’ I can hear my dad say. And, as a result, my brother has always set the bar really high for himself.

The problem with that mentality is that we will fail. It is a mathematical certainty. Our fallenness necessitates it.

What if we set the bar so high that we never reach it? We feel like a failure. We end up focusing on what we aren’t doing instead of God’s plan in what we are doing.

 “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.”   Jeremiah 29:11

Sometimes we need to lower the bar. Possibly lower it a lot! Not because we’re losers, but because we are human beings not gods.  

I have a really low bar, I always have. Having a low bar allows me to exceed it daily because I am reaching for the really high bar set by my precious savior, Jesus Christ. I am not saying that we should all have a really low bar. I am saying that we need to do our best and let God do the rest.

In the wise words of my brother, Greg, “God’s bar is all that matters, and when we don’t reach it, Christ bridges the gap.”

It (Grace) contains the essence of the gospel as a drop of water can contain the image of the sun.”  Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Where would I be without God’s grace? I shudder at the thought!

I know what a wretch I am . . . . believe me!

  • Do I pray perfectly or regularly enough? No.
  • Am I in His Word enough? No.
  • Do I love others enough? NO!
  • Am I focused on making disciples enough? NO!!!!
  • Do I love God enough?! Not even close!!!

But I take His grace and let it cover me. His grace is sufficient for me (1 Corinthians 12:9).

The more that I really understand this ‘grace’ thing, the more precious my relationship with God is to me. And, the more that His Word is becoming my very life and breath.

As I take in more grace, I become more aware of the huge chasm between God and myself! I realize how small and insignificant I am compared to an all-powerful God! The smaller I get in my mind, the bigger He becomes.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
-C.S. Lewis

Therefore, I exalt God and am increasingly grateful for the price Jesus paid for me. I don’t deserve His amazing grace. Not even a little!

There is a difference between receiving grace and making excuses. We know that God doesn’t want us to be lazy. However, we can’t use our shortcomings and imperfections as a reason for not accepting His grace. In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! He is offering you grace, take it.

You don’t have to be the perfect husband/wife.
You don’t have to be able to fix everything.
You don’t have to be the perfect worker.
You don’t have to be the perfect mom/dad.
You don’t have to be the perfect missionary.
You don’t have to be the perfect student.

Just run the race marked out for you.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us  Hebrews 12:1

The weight of the world may be on your shoulders. You may be a ‘people pleaser’ and take care of everybody. So, who takes care of you? You are not the top of the food chain, so let Him care for you and give you rest.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

God says that He is gentle and humble in heart. So, quit beating yourself up and be the treasure that you are!

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
-C.S. Lewis

Holy Spirit you are welcome here; Enjoying the presence of God

God and I have a good thing going. Our times together are amazing. There is nothing like someone as small and insignificant as I am being in the presence of the almighty God. It’s crazy!

In His presence, I have nothing to worry about. I can be totally vulnerable and naked with Him and still be completely loved and accepted. With God there is nothing to fear, nothing I have to hide, nothing to make me feel like I don’t belong, and nothing but His perfect peace.

There is nothing greater in this life than having a personal relationship with the almighty God. I talk with Him throughout the day. I spend time on my knees in worship and reverence to Him, and I have fallen in love with His Word.

He walks with me and He talks with me. He tells me I am His own.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!   1 John 3:1

He teaches me daily through prayer and scripture and the words He gives me to write.

My soul hungers and thirsts for more of Him. I can’t get enough. He is so beautiful and Jesus Walks On Waterthere is nothing like Him. I can’t explain how strong the longing is when I am not able to slow down and enjoy a quiet space with my Heavenly Father.

I have recently realized that my desire for Him has surpassed my desire for just about anything else in this life.

I long to be with Him more than romance, more than sexual ecstasy or a breathtaking vista. Time with Him is more precious than a good book on a crisp fall day, laughing with friends, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, or a hot bath on a cold day. It is more precious than a great victory or achievement. It is more valuable than silver or gold.

I want to be alone with Him more than any earthly possession. Nothing compares to Him. When I think about what He did for me, nothing else matters.

“the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”  Matthew 13:45-46  

I have even found myself sitting in church wishing that I could be at home alone with Him in His Word. Nowhere else in my life do I experience the joy, peace and divine power within me like when I am communing with The Almighty. Sometimes I wish that I could stay there, just He and I, forever.

Splendor and majesty are [found] in His presence;
Strength and joy are [found] in His place (sanctuary).   1 Chronicles 16:27 (AMP)

A friend of mine recently attended a conference in which the theme was ‘spacious places’. They were talking about ‘spacious places’ not in terms of a ‘where’, but in terms of a ‘who.’ In other words, God is our spacious place. What a beautiful picture of God’s perfect peace. He is like a breath of fresh air filling our lungs.

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.  Psalm 18:19

I don’t know if you experience euphoria and peace in your relationship with God or not. I don’t know if you long for Him more than anything else in this world. It’s okay if you don’t. We all have our own spiritual journeys. I haven’t always been where I am now with God.

The great thing is, everyone can have this awesome personal and intimate relationship with God. You can experience God in a more profound way if you so desire. I guarantee it! You can rest in his arms and enjoy His spacious places. You can be completely you. You are His beloved.

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.   Jeremiah 29:13

Imagine a relationship with God so amazing that you get butterflies in your stomach when you are in His presence. Picture a worship experience so intense that you can physically feel Him move in you. Imagine being on your knees as God rains down healing, and the redemptive power of Jesus Christ over you.

Do we believe that our relationship with God can be so exciting and fulfilling and intimate that we desire Him more than we desire our husbands or wives, girlfriends or boyfriends, or even our children? 

“in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing . . . . . if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”  – C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

God is so good. Everything that He has planned for you is good. And He delights in you greatly! He longs to be sought after, experienced and encountered in a powerful way, and to have an intimate relationship with each one of us.

The amazing love, grace and acceptance that He offers is worth more than anything we can find on this earth. And, He gives it freely.

O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him  Psalm 34:8

God is easy, because of His amazing grace.

People, on the other hand, are not. I often think that I would be the perfect Christian if it weren’t for other people.

Things are so good in God’s presence. It is a perfect space, and I never want to leave. But when you add other human beings to the mix, things get messy.

I know that I am to love and serve others. I am not resisting that. Those are not the people that I am talking about necessarily.

I am talking about the people that are more involved in our lives. Those that disappoint us, judge us, make demands on us, don’t understand us, or have wronged us. I am talking about people who bring out the hurts, jealousy, and discouragement in us.

Some people bring out the worst in us.

I am much more blameless and upright before God in isolation. Isn’t it enough to deal with my own sin and brokenness? But to pile on the sin and brokenness of everyone else sometimes seems overwhelming.

 . . . . . yet, not my will but Yours be done   Luke 22:42

The whole point of this life is ‘people’. I can’t get around it. I can’t go over or under it. I can’t look past it. I can’t please God without loving and caring for the people He has put in my life. He has made that very clear in scripture. But, I admit, that sometimes I really wish that I could.

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”   Mark 12:31

I ask for forgiveness in this area of my life all the time. I know this attitude toward other people is not pleasing to God. He wants me to love and serve others generously and joyfully. But, He is so gracious. He is the God of second chances . . . and third . . . . and fourth!

It all comes down to this, sometimes we have to do the hard stuff. The stuff that we don’t want to do. It’s not about us, it’s about Him. We have to accept all of God’s words, or none of them.

But, that is ok with me. I am eternally in His debt. The joy and worth that I get from Him is beyond words; beyond explanation. My cup overflows, and I don’t deserve any of it. Praise be to God, for He is good!

You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.   Psalm 16:11