Highly Favoured

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28

Recently as an exercise to hone my writing skills, I was to ask a handful of close friends a few questions about how they see me and what kind of influence I could have. The purpose of receiving this kind of feedback was to make the message I have more clear. To help me see how I can best inspire people with the tools I already have. And perhaps shed some light on areas that I may think are obvious but are amazing to others.

First of all, the fact that they were so willing to respond blew my mind. I am blessed by so many incredible women in my life, it was actually hard to pick just 5.  Second, their responses brought some tears. Third, this is a very humbling exercise to perform. Owning the truths that were spoken from their perspectives would have been very difficult to do even a year ago.

God has been teaching me this last year to receive. Receive His truths and let those reconstruct what my identity is in Him. Not in what others tried to tell me, not in the lies I believed, not in the performing so hard for love it almost destroyed me kind of way. But in renewing my mind and believing regardless of what I feel to standing in the promises of God.

Lysa Terkeurst said, “In between progress and perfection is the sweet spot of authenticity.” This statement makes me want to pause and say ahhhhhhh, releasing the places that have been wound tight in me trying to become someone I was not. butterflies-843298_640You see my heart is to be authentic, in all I speak, say, write and do. I am unique, my story has been woven in such a way as to distinctively influence those that God has placed in my path. There are some things I can speak because of my experiences that will resonate with the hearts of those I encounter. This truth is the same for you.

The space between progress and perfection can only be accomplished with supernatural favour. Joyce Meyer once said, ‘Natural favour has to be earned and once it is you need to maintain or keep working for that favour. Supernatural favour is a gift from God. You receive this just by being His child.’

Natural favour is very difficult to sustain. Performance is a vicious cycle. The only antidote to this is knowing in your heart of hearts that you are deeply loved and favoured by God and Nothing you do or don’t do will change that.heart-1213481_640

One way I have been renewing my mind with God’s truth is by speaking that I am highly favoured by the Lord. My travelling companions to St. Louis as of late probably thought I was a little silly proclaiming this phrase everywhere I went. Little did they know I was renewing the way I thought of myself in relationship to how God sees me.

You see,  I know that the only one in the Bible that was given this title was Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was chosen by God to carry the Messiah, His precious Son because she was highly favoured by Him. And this favour carried over into Jesus as we see further down in Luke 2:52, ‘And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.’

As a believer though, one who has chosen Christ as Saviour, I also have the incredible privilege of carrying Jesus. Not in the physical, pregnant sense as Mary did, but in my spirit. He is with me everywhere I go and because of this I am highly favoured by the Lord. Because of this I get to extend His Favour to others.

Choose an area where you have not been believing God’s truth about you. Now find the truth and start to declare it. Is it in the area of not believing you are worthy and have to perform for or earn God’s love? Say it with me now, I am highly favoured by the Lord. I am the apple of His eye. I am His beloved child. Start there. Don’t stop until your heart believes it. Your freedom depends on it. woman-591576_640

Hopelessly Devoted

Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.”

My husband is fiercely loyal and it is one of the qualities I love the most about him. It is one of the ways he has loved the fear of abandonment and rejection to healing in me. It is one of the ways he has shown that even in serious trouble, it is not a time to give up. He has taught me how to persevere and do the hard things because of this quality. I always say, he doesn’t just read the word and forget what it says. He does it. So when God said for husbands to love their wife as Christ loves the church, my heart is evidence of that.

This morning in our devotional we read about a couple that has been married 50 years and when asked separately what their secret was to 50 years, they both responded, I never tried to change him/her. Wade said that would be so cool to be able to celebrate 50 years with you. rocking-chairs-1046184_640

C’mon, how much sweeter can you get. I was thinking, I don’t think I want to live that long. haha We are just 11 years in and I am 49!!! Ok it is actually plausible and please celebrate with us if it happens but therein lies a picture of our differences. And I celebrate them! We make a better whole because of them.

Loyalty is defined as the quality of being faithful to someone or something. It has been in the forefront of my mind for a variety of reasons and Psalm 119 is one of them.

It is a fascinating portion of scripture in that it is the longest psalm and chapter in the entire bible. The whole theme is the psalmist’s loyalty to the Word of God. The structure of the psalm made it easy to memorize in the Hebrew culture when they didn’t all have copies of scripture. This particular psalm is formed as an acrostic with 22 sections each corresponding to a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet, every verse beginning with the letter of its section. Amazing.

The Psalmist was referring to the Torah, which were the first 5 books of the Law/Old Testament and almost every verse of the 176 verses written have a synonym for the word Torah in it. How creative is that. His devotion was evident that he was fully convinced God’s word was life and those who kept it were rewarded by God.

Observe his delight and devotion.

Vs 1 – Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.

Vs 9 – How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

Vs 11 – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Vs 24 – Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

Vs 36 – Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

Vs 45 – I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

Vs 89 – Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

Vs 92 – If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

Vs 105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Vs 125 – I am your servant, give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Vs 165 – Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

One of my favourite things about this psalm is how it ends in Vs 176, ‘I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.’ After all of the devotion and desire to be loyal to God’s word, he concedes to his humanness. He confesses and turns back to God. Reminding us all that every good relationship needs to be intentional, seeking after the heart of God and the ones we love. We still may fall, but the grace of God picks us up. Love covers over a multitude of sins.

Let this be your prayer and protection with me for the days to come. Psalm 119:103,104 ‘How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! honey-dipper-924732_640 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.’

What can you do to become more loyal to God’s word today?

 

Sounds of Grace

I have probably told this story before but I used to sing Amazing Grace all the time when I was young. I had no idea what it meant. I had no reference from a church perspective as the only time I darkened the steps of a church was for weddings and funerals. I don’t even know how I knew it, other than organ lessons perhaps. And no,  I don’t still play. What was I – a grandma even then?

This famed hymn written by John Newton in the 1700’s still resonates with people today, especially if Jesus has opened their eyes to see the truth of God’s love for them. Newton was a slave trader who had a radical conversion to Jesus after praying for a ship he was in not to sink. He later became an abolitionist to set slaves free. Often that which enslaved us, God redeems and it becomes a part of our story to help set others free.

Recently, I was reminded of how much redemption and amazing grace God has brought to my life. I was blessed to travel with 3 great friends to St. Louis, Missouri for the Joyce Meyer women’s conference. Incredible time away on all levels, empowering teaching, ministry opportunities, friendship growth and building times, much, much laughter and enjoying the beauty God has created in that city, in buildings, in people and nature.

In the midst of this goodness one of our friends starting asking the questions of earlier times in our lives before we knew Jesus. It was really humbling and encouraging to watch as she wept for some of the pain we had walked through in our lives and how emptiness had led to bad choices and sin. In the same token it built my faith to see how much God truly is my Redeemer, that I know Him best as that. He has changed my life so radically that I hardly recognize nor believe that my life, thoughts and actions were the way they were back then, in my other life as I call it. It is through the process of my other life and coming to the end of myself though that shows the glory of God, that makes me who I am now, that gives me a hunger to share the One who brought the redemption and made me new.

Grace means to get something you don’t deserve, unmerited favour.

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The sound of grace is tangible! It is music in the ears of those who feel lost and hopeless and broken and unworthy. It comes in and saves a wretch like us. We do not have to feel lost forever.  It really is quite unbelievable in our own thoughts that God would come in the midst of our stuff and redeem it, heal it, deliver us. But it is His heart and I have experienced it first hand.

Invite Him in to your brokenness, call out to Him in your hopelessness, seek Him where you are lost and even in your insecurity and feelings of worthlessness cry out to Him to show you His Worthiness. Aren’t you tired? “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

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