50 Shades Of Grace


Today, like most other Sunday morning’s was time for church. This is a life-giving highlight of my week every week. After the past few days, I was not in the worlds best frame of mind this morning when I went to church at first. I was asked to serve this morning handing out our worship guides. That made me smile. I found that, especially this morning, connecting with people really changed my attitude – it put me in such a better frame of mind. I prayed that the joy of the Lord would be my strength, and that He would use my volunteering to His glory. As He always will do, God showed Himself faithful. It’s such an honor to share His love with those who walk through the church doors. As I have said before, though – I firmly believe the volunteer is impacted in a very special way. Serving Him and people helps the person serving, and the people they’re reaching out to. Ask me how I know.

I am also grateful for our praise and worship team, who were on fire. They consistently help promote an atmosphere where people can enter into the presence of God – with today being no exception. The energy present was such a sweet, healing presence. Such joy.

I thank God for a pastor who follows and shares the heart of God without compromise. Today he brought the life giving word in such a real way. In speaking with transparency and a level of vulnerability, He showed people that he is not only human, but forgiven. The message today was down to earth, and so very pertinent to anyone with ears to hear, and/or eyes that see. The moral to the story is that we, each and every one of us, are human. Every person alive struggles. For one person, it may be stealing things. You might think no one will notice that extra garment you cleverly hid with your own things. No one saw you, and no one was hurt. Wrong. You were hurt. You just sold a part of yourself for a little slice of thievery. Another person might struggle with telling lies. A liar finds all sorts of ways and things to lie about. The problem often is, when the lies begin, it is hard to remember which part is fact / true, and which part is a lie. You start having to cover up one lie with another lie, and it gets unmanageable. It just tears away at your integrity, piece by piece. Say your struggle is with pornography. Your thoughts initially are that just one glance won’t hurt. No, it may not – but it opens the door. What you see, the image in your brain is there. No getting rid of it. It’s the second glance, thoughts and/or actions that follow that real damage is able to come from.

The issue is, again pulling the message on integrity (from last week) back into this, every little thing chips away at your integrity. Who you are, and what defines you is based on what you do – outside and also behind closed doors. You may do things in private that no one sees, and no one knows. However, even the little things will tear away at you. When they do, you lose less and less of yourself. Who you are is not who you want to be, but you can’t find yourself.

I am not (and neither are you) expected to be perfect. We all struggle. We all fall short. The beauty of the situation is forgiveness. God forgives. No matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve strayed to, God is there. He knows what happens out in the open, and also behind closed doors. He loves you still the same. No matter the choices we make, He loves us. His love is true, real and life-changing.

No matter what struggles you face today, or what struggles you gave into yesterday, give them to Him. Ask Him to fill you with the desire to seek Him with a pure heart. Whatever distractions you need to put behind you, and to walk away from – ask Him to give you the strength. Ask Him to protect your heart – at times, even from yourself. This won’t be an easy fight, and it may be something you find yourself battling time and time again. This doesn’t have to break you down, but can help actually strengthen you. The more you are able to keep focused on Him, the more you will be able to conquer that and continue on in His will – living the life He has carefully selected just for you.


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