The other week I saw a GIF that was passed around on social media. Gifs are those moving pics that can express emotion in a matter of seconds (at least that's the way I see them). This gif in particular was of a chunky green caterpillar that was cramming large amounts of food in its mouth and repeating over and over again, “Someday I am going to be a beautiful butterfly!” Yes, I laughed out loud at that one. How funny, sad, and true all at the same time. How will we ever get to the desired weight if we keep eating cake and ice cream late at night, over and over again?
Although, this gif was talking about our eating habits I liking it to all other areas of our life that need change. It is so easy to talk about weight because it is visible and what we can see. As we are drawing near to God, He will lovingly bring us to places where changes need to be made. Saying that those changes are hard sometimes is an understatement because that means:
You may have heard this before, but I will say it again. Change does not always feel good, but it is necessary.
Face your truth so that you can experience God’s grace for change. It’s all part of the process. Do you want to move on? Yes? A change must come! Blessing and grace to each of you!
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
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By Yvetta Varatharaj
Someone near and dear to me is in the throes of planning the most important day of her life – her wedding. As I’ve been helping in little ways, memories of when I was in that season of my life have flooded back from the not-so-distant past a few years back. While our day was beautiful and special, and God’s presence was with us, there are some aspects of the planning and of the day itself that I wish I could change, and it still hurts me to think of those things. Why does my heart still get a little angry or sad when I think about those details that I can’t change? Some of those hurts may even be the cause of strained relationships I’ve had with those surrounding the memories, causing me to act less than Christ-like.
As followers of Christ, we are not left powerless to change those situations. While the moments may have passed and it is too late to redo them, it is never too late to allow Jesus to heal, restore, and redeem those broken places. Those sore spots have been left open too long, and they need to be deep-cleaned of the debris that’s been packed in on top for us to fully heal.
Thankfully, our Jesus paid a heavy price so that we could be healed and set free. So I am asking Him to come and clean me out and help me to let go of how I feel about those situations I can’t change. I am ready to forgive and move on, and Jesus is holding out his hands to me saying “don’t look back, I have something better for you.”
Every day we can let the Lord clean us out of the new layers of grime that have deposited on our hearts; we don’t have to wait until they become huge, open wounds. We can pray like David did:
“Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps 139:23-24 (NIV)
We can forgive and be forgiven like Jesus told us to in The Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:11-12 (ESV):
“Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
And then we can wait, and forgive, and receive, and heal in the presence of our loving God.
Our spiritual identity lays dormant until we accept Christ as our personal savior and surrender our flesh to the will of God. It is at that time our spiritual man is awakened and we begin our journey as Disciples of Christ. In my mind getting a new identity in Christ meant I couldn’t be me. It’s taken me years of healing and growth in the one who loves me unconditionally. He knows me and wants to use me to show Him on the earth. The Father wants us free from all the lies we believed to be our truth - self-protections and hurts we learned to hide behind. All of that hinders me from being the best Gizelle/LIZ I can be for my Father. Jeremiah 29:11 – “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.”
The word of God tells us what our new identity is once we become a child of God. However, we believe and conduct ourselves according to our experiences and believe what we have been told. Our belief system shapes us from a young child to the adults we become. We spend money and endless hours to better ourselves through self-improvement conferences and workshops - only to be unfilled, unsatisfied, and left wondering what to do next? When all we need to do is allow our spirit man in us to live through us. We need to trust God’s perfect will to be done in our lives. I know that involves asking the Father daily what that means for me. Believe me, I came kicking and screaming, dying to my flesh and the things that have protected me since I was a child and into my adulthood. I’m new, the new me is being healed of my old belief system and learning how to trust God’s plan for me and my life!
In the book Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson, his chapter entitled “Something Old, Something New” tells us, “The change that takes place in us when we come to Christ involves two dimensions.
First, we have a new master. As mortals we have no choice but to live under a spiritual power--either our heavenly Father or the god of this world. At salvation, the believer in Christ experiences a change in the power that dominates life.
Second, there is an actual change in the nature of believers so that the propensities of their lives or the deepest desires of their hearts are now oriented toward God rather than toward self and sin.”
This brought freedom and change to my belief system that kept binding me to the lies of the enemy - depending on self and keeping my flesh free of change for my better. What are some of your “Something Olds” that keep you from your new?
Why is God's grace essential in my life?
By Sean L. Adams
From the book When Grace Flows
Grace is necessary because it is both the foundation and path by which we relate to God.
Some believe the end game is the ultimate why of grace (Heaven and Hell). I would not argue against that. I would add another why: Grace is God's expression of love. His love to us humans is a fanatical, consuming, awe-inspiring, higher than our human minds can comprehend, majestic love.
Grace is how God chose to express his love for his creation, and its eternal state of being in a relationship with Him. It is essential not only because of the infinite end but because of the beginning, the middle, today, yesterday, tomorrow, significant events and boring Saturdays.
God's grace is the path we walk with Him. Those who walk with God never leave its avenues and trails. Grace is not something believers abandon for the next step—the next step is more grace.
Only By His Grace
President of WRIGG
His Vision, My Strength
By Yvetta Varatharaj / WRIGG Writer
As women we often take a lot upon ourselves. Whether we work outside the home or not, many of us are spread thin with responsibilities at home and with our families, ministries, and other commitments. If you have spent much time in Proverbs 31, you might feel like that should be the norm for women. After all, the “virtuous and capable woman” has a busy and fulfilling life!
I’d venture to say that your life is busy too. But do you feel like it’s out of control sometimes? Like you are stumbling over the responsibilities you know are important and necessary, ones that God has called you to? If you feel like it’s all uphill, as I often do, maybe Proverbs 29:18 can offer some wisdom for us.
“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” (Proverbs 29:18, The Message)
Another translation puts it this way: “Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].” (Proverbs 29:18, Amplified)
Having prophetic vision and revelation from God’s word, and applying it to our life, is what sustains us and allows us to walk out the crazy, full, adventurous life he has put before us. It doesn’t always have to feel like a trek up a steep mountain. When we nourish our spirit with God’s word and allow Jesus, The Living Word, to speak to us personally, it’s like we are hopping on the escalator to be carried uphill in His strength and not our own. His divine and personal revelation in our lives gives us the drive and the energy under our feet to fulfill not only our callings but our day to day tasks. If it feels like it’s just too hard, develop a habit of going back to The Source and asking Him to reveal Himself and His will to you. Say “yes!” to the taskmaster whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light. He promises that when we do, we’ll be happy and blessed.
In spite of wanting to please the Father with all I do, I tend to take my eyes off the Father and depend on me, myself and I. When I am distracted by my own desires and dreams, I focus on what I think my success should look like. After I am hit with disappointment, I can always pin point when I took my eyes off the Father and I started to look towards man. I forget that even though man is in a position to advance me towards my dreams, it still has to be in the Father’s will and purposed for his kingdom. The word tells us to delight in the Father, Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
It’s been my experience that there are times I think I can accomplish my goal on my own. It’s never my (our) intention not to focus on the Lord, but yet it is easy to do. I believe we all get impatient with waiting for things to happen. I believe it is the open- door entry of taking our eyes off the Father and the beginning of, “I can do it.” Then we turn our focus towards me, myself, and man. And that is the road that leads us to assured disappointment. We never expect the route taken at the time to lead us to disappointment but that is where we end up. How do I stop this? Believing every situation was different and not making sure the idea or opportunity was from God is always my first mistake. Believing God needed my help to manifest his idea or his opportunity is my second mistake, but we all know that God makes no mistakes. How did I end up here again? Is the question I always end up asking myself? Even though I know his word tells me in Proverbs 3: 5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
I have to believe that I have glorified him and his kingdom in my disappointments, as long I found my way back to him through repenting, asking for his forgiveness, and extending forgiveness in my heart. When we are not focused on the Father, for even a second, we will face disappointment in our homes, on our jobs, and in our family. I must learn to stay out my Father’s way and to walk and trust in His path for me. Allow Him to do what He promised me, His daughter. Is this my thorn? Paul tell us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 but he said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ‘s power may rest on me. “Thank you, Father for bringing me back to you again and again.”
Some people have a knack for entertaining. You walk into their home and they make you feel like you belong there. When you leave, you are nourished, refreshed, encouraged, and grateful.
I’ll be honest – entertaining doesn’t come naturally to me. At least it didn’t used to. I always had reasons why I shouldn’t have people over (the house was too small/dirty/cluttered/whatever) and the rare instances when we did have friends over, I was an anxious grump anticipating their arrival, trying to accomplish a month’s worth of housework in a day. For a season we were teaching weekly swing dance lessons in our small condo, and we would spend the hours beforehand hiding all the clutter from the living room in our bedroom and the guest room. Then we’d pray that no one would accidentally open one of those doors!
Physical environment aside, I just never really felt like I knew how to make others feel welcome in our home. The stress and worry of what they would think kept me from truly enjoying our friends.
Now, I know that when I go to someone else’s house, I don’t judge the experience in the harsh, critical manner in which I would judge my own hospitality. I am not worried about the piles of clutter on their dining table when I drop in on short notice. I am not expecting to have homemade goodies fresh out of the oven. What I remember most is the experience. When I step into someone’s home, I feel welcomed, loved, and cared for.
So why the double standard? I’d say it’s probably because I’m a Martha at heart. No, I didn’t mean Martha Stewart (although I wouldn’t mind that!). I am talking Martha from the bible. See Luke 10:38-42.
There are a few things characteristic of the “Martha type”.
Martha struggled to balance the people side of hospitality with the practical side, and as a result, she missed out on precious time with those she loved. I can’t help but wonder if that feeling of being overwhelmed kept her from even inviting people in sometimes. I have succumbed to that feeling many times and not opened up my home when the opportunity came up.
We are in the midst of a move to a new city, and am choosing to take advantage of the fresh start. With God’s help, I hope to have company over regularly. I would like to maintain a pleasant environment in my home so that it doesn’t have to be such a big stress when someone drops by. Then my heart will be ready to serve their needs without being overly concerned about the tasks and preparations.
I am telling the Martha in me to slow down, invite people in, and love on them like Mary loved on Jesus. They may not remember what kind of coffee and snacks I served, but I they will remember how loved and appreciated they felt in my home.
We are born with an identity that awaits us; it’s beyond our family traditions of who we should be and who we’re molded into as a child. We are raised and developed by our environments. We’re taught at a young age to start thinking of what to be when we grow up. Without much thought as little girls we are given dolls only to feed into a natural instinct, “I want to be a mother when I grow up”. And many of us have become great mothers and some still have the desire to mothers.
Maybe you were raised in an environment that taught careers came first before a family, and after all your accomplishments your desire is still to be a mother and a wife. That’s great, I know the Father created us with those desires so we could be fruitful and multiply.
Genesis 1:28 NIV
God said to them, be fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it.
So after we reach our desired man made identity, we are left with feelings of, “I’m still not satisfied, something is still missing, I just can’t explain what I’m feeling.”
We’re only completely satisfied in our lives after we find Christ. We have to unlock our kingdom identity by accepting Christ as our Personal Savior. The identity the Father predestined for us in our mother’s wound.
Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nation.”
Our true identity is in Christ, but we are not molded in the identity of Christ as a child in the way they were in the bible days. Children were taught to walk in the ways of the bible so that they could reign as Kings to lead the people, or to have David’s faith to fight Goliath not because he believed in himself, but in God and his faithfulness. Thank God, we serve a God that allows us our own desires while he desires us to walk out our identity to advance his kingdom.
Ephesians 4:11 NIV; so Christ himself gave the apostle, the prophets, the evangelist, the pastors and teachers. 12) to equip his people for the works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
Our spirit man longs for a relationship with Christ and once it’s awakened by our confession of Christ, by his grace and mercy we are drawn back to his original plan of our kingdom calling. If your Spirit man is awakened and you’re still wondering why I am not satisfied, what is missing in my life or I just can’t explain it. Ask yourself, "Am I fully walking in my true identity of advancing the kingdom of Christ?"
Greetings Women Resting in God’s Grace!
Today I would like to remind you that there is no need to fret. You can relax and take it easy. Over the last month and a half as you know I have been working on my new book When Grace Flows. When the Lord prompted me to write this book He gave me specific instructions on what to do. I wrote down those instructions and went forth. I was excited to begin and then it happened… one day I sat at the computer and I could come up with nothing to write. Another day I sat at the computer and it was going so slow I was about to throw it in the street. This happened a few times during the time of this book writing process. One day I was so frustrated and I said, “You know Lord, you told me to write this book and although I know what I want to say, I can’t seem to put the words together on paper and this dumb computer keeps acting up. How Lord, how do you want me to do this!?” I was quickly reminded of few things. When the task or process gets frustrating and people and things are not cooperating be encouraged in these three things.
Relax and Walk Away: When the flow and creativity is not there and people and things are not cooperating, you don’t have to sit there and beat a dead horse. Don’t spin around wasting your time thinking that the flow is going to come in a minute or you will just wait until the cooperation comes so you can begin again. Doing this, will waste valuable time you could be spending doing something else. Ask the Lord what He wants you to do instead and know He will have an answer for you. Maybe you need to clean your house, start on dinner, talk to your husband, connect with a family member or friend, work on that very fun experiment your child has been asking you about, work on another assignment the Lord told you to do, or spend time with the Father.
The Lord Has Not Forgotten: Rest in knowing that if God told you to do it then He has not forgotten when it is supposed to be done. You will be amazed how things turn out when you stop stressing over everything and go with the flow and when the flow is not there then it is okay, go and rest. The Father will give you the grace on the days that you need it to complete the task and everything will work out in the time He has planned.
Look Back for A Moment: Go back and look at what the Lord told you. When you do this you may find that maybe you got too excited and interpreted what He said the wrong the way. You may find out that you have more time than you thought. The Lord is not slack concerning His promises to you!
He is faithful!
Day 21 – 21 Days of Rest
The Lord has given each of us a measure of grace to be who He has called us to be and to do what He has called us to do. The measure you have been dealt is not better or less than anyone else. God gives you exactly what you need. Don’t turn to the left or right looking at others trying to go at their pace and trying to mimic what they do because you think it looks better. Being out of your lane will cause you to miss open doors and become ineffective. If you get out of your lane running someone else’s race there will be NO anointing for you there. Stay in your lane! #WhenGraceFlows
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.-Ephesians 4:7