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When I woke this morning I turned to my phone and Bible app to get some thoughts for the day. My app has a daily scripture widget that I subscribe to. Today’s scripture was Psalms 116:1-2. As I read it and the rest of the chapter, I had a marginal relation to the passage. But it was in the past. Before when I cried to the Lord he heard me, but not now. Not that he doesn’t hear me now, but that I was crying to him. It wasn’t a “yes, this is God now” agreement with the scriptures. I read through, thought a bit, went back and read a couple a second time, searching for something to meditate on through the day and nothing really settled. I said a quick prayer for help this day and went on my way. 
This is how it has been lately. A struggle to read and pray, feeling a loss of connection, mostly out of duty even though a desire is there. An overwhelming sleepiness in the morning that hinders an early rise, a couple quick scriptures and prayer as one goes through the daily routine. 

But who can thrive or survive off of crumbs? You can’t physically or spiritually. In all honesty, I have always struggled with getting up early enough in the morning to set aside time for God. I have justified it in many ways over the years. While I have admired those that do and longed for it, the many times I have made a point to change, it only lasts for a short period of time. 

A while back I asked a friend to check on me. To ask how my morning devotions were going. To hold me accountable. I got the question today. I didn’t have a good report. I was honest, they have been awful of my own fault. I thought on it through the day. Why is it so difficult to get up? It’s not like the last broken 30 minutes of sleep are all that great. And while I don’t have a good reason, I can say that I’m ready. 
Ready to set time aside. Ready to deny myself for “just a couple more minutes” . Ready to go deeper. Ready for the victory.  You see, I spent some time tonight with God. I listened to a couple old messages. Words from the past on the man with the line, holding it out there for us to come through. On victory,  knowing the enemy, whose side you are on and why you are fighting. And on the surface these don’t have much to do with devotions, they clarified things in my mind. I went to prayer, I want God to draw out that line and I’m headed to meet it. I’m ready to go step by step deeper until I’m Swimming. I know whose side I am on. I know what he has done for me and I know who,  what and why I am fighting. God is so good. 

So when I read Psalms 116 tonight, it was deep. I could say “yes,  this is God now” I cried unto him and he heard me. He made a way, he listened, he showed mercy,  he forgave, he gave power. From searching for current relevance to a soul amen,  what a difference 16 hours makes. . . 

Psalms 116:1‭-‬19 – I love the Lord , because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.  Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.  Then called I upon the name of the Lord ; O Lord , I beseech thee, deliver my soul.  Gracious is the Lord , and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.  The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.  Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.  I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:  I said in my haste, All men are liars.  What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord .  I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  O Lord , truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.  I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord .  I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people,  In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord .

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I started this blog several years ago, writing and sharing my personal studies, thoughts, conversations with God. As the years went by I fell out of the habit, I didn’t take the time to stop and write. In looking back, I see that my personal study time suffered as well. Yes I continued to read and pray, to spend time with God, but all to often it was on the go, just a scripture here or there and not unmeasured time in communion with him. I recognize that I often used the excuse that I talked to God all day long. That I wasn’t missing out. But while talking to God throughout the day is fantastic and necessary, so is time set aside to study and meditate. I suffered, my walk with God wasn’t always as it should have been. It wasn’t the writing, that is a by product of the study. It was missing the time alone spent in communion with Him that put a strain on my relationship with him.

20160116_092509When I started the blog, my burden was to write anonymously. If someone I knew came across it, their opinion of me wouldn’t taint the words. I wanted God to be able to use the words to edify with out my name label. There is a certain freedom in writing anonymously. You can share personal things with out feeling stripped bare for the whole world to see. If you put your name to your words, you claim the hurt, the failure, the loss… Recently I have been impressed to write again, only to claim my words, to put myself out there, to tell my story. While it is humbling, how can I personally be a blessing if I don’t share who I am? And as I write these words, it comes to me that in claiming my words, that I am not only claiming the hurts and failures, but also the victories, the promises of God, the innumerable blessings that he has bestowed upon me. For to tell my Story, is to tell of Him.

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My name is Emily Susanne Crain. (There, I said it) I am the youngest of 5 children, born and raised at the Church of God in Carmichael. I always had a tender heart. I have been told I was easily intreated as a child. I don’t remember ever wanting to go experience the world of sin. But that doesn’t automatically buy me a ticket into heaven. I had to have an encounter with God for myself. I remember always wanting to have the last word in an argument, getting frustrated and angry when I wasn’t heard, that contentious sprit rise up when I didn’t get my way. I don’t remember outwardly showing this, but keeping it inside. And that can eat at a person.

When I was eight years old, there was a little skit during the Tuesday night Bible Story calvin-susieTime. It depicted 2 brothers that were saving money to buy a radio. Once this task had been accomplished and they brought it home, they argued greatly of where it should go. While such a simple lesson, it spoke to me. I sounded like that. Always wanting my way, always having to have the last word, to be right and that was UGLY. I knew God couldn’t be pleased with that. That night in October, I repented and gave my life to God. I was young, I didn’t know how to serve God and didn’t fully understand what I had just done. Through the years I have failed him, I haven’t always made the right decisions, sometimes even multiple times. But after each stumble, each trip and fall, I always got right back up, repented to make things right with God and continued on.

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Even in my sometimes foolishness, my desire has never been to leave God. I want to make it to heaven. And while God would never want me to fail, He has worked those failures for my good. For in those time I have personally recognized the greatness of God’s mercy and faithfulness. He is so good to those that have a deep desire to serve him. As the minister stated during the revival a week ago, if there is one solitary ounce of fiber in our being that cries out to God, he will not fail us or depart. 3938259119_ba1b6492af_z

He won’t quench that smoking flax, but he will fan the flame. He won’t break the bruised reed, he will splint and nourish it. God is not willing than any would perish, that any includes me, and I am SO thankful for that.

The song, “My Story” sung by Big Daddy Weave has been on my mind lately, he sings my story, my life, for it is Jesus that makes my Story what it is.

IMG_6357My Story

If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
And if I told you my story
You would hear freedom that was won for me
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life overcome the grave

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long

For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell
For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long

alone with God

It has been my desire and prayer for a while to draw closer to God. You ask, “Isn’t that every Christian’s desire?” It should be. But do we really act on that desire? Or do we just say it?

Yesterday one of the Bro’s at church testified to the same desire. He spoke how God told him, (and I paraphrase) “If that is what you want, do your part. Take more time to be with me. If you can spend hours online, you have time to spend with me. You want to draw closer, you read more, you pray more. I am here, you make the time to know me better.”

I too have heard God tell me this…take more time to spend with me. He said it again yesterday through testimony. I made a determination to put this into practice. Not to just say I want to draw closer, I need to read the Bible more, I need to pray more…but to do it. If I have to, I will make an appointment to spend the time with God. What I have done in the past is no longer enough for me. I desire a deeper relationship with God. To truly be one with Him and Him in me.

prayWhen I have prayed about the different things that I struggle with, the thought has come, if more time was spent in the Word and in Prayer, these “things” wouldn’t be such a trial. You would have more strength and a greater back bone to handle the temptations and situations presented by the enemy of souls. A benefit of drawing closer to God, is gaining the complete victory that has previously alluded me because of decisions I have made to please the flesh.

As I am structure or schedule oriented, I have made a plan. It will at least help get this started. While it may seem funny and one may think that it isn’t right to be so “organized” about it, but let the spirit move. Yes we need to be guided by the Holy Spirit, but God gave us a mind and free will. If this is how I am going to get my flesh under control and set time aside for God, then so be it. This is what I will do.

I am going to stBible-and-handsart a study in Romans. Read a little each day, pull out a nugget and meditate on it. I will also use one of the Streams in the Desert books as a supplemental reading. I want to specifically take time to pray for those at work and the day ahead before I walk in the door. This in addition to a morning prayer. I want to specifically pray and give thanks for my food. Yes I am faithful to be thankful. But sometimes I find myself just saying “Thanks for the food”. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. And I am not saying that there has to be a 10 min prayer at every meal, but I want to take more time and talk to God, not just at him. Not just out of form or repetition or habit, but to make a connection with him.

Since writing helps me process what I read and think, I shall share my journey. Starting with Romans 1.

Romans was written to Saints. To us. To those that are saved and living with out sin. Not to sinners. (Although there is good for them too)  Romans 1:7 reads “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…” The beautiful thing about the Bible is that it is current and applicable for us as saints just as it was to the Romans that Paul wrote to.

Paul starts his letter to the Romans with his commendations (vs 1-5), he testimony of where he came from. He follows this with a greeting and a desire to visit the saints (vs7-13). In this he mentions that he is looking forward to working with the saints to bring in a harvest. Ready to preach the gospel and not being ashamed of God’s work.

 

Paul is an exampannouncerle to us. Always ready to enter the work of God where needed. Always ready to speak of God. Not shrinking from duty or other opinions that might oppose God’s truth. Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Paul recognizes the power that is in the gospel and how it can change a soul and give life. This is what he wants to bring to those in and around Rome.

We too need to take this example, to not be ashamed, but to recognize the great power in God and the gospel, the good news about Christ and spread that to those around us. Whom have we spoken to about Christ recently? Have you shared what God has done form you? Have you said a word about Christ? Are you ashamed or are you willing to be lead by the spirit and speak of the gospel?

 

Judges 8:4  And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. These men had just won a mighty victory, letting their lights shine and shouting the victory over the enemy, but the battle was not over; the enemy was still there. So they continued to press on, faint yet pursuing…..

2Corinthians 4:7-10  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

It doesn’t matter if we are faint, if we feel weak, if it looks hopeless, if the battle is long, if people don’t help us or understand. God says keep pursuing, don’t give up; continue to call on me; endure to the end; draw night to me; cast  your care on me; seek me early; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks

Isaiah 40:28-31  Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Thank you, Lord, for propping me up on every leaning side.

Trust God for your day, ….Today

Faint not
II Corinthians 4:16

                 One day a naturalist, out in his garden, observed a most unusually large and beautiful butterfly, fluttering as though in great distress; it seemed to be caught as though it could not release itself. The naturalist, thinking to  release the precious thing, took hold of the wings and set it free. It flew but a few feet and fell to the ground dead

                He picked up the poor thing, took it into his laboratory and put it under a magnifying glass to discover the cause of its death. there he found the life blood flowing from the tiny arteries of its wings. Nature has fastened it to its chrysalis and was allowing it to flutter and flutter so that its wings might grow strong. It was the muscle-developing process that nature was giving the dear thing so that it might have an unusual range among the flowers and gardens. If it had only fluttered long enough the butterfly would have come forth ready for the wide range; but release ended the beautiful dream.

                So with God’s children: how the Father wishes for them wide ranges in experience and truth. He permits us to be fastened to some form of struggle. We would dear ourselves free.  We cry out in our distress and sometimes think Him cruel that He does not release us. He permits us to flutter and flutter on. Struggle seems to be His program sometimes.

                Prayer alone will hold us steady while in the struggles; so we keep sweet and learn, oh, such wonderful lessons.

 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 Trust God for your day …Today

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