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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

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When I read a very familiar scripture this morning I decided to start with the scripture before and was blessed.

Isaiah 41:9-10

Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for i am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

And the promises that God had for Israel continue.

But the though that God has chosen ME to be his servant struck me. When God chooses us, he doesn’t cast us away, he holds tightly to us; is jealous over us; and wants us to Fear Not. We can have confidence in that.

In this trying time that we live in there are many things that can take our peace. Our job, the economy, relationships, and uncertainty with what the future holds to name a few. Some times I find it a struggle to hold on to the precious peace that God has gave me when I placed my trust in him.

I was talking with a friend last night about stress and how many times people focus on the everyday things in life, creating unnecessary stressful situations. They talk about the monthly bills as if they are new and unmanageable. Christians can get caught up in this habit also. In conversation with one another, the bills are due or the car needs washing or the lawn needs mowed and what a big deal each one is.

We don’t need to allow daily responsibilities to take our peace. God is our strength and we can go to him for help for every day things. We can rest in him to take care of our every need.

When I got home I read Philippians 4:6-7, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I was so encouraged to find this simple recipe to keep the peace of God that passeth all understanding. It is to not worry and to bring our petitions before God with thankful prayer. He knows our needs and has promised many times over to supply each one. The bills will be paid, relationships will work out, the strength and time will come to get the yard work done. I have a secret to tell you, My God in all his riches has promised to supply each need (Philippians 4:19). In this we can rest and remain at peace.

He said “You must have clean hands in order to hold up the rod on the top of the mount.” He was referencing Moses as he went to the top of the mountain in order to see and direct the battle that Joshua and the Children of Israel fought against Amalek. Exodus 17:9-10

My heart drops, “Clean Hands”? Are my hands clean? My mind goes back, how has my motive been? What have I been doing? How have I spoken? Am I worthy to hold up the Rod, the power of God as I view the battle God has set before me?

I skid to a stop. It’s there, a spot. God I’m sorry. Show me how I can clean my hands. I need to be able to get to the top of the mountain, I need to be in my place. Forgive me please, for over-riding the check, for going a head with what I thought might be ok, for thinking I could handle it, for not crucifying my flesh. My strength doesn’t matter, my obedience does.

As I plead forgiveness, make a determination to take a stand and have the victory, I see God, in his mercy, wash away the spot with the blood of Jesus. That is all that can keep us clean.

God help me to live a life that is transparent. One that I wouldn’t be ashamed to share any aspect, one that I could shout from the roof tops. I don’t want to have any spot of reproach on my hands. I want to be clean.

I claim the power of God, with the rod in my hands I climb to the top and the view is clear. God is victorious, the Church is going forward, and I am among them.

You know those times when you are battling a feeling or oppressiveness and you don’t really know where it is coming from or what to call it? Well I have been in one of those times in varying levels of intensity for the past couple years. A couple weeks ago I got a lot of help on this, we had a message about the Courage of Faith. How it takes courage to continue on in faith. Ruth was used as the example, leaving her home and going to a new place where she didn’t know what was to happen, but with courage in the faith of Naomi and in Naomi’s God she went. Ruth was facing pain, loss, uncertainty and being disconnected, yet she went by faith with Naomi.

When those 4 things were mentioned, it was like the Pastor was talking about me, in the past 2 years I have been overwhelmed at times with pain, loss, uncertainty and being disconnected, and yet I held on. It was so good to hear that my holding on (for dear life) was courage and not just plodding along. At times I had felt like I was just plodding along, making it, with no thought of turning around, but going through a battle. But to hear that it was my courage in Faith in God that was initiating each step, I could almost feel my spirit with in straighten, stand a little taller and lift it’s head. No the battle hasn’t changed, but being able to call my daily step, a step of courage and not of desperation to hold on to the only thing I have left, has been good.

This last Thursday there was a follow up on Courage in Faith, with Courage to be Alone. This is another feeling that I have had during this time. Feeling alone in the battle, that no one else truly understands, that I don’t have anyone that I can really talk to about it all. But through the message, there was the reminder that it is an awesome thing to be alone with God, that in those times we have to face somethings that we may not want to face, but if we are with God, he gives us the courage to be alone with him. And all along and looking back, I knew that I wasn’t alone, that I had God with me, but those are the feelings that the enemy wants to bring upon us to keep us discouraged. It is a good thing to be alone with God, to hear from and commune with him. And he will bring just what we need.

As I write this now, I think about the blessings that God has given me and how he has provided. I think again of Ruth, she had the courage to go in faith, and look how God used her. She is in the lineage of David and of Christ. Because of her faith all of her needs were met and she was used by God in a mighty way. If we keep Ruth as the example, we will know that if we keep our courage in faith, live with hope when life is hopeless, that God will provide each need (he promised to) and he will be able to use us.

I was reading this morning in Romans 8, a popular passage about what/who can separate us from Christ. It added another layer of encouragement along these same lines.

What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God in on our side?] He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?] Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?

Who shall separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God with is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 Amplified Bible

I am so thankful to have the assurance that no matter what the Devil will put in my way, who may talk against me, how my life turns out or the needs I may have, I can have victory through Christ. I love how the scripture says “YET amid all these things (In the varying tests and trials of life) we are MORE than conquerors (we have/can overcome each of them) and gain a SURPASSING victory (our victory is above and beyond the trial) through HIM who loved us (all because Christ is our strength.)

In the courage we have in faith and being along, we can take comfort that nothing will sever our relationship with God, we can have the victory in everything, and Christ will never leave us.

Take courage, in faith and in being alone.

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