Good Enough for God?

Standard

Are we good enough for God?

No.
We are not.

No one is good, but God. ~Jesus

A man is not justified by the works of the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ, alone.

We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping
but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ.
How do we know?
We tried it–and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen!
Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement,
we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God 
by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.  ~Galatians 2:16 (MSG)

No one will ever get it right.

No one will ever be “good enough” for God.

It’s impossible to please God without faith, and trying to “be good” is not faith.
It is trusting in self.

Believe me, please.  For, you see, I tried it.
For years and years and years which turned into decades upon decades.

I was even given the name “Goody-goody” throughout my school years. Yes, I thought I could keep myself saved through good works. It doesn’t matter if you believe your good works will save you before, or after, you come to know Christ. Either way, you’re still only trusting in self.

It wasn’t until my late forties that I realized I can do nothing to save me.
I either have faith in Christ, alone, or it’s all a sham.

And guess what?

On the other side of self-abuse, wretched sinfulness, and family-shattering betrayal…

Finally, I understood the GRACE of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

He looked upon my sinfulness
And bestowed upon me His forgiveness.

I saw my sin,
And I knew He saw it.

Yet, I felt His grace.

His love.
His mercy.
His redemption.

I found it is only through Christ, my Lord, that I am able to stand before God, the Father.
Jesus took the punishment I well-deserved.  He endured the suffering for my sins — all of them — before I was even born. Yes, and even before the foundation of the earth, the Lamb of God was crucified for us all.

As a child I learned Jesus loved me.  But I was also taught I must keep myself “good” for Him. And if I didn’t, He would not accept me.  My standing before Him was based upon my good works, not His sacrifice, alone.

So…
Why all of the clarification now???

Because, I spent so many years teaching it wrong. And so many people heard me. Eventually, I did learn the right teaching, but without the experiential knowledge, it wasn’t completely understood within my soul. I kept being “good” for I knew it was wisdom to live well.

But, God…
He turned up the fire of trials in my life.
He tested my knowledge and let me go down a path that would solidify my faith.

It wasn’t pretty.
Seeing our own sinfulness is never pretty.
But, necessary.

And now I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW

I am the LORD’s and He is mine.
And nothing can separate me from His love.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dear LORD.

Please, hear me, it is still wise to live well, BUT, never ever believe your good works will save you, or keep you saved…

In Christ, alone, is our salvation.

For by GRACE you are saved
through FAITH,
and this is not from yourselves,
It is the gift of God.
~Ephesians 2:8

Advertisements

Daddy

Standard

10456827_10202164830823879_7319643010141367854_n

February 13, 1933 — December 14, 2014

My dad was an amazing man.

He was a charmer, a singer, an artist, a soldier, a director, a provider, a comic, a gardener … and my teacher.

For most of my life, Dad was my inspiration. From grade school he encouraged me to hone my artistic abilities. He was a professional artist.

Dad saw beauty everywhere and much of the time it brought tears to his eyes. He had an uncanny, God-given ability to paint landscapes. He was also one of the few truly talented calligraphists in the country.

He was a man of faith.

I wrote this poem for his birthday in 2006 …

 

I remember watching Dad
When I was only nine,
Creating pictures for the news
And adverts for the Times.

He inspired me to watch and learn,
To see beauty everywhere.
He gave me guidance as I tried
To express myself with care.

As we traveled on vacations
He pointed out the sights;
Showing much appreciation
For the expression of God’s might.

The waterfalls, the sparkling streams,
The chipmunk on the wall,
Were shown to me through his eyes
As we walked to view them all.

The mighty oak reaching to the sky
With gnarled limbs and shade;
Dappled sunlight shining through,
Creating wonder with all God made.

I thank you, Dad, for inspiring me
To see beauty in the world;
I feel a fullness, a breadth of wonder
You helped me to unfurl.

 

It’s not good-bye, Daddy, just farewell.

I know you are living the best life yet…see you soon.

My Tattered Veil

Standard

It always hung in our bedroom.

From our first apartment to our last home I used my exquisite wedding veil as a focal point in our sacred, holy place.  A hand-made gift of tatting lace with our names and the date of our wedding, alongside our wedding picture, completed the memorial.  Throughout our years it was a special place in our home.  Many days through many years I lingered by the picture, fingering the embroidery on the veil.  Remembering…

Seeing how young we were and so completely inexperienced in life, the photographer captured our joy laced with hope.  My best friend played Debussy and my sister sang, “Savior, Like a Shepherd, Lead Us.”  My grandfather led us in our vows to one another.

We. meant. every. word.

After the divorce I had no idea what to do with the veil or my dress.  I strongly doubted my daughter would ever want to use them; nevertheless, I couldn’t give them away.  I still loved Phat.  Even after all that was said and done, I knew I would always love him.

Feelings come and go.  Love is a choice.

Noticing how dusty the veil had become, I gently washed it by hand.  As I did the lace began to fall apart, disintegrating as I pulled it out of the sudsy water.   Once I realized what was happening I quickly laid it on a towel and began blotting it dry.  I wondered if the tears would ever stop flowing…

When I found my little house and decided to buy it, I had another bedroom to decorate.

I remembered my tattered veil, folded away, as I began calling myself the names I knew I deserved.

That’s when it all came together.
That’s when God spoke to my heart.
He stopped me … (thank You, Lord, for stopping me).

Gently, He told me that I am His bride.
Lovingly, He reminded me that I am redeemed.
Tenderly, He guided me to His word.

I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine!

For the LORD has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit…

O troubled one, storm-crushed, uncomforted!
See, your stones will be framed in fair colours,
and your bases (foundations) will be sapphires.

Above the surface over their heads was what looked like a throne
made of blue sapphire.
And high above this throne was a figure
whose appearance was like that of a man.

The One sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones
––jasper and carnelian.
And the glow of an emerald circled His throne like a rainbow.

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can take new courage,
for we can hold on to His promise with confidence.
This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God’s inner sanctuary.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
a hope both sure and steadfast
and one which enters within the veil.

 

My tattered veil became a garment of salvation…literally.  Through His restoration and assurance of eternal love, I understood I needed to create a symbol of my Heavenly Bridegroom and of His covering for me.  I adorned the veil with crystals of emerald and sapphire.  I created a bow of colors just like the one I imagined encircling His throne.  And now, every night before I go to sleep, I look up at my wedding veil.  My once tattered veil.  And, I envision the beauty of the One who has loved me without condition.

I remember His holiness ~

and

His banner over me is love.

.
.
~scriptures taken from Isaiah, Revelation, and Hebrews

Who is Your Father?

Standard

Consider Jesus

A Blogged Bible Study entry on John 8:

Stepping into the blogosphere took me away from my isolated existence.  Somehow, somewhere the thought came for me to blog.  I asked my family what it meant and they got me started.  I jumped in looking for places of interest to me, which led me down the path of religious blogs.  I searched the dashboard for any good discussion.  In time I found debate, heresy, lies, truth…so many ideas and so many philosophies and so many declarations.  At first it was disheartening seeing the word of God not often declared. 

That was my goal for blogging.  I wanted to give scripture to anyone wanting to hear.  I don’t desire to tear anyone down.  I do want to lift up my Savior.

You see, I believe He is the Son of God.

“I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent…

View original post 629 more words

Thoughts

Standard

Reading from an old blog buddy today, Ivy Rain.  She makes so much sense to me…

“Have you ever stopped to think where you might be
if God had given you everything you wanted?”

Waiting for the rain...

The most meaningful words right now:

Your blood speaks a better word, than all the empty claims I’ve heard upon this earth, speaks righteousness for me, and stands in my defense… Jesus, it’s your blood…

Everyone is trying to define God, to put Him in a box, with a lid on, with instructions to say: do this and you will get this, pray like this and you will get this, fast like this and He will reward you, read your Bible like this and you will please Him and He will give you what you want. It is exhausting. It is meaningless, empty, useless, stale -air.

God Almighty is outside of all our borders, outside of all our boxes, He is uncontainable, He is undefinable, He does not fit into any human box, we cannot fathom Him with our little minds… and yet we never cease trying. Oh, how we…

View original post 447 more words

What Christ Has Done

Standard

I was raised to be good and right.
I followed the rules.
I was sure Jesus saved me, but also believed my works kept me saved.

“We come from good stock.”
(No one is good but God.)
“But, we go to the right church.  Those other churches don’t understand what it takes to truly be a Christian.”
(God saved you by His special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.)
“I can’t dance.  It’s against my religion.”
(Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.)

I once thought all these things were so very important,
but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

Yes, everything else is worthless
when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

I have discarded everything else,
counting it all as garbage,
so that I may have Christ and become one with Him.

I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law,
but I trust Christ to save me.

For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.

As a result, I can really know Christ
and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead.
I can learn what it means to suffer with Him, sharing in His death,
so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things
or that I have already reached perfection!
But I keep working toward that day when…

I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be,
but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing:

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize
for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

~from Philippians 3