#FlawsStitchedWithGrace By: Julie Wicker
When I was asked to give the sermon message in church recently, my initial reaction was no. I am not a public speaker. I had doubts and questions like, what if I cry and no one can understand me? What if I don’t have enough to say and church is out before 12:00? My devotion following these questions included the scripture from Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. Guess what, the Holy Spirit got me through it without crying and we got out of church right on Methodist time. Go God.
I want us to take a closer look at my questions and discuss my inadequacies. Our calling is wrapped up in our obedience to God. In Ex 9:16 “I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that you will proclaim it.” We need to trust in God to raise us up. However, the devil likes to tell me otherwise. My past is full of wrong choices, disappointment, deception, addiction, heartache, and rejection. As Lysa Terkheurst tells us in her book uninvited, “A line in our past can turn into a lie, which then turns into a label we place on ourselves and at that point becomes a liability.” She goes on to say, “rejection steels the best of who we are by reinforcing the worst that has been said to us.”
As it’s said in John 10:10 “The thief (devil) comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they have life, and have it to the full”. Steven Furtick tells us in his “Graduation in Gratitude” sermon series that we need to “Set the Table”. We need to learn to have a heart of praise in the presence of our enemies. He is referring to Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil: my cup overflows”. He goes on to say God makes the things that were to take us out, serve us for what God is calling us to do. In other words, God is going to use my past of wrong choices, disappointment, deception, addiction, heartache, and rejection to catapult me into a life full of grace.
Some of us are so wrapped up in our rejection and guilts. Pastor Ken Phelps preached a sermon on Dr. Jekyll meets Jesus. He said there are flaws in the fabric of humanity, Jesus is here to sew up those flaws for every one of us. We need to open ourselves to God’s grace and His glory. We need to let His forgiveness take place. In Eph 5:2 “And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”. Just as the disciples were average men handpicked by Jesus himself, Lysa Terkheurst says “we may be overlooked by others, but we are handpicked by God”.
One of my favorite stories in the bible is of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth had stayed by her Mother-in-Law Naomi’s side even after the death of their husbands, Ruth 1:16 “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”. Do you feel like as a daughter, mother, wife, sister, that you make sacrifices for the ones you love? I would say most of my sacrifices are made from unconditional love, no strings attached just as Jesus loved. However sometimes my sinful nature kicks in and my sacrifices come with regret and what if’s? Resentment can leave a wedge in our hearts for Satan. I’m sure we all want a heart like Ruth’s. She even gleaned in the fields for her and Naomi to have food, Ruth 2:3 “So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters”. To glean, means to pick up the leftover grains after a harvest. Do you sometimes feel like you are getting the leftovers? Maybe leftovers of other people’s blessings? Comparison with others can lead to an ungrateful heart. What matters more to God is what we do with our blessings. I need to remind myself daily to run my own race, Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.
Ruth followed Naomi with blind obedience and bold faith. If we are obedient, serving and loving others like Jesus, we will be richly rewarded, Ruth 2:12 “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge”. As Ruth obediently gleaned in the fields, God was working behind the scenes, positioning her for great favor, Deut 28:2 “All these blessing will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God”. Boaz was considered one of Ruth’s Guardian redeemers. In the same way, Jesus is our Guardian Redeemer, Ruth 2:20 “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian redeemers”.
I desire to be a woman like Ruth who is known for her noble character, Ruth 3:11 “All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character”. I picture Ruth to be plain yet beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Boaz had his eyes on Ruth at first glance. Proverbs 31:10 “Say a wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than rubies”. Lord, sink this truth into my marrow. Christ is in me, I AM enough!
As I moved forward through the 2017 lent season, my prayer had been to follow God closer, to know His purpose for my life, and to have bold faith and obedience. Meanwhile I had an opportunity present itself that I did not feel qualified for so I covered this opportunity in prayer. Over a weeks’ time God turned my feelings of inadequacy to knowing I am the heir to God’s throne through His son Jesus Christ, therefore I am a favored daughter of the one true king. That same week as I got in my car, listening to The Message on my satellite Radio, the host said, “God loves you”, “He’s got a plan”, “He can be trusted”. I needed to hear this message. This Lent season has been very trying for me. The Devil has been attacking my thoughts daily. I need to remember God’s plan for my life isn’t always going to be easy. I can choose my thoughts in the process. Satan can tell me lies, but I don’t have to believe them. Through this opportunity, God has winked at me, that the path I want is the shortest route. Sometimes God wants to take a detour with me, grow my faith and confidence along the way. Just as Moses and the Israelite’s didn’t get a shortcut into the promise land, God is asking me to take the long route. This makes me wonder, what is God wanting me to experience? My prayer is for God to grow me where God wants me to be.
As I’ve journeyed to the cross during this season of lent I created a mantra for myself; “I can’t let the labels of my past taint who I am in Christ and my perspective of the cross”. My sister has written a devotion in the NIV bible for woman titled, “Make time for Spring Cleaning”. She compares her wardrobe to a collection of memoires becoming the woman God intended her to be. She says, “With each little memory stitched together like fabric sewed together with thread”. She goes on to pray that God will help us to make sense of our own beauty, of becoming the woman God made us to be. My heart’s desire is to keep growing my faith, becoming the woman God wants me to be. In the process, I choose not to let my perceptions of what others think cloud the truth of how God sees me. I am woman after Gods own heart! I am a Proverbs 31 Woman!
Are you feeling inadequate today? Are you needing God to sew up your flaws with His grace? Have you equipped yourself with God’s word so you can stand up against the schemes of the Devil?
Make a declaration with me today.
I can choose my thoughts! I don’t have to accept Satan’s lies!
I have victory in Jesus! Fear is a liar! Christ is in me! I am enough!
I praise my God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Psalm 139:14
The one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world! 1 John 4:4
Gods not finished with me yet!
#Prayer #FragrantOffering By: Deborah Ard
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your unending love and grace. Thank you for your goodness and mercy.
And Lord I praise you for my flaws for I know You can use my shortcomings to bring you glory.
Lord may my ears, eyes and heart be open to your call on my life.
May I listen for your guidance and when I hear your directions for my life, may I trust and obey.
Although I am undeserving, I know that whatever you call me to do, You will equip me with the abilities needed to tackle the task.
Lord I come to You with a humble heart to lay my flaws before You. Sew them together Lord so that I may be Your fragrant offering.
May I always run with perseverance in the direction of Your will. And may all that I say and do be a witness to Your love and mercy.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
#Worship with us