An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Navigating Change at Christmas

Navigating Change at Christmas, trusting God’s plan 
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2015
copyright
  
Last week marked the third anniversary of the death of my mom, and I began to ponder all the things that had changed in my life in the last few holiday seasons. Things look very different than they did a few years ago and with change, there always comes the period of transition, the in-between time, the time of letting go of the past and embracing the new. Change is often times a good thing, although it can also challenge us and, if we look at history, change has been around a long time.
I have encountered several recent changes in my life, family and work. The addition of my new husband, step children and grand babies was a wonderful change in our family. Although wonderful, it has been a time of adjustment and transition; we are all learning our new life together. Other changes I have experienced, or those I know have encountered, can also be challenging, such as changing or losing a job, a family member encounters a life-changing illness or gets cancer, losing a spouse, child or parent. Sometimes, we think we know the road map for our life, and God suddenly reveals that he has a different plan.
Think about Mary and Joseph. Those two young people had a huge shift in their plans and lives when God began to reveal to them they were chosen for a very special task in the world, to birth and raise Jesus. Here was a young couple, engaged to be married with dreams for their lives together, and suddenly they were told a very special baby was on its way, the son of God.
Luke 1 tells us that, at first, Mary is greatly troubled by the news and had questions. She did not have a grid or any understanding of the news she received, as no one else had been chosen to carry the Son of God. We can all learn from her ultimate response. Luke 1:38 recounts her response to the news with, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1:46 states Mary’s response, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (NIV) When the unexpected came, Mary humbled herself, agreed with God’s plan even though she did not understand and worshiped God in her transition. I love that about her! She lived Proverbs 3:5 which states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” (NIV) She simply trusted God and his goodness.
Matthew 1 tells us Joseph first thought of ending the relationship with Mary, but after an angel appeared to him in a dream, and explained God’s plan, he changed his mind. Matthew 1:24 says, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” (NIV)
Transition is defined as the process of changing from one state or condition to another. I have often felt like my own transitions make me feel upside down. God’s purpose in our lives is to conform us to his image. In our day-to-day walk, he wants us to be his representatives here on earth of his kindness, love, goodness, faithfulness and peace. He is all about changing us to be more like him and, often times, uses change or transition as a tool to shape us.We can tell from the Christmas story, that change might not seem like a good thing at first, but, ultimately, it can be our friend and birth something new in us, a better version of who we are, will affect the world around us. Mary and Joseph were chosen for special purposes. They embraced the plan and change, and simply trusted God.
Change has been around for more than 2,000 years and is here to stay. God is looking for people that will say “yes” to Him and make a difference in the world. What change has happened in your life since the last few holiday seasons? What change do you need to wrap your arms around? I wonder what special task God has chosen you for?
 I challenge you to have the same attitude as Mary and Joseph. Simply say “yes” to God’s plan, trust Him and grow from your changes. In that journey, our faith is upgraded, we can be conformed to God’s image, and we discover it’s a wonderful life.


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native to the Texas Hill Country, a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth, and God’s love, You can reach her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com.

Monday, December 7, 2015

BCFS Hill Country Resource Center Grand Opening


On December 4th was a great day! After working 4 long years on this project, the day finally arrived! It has been a 4 year pregnancy and the grand opening was all I had hoped it would be. I was hired by BCFS for this project in February 2012. Having a center in Kerrville that houses multiple nonprofits  that will share training rooms, computer lab, conference room and other common areas will be a great asset to a community I love. Currently, Art 2 Heart, Families & Literacy, New Hope Counseling, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hill Country Ministries, Goodwill and BCFS all are located in this 20,000 square foot building.
400 community members attended the event and the Tivy Band created a celebration atmosphere. For me, this has been a journey of walking with God to do something that was beyond my own ability and a journey of preserving. God is faithful and I'm thankful for His guidance to finish the project.
Grand Opening of BCFS Center- 
Board room
wonderful food!
Kathleen and Krista
computer lab utilized by all
ribbon cutting by major donors
CEO Kevin Dinnin
My sweet mother-in-law and step-daughter came to celebrate with me!
Getting ready for the big event!
Major donors

sharing the joy of the day with BCFS friends
Sue Tiemann and Kathleen

Monday, November 23, 2015

Overcoming Any Problem Begins with a Grateful Heart

Overcoming Any Problem Begins With A Grateful Heart
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
November 2015
copyright 

     Overcoming any problem begins with a grateful heart. Those are words to a song I heard 20 years ago. When I first heard them, I thought, “how could that be true?” I wasn’t convinced that the writer of the song knew what she was talking about so I began to check the words out against my problems. Sure enough, no matter what it was I was challenged with, I really did not begin overcoming the situation until I began to look at what I had to be thankful for in it. Now, thanksgiving is my “go to” starting place when challenged because I know it works.
      Thankfulness adjusts our attitude. Does anyone out there need an attitude adjustment?  I remember my mother telling me at times to adjust my attitude. She would do so with her hands on her hips which meant I better adjust it quickly. She would say, “Kathleen, get happy just like you got sad,” and it was said in a tone of voice that indicated she meant business.
      I Thessalonians 5:15 is our prescription for an attitude adjustment and just what Dr. God orders for His kids. It says, “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) God is too good to tell us to do something and not provide what we need to do it. Our job is to obey and He will supply. Our job is also to ask Him for what we need and admit we cannot do it without Him.
     Sometimes overcoming begins with simply thanking God because He is good.            Psalms 107:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good and  his love endures forever.” When we can not think of anything to be thankful for, we can always start with thanking God for his love. No matter what we are going through, we can rest in the fact that we are loved by the creator of the universe. We may not always feel loved and actually be rejected by people, but nothing can separate us from God’s love for us. His love has comforted med on many a difficult day as I simply made the statement, “God I thank you that you are good and you love me.” Those words help me adjust my attitude and remind me of the truth. No matter what my circumstances, He is good and He loves me.
     Gratefulness is my quick access to the presence of God, especially on the difficult days. His presence is what comforts me, gives me hope, helps me and is my anchor. Some days I do better than others, but scripture says in Psalms 95:2 , “Come into his presence with thanksgiving...” (KJV) If you need more of His presence, try thanksgiving. It works for me.
       At times, my prayer will be like this; “God, I need your help. Your word says to give thanks in all things so I thank you for what I will learn in this situation. Thank you for the experience I will gain. Thank you for helping me through this.” God is faithful but often times we must wait on Him and trust Him.
    For example,  I do not believe God just gives us patience but He will help us to be patient and grow in this character trait.  As we grow in that character, we learn the benefit of trusting His timing. God does not just  give us long suffering, but He will help us endure difficult things if we look to him. I know this from personal experience as I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Anyone can quote a scripture or pass a written test, but character is developed in the soil of difficulties.
      Colossians 3:17 states how we are to conduct our lives. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Thanks is an expression of gratitude and gratefulness. Thankful is an adjective that means pleased or relieved. How thankful are you? Do you have an overall feeling of being pleased and relieved? I personally could do better at being thankful.
      I know sometimes I have to simply pray, “God change my heart.” to develop an attitude of gratitude. According to this scripture, all our words,our job and actions should be done like we were doing it just for Jesus and with a beautiful attitude of thankfulness. 
           At the end of the day, all of us have plenty to be thankful for. James 1:17 says, 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  All that we have that is good, is a gift from God. That is plenty to be thankful for.
     Thanksgiving is not just a season in November. God intends for it to be a lifestyle. He loves for His kids to be in His presence. Let’s start today. Will you join me in thanking Him more?


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native to the Texas Hill Country, a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth and God’s love, You can reach her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Need An Attitude Adjustment? Try Thankfulness


Need an attitude adjustment? Try thankfulness 
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
November 2015


With Thanksgiving approaching, November is a month when many focus on giving thanks. Why should we take time to be thankful? I believe there are several reasons. The Bible tells us to be thankful. The number one reason because God said so. That alone is reason to be thankful all the time, however, there is another reason. Thankfulness is good for us and good for those around us! There is power that comes into our lives when we are thankful. Power to adjust our attitude, power to focus on the good and the goodness of God and power to overcome difficult circumstances. 

As a little girl it would really make me mad when I would ask my dad why I needed to do something and his reply was, “because I said so.” Really what he meant to say was, “ because it is good for you.” I was one of those kids that wanted to understand things and I’m sure I annoyed my parents by asking why. I’m sure God sometimes wants to tell me, “because I said so or because it is good for you Kathleen.” After all, He is all knowing and our job is to trust him.
Psalm 100:4 encourages us to be thankful as it states, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (NIV) Thankfulness opens our heart and gets brings our emotions and thinking into alignment. Think about it. How many people do you know that have said thank you with their arms folded? Not many...When we come to God with a thankful heart it opens us up to see all He has done for us that we might have missed. Thanksgiving makes God bigger than our problems or the things we face. It magnifies Him and His goodness.
Colossians 3:15 and 4:2 respectively state,“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (NIV)
I’ve seen the power of a thankful heart to change me personally. In my dark days of digging through grief, learning to live as a widow and caregiving for my ill, elderly parents, knowing their life span was short, it was easy to become weary and feel like life would always be painful. It was a difficult time, but God was also blessing me in some incredible ways. Realizing I needed to focus on the good in my life, I began to write down each evening something I was thankful for that day or had seen God do for me. In the beginning, I had to think about what to write but the more I looked for God’s goodness to me, the more I discovered. An attitude of gratitude began to change my heart and open my eyes. 
No, I did not thank God that I was living alone, was lonely and had a lot of responsibility, but I could thank him for holding my hand, leading me and comforting me as I cried. I could thank him that I still had my parents in my life and they called me each day. As my list of things that blessed my life each day grew, I began to see my heart change. Even though my circumstances did not change, life seemed easier.
Below is a psalm of thanksgiving I recently wrote:
Thank you Father for holding my right hand through the mountains and valleys of my life
Thank you God for being my constant friend and being with me all the time
Thank you for never leaving my side and comforting my heart
Thank you for helping me to see things from your perspective and the adventures we’ve shared
Thank you for your constant amazing love that provides such security
Thank you for the confidence that I have developed from this journey
Thank you that confidence and peace are established in my life and I now give those to others

I challenge you to develop a heart of thankfulness by either writing what you appreciate each day, verbally thanking God throughout the day and writing your own psalm of thanksgiving. Do it because He said so and you will empower yourself. I would love to see the hills alive with a community with a thankful heart!


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native to the Texas Hill Country, a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth and God’s love, You can reach her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fear or Confidence-Which Will You Choose?

Fear of Confidence-Which Will You Choose?
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright
November 2015

Walking through my neighborhood this week, I noticed decorations for Halloween at various home. At one home, there were all these scary looking creatures. I began to think of how God wants us to be filled with faith and confidence, not fear as we walk through this world. 
     Fear is defined as: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. The feeling of anxiety about the outcome of something or the safety and well being of someone.  
     One thing is for sure, fear is tormenting. Fear is a thief and a robber of peace, joy and tranquility. I speak from experience and am thankful God has set me free from various fears and the bondage fear brings.
       There are many different kinds of fear. A few that I have struggled with in the past were a fear of death, fear of germs, fear of failure, and fear of the dark. I have found that many people struggle with the same fears that held me captive for years. I was good at justifying my fear, telling my self that one could never be too cautious. 
     One day I heard the words, “Fear is doubt  and unbelief and doubt and unbelief is not trusting God - that is sin.” At that moment, I knew I could no longer justify my fears. Whenever I was afraid, I began to acknowledge them as sin. God graciously began to set me free as I was faithful to repent and resist the temptation to walk in fear. Repentance is always our friend and is found on the path to freedom. 
     II Timothy 1:7 states, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” We can conclude from this passage that fear is a spirit and it is not from God; therefore, it is not our friend. There are times when I have simply said the words, “Fear go, you are not my friend.” As long as we coddle our fears, they will hang around. We must deal ruthlessly with them if we want to  get free. 
     I love Isaiah 41:10 which says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Many times I have pictured myself holding God’s hand and that gives me great courage. Dismayed means feelings of anxiety and consternation, usually by something unexpected. Have you ever had something unexpected happen? I have. 
     Proverbs 3:25 tells us, “Be not afraid of sudden fear....” Satan loves to make us feel scared because then we are intimidated. Intimidation has one goal; to scare us from even engaging in the battle. Goliath used intimidation on David but David did not bow to fear. He quickly strengthened himself by remembering how God helped him slay a bear and a lion. I love David’s faith in response to intimidation. He told the bellowing giant he would strike him down, cut off his head and give his carcasses to the birds! 
Now those are some faith filled words!
     Prior to a personal relationship with God I was terrified of dying. I had trouble sleeping at night for fear I might die. Once I accepted Jesus into my heart and repented of the fear, I was no longer afraid of dying. Knowing God personally, is the beginning of overcoming fear. Tell God you want a personal relationship with him. He will be delighted!

     The US Navy has a slogan that I think is a motto against any fears. “Life liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it.” God wants us to enjoy life, our freedom and get rid of any fear that would threaten us. Fear is an enemy, not our friend. Do not let fear rob you anymore. There is power in your words, so tell fear to go.
     Freedom is waiting...what are you afraid of?



Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country, educator, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com and on her blog www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Monday, October 19, 2015

Finding Security Living in Uncertainty

Finding Security Living in Uncertainty 
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
October 2015
Copyright


Have you ever found yourself in a situation and simply did not know what to do?  Have you ever felt like the odds are against you?  Are you in a place where you just do not have the answer?  Maybe you planned something and then it does not happen or you are in a place in your life where you cannot plan too far ahead because things are uncertain.  How do we walk in this place?  I have found myself in all of the above situation in my life. 

Soon after Joe was diagnosed-He died 6 years ago Oct.8th.
When my late husband was diagnosed with a life threatening illness, suddenly our plans for our lives changed in a day. I quickly realized there were many unknowns in the world of cancer and I had no guarantees about the future. We had raised our three kids and started our second honeymoon. The words “Joe, you have a very rare cancer” not only changed his healthy world but also my plans for the two of us.  Life was suddenly uncertain and I wasn’t a fan of the unpredictable. If I made a plan, it was changed because of chemo, a doctor’s decision, test results, etc.

In reality, all of us live in uncertainty, but most of us just don’t realize it. None of us have  any guarantees in life. The company you work for goes under and you are out of a job, your child is in a wreck, your teenager tells you she is expecting, your mate suddenly has a heart attack and is gone and the list goes on. Our certainty or security must be rooted in the nature of who God is. He is faithful when life is uncertain. I never know what is around the corner, but for me, loving God and walking with Him through life gives me power and peace.  Although I do not know what my future holds, I do know who holds my hand if I let Him as I walk in life’s uncertainties.


The Bible has an answer of how we are to navigate through such a season.  I found it in II Chronicles 20 in a story about King Jehoshaphat.  Several vast armies were coming against his kingdom and he did not know how to handle it. What I love about this great leader is how he handled his questions and problems.  He modeled for his people seeking and magnifying God, not his situation.  Jehoshaphat declares in verse 12, “…for we have no power against this vast army that has come against us, we know not what to do but our eyes are on you.”  He does not deny his problem but humbly admits he does not know what to do and then declares that he will keep his focus on God.

  God responds to Jehoshaphat’s problem by saying the battle is not Jehoshaphat’s battle but God’s.  God tells him to not be discouraged or afraid and to “set himself, stand firm and see the salvation of his God.”  Wow!  All of a sudden Jehoshaphat is in a pretty secure place!  All the king of Israel has to do is focus, stand and worship God.  We could all take a lesson from this king.  Worshipping God is a powerful weapon because it aligns our focus with the one certain thing in life- God loves us and is for us. Giving thanks to God (because all blessings come from God), reminding ourselves that His mercy trumps any sin we have committed, is an amazing way to do battle against what comes against us.  The end of the story says that after Jehoshaphat defeated his enemies it took his people three days to collect all the blessings. Rest and peace came to his nation.

I daily face situations and questions that I have to answer, “I do not know” but I am beginning to say “I do not know yet.”  Keeping my focus on God, His faithfulness and love and constantly having a song in my heart helps me find the answer I need. It also helps calm my soul while I live in the YET. 

I have adopted the mindset that trials or crisis are adventures. It is not a good adventure story unless something goes wrong and character overcomes the challenge. I believe we have a God given right to overcome in any situation we face when our heart is right and we focus on Him. 

 I have decided to follow Jehoshaphat’s example to keep my eyes on God, seek Him for what I can learn in the adventures of life and have fun. A good song keeps a spring in my step as I take His hand and round the corner of uncertainty. 


Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Weary and Burdened? You Do Not Have to Be

Weary and Burdened? You Don't Have to Be
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
September 30th, 2015 copyright

Talking to several friends and those in need recently, I have noticed a common denominator-weariness and burdens. The business and trials of this life often make one weary and/or burdened, however, the antidote is found in the Bible. Matthew 11:28-30 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV) 

As I read this passage, I discovered several key words: come, learn, give, yoke, gentle, humble and rest. 

The first thing we must do when weary and burdened is come or run to the one that can really help-Jesus. The good news is he is the expert in fixing problems, always has time and never gets tired of us bringing our troubles to him. Do you run to God when you are tired and burdened? 

The second thing that is important is that Jesus loves to give  rest in times of need and promises to give it to us when we come to him and do things his way. Rest is a gift our heart can experience if we choose to trust him and give our anxieties to him. Rest makes us fresh and able to handle things better. It is a weapon we can use.

God’s  way of getting rid of weariness and burdens is to partner with him. He says to “take his yoke and learn of him.” A yoke is a wooden beam, something strong and enables us to pull a heavy load. We live on earth but God offers partnership and heavenly help. Learning his ways means not insisting on doing things our way or by ourselves. When I was raising my three children, it was always so much easier on everyone when my children were eager to learn and teachable. When they insisted they knew everything, did not listen to our council, consequences often followed.   

God’s council for us is to be gentle and humble in times of testing, trials, weariness, conflict and anxiety. I was in a tough situation one time and felt God say, “be gentle and humble.” Handling things delicately diffuses heated situations. I have also learned that laying down my right to be right helps me win in situations. 

Years ago, I was frustrated with my late husband about something. As I prayed about it, I felt like God said, “Kathleen, you are right in this situation, but can you lay down your right to be right for the sake of the relationship?” I had to choose in that moment and the moments that followed, if I wanted to do things my way or God’s way. Choosing humility over pride always wins and gentleness and humility brings rest and peace into situations.

I am convinced from personal experience that Matthew 11:28-30 helps in times of fatigue and pressure. I challenge you to practice this passage by pushing weariness and the cares of this world away from you by running to Jesus. Partner with him to carry the load by giving the situation to him, doing things his way  and resting/trusting in him by choosing gentleness and humility. 

Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hope Is Vital


Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright

Not only is hope is vital in times of crisis but in our everyday life. It is necessary to keep us moving forward in any situation. Some of the challenges we often face in life that need the anchor of hope are in business, relationships, health or finances. The Bible has much to say about the subject of hope and even secular society understands the importance of hope. What is hope? How do you get hope? What do you do when hope is gone or what you hoped for does not happen?

Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen. To not have hope is to have a negative mindset and can be detrimental nor only for the person with a negative mindset but also those around a person that has lost hope.

One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 15:13  which says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.”(NIV) From this scripture we find that hope is part of the character of God. It is part of who He is and who we are as we are made in His image, therefore, we always have access to hope. We also find in this passage that trust in God links us to not only hope but joy and peace. That right there is reason enough to keep trusting God. Who doesn’t need more joy and peace? 

The benefits of hope are amazing. Isaiah 40:31 states, “ But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strengthen, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” (NIV) In this scripture, the meaning of the word hope is to bind, to strengthen and to wait. Hope in God, not our circumstances, gives us strength and ability to weather extreme circumstances, and keeps us going. Please note that we are instructed to not hope in anything but God.

David commanded his soul to hope in God. Psalms 43:5 says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”  (NIV) This is a good reminder for all of us to command our inner man to not  rely on our negative feelings, but to put our hope in the one who has the power to change things.

One of the things I noticed at MD Anderson when my late husband was battling a rare cancer, was how all the staff encouraged and spoke of hope and being optimistic during his battle. Medicine is about science and facts and yet all the doctors and nurses we dealt with always spoke of the importance of hope in his battle. That was not really a problem for us because we had a deep faith in God. Although we sought some of the best medical treatment, our hope was in God and our trust was in Him. Even when we came home for him to die, we still had hope in God’s ability to intervene in our circumstances. 

Nine months after his diagnosis, he passed away. Did I get what I hoped for? No, but to me, God never failed me, He was faithful and was with me in the most challenging time of my life. My hope remained in God to heal my broken heart and to help me keep moving forward in my life and purpose. 


God is looking for a people that are optimistic, see the positive and hope in Him. Once we are anchored in hope ourselves, then we can offer hope to those around us. 






Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grace-You Have It and You Need It


Two Sides of the Coin of Grace
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie 2015

God’s grace is something that has helped me through many hard days in my life. His grace is never rationed, in short supply or earned. It is always hanging around but sometimes it is hidden in plain sight because we do not understand it. So what is grace?

I think of grace like a coin. There are two sides to grace. It is a word that is often thrown around casually in many Christian circles but I have to wonder how many people that are Christians really understand it or access it. John 1:17 says, “ But the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth were given by Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

One side of the coin is defined as the free and unmerited favor of God on the undeserving or unmerited blessings. Grace is free and it is a gift from God. The truth is none of us deserve anything good, therefore, every good thing in our lives is simply a gift of grace. James 1:7 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father...” All that we have in our lives that is good is from God. That is really pretty humbling. As talented as some people are, at the end of the day, the talent comes from God’s favor in their lives. 

The other side of the coin can also be described as the desire and power to do what is right or what God tells us to do. It is the power to do something in and of ourselves we cannot do. God’s grace helps us.

Recently, I was reading in the book of Jonah and a scripture stood out to me. It says, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” (NIV) When I read it, I had to reread it again and again. What a powerful and pointed scripture!  I had to ask myself, “What am I clinging to that is worthless? Am I forfeiting God’s grace in my life in anyway?” Then I had to ask myself, “do I have any worthless things I am hanging on to that I need to let go of?” My answer to these questions is unfortunately yes.

 An idol something that we put before our love for God. It can be a person, relationship or even a spouse or child. Another idol can be a job or hobby. It can be an addiction, money or even a house or car. All of these things are good, but become an idol when we put them before our love and worship of God. An idol is anything that occupies our focus. Often times idols are deceptive. We do not realize something has become an idol until God reveals it to us. Jesus came to give us grace and truth. Ask him to reveal truth to you and show you any idols you may have. 

 “I just do not have grace for that,”  was a frequent comment I could be heard saying when I did not want to do something. The truth was, I did not access the grace I needed because I either did not have the faith or wanted my way instead of God’s way. 

I recently talked to a young man that was recovering from an  alcohol addiction. As he shared his story with me, I told him about the scripture in Jonah. He wholeheartedly agreed that alcohol and drugs were his idol and that he spent too much time forfeiting God’s grace to quit his addiction. 

When I think of the word forfeit, I think of not even showing up to play the game. Forfeit means we do not even try. Are you resisting the grace that could be yours? Are you not even showing up and asking God for his grace?

 II Corinthians 12:9. It says, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in your weakness.”  It constantly reminds me that no matter what I face, His grace (power) is all I need. His grace walks with me and is like a shadow, it is always beside me. His grace grows in my weakness, therefore, my weakness is a good thing when I draw on Him.

I Peter 5:5 says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” This indicates that we need to humble ourselves instead of trying to do everything in our own strength. The next time you are challenged by a circumstance, do not forfeit the grace of God. Show up on his door step and ask for his help to lay down your idol. Do not let pride be your idol. I find that people that are not transparent with their lives and cannot admit when they are wrong have pride as an idol. Sometimes the most freeing words spoken are, “ I was wrong.” Too many times people are held captive by the thought that they are a mistake, instead of the fact that they are simply human and made a mistake. Do you need to say the freeing words, “I was wrong?” It does not indicate weakness but strength under control.


God’s grace is waiting for you and me. His power to do what we cannot do ourselves is a tremendous gift. Do not waste the grace of God or forfeit His grace. Look at both sides of the coin of grace and spend it daily. Will you join me on the treasure hunt of discovering his incredible grace? Let me know what you find! I’d love to hear about your discovery.



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Living Above the Clouds of Life

Living Above the Clouds of Life
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright
July 2015 

Above the clouds
You and I are called and equipped to live a  supernatural lifestyle. I have discovered the supernatural life I am to lead as I have faced difficult circumstances, trials, conflict, misunderstanding, disappointments and being determined to discover what God is up to in those situations. How about you? Have you encountered any of the above mentioned things lately? How did you handle them? Did you waste the opportunity to grow?
The word supernatural is defined as above our circumstances, above natural or to exist above and beyond nature. We have a God given right to rise above our circumstances and paint a picture above the clouds or storms of life. Jesus rose above the storm in Matthew 14 and called Peter, an average guy, to do something that seamed impossible, to walk on water. What are you facing right now that seems impossible? Perhaps it is staying with in a difficult marriage. Maybe it is dealing with a difficult coworker. It could be letting go of a love one. I know at times I have said to myself or someone else, “I just can’t do this.” The truth is, I can not but when there is a greater dependency on God, I can. The key to a supernatural life is dependency on God.
Riding on a friend's plane
I was talking to someone the other day, and the woman made the comment that she was so stressed out. I have had my share of stressful situations and life will be stressful if we live in our circumstances, instead of the provisions God has for us.  God sent Jesus so we can find joy in life no matter what is thrown at us. We cannot control our circumstances. They come at us how they will.  We do not get any say  in most of life’s trials. However, we do have a choice in how we will respond. We can either react or respond.


Truett- Our grand boy
The Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:10 says, “On earth as it is in heaven.” (NIV) There is no stress in heaven, therefore, when we walk to the rhythm of thanking him, praying and then casting our cares on him, we learn to live life above the cloud of our negative circumstances. We live a supernatural life. 
I John 4:17 says, “ ...as he is, so are we in this world.” (NIV) Jesus is full of life and peace. There are plenty of people that lead stressed out lives., you an I do not have to be one of them. I want to be someone that is known for living a life of joy and peace. Jesus paid a great price for me to do that. I owe it to him to be responsible for my own development in not letting negative circumstances steal my joy and peace. This means I have to discipline myself to step back and live from the inside out, live from Christ in me. What about you? Do you need to discipline yourself a little more? Do you live in your circumstances preoccupied with the problem or step back into Christ in you and walk in peace?
You and I are called to reveal to those around us who God really is. We are are not called to lead normal lives but supernatural lives. Responding out of Christ in us is so much better than reacting to negative circumstances. God’s promises found in the Bible, and our confidence in who God will  lift us above the clouds of life. 
Princess Collins- Our grand girl
Will you join me in painting a beautiful picture above the clouds of your life and living the supernatural life available to you? 

Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com