Blessed By God, Hated By The World

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

I was on Facebook the other day. Shocker really. And I happened across a poll about the new movie (from the books) Fifty Shades of Grey coming out. It was a poll asking whether people thought it was considered “porn” or not. Aside from what I thought, I read through some of the comments just to see what others were saying. 

I’ve never read the books and don’t intend to.

I came across a comment that left me encouraged in my faith, believe it or not. On a poll about porn, no less. Yes God! Even you are there.

The woman stated that she began reading the first book and became convicted by the Holy Spirit so she stopped reading. She said that if Jesus came back today, she wouldn’t want to be holding that book. In her opinion it was porn and she would have no part of it.

I began reading through the replies to her comment/opinion and watched as people began to leave negative remarks about her. They were making fun of her “religious” views and even criticized Christians in general. She stuck to her faith and beliefs and never once said a negative thing about anyone who was bashing her. Many times saying “Jesus loves you” or “have a blessed day”. 

In the midst of persecution, we are also blessed!

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
– 1 Peter 4:14

How many times do we let the world’s view overshadow what we truly believe? Are there opportunities that we miss because we are afraid of being insulted or persecuted? The Bible says that we are BLESSED in these circumstances.

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
– Luke 6:22

When I am hated, insulted, and rejected- I am actually blessed? It’s true! When we stand against the world in the name of Christ, we are renewed and blessed.

It’s funny how a silly Facebook poll can inspire us stand firm in our faith. I love how God can use the world to show us not to conform to it.

Motherhood and Hamster Wheels

By: cdrussorusso

It’s been one of those days. It’s really just been the second half, but that half felt like an eternity so we’ll call it a full day. One of those days where you’re just so thankful that it’s really over. I’m supposed to be finishing up my post on my ice cream cake, so I apologize if you were on pins and needles for that. It’s totally worth the wait.

Do you ever feel like a mean mommy? Like all you ever say is no, and stop that, or you’re in time out? In my head I imagine motherhood as this picture of a loving embrace followed by encouragement and topped with a side of smiles. But sometimes it’s not all rainbows and butterflies is it? Ahem, uh…no.

There are temper tantrums, spats, poopy diapers, back-talk, fits, arguments, vomits (hey, it’s nasty but true), broken expensive electronic devices, sleepless nights, head-butting, literal head-butting, forgotten lunch boxes, filthy floors, answering the why question a hundred times a day, doling out money like it grows on trees, never having a clean car, screaming, peeing when you sneeze (like even 2 years after you had your child), cleaning your house only to have it destroyed again in 2.5 seconds, and the most important thing that real motherhood is…

…the realization that perfection is unreachable.

How can that be possible when I try so stinkin’ hard to achieve it? I give 110% each and every single day to avoid each and everything listed above. Come on, making up the lunchbox the night before has got to count for something right?

Wrong.

Wait. I’m confused.

So even if I give 1,000,000% to my children, I’ll still never get it perfectly right?

Right.

Well, that’s a complete bummer. I mean that is one high bar, dude.

By: Haundreis

As a mom of 2 younger girls, I am being tested everyday with this concept. It’s a little hard to accept for us moms isn’t it? It can feel like a hamster wheel. The customers at the pet store are just staring at us, snickering to themselves because they know that we aren’t ever going to get anywhere.

And yet you can’t help but wonder what the purpose of the wheel being there actually is. Am I right? I mean I can’t help but think how silly these teenie, tiny, little fur balls are justa running their tails off going in a circle. Here’s an interesting perspective…

The reason hamsters adore hamster wheels is easy: The tiny rodents are born to run. It comes naturally to them. Hamsters truly enjoy running, plain and simple, and their species as a whole are very energetic and lively.
According to the ASPCA, hamsters in their natural habitat might run up to 5 miles every night in their quest for sustenance. (source)

So you’re telling me that hamsters run up to 5 stinkin’ miles every night because they simply enjoy it?

Hamster wheels are 100 percent vital for keeping hamsters happy, healthy and physically fit. These creatures absolutely need to run. If you want to make sure your tiny pet remains in glowing health — not only in body, but also in mind — a hamster wheel is the way to go.

Getting absolutely nowhere and just enjoying the run is vital to the life of a hamster. How is it that God is using a hamster to speak to me tonight? He sure does have a sense of humor.

Even through the difficult days like I’ve had today,  I’m reminded of God’s grace. Grace that means a furry little rodent running for miles only to end up where he began is still joyful. Grace that means even when I have a bad day I’ll get a fresh start tomorrow. And oh Jesus, it’s grace that means that even though I will never (ever, ever, ever) achieve perfection in this motherhood thing, I really can let go and enjoy the journey with the freedom that the 110% that I give is enough.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9

Waiting On My Breakthrough

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.
– Isaiah 54:17

I would kinda like to speak from my heart today. I’m not exactly sure where to begin or what to say so we shall see how this goes. I am not trying to be dramatic or demand sympathy. I just want Gathering Grain to be real and to be real with you. Life has not been easy over the last year and 1/2 for me.

I’ve been working through some things in myself that God brought to the forefront in November of 2012. It was very unexpected and has since been one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to face. With each layer that is peeled off, there is another underneath that I have to deal with. Each one bringing a new set of emotions.

While I know that my God is bigger than anything that I have to face alone, it is extremely tiring. I have really great days when I feel as though nothing on earth can touch me. That I am confident and happy. And there are days when I simply hold back tears all day long. I often wonder why I was given such a complex situation to walk out. I’m told that it means that HE thinks I’m strong. But I can tell you that all I feel is weak. Even still, I’m thankful for His amazing grace and mercy because without it, I’m pretty positive that I wouldn’t be here today.

Last night at church, our pastor talked about breakthrough. That often times, the enemy likes to sit smack dab in the middle of our breakthroughs preventing us from claiming what God has for us. I’d say that the enemy has built a wall in front of mine. Maybe even placed a large planet in front of it. I keep stretching my arms around getting sweet tastes of it and then like Stretch Armstrong, my arms snap back and its gone again.

I am here today to say that I REBUKE the enemy AND his planet in the middle of my breakthrough. I am going to claim what God has for me. In the meantime, I will wait. I will practice patience. I will dig into my Kindgom rights and know that my Father loves me.

21 Days of Affirmation: I Am Totally Forgiven

days of affirmation

It’s day 2 of 21 Days of Affirmation! How has it been going? Have you been saying your affirmations? I have been saying them aloud and there are times when I think yeah, this is actually believable and other times it’s just words coming out of my mouth. But the point is to get the words out of your mouth so they can be spoken over you. Good job for sticking with it!

i am totally forgiven

We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. -Ephesians 1:7

He forgives all your sin;
He heals all your diseases. -Psalm 103:3

He adds: I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts. -Hebrews 10:17

Of all the affirmations that I can say, this one is one of the most believable there is for me. Just like it says there in Ephesians 1:7, through His blood, we are forgiven. Sometimes I think that we make mistakes here on earth and our flesh longs for fleshly forgiveness. We may feel guilt or remorse for doing something wrong and ask for forgiveness from a person. Sometimes we may get it and other times we may not. In that time no matter what happens here on earth, Christ has forgiven us.

Not assuming you are a compulsive sinner or anything (cough, we all are, cough), but chances are you probably sin each day not even realizing it. The absolute beauty of God’s amazing grace is that even those sins that we do not repent for or acknowledge have been cleansed by the blood of Christ and completely forgiven. That’s so amazing I could jump up and down right now just thinking about it. But I won’t because the neighbors downstairs really hate when I do that.

We are given such mercy. The ultimate approval has been given to us. So much so that He says he will never again remember our sins. FOR REAL? Have you ever had one of those friends (maybe even back in high school) that held a grudge against you? Sure they might eventually start talking to you again. They might even be your friend on facebook, but will they ever really forget the issue they had with you? You’ve heard that saying “I can forgive, but I’ll never forget”.

Nope, not with Jesus. He said that he will never again remember our sins viagra. Now that is one incredible friend. Who cares about Johnny Johnson back in 10th grade anyhow? Jesus totally forgives me!

Lets work on claiming this very affirmation for ourselves because it’s huge.

The challenge: each day that I post a new affirmation, say them to yourself OUT LOUD at least 5 times that day. This can be when you first wake up, when you’re driving down the road, when you’re laying down to sleep, when you’re feeling low, when you’re feeling great about yourself, or at anytime you please. Even if all 5 have to be said in the same minute! There is power in words.

Each time a new affirmation is posted, add that one to the list! And at the end of this little challenge, I pray that you begin to believe these truths about who are you are not only to yourself, but to Christ.

Day 1- I am accepted.

Day 2- I am totally forgiven.

Why Me God? I’m Not Strong Enough

Why Me

As humans, we spend a lot of time wondering why. I’m pretty positive that the animals in the deserts don’t wonder why it’s so dry. Sure, they may be thirsty but that feeling of needing to know the answer why seems to be a human trait. I find myself wondering the whys of life quite often. Especially when something directly affects me.

The Lord has certainly placed a lot on my shoulders throughout my life and especially these last few years. I’ve faced many trials and tribulations that have been so incredibly difficult that I’ve found myself asking God why.

Why would you let me endure this?

Why did you allow this to happen to me?

Why can’t you just take it away?

I question God about His plan as though I, little human Amy, might have a better one. I am usually humbled with every answer that I get from God. I imagine God giggling at me when I start to ask why. He might even be placing his hand on His belly with a smirk on His face thinking, If only she knew what was going to come of this.

In the book of Job, Job is put in the midst of some pretty heavy stuff. It’s a trial like I could never imagine. Did Job deserve it? No. I, myself, was freaking out for Job as I was reading it. How much more could he endure? In the end, we learn from that story that we aren’t always being put through something because of sin or as a means of punishment. Sometimes we are simply put through something to come out on the other end and praise God for His sovereignty, His love for us, for His glory.

With every trial that I have come through and even through some that I am still walking through, I am reminded of three things.

Grace

Even when I am questioning God and His plan, I am given such beautiful grace. I do not deserve it, but my God who is in the highest pours it out without thought.

Faith

As I struggle with any hard time, my faith is always being tested. It’s pretty easy to give up on God when times are hard. Faith can weaken and the enemy has a foothold to grasp an inch. These are the times when our faith should increase the most. As I walk in my spiritual journey, this is one of the hardest for me. I’m a white-knuckler and letting God take over can be hard. But I am always reminded that in order to be free, I must give it to Him. I show my faith in my God who will help me to overcome anything!

To Let Go

This one is so simple and yet sooooooo very hard for me. It goes hand in hand with faith, except it can also be physical. With the battle that I’ve been fighting, there is a physical aspect and it is something that I find extremely hard to let go of. A man at church gave a testimony last night that spoke to me very deeply about letting things go. He said it wasn’t easy. Nope. But when you loosen your grip on this thing and hand it to God, he will bless you. It’s hard. Oh boy is it hard. That’s why I’m still walking through this y’all. But I promise, the endurance, strength, and grace that comes from God will get you through.

I could use prayers if you have them. And I hope that this encourages you with anything that you might be walking through. You know that saying “God won’t give you any more than you can handle.” That is one of the biggest lies. He will. He has given me WAY more than I can handle. But HE can handle it. And that is precisely why He wants me to lean on Him. To trust. And to ask for strength, endurance, and His power.

Nothing is too small or too big for God.