Saturday, May 17, 2014

Confidence Through Grace

by Cindy Hester

Oh how my heart was encouraged to come across this today. I was up most of the night wrestling with a situation that I am not sure how to handle. God seems to be growing me a lot the area of relationships lately. I am having to learn to let down my defenses, seek His wisdom and strength, and openly confront issues head-on instead of shrinking back in fear and allowing manipulation to rule.

So many times it is easier for me to ignore relational problems hoping they will disappear  - especially if the issues involve friends or co-workers. I tend to be a natural born people pleasing peace keeper. I know that God's word says, "Blessed are the peace keepers," and this is so true. I also know that "Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to handle conflict." Ronald Reagan

Because of the fact that so much grace has been extended to me, one of the most difficult things for me to get clear in my head is how to extend grace to others while still holding them accountable for their actions. Whenever I get ready to sit down and confront someone openly before the issue becomes a major problem, the enemy delights in whispering in my ear how I must not be much of a Christian to think I can confront this person because of his or her actions. He attempts to convince me that is judging others. He then starts bringing up my past. Every little awful thing I have ever done wrong...every mistake, every sin, every indiscretion, every wrong thought. His next method of attack is remind me of how easy it would be for me to fall again. If I listen to him and give in, I simply call it a day and vow to keep my mouth shut.

If the issue only involves me and I choose to remain silent and not confront the offending party, then that's my own prison in which to suffer. However, rarely do such things hurt only the persons directly involved. I began to understand this more fully over the past week. I struggled with how to handle myself and my words, only to feel increasingly unworthy. Satan is quite the illusionist. He is adept at drawing our eyes away from God's truth through distractions if we allow him. However, he is no match for the True Artist, the Great I Am, El Shaddai-The Almighty.

As the self-doubt and fear continued to grow, I simply kept bringing it to Jesus In His perfect timing and infinite wisdom. He placed these words in my path.  Knowing me as He most assuredly does, He placed them in such big letters that even I couldn't miss the message: "GRACE MEANS THAT ALL OF YOUR MISTAKES NOW SERVE A PURPOSE INSTEAD OF SERVING SHAME." Oh how these words soothe my soul. I had to stop and have a praise session right in the middle of my office!! My mistakes now serve a purpose! How incredible is this thought?! Through forgiveness in Christ our mistakes no longer have to bring us shame. Instead they serve a purpose by giving us a heart to empathize with and reach out to help others who make the same mistakes There is also great joy to be found in the person whose mistakes have been covered by the blood of Jesus. These words help me remember that I can stand covered in prayer and forgiveness, and in the power of the Holy Spirit face any conflicts which occur because I can have confidence through grace.

Thank You, Lord, for Your sweet, amazing grace.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

A Poem for Bear By Maw Maw Cindy My dear little Bear who sleeps soundly and tight So peaceful and trusting, your cares free...