Sunday, 28 June 2009

Yes to God Tuesday: Chapter 1 - An Open Door...

It's been a long time between Yes to God Tuesday posts, so welcome to the US summer/Australian winter study on Liz Curtis Higgs' already wonderful book, "Embrace Grace". The study is hosted by Lelia at Write From The Heart. Pop on over and see her ... you are in for a treat!

Now, to this week's chapter. From turning the first page of this chapter, to the end, it was amazing. And, it’s only the start of the book! I am SO looking forward to what the remainder of Liz has to offer.

“See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” – Revelation 3:8

First chapter … first page … first verse … first new revelation.

It’s a comforting promise from our Heavenly Father that needs to be remembered. No one can shut the door to Him on us. The enemy may try through various means, but it just cannot be shut.

I love the way this book is written. Liz’s manner of communicating with her reader – of talking to her like she is sitting in the same room – is refreshing. She opens the book with, “I’ve been waiting for you.” It sounds like someone else we know – our Heavenly Father, who is waiting for us to dig deeper into His Word and do just what Liz suggests and embrace grace.

Liz points out that while she does not know some things about her readers, there are some things that she knows. How we “...need to be loved unconditionally, the desire to live a life that truly matters, the longing to shed a tightly woven mantle of guilt.”

The old wool coat analogy Liz uses is so apt. “ I the only woman who wears past failures and present mistakes like an old wool coat, scratchy and uncomfortable, chafing the skin around my neck?” No, she is not, hence why she knew to write this book.

I’ve been able to take my old wool coat off over this last week or so. A couple of totally unexpected occurrences have cropped up that have not only shaken me but made me stronger. These instances have made me stand up for who I am and remember, not just wonder; who I am in God’s eyes and in the lives of significant people in my life.

The enemy wants me to keep putting that old wool coat on, but living here in Brisbane, even in the cooler months, it is just a little too stifling to even consider. Amen and thank the Lord for strengthening of character and a realised sense of worth.

So now, let’s get back to the book. Liz points out that “No one can sense our warmth through the thick fabric (of the old wool coat).” I scribbled after that in the book – “Not even I can.” To me that is pretty heavy stuff and a timely realisation considering the events of late. I have been struggling for a long while now to see myself how God and other people see me; now I can. My warmth is starting to rub off on me. Maybe I’m finally starting to like myself?

Liz writes that “Maybe it’s time to release that burden and lift our arms toward the One who loves us most.” Yes, it is time. Oh, how it’s time! “Take hold of the life that is truly life”, it says in 1 Timothy 6:19. Take hold of “The forgiven life...the grace-filled life.”

The chapter moves through with quotes from other women who feel exactly the same about themselves as I do about me. Liz reminds us that “The battle is genuine, yet the grace of God prevails.”

Liz also reminds us to not look for comfort in humans. “Be assured, no one —man, woman, or child —says “I love you” with more certainty than the Lord ... When your friends and loved ones fail you, God remains by your side, steadfast and true.” My experiences over the last two weeks are proof of that. God was with me through my trials; embracing me, holding me upright, comforting me and reassuring me. Yes, others were able to provide some relief and comfort, but it was God, in my alone and fearful times, who really pulled me through.

One of the questions Liz asked at the end of the chapter was, “What words do you wish God would whisper in your ear?” My answer was that I’m going to be OK, that I don’t have to feel alone and rejected, and that my heart will be made whole again. He has spoken these words to me as I am OK, I don’t feel alone or rejected and my heart feels whole once again.

Liz then asked “Are all things possible with God? How can you be sure of your answer?” Yes, they are possible. I’ve seen Him provide and heal. I’ve seen Jesus standing in front of me, I’ve felt Him reach out and touch me and I’ve heard His voice say that it’s OK. I’ve had prayers answered instantly and I’ve had immediate healing. All things ARE possible with God, including the promise of me being able to embrace grace and walk on in my forgiven life.

1 comment:

  1. I so agree with your words here. I too have had that expereince of removing the old and embracing the new which makes this book all the more sweeter. Almost like a reminder of praise Him for this journey.

    I look forward to re-connenting with you in this study! He is making you whole again-all things are possible through Him!!

    In His Graces~Pamela