Silence Can Be Golden

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I was reminded of this quote by Dionysius last Wednesday evening during our development group meeting at church when our pastor talked about how to listen when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us.

If you have Jesus living in your heart, then He is most certainly speaking to you, attempting to lead you in the way you should go.

Pastor told us that sometimes we can’t hear the Holy Spirit speaking from deep within us because we are talking so much we drown Him out. Sometimes we just need to be silent.

I’d much rather hear Him than me. With one word He can solve a problem I had been working on for weeks. After telling Him about my issue (like He doesn’t know), I need to listen, not continue to whine.

Dionysius and my pastor are right.

Let Grace Stream

Grace. The amazing favor of God. We can’t earn it. He gives it freely to all of us.

It is a thrill to experience the reality of redemption. When we ask for forgiveness, all of our sin debt is sent to the cross where the price has already been paid. We are excited and willing to say “yes” to that. We bask in the sunshine of it.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16

Why “grace upon grace” we ask?

God’s grace is sufficient. We know that. 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that. So why do we need grace upon grace?

Then we come across the scripture that says,”And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.(Matt. 6:12, 14, 15)

Really? I have to forgive those who hurt me? But God, what they did was really, really, bad.

He knows. He saw it all happen. It’s all written down.

This is why we need grace upon grace. Grace for us and our debt, and the grace to forgive our debtors. This stream of divine favor does not originate in us. We are not capable of giving favor to those who so deeply hurt us, so He gives us the grace we need to do that which He requires. (Isn’t that just like Him? He makes sure we have what we need to do anything He asks of us.)

Also, bear in mind that when you forgive it doesn’t mean your offender had a free pass to hurt you and not face a penalty. They still have to accept the work of the cross for themselves to be fully forgiven and cleansed of sin too, just like you and me. But when you and I forgive our offenders and let God have the debt, we no longer carry the weight of it. Aren’t you tired of being pressed down by it? I know I was.

Also, when we let go of the hurt and the debt, we no longer have to judge our offender. We let God have His rightful place as judge. We place the whole thing squarely in God’s hands, which means we are completely free of it.

The result is restoration. Jesus paid the debt at the cross and gives us what the offender took from us. Peace, joy, respect, innocence (I know, that’s hard to believe) and anything else. I am living proof of that.

So, to be free from the burden of unforgiveness and restored to emotional health (which can also affect your physical health, by the way), please…

Let His grace stream to you and through you today. You will be amazed.

In Vegas

Vegas is an amazing city. When I was there this past weekend, I understood why they call it Sin City. It could also be called Huge Mission Field. I chose to look at it that way. I met some incredible people in the small city they call Caesar’s Palace.  This hotel is literally the size of a small city.  Of course there is the casino, but more than that, there are shops and restaurants, a pool, and the Colosseum. Celine Dion was in concert on Friday night in the Colosseum and it was the best show I had ever seen in my life. If you have a bucket list, put that on it!

During some free time, as I was wandering around Caesar’s Palace with my oldest daughter, we met some people who asked why we were there. That opened the door for us to share the love and grace of God. Right there, right then. They were very receptive, and several asked us to tell them the name of my book again so they could purchase it online. We gave them a card.

I did not gamble. I don’t judge those who did or do; I am just not interested in it. Personal preference. In fact, I didn’t judge any sin by anyone there. Not my place to do that. It’s my place to love them. I wasn’t pushy, but I did talk about God’s love and grace to anyone who asked. And if you know me at all, you know I’m going to walk through the shops. Though my chin dropped at the prices throughout the Palace, I bought a purse in one of the shops. In Caesar’s Palace! Yes, I did. It was on sale. Does that help my argument?

I met some amazing people at the Book to Screen event too.  God has a plan. He appoints certain times and conversations. I am so glad to be a part of that. I’ll let you know more on that as information becomes available. God is so good!

Yes, even in Vegas.

 

He Loves You Right Where You Are

Within the pages of her book, Iridescent Grace, Carly Richaven takes us on a journey that gives us hope in the midst of pain and tragedy. Very seldom can an author let you experience the weight of such heartache and, at the same time, inspire you with hope to overcome. Carly invites you to read her story, to experience the tragedy and, more important, the truth of God’s redemptive power as He rescues her. Her story will captivate you and draw you in. Once you begin reading this book, you’ll find it hard to put down.

During my eighteen years of full-time ministry, there have been a few times when someone’s story is so disturbing that I knew only God could be responsible for his or her sanity. But sanity in itself is not the end road. Carly helps us see that Jesus came to give us life with abundance. That abundance includes grace, mercy, forgiveness, and perfect peace. I praise God that she allowed the Holy Spirit to heal her so that others may benefit from her experience.

My prayer is that this book will be the catalyst to help others find that same healing that only comes through Jesus Christ. May your pain transform into pearls in the presence of a Father who loves you right where you are.

—Bishop R. Thomas

Bishop Thomas is ordained with the Church of God, headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee.