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By Holly Trask

Noise, it fills her ears. People, they gather all around her. Aromas, they fill her nose. Walls, they trap her in. Heat, it fills the room. Joy, it is glowing all around her. Thoughts, they fill her head.

She sits at a party, and how she feels is the same each time. Not sure why, she pushes herself past all the terrible things she feels because it’s important to all those around. If she appears to have a bad time, she fears she will hurt them, and she doesn’t want to be the reason why.

She has struggled with people all her life. She never got close and never cared to open her heart to those who showed her care. Her biggest fear was losing those she loved. She didn’t want to lose her heart, let it be torn, let it be crushed. She guarded it with all she had because of her lack of trust.

Drowning herself in the crowd of people, she sits alone full of sorrow. She doesn’t want to be seen; she doesn’t want to open up. With a tear on her cheek, she raises her head from her knees.

A swift movement catches her gaze. She follows it until she sees a man. With curiosity she looks and gazes upon a face. This face is like no other she has ever seen. He drew her in and she wanted to know more. His eyes locked on hers. In the room crowded with people, he was the only one she saw. Full of questions she saw he was coming near. He extended his hand out to her and asked her if she “would dance with him a Waltz of Love.” Accepting his offer, she took his hand and entered his dance. His Waltz of Love would soon be her very own song to sing and shout for every day to come.

He began his dance and brought her in close.  Taking her hand, he held her tight.  She felt him close and began to trust. When she gazed upon his eyes of love, she started to realize something new. With a voice so faint, she uttered one word, “Why?” and began to cry.

With eyes so sincere, he captured her gaze.  He answered simply, “Trust in your heart”.

He wiped away the tears and began to dance his Waltz of Love. A message so clear she began to see, see who he really was. He continued to lead and guided her through. He showed her each step as she followed him.  She was beginning to trust him and open her heart.

One little stumble was all that it took to shake her trust and set her back. Without saying a word, he picked her up and brought her back into his warm embrace. She pushed away because of her failing trust. With a firm but gentle hand, he was able to show her that she could trust. He pushed away the hair from her face and tilted her chin so she could look into his eyes. Once he had her eyes locked on his, he told her to trust because he was love. He told her this dance was her song as well, that she could be happy and trust that she was loved. He told her his guidance and tight embrace is what she needed most because without him she was a lost soul. She let go of her fear and let him inside. Her heart was open for the very first time.

As his loved poured and flowed into her heart, she was happy for the very first time. “Oh Lord oh Lord,” she cried out to him, “your love is so beautiful, for I do not deserve.”

With a sweet simple reply, “My child, my beloved, my love is so good and so perfect for you.  Trust in me and it is forever free.”

With tears of joy and a heart full of hope, she continued his waltz, for it is now her new song, and forever and ever will be the dance that she sings: The Waltz of Love.

There is no “us against them” in God’s family. We’re all here by grace.

 

Romans 11:17-18 “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”

 

Exclusivism is an unfortunate reality in human nature. Mankind tends to gravitate toward those of like kind or like nationality or like culture, often to the exclusion of others. From this tendency racism and prejudice are born. Paul knew he was going to deal with that in terms of the Gentile Christians who may be harboring animosity toward the Jews who had rejected Jesus as Messiah. His message in Romans 11:17-18 is a reminder to humility, and it still applies to us today. Paul is telling his audience that they must never forget that while it is wonderful that they have been grafted into the family of God, they now share in the promises that had their beginnings in Israel. Indeed, we are co-heirs in these promises and that the olive tree originates only in Jesus Christ, but may we never group ourselves into an “us” and “them” scenario—Christians and Jews. May we never forget where the promises had their beginnings, and may we never forget the grace that allows us to share in them. Instead of drawing imaginary lines in the sand, let us remember that the fact that we stand on the sand at all must give us pause for humility and thanksgiving.

 

Study/Meditation: Why do you think that history has so often played out the “Christians against Jews” scenario or vice versa? What should be our attitudes?

 

*Father, You are a God of grace and love who has elected His children before the foundation of time. Thank You for choosing me. Amen.

 

photo of CharityBy Abiola Charity

Years back while waiting on God for the New Year as I used to every December, I fell on my back in our dining room and offered words of prayers about the coming year. Not too long afterwards, I heard the words, “NO REGRET,” so I paused to see if I just said that to myself because it sounded strange.

WHAT IS NO REGRET?

But as each moment passed by, the words “no regret” were impressed heavily on my heart until I accepted to pray more and look into the meaning. Gradually, I started seeing how powerful those words are and how important it is for us to live a life of no regret.

At the time of this writing, I feel so strongly in my heart that this is for as many that might have lived life on regrets, not just regretting the past life we might have lived but even a regret of the present, and God is reaching out to us at this time. Before I go further in my testimony of the word for that year, I will love to further open our eyes to some deceptions we might find ourselves in.

The word “regret” comes with fear, and many won’t admit they are living in regret because it is a silent killer of the fullness of life we are called to live. Many are slaves to “had I known” while others quietly utter “I hate myself for doing this.” Living a life of regret actually cages you with your permission.

The bible says in the book of Psalm 35:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us from them all.” Part of the deliverance is regrets from those bad times of our life and wrong decisions we might have made in times of affliction. (You can read the whole chapter of the book of Psalm 35).

You can’t continue living each day with regret and make progress in life. NO, someone has to hear this! God is saying to you, “Daughter, NO REGRET.” He is calling you into a life of liberty and not bondage, a life that accesses fullness of joy and not joy in a minute, sadness of heart in the next minute because you constantly remind yourself of what you did wrong, what is not working well for you, who offends you or who you offend, battling with forgiveness, and so on.

While growing up as a child, I had wounds that left me with scars on my body. I can’t remove the scars, but I can stop saying to myself, “Why did I climb that tree?” Some people might be saying, “What led me to drinking that I got hit by a car,” “Why should I have to suffer abuse at early age and no one cares to see my pain,” “Can I ever be forgiven by this person.” I can hear all this and many more in people’s hearts, but I have also learned that HE WHO SEEKS FORGIVENESS FROM GOD MUST ALSO LEARN TO FORGIVE SELF.

Don’t forget, I can’t remove the scars, but I can see the scars every day and still be grateful to God for seeing me through and that it did not end my life.

Now, this might apply to us in different areas of life but my point is this: I went through a whole year praying and also reminding myself to live a year of NO REGRET, and by the end of that very year I can boldly say to God, “Thank you for a year of NO REGRET, nothing to regret about, not even the decisions I made.” Then I felt this peace like a river, full of gratitude to God, a heart to love wholly and forgiveness overflowing.

So I said to myself, is it possible to continue in this life of NO REGRET? I thought of a covenant prayer with God to live a life of no regrets for the rest of my life.

What is that thing that you regret in your life? Sometimes, it might be your fault or you even have someone to blame for it. Today, God is calling out to you. Enough of the bitterness and hatred that blocks you from experiencing true love. There is healing for you as you read, and God’s power is touching your heart to free you from any form of regrets in Jesus name.

To another, you might say I have nothing to regret at this time, but are you prepared to continue living with that peace we have in Christ Jesus?

The Grace of our Lord Jesus is available for us to live a life of no regret. I mean for every day, hours and secs of our life, we can live. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence there is FULLNESS OF JOY; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” AMEN

Let nothing withhold you from enjoying the fullness of Joy in His presence. Search your heart and let go of all that is holding you back, pray them out, and purpose to live a life of no regrets.

I will love to drop my pen for now, with much love from me to you. SAY NO TO REGRET, YOU CAN AND GOD CAN.

 

Watchword: MY PAST IS NOT YET PAST UNTIL I SEE REASONS TO BE GRATEFUL AND NOT REGRETFUL….

God’s promises stand.

 

Romans 11:16 “If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.”

 

It is quite easy to breeze right over many of these verses in Romans 11—they are very confusing! However, each word is God’s Word, and therefore believers must commit themselves to careful study in order to glean His meaning in each of them. Paul had just written that it will be glorious on the day when all of Israel is redeemed. This bears the question: On what basis can this promise stand if they have rejected Jesus as Messiah? Paul reminds us of God’s promise to “set apart” or “make holy” Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were the “dough offered as firstfruits” or the “root.” Consequently, if the dough (forefathers) is holy (set apart), then so is the whole loaf (Israel); if the root (forefathers) is holy (set apart), then so are the branches (Israel). In other words, Paul is saying that God’s promises to Israel stand, even in their present rebellion, in that the nation will eventually come to salvation in the future. God has a future for corporate Israel. What does this mean for everyone? It means that God’s elective salvation has nothing whatsoever to do with nationality or ethnicity. He set Israel apart—the Israel that would eventually believe on Jesus Christ—, and He set Gentiles apart—the Gentiles that would believe on Jesus Christ. His promises to all of His children stand.

 

Study/Meditation: Read Jeremiah 31:31-34. How do these words reflect what Paul is teaching in Romans 11:16? What does this promise mean for all of God’s children?

 

*Father, You are faithful and true and Your promises stand through all eternity. Amen.

 

In a world where it is easier to stay silent, sing jubilantly of our Savior!

 

Romans 11:13-14 “Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.”

 

Any time an American holiday approaches, the country is awash in national pride, as is true in most any country. Flags fly and anthems are sung, all to the theme of “Proud to be an American.” Identity and pride attached to one’s nationality is a very human condition. However, when that identity and national pride over-reaches the desire to bring salvation to all ethnicities, it truly becomes nothing more than idolatry. Paul was Jewish, though his ministry was to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to Gentiles. Consequently, national and ethnic pride threatened to pit one group against the other, simply based on their heritage. That is still unfortunately often the case today. As Paul reminded the Gentiles believers in these verses, his end goal, which should also be our end goal, is to say and do whatever is necessary so that God might “save some of them.” Our goal is not to make everyone American or Jewish or any other nationality or ethnicity. Our goal is to see them become Christians, true followers of the one true Lord unto salvation. Our anthem should be as Paul’s was in 2 Timothy 2:10, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

 

Study/Meditation: In what ways can you enlarge your own personal boundaries so that you bring the Gospel to more people? What stands in your way?

 

*Father, give me the courage and the wisdom I need to reach more people for Christ. Forgive me for the moments when I fail and grant to me more opportunities to share my Savior with the world. Amen.

 

 

God is on His throne; His work isn’t finished until He says it’s finished.

 

Romans 11:12, 15 “Now if their (Israel’s) trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!…For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?”

 

Often we think the greatest things that God has done are in the past. Theologians sometimes longingly look back at the times of Calvin and Knox and think that the Great Awakening was the most amazing time of God’s grace and that it will never be like that again. Even in our everyday lives we reminisce about the “good ole days” and mourn that things will never be that good again. Paul is reminding us in these verses that God’s grace, His mercy, and His tremendous purposes not only continue, but they expound upon one another in succession! God’s power gets greater and greater with every amazing thing He does. Paul is using the example of the Jews’ rejection of the gospel, saying basically, “If you think their rejection which brought salvation to the rest of the world was amazing, just wait! Just wait until God brings them back, too! That will be glorious!” God is not finished yet. Don’t despair, Christian. Don’t despair the state of society or of the world. God is on His throne and His great work isn’t finished until He says it’s finished. Therefore His greatness continues to increase. Hallelujah!

 

Study/Meditation: In what ways can the church plainly see God’s greatness expanding, even in today’s fallen world? Why is it important that we focus on those things?

 

*Father, You are great and mighty and ever-working in this world. Forgive me for the times I despair, even in the face of this truth. Amen.