Forgiving Me

Tracy Johnson, GFC Van Dyke

Have you ever made a choice in your life that you look back on and cringe at the mere thought of it? I have! For many years I allowed that choice to define my identity and shape my very existence. I walked around with a smile (even in church) for all to see. But, on the inside, a battle raged! This battle was destroying me!

Forgiveness is very personal to me because it has played a part in teaching me how to love myself and helped me to understand where my true identity comes from. When Jesus was on the cross and He said these words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He was looking at me, He was looking at you. Jesus was crying out for you and me, can you see His bruised and broken body? I see Jesus crying out because of his Love. I have to admit, this kind of love took some time for me to believe because this sin to me was unforgivable!

But God said differently in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”

I stand in a love that is greater than anything I could comprehend or imagine. I thank God for His forgiveness. Through His forgiveness I was able to forgive myself, which is a whole other blog post!

All in all, Forgiveness holds power, Forgiveness is an act of love, forgiveness sets forth redemption, and forgiveness grants freedom. We are forgiven, now forgive yourself💕

In My Feelings …

In My Feelings

Tracy Johnson, GFC Van Dyke

Emotions aren’t easy for me to talk about, because, to be honest, I struggle with my emotions. I struggle with being joyful all the time, I struggle with my level of stress, and I struggle with keeping a smile on my face! While I’m putting it all out there, I must admit that I sometimes allow my feelings to negatively effect my view of things.

My own emotions have intrigued me so much that I have read articles, books, listened to Tedtalks, and watched videos and professors talk about this very subject.

Here is what I learned through my thorough research:

“Feelings don’t have intellect. They aren’t that bright. Don’t trust them.” This quote came from Priscilla Shirer and it blows my mind every time I hear or say it!

So Ladies, ask yourself this question: If we can’t trust something and it doesn’t have intellect, why are we listening to it?

I also learned that emotions are God given and we don’t have a choice in having them. Feelings are the responses of our emotions but in terms of our feelings, we have a personal choice in how we react. Is it always easy to manage our feelings? NO. But the blessing is, We Can!

Let’s work to be intentional in managing our reactions and not let something we can’t trust rule our behavior.

 

Dear 2021 …

Dear 2021

Caryn Mora

 

I recently read a letter on Facebook. It was short and to the point. It simply said, “Dear 2020, Go away. #Seriously!” Is there anything that could sum up our feelings of the last year more adequately?

 

This past year has been a series of twists and turns that have led us down roads many of us would rather not have gone down. The Lord never promised us a perfect life. The Bible, in fact, tells us that there will be trouble. What God does tell us, however, is that He will never leave us or forsake us. This past year has been difficult, but God has been with us. So, if I were going to write a letter to 2021 it would look something like this:

Dear 2021,

 

Last year was one of the most difficult years of my life. It was a roller coaster of emotions that brought hardship, loss and pain to so many. But you, 2021, are a brand new year full of promise and hope! I believe that you are going to be the best year I’ve ever seen. I stand in faith that this year I will see God work miracles in my life and the lives of others. John 16:33 says that I should take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. You are the year where I choose to become an overcomer with Jesus. I choose to set aside time every day to build my relationship with Him. You are the year where I choose to ignore the lies of the enemy who tells me that I am nothing and instead believe my Father in Heaven who tells me I am an heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17). I choose to have faith in the Word of God.

Yes, 2021, I’m excited to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to you! I will not allow the baggage of 2020 to enter with me. I’m closing the door and taking with me only the Spiritual lessons that have brought me closer to my Savior.

 

Sincerely,

Caryn

P.S. Do you think you could get Chick-Fil-A to open up their restaurants inside?

The Perfect Gift

By Caryn Mora, GFC Van Dyke 

During the Christmas season we often focus on the giving of gifts. Sometimes we pick up a quick gift card, knowing exactly which restaurant or store will bring a smile to our loved ones faces. Other times we browse stores (or web pages) for hours, agonizing over what to buy.

 For us gift seekers, there is good news! God has already provided the perfect gift. (Luke 2:10-11) He came to earth as a tiny baby. He had one solitary purpose. He was to be the sacrifice for our sins. His willingness to become a man, lead a perfect life and die for us opened the door to so many perfect gifts. He gave us salvation, forgiveness, peace, joy, love and hope.

This Christmas, won’t you consider passing on a few of these one-size-fits-all perfect gifts? Will you open your heart to forgive someone who has wronged you? It is truly more blessed to give this gift than to receive. Will you give the gift of peace this year? Perhaps you could decide to put away that grudge that you’ve been holding on to for far too long. What about spreading love and joy to those around you who are less fortunate? Would you take a moment to instill hope in someone’s heart by praying with them or sharing the Word of God?

 The greatest gift we could give is to give back to Jesus, the one who started the gift giving. We could accept His free gift of salvation and choose to follow His path for our lives. What are you waiting for? Go out and give the perfect gift this season.

 2 Corinthians 9:15 – “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

What I Don’t Deserve

By Amy Hafner, GFC South Tampa

Last week, I loaded up the car and headed across town to my eldest son, Blake’s baseball practice. I look forward to these practices because I get to see some of my favorite moms, my two younger boys get to see some friends, and we all get to be outside.

It took about thirty minutes to complete the drive, so I made a phone call, one that I had been putting off making for I knew it would be a tough one. The call went ok, but when I arrived at the field, it was empty. I texted my husband, and he informed me that they were playing at the other field—the one back my
way, the one pretty close to my house. I was annoyed; between the call and the miscommunication, I could feel my muscles tighten, and my hands clench the steering wheel. I didn’t know exactly where I
was going, so I pulled over to enter the new address into my GPS. My middle son, Trip, then quietly said, “Mom, can we go now.”

I turned around and not so quietly said, “Can you give me like one second….geez?” To which I heard the
Holy Spirit immediately say, “Amy?” Ugh… I sat there for a second, a second that seemed like an eternity, asked for forgiveness, and then turned around to Trip and said, “Trip, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that.” To which my youngest son, Knox (he’s five), replied, “Mom, that’s ok, I still love you, you’re the best mommy.”

And just like that, the Holy Spirit flooded out of my mouth, “That’s Grace.” To which I said, “Knox, do you know what you just did? You just gave me grace, do you know what that is? You gave me something I didn’t deserve, but you did it anyway, and I’m so grateful, Thank you.”

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for saving that moment. Do you know what I sometimes do? I focus on the war, the worry, the decay, the anger, the selfishness, the hate, the judgment. But God says, focus on the peace, the trust, the restoration, the gratitude, the sacrifice, the love, and the grace that you see around you every day.

If you have the vision to see, you will see the beautiful glimpses of God working
in the middle of all this mess. Right here, right now, through love and grace.
Breathe it in. Sit in it for just a second.

That’s what happened approximately two thousand and twenty years ago. Grace came to Earth in the form of a man and forgave us all, and now He can work through all of us, especially a
five-year-old.

“We believe that we are all saved the same
way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”” Acts 15:11 NLT