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Sabrina Gauer

Faith, Life & The Journey

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Mercy, Mercy

“You delight in showing mercy; and Mercy triumphs over Judgement.” – Bethel Music

I recently attended a worship night with Bethel Music, and it was an incredible time of reflection, of prayer, and of renewal. Part of what makes a gathering of worshippers at the feet of Jesus in a concert so breathtaking is the fact that we are all in one room, hands raised, mostly strangers, voices lifted in unison to the One who deserves it all. And because we hardly know each other, or because we are there for the music, or whatever the case may be, we aren’t focused on each other. We aren’t there to judge each other (“Can you believe he even has the nerve to be here right now? Do you know what she was just talking about? He is such a hypocrite! She is such a liar!”). We aren’t there to watch them. We are there to turn inward on ourselves and lift it all up to Christ and His unfailing love.

But if this was church, if this was our home fellowship, if it were our close friends or family…it’s different, isn’t it?

Why do we get hung up on the broken instead of celebrating the beautiful? 

David Sliker, from the International House of Prayer, made a really good point when he said, “His mercies are new every morning – which doesn’t mean that Jesus overlooks sin, compromise, and brokenness in our lives; it means that every morning we awaken to His unwavering, relentless commitment to seeing us set free, made whole, filled with indescribable joy from His incomparable love.”

New every morning. But not just every morning. Every second. Every moment of weakness. Every time we need it so desperately from Him. So why are we constantly wavering between self-righteous judgement of others and victimizing ourselves? It’s either we aren’t good enough, 25085_Baptism_Prayersor they aren’t good enough. Yet, if we actually lived out the truth in the statement above, none of that would matter! Christianity isn’t about what we don’t like, don’t agree with, or who we’re mad at. It’s about love.

“Oh love, great love.”

I am guilty as charged when it comes to this very human fault. I have observed other Christians who I know very well and had ugly thoughts toward their weaknesses. I have cast judgement when it was never my place to judge at all. I have acted out of pain and anger toward people who have hurt me. It’s true- I’m pathetically human. And as much as I hate this about myself, I will probably do it again and again. Because that is what we humans do every day- comparing, complaining, secretly envying, outright boasting, cheating, stealing, lying, hiding our darkness and trying to spit-shine the good parts so we look better to the outside world.

But for the mercy and the grace of our Lord…

He knows it all. There is nothing we do or say or think that He doesn’t see or feel. If you are saved by grace, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord and have handed Him the control of your life, then you have the most incredible power and closeness of God inside of your soul- His Holy Spirit. And yet, we forget that easily. This temporal world entraps us and distracts us from the eternal perspective.

I want to see beyond the broken. I want the heart to love others in Christ, even when they have wounded me. Even when it’s ugly and twisted and seemingly irreparable. Because the lifetime spent in eternity as sons and daughters of God won’t include the regrets, the immaturity, the weaknesses. We will all be one in Him, made perfect by His love.

So for even just a second, stop and breathe. Quiet your thoughts, and let His mercy be enough today. Let forgiveness and acceptance and grace infiltrate every fiber of your being, and ask God to see others the same way. That is what I’m on my knees about and begging for- the eyes to see others in light of mercy. In light of grace. In light of the cleansing blood of Jesus. When it doesn’t make any sense at all…be merciful.

“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” – James 2:13

The Overflow of Thanks

“The right attitude is to always keep your plans submitted to God. Make your plans but say, “God, if this is what You want, this is the direction I’m going to go. I’m doing this with flexible faith.” -Rick Warren

Thanksgiving. I’ve been thinking fondly about the turkey, the stuffing, the time with family and the fe34038_Thanksgiving_tableeling of warmth and love that seems to surround the holiday season. And despite all I have faced this year, devastating losses and triumphant victories…I am so incredibly and undeniably thankful.

I love that above quote by Rick Warren. This concept of “flexible faith” is something I’ve been reflecting on over the past few weeks. I am thankful for the curveballs and the opportunity to take a step back and see a bigger picture. It’s still fuzzy and gray, and I have no idea what’s next as I continue this journey of healing. I thought I knew where God wanted me and what I was on track for…and then, in a whirlwind of totally unforeseen events and circumstances, I am in a completely different place now – mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Flexible faith means trusting God in everything. Literally, everything. What do you do when everything you thought was true and concrete suddenly changes, and you are thrown off of a course you could see so clearly? You heard God’s voice, you were seeing doors opening, you were confident in the plan…but now, you’re standing in a hallway, and you’re caught between waiting and wanting. Being still and doing something. Praying fervently for fresh vision, renewed passion, and believing He’s never failed…and regardless of your circumstances, He won’t fail you now either.

This holiday season, I’m thankful for all of the blessings in my life…including this opportunity to seek, to wait, and to fully trust. I’m embracing this opportunity to watch as something new unfolds before me. Allowing myself to submit completely to a plan I can’t yet see…doing it all with flexible faith.

Good Thoughts Aren’t Enough

One of my favorite things to do is scroll through Pinterest. I can easily lose hours of my life to images of kitchen remodeling, makeup ideas, recipes (that I will probably never make…), what to wear in any season, and QUOTES. Oh, the quotes! I can quickly sift through and identify the ones that apply most to my life in whatever moment, allowing the ones that resonate the deepest to be “pinned” where I can recall them for myself at a later time.

I’ve discovered that many of the quotes that are so appealing and receive the highest amounts of pins are those that are uplifting, inspiring, and positive. “Not All Storms Last Forever,” promises one in flowering handwriting. “Start Each Day With A Grateful Heart,” instructs another. Inner peace. True love. Have faith. And, while these are definitely good things to think about or goals to aspire to, these “good thoughts” are not enough to change anything.

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Sure, a positive outlook on life can bring temporary peace and happiness in situations where it’s easier to dwell on what’s wrong. But it’s superficial. It’s like eating candy that looks like vegetables – in the end, it’s still pure sugar without any nutrients.

The world is full of “good” advice, “good” vibes, “good” ideas, and “good” options to achieve “peace”. But they’re missing a very important part. True peace, true happiness, true confidence…it’s all found through a relationship with Jesus.

We can quote positive messages to ourselves all day long. But circumstances change when we kneel in prayer. When we focus on God and His plan rather than our temporary emotions. When we release those things that occupy our hearts and minds into the hands of the One who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Because, even if our situations shift like the wind, He doesn’t. No amount of positive thinking can substitute for God’s peace. And our souls rest and find real, lasting peace in His strength alone.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:16-19

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