Leading Mercy

Remember when I told you that in 2008 I had a great epiphany? I had suddenly realized that it had been I breaking God’s heart and that He had not been the one breaking mine. Actually that had been me breaking my heart as well. It was that same year that I heard the most incredible series of messages by Dr. Charles Stanley called God’s Children Gifted for the Ministry. That series opened my eyes and my understanding, which proved to be life changing for me.

leadership for mercy

Why didn’t God reveal these truths to me earlier and save me from the years of heartache and failed relationships? He knew I wasn’t ready to hear the truth until then. He knew my greatest asset was my greatest weakness at times. He also knew that it would be a humbled and broken heart that would lead me to my greatest contentment and joy. What an awesome, patient and gentle God He is. He has guided my life with such precision and grace.

So how did a sermon series change my life?

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Enter the Bold, Valiant Defenders of Truth

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 15b—Enter the bold, valiant defenders of Truth

In Christ, we as believers are the chosen, beloved, redeemed, blessed children of God-heirs of royalty who have been declared as saints and who are compelled by love to be the servants of the most High God. All of these attributes are shared by all who know Christ as their Savior. The Holy Spirit indwelling the hearts of every believer is the conformational seal of this truth. As we have been studying, the more we understand these truths and write them on our hearts with indelible ink; the more we grow in hope, faith, love and joy. These truths guide us to a life of true positive thinking. All these gifts in Christ are shared commonly; yet, there are the seven primary spiritual motivational gifts of ministry which God chose to divide amongst the saints in such a manner so as to ascertain that we would each other.

Boldly Stand for Truthoriginal artwork courtesy of Ronald Barba and is protected under copyright laws

No one is to stand alone in this Christian Journey.  God has designed it so that we need each other to be able to stand firm in faith.

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Understanding those with the Gift of Service

Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 15A-Understanding those with the Gift of Service

It was late September 2000 when I was finally heading to St. Louis for a total colectomy. It had been a long road of high dose steroids and medical management of my ulcerative colitis with no relief of symptoms in sight. Indeed, now I had all the side effects of the steroids from the moon face, the buffalo hump, a full beard, and severe weakness from the muscle wasting in the legs. I had waited until fall when both my sons would be gone away to school—Ron in New Jersey and Alberto at Missouri University. They had watched me through the chemotherapy and as I battled the ulcerative colitis; although, I tried to shelter them as much as I could from the truth of what I was experiencing. I knew I would have an ileostomy for 6 to 8 weeks and wasn’t looking forward to it. I parked my car and carefully wrote down the exact location. The tickets were bought and in 6 days, Melissa would fly in and take a taxi to the hospital. She was going to arrive as precisely as I could determine the day I should be released to go home. She was coming to drive me home and to be my companion over the first two weeks after I was discharged. Which brings me to the motivational gift of service which is definitely the primary motivational gift that my daughter has.

Serve with love

Those who have the gift of service as their primary motivational gift are very sensitive to the desires, likes and dislikes of those around them. They desire to give of themselves tirelessly in an attempt to help meet the needs of others, even to the extent of disregarding their own personal health and personal comfort. They gain great pleasure in seeing that they have made someone else’s life easier.

It is important for them to receive gratitude and positive feedback in return, because they very much need to realize that what they are doing has made a difference. They are always looking for ways to serve and love to be around people. There are times when they can be easily side tracked because they may suddenly see another need which appears to be more urgent so they run off to the greater need before completing the first task.

 

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3 Keys to Unlock the Fullest Potential of Your Spiritual Gifts

Power filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 14- 3 Keys to Unlock the Fullest Potential of Your Spiritual Gifts

We have been provided in Christ, spiritual gifts to be used in our journey on this earth and to be shared with those we meet along this journey. Look at Romans 12: “3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.9 Let love be without dissimulation.” As I illustrated within my own small family, these motivational gifts have been given by God in such a manner as to ascertain that we would need to rely on each other. The same is true in the church and in the body of believers. We were never meant to live our lives isolated emotionally, physically, nor spiritually. We need each other. Note that these are spiritual motivational gifts which are guided by the inward working of the Holy Spirit in us.

lwjas0132

The Holy Spirit is the essence and embodiment of God’s perfect love and delight in the Son; therefore, the Holy Spirit is that outflowing love which fills our hearts with an agape like love. As the Holy Spirit’s perfect love works through these motivational gifts, there is perfect harmony within the body of the church, family, or unit of believers. Hence that which allows these uniquely different gifts to work harmoniously is genuine selfless love.

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United we Stand-One Body in Christ

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 14b-United we Stand-One Body in Christ

In Christ, we are bestowed with spiritual gifts. Christ having been the complete embodiment of all the gifts; yet, God in His wisdom divided the 7 major gifts so that we would need each other. He never meant for us to be an island within ourselves. The 7 major gifts are Leadership (Organization), Prophecy (Justice), Service, Teaching, Exhortation, Mercy, and Giving (Financial Savvy). There may be moments in which we may be given any of the gifts in a crisis moment; however, for the most part each believer is given one primary motivational gift with one secondary motivational gift. Within the family of Christ (the body of all believers) as well as within our earthly family it is very important to know and understand this principle. By gaining a thorough understanding of the various motivational gifts, we gain an understanding of how to harmoniously work together. When we combine the various gifts harmoniously, we develop a strong defensive line against attack by outside forces of any kind, including from satanic attack.

united in love

The key to harmoniously working together is understanding each motivational gift,  its primary purpose within the body, celebrating the differences, and allowing God’s love to flow through us as the glue that holds it all together.

In I Corinthians 12, we read Paul illustrate this for us by saying it is similar to our human body which works together. The ears cannot do what the eyes do, nor can the heart do what the brain does; yet, they all work together. For an athlete to run a race, it requires the brain, lung, heart, muscle, skeletal system, sensory system and metabolic system all working in harmony. Although, each system has its unique function in the body which is very different; to accomplish any task the separate parts must harmoniously function together. When any one part fails, the task becomes essentially impossible.

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Where do you turn in the darkness of night?

Along this pilgrimage journey, so often I have stumbled and fallen. How often have my dreams been shattered? All too often, when I look at the failures; I find a dark crevice in my own heart. The more I know of Grace, Mercy and God’s Glorious Righteousness; the more amazed I am that He would have ever chosen me. The more I know of His magnificent light, the more I recognize the darkness of my own heart. Oh, how that draws me to love Him even more and to seek Him with all my heart, body and soul. For any of you who feels shattered or broken, remember this: It is God’s mercy and grace that is reaching His light into your darkness that He might bring you true joy. He desires to cover you with His blanket of righteousness and to fill your heart with His love. “12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4)

Where do you turn in the darkness of night?

By Effie Darlene Barba

Where do you turn in the darkness of night?

When your dreams are broken and shattered

Your tears flowing forth-no hope in sight

Now knowing what really had mattered.

 

Fragments of love in a heart that is broken

Searching to find its way through

Silently mourns all that was spoken

Longing that mercy is true

 

Into that darkness a light shines within

The deepest parts of the soul

Revealing the evil, the hearts prideful sin

For which you are paying this toll

 

Into the silence a whisper is heard

A gentle love song, a soft lullaby

Forgiveness was God’s only word

“My Child, I have heard your heart cry

 

My mercy is greater than all you have done

It is I who can show you the way

For this I did send forth my precious dear son

On a cross your penalty pay

 

Come my dear child, I long for your voice

My desire is you trust in my love

Remember, my child; I give you this choice

I have all that your life is void of”

 

Where do you turn in the darkness of night?

When your dreams are broken and shattered

Turn the eyes of your heart to God’s Glorious light

You will find He is all that has mattered

 

The darkness you found was hidden within

The crevices of your  own heart

The scars and the guilt of your darkest sin

His love will force to depart

 

You’ll rise from the ashes of who you once were

To fly with wings of a dove

With His Word He has spoken and made your heart pure

You are held by the strength of His love

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Gifted with a Purpose

Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 14A—Gifted with a Purpose

It was February 4, 2010. My mind was in a spiraling whirlwind of emotions. Helplessness, sorrow, anger, guilt, fatigue, fear and even love were all jumbled in my brain as I wrote a blog that day called, “What do I do when I am lost in a sea of craziness?” Mom was in the hospital with a psychotic breakdown. It wasn’t the first; but, it did seem the worst she had experienced over the course of the time I had been taking care of her. Beyond that, I myself was tired. I had spent beyond my means to provide private sitters for mom to avoid this breakdown; yet, it came anyway. As all the mixed emotions were whirling in my head, I began to wonder “where is the fine line between sanity and insanity?” It felt that I had carried the torch for Christ, for my family, and for work alone. That day, I wondered; “was I really all that different than mom? Didn’t I too have fears, sorrows, worries, and moments of depression as well? The only difference I could see between mom and me that day was that I held mine tightly hidden deep within; where, she wore her emotions like a banner. It was as though the diagnosis gave her the freedom to do or say whatever she pleased. I, on the other hand must get up to go to work, strive to say the right things, struggle to pay all the bills for us both, clean the house, be always responsible, cling tight to the final shred of hope, and forgive myself when I failed to get it all done. Ah, yes and the self-loathing for even allowing such a thought to enter my brain—after all, there was mom completely lost into a psychotic world and I should be more empathetic. Yet, the pain ran so deep; I only wanted to run. I prayed fervently, even though I had no idea what to pray.

stand aloneoriginal artwork by Ronald Barba and can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/ronald+barba/all  This artwork is protected under copyright laws and cannot be reproduced without permission. 

I felt so lost and all alone. I knew God was with me and that certainly was all I needed, right? I learned a valuable lesson the next day when I received a call from Alberto, my son.

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7 Garments of Your New Life in Christ-Will you wear them today?

Power Filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 13c- 7 Garments of Your New Life in Christ -Will you wear them today?

In Christ, we are new creations, raised out of the dust and ashes of our spiritual death into new life. God breathed into Adam the breath of life. In Christ, God has breathed into us the Holy Spirit—who indwells us, guides us, and provides for us the security of His covenant promise to us. Furthermore, God has clothed us with the righteousness of Christ. Yet, this earthly journey leaves us surrounded by all the allurements of our old addictions to self-exaltation, our allurements to counterfeit pleasures, our anger, our greed, our pride, and our sin filled nature. Too often we cling tight to those old garments. We don’t want to release them because we might possibly want to wear them again. After all, those were the garments that made us feel better about ourselves. We had worn those garments to attempt to ward off the depression, lifelessness and sorrow of our own depraved hearts. It comes down to whether I really believe and trust in the promises of God. Do I really know that in Christ, this new life is an abundant life? Do I really trust in God’s Sovereignty? Do I really believe that His plans for me are the best plans—the ones that will guide me into fullness of joy? Do I see the trials of this pilgrimage journey as stepping stones to greater love, joy, hope, faith and glory? Do I truly believe that Christ won the victory over sin and death for me? Most important of all, do I really believe that God loves me with a perfect, unconditional, everlasting covenant love? When we get dressed for the day, we choose our clothing from the closet so as to look our best, to be appropriate for the task at hand, and to display to the world our position in life.

garment of righteousness

If I really believe that God is Sovereign, loves me with a perfect love, and has clothed me with newness of life; then, I will adorn those new garments in response to every situation of life. I will choose those garments which best display who I am in Christ.

So what are these new garments of this new life in Christ?

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The Power to Overcome

Power-filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 13 b –The Power to Overcome

Too often, we underestimate who we are in Christ. We continue to struggle through this world attempting to battle in our own strength because we don’t realize that we are new creatures, born into Christ’s righteousness.

Arise to newness

As we grow in our knowledge of our new positions in Christ, given to us by God’s grace; then we become ever more aware that sin does not have dominion over us. Our old addictions are replaced by a new love and a new joy that is more powerful than the allurement of the old addiction to sin. The counterfeit joy promised by the old desires becomes replaced by the true joy found in our relationship with God. True, genuine, selfless love becomes the motivating force that provides the power to lay aside the old and truly walk forth in this newness of life.

Isaiah 60: (AMP): 1 Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!”

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New Creation in Christ-then why do I put on these old rags?

Power filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 13A New Creation

It was late in 2008 that I finally laid down the fairy tale dream that Prince Charming would come to rescue me one day. It had been my dream and the driving force that lead me down a very crooked road of broken hearts. My greatest desire had been to find someone who would love me and by such validate my worth as a woman. Oh, yes as a Christian; I knew that God was most important. After all, had he not said if I seek Him first, he would give me the desires of my heart? So, I was angry with God that day as I shouted, “Why must you always break my heart? Why God can’t you give me this one thing?” At first, there seemed a long silence; as my anger grew—then I heard a soft whisper, “My dear child, do you not see? I have given you all of me. I have died that you might have life. I have taken upon myself all your sorrow. It is you who has broken my heart because you don’t see, I am enough.”

That day, I realized what a broken and messed up heart I have—the darkness that lurks within. I suddenly realized how self-centered and self-exalting my heart really was. My great thorn in the flesh which had brought me to my knees over and over again was that feeling of being a failure based on my inability to find a husband who would love me and adore me. No accomplishment as mother, nurse practitioner, or friend could fill that gap and Satan knew just where to stab me with his blades of lies.

new creations

We all have our own areas of brokenness. Each of us have our own personal thorn in the flesh. For some it may be pride, for some it may be lust, for some it may be fear, for some it may be anger; but, for certain for all there is something dark, hidden in the recesses of our hearts.

We all are born with

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