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May 9, 2012 / dfrelix

Grace, Freely We have Received and Freely We Should Give

 Not long ago I made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a few items. The day was going well. The weather was nice, I was on a roll knocking off items on my to-do-list, and completing this errand would get me closer to the day’s goal. Once I picked up my last item, as usual, I surveyed the store for the shortest line to stand in. Within seconds I noticed a check stand with just one customer and I could tell she was close to leaving. The day was getting better by the moment! I began loading my items on the conveyor belt, and as I try to make it a habit of doing, I waited until I had the attention of the checker before I smiled and said hello. Much to my surprise not only didn’t she acknowledge my greeting, my entire trip through her line seemed cold and brisk at best – definitely not the type of experience that would catapult my day from “good” to “the-best-day-ever” category.

Days later I reflected on the event and thought about how rude and nasty people can sometimes be, particularly to someone who is a total stranger to them. In all honesty I was feeling a bit self-righteous about the whole thing, that is, until the Holy Spirit gently spoke these words to my heart: ”the grace you have received is the same grace you should give.”

You see there was a time in my life when I was so filled with anger and bitterness that I often found it hard to allow anyone to get close to me, let alone be nice to a total stranger. I can recall many days when I operated from my personal place of anger and bitterness that I left individuals wounded. Inside I was hurting, and as a result I often caused hurt. For years that place was my reality, until I allowed the Holy Spirit free reign in my life to break the chains that had me bound.

As I reflect on those days I realize that God loved me then just as much as He loves me now. His forgiveness was always available each time I sincerely asked, and most importantly, His love and grace were powerfully active (and still are) in my life as I traveled along the road of healing and deliverance. When I look at the above situation through this lens, it seems preposterous that I would think twice about extending the same grace I received to another.

I say this first to myself, then to others: God has extended His grace toward us in so many ways; therefore, let us in turn extend grace to others. The next time you run across an individual who you sense is in a place of bondage that looks all-too-familiar, or you brush up against an individual who you deem “hard-to-love”, by all means extend them grace, forgive them, and pray for them. Remember, freely have we received of God’s grace, so freely let us give.

Care to share your story of how the grace you once received became the same grace you gave?

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May 1, 2012 / dfrelix

God’s Goodness and Our Response

God’s Goodness and Our Response

 About a month or so ago, I suddenly felt the urge to do something special for my four-year-old son. I was going to take him to Toys-R-Us to allow him to select a toy for himself. When I shared this news with him he responded with big, wide-eyes, an open mouth, and gave a little gasp. The word “excited” would be an understatement to describe how he felt. As we got ready to walk out of the door, he turned to me and asked, “Mommy are you taking me to Toys-R-Us because I’ve been really good?” Now, as much as I would love to tell you that my son was being rewarded for his angelic behavior that just wouldn’t be true. In fact, my husband and I had repeatedly been trying to instill in him that snatching toys and yelling at his younger sister (even though she initiates the conflict) is not okay. But, rather than burst his little bubble of self-perfection with those details, I simply told him No, I wasn’t taking him to Toys-R-Us because he had been so good, I was taking him simply because I love him and want to do something nice for him.

 Just as those words left my lips, the scripture found in Romans 2:4 came to mind which states: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” This scripture came alive right before my eyes in that instant! It was true, my son had not been displaying the type of behavior that would warrant a trip to the toy store, but in spite of his behavior, I still wanted to do something nice for him that I knew he would like. This desire in my heart didn’t mean that I had forgotten about the behavior, nor was I excusing it, far from it, but in that moment in time my heart was moved to do it for him anyway, just because I love him.

 This encounter gave me a better understanding of the heart of God and His goodness. He is so filled with love, grace, and mercy that even when we mess up royally, He still proceeds to bless us. These acts of love and mercy don’t excuse our behavior, and they surely don’t mean He supports it, but they reveal just how loving and gracious of a Father He is, and as Jeremiah 31:3 says, He draws us with loving kindness. As a result, when you and I realize that we are recipients of the generous kindness of God, that realization should lead us to a place of turning away from what we know breaks His heart and running into His loving arms.

 Contrary to what some may believe about God, He is not waiting to unleash a barrage of judgment upon us at the slightest mistake we make. The Bible says He extends to us both mercy and grace, which means He doesn’t give us what we deserve and blesses us with what we haven’t earned. How awesome is our God?!

 Share your experiences. In what ways have you experienced the kindness of God in your life that has led you down the path of repentance?

April 25, 2012 / dfrelix

The Need to BELIEVE!

“Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off.” (John 4:50 NASB)

“So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”; and he himself believed and his whole household.” (John 4: 53 NASB)

Isn’t it wonderful when God speaks a timely word of comfort, direction, or encouragement? Whether that word comes in the form of a still, small knowing in your heart of hearts, or a passage of scripture suddenly seems to come alive and speaks to you like never before, you instinctively know it is God’s answer to you and for you. When this happens it is as if the Lord has graced you with a gentle reminder that He is with you and He sees and is concerned about the affairs of your life. Many times that word, alone, is enough to make you want to jump up and celebrate (and I believe you should), but I must add that with the celebration of a word or answer received also comes the responsibility to believe and to act.

Belief is the key that unlocks the floodgates of blessings to flow into your life. This action of belief must be intentional and consistent, as more times than not, there are going to be many things that will try to make you doubt the very word that was spoken – like the fact that the situation, person, or circumstance has yet to change. If you are not intentional about believing what God has spoken, the seemingly “lack of change” may quench the fire of belief and stifle the action that is necessary to receiving the manifestation of the things God has spoken. Take the royal official in the above passage for example, as soon as Jesus spoke the word that his son was healed and instructed him to go, the scripture says he believed and started on his journey. Although he had yet to get word from the home front that his son was healed, his actions testified of the belief that existed in his heart. It wasn’t until he was in the middle of his journey that he received word that his son was healed. The passage goes on to state that when he reflected on just when that healing took place, he realized that it was “at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”; and he himself believed and his whole household.” (verse 53).

I want to encourage you that if you haven’t already begun to do so, apply a hefty dose of “belief” to the word God has spoken to you. In addition to that, allow every word you speak and every action you take to testify of the strong belief you have in your heart, and expect to see the manifestation of what God has spoken in your life.

God Bless You!

Love,

Dana

February 16, 2012 / dfrelix

Let God Love You!

The secular vocal artist, Mario, had a song out a few years ago entitled, “Let Me Love You.” The song was sung from a man’s perspective to a woman who had no idea of her worth. She was in a selfish relationship that took from her and treated her less than what she was worthy of.  The lyrics go on to describe all the wonderful things this woman could have if she would simply allow herself to be loved “the right way.” Mario justified himself as a qualified candidate because he saw her value, appreciated her worth, and was willing and able to give her what he knew she needed. The chorus of this song is as follows:


“You should let me love you

Let me be the one to give you everything you want and need

Baby good love and protection

Make me your selection

Show you the way love’s supposed to be

Baby you should let me love you, love you, love you.”

 

It may seem odd, but whenever I listen to this song I can’t help but hear the desires of our Heavenly Father echoed throughout some of these lyrics. Like the artist, I hear God almost begging of His daughters to turn away from settling for a love that is “second best” to His. I hear Him asking of us to allow ourselves to be valued, appreciated, and lavished with the type of love He knows we need.

The “second best” I’m speaking of is primarily an unhealthy relationship, but if I had to define it, it is anything we use to fill the empty place of our heart that is otherwise reserved for God. So, for some of us, second best may represent the out-of-balance pursuit of our career, for another it may be partaking in activities that are not healthy for our lives, trying to fill an unquenchable desire for that something we are longing for. All the while God stands with open arms and an open heart longing to be our choice. Longing to show us the value He sees in us, longing to celebrate us as His beloved daughters, and longing to fill our lives with the unselfish love He knows we need.

Today I challenge you to refuse to become complacent with a love that is “second best” for yourself. Put aside the “false” lovers and allow the true lover of your soul entry into that reserved place in your heart. He will love you like no other if you simply allow Him.

God Bless You!

Love,

Dana

 

January 19, 2012 / dfrelix

Dressing the Spirit – Are You Wearing Your Armor?

God has given us every thing we need to dress ourselves spiritually on a daily basis so that we can live life victoriously. Although we live in a physical world, we encounter battles on a daily basis that appear worldly in nature, but are really driven by spiritual forces; like when the individual at the counter goes out of their way to be nasty, or when we are cut off while driving not one time, but throughout the entire drive home, or how it seems like no matter what we do, it just isn’t enough to please the powers that be at work, and sometimes we don’t need to leave home to experience a battle.

Paul exhorts us in Ephesian 6: 10-18 to “put on the full armor of God.” I believe his main intent behind this statement was to encourage believers to always have a ready defense against the blows that the enemy will send our way. They are sure to come, and so you and I must never be caught off guard. We need the breastplate of righteousness. We need our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and the shield of faith so that we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the enemy. These are our God-given defenses that are tried and true!

So, how do you get dressed spiritually? Make studying God’s Word a priority, and make prayer a necessity before you start your day. Get dressed spiritually and live life victoriously!

God Bless You!

Love

Dana

November 7, 2011 / dfrelix

Awakened by Trials

Have you ever experienced a situation that was so challenging, it brought you to your knees in prayer the way nothing has ever done before? Were you surprised at the frequency or fervor in which you cried out to the Lord, or surprised at the things you were willing to give up to seek the face of God for answers?

Life has a way of issuing us those sorts of experiences every now and then. Although they hurt, if we allow them to drive us closer to God rather than away from Him, they will awaken something powerful in us that was placed there by Him long ago, because He knew we would have need of it. I have found that it’s that “awakening” that is key in ushering you and me right through whatever it is we are experiencing.

What is awakened looks different from one person to another. For example, I was recently awakened to a renewed passion for prayer; another individual could be awakened to a new level of faith and trust in God; someone else could be awakened to a new thirst for God’s Word. The possibilities are endless, but whatever it is that the turbulent storms of life have ignited within you, embrace it and allow it to carry you through your trial.

Let us not shrink into intimidation or fear because of the circumstances that come to test our faith. Rather, let’s rise to the level of awakening in us that these trials bring, and let us move forward knowing that God is on our side. In this world we will have tribulation, Our Father forewarned us of this, but He also encouraged us to take courage because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

 

As you and I awaken to the new levels that God desires for us to rise to, I believe we will not only see major victories in our lives, but we will also evolve into a more powerful, more mature believer who will bring greater glory and honor to God and His Kingdom.

May you wholeheartedly embrace whatever it is God is awakening within you.

Copyright 2011 Dana Frelix

 

October 5, 2011 / dfrelix

Trusting God is A Choice

Make the Decision to Trust God

Our Father is, hands down, the best candidate in whom we should place our total trust. He is so powerful that this world cannot contain Him, He knows all, sees all, and time is in His hands. Everything is subject to His command, and He is everywhere. This is the God we serve. With this said, why would we NOT place our total trust in Him?

Grant it, in these days and times there is much that could so easily cause us to worry and become fretful, but we must place things in perspective. Worry is unfruitful. It does nothing more than cause us stress, and stress leads to sickness. I had to remind myself of this truth just recently. Life seemed to be issuing me one thing after another with which to concern myself. Everything from worrying about a loved-one, to trying to figure out the best food to serve my 4 year-old who needs a special diet due to allergies. My list was long, and for weeks I worried and prayed, then worried again until one day I had time to truly slow down. It was then that I realized I hadn’t made the decision to TRUST. It’s one thing to pray, but it’s another thing all together to TRUST that when you pray the Lord hears and He IS working on your behalf.

“Well, what do you do when it seems God is silent and His work on our behalf appears little to none?” you might ask. We have to trust Him when what we see doesn’t line up with what He has said. Even when it looks like time is running out, we must trust that He will come through. In the moments when, according to our time frame, He’s already late, we must trust that His time to move for us is actually ON TIME.

It really is quite a mature thing to do, to trust that God is moving even when we don’t see the evidence. What makes this doable is the fact that God’s word simply cannot fail. He’s told us in His Word that His plans for us are for good and not evil, and that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Remember, trusting Jesus doesn’t mean that we are not concerned. Quite the contrary, we are concerned, and so we take it to Jesus and trust that He is working it out for us. Take advantage of the savior’s invitation to literally cast ALL of your cares upon Him, because He cares for us, and make the decision to trust Him!

Copyright 2010 Dana Frelix

August 10, 2011 / dfrelix

Break those Chains!

Breaking the Chains of Bitterness and Unforgiveness

All of us have encountered situations that have left us wounded and embittered. Some of us have moved beyond the offense and the emotions that accompany it, but others of us are still struggling with the memories of that fateful experience. If the truth were told, the wounds are just as fresh today as they were the day you experienced the personal violation. If you find that you are one of those people who still struggle with letting go of an offense and the bitterness it brings, let me remind you that it is in your best interest to break those chains. Why? Well, because first and foremost, Jesus commands us to forgive; and two, holding on to bitter feelings and emotions has a way of turning on you and causing you more pain than you thought you could ever experience.

I was guilty of this very thing. For years I harbored feelings of bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart. I kept the memories of what took place in my life fresh by replaying them over and over again. Partly because I wanted to justify my stubborn position of holding on to toxic emotions that I knew I needed to release, and partly because I wanted to feel sorry for myself. Neither of the two proved to be beneficial.  As time went on, the offenses never stopped coming, and so each time I experienced a situation that needed reconciliation, it reminded me of what I had previously experienced and made me more justified in my position. Rather than letting go of the offenses, I collected them in my heart, piling them on top of one another. The results were sad, especially for someone who considered herself a child of God. It made me angry, it prevented me from having healthy relationships, and it made me a tool for which the enemy could use to perpetrate the same type of offense on someone else because I was all too familiar with it.  It took some time, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, I finally broke free of the old chains of bitterness that had me bound.

Today I am quick to check my heart to make sure there are no hidden areas of bitterness and unforgiveness. If I do find some, I repent and ask the Lord to heal me and deliver me from these feelings because I know the damage they can cause.

What about you? Are there past experiences in your life that have left you unforgiving and bitter? If so, I urge you today to serve them an eviction notice. Your heart was meant to be a dwelling place for God’s Spirit, not a playground for the enemy to wreak havoc in your life and in the lives of others. With God’s help it can be done! Go on, break those chains!

Dana Frelix

Copyright 2011

July 27, 2011 / dfrelix

The True You!

 Are You Living Life Divinely Defined?

God has divinely defined each and every one of us, and He wants us to live our lives in light of that definition on a daily basis. When you do, such knowledge will drive you to make certain decisions that you otherwise wouldn’t make. You may even do things that, to others, seem strange, but to you are right in line with God’s will and purpose for YOUR life. It will cause you to accept certain invitations and decline others, and break long-standing traditions that drive how things have “always been done”—all because of this priceless knowledge.

One of my favorite examples of this is found in John 4.  This story illustrates Jesus asserting His God-given identity with courage and boldness. First, He tells the woman of Samaria that He is the long-awaited promised Messiah that she and her people had been anticipating. The story goes on to illustrate the amazement of His disciples when they discovered Him speaking to this particular woman—because Jews had no dealing with Samaritans. Lastly, we see Jesus refusing His disciples’ offer to eat and explains to them that His food “is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

If you don’t know the person God has created you to be, or if you aren’t asserting that truth on a daily basis, then you are robbing yourself and the world of the blessings that are associated with the “true” you. Spend some time with the Lord and ask Him to reveal to you your God-given identity. If you already know, I challenge you to let this be your declaration: “I am she who _____________.” You fill in the blank, and once the blanks are filled in, begin living it intentionally and with no excuses, because you are Divinely Defined!

June 20, 2011 / dfrelix

When Change Becomes Scary

 

God, the Only Constant

I recently attended the funeral of a close relative. This death caught all of us off guard, and it came within one year of burying three other loved ones. As I drove the tree-lined roads of that Alabama morning on the way to the funeral, I knew the dynamic of our family had been forever changed, again. I knew when I visited my family there would be one more face that wouldn’t be among the crowd. Now, it’s one thing to experience change simply because you have matured, and the eyes of which you once viewed things have seen so much more that it’s inevitable to look at things the same, but it’s another thing altogether when change happens because of a tragic and unforeseen circumstance that forces a disruption of all things normal. This situation was precisely that. The very thought of how different things would be now made me grow sadder by the second—so much so that I asked myself, “is there anything that won’t ever change?”  No sooner did I ask that question did my mind go to God. As I thought about Him I realized that He is the only constant in this world. He never fluctuates in His personality, He’s always there when we call upon Him, and (this came as a relief) He never dies!

Now I must admit that this realization didn’t lift the hurt I was feeling because of my loss, but it did comfort me to know that the One in whom I place my confidence is a constant force. He is my source of joy and hope when the circumstances of life weigh heavily upon me, and He won’t up and leave thereby force me to adapt with the loss of His presence in my life.

 In this world of constant flux and change, it’s good to know that we have a God who remains the same. He truly is a very present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

 Dana Frelix 2011