Unfair Grace

A teacher asked his students to line up for recess. All but one quietly walked to the line remembering to push in their chairs and leaving their desks clear of pencils and papers. As the teacher turned around to grab his jacket, he heard a loud crash! He turned back around to find that one student had toppled another student's desk and chair in her rush to get to the line. Without a pause the teacher demanded that each child go back to their seat to put their heads down and quickly explained that they would miss their entire recess.

How unfair!
Sounds familiar, though, right? Because of ONE man's sin, the entire world stands condemned.
Romans 5:19 tells us that because Adam disobeyed God, ALL men became sinners. 1 Corinthians 15:22 tells us that our destiny is death!
That's a little extreme, don't you think? How unfair!

Another teacher asked her students to line up for recess. All but one noisily rushed to the line forgetting to push in chairs or knocking pencils and papers off of desks. One student stood up quietly, pushed in others' chairs, and picked up fallen pencils and papers as he walked to the line. The teacher told the class that because of this child's right behavior she would allow all of them to play.

How graciously unfair!

Sounds familiar, though, right? Because of ONE man's obedience the entire world is offered forgiveness.  Romans 5:19 tells us that because of Christ's obedience, ALL who believe are made righteous! 1 Corinthians 15:22 tells us that our destiny is life!
That's a little extreme, don't you think? How unfair!

God's grace is completely unfair, but I am so glad that it is!

My husband wrote this song to express the victory we have in Christ because of God's Unfair Grace. Listen here, and then download the rest of the album on iTunes! It will NOT disappoint!

Sin from one
Condemned us all
In sin's grip
Born to fall

To say the least
'Til hope arrived
For death's defeat

By faith
We're saved
By grace alone
By Jesus' blood
Our souls atoned

Oh pardon full
Now rest and peace
Unfair Grace
Has ransomed me

Now with the morn
I'll sing aloud
Praise forever
Love came down

Took my place
to pardon me
Unfair Grace
Now I receive

By faith
We're saved
By grace alone
By Jesus' blood
Our souls atoned

My only need
My rest and peace
My Jesus won
My victory

I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God to Whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You

By faith
We're saved
By grace alone
By Jesus' blood
Our souls atoned

Our only need
Our rest in peace

Our Jesus won
Our Jesus won
Our Jesus won

The victory

-Blake Monroe


Feelin' Fruity

Without the Holy Spirit in your life, it is impossible to exhibit real, 100% fruit! Just like the ingredients list for a Watermelon Jolly Rancher doesn’t include any actual watermelon, an unbeliever can only mimic what they think is real.

But someone who possesses the Holy Spirit possesses His fruit! That means that you have real, 100% love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is now part of your very core (pun intended). This is why you feel rotten when you behave opposite of this fruit. It’s not who you are anymore.

Our minds (part of our flesh) are often still tricked into thinking that we want to sin. Sin does exist in our flesh, but not in our spirit. The flesh and spirit are now at battle (Romans 7:14-20). This is why Paul urges us to “...be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1).” Our hearts have been made new. Our minds must be renewed to match. In James 1:24, we’re compared to people who look in a mirror, walk away, and immediately forget what they look like. We must constantly look into the mirror of truth that reflects our new identity in Christ so that when we walk away and we’re tempted to act un”fruity” we will remember who we are. So renew your minds with the truth that you are new (2 Cor. 5:17), that you are right with God (Rom. 5:1), and that you are filled with His fruit (Gal. 5:22-23)! 

Now that is something sweet you can chew on!


A Simple Equation

Any number X 0 always = 0, huh!

As a third grade teacher, I often found myself making up silly chants like the one above. While chants are great for instilling one message in a child’s mind, they are also really great for getting kids to line up quickly and in a somewhat fashionable order. Admittedly, the latter was my cherished result, but I’m glad that my third-graders-turned-college-students-overnight still know the truth about multiplying numbers by 0.

Unfortunately, in our spiritual lives, we forget this very basic equation:

ANY SIN (even your 1,893,423rd one) X CHRIST (zero sins) always = RIGHTEOUSNESS (zero sin)
1 John 1: 9“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Psalm 103:12“…as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
Hebrews 10:17“…I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
It doesn’t matter how large the first factor gets, the answer is always ZERO sin! Christ knew before He died 2,000 years ago how many sins we would commit, and He forgave all of them on the cross. When we add variables to Christ’s work on the cross, we change the equation!

There is NOTHING else needed, no additional confession, no additional penance, no additional good works to cancel out the bad.



That makes me wanna say, “Huh!”


Prisoner...But Free

As a prisoner
All rights as a citizen 
No longer apply

As a prisoner
Any dreams for the future
No longer matter

As a prisoner
All cravings and addictions
Cannot be indulged

As a prisoner
Favorite activities
May not be enjoyed

As a prisoner
Choices and variety
No longer exist

I know prisoners
Who today have hope in Christ
Chains of sin broken

I know prisoners
Whose guilt, remorse, and regret
No longer bind them

I know prisoners
Whose faith has cleared their record
Truth has set them free

I know prisoners
Blameless, righteous, forgiven
No longer guilty

I just spent two days alongside men who have committed gruesome crimes. They have been stripped of every right and privilege they had as a citizen. Yet, they are more free than many who are not confined to prison, because they have experienced the forgiveness and healing that comes through Jesus Christ. They have hope that even though their lives on earth will be spent inside a maximum security prison, it is not their end. They have joy in knowing that they can have (and have had) an impact on the "outside" world through what they're learning and pursuing inside prison walls. They are speaking Truth into their children's lives, stopping the generational cycle of crime one child at a time. They are sharing the hope they have with other prisoners whose lives are being changed. For two days, I shared tears of joy and pain with my brothers. For one day, I watched men be dads, uncles, grandpas to the children they love. For life, I will be forever changed.


When Celebrations Become Painful Reminders

One year ago, Mother was diagnosed with cancer. Today, she is cancer-free!
People love to celebrate wonderful occasions...birthdays, half-birthdays, spiritual birthdays, adoption days, pet birthdays, dating anniversaries, wedding anniversaries, work anniversaries, addiction recovery milestones, holidays, and more! It is a worthy cause to rejoice in the momentous events in our lives. This morning, I enjoyed using Face Time to sing "Happy Birthday" to my now 9-year-old nephew! I am rejoicing that he was born. What an amazing kid!
Another anniversary comes up this week, though. The 7th anniversary of losing my almost fiance in a car accident. What makes it even more difficult is that Mother's Day falls around this anniversary. every. time. While my grief was great and there are still waves that come up out of nowhere, I can't imagine it being anything close to what his sweet mother feels every day, and especially on Mother's Day.
It is an amazing thing to celebrate mothers. I have the best mother in the whole world! One day of honoring her doesn't even begin to adequately celebrate all that she is. There aren't enough Hallmark (R) cards to express in words what she has been to me. On Mother's Day, I will be singing her praises! But my mother has a mother, too. Her sweet Mother Dear went to Heaven in 1999. On Mother's Day, my mother will remember wonderful things about my grandma, but she will also miss her a little more than on other days throughout the year.
Some were not as fortunate as I to have a mother who loved me and cheered me on to do good things. They will hurt this weekend. Some never resolved relationship conflicts with their mothers before laying them to rest. They will grieve on Sunday. Some never knew their mothers and will be reminded that all was not well when they were born. Eyes will blur as they view picture after beautiful picture on social media sites, if they can even bear to look on Sunday. Some have desired children for years, and Sunday will remind them that they are still unable to stand alongside the other mothers in the church. Some have lost children and will never hear the wonderful words "Mommy, I love you," again. Sunday will be unbearable. Some mothers have watched children make painful, hurtful choices. On Sunday, their tears will fall.
If I could stop all of the annual reminders of everyone's grief and sorrow, I would.
But, I can't.
So, I will be praying for those who are hurting through this weekend. They will not be far from my mind. I will weep with those who are weeping.
But I will also take the opportunity to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, celebrating the mom who after years of trying, finally gets to be called, "Mommy!" I'll be jumping for joy with the mother whose child has returned to the Lord. I will be praising the Lord for the amazing moms that I know who are using their God-given gifts and abilities to nurture their children in knowledge of Him! I will be thanking God for the women in my life who have been spiritual moms. I will call my mother with sheer gratitude that God healed her from cancer and that she is still just a phone call and a few hours' drive away. I will call my grandmother and remind her once again that she is responsible for all this mess! I am so thankful for mothers. They are worthy to be celebrated!
Do I fear the grief that one day Mother's Day will hold painful reminders? Sure. But while the celebration is sweet, I will not withhold my joy.
Ecclesiastes 3:4
There is a time to weep.
And there’s a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad.
And there’s a time to dance.
While there is rejoicing to be done, may we not withhold our celebration, for there will be plenty of time to grieve in days to come.


Weeping in the Sowing

I planted some seeds about 15 years ago, seeds of encouragement and love in the life of a young girl that so desperately needed affirmation and attention. After a couple of years, life's paths took us in different directions and I lost touch. When we reconnected a few years later, it was evident that there had not been much watering and nurturing of this tender plant. She'd been tattered by life's storms and the disease of sin had left some pretty significant scars.
It's amazing how blooms are still possible in what seem the most dire of circumstances. She began a journey of transplanting and regrowth. It was a hard journey, one full of ups and downs, good choices and bad choices. Then she had a beautiful baby boy. I saw growth like never before. She began holding jobs for more than just a few months, making better choices about the people she would spend time with, and making a greater effort to surround herself with a community of believers.
But the weeds had never been removed. They have been so entangling for so long that she simply
cannot recognize them as weeds. The weeds have some attractive blooms in the form of happiness, security, escape, and the affirmation and attention she has desired since I've known her. Plucked from the ground and placed in a decorative vase, the arrangement is quite lovely. A man that dotes on her, the ability to have and do things financially, a fresh start in a new location far from the life in which she grew up, opportunities for her son. It's as beautiful as the flowers on my desk this morning.
But we all know what happens to even the most beautiful of cut flower arrangements. Even if we add the plant food for a week, the flowers will eventually wither and die.
Oh, if only we could be satisfied with the arrangement in which God has planted us. He is the source of our nourishment, health, and stability. We see the arrangements that are pulled together for others, the displays of color that bring joy and satisfaction...temporarily, and we want that. But we fail to realize that the most fulfilling place to be is rooted in the truth, whether we like it or not.
While I look at the areas of my own life where I've allowed the weeds of deceit to cause discontentment, I'm also grieving for my sweet friend, praying and waiting for the rejoicing that will come when she surrenders to God's best for her life.

Psalm 126:6
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.


Forgiven Forever

Before you committed your first sin
Sins were forgiven forever.
Before you confessed your sinful nature
Sins were forgiven forever.
Before you continued to struggle with sin in the flesh
Sins were forgiven forever.
You are a child of God, a perfected saint, because
Sins were forgiven forever.
You have a new covenant written on your heart, because
Sins were forgiven forever.
No offering or sacrifice is needed, because
Sins were forgiven forever.
Your sins are remembered no more, because
Sins were forgiven forever.
Two thousand years ago
Sins were forgiven forever.

Hebrews 10:11-18
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,  “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.