He calls me GRACE

For by grace

you have been saved through faith,

and that not of yourselves;

it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:8

I was feeling low and needy. The day was gray with a soft rain falling. In my heart I fell on my knees and bowed low, and I asked my Lord Jesus to comfort me. I stayed in that position in my heart for a time and there in the silent sacred space of my heart, I could hear Him speak.

The words I heard were “I am giving you a new name! Your new name is Grace.” I was so surprised. I was not sure if I heard correctly and responded with “Are you saying that you have given me a new name which is Grace?” He came back with “Yes, your new name is Grace. I am giving you this new name so that you would know that you are no longer without grace. This new name is to remind you that you have my gifts for living and no longer have to depend only on the carnal and fleshly gifts for living.”

Whoa! This really made me sit up tall and take notice. I began to meditate on the meaning of the word grace. I remembered from a Christian television show many years ago the teaching they gave on the word grace. It was an acronym.

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

I spent time, days, chewing on this message. Jesus Christ died for my sins and made the way for me to the Father. God wants me and you to receive His best and His best is to live with Him in eternity. He made a way for us through Jesus Christ. The shed precious blood of Jesus changed everything for everyone and when I confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour, this precious blood covers me and makes me acceptable to God the Father. I did not earn this gift. You did not earn this gift. It cannot be bought. Jesus set us all free.

Was I worthy to receive God’s riches? I was not and still am not worthy. I am a perfectly imperfect person who loves God and approaches His Throne with awe that He has called me to Himself. The creator of our universe and the lover of humankind wants me to be with Him as He wants to be with me! When I am with Him, I am bestowed with all the riches that He has reserved for me, especially His Love.

I again bowed low in my heart and spoke with the Lord of my life. I thanked Him for my new name and said that I would wait on Him to teach me more. I really did not understand what He was doing for me by giving me this new name of Grace.

Weeks later after Sunday Divine Liturgy, while visiting over coffee in the church basement, a gentle and kind man who is mentally challenged and knows my name well, walked over to me and said “Your name is Grace, isn’t it.” I held my breath. I was so surprised! In my heart I whispered, “What? How does he know that?” After I got my breath back, I responded to him with “Yes. Yes, my name is Grace.” He smiled and left.

I felt that I was being reminded by God that He had given me this new name and He did not want me to push it aside or forget it. I spent the rest of the day and some following days mulling over this experience. I kept saying to myself, “My name is Grace. I have not shared this with anyone. How did this man at church know and why did he come to speak to me about my new name?” I was trying to rationalize this experience. Whenever I am puzzled or challenged about something in my life, I try to understand and gain new perception about the issue, constantly in the depths of my being going over it again and again hoping by rationalizing it that it will make more sense.

I again knelt down in my heart to my Lord and said to Him, “You have provided me with this new name of Grace, for which I appreciate, but I do not understand why you would do this for me.” I sat in silence for a long time. In my core of my being I gradually began to understand that my life is all grace.

When I am distracted from that understanding and belief, I can go to dark and lonely places in my mind. In these places, thoughts of self-righteousness, self indulgence, self pity, self will, selfishness, self deception with defeat, and self defence with rationalization reign. If I stay in those places, I can lose my understanding of who my Lord is and who I am with Him.

With this new name Grace, I am reminded that I am God’s daughter, His child, whom He loves so much. I am privileged to receive His gifts and mercies and love in greater abundance that my mind can perceive. In our secular world we calculate who is worthy by their actions, accomplishments, and their outstanding performing talents. In my Lord Jesus’ world, I am worthy because He said so. I do not have justify, compromise, earn or labour for this position. Receiving this new name has helped me, influenced me to be ready and open to receive with gratitude all the wonders that my God has provided for me.

My every breath, from my first breath at birth and every breath ever since then, is pure gift from Him. My five senses are gifts – to see, hear, touch, smell, taste are amazing gifts that I do not want to take for granted. My ability to think, pray, sleep, walk and move, and create are pure gifts. The relationships I have with everyone – my parents, my spouse, my children and their spouses, and my grandchildren, my friends and even my enemies are also pure gift. I could go on and on. Each of these gifts are mine to embrace and enjoy and return to Him with daily thanks. My identity! GRACE!

Understanding this new identity of Grace is a secret process of growing and yielding my spirit to God where, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I am developing His personality and characteristics which are displayed in my life for His Glory.

And God is able

to make all grace abound toward you,

that you,

always having all sufficiency in all things, 

may have an abundance for every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8

I share these thoughts and experiences with you in my hope that you will know that you also have been given the name of GRACE. YOU HAVE A NEW NAME.

Everyone who acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, has this same name. GRACE. By receiving Jesus, we leave behind all that hinders the process of GRACE.

In our secret process, in our hearts, minds, souls and spirits, we grow into His likeness.

Come and join me in this process.

My prayer is “Lord, I want more! Lord, I want more of You and this promised abundant life. Yes, Lord I want more!”

Copyright 2014 © Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Better to BE than to DO

I am a person who likes to be busy. I like to feel that I am organized and have accomplishments. I feel guilty and ashamed if I am not busy, organized and accomplishing  some task. To avoid the guilt and shame, I keep busy. My busyness keeps me from being still.

I am a Christian and I want to live a life pleasing to God! I am slowly learning that my busyness is a distraction and avoidance of doing what God is asking of me.

I am a daughter of God. God loves me as I am. I am His creation. He knows everything about me (Psalm 139) and he answers my every prayer.

When I pray and ask Him to help me come closer, there is a subtle quiet message of “Come, be still!” My body is used to being active and to sit still is hard work. If I continue in my busyness and ignore His quiet request, I can get lost from Him. I work and work till I am exhausted and then complain that I did not have time to pray. He does not push me away from Himself, instead He waits until I am bottomed out to repeat the message, “Come, be still!”

All my activity is pleasing me, not God. All my busyness is also pleasing others and causing them to wonder if they should be busy. Guilt and shame are prevalent in our world and there are many of us who continue to dance to “busyness” to avoid the coming apart and being quiet in God’s Presence and listening to His voice.

At first the lack of activity is painful. This is new to my body, mind, soul and spirit. It takes some getting used to. What keeps me focused to respond to His words “Come, be still!” is His love for me. He did not turn His back on me as so many in my world have done. He stayed close and encouraged me without condemnation about my resistance to being quiet with Him. I am learning that it is good just to BE. To be still is just that — to BE without busyness, activity, distractions and my self-pleasing and people-pleasing activity. To DO is giving permission to all that pulls me away from Him and His whispered call “Come, be still!”

As I slowly progress to responding more quickly to His tender loving heart message, “Come, be still!,” I am beginning to enjoy His Presence and His Peace that permeats all of me and it is such a good place. I need more of the activity of being still with God. I am in process of changing to appreciate the time of being still with Him. I am not perfect and He still loves me.

Copyright © 2014 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.

 

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A Prayer that my Father taught me for Lent

In our home, we did not pray together except for grace at meals, which I introduced when I was about eight years old. I had been taught at a Sunday School session that this was a good thing to do and the Lord would be pleased. My parents seemed a little uncomfortable at the beginning when I asked them to pray with me at each meal. The prayer before meals became a part of our lives.

My father seemed to be proud of me and shared with me that he also had a prayer that he wished to share with me. I believe that he prayed this prayer in the privacy of his bedroom because once I saw him in his back-flapped long underwear on his knees at his bedside at night as I walked from the bathroom passing by my parents bedroom with their door ajar.

My father was in a happy place when he shared the following prayer with me. He said that it is a special prayer to be prayed throughout Lent. He was taught by his parents and now he was teaching me. He prayed this prayer in Ukrainian and I did my best to pronounce the words and to have a reverent heart. I share it with you. This is the English translation of that prayer and now my best friend, my husband, and I pray this prayer daily throughout Lent.

May you be as blessed as I have been though out my life because of this prayer. When my father taught me this prayer his instructions were to get on my knees and at the end of the prayer to touch my head to the floor as an act of surrender and love to God. This prayer is repeated 12 times.

Having suffered the Passion for us,
Jesus Christ, Son of God,have mercy on us.

Prostration

 

Copyright © 2014 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.

 

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The Other Side of the Coin

Who am I? When this question was posed to me many years ago, it seemed redundant to me. I am an only child, I am a wife and mother, and now in my most recent years a grandmother, I am an author, writer and blogger, I am retired from administrative responsibilities, I am a knitter, crocheter and crafter, I am a creative cook, caregiver, and listener, I am a book-taught student of theology and philosophy and psychology dialoguing with many learned graduated students and professors, and I am a child of God.

Take notice that I put the most important facet of myself in the final position. I understand that this is normal in our society presented almost as an after-thought. Most of us keep this facet as a secret from the world. I believe that I do this because being a child of God is the most deep and intimate part of me and I want to protect myself and not feel vulnerable.

Recently I attended a Lenten retreat where there was a presentation on “God is with us but are you with Him?” The presentation encouraged all who were present to check out the other side of the coin, that is “are you with Him?”

In my church tradition at Christmas we have a beautiful hymn “Znameh Boh” which is translated from Ukrainian to English, as “God is With Us.” This hymn stirred my soul as a small child and still causes my heart to react and I will have tears overflow. The truth of the message comforts me and encourages me to reach higher for the holy things of God and God Himself.

St. Lawrence wrote a book “Practicing the Presence of God” which encourages the reader to decide to live each moment with a recognition that God is present and working on our behalf. I read this book a long time ago and have since worked at recognizing God’s tender nearness and support. I sense a love and peace that I would have missed without this endeavor to recognized God’s wonderful holy presence.

Now, to get to the other side of the coin! Am I with Him?

I have had years in my life where I would have said yes with hesitation. I was angry with God and did not seek being with Him. Only when I reached for God and all that He had for me, and received Him into my heart did my attitude change and I embraced Him. He did not disappoint me!

Today I have made this decision. Oh, yes! I say this with a broad smile and heart filled with His grace of love and peace. This is my daily decision. I have found that I am very weak and can forget or be easily distracted regarding making this daily pronouncement. I choose being with God and all that He has for me. When I have been distracted and forgotten to do this, I have found that my day may have many bumps that are uncomfortable. I have a very simple example. The first explanation is revealing my reaction when I have forgotten to decide to choose to be with My God!

When I am driving my car, especially on the freeway to go shopping, or I am in bogged-down going to work traffic, often another driver will cut me off without warning. I normally would get to a level of anger where I am calling him or her a name. This anger can fester in me with unforgiveness towards the other driver and keep me locked up for the day -unconsciously!

However, if I have made the decision to choose that I be with God for the day, then when I awake and pray for God’s peace, wisdom and guidance for my day, I have a different reaction. Here is the difference. When the other driver would cut me off without warning, I have found my reaction is to thank God for bring that person’s need to me and to pray for them to be safe and to have a good day in God’s love. I continue in God’s peace for the rest of the day.

This has taken me a while to get the hang of it because I am such a weak human. God has not left me ever because of my weak ways, which I call sin. My God, the Holy Trinity, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, is always with me! I have the freedom to choose of whether I want to be with Him. I choose My God!

John 14: 15-21 RSV: Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

website: gloriawinn.com
author: Tears (available on amazon)
writer: pen name: Irina Demkiw: irinademkiw.wordpress.com
blogger: WHO AM I? GOD’S gwinn.wordpress.com; SMALL THINGS WITH GREAT LOVE gloriawinn.wordpress.com; FOR HIS GLORY tobitnraphael.wordpress.com

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Spring! The Cardinals are Singing!

I apologize to everyone that I have not entered new posts since my mother died a year ago. I am healing from grieving for her. My goal is to write a new blog each week.

Since the time on the clock has changed for spring, and there is light in the day even after supper, my whole being feels like I have just begun. So now I begin with welcoming you to my blog website. Please check out my other 3 blog sites and enjoy my earlier offerings.

I share with you a scripture that stirs my heart and gives me much hope. May it bless you also.

Exodus 23:25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, …

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55 Maxims

(from blogger Bzyzpriest)

by Fr. Thomas Hopko

  1. Be always with Christ.
  2. Pray as you can, not as you want.
  3. Have a keepable rule of prayer that you do by discipline.
  4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times a day.
  5. Have a short prayer that you constantly repeat when your mind is not occupied with other things.
  6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
  7. Eat good foods in moderation.
  8. Keep the Church’s fasting rules.
  9. Spend some time in silence every day.
  10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
  11. Go to liturgical services regularly
  12. Go to confession and communion regularly.
  13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings. Cut them off at the start.
  14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings regularly to a trusted person.
  15. Read the scriptures regularly.
  16. Read good books a little at a time.
  17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  18. Be an ordinary person.
  19. Be polite with everyone.
  20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
  21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  22. Exercise regularly.
  23. Live a day, and a part of a day, at a time.
  24. Be totally honest, first of all, with yourself.
  25. Be faithful in little things.
  26. Do your work, and then forget it.
  27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  28. Face reality.
  29. Be grateful in all things.
  30. Be cheerful
  31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  32. Never bring attention to yourself.
  33. Listen when people talk to you.
  34. Be awake and be attentive.
  35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  36. When we speak, speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.
  37. Flee imagination, analysis, figuring things out.
  38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
  39. Don’t complain, mumble, murmur or whine.
  40. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  41. Don’t seek or expect praise or pity from anyone.
  42. We don’t judge anyone for anything.
  43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  44. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  45. Be defined and bound by God alone.
  46. Accept criticism gratefully but test it critically.
  47. Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
  48. Do nothing for anyone that they can and should do for themselves.
  49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
  50. Be merciful with yourself and with others.
  51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  52. Focus exclusively on God and light, not on sin and darkness.
  53. Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins peacefully, serenely, because you know that God’s mercy is greater than your wretchedness.
  54. When we fall, get up immediately and start over.
  55. Get help when you need it, without fear and without shame.
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Entering into Lent

Lent is a time of renewal of our faith and devotion to God Almighty.

It is not a time for me to rationalize or justify any action to anyone about my faith. It is a time for me to enter more deeply into the mystery of the Love of God for me and for the world.

God has chosen me.  John 15

I have chosen Him. My life is not my own. I am His. This is who I am. Truly, I am His. My every perception is changed as I enter and embrace this truth. All that I have lived has formed me to be who I am today. But I must not stop here and stay. I am to push on to the fullness of God’s plan for my mission and destiny.

Lord I desire to be fully human and fully alive in You. Only You know me! Only You love me as I am without conditions! Only You Lord are my safety and shelter. Only You Lord hold me and comfort me. You send me people to encourage me to look to You. Thank you.

Lent is what I need to live all year, not just during the Church calendar. Lent is an attitude and willingness to be more with the Lord that I want to have each and every day of the year. Lord, I am willing, and I trust that you complete what you have begun in me.

Copyright  © Gloria Winn 2013, all right reserved.

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