The Grace Course: Lesson 2: Innocent!

Expectations.

I hate that word. I may say it often, but I place expectations on myself on a regular basis. Expectations that I convince myself that my family has placed on me, that God has placed on me, that my employer has placed upon me.

Now some of these places due have expectations, after all you get hired to do a certain job and you are expected to do the tasks to make sure the work is done.

Your family has expectations but we allow our minds to take them overboard. I am a middle child, and although I live the farthest from home I feel that sometimes it is my job to fix and patch any problems that may be happening, or fill that middle child role as the ‘peacemaker’ and to not cause problems or conflict and go along with everything. It might be simple things, it doesn’t need to be as complex, just recently I’ve realized that since, out of my siblings, I am the only one without children, I feel like I am expected to go on vacations with my mom, now there is nothing wrong with a vacation with my mom but by doing so I’ve ignored seeing the places I’ve dreamed of seeing because I know it is not her thing.

I serve in church, if someone calls with a last minute paint job or task that needs done no matter how late I do everything I can to make sure I can help. If I am not able to serve that night I feel guilty that I am letting a leader down, my church down, and overall God down.

Currently I not only work for my church but I serve on the Creative team and in the Children’s ministry, on certain Sundays I am serving through all services feeling guilty that I am not sitting in service in learning but at the same time feeling guilty about asking for a night off of serving so that I can sit in service.

One of the things that hit me most in lesson 2 was the discussion on guilt and how guilt is not a feeling. “True guilt has nothing to do with feelings. It’s about hard facts.”

Now I know that we feel guilty about a lot larger things than what I’ve listed, that there are sins we feel guilty about, but I am trying to show you that guilt is not always about the big things, we feel guilty about minor things, things that we feel called to do, guilty because of missing church, not reading our Bible.

These are signs that our feelings are lying to us. That instead of trusting and believing the grace that we have been giving we are relying on our feelings and on works to be living up to God’s expectations.

However, God does not have a list of expectations for us.

He does not place guilt within us. Through Jesus’ death, He took all of our guilt to the cross. We have been forgiven, God, through Jesus, sees us as forgiven, as pure and clean. The guilt is unnecessary.

God’s grace isn’t only for the moments when we are reading our Bible or serving our community. Grace is for every moment of everyday, God doesn’t pick and choose when to offer us grace, He continually extends grace to us!

 

“God doesn’t want you to feel guilty when you’re not guilty! He wants you to rejoice! He wants to restore your joy in life. God loves you before you sin. God loves you after you sin. God even loves you in the midst of your sinning though He never loves the sin. God will never turn His hatred of sin into hatred for us.”

Grace leads us to living a righteous life.

There is no condemnation.

 

Romans 8:1-2

“Don’t So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.live up to God’s expectations”

-Elle

DANCING WITH FIREFLIES || RSVP for April 10th Facebook Party and enter to win a Kindle HDX from @DeniseAHunter!

Don’t miss Denise Hunter‘s latest Chapel Springs Romance, Dancing with Fireflies. Reviewers have already labeled Dancing with Fireflies “swoon-worthy” and “the perfect love story.” 

Join Denise in celebrating the release of her new book by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway and RSVPing for her April 10th Facebook party.

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One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dancing with Fireflies and Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 10th. Winner will be announced at the Dancing with Fireflies Facebook Party on April 10th. Connect with Denise for an evening of prizes, book chat, and an exclusive look at the next book in the series.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN on the event page. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

Dancing with Fireflies By: Denise Hunter

Jade McKinley thought she was prepared to move out on her own, living in the city she would live the life she had dreamed of, but when the unthinkable happens Jade finds herself headed home pregnant and with no where to go. Not sure of how her family will responds she hides the pregnancy and decides to find a husband that would be the father of her child.  When she turns to long time friend Daniel, she sees the potential for a future, simply wanting a reliable husband but not someone she would love. With emotions rising and her due date getting closer Jade must find a way to survive on her own and raise a family.

I absolutely love Denise Hunter’s books and Dancing with Fireflies is at the top of the list! This book is a story of how strong a mothers love can be no matter what the circumstances. The main character goes through many things we can each relate to, from learning to not blame ourselves because of circumstances outside our control and learning to forgive others. This book will keep you glued to the very end.

-Elle

I received this book complimentary through the Litfuse Publicity program in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mom’s Night Out Giveaway!

Be sure to enter to see this outrageously funny movie and attend the movie premiere!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zonderkidz Book Giveaway!

Spring is here! Which means the sunshine has returned! Trips to the zoo! Getting ready for Summer Camp! Thunderstorms! Flowers! Tornadoes! (Or is that just Oklahoma) and longer days of sun! Easter is around the corner so I can’t think of a better way to celebrate except for giving away books!

The winner will receive a devotional, fiction title, and Bible of their choice! These book are great for your preteen! Reviews of each will be posted throughout the week! You have until 6 pm central time on April 5 to leave a comment with your e-mail address and what you are looking forward to most this spring!

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Adventure Bible Book of Devotions 
The Ether: Vero Rising by Laurice E. Molinari
Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek by Jill Osborne
The Sequin Bible NIV  (Blue flower)
The Jesus Bible NIV 
-Elle

IT HAD TO BE YOU $100 Visa Giveaway from Susan May Warren!

Susan May Warren is celebrating the release of her newest Christiansen Family novel, It Had To Be You, with a $100 Visa cash card giveaway and offering readers a free book club kit.

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One winner will receive:

  • $100 Visa cash card
  • Take a Chance on Me and It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 29th. Winner will be announced April 1st on Susan’s blog. Also, visit her website to learn more about the It Had To Be You backstory and Susan’s free book club kit.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Susan’s blog on April 1st to see if you won.

It Had to be You By @Susanmaywarren

It Had to be You by Susan May Warren

Eden Christiansen never expected to be her younger brother, Owen’s, cheerleader. Attending all of his hockey games, being there whenever he needed something. When Owen begins to make some poor decisions Eden turns to Team Captain and Enforcer, Jace Jacobsen, who appears unwilling to help.

I have always loved Susan May Warren’s writing and specifically her Deep Haven books, and although ‘It Had to be You’ takes place in the city for the most part, this may be one of my favorite books! I love the character of Eden, disgruntled with her job and dreaming of more, investing fully in her family and the dreams they have! With both Jace and Eden you see how their characters struggle with the everyday and how they grow and change as the book continues.

Warren’s writing will draw you in and make you believe you are a member of the Christiansen family. For those of you who love a well developed christian romance story with a side of mystery, characters you can relate to, and a book you will not want to put down, this is the book for you!

-Elle

I received this book complimentary from the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Bible Son of God Tour in Tulsa March 29!

In Tulsa in one week! Can’t wait!

-Elle

 

28 and Dreaming Big

I turned 28 last week. 28. Officially my late 20′s. Age has never been a concern of mine, I’ve never been the one to fret over getting older (It may help that if I’m lucky I can pass for 23). Looking at where I am today, I can honestly say that 10 years ago this is not what I pictured.

10 years ago I was 18 years old, dreaming of graduating high school, heading off to college and starting to live my dreams. As a senior in High School it was common to be asked to write a paper about where you saw yourself in 10 years. As a senior I probably responded with  in ten years being successful in a career that I loved, living not in Pennsylvania (Got that one!) maybe possibly living in Europe, to be married, have a family, to have traveled the world.

Where I didn’t see myself in 10 years was Oklahoma (that one never even made the list of possibilities), single, changing my job for the third time since last June.

Now at 28 I’ve realized that although I have not obtained the goals I had for my life, I am exactly in the season where God wants me to be. I still have big dreams for my life, I still want to be married and have a family (and I would love for my mother to stop telling me I’m not getting any younger) I still dream of traveling the world.

Although I just switched jobs again, I am working in disaster relief helping people, I am working in a field that I love.

I haven’t traveled much yet, always putting it off because it wasn’t the right time, that financially I would be better off going in a few years, or I waiting until I could find someone to travel with. Not anymore. This week I’ve realized that since I was in High School I have dreamed of Europe and still have not gone, so instead of waiting I’ve decided to just go. At the end of the Summer I will fly across the globe to spend a week in Cardiff, Wales. No itinerary. Tentative friends meeting me there.

28 is going to be my year of dreams. I’m going to cross things off my list, and add a few more along the way.

28 is the year for dreaming big. Welcome to my new season and I can’t wait to get started. Cardiff here I come!

 

-Elle

Remnants By: @LisaTBergren

Anyone with a love for dystopian must read this book! Bergren has taken a genre that has flooded our book shelves and given it a whole new look. The idea of a dystopian book from a Christian perspective is fascinating and seeing how Bergren wove her story so beautifully with characters you will fall in love with, epic-battles that will have you on the edge of your seat this book is not one to be missed! Sword fights, mystery, romance and a calling that cannot be ignored! I am so excited to see what will happen next!

I received this book complimentary as part of the Remnants Street Team in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

-Elle

 

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