Tag Archives: forgiveness

No Matter How the World Dresses up Sin – Dirt is dirt

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. ~ Romans 24-25

I’m pretty sure I have the best teen group in the nation. If you’re a teen leader, you probably think so too… or you should. They stretch me with my idealistic notions of what faith looks like, by granting me the new generations perspective. Just when I think I have it all figured out, we get into a deep (or sometimes shallow) theological discussion and I have one of those “You are not as smart as you thought you were, Shari,” moments. They are really quite frequent if I’m honest.

But last night’s ill prepared teen lesson was on “restoration” of the body of Christ. We skimmed the tops of scriptures about Peter, David, Saul and others whose failures sometimes lead to renpentance and sometimes not. But God’s love of broken people is evident from Genesis to Revelation.

The one glaring fact that comes from muddy pink boots, is that no matter how the world dresses up sin, dirt is still dirt. It aint pretty. The lesson that I learned from my diverse group of thinkers in the teen group last night was, children, (like God) are so quick to forgive the people they care about. And so quick to move on from mistakes understanding that they’re learning! I’m not so quick to move on. I sometimes put my pretty muddy pink boots in the corner as a reminder about that time I didn’t go around the mud, but walked right through it. I walk by my failed attempt at life and kick myself. I try buying a new pair of boots, but they’re not fun to wear, because i really want to wear the pink ones.

I know that’s a very odd parable. But what I hope you learn is what I did: Restoration also has to be done within. Especially if we’re not apt to share the fact that our boots are muddy to start with. Christians seldom want anyone else to know what they struggle with for fear of being seen as “less godly.” Well let me tell, I am for certain less godly. And I struggle with lots of “stuff.” I have a tender heart willing to forgive everyone but me. God is showing me through the youth who love me faults and all, that He does too.

I need to clean off those pink books and get back to walking.

How about you? Do you struggle with self degradation and unforgiveness. Maybe your boots are another color, but they’ll clean up just as nicely if you’ll spray them down with the water of the Word.

Renewed Like the Eagle’s

Most every day since the heart attack has been filled with a plethora of emotions. There are days I feel awesome! And I appreciate those days because they’ve been less than more. I ask not for pity. It’s just the process of aging and the result of having poured more junk into the vessel the Lord gave me rather than healthy fuels. The truth hurts… sometimes literally.  The same is true spiritually.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the book of Psalms lately. It’s my go to place when I’m in need of encouragement. Most likely because I can relate to many of them which were penned by David, who certainly experienced more than one lifetime of emotions through tribulations and celebrations.  Take Psalm 103… Just in the first 5 verses it describes my day to day:

That is my prayer this morning as I approach the Easter weekend and attempt to dry nigh to the Lord Jesus. It’s difficult when you’re in the flesh and throwing a pity party for your aching arthritic bones. I find myself saying “Oh my stars!” more than “Oh my soul!”

Which is exactly why I needed to fuel my body with His words instead of mine!

The Benefit Package

1Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

While insurance companies are paying less and less on the average health care bill, the benefits of serving the Lord have been multiplied. A fact I need to remember. As a matter of fact it’s a prescription dose we all need this week.

Because of the cross our benefit package is out of this world. There is nothing that our God cannot do so long as it’s His will. And His will is for certain that His children walk in truth and joy.

The Prescription Plan

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

In 2017 I took no medication. At the beginning of 2018 I took 2, by mid 2018 to now I’ve been on 9-13 daily meds to make this body of mine function. How ridiculous is that!

Well, I may not like it, but it’s what keeps me going. Missing anyone of those pills can make life difficult. The same holds true with my spirituality. Failure to take the prescribed daily dosage of God’s word and time in His presence takes its toll on me. I feel terrible. And not only that,  I miss the blessing of feeling clean and whole through His forgiveness. And for certain I lose sight of the fact that He has the power to heal this body and strengthen me for His service.

The Forgiveness Clause

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

This was an “oh my stars!” moment for me today. Only God has the power to take back the damage that I have inflicted to this soul and body. He created me, through sin and poor decisions I destroyed me, through doctors and medicine He restored me, but He can just as well heal me. He has that ability and His mercy may go there… or it may not. But either way He has given me so many opportunities I did not deserve. Yes Glory to God it is an Oh My Stars! Kind of day.

Open Enrollment

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Unlike the insurance world enrollment isn’t limited to a certain time. It’s any time. God’s ready and willing for us to use our benefits and renew our relationship with Him. This is a good week to think about that…

It’s Not about Us this Morning

A quick drawing and a quick thought this morning as I prepared my heart for church. I needed to remember, and perhaps you do as well, that God’s idea of mercy and mine are two entirely different notions. Mine has limitations, His goes higher than my mind can fathom.

As I prepare my heart for worship, Satan loves nothing better than to bring my failures into view in hopes that rather than glorifying God, I’ll remember me. But the fact of the matter God has thrown them as far as the east is from the west.

Now let’s go to church and praise Him for it.

The Extent of Forgiveness

It’s not an original thought. I heard a preacher close his sermon out with it this morning, and then it was stuck in my head… which basically means that the preacher did his job!

If you’re a Christian you’ve likely heard the sermon, you know the salvation message and you understand the concept. But it is so easy to lose sight of the depth of God’s love and the extent of His forgiveness. Especially if you’re discouraged or have feelings of unworthiness.

So just what is the extent of God’s forgiveness, lest we forget?

As far as the east is from the west

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

That’s pretty far wouldn’t you say?  In God’s realm, I don’t think the east ever meets the west. God took (removed) our sins from us, and yet we so often take them back and fail to accept His gift of forgiveness. I am the worst at rehashing failures and staying in a mindset of defeat.

I need to remember what God chooses to forget. And that forgetting is a choice.

As deep as the ocean

Who is God unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)

Satan would love us to view God as angry all the time. So would a few preachers I’ve heard preach. But God does not retain His anger. It doesn’t say He doesn’t get angry. I believe that with the worst, despicable sins out there, God gets angry. When a child is abused, or a heart broken by broken vows and abuse, God’s upset. But at the first sign of repentance of that sinner, God is ready and willing to forgive. The word says He delights in it! It brings God great joy for us to come to Him in search of a renewed relationship. It is then that He casts our sins in the depths of the sea. That’s not only a deep thought, that’s a deep location.

Never Void

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

This is a verse we often use to remind ourselves that anytime the word is preached, it always serves a purpose. But have you thought of yourself being the recipient of it? If God spoke it to you, it was spoken with purpose and its purpose will be fulfilled. So when we read these verses as personal, we understand that they are written to prosper us. To help us live a life of joy and abundance through the price Christ paid on the cross to cover our sins.

I wrote these verses down in the back of my bible under the title “The extent of Forgiveness.” I want them handy so I can show myself, my friends and for certain Satan. He seems to need reminded a lot.

The God Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know

For certain Satan doesn’t want you to know God because he’d prefer you stay in his custody. But once a soul has given their heart to Christ, Satan has to change his game plan to interfere with the Kingdom and the Kingdom’s work. There is nothing he can do to remove the seal of Salvation that God puts on His children.

Ephesians 4:30

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Glory! But he can certainly do a lot of damage to the spiritual walk of God’s children by binding them with lies. Or at least that’s the case with me. So today I search the truth and invite you along…

Micah 7:18-20

18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

We’re not to fool ourselves and believe that God is not a Holy and just God Who doesn’t get angry. Oh… I believe He gets angry and I believe He gets frustrated with me on a pretty regular basis. But the trouble with my thinking is, I get stuck there. There in that place of God’s frustration, long after He has moved on and sometimes may never have been, I’m still there. He moved on the second I repented, but I choose to stay in that place of bondage and allow Satan to convince me that God’s frustration lingers on. And I have a feeling I’m not alone.

It’s much easier in our less than merciful flesh to view God as a less than merciful God. If every day we would remember three words that God has attested to, through His Son Jesus Christ.

Forgiven

Micah 7:18 – God delights in mercy! The other day I watched as an adult was less than merciful with a child. The children happened not to be hers. Not that that is always the case, I know parents who are less than forgiving. But on this occasion the child had misbehaved and she separated herself from him as if to say “you are not worthy of my presence.” My heart broke. Praise God our Savior doesn’t treat us in that manner. He longs for the relationship to be restored as soon as it’s broken. But we delay, buying into Satan’s lies that God is forever upset. No… God is forever merciful.

Forgotten

Micah 7:19 – How deep is the sea? I personally don’t know, but I know it’s deep! And how far is the east from the west? Really far! You can’t get there from here. And that is the geographical location of our sins. Yet Satan wants us to believe that God has them attached to His refrigerator, so that every time He goes there, He is reminded of my sin.

That’s how our minds work. Not God’s. I have to work really hard not to rehash old hurts. Because they are not in the sea. They’re in the recesses of my mind waiting for a day that I can call them to mind and be frustrated and hurt again. And have to forgive… again. If I don’t bring them up, Satan will. And so when I’m in need of God forgetting something I’ve done or someway I’ve failed, I am reminded of how someone hurt or failed me, and I attach that theory of thinking to God too. What a lie!

God is not man!

Isaiah 55:8

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

Forever

Micah 7:20 – God’s plan nor word has ever changed, but man’s sure has. The recent election was proof of that. The political rhetoric coming from all sides made it impossible to know who was telling the truth. And even if someone had a video as evidence, we still couldn’t trust that it hadn’t been manipulated in some way and voting was a very serious game of chance. And such is life sometimes. Marriages fail, friends forsake us and parents and children break our heart. So when we hear the word “forever” in the biblical sense, it’s sometimes hard to grasp.

I can’t help but think of Satan’s words to Eve… “ye shall not surely die.” So we have on one hand the thought that forever will never come, and on the other hand, that forever is subjective to the situation.  And both make it hard to fathom eternity.

But God’s word will stand true and Satan will forever by a liar! He would much prefer that we didn’t   know the truth and one way he can help that happen is to sabotage our relationship with the Lord. It’s not hard when fewer and fewer people keeping their relationship with the Lord first in priority. The more we put between us and God the easier it is for Satan to convince us that God is not desiring a relationship with us. And when we fail, we can’t feel God’s mercy because there’s too much distance. But guess who didn’t move?

God’s exactly where He’s always been. In eternity past, present and future. Loving us as much today as yesterday and wishing we’d just talk to Him, and skip Satan the middle man… he’s a liar anyway.

Getting in Tight With God

To say that open heart surgery brings on a realization of mortality is a likely an understatement. We all have somewhat of a an understanding of it, but when suddenly the single organ in your body that keeps you alive isn’t functioning correctly, you realize how very, very close we are to eternity. Literally one heartbeat away. You also realize how very important that relationship with God is.  I wasn’t too awfully worried about politics, world antics or uncompleted goals and the fact that I’ve yet to master many, many chords on the guitar. I wanted to feel my Father stroke my hair and say “Shari, I’m here with you, you’re okay.” And so it was. He did not leave me nor forsake me and for the record, there were no dark hours, because where He is, is Light. I share this so you’ll know if a time comes (which I pray not) that you find yourself in one of those predicaments, He will not leave you either.

So this morning as I read the Lord’s Prayer, it was oh… so… sweet. and each word took on a deeper meaning. Six petitions, (three relating to God’s honor, three relating to our own concerns.

Matthew 6:9

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.

FATHER: Creator, Redeemer, Adopter of me, an unworthy urchin of the Gentiles. Brought into a royal family, a blood bought nation, who though many of them have no earthy blood connection, treat me like a true sister through Christ Jesus. They prayed for me and petitioned Heaven on my behalf because they too love the Father, who we call Jesus. He hears our cry, just as an earthly father would and stays by our side. I know… I felt His presence in the hospital, ambulance, operating room and recovery. There is power in the name of Jesus! Our Father in Heaven, and also within the heart of His child.

HALLOWED: Sanctified and set apart. There is none like Him. There is no other name on earth that can calm a raging storm in your life or bring an unexplainable peace upon you through the storm. Buddha, Allah, nor any other of the countless gods this world calls upon have the power of Jesus. And those who encourage people to “call upon the god of their choice” are allowing the demons of Hell to open a door of torment to someone already in trouble. Praise God for He Who calmed my sea. HIS NAME IS JESUS!

Vs. 10 – Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.

THY WILL BE DONE: That’s a hard one for someone like me that needs control. So when I lay flat on my back without even the ability to go potty by myself, I suddenly understood that God was truly in control. He took every single earthly power I had away. It was just He and I. Like it always had been, but I had had forgotten. His will is for a relationship with His children that cause them to work toward all things eternal, not earthly. There is no fear in running towards Jesus, but there is a definite fear of leaving behind those who do not know Him.

Vs. 11 – Give us this day our daily bread.

DAILY BREAD: Just enough. When the children of Israel ate manna in the wilderness there was no excess with the exception of what was needed to eat for the Sabbath. Jesus tells us in John 6:48 – I am that bread of life. His Word will fill the soul like a hot buttered biscuit with jam fills the belly. Matthew 6 continues on to tell us not to worry for any earthly necessity, God’s got us covered. But we should strive to collect the thoughts of God through His word and fill our soul with it in abundance so that when we’re laying there flat on our back, we don’t need to see the book. We are the book. And we are filled to the brim in want of nothing!

Vs. 12 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

FORGIVENESS: I can say with all honesty that I haven’t been concerned with anyone who’s hurt or upset me over the course of a life time in the past few weeks. Life in perspective is knowing that the only forgiveness that matters is my Father’s in Heaven. Scripture says that we must forgive others if we expect it in return. If Christ can hang from the cross, a sinless man, only guilty of loving us and forgive we who take His act for granted, how can we dare say we’ll not forgive anyone? It makes me nauseous to think of the times I’ve held someone’s soul in the balance of un-forgiveness because of pride and pettiness on my part.

Vs. 13 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

DELIVERANCE: Temptation comes from the side of flesh, not Spirit and it is easily accessible and readily available to take us away from the peace of God. And for all that’s left in this wicked world, Satan is seeking the opportunity to devour us as a lion. Especially those who actively serve God and desire to make a difference. Daniel and the three Hebrew boys were not chosen for the lion’s den and the fiery furnace by happenstance. From the Old Testament to John the Baptist and the Disciples of Christ, Satan has targeted God’s chosen vessels. He’s still targeting us. But Hallelujah we serve the Living God whose Kingdom will never fall, He Who holds ALL POWER and will receive ALL GLORY forever. Satan loses, we just have to keep on serving. We who are in Him Win! Glory!

How to leave the hurt behind in 2017

A true testimony to my own heart being given to Jesus Christ was the ability Christ gave me to forgive people who hurt me. It’s not to say that those who can’t forgive are unsaved, or that I sometimes don’t have to forgive “again.” And I have plenty of other failures in my walk with Christ that I have not accomplished victory over, so please don’t consider this a high hatted blog of Christian living. I’m too much of a sinner for that. So today as this thought came to me, I knew that I had to draw the image and write about it, in hopes of encouraging someone who is ending this year with a broken heart or spirit because someone has hurt them.

Along my journeys I’ve ran across many people who have not won the victory of forgiveness; they live everyday looking at the scars of past hurt, which may have been emotional or literal. I’ve seen many of them who’ve carried them almost in a trophy like status of victimhood; one that they can use to say “Look what was done to me, I have the right to carry this and remember how terrible it was.” More often than not, those of whom they were victimized by have moved on in their life or have moved out of this life into eternity. Closure isn’t sought and victimization becomes a part of every conversation they can weave it in to. If you’re not that person, you likely know that person. You dread the conversation to start, because you know where it will end.

There are others who will carry the hurt to their grave. They don’t share it but rather choose to live with the internal pain that can almost be seen in the lines of their face. Sometimes they are angry, nasty dispositioned people; other times their blunt and forceful composure puts up a shield immediately with anyone outside of their familiar circle. I’ve known all the above.

I’ve been a few of them over my lifetime. I’m more often the little Susie sunshine who refuses to give in and sometimes lives in a land of make believe rather than reality as I go through a hurtful experience.

Isaiah 43:25 speaks of the price Christ paid for our sins, as well as those who sinned against us:

“I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Christ, Who knew no sin, became sin, so that for His sake, we could have a relationship with the One Who will never fail us, leave us or forsake us.

I know how I’ve failed the Lord, I have an ever present awareness, even though He doesn’t want me to. But because of that I also have a quick switch of forgiveness built within. When Christ showed doubting Thomas the scars on His hands and side, He didn’t show it and say look what you did to me with your sin, He told Thomas in John 20:27-30

“Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou has seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.”

Jesus showed Thomas the scars as proof that He had the power to overcome not only what death threw at Him but what life threw at Him. And because of that, and our belief in the work of the cross, we have the same power.

Our scars are not an excuse not to forgive, they are a reminder that God brought us through and that Satan did not win the victory. By carrying them as a victim you’re living defeated to Satan.

Show your scars to Jesus, not the world. And He’ll show you that His scars gave you the power to never be a victim again. We are more than conquerors thought Him that loved us (Romans 8:37) He not only died for our sin, He died for those who sin against us. He paid the price for theirs as well so that we could live without the reminder of the pain, but rather the reminder of the Victory. Glory to God! I pray that your New Year is glory filled, pain free and victory bound in Jesus Christ.

A Word to the Frustrated Believer

In general, I stay more frustrated with myself than with others among the church. But I must confess that I too can grow weary of people.  For some strange reason the Mac Davis song, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be Humble,” is now playing in my mind. If you know the song, you remember the next line “when you’re perfect in every way.” Now, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “I beseech you,” meaning I beg of you, to understand I’m as far from perfect as the pendulum swings! But human nature being what it is causes my mind to focus on the errored way of others, and when I do I am brought to a message like this in 2 Corinthians 10.

It comforts me to know that even the great Paul had to talk his way through the frustrations of dealing with stupid people.

2 Corinthian ds 10:1-2

Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

Remember Humility

Paul said that he was base (the lowest) among us. How could that be?  A man who was beaten and imprisoned for preaching the gospel and died a martyr for the faith. How is it that he would say that he is less than anyone else? Because he remembered humility. It’s a character trait of those who are most used by God.

Paul’s past, pre,-salvation was spent having Christians murdered for the same faith that he now defended. That no doubt weighed heavy on his heart. And though it was under the blood of Christ, it would not have prevented Satan from using it as a tool of discouragement in Paul’s ministry. Satan doesn’t have any new tricks, he doesn’t need them. He always has plenty of ammunition in the line of guilt in my life even after salvation. I can either allow him to tear me apart, or I can face the world in humility as the Apostle Paul did, knowing that I am a sinner saved by grace. It’s in that humility that I’ll learn to extend grace and mercy to those who frustrate me.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Avoid High-mindedness

Paul said to cast down every “high” thing that puts itself above God. I think of that as those self-righteous moments of mankind when we look upon the faults of others and forget our own. Oh, the saints of God love calling out sin, so long as nobody opens their closet doors.

It is so easy for me to look at someone else’s life and assume that they should have known better, or that no excuse was worthy of the transgression they committed, but justify my own blunders. Paul lay a reminder before us that that kind of high-thinking is detrimental to the children of God. It makes someone feel less and someone feel more and that is not the way Christ did it. Christ never justified sin, nor did He execute the sinner.

2 Corinthians 10:6-8

And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? if any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:

Understand it’s a Matter of the Heart

When we’ve been hurt, or we’re in disagreement with someone else, it would do us well if we’d consider the heart of the matter. While my weakness may not be yours or vice versa, we cannot say for certain that we understand every underlying condition that created our frustration. I only have to recall an issue that I had with a person who seemed arrogant and prideful. My frustration with them grew to the point that I’d cringe when I’d hear their voice in the distance. They later became one of my best friends and what I discovered was that the arrogance and pride was a shield that they placed before them so that people couldn’t see the insecurity and lack of self-confidence that they garnered inside. Once I understood that about them, my frustration quickly turned to compassion and the realization that everything wasn’t always what it seemed.

Paul could have boasted in his authority with God and his wisdom of men. He was right. But he chose rather to look on others with compassion and allow the love of Christ to be exhibited rather than the pride of man.

I’ve learned that most people eventually realize the error of their ways, or I recognize mine. And when they don’t I need to leave them with Christ and move on to matters I can control.

Placing it in Christ’s hands in indeed the cure of the frustrated believer.

How to find grace at the throne

I don’t know about you, but I know about me and when I have to come to the throne of God seeking grace, I generally don’t do it boldly. I don’t run in and say, “Father, I messed up! Will you forgive me and fix this mess I’m in… again.” No, that is not how I approach God. I slink in like a ‘possum on the porch. Hovered down like the guilty scoundrel I am. I’m always sure this will be the time that God says, “Shari , you have filled the sea of forgetfulness with garbage. Now, this sin is laying on the beach and I can’t forget it. You’ve gone too far girlfriend. Your grace has run out! Depart from me, I don’t want to know you anymore.” But that’s not God. Number one… God wouldn’t call me girlfriend. Number 2, God won’t un-know His children.

I’m in good company with my mindset though, because I think David felt like God had forgotten him several times. One such time was in Psalm 88 when he penned the words: “Lord, why castest thou off my soul? Why hidest thou thy face from me?” David laments through the entire Psalm, he is in the lowest of the lowest spots of his life and he feels that God is not listening. Have you been there? I certainly have. But what I found odd about this was not that David felt like that, because I could identify; but it’s what happened next in the chronological order of the bible, which is Psalm 92. For which he opens with the words “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praise unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery: upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, has made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works, and thy thoughts are very deep.

So how does one go from, “God do You even know I exist?” to singing songs of praise?

I believe it’s when we can establish in our minds Who God is, and who we are.

God is loving and kind

David said it was good for us to show forth God’s lovingkindness. Could that have been because David wasn’t always loving and kind? I know I’m not.  There are times I have a hard time loving the people I love, and for certain times that I cannot love the people I don’t even like.

God is faithful

David wasn’t always faithful, he stole a man’s wife for cryin’ out loud! But God is forever faithful. Psalm 119:89 says “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”  God won’t un-love us. He won’t forget that He died for us. We are not faithful, and it doesn’t shock God. He knew that before He died.

God is Who matters

David didn’t say that he himself had done anything, but that God had done everything. “For thou, Lord, has made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works, and thy thoughts are very deep.” Thy works, Thy hands, Thy thoughts. Nothing of mine, but thine O’ Lord!

If ever I can get my head wrapped around that thought I am convinced that I will be walking the confidence that the Lord desires. That I can run boldly to the throne of grace. But I’m not there. I still have those moments when I think, there’s no way God can forgive me… again. It’s a lie out of the pits of Hell and I buy into it every time.

Why? Because we fear God’s wrath. David said in Psalm 88, verse 15, “I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

David couldn’t focus on life because he feared God’s wrath. And while God’s wrath can still be felt, He would much rather we face the wrong we’ve done, and feel His grace.

Hebrews 4:14-16

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. 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. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Somewhere between 88 and 92 David found grace. So should we.

Where are the Accusers?

chick rock

“Woman where are those thine accusers?” – John 8:10b

Last night I was the woman standing in the midst… of five little girls. I say little, and yet not so little, they were young teens. Actually I was sitting, playing and teaching guitar. One of the girls had recently attended a revival where I had sung a song I had written called “When Misery Met Mercy,” and she asked me if I’d sing it for them. What an honor! And an opportunity. I began to tell them the story of the woman caught in adultery and they were amazed. They’d not heard that story, nor had they heard that adultery was wrong. I’m shocked at my own naivety sometimes. I grew up with the teaching of bible morals and I just assume that the rest of the world at least knows, even if they choose to ignore it. But the shock in the young girl’s voice was evidence clear in my mind that she really had no idea that adultery was a sin… and for a second I judged…

Not her but the world around her. And then this morning I ponder this thought, and I am convicted of my own rock throwing. It’s so easy to become that religious crowd. An honest to goodness rock throwing Pharisee is what I felt like.

In irony, the night I sang that song at the revival a man preached who was fighting his way back from addiction, which was almost as hard as fighting his way back from the judgement of rock throwing Pharisees. And that night I was angry at the church people who had thought they had the right to sit in the seat of God and tell a man who has fallen, but gotten up, that he has no right to stand for Jesus. Who were they to condemn a man Who God had said “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:11b

Who am I?

Jesus said to the crowd that lingered behind, the ones who hadn’t picked up the stones, they were only spectators, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” And there I was a child of the living God, privileged to walk in the light of life and yet blinded to the world around me. I was a spectator. I didn’t throw the rock, but I sure didn’t feel as if I’d been defending that little girl either. I did not know her world, and yet every day I live in it.

I have no right to judge her world, especially if I’m not willing to go out into it. The religious crowd goes out into the world and drags the sins of the world before the church and says “We are better!” A child of God goes out into the world and says “I am you… the only difference is I’m forgiven.”

And then they share forgiveness.

No rock throwing for me today… just tears of compassion. Please continue to pray for our camp.