Tag Archives: forgiveness

Pressing and Posting

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Philippians 3:14

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Another day, another diet, another goal… life seems to always be filled with a purpose driven passion that can turn on a dime to another failure and leaves me wishing every day were Sunday. It’s such a day of encouragement for me, I love listening to preaching and singing and serving the Lord, but even it can turn into frustration when I get my eyes off Christ and onto people. I have somewhat become un-enchanted with social media over the past few weeks, I’m sure I’ll be back at it soon but felt the need to take a hiatus for a few days to “detox” from many of the posts  I was reading. Political and personal rants have become the norm, and what used to be common sense flew out the window. Freedom of speech should sometimes be best used by the freedom of not saying what you could.

Several months ago, I either read or heard a statement that was a game changer for me regarding what comes out of our mouth. Satan and his band of troublemakers are not all knowing, only God has the ability to be the discerner of our every thought. But Satan doesn’t have to be a mind reader he only has to be a listener, or a reader, because we’ve laid out the stick for him to stir with plain and clear when we air our frustrations in our status posts. Perhaps it’s the era I was brought up in or more than likely the family, but we just didn’t make our troubles public, and yet today people not only make them public but wear them as trophies and care not that their friends and family know how very messed up their lives are. I guess this is a rant of my own of sorts… but it’s written to encourage my fellow servants of Christ to press on, not down.

Negative posts do not encourage positive living. You can quote me on that, that’s good stuff! The seeds that we plant in our life is what we harvest… I know that’s a no brainer, but it must not be, because there’s plenty of people sewing garbage and wondering why their life stinks.

Here’s just a few that I’ve noticed on social media on a pretty regular basis:

  • Satan may or may not have known that “so and so” got on your last nerve, but following that Facebook update he did. And now he has another avenue clearly marked in your life to making you miserable.
  • Nobody knew what a terrible mess your life was in until you went on that rant about it and now every time you walk on the street you feel as if you’re being judged, or so Satan says.
  • You posted your opinion on a matter that few agreed on and now you feel attacked because someone aired the opposite opinion on your status, welcome to America.
  • Let’s attack our family and make it a public spectacle and then wonder why nobody enjoys a family reunion, except Satan… he has a hayday!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! That’s why I needed a few days to regroup. Not only do those post affect the person who posted negatively but everyone who reads it. By the same token a positive post creates a positive atmosphere. So here’s my challenge for you today. Ten positive posts and if you care to you can use this blog as one! And zero negative… not even bad news. Press on Pilgrim, it’s a happy day!!!!

Father vs. father… a point to ponder

chick ponder

During a recent study with the teens the subject matter came up how we often compare our relationship with God to that of our earthly parents. I hadn’t really thought about my parental viewpoint of God until that conversation. Yes, I viewed Him as my Father, but in so doing had I given to Him some of my earthly father’s attributes? I fear I had. My Dad, Gene Hardway, was an awesome godly man. But he had some quirks of human nature. He was a passive fella.

When I married my husband in 1980, yes I was baby of 18 years of age, I was not prepared for the culture of his family. They’re good people too, but they were different than the Hardway’s. They were more realistic to most families in the world. My parents never argued. For real! I never heard anyone raise their voice. So when I met people who could get loud, my Ozzie and Harriett world went upside down. I soon learned how to react in kind. I  don’t recommend it. But as for my Dad, he never changed. He did not yell. He did not argue. Which is awesome, till it’s not. I think possibly if my Dad had spoken more forceful on some things perhaps I would have listened, but maybe not.  The reality of it is, my Dad was who he was, and my husband David’s family are who they are. But now back to the Dad and God comparison… I had to ask myself if I viewed God as somewhat passive, even though I know that not to be the case according to scripture. And the answer was a resounding yes! So I asked my husband, if because his earthly dad had left him when he was one year old, if he thought that caused him to have a lack of trust in God. He said he hadn’t ever really thought about it… I’ve been married too him over half my life, I think he has.

God is truth

Titus 1:2  – In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Parents lie. They tell us things about the Easter Bunny and Santa, (Which I believe is okay) but God would not tell you those things were true, because they are not. Parents tell you you’re the most beautiful child in the world… you are not, but you are in their world, so perhaps that is true. By the same token a really crappy parent who would discourage a child and criticize them is not who God is either, they lie; God does not.

God is love

1 John 4:8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

God’s love is unconditional. We did not do anything to make God love us therefore we cannot do anything to make Him stop. Good parents for the most part love their children unconditional, but not always. Children grow into adults, make bad decisions, hurt us, let us down, as do the parents. God will not ever let you down. I would imagine unconditional love would be hard to fathom for someone brought up in a “conditional love home.”

God is Right

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Parents make mistakes, Lord have mercy I have made my fair share and somebody else’s; but God has not ever had an “oops” moment. If you read and study His word from beginning to end, regardless if it is a scientific, moral or prophetic statement, it’s truth. Tell me any man or woman who you can say that about, although my husband does profess to always be right. (Insert smiley face here) But there is none but God Who is ALWAYS right.

God is forgiving

Matthew 6:14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Do we think of Him as forgiving or condemning? I think of Him in that manner, but my Dad was a VERY forgiving guy. I have a feeling if you were brought up in a home where forgiveness was not forthcoming, you might not feel as forgiven.

This idea gave me great reason to ponder my relationship with God. What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing if your view of God was parent defined…

What to do when church folk upset us

chick love

I love encouragers in the faith, and our Pastor is one such man. He can expound the truth of the gospel and leave you both convicted, yet encouraged. He has just the right amount of salt and sugar in his delivery. Yesterday’s sermon from the book of Philemon stuck to my soul like glue and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts from his message in hopes of encouraging you.

Philemon 1:9-10

 Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

Onesimus was a servant of Philemon who had, for whatever reason, wronged Philemon and packed his panties and hit the road. I know that analogy is wrong on so many levels, but he left Philemon without so much as a “fare thee well” and Philemon was still upset.  From the opening address of Paul’s letter to Philemon we know that he is a respected man of God, a fellowlabourer as Paul calls him, not a slacker by any means. He’s not a disgruntled church worker, Philemon’s a servant in good standing in the house of the Lord, albeit he’s still human. Hmmm… can it possibly be that good servants still have bad days? Follow me around for more than 15 minutes and you’ll find out.

Paul’s letter is packed full of so much wisdom for the leaders and the lead that an entire gospel conference could be held in its honor. It’s truth!

The nature of the beast of a congregation of believers is an argument waiting to happen on every given day that we’re together because we all come with an opinion and it usually differs. Were it not for the almighty grace of God and the realization that none of us are worthy it wouldn’t work. There has to be a level of humility in the church for it function as God intended, it has to be done for “love’s sake”.

I love the congregation of Victory Baptist Church. It’s been a family to me for 19 years. I have not always agreed with everyone in the congregation, but I love them. I’ve upset people, but they loved me in spite of it. We’ve had people who have left our congregation much like Onesimus, without so much as a fare thee well, and I was hurt. They didn’t leave on good terms with the congregation of the Lord and even though I’m a “good fellowlabourer” in Christ, I was upset. Not that they left… but the way they left. God calls people to other congregations, to other places of service; but He never calls anyone out of church. Why would He? He died for the church.

There are some evangelists that I love listening to. They stir my soul and encourage me in the faith, but they’re not my Pastor. This isn’t a message to puff up my own Pastor, this is a message that God laid on my heart this morning to encourage you to be faithful to your own church, lest Paul needs to write you a letter. It’s my letter both to the Philemon and Onesimus of any given congregation, likely every congregation.

When I left the home church on February 18th 1996, that I was raised in, I was an Onesimus. I wasn’t saved and God needed me in another location to get me saved, a place where my tender heart would accept the gospel and a place where I would be discipled. That was Victory Baptist Church. I didn’t leave like I should have, but I really didn’t know I was leaving. I thought I was “visiting” another church. Who knew I’d visit for almost 20 years! Since that time much has happened in my life spiritually, I’ve grown in the grace of Christ and I think that my fellowlabourers in that congregation have forgiven me. My point of that story is… I wasn’t saved when I left.

When unsaved people leave our churches, our hearts should be broken, but not angry. And we should take a long look at ourselves first and see if we could have done more, or something else within the guidelines of scripture so that they would stay. But when a saved person leaves the congregation of the Lord, and not for the purpose of another ministry that is when I need a stern talking to from the Lord. Because I’m upset. And I didn’t realize that I was that upset until my God filled Pastor preached to my heart yesterday. So what’s the solution? I can’t make the people return, but I can stop being upset. Paul was a literal prisoner in jail because of his service for Christ but I’ve been somewhat of a prisoner in my own thoughts by not releasing those emotions.

Paul said that for love’s sake he was reaching out to Philemon to try and restore his relationship with Onesimus. For love’s sake I needed my relationship restored; even though it’s only restored on one side.

What an awesome lesson for me today… perhaps you too. If I’ve been an encourager in your faith please share this message…. For love’s sake. And if God lays it on your heart to encourage me with a comment, please do!

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A Trip to the 7-Eleven

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We don’t have a 7-Eleven in our neck of the woods, nor any other large chain of stores. We’re about as rural as rural gets before it gets to frontier. You can’t always “have it your way” in Calhoun County, West Virginia, sometimes you can’t even get it! It’s a small price to pay though in my opinion to live in a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone and when the emergency services scanner goes off with directions to a home, somebody around those parts knows who to pray for. But another fact of life in our area is there’s little anonymity, possibly none.

As I read about the Corinthians that Paul had written to, anonymity wasn’t the case for their sins either.

Sometime around the middle of the first century, Paul traveled to spread the word of God at which time he traveled to Corinth. The level of wickedness in Corinth was as bad or worse than America, if you can even imagine it. A check list of issues was

  • Pagan altars
  • Idol worship
  • Worship of other gods
  • Prostitution
  • Blatant sin
  • Rejection of God
Hmm… Sound familiar?

The Jewish population of Corinth rejected Paul’s teachings, so the apostle turned his efforts to the Gentiles and thus the church of Corinth was born. One of the many sins of that day today was the lack of morality. Men and women alike did not honor their marriage and even weak members of the church were involved in affairs on a regular basis. But repentance did come for many.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:11  –  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

A lesson in life from the 7-Eleven. We all struggle with sins and temptations, some to a greater degree than others, especially if your exposure to sin has been greater, then there’s more tools in Satan’s tool box to work against you. But here in this text we find the “overcomer’s club!” They’d fought the battle and won the victory.

Because of their:

The godly sort – the repentance of the Corinthians was genuine. And with it brought evidence of their desire to live for Christ.

Carefulness – to avoid the sins that had drawn them in and away from God. Oh that we would be more careful to avoid the pitfalls of sin through the company we keep and the exposure to multi forms of media. Sin is everywhere… oh be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

Clearing yourself – That carefulness to avoid sin, and striving for a relationship with God brings a clearing of the air! There is nothing between you and the Holy One in Heaven.

Fear – A godly fear. A fear of falling back into the ways of sin that so “easily beset us.” God puts that fear in us because He knows without it we’d be prey daily.

Vehement desire – He also put within us a desire to know and serve the living God. You generally don’t know what it is until you’ve found it. But I believe there is a hole in the heart of every non-believer that draws them to the throne of God. They may reject it, but God said He would be lifted up to all men. John 12:32 says –And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Zeal – Salvation and repentance brings a zeal, a fervor that can only be satisfied by telling the world about Jesus.

Revenge – The ultimate revenge against Satan is a soul on fire for Christ that robs him of the opportunity to steal other souls from God.

Clear of that matter – we cannot work for salvation. But we work to draw out minds into the goodness and wholesomeness of God and away from the sins of the world that will find us clear of the matter. I envision a long spiraling climb and finally reaching the peak of the mountain to where you can see clear from above… oh Glory… to be in that spot. Above the sin and reproach that Satan loves to lay at our feet.

March on Christian soldiers! Love ya! If   I encourage, please! share my blog with others.
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Unpacking the warmth of mercy

chick mercy

PSALM 18 

1I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

I strummed across my guitar this morning and the words of Psalm 18:2 came to mind. I had been awakened by frustration this morning. Dreams that bothered me, sins recalled, failures always at hand to rehash and reminisce and cause defeat. Satan’s an early riser. But as I brewed the coffee and came into the living room I began to shake off what Satan had laid on my shoulders and though he’s still lurking about seeking to devour my day, I’m determined to get in the mindset of victory. I’m counting on mercy. I don’t deserve it, but I need it. And God is the only one who is worthy to provide it.

I Love Him so

So I love on Him this morning. I praise Him in song. There’s a line in a Claire Lynch bluegrass song that says. “At my last swallow of coffee I’ll just sit here in your presence for a while and let Your Spirit come and move all over me.” And so I did, except its likely not my last swallow of coffee, I’m just getting started. But I needed to tell the Lord that even though I fail Him, I love Him so. And I’m so thankful for that precious, precious Spirit that sits with me this morning.

My Rock

Never moving. Ever there beside me. The world may walk out on me, but from the day Christ walked into my heart He hasn’t move.

My Fortress

Nothing gets in unless He or I let it in. It’s me who has caused the breaches to need repaired as in the days of Nehemiah. I’ve allowed sin or doubt to break down the fortress that God has created for me. But praise God it’s repaired through repentance and dependence on what my God can do.

My Deliverer

Even from my dreams this day the Lord swooped in and removed me from those thoughts. Through His grace and mercy He stands ready to fight my battles and rescues me just as the Prince for which I dreamed of as a little girl. I knew He was real…

My God!

Oh to utter His name brings job into my soul because I know what it was like without Him. I remember what it was like to feel as if I didn’t belong anywhere. Even now I struggle with “belonging.” I need it, and He knows I need it and every time I get that feeling that I just don’t  fit anywhere in this world, my God come by and says, “that’s because you’re not of this world.” And my world is righted once more.

My Strength

I’m as weak as house cat on my own, but through my Lord I have the strength of a mighty lion. Roar!

My Trust

Is in Him alone.

My Buckler

Shielded from those fiery darts that Satan likes to hurl at me. I occasionally like to peek on the other side of the shield just to see what’s going on. That’s when I get into trouble. I don’t need to see what’s going on in the world, I need to focus on the world that God has given me.

My Horn of Salvation

O glory! Like the bull who makes his way through the streets of the city to fight the matador! But Christ never loses a battle and He will pound into the ground the enemy that comes against us. That is the Horn of my Salvation!

He is worthy, and I am safe.

There’s a lot packed into those three small verses. And through my unpacking of them this morning I know my day is covered. I hope that you were blessed by the Word of God… I hope that you praise Him for He is worthy and I hope that you are shielded in His watch care and salvation today.

((hugs)) from the Jesus Chick this morning!

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But Now… that’s not My song

Chick knows

Job 35:10-15

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.  Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:

So today is not about me… again. But I thought it was when I lay in bed this morning arguing with God that I was growing weary of this “but now” series. My Attention Deficit Disorder thought there was likely something shinier I needed to be looking at. Ha! God said. My Word always shines!

So last night I’m sitting at home and I get an unusual call from a fella who’s near and dear to me, but the last thing he usually wants to discuss is church; because he knows I’ll be on him like white on rice. But this time he’s on me. Sunday morning, when I was where I was, and he was where he was, he’d seen a video on one of the cable music channels. He had previously heard this song on a local radio station, but this time it had images to go with it and a purpose; and none of it was good. The song is titled “Take me to Church” and can be found on Youtube by clicking the song title. I don’t recommend it if you’re squeamish, but it was needful for he and I to see it, because God had a message for us both.

I quickly skimmed the song facts before returning my friends call to answer as to “what I thought of the song.” The song was successful in that it’s intended design was to slam Christianity. The singer, Andrew Hozier Byrne, was quoted on songfacts.com

Written in the wake of a breakup with his first girlfriend, this is both a love song and a contemplation of sin, drawing influence from the late atheist writer Christopher Hitchens. Hozier described it to The Guardian as, “a bit of a losing your religion.

I found it odd that he was quoting an atheistic view point, but capitalizes the name of God in his article, as if God were someone. Well, He is Someone. But He’s not who they characterize in the video. The song criticizes the oppression of gay people in Russia and is said by Hozier that it’s not “an attack on faith.”

Well, this seriously isn’t an attack on Hozier, because he’s not the one responsible for that song. He was a tool, and mightily used by Satan himself. The friend who called was not affectionate of gay people. As a matter of fact, you would more than likely find him either telling or laughing at a gay joke. He’s a red-blooded American boy brought up in the heart of the country. But this song struck a chord in him. The chord that it was intended to strike; the one that paints the church as a narcissistic governing body of people that preach hate.

So, I had some explaining to do. Because it is unfortunate that we are portrayed that way because of a few (by comparison to the numbers who don’t preach hate).

So back to the “But Now” scripture in Job that I whined to God about. Elihu, the “friend” of Job is he who speaks the words in scripture. He too touts to Job that it is obviously because of his wrong living that he has landed in these dire straights.

Elihu is not singing God’s song.

Neither are the religious that damn the homosexual. Because as it says in John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” And the gay person is no greater a sinner than the drunkard or the glutton, yet they are all sinners and need redemption.

God does hear vanity, and He ain’t happy

Elihu said that surely God will not hear vanity, insinuating that Job was being self-centered because of his suffering. Really, Christian folk do that? Yes! Every time we fail to hear the cry of a hurting soul because of their sin, thinking that they “brought their suffering upon themselves,” it is we who are vain and stand in the place of God, judging.

Judgment will come… on the sinner and the church folk too

As I said before, this isn’t about Hozier. He needs to know that Jesus loves him. But what Satan meant this song to do is convince him that Jesus hates him, and that’s a lie right out of the pits of Hell. Christian’s who preach hatred will have their day before God. I’m not saying they’re lost, because Christian people make bad decisions and God doesn’t throw them out of Heaven for it. But they will stand before an Almighty and Powerful God and answer as to why they drove someone away from Jesus.

But Now… God’s song is “Jesus loves me this I know.”

Click on the song link and give the Devil his due!

But Now… get busy

chick Anointed

2 Samuel 12:19-24

19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. 20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. 21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. 22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? 23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.

I somehow or another missed this verse in the “But Now Series” so we’re back tracking one in the order that this will be a thorough study. And it’s not one to be missed for a few reasons. The story of David and Bathsheba’s affair was certainly not one of David’s stellar moments. I find it more than a little interesting that the greater portion of “But Now” moments have involved David, we’ll see if that plays out until the end; but it won’t surprise me that it does. Who better for Satan to attack than the man after God’s own heart? If he’s going to ruin a testimony he’s going to ruin one of the most talked about individuals in the community. So before we cast a stone at the fallen child of God, do you know what God’s plans were for them? They might have been a great and mighty soldier for the cross, but for being human. Satan doesn’t attack the ne’re-do-well, how would that help his cause? He attacks someone who really wants to do the right thing, but gets distracted by something beautiful and thinks… maybe just once.

But “once” had a tiny little face and David loved it, but the baby died.

And in this “But now” story David has confused his servants. When the child was sick David refused to eat and wept in great sorrow, “but now” that the child had died, David got up, got dressed and went on about the business of the day. It wasn’t that he was heartless or without mourning, for it says he comforted his wife. And I’m sure in the privacy of their home they still shed tears, but this day David knows that nothing can be done to change God’s mind, and it’s time to go on.

Be it in life and death, life and a career, life and a marriage or life and something else we’ve lost, we have to stop the mourning.  The reason it happened may or may not have been any of our own, but we have the answer; it’s done and we can’t undo it. I have had more than a few of those moments in my life, but I’m not nearly so smart as David. I want to wallow in it for a day, a month, a year… What about you?

Is there something that God has said “It’s over,” and you just won’t let it be? How about today we clean ourselves up, anoint ourselves (putting on the Word of God) and get back in the business of serving and worshiping God as He deserves. I can’t believe I almost missed this “But Now” experience. All Satan had to do was get a computer program to un-bold one word and I missed it, but God knew we needed it. So here are… but now… get busy.

Are you giving your best gift?

best gift ever

As I read through a few chapters in Genesis this morning, I came across the lineage of Esau; and scattered among his sons was one by the name of Amalek; which triggered a memory of a sermon I once heard titled “Then came Amalek.”  That sermon was from the book of 1 Samuel, when Saul, who had been told to “utterly destroy” the Amalekites for what they had done to the children of Israel back in the book of Exodus. While traveling to the Promised Land, they had assumed they’d be safe traveling through Edom, because they too were the descendants of Abraham, but they soon discovered that family is not always a friend. I just covered a lot of Bible history in just a few sentences, and probably utterly confused you, but here in the book of Genesis we find the origin of those people as the grandchildren of Esau, battling twin brother of Jacob.

Esau married outside the chosen nation, (he married a Canaanite woman), several actually and disappointed his parents. His wives worshipped strange gods and raised his children up to do the same. They had no pride in their Israeli heritage, only disdain in the coming generations. But my point being, it all began with one son’s disobedience. But now we no longer concern ourselves with what tribe or nation a family may be from, but rather are you apart of the nation Heaven as a child of Jesus Christ? But family still matters…

I was blessed to be raised by Christian parents who molded me into the strange being that I am today through a few quirks of their own. My mother, a quite creative woman and my father who was musically talented both attributed to my talents but I also received of my father a lackadaisical attitude which gets me in trouble on a pretty regular basis, and of my mother I received the “I can do it by myself” gene, which is really funny because my Dad’s name was Gene! But the two of those combined makes my theme song “I can do it by myself, but I’ll do it later!”

Regardless of how you feel about your family, it still does not change the fact that you are a product of their making. But what you become productive in is still entirely up to you. Esau was a bitter boy because his brother had stolen his birthright and inheritance, but he did eventually forgive Jacob. However, his descendants picked up that bitter bone and carried it through generation after generation. Is that not crazy? What Esau forgave, the family didn’t forget.

It still happens today. It happens in my own family as I think about relatives who have hurt members of my family and I’ve shared those stories with my children who now don’t think very highly of those relatives either; and in the generations to come they probably won’t like the descendants of those aunts and uncles either but they really won’t know why.

Why do we do it? I’m sure if Esau had his life to live over again he’d have mended fences with Jacob before he left the first time. He likely wouldn’t have disobeyed his parents which caused generational conflicts that still affect us today. But Esau can’t undo the past. We however, who are still alive, still have the opportunity to change the future of our families by changing our attitudes toward the past and letting it go. Really letting it go. Not just letting it go until we’re frustrated again and feel the need to relive the anger.

Christmas is a good time to give the gift of restoration. Do you have someone in your family that you would just as soon forget… well remember them. Pray for them and encourage yourself in the story of the Amalekites. Which would have changed the world if someone had gotten it right earlier. You have generations to consider and why on earth would you want them to carry a bitter seed forward that will grow the same heartache you carry.

I don’t know who this message is for…certainly for myself, but maybe you too. I’d love to hear from you! Share your story with me and let’s start Christmas off with the gift worth giving – forgiveness!

Feeling Hurt or Betrayed… this post is for you!

God's favOne of my greatest defeats in life is the heartache of betrayal by friends and family. It takes me forever and a day to get past what happened and get on with life as God’s design intended and I have a feeling I’m not alone. If a stranger speaks ill of you or does you harm you can shrug that off for you are no better or worse without them in your life. But if someone for whom you have invested love, energy and time betrays you; it’s as if a piece of your very heart has been torn asunder. There is no salve that will heal it, nor bandage that can conceal it. Everybody in your circle knows that you’ve been hurt, which for me is worse than the hurt sometimes. Because then I not only have to deal with the pain inflicted by the person who hurt me, but the shame I feel around those who know that I was betrayed. It’s a double whammy kind of day.

It’s been a little while since I have been in that position, but as I read across 2 Samuel 19 this morning the times that it occurred came flooding back into my mind as if someone had opened a gate.  I can still find myself wallowing in the pain like I’ve stepped in mucky miry clay in my favorite shoes; ruining the shoes and causing me to slip and fall back into that despair I felt when it originally happened. What I fail to understand in times like these is that I’ve not only gotten myself stuck in the mud but those around me are being splattered as well as I stomp and kick my way back to dry ground. Even the unsaved know the scripture about turning the other cheek in Matthew 5:39. They may not be able to quote it but they know it’s supposed to be a Christian characteristic that practically every Christian fails.

In 2 Samuel 19, David has just won the battle, but in the process his son Absalom is killed. He’s been betrayed by friends and family. He’s mourning not only the loss of a child but the agony of his son’s betrayal. Joab, the commander of his army has to have a heart to heart about his role as leader and the effect his mourning is having on his nation. They feel they’ve done something wrong by killing his enemy. David sent the whole nation running into their tents like thieves; as if they’d done wrong for doing right. He does make amends and in the process makes a statement that every child of God should know.

After the battle, Shimei, who had been on the opposing team comes to David in great remorse for his behavior begging forgiveness. Abishai, David’s comrade and nephew (his mom was Zeruiah) tells David to forget Shimei’s apology and put him to death because he had “cursed the Lord’s anointed.” Oh how many times I have all but ask God to kill those who have betrayed me. I didn’t want God to kill’em but if He’d have maimed them I’d have been okay with that. But David answers him in royal style and forgiveness.

2nd Samuel 19:22

And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?

To country quote that for myself … “The battle is over, the damage is done and I’m still God’s favorite.”

That’ll put a shout on you! That’s how you victoriously get past the hurt. Regardless of what someone has done, or what the end result is, they cannot remove you from your station in life that God has given you. If we’re wallowing in pain, we’ve stepped down from our position. That’s an awesome word for someone today… Me for one!

The morning after… and the Ignorance of Politics

politics

Politics are Satan’s playground. I’m proud to live in a country where we have the right to vote, I wouldn’t want to live in the dictatorship that many live in persecution under, however, my heart grows weary of the antics of the winners and losers. Satan knows just where to attack and who he can use to tear at the core of Christian faith. He knows if he can discourage us and imprison our thoughts with anger that our focus will be off the gospel of Christ. I write to myself this morning for in the midst of the political nonsense I find myself in need of hearing the encouraging words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:11

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

What better tool can he use than the political realm that stirs up the hearts of men and women with passionate pride for their cause and turns brother and against brother, friend against friend? We are so all consumed with the “pride of our cause” and yet the supposed cause, which is our homes, family and freedom is being cast aside so that we can win a battle of politics. Satan wins, and we are ignorant.

Mine will likely not be a popular opinion this morning because people would rather argue and cast fingers of blame than take responsibility for the mess this country is in. I cannot say that my lips did not turn a little upward when the republicans took back over the Senate, but only because they are the more conservative of the lot, not because they are sin free. I’m disgusted with Washington as a whole, every party on the ticket. I’m just as frustrated on a local level because somewhere along the line it became politically correct to blame the voters for not wanting to give hierarchy carte blanche with finances and poor decision with no accountability. I won’t park there lest I be ignorant.

The same people who are “so concerned” for our children and nation care not that Hell is on the horizon and Satan laughs all the way to the gates because he has them distracted with politics.  A quick glance through Facebook this morning left me weeping on my keyboard at the children and families hurting because of illnesses and brokenness, and yet the next post would be someone cutting to the core family and friends because they disagreed over politics. I so wanted to get on their post and give them a piece of mind… at least what’s left. But then I decided to read more of Paul’s letter…

2 Corinthian 2:7-8

So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

Paul spoke of a man who had been disciplined by the church for sin. He asked the church to love him back into the fellowship of God with forgiveness, not continue to beat and berate him to the point of breaking his spirit. I see Christians too often taking a road so high that no one could possibly achieve it so that they can continue to “look down” at the sinner as though they were not one themselves, especially in politics.

Here’s a news flash: God’s not in your party.

God is Holy and just and will hold accountable every decision of every decision maker. He will not allow His name to be taken in vain and the sanctity of the family mocked. And when I say “taken His name in vain” I don’t speak of cursing. I speak of people who use God to further their agenda.

I don’t want to be ignorant of Satan’s devices.  He’ll use me as well as anyone to get someone’s mind off of what matters. Eternity. If your candidate or cause went down, it may or may not be a bad thing. But if a soul goes down into the pits of Hell, and is separated for all eternity from their family and friends. Nothing is worse. Hell is real… but it’s not a playground.