Tag Archives: Restoration

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.

A New Member of My Family

Photo: 1975 Fritz Otto Kaiser viola purchased today... needs some work, but the more I learn about her the more I'm determined she's a beauty!

I’d like to introduce you to Gretchen, a German made viola purchased from a Pawn Shop in Lewis County, West Virginia yesterday. Her name means “Pearl” and although I have yet to get her valued, I’m hoping she’s a Pearl of great price. This morning as I looked upon her in the case and ran a cloth across her wood I realized she has much in common with the common Christian, who also are pearls of a great price!

The beauty of a pearl is in its luster. Any marring of the surface of the pearl will diminish the luster, thereby reducing the beauty of the pearl. Because pearls are relatively soft gemstones, their surface is susceptible to damage from hard objects,as well as over-exposure to arid environments (i.e., air conditioning, desert climates) and ultra-violet rays. Also true in the care of a violin (or viola in the case of Miss Gretchen). Her wood is dry and worn, likely from the climate it was stored, the surface is marred a little, she’s lost a little of her luster. She was so far out of tune, one string almost detached from no one having played her. The bow was without rosin and squeaked across her out of tune strings making me cringe when I picked her up out of the case at the Pawn shop. She had been cast away un-cared for until the day I found her.

Her resemblance to many of the Christians that I meet on a daily basis had the same effect on my heart… broken. Because I knew there had been an earlier day that she was in fine tune; her song was one of beauty and brought joy to the hearts of music appreciators. But over time she had spent less and less time with the Master and now she lay dry, on a storage shelf and there was little life in her. But I also knew that with a little TLC (tender love and care) I could possibly restore her to her earlier glory and once again she’d be back in service.

So, child of God… does my new found friend Gretchen bear a resemblance to you? Have you pulled away from the Master in service, thinking your song would be better sung in a version the world would accept. After all the gospel song is not appreciated in every venue. And while that’s true, its the only venue that the anointing oil of God is upon, and the location with the greatest blessing.

Matthew 13:45-46 speaks of that pearl of a great price – Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. And while I’m uncertain of the value of Miss Gretchen in the world, I know of the value of her to me already. I didn’t have to sell all that I had to purchase her, she was just $75.00. But the price paid for you and I by the Lord Jesus was indeed priceless. He gave His life so that we could have a relationship with Him and enjoy that precious oil of favor. Away from Him we are dry and brittle and apt to fall apart.

It’s the Lord’s day! you’ve been given another chance for restoration. I hope today finds you a.m. or p.m. in the house of the Lord singing His song.

How to Mess Up a Blessing

In the midst of our annual tent meeting and a great moving of the Holy Spirit through the people, I have to examine my own life; because I believe that every Word of God, jot and tittle in the King James Bible is truth. So when I read Mark 11:26But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasss,” I believe it. And I think to myself, is there anyone that I have not forgiven? Because it’s certainly possible. And though I’m not a grudge bearer, (I don’t waste my time with people who have wronged me because I truly consider it their loss), I still have people in my life who when someone brings up their name, my heart sinks a little. And I don’t want that coming between me and the full blessing of God.

Did you catch that? Not only will we not be forgiven of our own sins (which for me is many) but we’ll also miss out on the blessing of God. Let’s look at the scripture leading up to the previous text. Mark 11:22-26. It lays out a message outline as clear as day on how to mess up a blessing.

And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Doubt. Woah baby! I’ve messed myself up with that one on more than one occasion. I did not realize that there was a method to this mayhem that I created. Jesus said if we have doubt in our heart it will come to pass. Good night a mighty! How many times have I doubted something good was going to happen and what I essentially did was cause it not to? Now God’s allowed many things to happen in my life that I doubted… that’s called grace. But how much more would He have allowed if I had not doubted it; and spoke it aloud allowing Satan and his band of havoc wreaker’s to hear.

The second step to messing up a blessing is to ask for something while carrying un-forgiveness in your heart. Jesus said that God wants to give us our heart’s desire, but… as you’re standing there praying for it, examine your heart because God won’t give over un-forgiveness.

If you ask me the desires of my heart today I can tell you flat footed and eye to eye it is this:

  1. That my church catch fire to see soul’s saved.
  2. That my entire family get right with God so that there will be no eternal separation.
  3. And for health and stamina to continue on in the ministry that God has blessed me with.

Three serious prayers with eternal ramifications. Why on earth would I let anyone stand between me and those requests? Look seriously at your own life. What has anyone done to you that is worth holding onto and losing that?

I hope today find you and I both with hearts full of love, faith that moves mountains, and forgiveness in abundance.

Psalm 51:10 ~ Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.