Category Archives: Forgiveness

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.

Foolish chick… Praise God for Chick Grace

Perhaps it’s an oxymoron that the Jesus Chick has chickens, but I love my little brood.  I have nine laying hens, or at least they’re all supposed to lay. Some do not. I have a two Leghorns (Laverne and Ethel), a Rhode Island Red (Lucy), two Silkies (Glo and Sue), two Black Australorps (Shirley and Rhoda) and two Belgium deUccles (Butterscotch and Toffee). They show so much familiarity with the modern day church that it really does seem fitting for them to be in my care. I guess chicken farming is a little like Pastoring. Each of them have their own personality. One’s a little bossy, a couple of them are sometimes lazy, there’s the showboats and the strutters. They all have purpose and potential, but it’s not always evident in the service of the coop. They expect feed and water to be at their beckon call, but if I need productivity on their part… well that’s debatable.

I’ll bet every preacher reading this just shouted a big Amen. If only inside their mind.

If I’m being honest, I’m anyone of those chicks at any given moment in time. Last week was a low productivity week for me. I’m excuseless. Perhaps it’s still the effects of the heart surgery lingering on, or perhaps I just had a lazy week. I don’t know. I just couldn’t seem to come out of my funk. I’m praying since this is Monday that God has mercy on my soul today and my productivity will be up, because He and I have been talking a little this morning about the life of the Jesus Chick. Actually I was listening to another brother’s message and God spoke to my soul in such a tender way, that I had to share it with you. Perhaps today you’re not feeling too productive for Jesus either. Or maybe you feel like you’ve let God down in one of the millions of other ways that I quite often do. Failure is a fact in my life. Whether it’s a chick or sheep, we all stray.

Luke 15

1Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

The crowd gathered to hear Jesus. The religious and the lost alike had a desire to see and hear Jesus. But for two entirely different reasons. The religious hoped they’d find some way to accuse Him; the lost hoped that find hope. There was no doubt those in the crowd who knew Jesus as Savior and were there for the encouragement. And then there would have been someone like me, who loved the Lord, but let Him down pretty often. Even the saved sheep sometimes stray away from the flock. So what great and awesome news to hear that Jesus would leave the 99 and seek the one who was I!

The other day, David built me a bigger coop for my chickadees and we were taking them from the old coop to the new. In the process of the move one of the hens made a run for it. It took us twenty minutes to get that rebel red back into her place. I’m sure it would have looked like a great comedy as I tried to pin her into an area so David could latch on to her. That’s how God does me sometimes I think. He chases me down through the Holy Spirit, desiring me to come back to Him and commune in sweet fellowship. That liar Satan would have me to believe that God is angry and has no desire to have me home. And I’m dumb enough to believe his lies every time. But the Holy Spirit is relentless! And Praise God He is!!!! The great truth of that is, God doesn’t have to leave the 99 to bring me back, He never leaves any of His children.

There is a multitude of reasons we stray from the Word of God. Sin. Sorrow. Suffocation. Life gets on us and it’s hard to shake. God should not have to come after His children but He does.

My chicks are not free roamers. Mainly because I don’t want chicken poop in my yard or the worry of them bothering the neighbors. I don’t want to be a roamer either. I need to stay penned in the word! I not only speak of the writing of this blog but of the safety of God’s protective fence. The Word of God places a hedge around my heart that keeps the world out, and when I fail to read and study it as I should, it allows a breach for Satan to come in. And just like Lucy the Rhode Island Red, I run for the border! Foolish chick… Praise God for Chick grace.

 

 

Longsuffering Has an Expiration Date

When I heard the title of this writing in a recent sermon of my Pastor, it was one of those times that the words rolled over and over again in my mind like the never ending credits to a movie. Only the words attested to the fact that there is an ending. Date unknown. Time unknown. Maybe before you get to the end of this sentence. But as certain as the air we breathe there is an expiration date on God’s longsuffering.

Peter 3:9-14

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

I’m a fanatic over expiration dates on food products, unlike my Mother. We’re pretty sure she’s going to poison us eventually. (I’m kidding, kind of)  She was raised in an era of “scarcity” when it came to the necessities of life, while I have been raised in an era of abundance. This is no doubt the foundation of our mindsets when it comes to expiration dates. I fear our reasoning on the expiration date of the Lord’s longsuffering is much the same. Most of us have not experienced a time of suffering that was long. We’ve gone through bouts of it, but nothing in any great length. But imagine the length of time the Lord has suffered with humanity and their unwillingness to concede to His Omnipotence.

Knowing that most people aren’t longsuffering enough to read more than 500 words, I’ll keep this as short as possible. The last verse (14) in my selected scripture gives me three points to ponder on the longsuffering of God and the short-attention span of His creation. Us.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Pre-salvation, I knew that I was sinner. A conscience was placed within me that let me know. The three things I longed for and could not attain are listed in this verse. And I believe that this is the case for most unsaved people, if not all.

I Longed for Peace

John 14:27 speaks the words of Christ Himself Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

My heart was troubled, and it was afraid because I knew that this world nor my life would be forever. That all changed the day I surrendered my life to Christ through the simplicity of a prayer. “Lord! Save me!”

There was no peace found outside of Him.

I Longed to Feel Worthy

The world puts a great deal of value on worth. Friends are chosen on the basis of “being worth our time.” What do they bring into the relationship? Careers are based on the value of our skills; what do we bring to the table? Family, though not chosen, are often rewarded and positioned on the basis of merit. Who is the most successful? This is not the case in every friend, career or family, but it is usually the case in our lives at some point, leaving us with the feeling of never being enough. Spotted, so to speak.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that the Lord doesn’t want you to bring anything to the table? He just wants you! Just as you are, no matter how broken and messed up that is, or even how perfect you may think you are. Once your life is given to Him, you are viewed through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. He died for you, therefore you are worthy. You are amazing in the eyes of God! You are without spot.

I Longed to Feel it was Not my Fault

Every mistake I ever made in life also rolled as movie credits in my mind, letting me know what a failure I was. Even though I’m saved, it still happens today (the accuser does his job well).

Revelation 12:10 ~ And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He loves nothing more than to convince us that we are “Ne’er-do-wells” without hope. But God is the God of Hope! And in Him we are at peace, without spot and without blame. That is truth. And we love that we can believe it!

But another truth is God is coming back for His church. And His church is not comprised with membership roles of a specific denomination. It’s comprised of those who have confessed that they believe the virgin born Jesus died on the cross of Calvary to pay their sin debt; that He arose on the third day and took the keys to death, Hell and the grave that Satan had been yielding about in arrogance. Christ returned to Heaven, where He now is, making intercession with the Lord for every fault we have so that God does not see our failures, He sees His Son.

When He returns, will you be ready and waiting? If yes, that’s awesome!!!! I’ll see you there. But I ask myself and you this question… Who won’t be there because they don’t know this truth? Share this message with them. And let them know you want them ready.

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

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.

He Understands the Mud

Déjà vu

It seems like the story of my life. Déjà vu – I’ve seen this before. I make the same mistakes again and again and I wonder, “Why does God tolerate me the way He does?” Certainly because His ways are not my ways, else I’d already be before the throne and waiting for my beating. But God doesn’t live in our realm, nor does He think in our realm. His ways are so much higher. And praise His Holy name that they are!

A HIGH PLACE TO CRY

Psalm 61:2

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Even on the days when I feel too unworthy to cry to Him, He hears my cry from the unspoken inward parts of my soul. That is a feeling experienced only by a child of the Living God. Who when the world overwhelms me, there is a Rock that I can stand on where even the highest wave cannot overpower me when I am there.

A HIGH PURPOSE TO BELIEVE

Psalm 89:27

Also I will make him my firstborn, Higher than the kings of the earth.

Though I know in my heart that God can control the saved and the unsaved of this earth if He so chooses, (Proverbs 21:1); that does not always convince my head. I allow fear and suspicions to control my mind and take it to the dark places that Satan would have me live. Satan will fill my mind full of worry and doubt and I will allow it to overshadow why Jesus was born and what He died for. God’s first and only Son, born in a lowly manger, experienced the lowest part of the earth, so that He could ascend to the Highest with the power of those things in His hand. How dare I take them back… and yet I do.

A HIGH POWER TO SEEK

Isaiah 55:9

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I have limited wisdom to say the least. But, I am the child of a bottomless well of wisdom that is at my beckon call. However, I neglect to tap into it the way I should.

The girls and I discussed at Bible Journaling class last light how we desire so much to obtain a place in life where we can just serve God, uninhibited by the world around us. Just live Jesus. But this sin cursed world distracts and entices and I fall, and fail, and God forgives. And I don’t understand why, I’m just grateful He does.

A HIGH PRIEST TO PROPITATE

Hebrews 7:26

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners , and made higher than the heavens.

It’s Christmas time! The Christ Child is on my mind a lot. I imagine Him as a child, making mud pies and having that Déjà vu moment of when He and His Father created it all.  He knew, that much like that dirty, stinky mud, there would come a need for a cleansing of my soul for which I could not. And He became the sacrifice so that I might live free from sin. And yet I don’t. And He still loves me, and I don’t understand why. His ways are not my ways, or His thoughts, my thoughts.

I am loved. So are You. Enjoy this season with that thought in the forefront of your mind.

 

There’s a Reason I need a Fish on my Tree

After hearing a sermon this morning from the book of Jonah, I thought, if I could create an ornament to hang on my tree of what Christmas means to me it would be one of the great fish. I would do so because I’ve always been painfully aware of how very much grace I stand in need of on a daily basis. I’m truly not quick to judge. I’m not above it, I’m just not quick at it. God is the God of second chances, but He’s also the God of 20,000 chances and beyond, to which I can attest I’ve needed.

Another thing that I have become painfully aware of is what a judgmental world we live in. You can’t walk down the street without feeling the condemning eye of someone, even if it’s just a figment of your imagination. The feeling is very real, at least for me. A former young lady from my youth department posted an image on social media last night that said this:

  • When I make a mistake
  • I know it.
  • I feel it.
  • I tear myself apart.
  • I lose sleep.
  • I don’t stop thinking about it.
  • So when I say I’m sorry.
  • Know that I mean it.
  • I’m my own toughest critic.

My first thought was, “perhaps I taught her too well, she became me.” But then I put the blame where it lies and that’s on Satan; who uses the tool of guilt to thwart the lives of any child of God trying to serve.

So… back to the ornament.

Before his great fish experience Jonah had three oracles hanging about his neck that drew him overboard.

Prejudice, Pride, and Preservation

Prejudice defined as judgement of another. Pride in the sense of judgement of self of a greater worth than others and Preservation by taking care of your own without regard for the souls of others. All of which are reasons for which Christ died, so that no man would be above another, of any greater worth and without excuse for failing to help someone in need. But we tend to forget that. Granted we’re better to remember others during this time of year, but why is it limited to December.

Jonah had that spirit about him when God told him to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”  But Jonah went in the opposite direction because he didn’t believe the people of Nineveh were worth saving. I can tell you the Jonah’s of social media should have their own site where they can spew their venom to each other instead of taking it upon themselves to be the judge, jury and executioner of people they don’t think are worth saving either. They are the “Mean girls” of today. A Christian falls and rather than picking them up we tell them their err, but when it comes to picking them up and giving them solutions to their issues, we run like Jonah.

Who ever said talk was cheap lied. It can cost someone their life.

PREJUDICE

When Jonah got on the boat with the mariners, (not people of God), they tried to save him. They didn’t want to throw Jonah overboard; that was a last resort. The world also often uses it as a last resort when they meet a drunk, a drug addict or persons of despicable character. They’ll take them in, make shelters, provide for their needs, where a Christian will give them a gospel tract and walk away, “Leaving them to God to clean.”

Jonah was expected to be a vessel. God had called him, and he hit the reject call button because he was prejudice against the people.

PRIDE

Pride too must have been part of Jonah’s character. When he determined the storm was brought on by his problem, rather than say, “turn the boat around I need to go back,” he said “throw me over board.” Willing to die rather than obey the calling of the Lord for the people’s sake. Pride will do that. It will cause you to disobey God rather than admit you’re wrong and go in the direction He’d have us go. I speak with experience, there’s a reason I need that fish on my tree.

PRESERVATION

Praise the Lord! I’m saved and preserved by the blood of Christ because my self-preservation tactics are self-destruction. Jonah was willing to die rather than submit to God’s will. But God had another plan. He preserved Jonah in the belly of a great fish that would have killed the average man; but God was not about to let one of His plans fall through. So when we read Jonah 3:1 “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh that great city, and preach unto it,” we see the God of second chances and we read next that Jonah went. For the record he still wasn’t happy about it, but he went!

I have failed my Lord so, so very many times. No, I’m not quick to judge, but even if I’m slow it makes me guilty. I need the great fish ornament to remind me to be the giver of second, third and 20,000 chances. To never look upon the fall of someone as an opportunity to give advice but for me, it becomes an opportunity to give a hand. Amen!

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.

When is revenge okay?

I’m truthfully not a vengeful person, however, I am human. Very human. Because of that I can say with honest humility there are days that I long to see a pot fall from a windowsill, in an animated version of course,  that wouldn’t allow anyone to get hurt but would allow me the satisfaction of smiling when it happened. While emotional pain doesn’t usually come with a scar, it still leaves a mark on the soul, and the propensity to get even. Praise God for grace, and for the Holy Spirit that knocks on my mind’s door and hands me a past due bill of stupid behaviors that could have me on somebody’s “animated flower pot list.”

Apostle Paul probably had a list and was on the lists of multiple people, but his focused attention on the spiritual accountability of his life would have caused him to cast his list in the fire of forgetfulness and move on to the next mission of God. And so it should be with us. So when is revenge okay?

2 Corinthians 10:1-6

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.  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; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

There is it! The one time that revenge is okay: “to revenge all disobedience.”

Believe me when I say it’s a battle in the making! My flowerpot thinking is according to the flesh which wants an eye for an eye. Over all that’s unrealistic and a bad idea! It’s not even the right enemy. Paul said we don’t war after the flesh, and our weapons are not that of a carnal nature either. Our greatest battle, or at least mine is not fought on the soil outside my door, but rather in the battlefield of my mind. And it’s usually brought on by a hurtful act of another person, who may or may not have been aware of it. But I’m left with the hurt and it’s a playground for Satan to begin sowing seeds of vengeful thinking toward another soul who stands in need of grace every bit as much as I do.

But the stronghold of hurt on my mind is just what Paul said it was: a “strong hold.” And it’s too strong for me to fight in the flesh. Pulling down the strong hold gives me the mental image of something that I have allowed to get above me, between me and God. The place that Satan likes best. He loves making me feel lower than, less than other people because it’s my kryptonite. It weakens me spiritually because I feel so unworthy and the negative thoughts begin to flood my mind and I desire carnal resolutions.

Three things Paul said to do to win this battle.

  1. Pull down strong holds
  2. Cast down imaginations
  3. Take captive thoughts

The strong holds are the areas of our lives that we’ve allowed Satan to place something or someone between us and God causing the site line to Heaven to disappear. Imagine yourself taking a hold of it, pulling it down away from Heaven’s view until God is back in our site line again. It’s not as hard as Satan would have us believe because it’s a whole lot easier to pull something down, than to pull something up.

Another thing that will pull us down are the imaginations of our mind. We place thought bubbles above the heads of others, assuming to know what it is they think of us, or assuming we know what God thinks of us. This keeps us in a lower position in life because again we’ve placed imagination between us and the word of God. Which is the only truth. Casting down the imaginations is removing the thought bubbles above your head and the heads of others that you’ve placed there without God’s permission and replacing it with the Word of God.

The last thing to do is to lock them up and throw away the key. This too is not a carnal battle but in the spiritual realm. And the key is not that of a metal material but rather the allowing God to place under lock and key what Jesus placed there at the cross. When Christ took back the keys of death, hell and the grave he locked behind them the power Satan has over us. It’s we who allow the release of those demonic thoughts when we open up our minds to Satan’s words.

The spirit world is a very real place with access through the portal of the mind. The only way to keep it at bay is to keep our mind in subjection to the Holy Spirit. The ultimate revenge against Satan, or anyone or anything in our lives that causes us misery is to be obedient to Christ, Who has only our best interest at heart. In Him is where true happiness and contentment lie. He has pulled us up above this earth where we are seated in the heavenly realm. Again… we can’t see it. But we’re there because the word says we are.

Ephesians 2:6

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Glory! The Victory is ours!

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.

He’s So Easy to Love

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I’m So Easy to Love

That was God’s word to my soul this morning. I make it hard. I allow the world to invade my mind with notions of Who God is and it’s never good. It’s always words like, judgmental, harsh, angry… words that drive me away from Him. Who do you think is whispering those words? That’s a no brainer, and yet I listen. Satan loves us to think that God doesn’t love us. So this morning as I talked to God, our conversation went something like this:

Lord, thank you for patience. My disobedient heart, selfish ways and walking in disbelief have surely broken Your heart.

To which He replied:

Not really Shari. I see your whole heart. Remember yesterday’s art? I know the fabric of your heart in every detail. It’s why I’m patient with you. I want you to come to me with your whole being, so I can bless you with Mine. Every time you hold back, I do too. It’s what a Holy God does. Like the Garden of Eden… had I continued to give Adam and Eve everything after the fall, they’d have stayed in that sinful, painful state. They’d never have drawn to me. And I would have had to turn my back on them. I loved them. I created them, and I created you. Tap into what I created in you. It’s a well down in your soul filled with my goodness. You’ve never fully given yourself. Do it, and see what happens. Your eyes could not contain what I have in store. I love the mornings we spend together, when you and I get to know each other better. Satan hates it.  He and I used to have those mornings too until he forsook me. That did break my heart. I created him… I loved him. But I wasn’t enough. That’s what breaks my heart. Not that you fail, although that hurts; but I know understand that battle. I was there. It’s not easy. What breaks my heart, is that I am not enough. The God of all creation, isn’t enough. I need you to understand. I am easy to love.

And that’s when it the conversation stopped. He knew I needed to grasp that He was easy to love. I needed to stop buying the worlds lies that God is angry with me, and tired of my continual failures. He understands human nature, for which I need to repent; but deep within us is not only a well of creativity for living, but a desire to know He who created us. If we’d tap into that we’d understand why He is easy to love.

God loves what He created. Just like He created it. Maybe you too needed to hear that this morning…