You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalms 56:8 NLT
My daughter is my angel. My first born. The baby who stopped my wild ways and showed me it was time to stop living a life of promiscuity and sinful abandon (yes, it was years before I completely turned my life back to Christ, but it was the start). The moment I peed on a stick and it said I was a mother I adored every part of her. She was my dream come true. She still is, 14 years later.
I learned early in her life that she keeps her feelings inside. Even at two years old she refused to cry when she got in trouble. Not because she wasn’t remorseful but because she felt things deeper than tears. I had this word from God one day when I was getting angrier and angrier because she wouldn’t cry while being punished. I thank the Lord SO much for revealing this to me so that I could have a bigger understanding of my precious girl. I have only seen my baby girl cry a hand full of times. And when she cries, it is gut wrenching. It means that she is hurt desperately.
One of these times was when she was about 5. We had a big Halloween party at our house and my Abigale dressed as Dorthy from Wizard of Oz. When some of our friends arrived for the party dressed as hillbillies and brought with them a mangy little dog, Abi immediately grabbed the dog and hugged him, calling him Toto. After about an hour of Toto following my baby around and her loving on him, I said something to my friends about how much Abi loved their dog. Blank stares. Turns out that it was a stray dog who they thought was ours. It just came right in to our house and bonded to my daughter. Well, I kicked it out and said “we already have 3 dogs. NO WAY.” You know how that went……. A year later Toto was Abi shadow. He slept with her and protected her and loved her. One night coming home after a late dinner I am driving down our driveway (1/4 mile private dirt road) and Abi asks if she can sit on my lap and drive. Sure, it’s something we do often. But this time tragedy struck. Toto got under the tire. We still don’t understand how it happened. We think maybe one of the bigger dogs must have bumped him or blocked him or something. We were only idling down the road. But it happened and my angel blamed herself. Her tiny heart was wounded, so wounded. Nothing I could say made it better. Her doggy had died. And she had hit him. I couldn’t help her pain. To this day, she hates to talk or think about it.
Another time I saw her tears was just a few days ago when her beloved gecko died. And as my sweetheart was laying in her bed sobbing my heart broke. I longed to reach down and take the pain and suffering from her. I know this is just the beginning of her broken moments. There will be broken hearts and loss in her life. And there isn’t a thing I can do about it. And as I stroked her hair and rubbed her back I was struck by a realization.
I am human. My love for my children is as complete and perfect as humanly possible. And as I’m hurting with my girl I get just a small picture of what God feels when we hurt. God’s love is perfect. It is absolutely, 100% pure. It is so much stronger than any love we could ever imagine. And if I’m in pain for my daughter in my selfish human love, how much more pain does He suffer for us. Our tears are captured by our loving Savior. He longs to comfort us the same way we long to comfort our children. To lift us up and hold us through the hurt. I can’t even close to comprehend how much His heart must break for us.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3
I know that the only real thing I can do for Abigale is to show her Christ. To point her to the One who can and will take her pain. To guide her through her journey to our Lord and prepare her to let Him have all of her hurts. That is the best thing I can do for her. And I know that if I do this she will be fine. Because He loves her even more than I do. As hard as that is for me comprehend, it’s the truth. God has gotten me through so much and He will do the same for Abi. He will do the same for you.
Do you believe that? Do you understand that Christ loves you so completely? He does. He hurts with you. He holds you even when you don’t realize that’s what’s happening. He wants to comfort you and rescue you. Give it to Him. Let Him be your peace. Because His love is perfect and YOU are the object of His affection.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
I was raised in a Christian household. We went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. Our church was awesome and I loved going. As a teenager being so involved in church helped me to stay on the straight and narrow. I grew up serving a powerful God and I stayed strong in Him for years (my testimony will be shared at some point). But there was something during these years that always bothered me. I tend to have a very jealous nature. Just ask my poor husband. This is something I’m working on and I’ve gotten a TON better. But as a teen whenever I would hear the story of the shepherd leaving the 99 to seek out the 1, I would feel kind of jealous. When I heard the story of the prodigal son, I felt for the good brother. I understood the older brothers attitude. Why did the misbehaving sheep/brother get the special love. “Hey, what about us good kids?” I know, I know. This makes me seem really petty and unloving. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted the 1 found and the prodigal to come home. I just wanted to be special too.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:4 NIV
Fast forward many years. The jealous nature still exists (working on it!) but now I have a deeper understanding. As I was driving along singing with the radio about God’s reckless love and how he leaves the 99 it hits me, out of nowhere, that each one of us is the 1. The Christian girl who was raised in a Christian home and never strayed, she is the 1. The Christian girl who strayed and was called home 12 years later, she is the 1. The girl who never heard God’s word and was raise to believe that there is no God, she is the 1. The children who are being raised by drug addicts, the teens who have heard but don’t believe, the senior who has let bitterness steal their faith, the mother who is struggling, the father who is worrying, we are all the 1. Christ will chase each and every one of us sheep down at some point and rescue them. He will hold them and love them and minister to them. Each 1. We are all the 1. Even the so called “perfect” church people need to be fought for by Christ. Because this world, it’s full of sin and we all, at some time, fall short.
For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Romans 3:23
Each of us is so dang special to God that He gave His only Son to die for us. And not us as a whole, but us as individuals. For Naomi. If I was the only one, He would have still died. For Leah. For Joy. For Melvin. For Abigale. For Tieler. For Todd. For you. Just you. Just each 1. Do you understand? Do you feel that He loves YOU that much? There is no jealousy anymore because Jesus loves just me, but just you too. The 99, but also the 1.
So how does Christ chase down His lost? How can He show His reckless love to those who are sinking without Him? He uses us. The 1’s He has has already chased and caught. The 99. We are His hands and feet. We are His voice to proclaim His all consuming love.
Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:3-7
Our vision for the lost. Have we lost it? Let’s talk about it for a minute. Naomi just wrote an amazing post about us being the 1 and God chasing us down. How beautiful that is! He loved us so much that he left 99 behind and rescued us. He brought us back because He loves us and needs us to commune with. Now we are here, comfortable and safe in our flock of 99. But, let’s face it. There will always be that 1 one out there. We come into contact with them each and every day. Christ may even be using us to help bring that 1 into the flock.
We are the 99 now. We are safe. We are comfortable. We worship and we love each other. We go to church and we are secure in our faith. We are the 99.
Three times this week I have had someone come and talk to me about going out and saving the 1. Then I sat down to blog about marriage (That will be coming some other day), and I saw Naomi had started this blog about the 99. I got so excited. Here was another person who was receiving the same Message! Obviously God was speaking to us!
We have got to break free of the comfort that we feel in the flock. We have been chosen and redeemed. Now it’s time to share our story with the 1 who is lost. We have got to catch the spark that drives us to help others. People are lost, outside of the flock! We don’t need them to convert and become perfect little Christians; we just need them to know that Jesus loves them and has given them a way to be safe.
How can we catch this vision? I don’t know, but I do know God is pressing this upon many hearts.
Jesus, I love you. I am so happy that you left the 99 behind to come and rescue me from the mess I was in. I am so happy you brought me back and now I am safe in your embrace. But, Jesus, there are so many left out there who don’t know the way to you or have forgotten! Lord, you told us to go out and tell them about you! You are telling so many different people that we need to go and help the 1. You are giving instructions to your 99. Jesus, help us catch that fire and be strong in the power you offer. Time is getting shorter and so many are lost! Lord, help me, help us, reach those that are lost. Jesus, let your churches explode with those we are bringing in. Let your people rise up in prayer and power so that you are glorified. I pray for a great revival to sweep through us so that your flock grows and grows. Use us, Jesus! Use us! People are dying and lost without you. Let that break our hearts. You are so magnificent and all glory is yours. In your precious name we pray these things.
So, take heart, dear ones in Christ. He told us these things so we could have peace in our lives.
This past week tragedy struck our small community here in Tennessee. A little boy with Autism was found to be missing one early morning. He was five years old and he was non verbal. It was the week where we had a bitter cold front move in, even though it was spring time. There was a frost warning and we held our breath, imagining a little boy lost in the woods, wandering around in pajamas, lost, alone and scared.
Our whole community and even the surrounding counties came together and began a massive search and rescue effort. There was such a unity in the community that one rarely sees. There were Baptists, Church of Christ, Catholic, Pentecostal, and even Atheists coming together and hunting for one small child.
Then early that Saturday morning, just a few days after the search began, they called off the search. They brought the dogs in, the drones stopped flying, the people came out of the woods. The father had confessed to killing his son and dumping his tiny body somewhere. The community was broken! The confession went on to say that the father had taken his big, strong, beefy fists and beaten his own child until he died. This little boy who couldn’t speak had to look up at a man who he loved and feel each hit until there were just too many blows and his body broke. He slipped away and we were left with so many questions.
The tragedy continued as the mother fell under suspicion and we ground our teeth in anger as we saw the announcement that the mother had not only heard her son being killed but she was aware that her husband had taken her child’s remains and dumped them out in the cold. It was just something we couldn’t wrap our minds around. Such evil. We still don’t know where this little boy (his name is Joe) is laid. His body still hasn’t been found. The parents aren’t talking anymore. Little Joe is dead, but he is still missing.
At the candle light vigil that I attended, I wept as I looked at the precious face of Little Joe that was pictured on an over head screen. Little Joe was five and he was gone. Again, how do I wrap my mind around such pure evil? How can we live in a world where this happens? How could a good, good Father allow this to happen?
There really aren’t many answers to such tragedy. Even in our own lives we face things that simply defy explanation. Why did my car break down? Why did I lose that job? Why did that person hate me so much? Why do little children get hurt? Why does this have to happen? Why? Why? Why?
That Sunday after the tragedy our church was packed with people seeking answers and comfort to this horrific event. My pastor preached an amazing sermon of forgiveness, redemption and comfort. Little Joe was finally in the arms of a Father who loved him so very much!
During that sermon the pastor shared an amazing verse that has followed me all week as I handle problems in my own life. Let me share this verse with you.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Jesus spoke those words. Open your bible, find the verse. It will be written in red. Jesus spoke those words to his disciples. He knew that they would face trials that would break any man. He knew they would be persecuted, some even martyred for their beliefs. But he told them to take heart! Those words were spoken not just to His disciples but to us today.
We are going to face some harsh things. We are going to question and wonder. We are going to ask the ultimate question, “Why?” And there won’t be an answer. But there will be a great God who says, “Take heart! I have overcome this world!” And He has! There may be evil here and harsh things we have to face. Those things hurt our Father’s heart just as they hurt ours. But He has overcome this world and He has the ultimate victory!
So, take heart, dear ones in Christ. He told us these things so we could have peace in our lives.
Jesus, sometimes life hurts. Sometimes evil wins and we can’t understand why. It’s so hard sometimes, Father. My heart aches over this child who didn’t deserve to die. My heart hurts over my own troubles. But I know this much, you are Lord, and you hold us all in your hands. Help us all to have the peace in our hearts that you offer to us. Let me always look to you for my strength. I want to put my hand in yours and let you guide me through the hurts and trials of this world. You are a good, good Father and you have already won the battle. I love you so much, Father.
Today I’m talking about sin. So often these days we as Christians white wash the word sin. We make it small and unimportant. We pretend that sin isn’t sin. It’s so much more comfortable to pretend that everything is okay for us. But sin is killing our faith.
Now, I am of two minds on this subject. After all, we are told it’s not our place to judge and I firmly believe this truth. We ARE NOT TO JUDGE. However it is okay for us, in love, to acknowledge that sin is wrong and should be abandoned. Jesus tells us to come just as we are. To come to know Him in all our dirt and yuck. He doesn’t say, change who you are and then I’ll see? So, as sinners we approach the Throne of God and vow to follow Him. We confess that we are sinners and ask His forgiveness. THEN, He calls us to holiness. In His timing He will cause His Holy Spirit to convict us of the sin in our lives. He will not only give us the desire to change but also the power to change. It isn’t our jobs to start pointing out the sin in our fellow Christians lives. It’s the Holy Spirits Job. But it IS our job to look at our own lives and change.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”John 8:10-11 NIV
Jesus tells the adulterous woman whom the pharisees brought to him that he didn’t condemn her. But he didn’t leave it there. He went on to say ….”go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus calls us to holiness. Not because it saves us, but because it brings us closer to Him.
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 | NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1 | NIV
So what does holiness look like? I think that is the biggest question.
For years I convinced myself that certain sins were not sins just because they were not specifically mentioned in the Bible. But honestly, I knew they weren’t right. They were keeping my heart from belonging wholly to Christ. Those things that become more important to us than drawing close to our Savior, they are sins. It could be something actually mentioned in the bible, like sex outside of marriage or lying or even slander. Something like stealing or cheating or greed. Or it could be something else like drug use. Filling your mind with inappropriate content (movies, TV shows, internet content, books. Not just porn, people. If it fills you with feelings of discontent and makes you long for someone or something else, it is wrong). Drinking too much alcohol. Eating to excess. All of these things can be considered sins. And trust me, some of these were definitely sins in my life. I wanted to follow Christ. I WAS a Christian. But I was allowing certain sins to block me from fully giving myself to God. I finally laid it all down. My hurts. My fears. My hope. And yes, my sins. All of it I laid at Jesus’s feet. And I came to Him just as I was, a dirty rotten sinner. I started living for Him. And slowly things started to change in my heart. I no longer wanted to go out drinking and getting drunk. I no longer felt it was okay to lie to make life easier. Those things on TV that were inappropriate, no longer felt necessary. Now, I’m not saying I’m all better now and no longer sin. Nope. I fight my sinful self all the time. Sometimes that sinful self wins (more than I like to admit) and sometimes my desiring to be closer to God side wins. But I am no longer making excuses. I am no longer pretending that sin isn’t sin and that all things are okay as long as I love God. Because if I truly, honestly, wholly love God, I will recognize that those sins separate me from Him. And being in love with Him will draw me away from the sin and closer to Christ. Holiness.
Lord, help me hunger for holiness.
Fill me with a longing to seek Your face.
Give me the strength to turn away from sin.
Create in me a clean heart that acknowledges sin
but doesn’t judge.
So, I’m a total punk. Even at my the ripe old age of — (purposefully left blank) I still act like a spoiled brat. I find myself whining constantly. Complaining that life is too hard. Railing against the suffering. Don’t get me wrong, God wants to hear our honest cry. He wants us to bring our problems to him and leave them at His feet. But then we are supposed to LEAVE them. Not keep harping on them. Instead of wallowing in our misery we are called to have joy. We are called to worship.
Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
I have NOT been worshipping. I’ve been a punk. But it actually goes deeper than just complaining. See the problem with whining is that eventually you take it a step further. You start letting bad behaviors back into your life. You’re unhappy and frustrated and not focusing on what Christ has already done for you. Then, when you are presented with an opportunity to sin (always) you give in to that temptation. Maybe nothing “big” at first. A little lie. An angry attitude towards someone who needs Christ love. Taking frustrations out on your children. Cutting someone off in traffic and cussing at them. Watching something inappropriate on TV and filling your mind with things that cause discontent. Then all of a sudden you are back to your old self. You’ve drifted so far from what what 2 Corinthians 10:5 says. You are no longer taking captive each thought. Your thoughts are running amuck. And any chance at joy? Seemingly impossible.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ..
But what if we did leave the problems in God’s VERY capable hands? What if we filled our lives with worship and joy? What if praise prevailed?
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hand.
Ephesians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
I know The Lord is always there getting us through the tough times, but the promise is deeper. God promises help. He will fill us with joy. Real joy. Unending joy. And that joy will create in us an even bigger attitude of worship. So, have joy to get joy? Right. Exactly. The worship may start as perfunctory but will soon turn to real praise. And that praise will encompass your heart. Joy will take hold and your suffering will become not just bearable, but dare I say, beautiful. We are called to push through. It may take a week, a month, a year? But time and time again, we are told to worship. To pray. And we are given all kinds of promises if we will be faithful. I am going to embrace these promises starting today. No more being a whiny, bratty punk. I will lift up my God in praise and worship. I will focus on the AMAZING things He has given and the way He has brought us through this life. Will you join me?
Psalms 37:4 Delight Yourself in the Lord. And He will give you the desires of your heart.
So do we trust God? I mean really trust God. Not just saying we trust Him. Not just giving lip service to the the idea of trusting Him. But truly, deeply, wholly trusting Him.
We’ve heard this verse many times, but what does it truly mean?
Sometimes life gets hard. Right now we are going through a transitional period with our small business. Our company depends on the milk (diary) market. When milk prices are up, we do a good business. When milk prices are low, our company falters. Right now milk prices are dismal. Meaning the money to pay bills and buy groceries just isn’t coming in the way it should be. And I trust God to take care of things. Or I thought I did. Until this morning. While changing the cat litter boxes this morning I had a revelation. I had just finished my time of prayer and I was getting stuff done before heading to work and I had a slight breakdown. There I was, scooping poo when I say “Lord, I do trust You to help, but….” and there it was. But…. So right there I stop and get honest. “Lord, I don’t trust You in this. We created the mess. We didn’t save like we should have. We were not good stewards of the life you gave us. This is our fault and so why should You have to rescue us from this?” So, even though I had been saying I trusted in God to help, I really don’t believe He will help, because it’s our fault. I know He CAN, but just don’t trust He WILL.
But is this promise that God gave condiontional? He says;
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6
He doesn’t say trust in the Lord and if you are found innocent of wrongdoing your path will be directed. No. It simply says trust. And again;
I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord .’ ”
Jeremiah 39:18 NIV
No condition other than trust. Another one;
For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
1 Peter 2:6 NIV
Yet more promises;
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. Proverbs 16:20 NIV
Another promise from trust. No condition upon it once again. So what am I supposed to believe? I am supposed to believe that the reason behind the need is irrelevant. I just need to take the need to God and lay it at His feet and trust. He has promised good things in exchange for trust.
I must place this upon Him and He will direct my path. He will save me. He will not let me be put to shame. He will BLESS me. Because I trusted and obeyed.
Precious Savior. Cornerstone. Take my worries. Take my fears. Take my cares and replace them with trust. Unquestioning trust. Trust that never wavers. You are so kind and loving. Forgive my distrust and unwillingness to lay it all down. Thank you Jesus. For the last time (hopefully) I lay it down in Your hands.
Weird name for a blog post, I know. But it is appropriate for this post because I want to talk about Proverbs 26:11. We’ve all heard the verse;
Wwweeelllllll, gross. I’ve seen this happen in my home. With multiple dogs in the house, it’s bound to be something that I try to stop at least occasionally. The noises start and I know what’s coming. But by the time I make it to the scene of the crime the damage has been done. And it make ME want to throw up.
So how do you think God feels as He sees us, His beloved, returning to our vomit? And let’s face it, we all do it, repeatedly. It’s one of the hardest parts of our Spiritual walk. We know. We absolutely have the full knowledge that those things, sins, we used to pursue are wrong. They don’t help us but only hinder us. They don’t add true joy or peace to our lives. They might give a momentary pleasure but in the end we wind up feeling worse. But a few days, weeks, months, even years go by and all of a sudden that pile of sin starts looking pretty appetizing. We somehow miss the stench and nastiness of the sin. Or maybe we don’t so much miss it as choose to ignore it and pretend that it smells like a juicy Ribeye steak.
But trust me, it’s not steak. It’s vomit. Nasty, disgusting, horrible vomit. And yet I KEEP RETURNING! It time to say “no more”! I am fully dedicate to Christ. I will no longer be a fool returning to his (her) folly. I want all, ALL, of my life to reflect Him.
Lord, help me to seek after what You have for me and not return to those things from the past. They are rotten and stinking and hold no joy. Please help me to see with true eyes how uninviting those sins really are.
Haha! I love this title! Vomit. I looked at it and surely thought my sister was kidding. But then I read the blog and realized how serious and true this subject is. Vomit is not something to be taken lightly (as every parent knows). It means sickness or choking or something wrong happening! And the pile of mess that is left behind is no one’s friend. As a mom I have cleaned up so much vomit! It seemed that every time I took my kids somewhere there was bound to be vomit. Argh. So much mess. So if I put it into the context of us returning to that vomit, it blows my mind. Why would I want to return to the mess left behind? This isn’t okay and yet we do it. Why? Why? Why? I guess because we are so very human. And our Father does love us regardless of how many times we return to our mess. Just as we continue to love our children no matter how many times they get sick!
Lord, help me to remember that the mess I leave behind is just that. Mess. I don’t need it. I don’t even really want it. I want to move away from it and closer to you. Help me to realize that you love me no matter what; even when I go back to my mess. Jesus, I need you every day of my life and I just want to say thank you for putting up with me and for loving me so very much. Forgive me for the many times I have returned to my vomit and chosen it over you. Help me to make better choices. I love you so very much, Father. Amen!
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with YOUR God!
Someone reminded me this week that God had a plan for my future and that it was good. Honesty time. Lately I have forgotten that God is good. I have this really silly failing of trying to take charge of everything. I also have trust issues. So, I stepped in and tried to take over for God. I planned so many things and stretched myself thin. I did this for a few months before the Lord stopped me in my tracks and said, “Whoa!”
I look back at the last few months and I shake my head. How did I not realize that I was doing everything in my own power? I mean, I was praying. I was doing my bible readings. I was going to church. I was volunteering. I was doing so many good things, but they were all falling flat. The worse they became the more I pushed myself and added more and more good things. I had to push myself to regain what I had lost. I was so busy that I couldn’t stop and hear God’s voice.
Jesus is so amazing though! I think He was laughing gently at me as he watched me scurry around trying to do good. He probably even said, “Well, there Leah goes. Again.” He laughed at His child and then he reached down and stopped me in my tracks. It took two sermons, two family members and a woman from church talking to me in the course of 24 hours for me to pause and say, “Whoops. Something is wrong.” Then I took a long look back over the last few months and freaked out! How had that happened? I was busy doing good deeds and being completely miserable doing them.
God’s plans for our future are good. We are supposed to be enjoying them. Everything good is from the Father (James 1:17). If I am miserable at something I need to stop and examine why. It can’t be from the Father if I am miserable. I was guilty of sin. I tried to take over from God. From God! The maker of the universe! Argh! Not okay!! No wonder I was a mess and the enemy was getting in jabs left and right. I was deep in sin while doing good things. But, of course, this isn’t the end of the story.
Our Father is so good! Such a gentle, fun and wonderful savior. He reminded me that I didn’t need to take myself so seriously. Really. He showed me that worship was full of laughter, of dancing, of singing, of JOY. I found myself laughing and singing on a long drive home from work. He spoke of His goodness to me and reminded me that my Mom was right. His plans for my future were good and that I needed to let Him take control again. The joy at letting go was so overwhelming that if I hadn’t been driving I would have started dancing. I went home and cooked dinner for my family instead.
But, lesson learned. My Father has a plan for my life. It’s good and I can laugh and sing and dance while doing my good works. If it feels wrong, painful, hurtful, it is NOT from God. Only good things will come from Him. I don’t want to confuse this with attacks from the enemy. Those feel HORRIBLE, but the peace we can have while going through those attacks is good and is from God. Make sense? He has shown us what we need to do. He has spelled it all out. All we have to do is walk in His ways and do it humbly. His ways are always good.
We are Children of The Most High King. We are made perfect by our Father and from that point on we are an example to this world of His love. And that is just SO easy right? Wrong. A majority of the time it is HARD to show Christ’s love! Recently I had a tough situation. I admit, I didn’t handle it perfectly. When push came to shove, I didn’t put my trust in God. Instead I allowed my frustration to boil over and even though I never yelled or said anything improper, my attitude was not Christ like. I had an opportunity to show someone how a Christian can trust in God and I failed. I acted as if I didn’t have The Most High King fighting my battles. After the situation was resolved (well, actually before anything was resolved I was feeling this way) I felt the Holy Spirit convicting me about the way I handled myself. Now, I had a choice. I didn’t technically do anything wrong. I never swore. I never yelled. I was the wronged party. But I didn’t actively fulfill what Christ has called me too, showing His love. So should I just ignore how I acted? The other person didn’t think I did anything wrong. Or should I humble myself and apologize for acting like someone who didn’t trust God? Well, I took the other person aside and just spoke honestly to them. I told them that I behaved poorly and that as a Christian I should have put my Trust in God and let Him fight my battles. When the other person started to say that I had every right to feel frustrated I almost agreed and let it go. But I’m trying to witness! So I plugged on. I told them how the Holy Spirit had convicted me and I needed to let them know that that isn’t who God wants me to be. It ended well. With a hug and laugh and me feeling like I was obedient. So that crazy long story just to say that I believe we all need to have more honesty in our walk with Christ. As “good Christians” we put up a front. We don’t let others see that we are human. And this is where the hypocrite reputation comes from. We don’t mean to be hypocritical, we just try to hide the fact that we aren’t perfect. So when we fail in front of people after talking about being a Christian we look like hypocrites. I think it’s time to change this narrative. It’s time to just admit our failures and fess up. Honesty. Simple honesty.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me; practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
That’s all we need. A focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable. Remember that every perfect gift comes from the Father. That includes honesty.
This week let’s focus on being real. On being ourselves. Ourselves in all our humanness. If we are completely honest to ourselves and to others we will be brave enough to show people that we are failures, and it is only by the grace and great love of Christ that we are able to walk this life in forgiveness.
Father, thank you for your work in us. We are trying so hard to show the world your love. We want to be honest. With ourselves first and then to others. We can’t do that without holding tight to you and to your promises. We are going to fail. We are so very human! Jesus, one thing I know for sure, is that you have never failed me and have always been there when I do fail. This is what I want to show others. That you love me no matter what! That you don’t care if I have failed. You forgive me time and again and set me back on my feet to try again. How amazing you are, and I praise and thank you for this love. Be with my sister and me this week on our journey. Let us be honest in all our dealings. In your precious name we pray!