Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Posts tagged ‘Christian’

Beauty from Ashes

Don’t you wish that we could go through life and have it all together?  No mistakes, everything perfect?  Oh, yes…then we could walk around proud of ourselves and our accomplishments. We could hold our head high and in judgment of others who couldn’t do the same.

There’s a problem with that scenario.  It fills us with pride. God hates pride (Prov 8:13) We can do nothing without Christ. (John 15:5)  Nothing.

But what about our mistakes? Our blatant fall into sin?  Do you realize that Satan, our mortal enemy, has come to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10) our lives?  So he’s tempted you into sinning over and over and over. You find yourself in the same pit.

Is God shocked? No. The wonderful thing about God is that He can take the most messed up life, redeem it and transform it into something beautiful.

He has redeemed my life. Oh, I have some epic failures that I am not proud of at all. I could walk around in shame.  That is exactly what Satan wants us to do.  He wants to cripple us.  If you are wounded and disabled, you are no threat to him. But, if you allow God to take that failure and make you a walking testimony of forgiveness and love beyond measure, you are then a threat to Satan. He will try to discredit you. He will try to knock you down. He won’t quit.

BUT…

My strength comes from the Lord. (Ps. 121:2). 

…My strength is made perfect in weakness…. (II Cor 12:9)

…for when I am weak, then I am strong… (II Cor 2:10)

Because I am weak, I am made strong in Christ. I don’t avoid things in my life because I am strong, it is because I know my weaknesses.

From man’s perspective, “on paper”…my life is an epic “fail.”  But, the wonderful part of being a child of God is that I don’t have to life my life from man’s flawed perspective.

Jesus Christ has restored my dignity. He has given me beauty from ashes.  (Is. 61:3)

He can do the same for you.

 

 

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Redemption

I was reminded of a song by Nicole C. Mullin this past week, “I know my Redeemer lives.”  The very same day, I was reminded of Steven Curtis Chapman’s, “My Redeemer is faithful and true.”

“Redeemer” is not a term used today by Americans so why is this so great?

Our first introduction to “Redeemer” in Scripture is in the book of Ruth, via “kinsman redeemer.”

According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical theology, a “kinsman redeemer” is:

Male relative who, according to various laws found in the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication.

It continues with more details on the Old Testament but I wanted to point this out.  He puts it so much more eloquently that I could ever dream.

Although the doctrine of redemption from sin is taught extensively in the New Testament, it is not connected closely with the Old Testament concept of kinsman-redeemer. Christ can, however, be regarded as an example of a kinsman-redeemer since He identified Himself with us and redeemed us because of our need. Hebrews 2:11 states that “Both the One who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” Jesus is not only our Redeemer from sin, but as Hebrews 2:16-18 and 4:14-16 point out, He is a kinsman to us and understands our struggles. Thus He is able to help us in our times of need. (Stephen J. Brame)

Jesus was fully God and fully man all at the same time. He suffered hunger, sleepiness, pain and anguish. He laughed and He cried.  His heart was fully devoted to each one He came in contact with while He was here on this earth to show His unfailing, everlasting and deep love.  It is a love that no one can fathom.  It is a love that fills the deepest void in our lives.

Nothing on this earth can compare to what Jesus offers us.  Though invisible to us now, we will see Him face to face and know Him just as we are fully known.

He laid down His life willingly to save us from eternal separation from God because of sin. He left His throne where myriads of angels adored Him and saw Him in His glory to come to earth.  He was born in a barn. I  know what you’re thinking, “No…manger!”  But who uses that term today?  He was born in a place where the animals were sheltered with hay and water.  It was literally a barn. He was raised as a Jewish carpenter’s son.  He worked hard and lived in submission to His earthly parents. He was humble.  He showed us what humility and obedience were all about.

How many times have you been to work and were asked to do something that you felt was “beneath” you?  Jesus did as He was told until it was time for His ministry.  The last 3 1/2 years of His life were the most powerful, life-changing events ever recorded in History.  Yet, people want to deny His Deity.

If Jesus were just any other man, why are people so afraid of His message?  Why are they pushing Him out of schools and you cannot invoke His name in prayer?

Because He lives.   He ever lives to intercede for us.  He is our Redeemer and the demons tremble at His name.

Courage

Courage….we all imagine we have it.  We all think that if we were ever cornered, courage would be no problem.  But what makes us courageous?

How many times does God tell us in His Word to “take courage” or “be strong and of good courage?” In the KJV, the word “courage” is listed 20 times, “courageous” is listed 5 times.  When God repeats something, He means it and is trying to get His point across.  We obviously don’t learn the first time something is said.  It has to be repeated.

Deut 31:6 “Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

I’ve often heard that parenting is not for wimps and getting old is not for sissies.

I found myself in a situation that required courage this week when I had to confront one of my grown children about a lifestyle choice she was making that was against Scripture. It was not something I really wanted to do but God kept convicting me about it in His Word. The enemy kept telling me that she knew what she was doing was wrong and I didn’t need to say anything. Wrong.

Remember the high priest in the Old Testament, Eli, whose sons were wicked men?  Yet Eli did not reprove them or remove them from their posts as priests of God.  God judged them and as soon as Eli learned of their death, he died, too.

It is my responsibility to show her the truth, even if it hurts. Eternity depends on it.

What is amazing is how bold we can be if we allow God to give us the strength, courage and boldness we need to do what is right.  Doing the right thing takes courage and in the coming times, we will need to all take a stand against injustice and stand up for our faith.

Broken

I remember reading Patsy Clairmont’s title of a book she wrote, “God Uses Cracked Pots” and smiling.  Indeed He does.

My life has been anything but perfect. From financial screw-ups to depression, food addiction and celebrity idolatry, I’ve run the gamut of blunders and created some of my own mayhem. But God’s grace got me through it all.

I like to peruse the comments on our local newspaper’s website.  Some of them get pretty nasty toward one another, especially if anything in the arena of religion gets brought up.  You wouldn’t think it would be that way in the “Bible belt” but it does.  I read one comment from someone who said they couldn’t believe in a God who was manipulative and conniving and allowed all of that (murder, adultery, etc) to go on.  It kind of stunned me and I couldn’t think of a response at that moment.

But I began to think about it and chew on it a while. What would I say to something like that?

I thank God for all of the people’s lives He chose to share with us in Scripture.  We got a “birds-eye” view of their lives and screw ups yet God chose to forgive them and use them anyway for His honor and glory. Who would want a Bible full of perfect people??  We couldn’t live up to that if we tried. We can relate to almost every one of those in some form or fashion and still we see the grace and mercy of God.

Joseph was a favorite child. What did that get him?  Jealous brothers who sold him into slavery then lied to their father about what happened to him.  God used that to save His people from starvation.  Joseph ended up being the grand vizier or prime minister, if you will, of Egypt.

David, a man after God’s own heart, was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got tempted into adultery and then murder.  God was gracious and didn’t take the throne away from him and still used him mightily.  He and Bathsheba went on to have Solomon, the wisest king that ever lived.

We are born into a fallen world. This world, temporarily, is Satan’s dominion. We were given a free will. God knows how we are going to use that before we even do. He has placed us where we are in this time and location for a purpose.  If we were at the hands of a “master puppeteer” who was manipulative and conniving, who would be able to stand? Wouldn’t He then just kill us off if we screwed up?

No.

We don’t see the bigger picture like God does. I am glad He is sovereign and knows what is best for us.  If we allow Him to, he can use us broken people.  People who think they know it all, don’t want God. They don’t  think they need Him.  What they believe is the biggest lie Satan ever told.

I serve a gracious, merciful, loving, kind, just God. He is ever powerful and He is everywhere. He is everything I will ever need.

I heard this analogy once and I love it.  A baby is all nice and warm and comfy in the womb. It’s dark. It’s toasty.  Then they are born into the light, cold, noisy world.  The 9 months they live in that womb is temporary. They are being prepared for the real world, the one we live in now.

We are in the “womb,” so to speak.  Our life on this planet is short and temporary. What we see, hear, smell, taste and touch is not going to last. When we die, that’s when real life begins. The Bible teaches “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”  Those who are believers in Christ, will spend eternity with Him in love, no pain, no sorrow, no brokenness, no sin. All perfect.  Those without Christ will spend in eternal darkness in a place prepared for Satan and his angels away from God in pain, in sorrow…forever and ever and ever and ever.

His message is simple: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Saved from what? Saved from sin and eternal separation from God.

What choice are you going to make?

 

Positive Spin

October 11, 2011 – – Today’s chaos was just as chaotic as yesterday’s.  I’m so glad I start my day out with the Lord because I couldn’t handle it otherwise.  I feel like I keep screwing up at work and I really hate the fact that I take everything to heart.  I worry about my boss, the finances, and my co-workers (if they are working too hard), etc etc.  Stupid, right?  It’s the way I am wired. I have a hard time just going to work, doing my job and coming home. I get way too involved emotionally and it drives me nuts. That is when I start NOT enjoying my job.  I don’t want to go there again. I prayed about that on the way home today.  I need to learn to look at it like Bob does, “If the boss ain’t worried or upset about it, neither am I.”  I just turn into this Mother Hen who wants to protect all of these guys I work with. Ugh!!!  Lord help me with that issue.  I need to learn to turn it off. If I am hard-wired that way, I don’t know how to fix it.

I went to see the dermatologist today. The last time I saw him was March, 2008. Wow, didn’t realize it had been that long.  Mom came with me to visit (since the waits at his office were usually long).  I did enjoy talking with her once we got into the room when we were by ourselves.  I felt like everybody was eavesdropping  and she was talking for them (because they were things she had already told me).    The doc did a biopsy on a part of my arm and froze a couple of “barnacles” (as he called them—said I got them from my Daddy. Yay me. I’m going to be a warty old lady.)

I got home and Hallmark Man cooked this great stir fry meal. It smelled wonderful.  He apologized for destroying the computer like he did but said it felt so good. He got another one today. Apparently HP is going out of business (the computer business anyway).

October 12, 2011 —- Today was crazy at work but thank God my boss came in.  My computer had the “blue screen of death” on it.  As long as he looks at it and doesn’t seem worried, I am OK. I just seem to panic if he’s not there and things go nuts.

I ate leftover stir fry for lunch but there just wasn’t a lot of meat in it and I was starving in 30 minutes.  I ate veggies with the stir fry and raw broccoli later but it still wasn’t MEAT. Ugh!  It did hold me off enough until I got off work, got my nails done and headed home. Hallmark Ma cooked his own baked beans and ate earlier so nothing cooked. I grabbed some organic hamburger patties and cooked them and ate them. Oh so good!

I was slicing a lemon and Miss Girl always wants what I have to I let her lick my hand to taste it. The look on her face….priceless! She doesn’t like tart things. Lol

October 13, 2011 – — I slept all night last night until my alarm went off.  It was wonderful (and rare).  I got up, cooked breakfast and lunch, did my devotions and got ready for work, headed out and got gas in the van.  I got to work and was somewhat busy this morning but nothing exciting. My boss was out of town, my computer still down, etc etc.  So this afternoon after going nuts being bored, I decided to go to the store to get stuff for the office and my van wouldn’t start.  Yay.  Another challenge.  The guys came out to look at it, and turns out that I left my lights on. Whew! Thank you, Lord, it was a simple fix.  Later, I got up and started cleaning and I didn’t stop until I went out the door. I was so thrilled!! God gave me the strength to get through it!

I then went to the store and bought groceries. Lots of organic things.  I got home and did a few things around the house, ate organic spaghetti and it was delicious!  I then did a few more things, cleaned the kitchen and by the time I was done, I was so stiff, I could barely move.  I don’t get why that happens.  It’s like my muscles give out.  I finally sat down a little before 8.  I am pooped.  I am so thankful we have a BIG God, who we can’t figure out.  Every time I do research on the human body, it blows me away how intricate and detailed and just amazing….we are amazingly created by an amazing God.  Thank you, Lord for loving me!

I remembered something that my BFF Lori asked me when I was doing “Believing God” Bible study.  She asked me if I had a full frontal assault yet from Satan.  No, not yet.  I had been watching for a while and kept alert.  This past week or so, I have been under attack.  Between my driver’s window breaking, the driver’s side handle breaking, having to walk with a cane, my computer at work dying, the big computer at home dying and work issues upon work issues….yeah. It has been something.  But you know what, I feel like God has answered my prayers.   With the cane, I have had to build up muscles in my arm and shoulders.  Can you say “workout?” lol   Now having to climb out of the van through the passenger side is also a semi-workout.  God is awesome because He knows I cannot physically workout but He’s giving me opportunities to build muscle.  Woop! Woop!

Whiter Than Snow

Remember singing that song in church? “Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. Jesus can wash me whiter than snow.”

I always wondered what that meant. I mean, after all, snow is white. How can you get whiter?? God showed me last week when we got an unusual snowfall here in the deep south. The beautiful, large white snowflakes fell against the dark of night and left us with about 2 inches of snow on the ground. It was gorgeous and delightful since we haven’t had a snowfall like that since 1989.

As I glanced across the yards in the light of day and saw the snow-covered lawns, it dawned on me what that song meant. Snow blankets everything including dirt and causes it to be white and clean-looking. That’s how Jesus’ blood covers us. Our dirt is covered and made clean in God’s eyes because of what Jesus did for us on Calvary.

I love it that God gives us analogies in nature to understand some of His greatest truths, don’t you?

The Last Minute

The past two weeks have been interesting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said in exasperation, “Lord, I don’t know what to do?!” We’ve all heard the saying “When in doubt, don’t.” So what do you do when you don’t know what to do?

I prayed, listened, waited, prayed, listened and waited some more. I even brought up to the Lord yesterday that I know He didn’t want us testing Him but to please be patient with me and guide me in the right direction. He wants us to pray His Word so I brought up the Gideon incident where Gideon prayed to the Lord for a sign and was granted his request via a fleece and some dew. All I wanted and needed was a “fleece” moment. I feel like I have spent most of my life screwing up and I needed His guidance.

I was rambling and praying most of the day yesterday and it was something like, “Ok, Lord, if this doesn’t happen, then I’ll assume You meant for me to do this other thing. Just open a door somewhere and I’ll go through it. I need a push in the right direction!”

Allowing my husband to make a tough call yesterday, I was attemping to be submissive (which can be hard for me if I don’t agree with the calling) and I was trying to show God that I could be. He knows my heart and my willingness.

Remember Abraham and Isaac? God told Abraham to take Isaac, his only son, and sacrifice him on the altar. The Bible doesn’t imbelish on what went through Abraham’s mind but just the fact that he moved and attempted to go through what the Lord asked of him, showed he had a willing heart. He was obedient. Right at the last minute, God stopped him and provided a sacrifice that day. And because Abraham was willing and showed obedience, even to the point of sacrificing his only son, God blessed him. Remember, too, that Abraham was no spring chicken. He was over 100 at this point and even in that time, was beyond the age of giving offspring. So, potentially, he could have killed his only son and not been able to have another. Of course, God being who He is, could have risen Isaac back from the dead. Abraham had to have great faith for this act of obedience, don’t you think?

Yesterday, it came down to that for me. I was willing to sacrifice something I loved and be obedient. Yet, God came through for me at the last minute. I thanked Him profusely and humbly. I think sometimes He does that, just to see if we are willing and how obedient our hearts truly are.

There are many times in my life that He has come through at the last minute for me. Are they tests? Could be. Are they pruning of something that needs to be gone? Could be. Only God knows why. We just need to be obedient.

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