Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

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?

 

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Dark Clouds Around Us

Have you ever felt like you were living in the midst of a dark cloud and couldn’t get out from under it?  I’m not talking about depression in this one.  For instance, you knew you wanted and NEEDED to pray, but could not get a coherent sentence out to save your life? And this went on for weeks at the time?  Your heart ached so badly and you felt like God was AWOL?

I recently went through this and it dawned on me as I was sitting around this morning that the dark cloud had vanished.  I had been in it for so long, I didn’t know if I would come out of it.  I spent hours mowing the lawn and listening to my iPod sermon podcasts that I hoped would help and praying in my heart and all I could manage to get out was, “Help me, Lord!” 

You know you cannot trust your emotions when it comes to whether the Lord is with you.  He promised to never leave us or forsake us.  That you can take to the bank.  No matter what we are feeling, He is there.  When we accepted Him as Savior, His spirit came to live within us and does not move out.  EVER! 

This is also where our faith comes in.  Our adversary, the devil, is going to whisper in your ear that God hates you and left you to wallow in your misery or in the mess you find yourself in.  Demon oppression is very real, folks.  We are in the midst of a spiritual battle and the warfare is ongoing.  Satan and his fallen angels will study you and find your weak points and work them over to make you fall, not trust in God or totally turn away.  Remember what he asked Eve in the garden, “Indeed, hath God said….?”  He wanted her to doubt.  Doubt is the first step to losing faith.  Don’t even consider those thoughts that come into your mind.  The Scriptures tell us to take very thought captive to Christ.  If it does not align with God’s Word, release it.  Do not dwell on it.

How do we get through those dark times?  Hold on tight to the Hand that is holding you.  Read the Word, listen to inspirational music.  Speaking of music, remember when an evil spirit came upon King Saul in the Old Testament?  What did he do to relieve himself at that time?  He had them call in David to play his harp.  It soothed his soul and the evil spirit would leave.  Continue living your life, as hard as it may be.  Go to church, fellowship with other believers, talk to a friend.  God gave us friends for a reason, He knew that we needed that interaction and if you have one that is a believer that you feel a kindred spirit with, open up.  You may be surprised that they have gone through the same thing. 

Our pastor has recently been going through the book of Isaiah on Sunday mornings and the last two sermons brought tears to my eyes as I drank in the living Word of God.  Holy Amnesia was the message that he preached on Sunday. God has three things He wants us to forget.  The first is our fears.  The Bible is full of “fear nots” and “do not be afraid” and “be strong and take courage.”  He knows what we are made of.  We have to “take” courage.  It’s not going to automatically be there. 

The next thing He wants us to forget is our past.  Do you know how crippling it can be to constantly beat yourself up over your past?  That is exactly what the enemy wants.  Once we have truly repented and asked for forgiveness, the Lord wants us to move forward.  Look at the apostle Paul…he used to MURDER Christians.  When the Lord saved him, you didn’t see him sitting around having pity parties about his past.  Yet, we somehow manage to do it.  Let it go! Give it to the Lord.  He has promised to forgive.  If He can forgive the men who crucified Him WHILE He was dying on the cross, why wouldn’t He forgive us? 

The enemy kept bringing up past failures to my mind and, yes, they were difficult to swallow.  Yes, I had asked forgiveness and I knew I was forgiven but the consequences of those actions are still there.  If you broke your arm and asked for forgiveness for the stupid thing you did to break that arm, the arm is not going to instantly, miraculously heal itself.  You still have to live with the consequence of that action, right?  The consequences are painful. They don’t affect just us. They affect our loved ones.  Just like they did David.  It is very hard to watch someone suffer and feel like you are responsible for their pain.  I spent probably a month or longer beating myself up, crying and begging God for mercy.  Sure, I had asked for forgiveness before but under this dark cloud, I couldn’t see straight.  I could not function—that is NOT God. That is the enemy, our accuser, our adversary. 

Obedience to God is tantamount to our success in life.  He has made His instructions very clear in His Word.  If we follow them, we will be successful.  Success may not be monetarily.  His idea of success is not man’s way of success.  If you wake up in the morning and spend time in His Word, pray and seek His guidance on a daily basis, you will be able to discern His voice and make better choices.  Simple, yet very effective.  He wants YOU.  He wants a relationship with YOU.  He loves YOU. He knows you better than you know yourself and you cannot hide anything from Him because He created you. He knows your quirks and still loves YOU. 

Seek Him today and be blessed in the Lord!

Failure is not Final

I heard that on the radio and it was thought provoking.

Failure is not final.  At least it shouldn’t be.  You shouldn’t quit after your fail at something.  Basically, what does it tell you when you “fail?”  The way you did it doesn’t work.  Life is a learning process for all of us. You wing some things, you’re educated on others but you have to find what works for you.

I’m so glad Thomas Edison didn’t quit! He just kept on.  Over 10,000 experiments to get the perfect light bulb.  How many of us would have hung in there so long?

So many stories in life are about men who didn’t realize how close to success they were when they quit.

Google “Thomas Edison Failure” and you will be surprised at what comes up.  One link I find particularly stimulating was “Fail Your Way to Success.”  Lots of good information and pep talk stuff in there.

http://www.wilywalnut.com/Fail-Fast-Success-Failure-Wonderful-Edison.html

Keep on perfecting your niche. Don’t give up. Don’t quit.

Be blessed in the Lord!

Forgiving Ourselves…now THERE is a concept!

I was just listening to Dr. Charles Stanley’s message on “Forgiving Ourselves” and it occurred to me that it had taken me a while to forgive myself.  You know how you can tell you’ve done it?  When the memory of a past failure doesn’t “bother” you anymore.  You admit your mistake, ask the Father’s forgiveness and move on.  Don’t let the guilt hold you back.  Look at David: he committed adultery and murder and then tried to hide it.  The guilt ate him up.  Once he was confronted by the prophet Nathan, he admitted his sin and received forgiveness.  Of course, forgiveness doesn’t mean the consequences go away.  His sin affected the newborn baby and his relationship with his son, Abasalom.  But, David didn’t continue to wallow in self-pity.  He did not let the enemy pull him down.  He moved forward, knowing that the Father loved him and he was forgiven.  That’s a HUGE deal!  Forgiveness is amazingly freeing.  Why would you want to continue to stay in a prison of guilt and shame? 

We recently ended up in a financial mess so bad that we had to file Ch13 to save our home from foreclosure.  As I sat there with my husband signing papers at the attorney’s office yesterday, I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face.  I just felt like I had blown it, big time.  This was too close on the heels of a Ch7 from 3 years ago and this filing, according to the attorney, would never be dismissed.  That hit me hard.  I just kept thinking about how I would never be able to help my kids and I had so let the Lord down.  But you know what?  I didn’t let Him down.  He knows everything before it happens and we do not shock Him. 

In fact, this whole scenario was an answer to prayer.  No, I didn’t pray for us to file bankruptcy, but I did pray that the Lord would bring my husband back to Him.  He went to church with me Sunday morning and made the kids go, too.  I also asked Him to increase my husband’s faith.  It was done with this.  After taking the Crown Financial class at church, I knew that I owed these debts but had no way to pay them back in our current situation.  It just so happened that we could file Ch13 on the 100% plan, which would honor God—we would pay everyone back and get caught up on our mortgage.  And we get to keep our home.  I remember several times telling my husband that I had a peace that passed understanding about our home and we would not lose it.  I didn’t know how God was going to do it, but He did. 

I figured that we were screwed for the next 10 years until a lender friend of mine called last nite.  I spoke to her and she just gave me such encouragement.  She said that Ch13 was a good thing and that after 12 months of paying, that we would be able to refinance.   Music to my ears!!  I didn’t want to be stuck with two overly high interest rate mortgage payments.  But, we show ourselves faithful in paying, we’ll be able to get a lower rate next year.  Even if the rate jumps to 7%, we will still be coming out better than we are now.  I’m just praying that the market turns around so that we aren’t still upside down in equity.

The Lord has really taught me a lot and changed my perspective on quite a few things that needed changing over the past 6 months.  For that, I am eternally grateful.  I didn’t ask to go through the valley but sometimes that’s what it takes to get the job done because we can be stubborn and obstinate.

God is good.  He is always at work on our behalf and I believe that with all of my being.  “For we know that ALL things work together for GOOD to them that love the Lord and to those who are called according to His purpose.” 

Be blessed in the Lord!

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