Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Posts tagged ‘guilt’

Obedience Equals Joy

Last week, in our latest Bible study, our facilitator encouraged us to journal through the study.    I don’t know about you, but personally, I do not like to hand-write.  If you are a lefty like me, you’ll understand.  It doesn’t matter what pen I pick up, I end up with a smeared page and ink on my hand.  The OCD part of me comes out and it drives me nuts.

Beth Moore’s Bible Study “Stepping Up” is a step-by-step journey to draw us closer to God.   Each day is an exciting experience and I don’t want to forget any of it (but I don’t want to write it down, either).  Can you see my dilemma? So, I’ve decided to journal it here.  Maybe some of you can relate to my experiences. 

One challenge we were given was to lie facedown and surrender to God every morning.  Yes, facedown on the floor.  At first, I thought, “How can this make a difference?  I pray every morning anyway.”  It only takes a few seconds and it feels awkward at first, but after last week, I relish it.  Yes, I’ve gotten up with animal fur stuck to my forehead or in cases when I’ve forgotten about my dog in the room, she’s licking my ear feverishly and whining wondering why I am on the ground like that. 

The body in an posture of surrender seems to make the heart and mind follow.  Let me share  something that happened last week with you.

We were getting low on groceries and didn’t have any money.  I knew at some point that I would be getting either some money or a stub for my property management fees, depending on whether they took out my dues or not for the month.  I prayed silently about that check and how much we needed groceries for the week.  I went to the mailbox Thursday and there was an envelope for me with what appeared to be a check in it.  My heart skipped a beat.  I prayed on the way to the house, “Lord, I’m scared to open it.”  But I thought whether it was $25 or $75, I would be grateful and get what we could with it.  Hands shaking, I opened the envelope and it was for $179.  I squealed and shouted, “Thank you, Lord!”  I was grinning from ear to ear! 

My daughter and I headed to WalMart and I got a front parking space (which is not easy!).  I whispered, “Thank you, Lord.”  I cashed my check and we got groceries.  I had a buggy full.  I got what we needed and checked out at $99.  I was estactic!  I grabbed $20 and put it in my pocket. I promised the Lord I was going to tithe off that money and I couldn’t wait until Sunday to be able to put it in the offering.  This time, I was not ashamed of how much I was putting in.  I realized that pride had been holding me back on tithing off my meager income.  Wondering what people were thinking about my small amount and if I was “tipping” God kept me in a state of pride and I didn’t want to be “embarrassed” so I didn’t tithe.  God was trying to show me the error of my ways.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I told Lindsay that if we obey God and keep his commands, He will bless us.  She, being in the attitudinal-teenage-phase, snapped back at me, “Mom, just because you do something wrong, doesn’t mean God is going to leave you.”  I patiently explained that I didn’t say that God was going to leave me.  I just said that He would not bless us if we continue to blatantly disobey Him.  We had allowed sin in our lives and God had given me the courage to speak up this week and to stop it.  His Word says that if we knowingly allow sin to continue and do not say anything, we are  equally guilty.  He will not honor or bless that.

Sunday morning rolled around and as usual, I had a mental battle as I got out of bed.  Having some physical ramifications from a surgery over ten years ago, I struggled with pain around 5am and tossed and turned until time to get up.  As I got ready for church, the mental temptations kept barraging me.  “You don’t need to be there. There are plenty of people singing this morning.”  “You need a break.”  “You can just go to church, skip Sunday School.”  On and on it went.  Even the high about tithing had gone away.  But I know, as most of you should, especially if you are a female, you cannot go by how you feel.  You should just do what you know is right and leave the consequences to God. 

After I woke up fully, had my shower and got my coffee, all the while steadily praying about what to wear (another female issue), I got it together and headed out the door. 

As I sang Sunday morning, I felt free.  Free to worship and praise the Lord without the burden of guilt, self-loathing and sin hanging on me.  I sang for Him. 

Obedience equals joy…!

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Transparency

How “real” are you?  Are you fake in public and let your hair down at home?  If so, why?  Are you scared to let others in?

I’ve posed a lot of questions today but I wanted you to start thinking.  If you are afraid to be who you are in public, then you need some healing from God.  He knows who you are inside and out, every thought, every breath.  Nothing is kept secret from Him.  Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.  This fear that you have of opening up to others and sharing yourself could be shame, low self-esteem or just plain pride.  Jesus took away your shame, if you have accepted Him as Lord and Savior of your life.  If you are depending on anyone other than God for your self-esteem, you are going to be disappointed.  And finally, pride is a sin.  Confess it, get over it and move on.

Let’s camp on shame for a moment.  I’ve done a multitude of things in my lifetime that have shamed me and my God. But you know what?  I’ve taken them to Him, confessed and repented and He said he would forgive me and I believe that.  I can walk into church with my head held high because my Heavenly Father loves me.  I don’t care what someone else thinks about me.  The only one that matters is God.  He is the one that I am going to have to answer to for my actions and thoughts.  The people on this planet judge from the exterior.  They don’t know your heart, but the Father does.  He judges motive. 

I can’t tell you how freeing it is to walk into a room of strangers and NOT CARE what they think about me!  I used to be so ashamed of my looks, my past and that I was not a “success” in the world’s eyes.  It was crippling. 

Now, I’m not going to say that it doesn’t sting when you get “slapped” by someone because they misjudged your motive.  I’m not saying that at all.  We are still human, after all, and our feelings get hurt.  It’s normal.  But, there is a HUGE difference when you can take it to the Lord and let Him handle it.  It’s freedom to live as He intended us to live.  He did not intend for us to carry around guilt and shame.  He wants us to live in peace and joy.  He is the only One who can give that to us in the midst of turmoil.  Happiness is completely circumstantial and someone can say something unkind and you can lose your happiness.  Joy is from God.  I find that when I am in the midst of turmoil, I still have that inner peace.  I know it is from Him.  It gives me unspeakable joy and I sing.  Singing lifts my heart  and the enemy is forced to listen and then they know they have not won. 

We have a multitude of witnesses upon our lives in the spiritual realm.  I keep that in mind at all times and I have always had a tendency to talk to “myself.”  But deep down, I know that I am not talking to myself.  The Lord hears me and the angels in my midst are also listening and watching. 

Do you realize the grace that has been given us?  GRACE is God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.  Think deeply on this one.  The laws of nature were created by God. They do not change. The sun doesn’t randomly decide it wants to go to another galaxy.  The trees don’t decide they want to sit down and pout for a while because they stand too much.  The angels, demons, all of creation and even Satan himself has to obey God.  We are the only ones with a choice; a free will.  I am curious why He allows us to do what we want, with consequence of course. Some things are just so deep that I ponder them often.  That is one that I guess I won’t completely understand until I get to Heaven and meet my Savior.  I am certainly looking forward to that day and I hope you are, too!

Be blessed in the Lord!

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