Forgiveness and Blessing

God’s people are not exempt from falling into sin.  In fact, it is overtly stated throughout scripture that there is none who does not sin.  However, as God’s people – His dearly beloved  – we can rest assured that when we sincerely repent from our sin; crying out to Him to forgive us and change us and and committing to change and turn from it – He will not only forgive and cleanse us – but He will surely bless us!  What must we do? Humble ourselves. Pray. Seek His face. Turn from our sin.  This promise was spoken to God’s people Israel, but I believe that as God’s people today this truth still applies.  When you sin (and you WILL sin) – submit to God’s authority; cry out to Him for forgiveness; listen for His direction for you; and commit to never go back to doing that thing and I believe that even when we sin grievously and find ourselves in the hand of our enemy – He will turn that thing around!  Our sin will surely bring with it unpleasant consequences but it is His good pleasure to bind up our wounds – even those He inflicts upon us.  Our pride will bring us to destruction – but if we humble ourselves under His mighty hand – He will exalt us in due time.  He knew we would falter – and He has always made a way for us to set things right with Him.  Forgiveness and blessing!  Who wouldn’t serve a God like that?!

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14

More than Mere Existence

existExist. That’s where most of us spend our time — in that one word – exist. EXIST – a word that really has nothing to do with who we were created to be at all! EXIST – quite boring really – it makes me think of words like survive, subsist. We exist because He created us – but He didn’t create us to merely exist – He created us to THRIVE and to live lives of purpose. We fail every day to grasp ahold of God’s wondrous plans for our existence. His will for our lives will glorify Him and satisfy us and He has give us His Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us into His perfect will for us. His will is not a mystery – but we do not seek it.

It’s true – we don’t seek His will for us; not because we don’t want to be in His will, but because we are afraid of what He might ask us to give up. We are careful to be good people; to go to church; to give to the poor; to keep the law of the land; etc. and in return we expect God’s favor to rest on our lives. He is a gracious God – and many times He does bless mundane lives. But why would you settle for the mundane when you could have the magnificent? What if He created you to bring hope to the lost? to bring healing to broken hearts? to preach the gospel in a foreign country? to be the image of Christ for your neighborhood?

I worked for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts as Corporate HR Manager in my other life. It was a fairy tale story. I was a temp in their F&B department; then a temp in HR; and the VP of HR saw something in me and gave me the job which helped me put my hubby through seminary. It was a great job! I got to see the world and stay in beautiful places. My friends loved to tell their friends where I worked. They thought it was magnificent – as did I. Some of my friends even enjoyed comp nights at some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world.  But one day God knocked on the door of my heart and said Africa is where He wanted Lloyd and I to serve. I remember telling my boss I was resigning so that we could pursue the missionary life and she asked if I could afford to do it — I told her I couldn’t afford NOT to do it. Just 3 years later we were in Ghana – leading people to the Lord; training pastors and their wives; training community leaders; giving our lives away! 10 years after that we were asked to be Africa Directors for our mission and we get to encourage, equip and empower other missionaries AND I still get to see God’s beautiful creation all over the world! The money is nothing to write home about for sure! – but I am satisfied!  AND I know beyond any shadow of doubt that God is glorified through my life. I am convinced that I am so satisfied because this life that I live is not about me – everyday my life points to and depends upon Him.

I could very well have fought God early on and tried to hang on to my corner office with the beautiful view; to my title and the prestige it brought with it — but I trusted Him enough to believe that whatever He had in front of me would be incredible – more incredible than I could imagine. I decided to believe His word when it says that He can do immeasurably more than my little mind can conceive. I decided to believe that the one who created me knew the purpose He had for me and I decided to live a life in step with Him. I never once questioned His word to me – I knew that it was He who placed me in that job, and I knew that should I ever need a job again He would surely open the door for me. I’m not perfect – not by any stretch of the imagination; but I had enough wisdom to trust in The One who is trustworthy.

Someone reading this is on the brink – God is talking to you and showing you great and mighty things; but you have taken your focus off of the blesser and become fixated on the blessings (material) and are afraid to let them go in order to run hard after what He has for you. I will not tell you that following God is easy – but I will tell you that he loves you and what He has planned for you is satisfying – completely satisfying. Don’t waste time fighting His will for you — be wise enough to trust the God in whom all wisdom dwells. He won’t lead you astray!

Look around you! This world needs the people of God on their posts. The Body of Christ needs to rise up and grab hold of God’s plan. Every believer needs to get in step with God’s will for their lives and allow him to complete the great work that He is doing within us. Take a stand to walk like God’s child today; don’t waste another minute following after the world’s lures — grab hold of Him and His will for you today!  If you want to live a life well spent – and not just exist without purpose – choose the wise way – choose His way!

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15,16)

Our Just Due

God blesses. He blesses because He is a good God. Christians have fallen prey to the world’s message that He blesses us because we deserve some blessing just because – but that is not the case, necessarily. In fact that is a backwards statement as it relates to the Kingdom of God. We obey him because we love Him – because it is what we are supposed to do. He blesses us because He promised to do so when we love Him.

Romans 4:4 says “Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.”

So — what is your just due?

Walking in the righteousness, blessing and favor of God requires our belief in an devotion to Him. If by being righteous we hope to earn something (blessing/favor) from Him — then it is not the right motive. If we are called to a particular task in the body of Christ we must do it out of devotion to and love for Him in order that He might grant us favor and blessing. For if we do it for a certain blessing – and then receive that thing – our wages have been paid. How much more will we receive when we stop ‘working’ for favor and start ‘serving’ out of devotion to Him?

My prayer is that we will ask the Lord to correct our motives. Help our hearts to discern rightly what we are to do for God and for the Kingdom of God. Teach us to serve out of our gratitude for Calvary and out of our gratefulness that He has dressed us in His righteousness – clothing of splendor and honor that we could NEVER purchase on our own.

Help us to understand that His very presence in our lives is our just due!