Divine Do Overs

DoOver

Bob Carlisle wrote a song back in 1996 that was made popular by Donnie McClurkin, “We Fall Down”. The song talks about a person discovering the grace of God in His failures – realizing even people of God made mistakes and the grace of God covered them and gave them a new start. We all have different testimonies – but all of us have made our share of mistakes – we have all said and done things that we later regretted and as we take a backwards look at our lives, we know it was the grace of God that kept us. As for me – I am amazed at how the Lord has kept me in spite of me! My testimony is that I faltered, but  because of His grace – it was never fatal!

God does not delight in our mistakes but He delights in our desire  to obey Him. Even when we falter, He sees our hearts and knows whether we are truly seeking His will or seeking to satisfy ourselves. Think about it with this statement – powerful in every way …. 

  • WHEN you desire to obey Him
  • When YOU desire to obey Him
  • When you DESIRE to obey Him
  • When you desire to OBEY Him;

He will honor your obedience with His presence and power in your life!

Sometimes we step out in front of God; moving before we get his direction about something that seems urgent. What does stepping out in front of God look like?  It looks like:  getting something off our chests when we should’ve keep quiet; taking out a payday loan when we need to manage the funds we have; buying that sale item when we don’t really need to be spending; eating that last piece of pie when we know we don’t need it; getting into a relationship that we know is ungodly; compromising our morals because it seems like an easier way; etc.  When we move outside of His will, we are failing to exercise our right to rely on The One who will always guide us to the best action and decision for our lives. When we fail to follow His lead – we will miss out of His best for us.

The great thing about being a Christ follower is that because we are His chosen ones – we have access to His grace. Because we have access to His grace — we always have access to a course correction.  We might have to go back to the drawing board — but He will be there waiting to redirect us – to get us headed in the right direction.  He knew we were going to muddle things; He knew we couldn’t keep His commandments without His intervention; He knew that we would botch even His simplest commands — so, in His great love, He sent us a Savior! He gave us unlimited access to His grace!  When we mess up He has a giant eraser AND a beautiful paint canvas!  How awesome is that?!

Here’s the deal — we all make mistakes; but He, in His infinite kindness towards us, will always be willing to give us a do over. We can rest assured that as we trust in Him and seek to obey Him (seek to OBEY Him!); He will honor us with His direction and His presence in our situation. Take a step back from your situation; your temptation; your stressor — He will gladly guide you in the right way allowing you to start over because it gives Him great joy to bless your life when you are leaning on His understanding and not your own.

Our mistakes do not have to be fatal errors — we really can start over!  CTRL/ALT/DEL — reboot — start again.

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. (‭Psalms‬ ‭37‬:‭23‬)

Let His Love Fill You

On this the 4th Sunday of Advent – I thought it appropriate to talk about the power of love.

Life happens – and sometimes it is filled with hurt, pain and disappointment. Broken relationships and shattered dreams can leave us full of worry, angst and skepticism. We avoid people and situations in order to protect ourselves; but really we are missing out on what God has for us. As believers in Christ we are admonished/exhorted and even commanded to be filled with the Spirit daily. If we allow our past experiences to fill us with these destructive feelings we block our hearts from being filled with the Holy Spirit. Our hearts cannot be filled to the full with Him if we insist on holding on to the hurts of the past.

We all have pasts – but the beauty of Calvary is that we get to live as new creatures whose sin has been cast into the sea of forgetfulness; as far as the east is from the west. We not only neglect the fullness of Christ in us when we hold on to our pasts — we also neglect people around us who would benefit from His love flowing through us. If you make a determination to forgive those in your past who have hurt you, God can and He will trade beauty for those ashes — He can and He will restore what the locusts have destroyed.

I have had deep hurts in my life – and they left gaping open holes in my heart. I was on my way to becoming unloving and unlovely. I didn’t want anyone to close to me because I wanted to ensure that my heart was safe. I thank God for my father and my beloved, Lloyd, because they loved me and helped me to get to a place where I was willing to give God my heart. I made the decision to trust God with those past hurts and I forgave those who breached my trust. I really forgave them — I hold nothing against them and have no animosity in my heart; in fact I pray for them to experience the blessing of God as I have.

Open your heart to receive and walk in God’s abundant and powerful love because He can and He will turn it all around for your good and for His glory. God is love. God loves you more than you can fathom. Ask Him to help you to receive His love and then ask Him to fill you to the full with His love, leaving no room for anything else in you. He will make you complete in Him. He will plant your roots deeply in His love and make you new. Let His Love Fill You! His love is true – unfailing – pure – real – powerful. Accept His love – and He will give you a brand new life.

Forgiving One Another

Just a few days ago we, as believers in Christ, were celebrating His resurrection. We were rejoicing that Our God forgave us of all sin if we believed that his Son, Jesus – was truly the Christ; Our Redeemer. Forgiveness!!! We have shown ourselves to be so grateful!

If we have truly received the gift of grace given at Calvary – then it should not be a stretch for us to forgive others. We must always remember the great mercy shown us in the death of Christ and we must always endeavor to show that mercy in the world. We know what we have been saved from!! We know what state we were in when Christ redeemed us! We are required to be merciful as our brothers and sisters ask our forgiveness. This is not to say that we become doormats — but expressly that when someone offends us or enters into debt with us and asks for mercy — we cannot deny them.

An unwillingness to forgive one another places us in a position to pay the debt that Christ has already paid for us!

Father, I thank You for forgiving my sins and for taking away my sin debt. Give me a heart like Yours, so that I may have compassion and show mercy to those who ask for it. May the love of Christ dwell in me richly!!

Forgiveness and Blessing

I haven’t stolen anything; I haven’t killed anybody; I haven’t slept with anyone I’m not married to …. but I can surely confess that I have had thoughts about people that were not in line with the will of God on this day; I can surely confess that I’ve wanted something in my life that I do not have; I can surely confess that I’ve doubted even for a moment something that I know God can do.  And you know what?!?!  All of that is sin!!  But you know what?!?!  When I admonish my wrong and go before my Father seeking His face — He will forgive me and heal me of my sin and make me write before Him.  OH!  Hallelujah!  Bless His Holy Name!  Don’t miss your shout cue, y’all!

God’s people are not exempt from falling into sin.  In fact, it is overtly stated throughout scripture that there is none – not one – 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!

Even in the midst of your failures, don’t miss the promise of Our Father!!  It is His promise that He will grant the pleas of His people if they embody/demonstrate/prove a true heart for Him!

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

Giving Up The Right to be RIGHT

Even the most humble among us has a desire to be right – or to be defended.

Our right to be right can totally overshadow our privilege to be loving!  Laying down our rights – It’s not natural — but it is godly. 

When we were on home assignment some years ago, there was a misunderstanding between a local pastor and what he thought was the intent of our youngest son to insult his son.  The principal of the school knew our son and knew this was a case of a missionary kid not understanding the culture of the USA – it happens!!  The boys were fine – but the father of the other child, a local pastor, was quite upset – so the principal suggested that we go to him and talk about what happened; perceptions versus reality. We went to this pastor to apologize for the misunderstanding and to keep this issue from escalating – this pastor’s response to us was, “I want my pound of flesh!”  And he said this with a SMILE!!!  It all worked out but this highlighted for Lloyd and I the depravity of even the best of us.  Oftentimes an apology is not enough! We want the wrong to be made right according to our own standards.   I’m so glad Christ didn’t feel that way!!  Oh Lord — can you imagine!!??!!

If you call yourself a follower of Christ you must – MUST be willing to take the hit.  If they call you a liar, it needs to be enough that you know you didn’t lie even if they print it in the paper and post it on Facebook.  If they take what is rightfully yours – you need to have enough faith in the Lord that He will provide what you need and that if there is to be be any vengeance, it belongs to him.  If they do cheat you (or cheat on you) – you have to forgive and not give in to your desire to spread the news far and wide that they are a cheat, instead praying that God will forgive and cleanse them from all unrighteousness.  It’s that whole concept  of giving them both your cloak and your coat – when they want to take your coat. 

We are known in America to be a litigious nation.  But as members of the Body of Christ — we need to decide to actually live like we were just in this world (sojourners) and not of this world (citizens).  Novel idea.  This really good looking preacher I know says these words to me and to his children often – “You have no right to be right and no one’s reputation matters but His.”  Think about it ..

My prayer is that my own heart will long for the world to see only Him in my actions and that I will be willing at all times to take the blame; take the fall; carry the weight — knowing that He will uphold me with His righteous right hand!!

Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?  1 Corinthians 6:7b