It’s a New Year! I want to keep running to the finish line. The only life prize that matters is the one that has been promised by God, through Jesus Christ … eternal life with him. I’m not there yet, God knows I’m not!!! But I’m committing to leaving the junk and mistakes of 2020 back there … and moving on in 2021, allowing His Spirit to guide and direct me, and doing every single thing for the sake of His glory.
No! I’m not yet all that God wants me to be … but I’m pushing hard to let Him change me, mold me AND make me all that He’s called me to be. It’s what my Savior wants from me. It is why He made me His own!!! (Philippians 3: 12 – 15) So … for 2021, I want to keep moving after some things and add new things that’ll help me be what He wants me to be.
So here’s my 21 for 2021:
Focus on the problem solver, not the problem (preach Reginald!)
Believe I can do things, because He told me to do them
Love, even when the love is not returned
Forgive, even if it happens again
Repent and repent again
Ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit each and every day
Extend mercy to people, just as I beg for mercy from Him
Grace, I’ll give it to others just as He gives it to me
Share my joy
Pour in to relationships that I’ve neglected
Be a respecting baby sister – listening to and being taught by my older sisters, who are amazingly God filled women
Listen and learn from the Word of God
Love and pour truth into my children and grandchildren
Truly take care of my physical body
Lead well in every role God has placed me in
Serve well in every place God has sent me
Love, obey, adore, serve, encourage, care for, invest in … my wonderful gift of a husband
Serve, obey, glorify, uplift, reflect, praise, submit to, listen to, talk to … my God, my Savior, my King, my Father, my All In All
Yield and Submit fully to The Almighty God!! Living fully for His will, His glory, His purpose … for the sake of His Kingdom!
Happy New Year, friends and family!!!
Let’s take the next step in wonderful new ways for the sake of His glory!!
For His glory … let us ALL be willing to do anything!!!
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)
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.
In order to live under His grace – we must believe that He is exactly who He says He is andthat we are exactly who He says we are!
We’ve all made these types of statements and one time or another: “Well, at least I’m not as bad as ???”; “Yeah I did that, but at least I didn’t act like ???”; “I’m a Christian! I go to church every Sunday!”. We have all, at one time or another, had an established list of must do items that we believed made us more righteous than another; or we have all held ourselves out to be better than someone else to justify or glaze over our own sin. Some have gotten caught up in rituals that they think make them more righteous — thanking God for food loudly in a restaurant; participating in an annual church outreach event; using all the right words (blessed and highly favored, I’m doing well by his grace, etc.); wearing Christian t-shirts/fish/crosses; etc. Still others have become legalistic in an effort to prove themselves ‘holier than thou’. Well, none of that will cause you to live fully under the grace of God.
If we want to live victoriously, we have to take Him at His word. If we want to experience His favor, we have to believe Him in such a way that our faith can be counted as righteousness. There is no way – absolutely no way – to please Him with rules and rituals. Rules and Rituals only give us cause to judge one another. When my boys were younger, they loved listening to The Cross Movement. They had a song that said:
“Without Christ it ain’t spiritual – you’re just caught up in a bunch of spare rituals” – The Cross Movement
If our spiritual lives consist only of rules, regulations, and statutes; then our reward will be self-judgment and the judgment of other fallen people — we will never walk in victory! However, if we define our spiritual lives by our belief in God; in who He is and in what He says; then we walk under the Grace of God! Christ has given us the privilege of living as heirs with Him, but we must choose to walk in faith. Not trying to justify ourselves against another’s failings, but instead accepting the justification that we have not earned – but have been freely given by God the Father through His son Jesus Christ.
I pray that the Father will help us to live for Him and not for ourselves. I pray that He will help us to reserve judgement and instead show mercy. I pray that He will help us to appreciate fully what it means to be given justification and to be counted as righteous through Christ. I pray that He will liberate us from the desire to check off a list of good deeds and ‘righteous’ acts. I pray that we will allow Him to teach us what it means to be free indeed.
However, the law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them” (Galatians 3:12)
Reading the account of Lazarus death and resurrection in John, I was struck by the grief of our Savior. The onlookers remarked about his love for Lazarus. I re-read the account and it occurred to me that because He is God – what He grieved for was probably not what we might think he grieved for. Yes – He loved Lazarus; but it seems unusual to me that our Lord who knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead would be weeping over the loss of life; so I re-read the passage several more times and then it occurred to me that the humanity of our Christ came face to face with the reality of the wages of sin and what it means for a fallen humanity. He was fully human – Yes! – but he was without sin! He loved these people deeply and what was happening here brought our Lord face to face with the effects that sin would have not only on the sinner, but on those whom the sinner loves. I believe that He grieved for their sinfulness. He grieved the effects of their unbelief. Continue reading “Weeping for Lost Souls”→
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.--Romans 8:38-39