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

Go With Him … It’s Always the Right Way

gods-willWhen we are little children, right and wrong are so very simple.  Just do what our parents allow and abstain from what they prevent.  Stop when they say stop and proceed when they approve.  Not so simple when you grow up.

There are foundational dos and don’ts out of Exodus:  no idols, no using the Lord’s name out of place, no murder, no adultery, no lying, no lies, no lusting someone’s spouse; no craving someone’s stuff; honor God as Lord, honor God above any other lesser god, honor the Lord’s day as Holy, honor your parents.  And I’m sure we ALL do these with no problem at all. (SMILE!!)  Well, at least I know you all do.  I’ve got a bad hip from kneeling to repent so often! So very grateful for His forgiveness and His cleansing.  But that’s not what I’m wanting you to think about.

What about what happens on the inside of you.  If you have a personal relationship with The Lord, there is something in your life that He has asked you to do (or not to do) that is in addition to that list above.  You know what I’m talking about –  His will for your life.  This might be giving your belongings to some person; it might be ending a romantic relationship; it might be writing a book; it might be refraining from some food; it might be moving to some foreign country to serve in missions full time; it might be accepting an illness as His assignment to teach believers how to die, etc.  It could be easy and uncomfortable.  It could be difficult and unimaginable.  The bottom line is – you don’t want to do it!

The Holy Spirit’s conviction is strong within you and yet you don’t act in the way that you are led because of your own confusion or even your own fear.  And now – you’re not feeling well, you’re worried about who you’re disappointing, etc.  I want to encourage you to trust the Lord enough to act in the way that He is calling you.  If you just trust Him the confusion and fear that you are facing will cease!  I’m serious! The unrest, sickness, dissension, disunity, fear, duality, and sense of disloyalty to the King of Kings will cease!  And let’s just be honest — you’re walking in sin when you act against what you know to be God’s will for you even if that action is not something that is against the teachings of Scripture.  I’m praying for you!!

But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.  Romans 14:23

Lead Me, O Lord!

jeremiah 17 9 10Lately, many who have the life spotlight have been doing some wicked things.  It can make you embarrassed to be American, or even human!  When you look at the actions of some, it can really make you look down on them; and raise your own self up a bit. Yes, you have to be raising you up if they are suddenly beneath you.

It points out a truth about who we each are.  I’ll talk about me.  You see, I haven’t killed anyone; spoken with ill regard of anyone publicly; stolen anything; wished anyone dead; abused any child; mistreated anyone because of their ethnicity; etc. etc. etc.  So,  unlike those people I read about or see on the TV screen, I am righteous! Right?!?!  WRONG!

Truth is, only God knows why I refrain from what I refrain from and only God knows the things I do that none of you see.  My mind knows the blessing of trusting God completely and submitting to Him in all things; but my heart without the leading of the Lord is just self serving even when my desire is to be good!  My hope lies in the actions and love of my King.  He searches my heart and knows my true desires; He is faithful to see if there is any evil in my heart and His mercy and grace are powerful and can be counted upon to always lead me in the everlasting way.

I’m ever grateful that I have learned not to depend upon man – not even myself – to do the right thing.  I depend upon the Holy Spirit in me to bring about in my life what The Lord wills to be so.  Even when it seems that I’ve done a good thing, the truth is that it is only the work of the Holy Spirit in me.  Search me, O God! Lead me, O God! Omnipresent God – my soul hides in You!

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah‬ ‭17:10‬ 

I am a Citizen of Heaven!

Phil 3 20It makes my heart heavy to see believers separated over the world’s political stances.

We, who are Christ followers, have only one King and Ruler. He’s neither Democrat nor is He Republican – He is Holy, Righteous, Unchanging! He Is All!We have pledged allegiance to Him and everything that we need comes from His hand! We are His children and citizens of His kingdom!

If we believe that we are citizens of heaven, then we should carry ourselves in a way that reflects that high honor. What does that look like? Speaking and acting like sons and daughters of the most high!

  • It looks like exhibiting love and grace and speaking His Word in a way that reflect that we KNOW it. Living in a way that reflects our contentment in all things because we KNOW that He is in control of every situation or difficulty.
  • Being overjoyed when someone comes to know and except the truth of The Gospel.
  • Not fretting over whats happening in the world today or keeping our minds on the things of this world , but looking with hope toward His return.
  • Caring for others, especially those in the Body of Christ.
  • Extending love and grace that the world cannot understand.
  • Praying daily that His will be done AND when He carries out His will rejoicing in it whether it is what we desired or not!

We belong to Him! Let’s not let this world or the enemy make us believe something else!

 

Philippians 3:20  But our citizenship is in heaven…

 

Our God, Our King — Our Concubine?

If we don’t respect our God (His word, His way, His heart) – the results will be devastating!

I’ve said before that America was not founded as a Christian nation, but rather founded on religious freedom. At our core has always been, however, a special respect for Christianity and the things of God. I believe that our forefathers, though some were agnostic and some atheists, knew that there was one God that was not to be trifled with.

I was reading Judges 19, and I was so annoyed with the master who pushed the concubine out for the men to abuse; and God spoke to my spirit, “why are you annoyed, you all do this to me all of the time!”  My heart wept, how could we possibly be treating our King like our concubine.  We couldn’t! We wouldn’t!  But we do …When I was a youngster when someone was in a bit of trouble at their own doing we would tell them, “You brought that *mess* on yourself!” My dear Christian brothers and sisters – it’s high time we take responsibility for our own actions.We are bringing this down on our own heads! We, His own redeemed ones, are pushing our Holy King out there for the world to abuse His word; ignore His statues; poke fun at His truths; waylay His way of life; destroy His people; divide His children in an effort to destroy our faith.

What does it look like practically?  Just look around at the landscape of America, our amazing homeland.  Believers in Christ have wholeheartedly taken up the worship of other gods in addition to our stated devotion to Christ. I think that the god of self-love/self-satisfaction has the highest throne; after that the god of self-righteousness; then a close third is the god of gluttony or the god of more or the god of not enough.

As the bridegroom of the church – Christ has unlimited access and rights to our lives — but we have treated our own God as if He is one who neither has the rights of a full spouse; nor one who earns the respect of a kinsmen redeemer. Without regard for His authority over us and His sovereignty – we ask Him to come into our hearts and take a seat instead of inviting Him to take the throne of our lives and reign!

By our own behavior we are compromising our faith and are communicating to the world around us that our King is not really a king after all!   It is our actions that tell the world who we are!  They will know He is our King when we act like subjects in His kingdom!

We must treat our bridegroom with respect and honor! We have to resist the temptation to love Him while holding fast to other ways of life; refrain from compromising our principles; repent from participating in the spewing of hate when we have been redeemed to LOVE! Lest we wake up one day and find our God has been reduced to a mere ideal – and that ideal is found at the door in a heap where He was once knocking and waiting to be invited in!

My prayer is that we will stop looking at the world to treat Christ as King and that we will do that ourselves!  I plead with the Lord to give us all a mind to yield the throne of our hearts to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  May His love grow and dwell in us so that a lost and dying world will be able to see the difference in the life of a Christ Follower.  May we nurture and embrace a true fidelity to our King and fight against the temptation to abuse the relationship.  May we never forget that we don’t serve a passive God; but one who has all authority and one for whom, one day, every knee has got to bow!  May we all lift Him up and lay ourselves low.

Judges 19: 25

But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them, and they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn.