Tag Archives: love

{in}perfection

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His shoulders slump and his head is down in defeat as he shares with me a repeated sin he committed. He looks frustrated, weary and condemned. I too am frustrated ready to pile on condemning words, until I felt a tinge of compassion fill my heart. I was reminded of the confessing cleansing conversation I had with a friend about my sins just minutes before.

By God’s grace, I knew it was most important to share with my son the spiritual heart of the matter, to tell him the truth about the Truth-Jesus Christ.

To be transparent and share my genuine compassion for his sin struggle because I struggle too. It was a holy opportunity to share the Gospel. To share the gift of forgiveness and mercy that comes through repentance towards God and faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. To share the freedom that comes by power of the resurrected Christ. To walk him to God’s throne of grace.
It was a chance to remind us we’re not perfect and we need a Savior. Any righteousness we have comes from Jesus Christ in us. We are to practice righteousness, press on to maturity, but only God will perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus.
I write this stone of memorial to remind myself, we must practice patience–with ourselves…and one another.

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When I was a new Christian I was naive to think I would no longer make a mistake. I read  that I was a “new creation” and given a “new heart,”and though I “knew” I was not perfect, I made an expectation for myself that I should be perfect or I was a hypocrite.

This led me to great frustration and even condemnation because I couldn’t understand the continual struggle against sin I was dealing with, let alone the number of times I failed. What I see now is any holiness I have is CHRIST IN me. I have seen my flesh and it’s ugliness to the point I’ve doubted my own salvation! The redeeming part is that my flesh and sin remind me of my need for a Savior. This gives me compassion for those that struggle, beginning in my own family.

A fruitful life comes by a daily walk of abiding in the one who is perfection: Christ.

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Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethen.


EmPOWERed

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“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

As children of God we have been given POWER!

Power to overcome temptation and sin (1 Cor 10:13-14;Romans 8:9-14)
Power to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:16)
Power to forgive (John 20:23; Matthew 6:15)
Power to overcome fear (2 Timothy 1:7)
Power to LOVE (Romans 8:2-4; 1 John 4:19)

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He gave us access to God the Father by one Spirit. This allows us to ask the Father ‘lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…’ We have the privilege to go to God’s throne of grace daily to confess our sins and receive His faithful forgiveness and cleansing. This allows us to be vessels of mercy and grace to others.

When Jesus was resurrected, He demonstrated His power over sin and death.

Today Jesus is alive, seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for the saints. Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses because He has “been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

As children of God we are not perfect but have been given God’s perfect POWER by His Holy Spirit. May we not harden our hearts nor deny the POWER we’ve been given by quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit!

Stay focused: Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethren.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58


A Change of Heart

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You begin life with a selfish heart.

Everything you say is right and everyone else is wrong. It needs to be your way, you hurt people with the things you say and do but don’t care. If they hurt you, you harden your heart and cut them out of your life pretending they don’t exist.

But one day after making another selfish decision it doesn’t “feel” right. You wonder what this “feeling” is about…maybe your conscience? You shrug your shoulders and ignore the “feeling,” sometimes escaping and using things of the world to numb your heart.

This “feeling” happens often enough you begin to see other things, like how your selfishness hurts others. At first you react indifferent as if you don’t care, but deep inside you do. You begin to see “ugly” in you. It comes to the point when you can’t handle it anymore and you wonder, “Can I ever change?”

You strive to succeed. You try to be nicer to people, try to say nice things, but your thoughts reveal the authenticity of your heart…”ugly.” You still press forward and begin to do charitable deeds to feel good about yourself but it never lasts.

But one day you’re introduced to perfection—Jesus Christ. You don’t know Him but you know about Him and You want to be like Him. He’s so loving, patient and kind, all the things you know you are not. You begin going to Church, reading the Bible and you try to be like Him but fail every time. In fact, the more you read the Bible, the more you learn about the Holiness of God and the more you see your “ugly” heart and your inability to love God and others.

You “pour” out your ugly heart and begin to “mourn” and weep about the “ugly” in you. You feel hopeless and doubt there could ever be a change in your “ugly” heart. and you want a new heart. You are overwhelmed on where to begin in this change…then one day you meet Jesus for yourself and are invited into a reconciled relationship to KNOW the One that heals hurts and hearts…the scales fall of your eyes and you see:

  • The only One that can change your heart is the one who created you–God the Father
  • The only Way to get to God the Father is to be reconciled to Him for all those times you cherished your “ugly” heart and hurt Him and others
  • The only Way to be reconciled to the Father is through Jesus Christ
  • The only Way to get a new heart is to be born again
  • The only Way to keep this new heart unstained by the world is to walk in the Light

The only Way to walk in the Light and be Revived is to place your faith in Jesus Christ:

  • Believe Jesus came to save you from your “ugly” not condemn you
  • Believe Jesus took the sacrifice for your “ugly” and it is finished
  • Believe Jesus reconciled you to God the Father
  • Believe you have been given the resurrection power to abstain from “ugliness”
  • Believe Jesus is praying for you
  • Believe God is faithful and righteous and will continue to forgive you of your “ugly” and cleanse you

So one day you give your “ugly” dark heart to God and He takes your heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh and puts His Spirit in you, telling you the way to go and you begin to walk in the Light.

You know you are not perfect but believe God will complete the work He began you until the day Christ returns.

As you walk in the Light with your new heart you sometimes experience that same “feeling” and see “ugly” but now you don’t ignore this “feeling” and instead you daily pour out your heart to God and turn to Him and experience a new feeling a “burning.”

This “burning” is God refining you, making you more like Christ….isn’t that what you wanted? To be like Jesus Christ?  That is what our Creator, your Father wills.

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*The “ugly” is sin

*That “feeling” about sin is conviction

*That “pouring” about sin is confession

*That “mourning” about sin is godly sorrow

*That “turning” from sin is repentance

*That “burning” of sinful flesh is sanctification making you more like Christ

A change of heart only comes through God by turning from your sinful ways to God and placing your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Repentance towards God and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith…is the lifestyle of a child of God.

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“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22

‘”For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-21


Going through it to get to it…

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Sometimes the shortest distance isn’t always best.

“Now when Pharaoh had let the people go God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17

God had appointed Moses to set the captive Israelites free from the oppression of the Egyptians, and God had an appointed plan for them to walk out. The Israelites probably wondered why they had to go through the wilderness to the Red Sea, even though it seemed better and faster to go to the land of the Philistines. Besides, what were they going to do when they got to the Red Sea?

I must admit my mind can ask similar questions. If I was one of the Israelites I would walk the path but I would probably be tempted to grumble, and try to assert my ideas and suggestions. I must confess, I sometimes still do.

God has appointed Jesus Christ as the Way to lead us in the paths of righteousness and now we have unlimited access to God’s throne of grace. God has an appointed plan and specific works He has prepared for us to walk out.

I have left the slavery to sin and entered into life abundant through Jesus Christ, and yet sometimes I wonder why is He leading me through the wilderness, and how and when will the Red Sea part? However, when I remember God is love I settle down. I meditate on His word and wonder in the sovereignty and character of God. I remember His purposes and plans are not to harm, and they extend beyond my own life and what I can see.

God sets a hedge of protection around us, helping us to stay on the path. He has given us Jesus Christ as a settlement for all those times we get off the path, He has given us the Holy Spirit to convict us to get back on the path. As children of God we have all we need for this walk of faith. This path of righteousness is where we experience abundant life and joy, because we are walking in the presence of God.

Whatever wilderness God is leading you through, you must remember He knows the future, He knows the consequences, He knows your heart, He knows what’s best. Yoke yourself to Jesus Christ and He will lead you in the way you should go.

May you enJOY your journey with Jesus and continue to walk by faith, for that is how the righteous live.

*John 10:9-11 *Ephesians 2:10


Common Confession to Reviving Repentance

imageDefilement polluted the air threatening to drown out the fragrance of Christ
I was spiritually suffocating
My heart was hardening by bitterness, resentment and un-forgiveness
I was numb and could not hear God
I had forgotten the call
I had forgotten my purpose
I was lost in a fog of delusion, deception and depression
I called on God not believing He could hear me in this darkness
He did hear me…
He mobilized His Saint, my sister fragrant with Christ
I confessed with a hardened heart but not ready to repent
His vessel of mercy and grace listened and did not ignore nor exploit my sin
His daughter anointed my head with the perfume of Truth
My sister wielded the sword of the spirit to slash the bondage of lies

LOVE

Standing by my side she lifted her shield of faith to cover us
We approached the throne of Grace
She spoke, I broke
God’s Words of Life melted the ice around my heart and I began to feel again
First was humility, I wept and repented
Then I experienced grace, joy, power and LOVE
Radiant she turns to me and points up revealing what was hidden behind the fog but was always there…God’s banner: LOVE

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Faith is not a feeling.  We will be tempted many times to withhold forgiveness.
We must continue to walk by faith not by sight. Faith in God not by the sight of your current circumstances or how people treat us.

When we see our brethren struggling, we must not provide relief but allow God to provide repentance.  We must help them to find their way back to the throne of grace, for Christ died so that we may have access to God the Father though one Spirit.

God sent Jesus Christ to live for Him, die for the world, and live through us.

His death offers us forgiveness for our sins and new life with the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

Unforgiveness is the quickest way to lose the power that was given to us by God.

Unforgiveness grieves the Holy Spirit and quenches Him.

God said if we don’t forgive others, He will not forgive us.

It is a wretched state for anyone to be in the bondage of unforgiveness, but most especially for a Christian who KNOWS they have been forgiven much.  Praise God for His steady grace and forgiveness. May we love in deed and truth and dispense the grace and FORGIVEness we have been given.

“Love…does not take into account a wrong suffered…” 1 Corinthians 13:5b


CommUNITY

Imagine being in a fierce battle.

The enemy is pursuing your team and everyone is in their position standing shoulder to shoulder with shields lifted in defense.

You look to your left and notice the person you’re standing next to is someone you don’t get along with, someone who has hurt you. What would you do?

a. Keep your shield up and forgive them from your heart because unity is more important

b. Put your shield down and face that person to argue and make a point

What you do will determine the health and welfare of the rest of your comrades.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. " Ephesians 6:10-11

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. ” Ephesians 6:10-11

Brethren, we are at war and though we have hope and know the final victory is coming, there are daily battles we must face and overcome.

When we remain in our position in Christ, in unity with our shields of faith lifted, we can stop the fiery darts of the evil one.

Conversely, if we choose to put our shield of faith down to fight against our brethren, we leave an open gap and the fiery darts of the evil one causes division, strife, and destruction.

It only takes one.

One person to put their shield of faith down to cause a division, or one person to cover the ‘gap’ by forgiving and loving no matter what.

Remember the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

As a commUNITY of believers we must remain in our positions in Christ and keep our shields of faith up so we may be one.

Unity (εἷς): one.

Unity begins with God. Come to Jesus Christ and know He has prayed this on your behalf:

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:22-23)

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10


Stacking Stones…Not Throwing Stones

When I drew near to God and was born again, I was overflowing with gratitude from the grace and mercy lavished on me. I did not deserve to be forgiven of my sins and I knew it.

I didn’t need anyone to remind me I was a sinner nor did I need someone to convince me I was a sinner, the Holy Spirit was already doing the convicting. It was this conviction that drew me to my knees causing me to pouStacking Stonesnd my chest with my eyes downcast asking God to be merciful to me, the sinner. The day of my salvation is a HUGE stone of remembrance I visit often.

I must confess, if I don’t visit the day of my salvation I can become arrogant and think highly of myself, forgetting I was saved by grace and it is by God’s grace I am kept.

I’ll never forget the first time God taught me a lesson about His love and grace…that it wasn’t just for me.

It was just three weeks into my new birth experience when my family and I went to a local train show and I saw people that were in sin standing near my children. My heart was enraged and I began to judge them and I was haughty in my heart when God’s Holy Spirit led me to Truth and the words of Jesus were brought to my remembrance:

He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone…” John 8:7

Immediately I couldn’t see past the plank in my eye and realized I could no longer see past my own sin and this humbled me. I saw though they may have been in outward disobedience I was inwardly disobedient to God. I immediately repented of my judgmental thoughts and thanked God for His forgiveness, and prayed for them. My heart was tested that day.

Just weeks later God brought a person struggling with the same sin into my life and my heart was now ready to love because I knew my place; I am the vessel not the judge. I am the conduit, not the source.

God showed me if I really wanted this person to be transformed I needed to love them…just love this person. By God’s power that’s what I did. After months of working with this person they approached me and told me they noticed how I was different and she wanted what I had. That moment my cell phone rang and my ringtone, “How Great Is Our God” was singing in the background while I shared with her the Gospel of how Jesus Christ transformed me and how He died on the cross for all of us and we don’t need to ‘clean up’ to come to Him we just go to Him and He will take care of the rest. What an honor to lovingly share the Gospel with someone God is drawing to Himself!

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What Im learning is this…I am called to exhort my fellow brethren to stay on the narrow road and if they are in sin I am required to restore them and share the Truth in love but…I can’t love apart from God’s Holy Spirit, and before I open my mouth I better make sure they are His Words, His Timing by His Spirit or else it is not Him it’s me.

We can’t love without giving and in this instance it may involve giving up of my own opinion of how they live their lives according to the Bible and wait for God to use me. He can’t use me if I am full of myself, arrogant, quarrelsome–opposite of who He is: LOVE. I’m finding God prepares me for such work by granting me a testing sanctifying moment before I share His gospel by His Spirit.

Dear reader, if you are not a believer and disciple of the LORD Jesus Christ, and a Christian has thrown a stone at you, I am sorry. I have made that mistake before too. As Christians we are not perfect and we still make mistakes. Please do not let man keep you from a relationship with Your Heavenly Father.

I pray God will draw you into His presence and He will send yielded obedient vessels full of His love ready to pour out on you so you will taste and see the LORD is good, kind, compassionate and He is longing for you to come to Him. No matter what you have done, or where you have been, if you turn to Him and draw near to Him, He will draw near to you for Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

*Titus 3:1-7


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