Tag Archives: prideful

{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.

***

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.


Light Shines @ The Vagabond Inn

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It was a cool dark morning when my kids and I walked toward the lobby of the Vagabond Inn. My eyes quickly darted away from the band of men in the dimly lit parking lot, whispering and staring at me with unlovely looks. Fear immediately gripped me, and the Holy Spirit reminded me,

“Perfect love casts out all fear…”

I was reminded I was not alone, God was with me, and I took my thoughts captive and asked Him to help me not to fear the men but allow God to love them through me.

As my children and I began fixing our breakfast, my husband walks in to tell me he had to leave for work and couldn’t stay to eat with us. He prays and hugs us good-bye.

Once he left the room, the silence was deafening and my heart was overwhelmed by the sadness, depression and darkness of the environment. I quickly took an inventory:

Five men outside, two men inside getting food, one sitting at a table eating….and in the far left corner was a young woman scribbling in a notebook. Her head was down and she was trying to be invisible. We sat at the table across from her and I prayed in my heart,

God, I know you have cleansed my heart, I know you have reminded me that while we were yet sinners You loved us by sending Jesus Christ…I know I have good news to share but I’m scared…can you help me to share Christ with a lost soul?”

Desperate for help, I looked through my phone for a song and find ‘Light of the World’ and I began to sing with my kids. We started worshiping softly and become progressively louder, drowning out the dark and depressing environment.

When the song finished, the silence returned but the atmosphere was different. A voice pierced through the silence,

“You have a beautiful voice.”

It was the voice of the young lady.

I want to disagree with her, but instead say, “Thank you.” I looked at the children and excused myself and they nodded knowing I was stepping out in obedience.

I walked into her sphere of life and introduced myself. She forced a smile and told me her name–J.

Her eyes are familiar to me…full of hurt, hopelessness, and shame, ready to burst.

I gently asked her,

“J, Do you have faith?”
“Oh yes, I do.” She responded defensively
“What do you have faith in?” I pressed.
“I believe in God, I talk to Him all the time. I gave my life to Christ when I was 11….”

Her eyes began to light up and she invited me to reminisce with her the goodness and grace of God in her life as a child. She shared how she completed the entire AWANA program and memorized a lot of Scripture.

I was so excited and pointed to my children and told her they too were in AWANA hiding God’s Word in their hearts just as she did. My children take this as a cue to come over, and she smiles at them. She shared with us the other things God did through her, like the time she went on a mission trip to build houses. She was coming alive as she spoke of God. My next question broke her,

“J, What are you doing here?”

Her lip quivers and she darts her eyes at the kids and back at me. My children sense the seriousness of the moment and return to their seats to finish their meal. She casts her face down and quietly mumbles that she came down to the lobby because the man she was with is still sleeping.

I didn’t mean to ask her why she was at the Vagabond Inn, but why she was in this town. I saw my question caused her to want to hide and I felt compassion for her. I reached my hand to hers and squeezed it tightly hoping love would flow through me to her. I opened my mouth,

“J, God’s Word is in you…all those years of memorizing in AWANA and God’s word does not return to Him void. You have given your life to Christ when you were 11 years old. You must remember nothing….’nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus? NOTHING. Not even what you did five minutes ago.”

I continued,

“…do you mind if I pray with you?”

“Sure, I’ll pray with you….”

We hold hands and pray aloud.

When we finished our eyes locked on each other and I said,

“The Bible teaches us, “If we confess our sins God is faithful and righteous to forgive us and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness.” He has taken us out of the darkness into His marvelous light and we need to come back to the Light. God still LOVES you.”

Her eyes lit up with excitement and she bends down to grab two pieces of paper. As she unfolds them she tells me,

“I drew these last night and this morning as I was talking to God….”

I look at them as she gets water. They are drawn from a tortured and torn heart. It was evident she was in a spiritual battle.

She drew a line of demarcation and had light and dark contrasted. On one side she listed all her struggles and sins with a picture of satan and she’s crying.

On the other side there was light and beauty with flowers and a butterfly with words like love and happiness. She was smiling and happy and her hearts goals and dreams were listed in order.  Number one on her list was to have a lasting relationship with God and her family. She had the words “Get back” written in several places indicating she knew she was off the path and wanted to get back on it.

Suddenly I hear another woman’s voice ask her a question,

“Hey, was that you praying? Will you do me a favor, I want you to pray for me and my friend….”

I turn to look at her response. Her eyes widen and she looks astonished that someone would ask her for prayer, but she slowly nods and begins to walk away.

I walked over and stood next to J and saw two women and after introducing myself I tell them we will pray for them right now. One of them asks curiously,

“So that’s what you do? You pray? You sit here in the lobby and ask people if they need prayer?”

I smiled full of joy and said, “Well I’m not always here but I’m available to pray for, and with anyone willing. Jesus is the one that is always interceding for the saints.”

We held hands going to the throne of grace together. We cry out to God clothed in the righteousness of Christ, thankful for His forgiveness and grace and we ask for His help, His wisdom, His strength to be obedient daughters and walk in the Light.

When we finished one of them says, “AMEN! I became a Christian when I was eight and I have strayed far into the dark but someone has been inviting me to Church and I’m going back today!”

Like a giddy little girl, I lift my hands and praise God!!

As the two ladies left, J and I discussed her confessional drawings. She told me she wanted to get out of there. I admitted to her that I wanted to take her out of there. She asked if I would take her to L.A.

I told her I was going to Church and she could come with me and afterwards I could take her….but I stopped and looked into her eyes and asked,

“J, if I take you to L.A. what will you be doing there? Who do you know there?”

She drew back and casted her eyes down and says, ‘I know lots of people’ and if you don’t take me I will take the bus to get there anyway.”

I told her, “Thank you for being honest with me, I understand. But do you understand why I won’t take you?”

“Yes. You don’t want to be the one responsible for taking me into the darkness and if something happens to me you would be upset.”

“That’s correct. J, if I had my own place I would take you home with me. I have to pray and ask God for wisdom, I need to ask Him my role in this situation right now, and I need to be content with the role He has given me.”

‘I understand.’

We sit in silence for a moment and I remember I have some more ‘Bread of life’ to leave with her so I run to my car and write her a note and hand it to her. Before we say good-bye I reminded her of more Truth,

“J, God loves you so much, you are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works He has prepared for you to walk out. Your salvation is not just for you but for the building up of the Church. Didn’t you see that when the woman asked you for prayer? There are lost souls out there that need us to remain in Christ so we can encourage them to come back on the path of Light. We must continue to go to Church so that we can come together to stir one another to love and good deeds just as we did today.”

She smiles and her eyes show she understands. She says thank you, we hug and exchange contact information in hopes to keep in touch.

We had Church before we went to Church that day, and Light shined brightly in that Vagabond Inn: To. God. Be. The. Glory.

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I share this to encourage you. I am not perfect, there have been many times I’ve missed opportunities to share truth with the suffering because of my pride and self-righteousness.

The day before I met ‘J’ I was tested and sifted. I confessed to my husband my ugly thoughts about the residents of his temporary ‘home.’ I told him I was scorning them, looking down on them for the bondage they allowed themselves to be in….as I confessed, my heart was pierced with God’s sWORD:

“But God demonstrated his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

I meditated on ‘while we were YET SINNERS…”

That was me too. The only reason I was different was because of God’s grace. Instead of scorning them I chose to mourn for them. All of this was necessary to prepare me for the good work God would do through me this March morning.

There are a lot of hurting people in the world. They do a lot of things to escape the pain by numbing themselves with drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy relationships.

Some of these souls have never met Jesus Christ, and some have known Him and are prodigal children. They have tasted and seen The Lord is good but they have walked in the darkness so long they actually believe the lies of satan, “that God no longer loves them.”

Someone in your sphere of life needs to hear TRUTH: that God loves them, someone in the environment you are placed in needs to be encouraged to walk in the Light. Someone near you needs you to SHINE the LOVE and LIGHT of Christ to help them turn back to Him.

I have two questions for the children of God:

Will you scorn the lost or will you mourn for them?
Are you ready to share the hope that is within you?


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


Voice{less} Moment

Since Jesus is my all in all, why don’t I share Him with all?

She stands there rocking a baby in a sling, sadden by the sickness of the leukemia attacking the body of her Grandfather. I hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in my heart prompting me to speak to her.

I do. Except, I use my voice, my words, my story not His. I talk to her for thirty minutes, praying and asking God to help me find the ‘right moment’ ignoring that He already has given me the ‘right moment’ this is it, this is the divine appointment.

Just as I open my mouth to speak in the name of Jesus Christ her Aunt comes in to take her away, and with her goes my opportunity to speak life into her, to find out if she knows Jesus Christ personally–to ask her if I could pray with her.

I hate it when I do that, when my voice drowns out the voice of the Holy Spirit.

This is it. I am not holding back, this is the line in the sand.    When I hear Him tell me to speak may it be like a fire burning within me that I can not contain, I will:

Stop. Pray. Ask God what to say.  Loving is calling…my voice is His.

Prayer:
Almighty Father, thank You for giving me the opportunity to speak Your Word of life into others.  Thank You for giving me the gift of Jesus Christ.  Thank You for giving me the gift of Your Holy Spirit.  I repent of being selfish of keeping these gifts to myself when You prompt me to share. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, help me to burn for You. Give me a love for the lost I never had before for it is Your love that compels me to share. I lift up Rachel and her family.  Please send her another messenger that will share You with her, to comfort her, may they be bold for You and open their mouth for Your voice to flow.  From this moment on may I use this voice for Your glory. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Britt Nicole – The Lost Get Found (Official Music Video) from britt-nicole on GodTube.

Five Minute Friday

Every week Lisa Jo @Lisa Jo posts a writing prompt. You get 5 minutes to write. No corrections. No editing. Just write. This is my first time.


R.I.P ‘Today’!

“Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen” Romans 15:33

Rest In Peace (RIP) is an acronym most often seen on tombstones at cemeteries.  The truth is we don’t have to wait until we are physically dead to rest in peace, we can have rest for our souls in God’s peace ‘Today’! Jesus Christ said:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28)

Rest is defined, “to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength; calm, refresh

If we come to Jesus Christ and walk and learn from Him, we will find rest for our souls! Jesus uses the word picture example of yoking ourselves to Him.  A yoke is “wooden beam used between pair of oxen to enable them to pull together on a load when working in a pair.” Jesus says;

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

This rest for our souls is not laziness or stagnation or free from burdens, but rather resting in the finish work of Jesus Christ.

We join Jesus in lovingly plowing and preparing the hearts of others to receive the seed (God’s Word) and working alongside Jesus in the plentiful harvest.

If your souls are not resting in peace there are many possible reasons; here are a few:

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you…”Acts 3:19-20

  • You have not turned from your ways and to God’s ways and rested in Him (Isaiah 30:15)
  • You are not waiting on the Lord, asking for His path and walking in it (Jeremiah 6:16)
  • You have hardened your heart to the voice of God going astray in your heart and do not know God’s ways (Hebrews 3:7-11)
  • You are being disobedient and unbelieving (Hebrews 3:18-19)
  • You are not being diligent to enter into the Sabbath rest for the people of God; For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath (Hebrews 4:9-11; Matthew 12:8)
  • You are not connected to Jesus Christ the One True Vine that brings the fruit of the Spirit (John 15:5 Galatians 5:22-23)
  • You have a proud heart, haughty eyes, are involved with great matters, or things too difficult for you, and have misplaced your hope–you have placed your hope in yourself, other things or people and not in The Lord (Psalm 131)

I can share these Scriptures because these are the ones God has used to slice me open to show me the thoughts and intentions of my heart, to show me when and why I am not resting in the ‘Guardian of my soul’. I am praying we rest in God’s perfect peace on the finished work of the Cross; Not what we do but what’s been done! I rejoice my name is written in the book of life, love has been poured into my heart and I can’t help but mourn for those that do not yet personally know the One True God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent.

By God’s grace I get to join my Savior in step with His Holy Spirit to be a worker in the harvest ~ that is a worker empowered by His Spirit knowing it is God who works in and through me for His pleasure for He also does not wish that any should perish but that all would come to repentance and enter into His rest.

Yoke yourself to the Lord of Sabbath and you will feel His presence inside and “By Your Side”.

“…the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.  For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” Isaiah 30:18

“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.  But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.” Hebrews 3:12-14

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you’. And when He had said this He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” John 20:21-22


Prideless Parenting

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

We were having an enjoyable time at the beach when my daughter became frustrated because the waves kept washing away her artwork on “God’s chalkboard” {the sand}.  She was tired, hungry and her patience was slim, therefore she did the only thing she could do to express her irritation: she cried. And cried, and cried.  I discovered the quickest way to clear a beach is having a child cry for ten minutes straight. Now was the test…

What was I going to do?

My flesh wanted to satisfy the captive audience around me, and discipline her in public, my flesh wanted to scream. Actually, my flesh did scream {inside}.  Then I held her close to me and I prayed.  I prayed for God’s Holy Spirit to help us both in this witnessing opportunity.  I prayed we would both look only at Jesus Christ and not at each other or our sins.  I prayed we would be still and remain in Jesus Christ remembering God is already pleased with us because of what Jesus Christ has done, not anything we have or haven’t done.  I prayed we would take full advantage of this opportunity to give thanks to God even in this sanctifying moment.  I rocked her in my arms and felt as though everything and everyone else melted away.  I sang softly to her, and I remember I can act the same way inside when something I’ve worked hard on is destroyed or taken.

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3

I am on a journey of letting go. God is teaching me to let go of pride and perfection.  God is teaching me to deal gently with others, and to be compassionate as our High Priest Jesus Christ is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.  When these sanctifying moments occur I am learning to silently pray and look to God to comfort my children while restraining any temptation to use worldly things to threaten or console them.  I am learning to wait, be still…I’m learning to hide and abide in my Rock Jesus Christ. At one point my daughter disrespected me during her sorrow and I told her:

“you are not allowed to disrespect me, God says children must obey their parents for this is well-pleasing to Him.  I understand being upset for lost work but now you are crossing over to disobedience and that’s not the path you want to be on.”

She nodded her head. She understood.  Another five minutes of praying and allowing God to comfort her through me and the Hulk {in both of us} was gone.  I now had a calm lamb in my arms remembering the words of Jesus, feed my sheep and ‘tend to my lambs‘, reminding me we are all His sheep in His pasture and He is the one that restores our souls. When my children bicker, cry, fight instead of hearing a whining noise I am choosing to hear little lambs ‘baaaing’ because they are turned over and need help to be restored.  Before God can work in and through me I need to be abiding and hiding in Him so His Spirit can work in and through me for His purpose.

I am letting go of ‘striving’ to be a perfect parent and resting in His grace which is sufficient in all things, even a fit at the beach.  To God be the glory…again, His giving, His glory!


Incredible Hulk or Incredible Walk?

“…walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” Galatians 5:16

One day as I watched my son play with the Incredible Hulk action figure, I asked myself:

“Are my kids seeing the incredible hulk or an incredible walk?”

When I was a little girl I was nicknamed ‘little hulk’ because anytime I would get angry I would get a stiff neck, clench my fists, shake and growl.  Instead of turning green I would turn red. My sisters would give a warning to those around, “watch out here comes the incredible hulk!”  My sisters and I look back and laugh at those days…the days I was a strong willed child and did not submit easily.

Today I am not that child, and behavior like that is inexcusable because I have been reborn and I am spiritually alive! The day I submitted to God He gave me a new heart and put His Holy Spirit in me and tells me the way to walk.  I want to be a witness for God and pray my children remember an incredible walk with God, not the ‘incredible hulk’ in me.

This is easier said than done because I still struggle with my flesh…my pride and own selfish desires and expectations, but the more I seek God the more He equips me to identify the signs of when the ‘hulk’ in me is coming out. When my neck is stiff, heart races, hands begin to clench and my voice changes I know it’s time for me to step away and be alone with my Heavenly Father.  I fall on my face and cry out to my Abba for help, asking Him for the grace to walk by His Spirit and to obey Him.  He ALWAYS helps when I am not stiff necked and humble myself–ALWAYS. It’s up to me whether I unclench my hands to receive His grace or not.

God’s Word washes over my heart and reminds me I have already been set free:

“…you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:9-14

I am a daughter of God.  I am made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I am not in the flesh because the Spirit of God dwells in me.  I am to walk by the Holy Spirit because He lives in me! This is a disciplined life, a life of a disciple of Jesus Christ, one who walks with Him.

Today my children are learning through me what it means to walk by the Spirit.  They are learning the Spirit must come before the “fruit.” We are learning together the ‘incredible walk’ is not a perfect walk but a walk of humility, discipline and faith.  I tell them, “Mommy feels the hulk coming on, I’m going to go pray and be alone with God, I’ll be right back.”  They understand.  I pray one day they will be blessed with the spiritual understanding and knowledge only God can provide.

I am praying for you reader.  If you are still in full bondage of being a hulk I pray God shows you His power and love of what He has done by sending Jesus Christ as an offering for sin, condemning sin in the flesh.

For those that are already children of God, my brethren I pray these Scriptures for us:

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” Galatians 5:16

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “1 John 1:8-9

*More Bread to feast on: Romans 7 Romans 8; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 Corinthians 13:11


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