Tag Archives: relationship

{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.


Unreceived Grace

Her effort to be perfect is destroyed by her sin
Paralyzing guilt sets in
She weeps, sadden by the loss of ‘perfection’
She hardens her heart and tries to justify her sin

Enter in grace…

The one she sinned against forgives her, but her hands are clenched
He pleads for her to return to him
She wants to return, but doesn’t forgive herself
She knows she does not deserve forgiveness
She runs away into the dark to hide
She doesn’t think she deserves to live, and wants death
She begins to numb herself

Messengers come, reminding her of grace…
One day the one sinned against speaks to her again
He invites her to reconcile
She dares to believe reconciliation is possible
She dares to believe she could be forgiven
She steps out of the darkness and towards the Light
She takes his hand and walks on the road of reconciliation

Through this journey her hands open and her heart softens
She weeps a different type of sorrow
She weeps in humility and gratitude
She experiences a spiritual death and is rewarded a new life

She lives because her hands opened to receive grace
She lives a new life because she walks in the Light
She lives a new life because she believes she is forgiven

Today she is hidden with Christ in God!

Hallelujah!

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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


Joy comes in the mourning…

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Image credit: Gracieediaz

Life without the presence of God is dark and depressing with sporadic moments of happiness birthing from our circumstances and experiences.

But circumstances and experiences are fleeting, leaving us empty and depressed once more. How do we experience a lasting holy joy?

In God’s presence is the fullness of joy.

No one can come into the presence of God the Father without an advocate for the forgiveness of sins. But there is an advocate, His name is Jesus Christ.

You must be willing to turn to God and come into the Light of Christ to allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of sin, righteousness and judgement. You must courageously confess and mourn for your sins against God and others.

You will see, God’s faithfulness and righteousness is demonstrated in His forgiveness of our sins. You must continue to believe the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all your sin and unrighteousness…then you can enter into God’s presence and experience His Holy joy and rest through the Holy Spirit.

This joy can only come after humility and genuine sorrowful repentance for sins.

May “the grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

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I saw this painting in a local coffee shop and was immediately inspired to write this post. This is a demonstration of the how the gifts and talents of the body of Christ stirs one another to love and good deeds. You can find more inspiration and stirring at the artist Graciee Diaz’s website here.


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


Recline Now, Or Later?

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Heroes are fearless and full of courage.  One of my favorite heroes is Harriet Tubman. “Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made more than nineteen missions to rescue more than 300 slaves…”

 What amazes me the most about Harriet Tubman is what she did AFTER she was free….she went back to set the captives free!

Like Harriet Tubman, I too was born into slavery…a different kind of slavery: slavery to sin, but praise be to God I have been set free through Jesus Christ and now that I know Him and have tasted and seen the LORD is good I have the calling to set the captives free!

I’m learning there are a lot of things that can happen between now and my physical death, and my salvation is more than living in heaven with God…eternal life started when I was born again and I was given ears to hear God, eyes to seek His kingdom and a heart to know and love God. I have been entrusted with these gifts and now I am a steward of the mysteries of God. What I do with these gifts will determine whether I am a faithful steward…or not.

God says, “to those who have been given much, much is required.” I am enjoying my relationship with God, and this sweet fellowship through the blood of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit is more fulfilling than anything I can explain.

But now what? Am I to recline with my Bible, listen and sing worship music and pray in one place only? Is that what I’m called to do? No! God has been clear: I must go and tell others the good news while clothed and anointed by His Holy Spirit, I must proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners! (Matthew 28:19 Acts 1:4-5 Isaiah 61)

With a mournful heart I look out in this world and see:

  • People in bondage to sin, lonely and lost and yet do not know the remedy.
  • People in bondage to sin and yet do not want anything different.
  • People who have tasted and seen the LORD is good but have become distracted by the things of this world and quench and grieve the Holy Spirit living in them.
  • People who are free but are still standing in their jail cells with gates wide open unable to walk through the threshold because they lack faith and do not believe they have been forgiven because the accuser whispers lies to them.

With a joyful heart I also see soldiers for Christ clothed in the armor of God setting captives free through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I have been every one of these examples but the one I want to remain is a soldier for Christ filled with His Spirit setting captives free!

The only remaining I want to do is to remain in Christ. The only waiting I want to do is in The Lord, waiting patiently for the filling of His Holy Spirit because it is only by the anointing of His Holy Spirit that the captives are set free!

I embrace the responsibility to be a faithful steward of the ministry of reconciliation I have been given. I don’t always do this perfectly and I’ve had plenty of missed opportunities but in those occasions I fall on God’s grace and mercy and press on toward the upward calling He has given me.

I’m learning I must continually be in a position of humility taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, confessing my sins and remaining in repentance toward God so I can remain holy as He is Holy.

I must be careful not to quench or grieve the Holy Spirit Who lives in me…only then can God use me as a holy sanctified vessel for His use. He is the One who does it and He is looking for yielded vessels that will cooperate with the Holy Spirit, vessels of mercy and grace that will say, not my will but Your will be done...’

The love of God compels me to tell those in bondage they no longer have to be a slave to sin and death. Though sin has created a separation between us and God,  God has made a way to be reconciled through the blood of Jesus Christ who has taken the punishment of the sins of the world. Jesus not only died for our sins but He rose from the dead three days later and He is alive today and has prayed we would receive a Helper, the Holy Spirit Who guides us into all truth and gives us the courage to live in this world!

We must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths Jesus Christ as Lord and yield ourselves completely to His Holy Spirit and walk in newness of LIFE! May God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Recline now or later? I choose later…

Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.” Luke 12:37
More bread to feast on:
Luke 12:35-40; 2 Corinthians 3; 2 Corinthians 4
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