Tag Archives: judgment

A Day with My Lover

As the eldest of three sisters and still single at nearly 34 years of age, I experience both real and assumed pressure to walk down the aisle sometime this century. Some people beat around the bush, and others just blurt it out, “Are you ever going to get married?”

Well, first off, getting married is not a one-person decision, neither is it a two-person decision, but a bride, groom, and God decision. When people ask me if I’m ever going to get married I feel like screaming! When has it ever been okay to ask a barren woman when she will ever have children? Don’t you think if I had a choice in the matter that I would get you off my back in an instant if I could?

Sometimes, however, no one has said anything, but I just feel a pressure to not be single anymore, to give my parents the grandchildren that they want so very much, but again, it is not my choice. Sure there are things I could have done differently in life that may have gotten me hitched, but I can’t change the past now. Fortunately God has given me so many other reasons to live and enjoy His creation. Believe it or not, world, life goes on even when you are single, and life can go on down in the dumps or happily jumping in the puddles while the storm blows through.

Yesterday I missed my friends’ wedding because I didn’t want to face the questions of why I am still single. That’s sad. I instead slept in, had church at home in the peacefulness of my living room while listening to the choir at the church next door belt out hymns (talk about making a joyful noise!), sang some worship songs of my own (well, not my own), read the word, and prayed and listened. You know what? After I prayed, asking God if I should go to my friends’ wedding, telling Him my fears of judgment, and listened quietly, all I heard was God’s perfect peace telling me to just rest in His goodness. There would be enough guests to celebrate with my friends, and without me there would surely be more food for them. At that moment I was feeling the joy of being with my Heavenly Lover, and He knew that was all I needed. Plus I knew my friends would understand.

Instead of saying someday God will give me all I wish for, I say I wish for all that God has for me because He’s already given me more than I deserve, more than I wished for…and that was exactly what I needed to feel yesterday, today, and forever. I’ve spent the last several weeks feeling like the future was too far away, but it’s true what they say, the present is a gift (or a present).

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You understand my every need. You know when to make me rest and when to get me up moving around, serving others. You give me strength in my weakness, and wealth of spirit when I am poor in spirit. Sometimes You let me suffer, but You always rescue me before I fall to pieces. You catch me in Your arms, not only like a father catches his child, but like a groom carries his bride. Thank You for Your gentleness, Your mercy, and Your grace. Even when I have forgotten all You have given me, You still give me more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have you ever had a special day with Jesus that you would like to share?

Also, I just want to take this opportunity to wish my friend Maura a very happy birthday. Thanks for always reading my blog.

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Identity Theft

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What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:24-25a

We live in a world of sin, and as Christians, somehow expect ourselves not to sin. I don’t know about you, but when I mess up I will fret for days about my mistake. Growing up my parents rarely had to discipline me because I would punish myself. Despite our constant self-applied guilt trips and sin’s attempts to rob us of our true identity, God expects us to live in freedom through His grace.

In Romans 7 Paul seems to ramble on and on about sin, the law, and the new way of the Spirit. I never quite understood this chapter until I read a Girlfriends in God devotion by Sharon Jaynes. Jaynes describes an untrained volunteer applying drywall. After hours of doing the job correctly he accidentally switches his power tool to reverse, and doesn’t understand why the screws won’t go into the drywall. The lesson here is that sometimes the problem is us and our sinful nature. We feel we can’t get ahead no matter how hard we try, and sometimes it comes down to resetting our direction through repentance.

There are a few things we should be aware of before over-analyzing our mistakes:

  1. We have direct access to grace and mercy. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
  2. From the time Adam and Eve sinned sin has lived within mankind, including you and me. (Romans 7:17-18)
  3. Despite the sin living within us we are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

If you have given your life to Christ by repenting, declaring that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and being baptized then these three things are true. What is your response to this? Often my response is to hide in fear of judgment, but that is not what God called us to do. No, He has already given us enough grace to cover our sins if we choose to repent daily. I believe the first step to repentance is believing their is an end result of forgiveness. The second is knowing that, because sin lives within us, we will sin despite our best efforts. Paul says in Romans 7, “Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

Friends, God shows you unlimited grace. Show yourselves some. Instead of fretting about mistakes you’ve made, admit to making them, repent to God, and move on in freedom.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8

I would like to thank Sharon Jaynes of Girlfriends in God who continues to inspire me with daily devotions, and to Robert and Marcia Scott, faithful and redeemed, for their sermon on Grace this last Sunday at Great Commission Christian Church in Richmond, California. You can listen to their sermon at http://www.gccubed.org. You are God’s mouthpiece in a broken world.

Heavenly Father, Your grace is more than sufficient. Remind us to turn from our sin daily, not by the law of Moses which we are sure to fail, but by loving you wholeheartedly and repenting genuinely. Help us to let go of our past and embrace our present, never missing a moment of joy for the fear of judgment. For Your unending, unconditional love, we thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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The Accused

Whether you are honestly guilty or completely innocent it hurts to be the accused, especially if that accusation becomes part of your identity.

In John 8 we read about Jesus’ reaction to the accusers, which in this instance happened to be the religious leaders. What a shame! John 8 is set on the Mount of Olives as Jesus enters the temple at dawn and begins teaching. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. Now remember this is pre-Christianity and the religious leaders are still operating under the law of Moses in which it says in Deuteronomy 22 that any woman caught in adultery should be stoned. At this moment when the religious leaders rush this woman into the temple, interrupting Jesus’ teaching, they are hoping he will disobey Moses’ law so they catch him going against God’s orders. Surely he could not disobey the law of Moses’ and still be God’s son, the Messiah. Or could he? As the Pharisees and the teachers of the law banded together questioning Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (talk about a loaded question) Jesus kneels down and begins writing on the ground. Now the Bible does not tell us what exactly he wrote, but we can assume it was something convicting to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law because as he wrote and asked, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” one by one they left the scene. So many left that eventually it was only Jesus and the woman left there. And do you know what happened?

Jesus did not stone the woman even though he was without sin and could have stoned her. He didn’t tell her to pack her bags and send her on a giant guilt trip. He didn’t say, “I told you so!” There’s a million, zillion things we do to shame people when we ourselves have done just the same, but he didn’t give her any punishment.

I recently heard of an artist named Steve Rosenfield who founded the “What I be Project.” He asked his subjects to fill in the blank “I am not my ____.” It could be anything. Their answers ranged from addictions to disabilities. Each subject chose a phrase which was written on them in black marker. He brings his subjects deepest insecurities to the forefront in order to bring awareness, but beyond that, freedom, instead of imprisonment, to those who do not fit the social norm. When I first looked at his work I felt uncomfortable, uneasy. Looking at others’ insecurities brought my own to the surface, but after imagining how they might feel, recognizing myself in their stories, I feel a sense of relief and peace because we were made to receive and give mercy. Looking at his work helped me receive mercy.

Think about Jesus’ actions kneeling on the temple floor. When all had left the room and it was just the woman and Jesus here is what he said, “Then neither do I condemn you.” Is there an area where you need to receive mercy? Or someone in your life to whom you need to show mercy?

 

“There is no God like you. You forgive those who are guilty of sin; you don’t look at the sins of your people who are left alive. You will not stay angry forever, because you enjoy being kind. You will have mercy on us again; you will conquer our sins. You will throw away all our sins into the deepest part of the sea” -Micah 7:18-19

For more about the “What I Be” Project and Steve Rosenfield visit: http://www.whatibeproject.com/.