Monday, June 27, 2011

One Man's Sin

Chapter seven in the book of Joshua starts out right after a huge victory over Jericho. God did an amazing thing for the Israelite army.

Then, the Israelites went and spied out the region. They sent a couple thousand men to go whip “Ai” and instead they got trampled on by the small amount of men in Ai.

They cried out to God and tore their clothes, asking, why He would bring them out to this place to only let them get delivered into the hands of their enemies.

God answers by letting Joshua know that someone had gone against his commands and now they couldn’t be victorious until they had removed the sin from among the people.

Wow! Joshua and his army went from seeing victory, because God was with him, to defeat. Joshua didn’t know that one of his men had disobeyed God’s command and all the Israelites felt the effects of his sin.

Some sins are just plain obvious and some are secret. Hidden sins that nobody knows someone has done or is in the act of doing.

How do these secret sins affect a person and those around them? How does the guilt of secret sins affect people?

Quite a few years ago, I hurt my back. According to my chiropractor, I had twisted vertebrae #L4. I was in quite a bit of pain. My right arm would go to sleep at night to the point that I couldn’t feel it and then it would ache all day.

Along with my arm falling asleep and aching, my head, my face and even my eye area would tingle. I also had a headache and was nauseous; I thought my TMJ was going crazy.

Upon further examination, it was discovered that not only was I suffering from a twisted vertebra in my neck but, also my hip was out of whack which caused my legs to hurt, it felt like I was having muscle spasms on the tops of my feet.

I was very uncomfortable and unable to function as I normally would.

During my trip to the Chiropractor, he massaged out my tight muscles and put my hip and L4 vertebrae back into place. I felt better after that visit, although I was still achy and nauseous from having everything out of whack.

The next morning when I woke up I pretty much was back to normal. I tried to be careful and not overdo anything so that I didn’t cause everything to go right back into a chaotic state.

In a way, when someone is caught up in secret sins or the shame of secret sins it can play out the same way in their life. Let’s say that I am a L4 vertebra, I’m messing up, weak and stumbling. And let’s say I don’t go to the person who can fix me. Imagine how that would affect the people around me.

I know from personnel experience how guilt and shame can make you feel inside and affect relationships.

When I finally went to the person who could fix me, all that stuff just went away. Jesus promises in 1John 1:9, that when I confess my sins He will cleanse me from ALL my unrighteousness. Guilt and shame have no place there because Jesus washed me clean. The hard part can be, believing it, letting go of failures and walking away from it.

When I get dirt on my hands, I know that if I pick up a bar of soap it will clean my hands and when I turn on the water it will rinse away the dirt and my hands will be clean. If I don’t pick up the soap - my hands will stay dirty. If I don’t turn on the water - I won’t be rinsed clean.

The same thing will happen if I don’t believe in Jesus promise to confess my sins to be cleansed; I will carry the weight of my sin.

Jesus told the lady in John 8:11 that He didn’t condemn her and to go and sin no more.
Jesus forgives sins.

But wonder if I fall again?

Jesus forgives sins.

Will I ever fall again? Yes. But Jesus promises to give us the Holy Spirit to teach, council, guide, comfort, and strengthen me. And His word renews minds.

Psalm 119:11-12 NIV
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord! Teach me your decrees.”

Don’t hold on to your secrets, go to Him. He promises to cleanse you from all your sins.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is God Asleep?

Standing outside the doctor’s office door, my heart tore to pieces as the screams of my, then, two-month-old daughter filled the hallway. Unable to stand it any longer I rushed into the small office. There she was on her Daddy’s lap. My husband had the tough job of holding her while a nurse gave one shot after another. For the first time in her life she was being introduced to unexplainable pain.

I walked over and touched her face, when she looked up at me, I could see relief fill her eyes as she recognized me. The screams started again as the nurse did another injection.

I cried while she suffered, but knew that it would be worse if I interfered. She had no way to comprehend why her Daddy and I were allowing this to happen. She couldn't comprehend that the injection, causing her confusion and extreme discomfort, were meant to protect her from far greater suffering than what she was experiencing at the moment.

With no way to explain all of this to her, I waited for the first opportunity to hold her to bring her comfort.

As much as we hated it, we had to allow this into her life and she had to walk through it. We stayed with her for support and comfort.

Many times in my life I have looked to Jesus wanting relief, but instead I’ve had to walk through the pain or trial.

In the book of Luke, chapter 8, Jesus and the disciples are in a boat going to the other side of the lake. While they sailed, Jesus went to sleep. It says, “a great squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.”

The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying they were going to drown. Jesus stood up from his sleep and rebuked the wind and raging waters. The storm subsided and all was calm.

Then Jesus asked his disciples, “Where is your faith?”

I thought, their faith motivated them to run to Jesus, but obviously there is more to it, or Jesus wouldn’t have said that to them.

I think the faith action, would’ve been if they had realized, if Jesus is asleep and not bothered by the storm, they were going to be okay. Otherwise, he would’ve gotten up and quieted the storm without them having to wake him up. I believe He knew they were okay and were going to make it to the other side. It just looked very scary.

That’s how it is in life sometimes. It looks scary, but I’m going to be okay. If Jesus isn’t doing something to run to my aid, it’s because He knows I’m okay. And when He comes in and takes care of it, well then He needed to take care of it.

How nice it would be to just rest and trust in the fact that He will do what is needed when it is needed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Walking The Wonderful Path Of Forgiveness

About 12 years ago, if I knew I had to stand in front of a group of women with a microphone in my hand, it would have terrified me. I’d be picking myself apart and I’d believe that everyone would see all of my flaws.

For many years I led worship for children, or participated in the puppet skits either by being the actor or a puppet. Even though it was fun, getting in front of the kids and teachers was very stressful for me. Up until the very moment I stood in front of the children I would be fretting and going over and over what I had to do.

Now, God has brought me to a place where I can’t wait to get the microphone in my hand. It’s exciting to me, to be used by Him, to encourage others.

What made the change? Let me start around the beginning.

Right after I prayed to ask Jesus into my heart twenty some years ago I had an overwhelming love for God. When I heard God calling me, I came from a really messed up place. I was amazed and grateful that God would call me, Linda, from the dark hole I was in and wash me clean of all my sins for eternity.

Not only did He wash me all clean, He loved me and wanted to be a part of my daily life! I could never understand how He could love me so much, but He did and I loved him back. I played praise music as often as possible, talked about him, read about him, went to church to learn about him, hung out with people who talked about him.

Soon, I was involved in ministry and even though I knew God loved me and God forgave me, I believed, all of those never did anything wrong, have everything together people, in the church, wouldn’t want me around if, they knew the truth about my past. I mean they’d kick me right out of ministry and stop hanging around with me. So I kept my past a secret.

I began to be filled with shame and worked hard to keep my secret.

Then one day I went through a biblical healing group and my whole perspective changed. I learned some very valuable things. First I had to forgive myself, for my short comings and my past. Jesus did.

Second, the first night of the group, ladies that I participated in ministry with (the never did anything wrong, have everything together people) and kept my secret from, walked in and were part of the group. They were hiding their own secrets.

In God’s word it says ALL men fall short of the glory of God. ALL MEN, and that mean's women too. Not one person can stand before the Father cleansed white as snow without first believing in His Son Jesus. Not one. Why? Because we are all sinners, whether we rate them as big sins or little sins, a sin is a sin. Everyone fall’s short and needs Jesus.

After I forgave myself, and gave other’s a chance to get to know me, the real me, I realized it’s a testimony of how loving and merciful God is, that I am a part of his kingdom. That He would call ME by name and seal me as HIS.

Now, that He took the shame away and the insecurities I get to share with others about how wonderful He is. How He came into my dark world and shined His light so bright and put me on a new path to live.

As a woman, I know, we have lots of things to be insecure about. Our weight, hair, makeup, kind of clothes we wear, if we are a good housekeeper, good mom, wife, the list goes on and on. But when we take God’s word and let it go from our heads down to our hearts and believe it. It takes away those insecurities and feeling of shame.

The truth is, in God’s eyes, we are special. When He forgives us, He doesn’t bring it up again. Even in those times we have to face the consequences of our sins, He’s still loving us, helping us get through it.

Even with Adam and Eve, when they had to leave the garden, He dressed them. And then put a guard with a flaming sword in front of the tree of life to protect them from eating from that tree, so they wouldn’t live forever knowing good and evil.

And then He sent His Son to pay the price for all the wrong things everyone did.

What kind of love and forgiveness is that?

It’s wonderful! And every day I get to walk in the peace of knowing the price is paid for all the mistakes I’ve ever made.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful Dad who is always there for me and shows me love everyday! I love you!
And Happy Father's Day to my husband who is a wonderful daddy to our daughter!
Also, to my brother's who do an incredible job with their kids!
All of you are great at being Dad's and your kids love you!
I love you too!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Distorted View

One Sunday morning at church, our pastor showed the congregation some pictures. He prefaced showing them with an assignment, we were to determine which one best signified our personal view of God.

To start out with there was a picture of a child held safe and lovingly in her Father’s arms. I immediately thought that is how I see God.

A few scenes later, a little boy sat in a corner, and his arm covered his head as if to fend off a blow. It surprised me when my heart pounded and I realized this picture portrayed my true perspective of God. I was waiting for Him to let the other shoe drop.

My husband and I had been through a tough season with a bunch of trials where one thing happened after another and without realizing it, my view of God had become distorted.

I took another look at who He really is in the Bible. One day, he showed me something in the very familiar story of Adam and Eve. I doubt there are many people who haven’t heard Adam and Eve’s story. Most know Eve ate the forbidden fruit after being tempted by the snake and Adam followed right along and ate some of the fruit also. After that choice death came into the world.

Before they made the choice to eat the forbidden fruit, God created a beautiful garden, and this is where Adam and Eve lived. They took care of the garden and were over all the animals. Adam and Eve didn’t know about death or pain and they interacted with God. This was God’s design from the beginning.

He also gave Adam and Eve the gift of choice. They could eat anything in the garden except the fruit from one tree. When the snake came along and tempted Eve, she made the choice to eat from the forbidden plant.

Since then death, pain, and other things that come from sin, came into the world.

We live in a world filled with wrong choices that we often feel the consequences from.

But, that isn’t God’s choice for us. God’s choice was life in the garden. That’s how He designed it. Now that sin is in the world though, we go through some really painful things. But God has never left his creation. He is always with us. When circumstances are really hard or painful, I can walk knowing God is walking through the storm with me, or He is going to take care of the storm, or stop the storm.

And someday things will go back to how He designed it to be. Someday, when we are heaven, He will wipe away our tears and we will live in a sinless world where there is no more death or illness.

But for now I’m in a fallen world and when things do drop into my life, He is there with me.

He promises that He will never leave me nor forsake me.