Thursday, January 20, 2011

To Forgive or Not To Forgive

‘I forgive you.’

Sometimes forgiveness forges or renews friendships. Sometimes it doesn't.

Set someone free. I’m not talking about the person that’s offended you. I’m talking about our key to self-liberation. Set yourself free – by forgiving everyone that’s ever offended you, everyone that’s ever used or abused you and everyone that’s ever crushed your spirit.

The phrase ‘easier said than done’ comes to mind. But really? Why is forgiveness so hard? We’re not in any way condoning what the offender has done; we’re not giving them permission to do it again. We’re simply releasing what they’ve done so that it no longer holds us bound and captive. Once we forgive them, they no longer have that hold over us – we’re freed from their grip. Forgiveness does little for them, if they ever know we’ve forgiven them – but it liberates us like nothing else can.

I’ve forgiven people that may not even be alive anymore. And I’ve forgiven people who may not have even known they offended me. Now I can breathe easier, sleep better, think more clearly and love more freely – because I don’t have that unforgiveness draped around my shoulders like overstuffed baggage.

If it feels too hard to do, ask God to help you.

First you have to want to forgive. Maybe saying it out loud will help, start with a whisper if you need to. God sees the desires of our hearts; He sees when we struggle to obey Him. He never requires anything of us that’s impossible for us to do; He will give us the strength to do everything He requires of us. And He requires us to forgive – for our own sake.

Matthew 6:15 (NLT) But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

God grieves to see us in bondage when He’s already given us the means by which we can be set free.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My 'Difficult Person' Story

Who is your ‘difficult’ person? Is it your mother-in-law? Your nosey neighbor? Your step-child? Your boss? Is it your paper boy? Your spouse’s ex? Or the check-out lady at your favorite store? Now would be a good time to say their name out loud.

Graciously, God has forgiven me, so there's no shame attached to my ‘difficult person’ story. I’ve shared it before.

My father-in-law lives with us and has for several years now. He's not a likeable person. He's paranoid, dirty, has quirky habits and a disgusting past. When we took him in I didn’t realized what a long-term responsibility it would be. I admit it; I have some very carnal-minded days.

One morning my mind gave way to the images filling my head.

I saw God joyfully and protectively holding a most precious treasure in His hands. With determination, He looked through all of creation for the perfect place to put His treasure. He smiled with delight, almost giggling as He said, "Oh here! There's plenty of room in Dave and Helen's hearts." -And He deposited this man into our home and into our lives.

What I'd shamefully found revolting is one of God's greatest treasures; my father-in-law. I'm humbled. God has entrusted this treasure to our household -to our hearts and I'd resented it far too much for way too long. What was one woman's 'junk' is God's greatest treasure!

After asking God to forgive me and love this man through me - something inside of me has changed. My hearts now breaks over this man. This man that won't even acknowledge there is a God, is one of God's favorite treasures. Pray with me if you will for God's treasure: Donald Lee Williams.

I will be praying for you and your ‘difficult’ treasure.

Matthew 25:40 (KJV) Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Writing Spa Contest

One life (one spirit) filled with billions of stories wrapped in blankets of time holding eternity in our hearts.

Our billions are stories beg to be told. I’ve written poetry that makes people cry and stories that make people think and blog posts that have challenged the way people believe. But they aren’t doing their job if people can’t read them.

I recently read the book ‘Thin Places’ by Mary DeMuth. It opened my eyes to the boldness we need to be sharing to make the impact on the lives around us that God created us to bring healing to. We can’t dodge the facts. We can’t sugar coat things and just hope that people get the drift of what we’re trying to share. Most importantly – we have to be an eager listener and write what God shows us to write.

Here’s an opportunity to find open doors and go where you may have been afraid to go before. Mary Demuth herself is reaching out to help aspiring writers make their way to the published world with a contest. I’m very excited about it and am sharing it with you here – hoping to encourage you and inspire you to shake off the chains that have held you back so far and step out in faith.

Of course the winner of the contest will be blessed with fantastic prizes you can read all about here, copy and past this into your internet browser:!/notes/the-writing-spa/win-the-market-guide-a-proposal-tutorial-and-a-5-page-critique-from-mary/183524171672295

But even if you don’t win the contest – let this cause you to stir up the gifts God has placed within you! God bless everything you put your hands to – especially your keyboards!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What's The Point of It All?

Does God have you digging ditches?

When we can’t see the purpose for the ditch, it can be very agonizing going through the motions of whatever He has us doing. Pastor Mark (Cowart) said something that made me write down the note: Is God having you dig ditches to catch the coming rains?
There is a purpose in everything God brings us through, and to everything He has us doing.

My daughter shares this quote: God is preparing you for what He has already prepared for you! ~Paula White

The rain is coming – God’s purposes in our lives are being fulfilled. His plan is divine and He’s told us that His Word will not return to Him unaccomplished. (So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 KJV)

Our part is obedience. Not blind obedience. God doesn’t want robots following Him blindly or He’d have created robots to blindly follow Him. He created humans – in His own image. He gave us freedom to choose whether or not to follow Him.

When we call upon Him and seek Him through His Word – we begin to see His plans for us revealed and coming together. We see our part and watch in amazement as God does His part. But not knowing the precise outcome impedes us if we let it. We know the outcome will be His perfect will for our lives. We know we can trust Him; He’s not a man that He should lie. (Number 23:19 KJV) He’s promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 6:31 NIV) - yet we hesitate to obey.

The more we get into His Word, the more His Word gets into us and the easier it is to put one foot in front of the other and obey Him, trusting that the outcome will be perfect – even if it’s not the outcome we would have penned. In God we trust.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Who Are You Hurting?

I was listening to a country song today and thinking about the people in my life that it reminded me of and wrote down:
‘How long will you continue to hurt people before you finally give in?’
‘How long will you walk around wounded before you receive healing that’s yours for the asking?’

The more we hurt the people in our lives, the less we feel like we deserve not only their love – but God’s love, too. The more unworthy we feel, the more the devil thinks the victory is his. And in general, I believe we hurt people because we ourselves are wounded.

Have you ever seen a toddler fall and scrape his knee and scream like he broke his leg? One kiss or cuddle from Mom makes it as though no injury occurred at all. Once she got his attention and calmed him down everything was suddenly okay. The scrape was still there – but somehow the loving arms of Mommy made it not matter.

So many people are praying for you – perhaps hundreds or more whom you’ve never even met. God’s loving arms are waiting – patiently, for however long it takes to embrace you when you start to run to Him. He doesn’t even make you cover the gulf that’s grown between you. This reminds me of the old song ‘When God Ran’. Just as Mom lovingly runs to her injured child, God wants to scoop you up into His loving arms and heal your wounds. But just as that injured toddler can run screaming from his mother in a fit of rage or temper tantrum, we too can run from God.

But my injury is far worse than a scraped knee!

And God is much more powerful than any mother……

How long will you run? Who will you destroy as they get in your path?

James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV)
We're praying for you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: It's Not That Hard to Find Our Way

While talking with my precious, one-of-a-kind husband, Dave, he pointed out to me that I do have visions and goals; I’ve simply refused to label them that way. He asked me why I post my blog. My answer: to encourage people to read their Bible. Yes – the light bulb went on! One of my goals is to hear and see that you, my readers, are getting into the Word of God – and that the Word of God is getting into you! How will I know if my goals are realized? Is it measurable? If you are getting into the Word and the Word is getting into you – fruit will be produced. The fruits of God’s Spirit will be made manifest in your lives. If I know you – or hear from you, I may see or hear tell of the fruit in your life. If we never communicate – only God will know the impact of me taking the time to write and post.

The Bible says ‘Where there is no vision the people perish.’ I like the way the Amplified Bible amplifies this for us: Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. Proverbs 29:18

Definitions of vision vary greatly and include (thanks to ):
*the act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight.
*the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision;
*a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation:
*the stated aims and objectives of a business or other organization
Yet the Amplified Bible defines vision, as used in Proverbs 29:18, as a redemptive revelation of God.

So yes, I do have goals, because I have a vision of you, along with myself, getting deeper and deeper into the Word of God – uncovering those redemptive revelations of God.

May 2011 bring us all closer to the God that loves us just the way we are, but so much that He won’t leave us here – He’s got so much more for us!